Mindful Parenting in Modern Times
What does a parent’s day look like in Modern times? It looks to me like a whole lot of running.
Let’s walk through my day! I am constantly juggling my duties towards the kids, husband, family, friends, society, employees, house, work, and then some, on a very macro level. And this is quite regular – every family naturally demands this. So one would expect this to be seamless right?
Broadly we are in a good space. It’s the details that make the slope slippery.
The micro-management & paraphernalia around logistics, infrastructure, finance, administration, vocation, dietary concerns, fitness routines, social obligations, and inventories makes the day a series of small conquests to conquer. To an outsider, every mother may look like the quintessential American superwoman sporting the perfect Bob, a whip of butter on her apron, wearing the Stuart Weitzman stilettos. But, the story is a whole lot different. If you peek through a finer lens, you’re going to see a lot of cracks! Quite literally parents really stressing about holding their sh#* together.
In modern-day madness, parenting is challenging to begin with. It’s common to feel the anxiety and stress of being asked for, 24 hours a day. Children don’t understand downtime or rest-time! Research now says “Two-thirds of parents think their stress levels have no impact on their child. However, 86% of kids reported they were impacted by their parents’ stress levels.“
This really concerned me. Do we want our kids to point-blank ‘cut-copy-paste’ our stress-management techniques, our behaviours and reactions triggered by anxiety? Research points out that children model their parents’ behaviour, including reactions related to stress.
Thankfully, I discovered Ayurveda before I had my kids. Ayurveda sports a tight funnel on pouring ‘elixir’ through your life and seeping the nourishment and freshness, a lot more later until the very end. We have daily rituals termed ‘Dinacharya’ that prevent the family from skiing too far away from the centre.
In the parlance of Ayurveda, mindful parenting is grounding rituals that are followed daily to overcome the anxieties of everyday life. Ayurveda equates to stress and anxiety as Vata imbalances. To combat Vata, which is cool, light and airy, we bring in the opposite, grounding and warm. Doesn’t that sound sort of… well, comforting?
Self-care remains the focus of mindful parenting. The family’s health and grounding activities remain the primary thread that binds the individuals together. It’s also the most important duty of the parents in the eyes of Ayurveda.
Some of the easy rituals we can follow in mindful parenting, on a daily basis, that doesn’t go much over modern-day living :
1. Waking up early with a modern-day affirmation like ‘I am strength’ or a small prayer as simple as ‘Om’. The tone we begin our day with dictates how we play it.
2. Moving on to your ablutions soon after. Ayurveda plays a real emphasis on gut health. Cleaning our intestines first thing in the morning is synonymous with a healthy mind and body.
3. Drinking warm water, rinsing the teeth, scraping the tongue. The trials and tribulations of adulterated food, water, air and stress produce intoxicants called AMA in the body. An easy way to abate them on a daily basis is to take care of our oral health holistically. Warm water is the kindest and gentlest way to awaken our digestion. Ayurveda emphasises the importance of strong digestion, more than the micromanagement of the actual food choices.
4. Lighting a lamp right before we head out to work and school. The light signifies knowledge and hope, and also empowers us to remain positive throughout our day.
5. Eating dinner family-style as much as we can on the floor (without the background noise of television etc). This invokes the grounding energy of the earth and tunes, kids, into their natural satiation signals.
6. Reading a book together right before we sleep. This ritual keeps the intellect of the family bright. Also helps the mind switch off from the occurrences of the day.
7. Saying a small prayer of thanks to our masters, parents, employees, and the resources that have made the day productive. The frequency of gratitude is 540 MHZ, which naturally elevates the mind. An elevated mind can look at situations from a fresh perspective, and move into calmer sleep.
8. Practising Abhyanga or self-massage on Sunday mornings. This greatly allows lymphatic drainage through the body, keeps the body lubricated and the immune system strong.
9. Working on one sustainable project at a time like recycling, tending plants, animals or caring for nature. This instils the need to preserve and sustain resources. Be less wasteful in times when Amazon is a click away.
10. Have a conversation every week discussing failures of the week. Celebrating them, cheering each other for the failures, empowering our kids to hold on tighter during the tough times. This keeps a sense of belongingness between the family. Especially at times when internal reflection is scarred and self-esteem is low. This naturally prepares parents and kids to move through harder times as a single unit and prevent toxic competitiveness.
From a modern perspective, I see how social media, consumerism, and peer pressure are changing the landscape of our future. The Dinacharya rituals of Ayurveda greatly allow us to slow down, and draw focus on what really matters in this fast-paced world of rushing, consuming and moving.
Ultimately, it’s the less, the few qualitative moments we share with our kids that matter the most, than definitely the most materialistic and grandiose of celebrations.
The goal of mindful parenting remains to keep the waterfall of communication flowing between family members, wherein the kids and parents loosen any barricades that are drawn out of insecurities, fears and anxiety. The idea is to shatter facades and the need for false images with the aim of taking pressure off kids so that they can be the best versions of themselves and balanced individuals. A lot of mindfulness in parenting is to build slow habits of sharing moments together during our day and then making it a celebratory time collectively throughout our life.
That’s the goal of mindful parenting: Yes, remain one, celebrate the small and grow together.
– Written exclusively by https://yogawithanchal.com for ConsciousCo.in
Anchal heads a wellness organisation that propagates Yoga, Yoga Nidra, Ayurveda and other wellness modalities. Anchal believes this to be the space where all long-lasting healing takes place