Surrounded by the wonderful gadgets of modern technology, it’s easy to become distracted whilst looking after our children. At the playground, for example, how often have you spotted moms (and dads!) with mobile phones in hand? A quick check of Facebook can do no harm, right? Well, not necessarily. Every minute on the phone, is one minute less we’re spending being present in the moment with our children.
Focus on the Right Here, Right Now
By turning off the radio in the car, or television at home, you’ll free up precious time in your day to spend 1:1 (or with as many children as you have, of course!). Children can tell when parents are ‘present’ and when you’re giving them your full and undivided attention. Not only are you being a good role-model, you’re also demonstrating to them that they’re the most important thing in your life right now.
Give Kids Space
In one analogy, a children’s expert expressed: “Your kids are the fish, and you create the aquarium”. In essence, it’s providing a gentle reminder to us as parents, that we should aim to create safe boundaries for our children, and trust them to enjoy the space within. Be that as a baby with a very small area e.g. a playpen, or as young adults, allowing them to make much bigger decisions on their own.
Sometimes parents can be keen to avoid certain aspects of parenting they experienced from their own parents. For example, perhaps a mother was overly focused on keeping her weight down, or a father on earning lots of money. In attempts to ensure they don’t place too much emphasis on this themselves, they can create an anxious environment for their own children, even without realizing it. The more self-awareness a mommy has, the less likely she’ll try to project (or not project!) certain behavioral traits on her own little one.
Parents, in attempts to create the best life for their little ones, can be inclined to over-schedule activities into their day. By taking your child to multiple activities in a single day, or trying to juggle multiple tasks at home, you’re likely to end up with a short fuse yourself! Take a moment to stop and think how tricky it is to remain calm when you’re rushing from place to place.
Spend time with your children, focus on what they’re doing and saying, and bond together as a family. This is more important than making sure the ironing is done, or next week’s lunches are prepared…. on the Thursday before! If you ever feel like you’ve over-committed, don’t be afraid to clear your schedule. Put your number one first, and you’ll soon feel more at peace and more present in the moment if you’re not having to rush off to the next lesson or activity.
Focus on Your Pre-Mommy Self
Before becoming a mommy (or daddy!), most of us have had hobbies or activities we loved to do. Things that made us feel like ‘us’, and pastimes that re-energized and invigorated us. Even though we likely have less spare time than we used to, it’s important to schedule some time each week to enjoy these activities that make us feel good about ourselves and help us relax. By being more in touch with ourselves, we’ll be in a better position to be a loving mommy and role-model for our children.
I’m sure you’ve heard the famous saying ‘stop and smell the roses’? Well this saying is a wonderful reminder to enjoy each minute of the day. A reminder to celebrate life with our little ones, and not to rush through missing the important moments. If you’re feeling stressed, stop and focus on your breathing. A little technique to try, is to Count 1, breathe in slowly, Count 2, breathe out slowly, Count 3, breathe in slowly, and continue this pattern until you feel your heartbeat slow, and your composure regain.
Life with kids is challenging, and the steps above are designed to help you create calm and serenity in your parenting style. With just a little practice, you can make being a calm and present mom, look like child’s play!