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.
Categories: Articles, Health and wellbeing, Uncategorized
I like your definition of mindfulness – I always had an idea that I kind of knew what it was, but hadn’t actually checked if I was right. That seems like a very good way to explain it. And now to figure out how to do it… 🙂
Hi Andrea! 🙂 I went on holiday with a friend who was into mindfulness and they filled me in on lots of it. Everything’s always fine in theory I suppose, until that time when you’re very busy and stressed etc. but I think overall it can help. I’m definitely not an expert but it has helped we chill out a little and realise not everything is within my control. Thanks for your comment! 🙂
We normally do homework straight after school too, your approach sounds very appealing. I’m going to try it, we may actually get it all done.
Well you can thank Aisling for that one 🙂 It’s still working for us at the moment. I’m at home with the kids so we actually have all afternoon to do the homework, but I still prefer to get it out of the way before they get tired and so I can concentrate on dinner. I like to pigeon-hole things I suppose!
Thanks for your comment 🙂
Still managing to resist the urge to tell the children to get on with homework the minute they get home, the snack and chat break after school is definitely working though. For me mindfulness is definitely focusing on the now, and I am finding that I actually do have enough time in the day to do what matters. Thanks for your lovely comments and for joining in. ☺
Hey Aisling. There is more time than we realise, especially when you’re at home like me. It helps to be organised. Your link-up was a great idea – a nice topic and great way to meet other bloggers from the group. I’m enjoying your blog and loving your approach to parenting! Off to read all the other contributions now. 🙂
Mindfulness can be a very difficult thing to achieve when people have small children or busy jobs and lives. For me mindfulness is ensuring I have moments each day when I can just breathe. They can literally be moments or else time out which I know is coming, and which I actively note is my ‘me’ time, in case it passes me by without my fully appreciating it.
Since my children have got older I have found I love to go to bed very late, so I have at least a half hour to myself especially during holidays, I also love to get up early, before they wake for the same reason.
Good luck with your focusing on one task alone, I have friends who so need to read your post.
It sure is, especially when they’re small. I was too tired and stressed up until the kids started pre-school to give anything like this a second thought. For years, all I wanted was sleep.
I suppose its about trying not to worry about other things and things that might never happen. I’ve given up worrying about the things I can’t change. My kids are in school now so I can’t complain about not having time to myself. I walk the dog while the kids are in school and it’s lovely 🙂 Will definitely do a course in mindfulness at some stage in the next few months. I love everything about it.
I’ve been behaving like that too since Christmas…tantrums, not wanting to do my homework, glad I’m not alone! 🙂
Mindfulness though, this is a concept worth giving some thought…
Ha Ha!! Brilliant! The more I think about it…maybe it’s just a fancy way of teaching daydreamers like me how to concentrate! 🙂