Parenting in the moment is not only the ultimate, loving gift you can share with your child, it’s also a wonderful skill to teach them as well.
Here are five simple mindfulness habits that you can begin incorporating into your parenting life today!
4. Learn the Five Second Rule
Last year I read an incredible book that totally rocked my mindfulness world: The 5-Second Rule by Mel Robbins. The author is spunky and fearless and shares a tool that can be life-changing if you’re willing to devote five simple seconds to accomplishing a change in your life.
Robbins explains that "the 5 Second Rule is simple. If you have an instinct to act on a goal, you must physically move within five seconds or your brain will kill it."
Her research shows that there is a scant five second opportunity to act on an idea or some type of change you’d like to incorporate into your life before your mind squashes it.
"Just start counting backward to yourself: 5-4-3-2-1. The counting will focus you on the goal or commitment and distract you from the worries, thoughts, and excuses in your mind. As soon as you reach '1' – push yourself to move," explains Robbins.
She grasped this ingenious idea one night while seeing an ad for NASA. She was in a low place in her own life and was struggling to even get out of bed in the morning. She asked, “Why is it so hard to do the little things that would improve my life?” What she discovered was that our minds are designed to do anything, at all costs, to stop us from doing what might hurt us. "We all have a habit of hesitating."
The sign she received from the NASA advertisement became the ingenious way she changed her mindset and ultimately her entire life. When a spaceship launches the countdown is backward. She decided she would finally get herself "launched" out of bed each morning by counting 5-4-3-2-1 and then jump out of her cozy, warm covers to take on whatever the new day held.
In relation to mindful parenting, I’m enthusiastic about Robbins's five second rule because we as parents can use this tool to make the commitment to focus on living in the moment with our kids, instead of straying off to what’s next on our parenting agenda.
"Your life comes down to your decisions and if you change your decisions, you will change everything," writes Robbins.
The two things I do each and every morning are to set my daily intention and to spring out of bed feeling motivated and inspired to have my best parenting day. The bonus? This approach not only affects my parenting mindset, but also sets the stage to a very centered and mindful day in all aspects of my life, and it sets a great example for the rest of my family.
5. Practice Self-Compassion
When I finally achieved my dream of becoming a parent, I had to experience many firsts with my newborn before realizing that it was OK to acknowledge I didn’t have all the answers. I was going to make mistakes.
My pediatrician (an amazing practitioner and parent herself) offered a great piece of advice when I was a new mom trying to cope with a stressful situation. “Try placing your hand on your heart as a gesture of caring and say to yourself, 'May I relax, have more patience, and release myself from this stress.'"
This bit of powerful advice made me realize that I needed to make space for just being alone with my own thoughts and feelings every day. Hey, our lives are only lived in moments. Mindful parenting depends on being more present, so establishing a daily mindfulness practice is considered key. I began sitting for 5 to 10 minutes every day, usually in mid-afternoon when my kids were napping. I began bringing awareness to simple things like my breathing, as well as noticing different noises that surrounded me, like the outside sprinkler or the whirring of the kitchen ceiling fan.
As busy parents, we know that our children get the best of us, and we can be left feeling depleted and wondering what our true purpose is.
I used to look outside of myself for love and validation of how I was doing as a parent. But, through mindfulness practice, I realized I needed to look within, not outside, for a final stamp of approval. Once I let go of unrealistic expectations, I began to enjoy parenting more and simply embraced the daily ebb and flow of my parenting routines. By tuning my frequency to moments of kindness, compassion, and self-acceptance, I have been able to find greater harmony for both me and my family.
Have you embraced any mindfulness practices that enhance your parenting experience? Share your thoughts in the comment section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommyor post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. You can also connect with me on Twitter @MightyMommy or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Image of a mother being mindful with her child © Shutterstock