Friday, October 21, 2011

Mindful Parenting Collaboration - Topic 1: Inner Work {#MindParColl}

First, if you’re reading this, you might have the feeling that you want to change some of your parenting practices or, perhaps, you're curious about “mindful parenting” and what it could be. Well, congratulations for taking a moment from your day to click on the link. Erin of it’s OK and I are going to be working together over the next 40 weeks (!) on a journey toward more mindful parenting and would love to have you join us. To learn how we envision The Mindful Parenting Collaboration working, please read the introductory post HERE

This week, we will be working on ourselves. What? I thought this was supposed to be about how I interact with my kids! Yes, it is about our parenting, but we need to figure out just who we are and where we’d like to be before we can consider our parenting practices. Just jumping in to change how we parent would be akin to working a customer service job – all fake smiles and a cheery façade without truly showing how we feel. Kids aren’t easily fooled by this – they know when words and actions come from the heart and when they seem to be scripted. Moreover, that customer service job only lasts so many hours a day. You have downtime from it. You can call in sick. Heck – you can even quit. Not so with parenting! Therefore, it is important to start with ourselves in this search to figure out what kind of parents we want to be.

The first step is to lay the groundwork for mindful parenting by doing some personal inner work. There are many way one can go about this. There are so many possibilities here. You could try meditating, yoga, and/or working on your spirituality. Maybe even get out a giant imaginary eraser and start at square one by considering the blame you place on yourself and others and then begin forgiving. You want to be calm and at peace with yourself and others before you try to be a calm and peaceful parent.

One of the more straightforward tasks you may want to consider is creating a Personal Mission Statement. Head over to The Parenting Passageway’s first post for a very good list of questions to get you going. Don’t view this as “homework”, but more as a way to get in touch with you. I can tell you that it has been years since I really knew who "I" was and what kind of person I want to be. Periodically taking time to rediscover myself has seemed like a selfish venture when there were so many more important duties on my plate as a wife and mother. But, when we are confused in or unhappy with our own lives, how can we care for our loved ones? Now, creating your own mission statement is something that you should plan to take a little time doing. Check out this article by Stephen Covey about writing mission statements (I know it says “Business” at the top, but keep reading – I promise it gets personal fairly quickly!)

You may also want to check out Hybrid Rasta Mama’s first post to the Mindful Mothering Challenge to explore how she planned to go about this topic of inner work. Whatever you choose to do, you should make a commitment to work on it every day for a pre-determined amount of time - even 10 minutes per day can be enough to get the wheels turning in your head!

I need to make time to explore myself, first off. I think that since lying with little guy when he goes to bed and down for a nap are kind of black holes in my days. Yeah, we do some talking, but then he rolls over and listens to his John Lennon or Yellow Submarine CD's (for the gazillionth time) and I end up staring at the ceiling. I could be trying a little meditation here. I could be asking myself some of The Parenting Passageway’s questions – one at a time – and really exploring the answers. I get two 30-minute periods a day, on average, to do this. Once he’s asleep and I stealthily sneak away, I could write down some of the thoughts I’ve had in a journal. By the end of the week, I should have a pretty good idea about where I want to go and who I am. My collection of journal writings could easily be transformed into a kind of personal mission statement. I also think this could become a great habit that will allow me to continually reconsider my thoughts and ideas.

My goal is to have a personal mission statement written that I am 100% comfortable with by next Friday!

If you would like to join us in The Mindful Parenting Collaboration, please link up any posts that you may write introducing the concept. If you have done this in the past as the Mindful Mothering Challenge, or any other name, please link up your old post that corresponds with this subject. We’d also appreciate any posts that deal with inner work and creating personal mission statements. We also invite you to grab the linky code by clicking on “Get the InLinkz Code” at the bottom of the post and adding it to your own post.

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