We’ve all been there as parents, the moment when our child breaks our final straw of patience and sends our adrenaline and stress levels through the roof. For me, it’s resulted in loss of parenting control that I am absolutely not proud of. I’ve shouted at and blamed my eight- year old daughter for the wrong she’d just caused. I am proud to say these moments are now much rarer than before, and that’s because of one amazing, life-transforming practice I have learned along this bumpy road called parenting- that is mindfulness. Since becoming a parent, I’ve learned the beautiful and necessary practice of mindfulness, which simply means, being present and fully “here” in the now.
A few months ago, I felt it happening to me. My blood started to boil as my eldest daughter had awoken her baby sister for the third night in a row. I felt the anger growing inside my body and quickly rising up into becoming angry, hurtful words, and just as I was about to unleash a verbal fury at her, I heard it. A voice from somewhere beyond myself that spoke to me loud and clear, and asked me poignantly, Is this how you want your daughter to remember you? In that split second, I stopped. I stopped myself and walked away from the situation and asked my husband to take over. I realized that I could not parent the way I wanted to and that I needed to give myself a time-out. I reflected on that inspired message. Did I really want my daughter to remember her mother full of anger in her storehouse of memories? Of course, my answer was no.
Since that night, when I feel myself getting angry and feeling like I’m about to behave in a way I do not want to be remembered for, I stop, take a breath and ask myself, What can I do differently in this moment to be the person and parent I really am? This practice has changed the way I parent. It has brought me into the present moment, and has allowed to to stop and press re-set. You see, none of us are perfect parents. We all mess up and we will continue to make mistakes, but I believe if we can stop ourselves in the heat of the moment and ask ourselves, Is this how I want my child to remember me? We can mindfully choose to behave in a way that is in alignment with our true nature- love. By practicing this mindfulness technique, I’ve been able to become a better parent and person as I am lovingly re-directing myself back to my natural state of love.