How to parent and keep your sanity

How to parent and keep your sanity
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About the Author

Eileen Beltzner

Eileen Beltzner

Eileen is a Registered Social Worker, an Empathy Fatigue Recovery & Prevention Specialist, a Mindful-Based Cognitive Therapy Group Facilitator and a Certified Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) Teacher.

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To be able to be the best parent you can be, you need to have humour, patience, understanding, wisdom, knowledge and compassion, not just for others but for yourself too; and that sure is a tall order sometimes.

When more things seem to go wrong than right: dealing with a crying baby, a biting two-and-a-half-year-old, a battling brother and sister, a barrage of four-letter words from your sixteen-year-old, or even spilled milk; such occurrences can cause any parent to lose it and not have their best self show up. The ideas below may help your best self to show up most often.

Uninterrupted time

Give your brain some uninterrupted time in the present moment. As best you can, carve out some time every day just for that. Sure you are probably saying. When? Well, we all need to eat.

So do it while you are eating. By noticing what the food looks, tastes and smells like and paying attention to the texture of the food when it is in the mouth and whatever else captures your attention you are practicing savouring, as it is called in the mindfulness world.

Each time you notice your mind has stopped paying attention to what you are eating, just return to paying attention to it. It is as simple as that. Congratulate yourself too. You have just strengthened your paying attention on purpose part of your brain and practiced a moment of mindfulness.

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Walk Mindfully
Walk mindfully as you go from one meeting to another or move your body from one activity to another. What you pay attention to while you are walking is the key. Each time you walk somewhere, even if it is to the bathroom, direct your busy mind to the soles of your feet and each time you take a step feel your soles as they touch the ground.

This simple, cost free activity will bring your mind into the present moment and unhook you from the default mode network; the part of your brain that focuses in on past mistakes and problems in the past or future. By paying attention in this way from time to time during the day, you calm down your brain and a calmer brain is good thing! It allows your best self to show up most often with your kids.

Resources for mindfulness and self-compassion practices:

Mindful Self-compassion Training

The Centre for Mindfulness Studies

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