This post was originally posted on 7/21/09 as my second ever blog post. Over a year later, being a mindful parent/wife is something I still work hard on practicing every day. I just thought I would re-share :)
"Stopping, calming, and resting are preconditions for healing. If we cannot stop, the course of our destruction will just continue. The world needs healing. Individuals, communities, and nations need healing"
- Thich Nhat Hanh, "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching"
When my husband and I decided that we could make it work financially if I didn't go back to work after the birth of our second child, I was ecstatic. I had enough with retail management and the hours and customers that came along with it. I would now be spending my days blissfully with the kiddos and getting all the stuff done around the house that I had wanted to do for years. After managing up to 10 employees, how hard could a 2 year old and a baby be? Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking. I learned pretty quickly that I might have a day of bliss (if the kiddos are in the mood), the house projects will not get touched (unless the kiddos decide to nap at the same time, or fall asleep before 10pm) and managing 10 employees is WAY easier then managing a 2 year old and a baby.
I also learned a lot about myself.
After 2 months of being a stay at home mom I hit a rut. I was feeling disconnected. My son, who had just turned 2, was bringing out feelings of frustration and helplessness in me with his tantrums. These feelings were so strong they physically drained me. Things between my husband and I were not good either. We couldn't even have a conversation with out arguing. This was also affecting our 2 year old, and looking back now, probably where his tantrums were coming from. I was at my wits end with everything and everyone.
Then one evening I attended a meditation group introduced to me by a friend. This meeting consisted of Qi Gong, sitting meditation, walking meditation, sitting meditation and a discussion of a chapter of the book "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" by Thich Nhat Hanh, which the group was reading. Suddenly everything clicked. To be the mom and wife that I need to be, I first need to heal myself. I need to recognize within myself when these feelings of frustration, helplessness, and defensiveness arise and be mindful how I handle them. My reaction affects everyone else. How can I teach my children how to be patient and how to calm themselves if I can't do it myself?
Stopping, Calming, Resting, Healing have become my words to live by. It didn't take long for me to realize that 99% of the time the arguments with my hubby were started by me as a result of my frustrations. It didn't take long for me to see that by stopping and being mindful in how to react to my son's tantrums, I could help him better manage his feelings, instead of causing him to react to mine. Everyday is a learning experience.
"Mindfulness is the energy that allows us to recognize out habit energy and prevent it from dominating us." - Thich Nhat Hanh
Visit Plum Village for more information on Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhism and Meditation.
The link is under "Favorite Links" on the right.