Welcome to the December Mindful Mama Carnival: Staying Mindful During the Holiday Season
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have shared how they stay mindful during the holiday season. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
I am honored to share this guest post for the carnival, written by Jennifer from Hybrid Rasta Mama.
In the spirit of the Mindful Mama Carnival, I have taken the opportunity to focus on Mindful Parenting Resolutions for 2012. My original post took on a life of its own (4000 + words) and Zoie at TouchstoneZ is kind enough to hostess the second part of this lengthy post. (Part 3, The 1-2-3’s of Mindful Parenting, will appear on my blog tomorrow). You can head over to my blog to check out Part 1 which focuses on the A-B-C’s of Mindful Parenting, letters A-M.
Below you will find 13 mindful parenting resolutions, letters N-Z. Many of these practices I already employ, others have fallen by the wayside, and still others are a work in progress. However, I think that this list serves as an excellent reference for ways in which you can be a more mindful parent both during the holidays as well as all year round.
And off we go…
No should be used minimally. When you overuse the word “no” children eventually stop hearing it or figure that you will say no and stop even asking. For very young children, the tendency is to always say “no” as a means of establishing boundaries. These no’s are better left saved for times when No really means No. Like if a child is about to touch a hot stove. A firm no is warranted. However, if a child is simply trying to open a drawer to explore what is housed inside, it would be more mindful to show our child what drawer she can explore versus just saying “no, leave that alone.” I like to tell my daughter that she may do XYZ instead and then succinctly explain why, at this point in time, she may not do whatever it is she was attempting or successfully doing.
Opportunity to develop at their own pace. I believe that mindful parenting involves allowing children to learn and grow at a pace they are comfortable with. Programs that move children beyond their developmental readiness can possibly harm your child in the long run.
Patience is key. Mindful parenting is not easy. It does get easier but as your child enters new developmental stages, your parenting approaches will need to adjust to his or her new needs. Patience is a virtue and one that every parents needs to cultivate. Without patience, it is impossible to master mindfulness. Children push their parents’ patience to the outer limits…sometimes hourly. Try not to look at these moments in a negative light. Instead, harness those feelings of impatience and find a way to address your child’s need. When children push us, there is always a reason for it. Mindful parenting requires us to extract and address those reasons whilst keeping our cool.
Playfulness will go a long way in parenting. (Sorry – I had to include two “p’s”). The more playful you are, the better chance your child will be on board with your agenda. I have found talking pictoriallyto be a blessing when it comes to getting Tiny from point A to point B.
Quality not quantity. Every family situation is different. Some children have a stay at home parent raising them. Others go to day care. Some have an in-home caregiver while others are cared for by a close friend or relative outside of the home. Some families are single parent families. Some families are more nomadic. Others are more rooted. And of course there is everything in between. It is critical to never compare or judge the amount of time you spend with your child with how much time another mother or father spends with their child. Spending quality time with your child when you are fully engaged and in tune with them is more important than how much time you spend together. Life happens. Bills have to get paid. Not everyone can or should spend every second of the day with their child. Take care to make the moments you do spend together count in a huge way. Make these moments into memories both you and your child will cherish.
Respecting your children, respecting your spouse/partner, and respecting yourself is a key piece of mindful parenting. Children learn to respect others when they are respected and when they see their parents treating each other and themselves with respect. It is difficult to enforce respect if you yourself are not respectful. Remember, children are mirrors. They reflect who you are in their presence. So be respectful of them and they will respect you.
Simplicity is freeing. The more “stuff” you have, the more it takes over your life. You should value, use, and respect the material possessions in your life. Things should not be purchased just to store. When you store things or are trying to cram more and more into a space that seems to get smaller and smaller then you have too much. Share your abundance and simplify your life. Do not let “things” own you. Things get in the way of happiness. Things create more work and take you away from what really matters – your family. In addition, simplify your commitments. Children do not need to be involved in 5 activities per week. The more children you have with multiple activities, the more stressed everyone is and the less you see each other. Spending time together as a family is more rewarding than any class will ever be.
Trust is a must! Mindful parenting means trusting your children to “do the right thing.” Mindful parenting means you have modeled behavior that is grounded in peace, comes from a virtuous place, is rooted in morality, and is right for your family. Trust that your children will make the best decision for themselves. Trust that they know what road to take in life. Let go and trust. Also, as a parent, it is important to trust your gut, trust your decisions, and let go of the habit of second guessing yourself. Yes, you will make mistakes and perhaps make a poor choice. But trust that these choices and mistakes will ultimately have a positive outcome and serve as a learning experience.
Unconditional love, trust, support, etc… is vital in mindful parenting. Children do not deserve to have conditions placed upon them. They have to, have to, have to know and deeply feel that their parents love them and support them no matter what. Through good times, bad times, hardships, triumphs, and every life circumstance in between, parents must always be unconditional parents.
Validate your child’s feelings. Never come down on your child for expressing themselves. How do you like it when you express your emotions and leave yourself vulnerable just to have someone mock you or make you feel like your response or feeling is unwarranted. It sucks. It makes you second guess the way you are feeling. Emotions and emotional reactions/responses are beautiful even when they look ugly or feel uncomfortable. Feelings are a release. Mindful parenting is all about allowing children to express themselves so let your child know that it is OK to feel how they feel. Never make a child feel like less of a person for expressing an emotion, even if it is at the worst time or in the worst place (middle of a grocery store comes to mind.)
