I’ve been asked many times over the years about parenting, about how to juggle family, home responsibilities and outside work, about how to manage self-care when you’re already overwhelmed with taking care of the kids, what to do about moody teenagers, and more. Parenting is not easy! And that’s under normal circumstances.
I cannot imagine the stress parents have been under over the past 18 months. In addition to the anxiety most adults have had to deal with, parents have had concerns about their children’s safety, home schooling, remote learning, lack of socialization and extra-curricular activities, masks, vaccinations and the impact all of this has had and may still have on their offspring. I’ve mentioned before that I have been truly grateful my kids are grown because the amount of pressure on parents during this pandemic have been intense.
I’ve also observed however, that many parents found silver linings to all of this upheaval and enjoyed unexpected pleasures in being locked down with their children, appreciating newfound time together and exploring ways to communicate and entertain themselves.
Everyone’s circumstances are different of course, so there’s no way to know what exactly made the difference between those who struggled and those who embraced what has happened. But regardless of circumstances, there is one thing parents can do to improve their relationship with their kids while maintaining their own sense of well-being and that’s mindful parenting. We all make mistakes as parents and since I had never heard of mindfulness when I was raising mine, I made a lot of mistakes, believe me. Because I did not practice mindful parenting, I thought it would be best to find an expert to explain it.
Josephine Atluri is an expert in meditation and mindfulness, helping thousands of people overcome adversity to find joy. Her experience creating her modern-day family of seven children via in vitro fertilization, international adoption and surrogacy inspires her work as a highly sought-after fertility and parenting mindfulness coach. Josephine also hosts a popular podcast, “Responding to Life: Talking Health, Fertility and Parenthood.” Her new book, Mindfulness Journal for Parents: Prompts and Practices to Stay Calm, Present and Connected, helps parents use mindfulness to be more present and empathetic to their kids and themselves, and maintain their cool when chaos happens.
I appreciated that Josephine encourages us to create new mindful habits by attaching them to existing habits. Practice mindful breathing every time you brush your teeth. Practice gratitude every time you have a meal. By adding these techniques to existing habits, you’ll quickly develop these new habits without any difficulty and without taking up extra time.
You can learn more about Josephine’s work at www.jatluri.com. You’ll also find her Mindfulness Journal for Parents Companion Course at mindfulparentclass.com. Her new book, Mindfulness Journal for Parents, can be found on our book club page at work2liveproductions.com and you can view the full interview on our YouTube channel.
As Josephine mentioned, the first step to mindful parenting is simply being mindful. Stay aware and present in the moment to whatever you’re doing, be compassionate with yourself and others, and practice accepting life as it is, without judging it as good or bad. We can’t control what’s happening “out there,” but we can control our response to it. Responding from a place of calmness and clarity will definitely serve us and those around us. And that’s a definite move toward achieving total well-being.