Lately I’ve been reading the book Mindful Parenting by Dr. Kristen Race and it’s been a great read, particularly as lots of changes have been occurring in our household. My wife and I joke with each other that we tend to make big life changes all at the same time, once every few years. This time, it’s changes in each of our careers, buying a new home, starting a business, and oh yeah, adding a third baby to the mix.
In the midst of this season of change, before things normalize again, I’ve been trying to remind myself of the types of habits I want to build as a parent. Now, apparently there is a lot of divergent thought out there about what it means to be a mindful parent (I’m actually new to the genre). I was intrigued by the authors premise that today’s families, are more stressed out, rushed, and overwhelmed than previous generations. If people think life is a rat race, try parenting. There seem to be constant expectations about what we should be doing to be better parents. I wanted to know more about what can be done to either slow down the pace of chaos in our lives or find the calm altogether.
As I’ve been reading, I’ve found both the research and the author’s personal life reflections as a parent to be extremely informative and helpful. I’ve found that I’m even doing a few things “right” which is encouraging. Most of all though, it’s given my wife and I a starting point for more conversations about our parenting philosophy, something we talk about from time to time, but really haven’t discussed in earnest since reading Parenting With Love and Logic (another great read).
As we’ve been reading, it has helped us recommit to our plans to keep TVs out of the kids room and it led me to turn the game off yesterday and go to the park with the girls for a few hours. It’s affirmed our choice for the project based, outside classroom focused charter school for our oldest daughter this fall. It’s even reminded me of the good ol’days of playing outside in the streets with my friends, and encouraged me to find more opportunities to build in unstructured down time to just play and be present with the girls.
I’m always appreciative for the opportunity to simplify, because truly I think we make things too complex. Parenting is difficult at times, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Sometimes we really are “doing too much” as our generation likes to say. Mindful parenting reminds us how to simplify. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go enjoy some morning cuddle time with the girls before they start their day 🙂