Writer’s Reflection: The Mindful Parent

"I can only describe parenting life as chaotic"

 

Thinking about the journey of parenthood, I can’t help but reflect on the valuable lessons it has taught me. It’s not a story with a clear beginning and end, but a continuous journey filled with ups and downs.

 

When I became a parent, I thought I had it all figured out. I followed parenting social media accounts, read books and listened to podcasts and even had a semi plan in place. But nothing could prepare me for the reality of raising children. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions and times when your mental health takes a dent. 

 

I can only describe parenting life as chaotic. I learned one of the most important lessons – the power of patience. Parenthood tests your patience like nothing else, when the children test boundaries, refusal to co-operate, can push you to the edge. But it’s in those moments that I discovered the importance of taking a deep breath and realising that this too shall pass.

"The value of being present"

 

Looking back at the newborn stage, I thought it was the hardest period of my life and now it’s probably the easiest compared to parenting a tween daughter and a son with a rebellious streak. Adaptability and flexibility is a highlighted section on my parenting CV 

 

Another lesson that parenthood taught me is the value of being present. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to get caught up in work, social media, and other distractions. But I learned that children grow up so quickly, and those precious moments when they want to play, talk, or simply cuddle are fleeting. Children are really simple souls and they just want the presence of their parents. I really believe that simplicity is the best when it comes to my own children.

 

I am mindful of the consumer-driven society that we live in and I have discovered that it’s often the simplest things – like reading a book together, a walk in the park, or playing board games – that bring the most joy and create lasting memories.

***

"Children benefit more from us when we are our best version of ourselves"

 

Reflection is something that we as individuals should exercise more. In our busy daily lives, it’s hard to carve out some time to do this, but I think it’s an important part of our parenting self discovery and growth. Such critical reflection helps you to identify success factors and improvement areas – what worked and why (as well as what didn’t work and why), which is crucial to our parenting journey.

 

Our children model our behaviours, the words we say to them become their inner words, and how we react to different situations teaches them how to react to what happens around them – children benefit more from us when we are our best version of ourselves, and that means that sometimes we have to sit back and reflect on our thoughts and feelings in order to be more emotionally aware and better role models for our children. 

***

A positive parenting self-reflection involves:

listening to our emotions, reflecting on them, and finding ways to manage them in order to foster better communication and relationships with our children. A positive parenting self-reflection also involves reflecting on what values and aspirations we have for ourselves, our children, and our relationships with them.

 

It’s about learning from our mistakes, cherishing the small moments, and finding strength in the love we have for our children. 

Developing and Using Reflective Practice

 

Read – around the topics you are learning about or want to learn about and develop.

 

Ask – others about the way they do things and why.

 

Watch – what is going on around you.

 

 

Feel – pay attention to your emotions, what prompts them, and how you deal with negative ones.

Our PEOPLE

Writer's Notes

The common feedback that I received from each of the families I have interviewed is that upon reflection, they didn’t realise that they have put so much thought into parenting and the amount of love and devotion that goes into nurturing each child. After taking some time in answering my questions, they truly appreciate the family unit.

Reflection should focus on the positive and not dwell too long on the negative. Allow yourself to better understand what is going on in your child’s mind while understanding your own thoughts and feelings.

April 2024