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Parenting with Mindfulness

My sweet boys

My sweet boys

A few weeks ago I was up all night with my newborn John. I had an extremely busy day planned, and no matter what i tried, he refused to go to sleep. As the hours ticked away, I could feel myself grow increasingly frustrated. I really wasn’t in the mood for this, I really didn’t have time for this, I really needed sleep so that I could go to work and be productive… Then it hit me. This will pass, and very quickly. Too quickly…

Obviously John wasn’t feeling well, and he was depending on me for comfort and care. While we were apparently getting our signals mixed, he still needed me, and I needed to let go of being frustrated. While I don’t relish sleepless nights with newborns, it seems like just yesterday I was on the alternating night shift routine with my wife, so that we could watch and take care of our oldest son Jase… and Jase started school two weeks ago.

I remember with Jase I couldn’t wait for his next stage of development. I couldn’t wait until he slept all night, I couldn’t wait until he ate solid food, could crawl, walk, be potty-trained, etc. Looking back, most of my anticipation seemed to be driven by more than a dash of selfishness. Once he slept all night, so could I. When he could crawl and then walk, I wouldn’t have to carry him everywhere. Eating solid foods meant I wouldn’t have to constantly prepare and clean bottles. Once potty-trained, I no longer had to check and change diapers every few hours. To say that children grow up too quickly may seem like a cliche, but just looking back over the past 4-1/2 years of Jase’s life, I can tell that it is true.

It is easy to practice mindfulness (the practice of being fully present in each moment), during slow times, meditation, or while conducting a relaxing activity; however, I think that mindfulness is especially important when interacting with our children, no matter how young or old. By being fully present in the moment, we are fully present in life. By being fully present as a parent, we are fully present in our children’s life, which is the most important thing we can do, because only then can we fully interact with our children the way that parents should. Parenting can be tiring and frustrating, but it really is the most important job we have, because our children are mirrors that reflect the lessons and general environment that we provide for them. Our parenting also has a definite impact on the type of adults that our children will grow to be. Will they be impatient, and quick to anger, or will the be kind and understanding?

“Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see” – Neil Postman

Going back to the other night, by slowing down, and taking “me” out of the equation, I was able to let go of my frustration, and simply be there with my newborn son, my little bundle of potential, my little miracle.

And in the end, John and I also got to experience our first sunrise together.

… although I kept the coffee pot running in overtime at work that morning. 😉

Practical Tip: When confronted with any stressful or frustrating situation, take yourself out of the situation, and just slow down and focus. Try to focus on the positive things, and never hesitate to find humor in a situation.

Thanks for reading! As always, if you enjoyed what you read, please share on social network sites, subscribe, and share this blog with others!

Also, please check out my book, “The Path: Using the Religions of the World as a Guide to Personal and Spiritual Development.” (Click the Book Cover to view on Amazon.com)

  1. August 28, 2013 at 8:33 AM

    in our whole lifes, how many things can a man do that are more valuable and full of meaning than comforting a child?

  2. August 28, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    I can relate to everything you wrote. It’s something I’m constantly working on, and not always doing well at, but I keep trying to be better and enjoy my kids right NOW. Thank you for this great post.

  3. August 28, 2013 at 2:29 PM

    been married for 20 years, never had children.. how i wish i’ve had experienced all you have and are going through as parents, the frustration, their needing you for comfort, and the sharing sunrises together… 🙂 i’d say i understand what parents go through, (have sisters with children)… cherish these moments ‘cuz some others like me somehow yearned for it wholeheartedly….. 🙂 beautiful post..

  4. bc
    August 28, 2013 at 3:51 PM

    What a wonderful way for you to reach such a realization–deep in the heart of the night. As for that sunrise, it is so symbolic on many levels. This is your best writing to date by the way. Thanks for sharing.

  5. August 28, 2013 at 5:17 PM

    i have 9 kids..One night, i was so exhausted, tight, when unexpectedly i experienced a flow of love FROM my infant to me.. . What i learned was that IF i relaxed, a two- way nuturing give and take relationship lifted the sense of frustration

  6. Linda Coffey
    August 29, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Awe Jason…you are such a good writer and true insight on what it means to truly “enjoy” each and every moment of your children’s lives.

  7. September 1, 2013 at 7:15 PM

    What a great post honey. Thank you for being such a loving husband and father. I thank God for you daily.

  8. September 19, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    I’m so grateful to have stumbled upon this particular post. My best friend just had her first child, and I’ve already sent it her way. Thank you for your insight.

  9. September 27, 2013 at 1:25 AM
  10. September 27, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    We all wish our time away without realising just what a precious gift each moment truly is. Thank you for the reminder to live in the minute and not miss it’s gift. So many struggling, tired parents will benefit from your sharing.

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