I'm taking a six week Mindful Parenting course, and at Week 5 I feel.....
It wasn't my intention to sign up. I suggested it as a good thing to my husband (passive aggressive much?), and then he paid the discount-for-two price, so I got to eat my words!
He attended in autumn, and after spotting Week 1 notes stuck to the fridge I also noticed less yelling in the mornings. Hmmm, good so far. So when my course rolled around a few months later I was interested.
7.30pm Wednesday night, about 20 people gather to harness their mindful power. Coach Shirley Pastiroff eased us into it with nice meditative exercises and white board diagrams, and over the weeks her repetition on the essentials has helped embed them in our tired muddled brains.
Green brain state is what I've managed to take onboard. In essence, the idea is we can't calmly navigate the emotional minefield of parenting coming from a place of judgement, pre-conceived ideas and agenda. Red brain (excellent for emergency child saving situations) isn't helpful when a toddler wants to put their own socks on.
The tricky part for me initially was recognising orange brain (the goal achieving and task ticking self) not as the effective awesome person I try to be, but the pushy, distracted parent that kids don't want to fit in with.
This is just the iceberg tip. There is HEAPS more to it. Like the set phrases Shelley recommends we use when managing tricky emotions.
So when Miss Nearly-7 is whinging and I want to say "walk up the hill without crying like a baby!", I take a breath and say "sounds like you don't want to walk, and that makes complete sense because.... fill in blank". We still walk the hill, but her feelings get validated on the way.
It is mentally exhausting, don't get me wrong. At the end of the day I'm DONE with validating everyone else, but in my catatonic state I can still register the feeling of smug satisfaction that we got most things done without me cracking (ie screaming like a crazed cornered animal).
Big shout-out to Shirley (in the photo with me), Counsellor, Parenting coach and Mindfulness trainer from Renew your Mind who says it gets easier as green brain state becomes your everyday.
I'm looking forward to that reality!