As St. John’s Day calls us to be more inward and focused in the midst of outer expansion, perhaps a meditative focus for all of us as mothers could be contemplation of the phrase “mindful parenting”.
What does mindful parenting mean to you personally? To me, it means that I am in control of myself and my actions in front of my children, that I consider their feelings along with their needs, that I show my children empathy for their feelings, that I bring joy and laughter and warmth to my parenting. To be a mindful parent, I must consider the “bigger picture” of parenting – where my children are developmentally, where they have been, where they are going, what their temperaments are and who they are as beautiful individuals and how we all work together in one family. I must also consider my own “cup” – is it full, how do I get it full within the context of parenting? I can be a beacon of light and love for my children when I am centered and calm and peaceful.
I feel blessed to be a parent, and I truly enjoy my children. I think people have different ages of parenting they like and enjoy – my mother-in-law always says how wonderful she finds ages three and four, while other people I know really rather dislike these stages. Some mothers have commented to me that teenagers are so difficult, and I have other friends who say they just love the teenaged energy in their home and want all of their teenager’s friends to come and hang out within their family!
Even if you are in a parenting stage that perhaps you are not particularly enjoying, perhaps here is a Waldorf parenting view you can take and use: the notion that there really are no difficult children, but there are difficult behaviors that children show us. When we break things down into a behavior and NOT the child, it opens a gateway so we can look at that behavior. Why is this behavior triggering me as a parent so? What do I need in this moment to be more fulfilled and peaceful that is separate from what my child is doing? Is this an issue of safety? Or is it an issue that just bothers me but I could gently direct it? Do I have to direct it at all? What is the need of the child under the behavior? Is there more than one way to meet that need and am I comfortable meeting that need for my child and in what way? Can my child meet their own need? Can we work together so that in our family all of us can be happy and peaceful?
How can I use my words like pearls….instead of spouting off the book of lectures, can I use a few positively-worded phrases? Can I be warm and loving and caring even if I have to set a limit? Is the limit necessary at all? I actually don’t use many limits in my family, our rhythm carries much of it, modeling carries much of it, love carries much of it. We are respectful to each other.
These are the kinds of inward questions that shape my days of parenting, and the kinds of inward contemplation I do in my own parenting as we draw closer to St. John’s Day(Midsummer’s Day).
Thanks for reading,