mindful parenting is NOT perfect parenting

So today I yelled at my kids

“STOP! Stop right now!”

They were fighting and I was focused on accomplishing something and they started slamming the door on each other and my stress level outweighed my ability to stop and breathe and decide how to respond to them instead of just react.

In the past, this action- which is out of alignment with how I want to be with my kids- would have dragged me down further and further. “I’m a terrible mother” I might tell myself - or similar harsh messages.

But let’s face it- it happens! We get overwhelmed, we yell, we behave in ways we wish we didn’t. Because being a parent is impossible and we all have a lot of history that comes to the table with us that gets regularly triggered by our own offspring.

Being a mindful parent doesn’t mean never yelling or being an attachment parent or any other “type” of parent. It is about doing our best in the moment.

In that moment, I yelled. And they both looked at me and cried. And then I took a deep breath and offered myself some compassion, and gathered them on my lap and listened to them cry. When they were ready to listen I apologized. I was sorry and I also knew we could move on. That what matters most is the repair. It feels pretty amazing to be able to move on so quickly from something that in the past would have yanked me down for days.

I am grateful to the Hakomi process and the ideas of mindful parenting which aren’t about doing anything right but rather staying present, having compassion, being authentic and repairing those inevitable points of disconnection.

May you be gentle with yourselves and with your children- even when you can’t be the first time around.

"Mindful parenting does not mean being a “perfect parent” and is not something you can fail at. It is not easy and it takes practice, but like many aspects of parenting, some days are good and some are bad and you can always try again. You may forget to be mindful, but the second you realize you are distracted, it is an opportunity to make a different choice – the choice to be present.

Mindful parenting means that you bring your conscious attention to what’s happening, instead of getting hijacked by your emotions. Mindfulness is about letting go of guilt and shame about the past and focusing on right now. It’s about accepting whatever is going on, rather than trying to change it or ignore it.

Being a mindful parent means that you pay attention to what you’re feeling. It does not mean that you will not get angry or upset. Of course you will feel negative emotions, but acting on them mindlessly is what compromises our parenting." - Jill Ceder

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