Thursday, July 25, 2013

Mindfulness of Self - Week 3: Peaceful Parenting -

Welcome to the Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival: Week #3- Practicing Mindfulness
This post was written for inclusion in the 10 Week Peaceful Parenting Challenge Blog Carnival hosted by Prenatal to Parenting. This week our participants have written about Practicing Mindfulness. We hope you enjoy this week’s posts and consider joining us next week when we share about a week of Slowing Down.

Practicing Mindfulness is exhausting. Having a kid is exhausting.  Having twins or multiples is exhausting. 

This week's Peaceful Parenting exercise was about practicing mindfulness. Essentially it is about awareness of our inner self - how our thoughts/emotions were affecting us and those around us. It is exhausting.  Mentally and emotionally and physically.  Hence I probably didn't do it as often as I could/should have.  

I remember from my days in CPE (clinical pastoral education) that this was a key element for connecting with others.  A lot of times we aren't aware of our emotions or our issues, and thus we adversely affect the people that we come in contact with. If you don't know your issues or triggers, you can't help someone else with theirs. We might think we are ok, but our facial expressions, and tone, attitude etc.  say otherwise or they are interpretted differently than we intend by our audience.  

In particular, my audience is my almost 22 month old twins, who have a limited vocabulary, but a lot of emotion.  Evidenced by tantrums, loudness, crankiness, refusal to sleep in the crib at night, refusal to use a sippy cup, refusal to drink anything other than milk, and general clinginess.  Goody!  It is hard to explain to a tantrum-prone baby girl that the item was taken away because it is not safe for her to hold a pen and poke her brother or her mother, that sticks shouldn't go in the mouth, that her brother was playing with it first.

So I am mindful that I have feelings of frustration (at the refusals to eat what is put in front of them even though they have eaten it in the past, at the frequent wakings) but I think that I have kept the emotions in check.  I am aware ... I think about how this impacts the kids or hubby if I walk into the room this way, I get exhausted from being aware. Because I am aware, and so now I have to think of what is an appropriate response. I think that the pressure to "perform" well is what is exhausting. That is what was exhausting when I was in CPE; I was always searching for the "right" response while processing tons of emotions and reactions internally at the same time.  

This exercise has asked that we mindfully listen without planning a response.  Hmm... type A person here.  Little hard to do.  Ok, so I'm not really Type A, but I do want to be in control of my Self.  I think that the not planning a response is what is key here.  It is freeing to just say "yep, that's that emotion again. Okay, good to know." without having to figure out what to do with it, exactly, right away.  That is the exhausting part, trying to check yourself, while running after the toddlers who are running in opposite directions.  (Hence I don't take them to the store, nor do I go to the park much when it is just me and them.)

One other technique we were asked to choose to be happy and to notice the happy moments.  It is the little things that make a difference.  Spending quiet time holding baby girl to get her to settle; Listening to the giggling in the other room and knowing that while I want to see what is making the giggling so fun that my presence would spoil it all; Watching the wonder in their eyes; seeing them dance whether there is music or not; seeing the joy in their eyes when daddy "chases" them around the room.

Some days it is hard to remember the list -- to remember to be mindful, especially when you have a list that NEEDS to be done, vs. a list that we would like to do but it won't end the world if the bed isn't made, dishes undone, etc.  but I am learning.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
No Need To Schedule Mindfulness– Sarah from Prenatal to Parenting discovers mindfulness isn’t something she needs to make time for.
Living in the Present Moment – Amber from shares how she has been practicing presence. 
Practicing Mindfulness Ricky at Daddy Blogger takes his wife on a date to The Dark Table restaurant in Kitsilano to practice mindfulness.  
Being Mindful - Peaceful Parenting Challenge - Week 3 - Katrina from Kalem Photography finds her way back to a good old habit.
Week #3- Practicing Mindfulness – Jennifer from The Children’s Directory discovers how sometimes we get so caught up in all the garbage that life dumps on us that we forget
the little things that makes it all worth it.
Week 3 - Mindfullness-Amanda from Family and Baby Sign Language harnesses her power to attract more positive.
Lesson Already Learned – Verena from Memory Maker Events realizes she’s already learned mindfulness. 
Have a full mind?  Try being mindful! – Lolly from My Journey Home challenges herself to live in the moment and stop looking forward. 

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