I’ve decided to join up with a linky by Aisling Lyons, a fellow member of the Irish parenting bloggers’ group. Aisling did a post ‘mindfulness and simple pleasures‘ where she wrote about her New Year’s resolution of living in the present, and has encouraged other bloggers who wish to adopt a more mindful approach to join her link up.
On reading Aisling’s post, I drew a few parallels between our households; we had a few things in common surrounding behavioural issues when the kids went back to school after the Christmas break. In our house, the kids went back to school willingly, but when they got home they were more frazzled than usual. We had a few tantrums and homework seemed to have lost its appeal. After the hype of Christmas, the constant presents, generous supply of chocolate treats and getting to stay in their jammies until nearly midday, who could blame them?
Normally, I like to get the homework done as soon as they get home, but I realised they weren’t mentally ready to sit down and compose themselves at that stage. So for nearly two weeks I have been following Aisling’s lead – we sit down at the kitchen table for hot chocolate (tea for me of course), a few cookies and I give them 100% of my attention. The kids have a chance to chatter and I put my iPhone away so I’m not tempted to look at facebook. And sure enough, after a few moments, they begin to unwind, the perk up a little and they tell me a few stories. ‘I fell today in the playground.’ ‘I played with wee Johnny today’. ‘The sun did some really good shining today’.
They leave the table and run around a bit and after a while I get the homework books out. I open their folders and start reading their books and they come over to see what I’m looking at and to show me what they did that day. Right now this is paying dividends and homework is being done much more willingly. We’re not perfect and that’s not what we’re aiming for, but I do hope it lasts until at least this time next week!
After Christmas we get blasted with New Year’s resolutions. When I open a newspaper and see New Year’s resolutions, I quickly flick the page, because these page-fillers are a total waste of time and half will be discarded by the following week. This year I’ve decided that one or two resolutions will be more realistic and much more likely to have any sort of lasting impact. In the past when I’ve tried to change something, it only works when I make small adjustments at a time.
I’ve been familiar with the concept of mindfulness for some time now and I think it takes practice and constant effort. For me mindfulness means focusing on the task in hand and allowing yourself to focus on one thing without distraction, to do a job well, resulting in increased enjoyment and satisfaction. I don’t think I have trouble focusing but the long list of jobs plays on my mind, as does the guilt for not having them done already. Mindfulness is about accepting ourselves as we are, and being kind to ourselves. When we treat ourselves with greater compassion, we can then see others in the same light.
Women, and especially mummies, are praised for being multi-taskers, but I think this leads to us feelings short-changed and is a clever way of getting us to do all the work! It goes against the ideas underpinning mindful living. Now I have begun to prioritize and set myself realistic and achievable goals. There’s actually a mindfulness course on at Lavistown House in Kilkenny, I’d love to attend. Some quality time with me and lunch thrown in sounds appealing.
Lots of the Irish parenting bloggers have contributed to this link-up and there are some great ideas on achieving mindful living in our increasingly busy lives.
Check out Aisling’s blog Baby Steps for more contributions and for her take, as she seems to have a lot of this parenting malarkey sussed. 🙂
Photo credit: Free digital photos. ‘Balancing Zen stones’ by Master Isolated Images.