In order to handle the rigors of family life, I have posited in the last few posts that we must think about biography, balance of the physical body and the inner bodies, faith and faithfulness (our beliefs, and how faithful are we in ACTION to our beliefs). In addition to the things I already mentioned in the first three parts of this series, I want to name some concrete actions you could take to start your own inner work so you can be centered for your best parenting:
- Create a space in your day for meditation and prayer. It may be that you do this whilst you nurse a baby or in the shower. As a parent, you may not really get even fifteen minutes to yourself to sit quietly, so you have to be open to cultivating a new kind of practice that entails quieting your mind whilst moving or doing something else. This is just a season; children do grow!
- Watch your computer habit. Most mothers I speak with use their computers as an escape tool at times. Force yourself to be present even if you don’t want to. If you are trying to escape because you are tired, bored, resentful, work on trying to fix the root cause of those feelings with action, not escape.
- Practice cultivating silence in the home when you can. Less words, more warm smiles and hugs, soft humming, silence and reverence together.
- Work in the arts: music, painting, sculpting, crafts, reading all build up your reserves of energy.
- Have an area of your own personality, will that you are working and striving to cultivate.
- Spend time in nature.
- Have rhythm in your life. Keep striving for this if it is a difficult area for you. Write down what you want to do in the area of rhythm, and do it for forty days. If you “fall off the wagon”, get back on.
- Keep in mind that each minute is a new start. Keep striving and going.
- Balance your year by season – there are some seasons where we are move active in outside the home activities and some seasons where we might be home more. Look at your year.
- Look at your monthly rhythm – many women feel tired around the time of their menstrual cycles, and it may be worth it to plan this into your monthly rhythm as much as you can to honor that time. This is a beautiful time, not a time to be medicated and rushed through.
- Where are your “no’s” in life? What are your boundaries for you personally? No’s help maintain balance, no’s help us find the time to be home and centered for our own inner work and parenting in an unhurried manner.
- Wake up before your children. If you are rubbing your eyes and the children are already fighting, making a mess, helping themselves to what is in the kitchen, then the morning is not off to the best start.
- Keep a day of rest, a Sabbath. This is important during the weekly rhythm. You yourself must hold how to do this.
- I think it is important to work toward being objective in parenting. Many times if we can just pull back and look at things without so much emotion, we find the right answers for our children. If we can let go of guilt, which does NOTHING to move any situation forward, we can reach more joy in our homes.