Being in the Present
Mindful Moments in Parenting
Being mindful is really just about being present. Taking notice of your surroundings and paying attention to what is around you can help to seal in memories and bring a sense of being a part of something bigger. Mindfulness helps us to shift our view from the never ending internal dialogue, to the tangible world around us.
We live in the world, so why not take notice!
I wanted to include mindfulness moments as part of the KAZ project because I know, as a parent, I am often finding my mind somewhere else as I plan the next activity or meal or contemplate the different turns my life has taken while I stand in a park making sure no one falls off the play structure and breaks something. These mindful moments exercises come from my experiences as a mother, a midwife and a woman. I attended a mindfulness workshop when my daughter was 1 year old and the message of being present really resinated with me. Throughout my parenting journey I have many beautiful moments that I have sealed into my memories by taking a minute to really be where I am and so I wanted to share a few exercises with you. These are exercises that I have done, but the best way to practice mindfulness is to create your own that resonate with you and help you to be present in the moments that you think are important.
I encourage you to dive deeper if you are interested by checking out the work done by Nancy Bardacke through her book Mindful Birthing and her organization :
Take a moment and notice the feeling of your baby griping your hand. Notice the strength in the grip and the contrasting fragility of the little fingers. Notice how the sensation of your baby's hand in yours makes you feel. Holding hands shows intimacy and builds connection. The tiny grip on your finger may evoke a reminder of the great responsibility that comes with being parent or maybe a sense of pride in what you have created. Whatever you are feeling, let yourself notice all of the emotions that this touch enlightens and allow yourself to feel without judgement, without fear and without question. For this moment, just be.
Take a moment and hold your baby's feet in your hand. Notice the texture, the smell, the size, the temperature, the color. Look at each nail and notice how they curve or lay straight. Look at each toe and notice the length, the strength, how each one bends. How does their foot fit in you hand? Exactly what parts of your palm are filed by the sole of their foot. Can you trace the outline of their foot against you palm to set the memory of this moment when their foot fit so nicely in your hand?
Take a moment and watch your baby try to put a block in a hole or puzzle piece in its spot. Are you thinking "why is this so difficult?, just turn the piece 45 degrees and you are there..." Do you want to get the piece and show them how it is done? Give it a second... ok a minute... ok now they are eating it... this is ridiculous, just put the piece in the hole!
Pause, your baby was the size of a cumquat not that many months ago, they are not that far from the days of having a tail. now you want them to have a solid grasp on spacial realities. Notice how they move their hands, what senses are they using to explore the world? What techniques are they trying to get that piece in? How have their movements changed over the past few days?