So, I’m passionate about parenting. Why am I so passionate about it? One of the reasons is that it helps me to find joy and connection. Aren’t there any struggles in my days? Aren’t there any challenges or frustrations? Yes there are. I know very well that feeling that bubbles up, that impatience that fuels my frustration.
That is, until I shift my mindset and take the moment not as an obstacle which has to be overcome, but rather as an opportunity for me to practice and learn. To learn new skills, to practice old skills, wether they’re related to parenting or not.
So instead of trying to get this frustrating moment over with and go as fast as I can, to tie the knot a little bit tighter, to reach for another place in time and eventually feel more frustrated and end up with a highly frustrated child as well, I do a counter-intuitive thing: I stop and I dive into this moment. I stop running away from it.
And this changes my whole perspective, because I’m not so much busy getting from one place to another and getting my child from one place to another, never being just where we are, but instead, I stop the treadmill and I’m shifting to the moment itself. I take a break and I wonder what goes on in me, I wonder what goes on in my child, I wonder what opportunities this situation is bringing me for healing and learning. And the struggle vanishes.
I experience, I wonder and then new ways of looking at it evolve, new solutions come to mind. I no longer feel frustrated or stuck or wanting to get over with it. That’s when I start to value the moment and find that it is filled with little drops of joy. And I see those pearls and learn or practice things myself, I gain new insights, which I would have all missed when I would have wanted to get it over with.
To give an example, the other day, after dinner my son wanted to do the dishes with me. He is 2.5 so doing it together, would have certainly slowed it down, I thought and I really wanted to move on to get him into bed. The idea of him splashing water all over and me having more to clean didn’t seem attractive at that moment. I had to keep things from breaking. I pondered about redirecting him to a toy, so I could finish the dishes faster and we could do something fun.
But then I paused. I looked what was going on for me. I wanted him to get to bed, because I was tired and needed some downtime. Then I looked at him: I saw his face, filled with joy and curiosity and willingness to learn this new skill. And then I saw myself in a couple of years, dragging him back from that toy I distracted him with, begging or yelling if he would please please help me. I realized, that I wanted to keep that joy alive in him, that curiosity for learning this skill, new skills, that enthusiasm for streaming water out of a tap and second.
So I let him play with me. He had his own sponge and I gave him something to clean. I gently told him it had to stay in the sink, showing him that I was keeping things in the sink as well. It didn’t always happen, because sometimes he was so busy cleaning that he forgot what I had said and I had to remind him again.
Oh boy, and was he happy cleaning! Standing there, next to me. And guess what? Actually, I was able to do my dishes pretty fast. But instead of being hurried up, trapped in my own mind with the thoughts of the day, I now felt a deep sense of connection and joy, standing there together at the sink, while he was mumbling about cleaning dishes and cups, sometimes discussing wether I or he should have that dish.
He was there enjoying the dishes. So I smiled. I felt relieved and happy that I hadn’t taught him it was something unenjoyable, something to get over with fast. Instead, he experienced what he expected: doing dishes is something fun, learning is fun, helping out is fun. And I saw again, that it was just for me to keep his inner drive to help and learn alive by support, instead of by coercion.
I was happy I didn’t miss out on this moment. I realized that I felt so rich instead of feeling frustrated and hurried. There I had my moment of downtime! He had given me an opportunity for experiencing all this joy and on top of it he had given me another practice in enjoying the moment, to live it, instead of rushing over it.
How about your struggles? Do you ever rush over? Do you ever stop? I’d love to hear from you! Please comment below!
Hi! I'm Chris Muller, MSc, BTA, and I'm a passionate psychologist, counsellor in Transactional Analysis and Aware Parenting Instructor level 2 in Amsterdam. I offer Aware Parenting Workshops and 1-on-1 coaching and guidance (In my practice and through video-calls). It's my passion to support you to have joy, understanding and connection with your child and with yourself! Xx Would you like to receive my Free Book Guide?
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Hi! I'm Chris Muller, MSc, BTA, and I'm a passionate psychologist, counsellor in Transactional Analysis and Aware Parenting Instructor level 2 in Amsterdam. I offer Aware Parenting Workshops and 1-on-1 coaching and guidance (In my practice and through video-calls). It's my passion to support you to have joy, understanding and connection with your child and with yourself! Xx
Would you like to receive my Free Book Guide?