It was just a matter of time that parents, who are already often riddled with guilt for one reason or another, would find a way to feel bad about their mindfulness practice. And when I talk about “parents” what I really mean is “me.” Although I do have some serious data I’m not alone in this dilemma, having worked with and spoken with parents from all around the country who share one thing in common….mindfulness.
No one can argue at this point that meditation and living a mindful life is good for us. Study after study is proving this to be true and for those of us who practice regularly we simply know that we are happier, more pleasant human beings who thrive when we put the effort into our practices. My family can surely tell you when I’ve been missing my daily dose because I will be much more cranky and impatient.
Here’s the problem…even when I’m doing all the things I know are good for me such as waking up early and getting my meditation out of the way, practicing presence when around my children, taking a pause when I’m triggered, and weaving mindfulness practices into most of my day I still manage to do things you would not imagine a “mindful parent” would do.
I bribed my 10-year-old with the promise of two action figures if he cooperated during his visit day at a new school.
When my son was doing a ton of whining and crying I raised my voice and said “that’s enough!” (He promptly reminded me that he has a right to his sadness.)
I ate half a bag of BBQ potato chips when I was stressed (screw the green juice right now, man) and I did not eat them mindfully. In fact, I barely remember what they tasted like.
I went on to Facebook for a VERY SPECIFIC reason and realized 20 minutes later I was lost in social media land with no map.
I drove across town having no memory of how I got there.
And I you know what? This all just means I’m a human being. I can be mindful and mindless all in the same day!
So, what’s a parent who cares so much about their inner awakening to do? Lighten up for one. And next, weave some self-compassion practices into our day. My guess is that if you are still reading this you care a great deal (just as I do) about living a life where you meet each moment as fully as possible. It’s time for us to meet our cruddy behavior just as fully as our mindful behavior. Let’s lean in. Find some humor in our foibles. Give ourselves a break. Take that breathe we know we need. And begin again. Always just begin again.
All we ever have is “now,” right?