I have been a parent now for over 26 years. Do I have all the answers? No. Have I learned from my mistakes and victories? Yes. Much of what I’ve learned around how to be a good parent is from working with parents over the last 20 years. I can definitively say that parenting is much, much more than knowing how to effectively discipline. What I didn’t know in the early years was the correlation between my state of mind and my children’s happiness.
I have raised 4 children; two of them step-children who lived with us most of the time. Except for ongoing part-time work, for the most part I was a stay-at-home mom. Although I’ve been blessed with a pretty easy going temperament, I noticed that some days I was less tolerant than other days and little things seemed to be bother me more. Was it my children’s behavior or was it something that was going on with me, that made the difference?
When my 2 youngest children were very young, I started attending an aerobics program at our local community centre, three times a week. Childcare was provided so it was perfect, and once they started school, I continued. I got to know a lot of the other young moms and we regularly met for coffee after the class. If you’ve ever read that exercising with a buddy is a great motivator, it’s absolutely true. Without fail, I showed up 3 times a week because I so looked forward to the social part after class. We all did. The combination of the exercise and meeting my social needs I know, without a doubt, made me a more patient and loving mother.
As my children got older and issues sometimes became more complicated in my life, I knew I needed something more. I decided to try yoga. It immediately gave me a greater sense of calm and better awareness of the mind/body connection. I loved the stretching and the feeling of deep relaxation. I have been doing yoga now for about 15 years and although I still cannot get my head to reach my knees when I do a forward bend, the benefits are immeasurable. I know it’s made me a better person. I’ve had many, many different instructors who in their own way, have taught me something valuable.
Almost daily, I get emails promoting all sorts of different programs and products related to parenting or coaching. Most don’t resonate with my general philosophy or my message but Yoga Parenting came across my desk recently and I knew for sure this was something I wanted to share with readers. The program reminds us that if we’re not calm and at peace, our kids can’t be either. I often tell my clients that those of us who are fortunate enough to raise children, are given an opportunity to become better people. We want to be positive role models and present the best of ourselves to the people we love the most. I speak from experience when I say that a regular yoga practice can help you become the calm, peaceful parent you want to be.