If you are a mom of a baby or a young child, no doubt a more experienced parent has shared with you their words of wisdom. “Enjoy every moment. Those days go by so fast.” Well, friends, put your eye rolls away, this unsolicited advice is very right. Where does the time go? They were babies, yesterday! Mindful parenting can give us the tools to learn how to absorb every last magical moment and slow down the clock.
Isn’t that what we all long for? I want to look back at the newborn phase, the toddler years, the adolescent years, and know in my heart that I loved and lived fully in each season.
Mindfulness is a somewhat easy practice based on the concept of being fully present in each moment. Within parenting, this means being fully present with your child. Here are some easy tricks to help you jump start your journey into mindful parenting and start connecting on a deeper level:
Put away your phone
Super basic tip, but it is amazing how distracting your phone can be when you are with your children (or anyone for that matter). We are creatures of habit and we habitually grab our phones when we are bored. Those bored moments are the magical ones. If you are having family time, physically put your phone away to avoid bad habits and temptation.
Separate mommy time and together time
As a mom who works from home often, it can be really tempting to want to respond to an email in the middle of coloring with my toddler. On my good days, I give myself work hours. When work hours are up, time’s up. The same applies to personal time. Sometimes I just need a second to just disconnect, check social media and catch up on the news. Give yourself 15 minutes of guilt-free personal time. After your 15 minutes, technology away and let’s play. Focus on quality time over quantity of time.
Mindful parenting means letting yourself play
When it is play time, channel your inner kiddo. Make an art project too. Go down the big slide. Get in the water sprinkler. Kids are the best teachers especially when it comes to play. Can I also just say, that dads are really good at this concept? Let’s take a note from the kids when it comes to enjoying life and actually play.
Zoom In, and Zoom Out
Adjusting your perspective is a great mindfulness tool. Zoom in and really notice the details of your child. Perhaps it’s the way your 3-year-old pouts, or how uncomfortable your teenager gets every time you bring up this new boyfriend. These are the moments you will want to remember when you are old and gray. Zoom out to remind yourself of how fleeting time is. Remind yourself that she will be off at college someday, or perhaps won’t want the bedtime song in a few years. Zooming out helps me with my patience. Sure maybe they did wet the bed again, but remember the first few weeks of potty training?
Time flies so let’s embrace the beautifully imperfect now. I know we can’t turn back the clock or physically slow down time, but mindful parenting gives us a way to at least remember all of that time instead of functioning on autopilot. Mindful parenting allows us to absorb the good, the bad, the ugly, and to live fuller lives.