Words – give your young children the words they do not have to help them work through their emotions. When your child is acting out, crying, screaming, growling, stomping, hitting, and the like, help them figure out their feelings by giving them words to describe their emotional and physical responses. “You are mad because your toy fell behind the coach and I was not able to get it fast enough.” “You hit your sister because she would not give you back the crayons. We may not hit each other when we get upset. Instead, tell your sister that you would like the crayon back.” “You are crying because you are sad that daddy left for work. It is ok to be sad. I miss daddy too but he will be home in time for dinner tonight and we can all play together then.”
Xenogenesis should be embraced and not worried over. (Xenogenesis means your child is completely unlike you in every way making you question of they are even your offspring). Children are not supposed to be carbon copies of their parents. They are individuals just like the rest of us. Children will have likes and dislikes entirely their own. Their personalities might be completely unlike ours. This is perfectly normal and something to embrace. Although you may not always understand your child (since you yourself are not like them) it is important to love them for who they are. And let them be. You do you, let them do them. (Totally defunct grammar there folks).
Yelling should be kept to a minimum. Ideally, yelling would never happen. Mindful parenting revolves around peace and a gentle approach. Yelling is clearly not gentle or peaceful. Again, we are all human and there are breaking points. Voices might become raised in the general direction of our children. If this does occur, immediately reconnect with your child through a sincere apology, hugs, cuddles, eye contact, and an explanation of why you blew your top.
Zwitterions and mindful parenting have a lot in common. A zwitterion is an ion carrying a positive and negative charge. Parents will have positive days filled with powerful, focused, harmonious energy. Parents will also have negative days where the vibes are off center, nothing seems to align, and at the end of the day you feel like you just make a train wreck of your relationships with your children. Both are ok. The positives balance out the negatives so long as the positives are more frequent and more intense than the negatives. Remember – life and being human happen even to the most mindful of parent.
The ABCs of mindful parenting would not at all be complete without the 1-2-3s of mindful parenting. Be sure to visit my blog tomorrow for the final post in this series.
Visit The Mindful Mama Homepage to find out how you can participate in the next Mindful Mama Carnival!
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Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- Enjoying Busy Times Moment by Moment Amy at Peace 4 Parents offers a handful of simple pointers to make the most of any busy season in your life.
- Staying A Mindful Mama During The Holiday Season Terri at Eco-Crazy Mom shares her thoughts on being a mindful mama, while keeping your sanity throughout the holiday season..
- Holiday Parenting: The Gift of Natural Play Moorea at MamaLady shares her holiday plan for mindfully spending time with children in her extended family.
- The ABC’s of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama provides a comprehensive list of Mindful Parenting Resultions for 2012. In addition, she briefly reviews her mindful parenting journey for this past year.
- The 123’s of Mindful Parenting Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares part 3 of her Mindful Parenting series (Link will be live tomorrow, Dec 14).
- Mindful Mama Guest Post from Hybrid Rasta Mama Zoie at TouchstoneZ is honored to share Part 2 of Jennifer’s series on staying Mindful for the Holidays.
- Saying No to Plastic Toys Nada at minimomist and her husband Michael, have certain rules when it comes to toys for their daughter Naomi. Here’s how they deal with well-meaning gifts that don’t quite work for their family.
- Can you LOVE WHAT IS at Christmas? with so many expectations and no many people’s needs to accomodate, Patti at Jazzy Mama has decided to simply accept what can’t be changed and love whatever happens.
- Minimal Temptation, Minimal Gifting Adrienne at Mommying My Way shares how not exposing herself to tempting purchases, as well as having fun family traditions, helps keep her Christmas list under control.
- Choice And Consequence In Conscious Mindfulness Luschka at Diary of a First Child shares her realisation that consciously monitoring our thoughts have a powerful effect on our lives, regardless of circumstances or influences.
- A Light in the Darkness Sylvia at MaMammalia writes about overcoming holiday blues through the miracle of motherhood.
- Nature-Inspired Christmas Tree Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling describes how she and her children discovered the beauty and simplicity of a nature-inspired holiday tree.
- Giving The Gift of Life Free Range Mama at My Healthy Green Family shares about teaching children how to look beyond the well-wrapped box and learn how to give. .
- Can a collection of moments be more than the whole? Tat at Mum in search asks how do you turn a holiday from hell into a series of beautiful moments?
- Flying Through the Holidays Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction discusses how a simple organizational plan has kept her holidays balanced.
- Celebrating Advent week to week Lauren at Hobo Mama finds that counting down weeks instead of days helps children with the long wait.
- 5 Ways to Stay Mindful This Holiday Season Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares ideas and photos that help her stay mindful throughout the holidays.
- Simplifying the Holidays Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children shares how simplifying the holidays has made them more special for her.
- Mindfully Managing the Mania Erica at ChildOrganics fights against “the gimmes” and shares strategies for staying balanced during a time of year when it’s easy to overindulge.
- Six Ways to Enjoy the Holidays Without Losing Your Mindfulness Rachael at The Variegated Life shares tips on thinking less, planning less, doing less, and remembering.
- The Gift of Presence Darcel at The Mahogany Way explains how important it is to be present for and with her family during the Holidays.
- Mindfully meditating on celebrations Dionna at Code Name: Mama hosts this guest post from Child of the Nature Isle about desiring meaningful celebrations for the whole year.
- What Does It Really Mean? Staying Mindful Through the Holiday Season Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about how she stays in touch with what the holiday season means for her and her family, in spite of all the temptations to do otherwise!