The Importance of Mindfulness as a Parent

As a parent the concept of mindfulness seems foreign. Between trying to get the kids to sleep, getting them up, getting them fed, getting them out the door, getting them to school, home from school, to sports, to scouts…. and then there is our work, our jobs, dealing with our spouse, our boss, money issues, car issues…..UGGGGHHHH.

If I had hair I would be pulling it out at this point just from writing down the stress of life. So how do we incorporate the concept of mindfulness into this craziness? How do we create space for ourselves, and what is the importance of doing so?

As a practitioner of meditation and someone that has spent time in the high mountains of Colorado in silent retreat, I understand the importance of creating this space and being mindful of mindfulness. However, I often have had trouble fitting the practice into my life outside a retreat setting, and therefore am left wondering, what good does it do if I can’t do it daily.

For years I would go to my retreat, I would disappear for 2 weeks and when I reappeared I felt I could conquer the world. I would come home and day 1 was awesome, I was present, nothing bothered me. I could handle it all calmly. Day 2, less so and by day 3 I was at my breaking point again. I couldn’t sleep (too much on my mind). I blew up easily (too much on my mind). Within three days I lost my mindfulness.

In the last year a dear friend said something profound. They said I did not need to disappear. Meditation did not need to take hours of my time. They said I could, as I was brushing my teeth remember to breath for those 2 minutes. They said, try it. Remember to breath in the morning and at night while brushing and see what happened.

Day 1: I breathed in the morning while brushing. I was calmer till mid day. I Breathed at night and slept a little easier.

Day 2: I was calmer for longer.

Day 3: I felt I was back to being mostly mindful. Now this doesn’t mean I wasn’t able to be triggered or that I didn’t stress, but I was able to bring myself back from the edge quicker.

So what is the importance of mindfulness? Mindfulness, in my opinion creates space. It provides the room to breath and to interact with a situation as opposed to react to a situation. It allows me to live from my heart and not always get twisted into my mind. The importance of mindfulness…well, it is as important as a healthy diet, good exercise, and having a friend to chat with about issues. Mindfulness is a life saver and a relationship saver.