Updated: Jun 16, 2020
A few years ago at the end of a meditation workshop, I invited the students to share their experiences. One of the students - a mother of 3 kids and a VP of a company with a busy life shared, “This program helped me be a better mom. I feel I can be a better mom to my kids.”
To me, that was a bit of a surprise. She was a good mom, I thought. Her kids were so put together, well behaved, brilliant. She herself was so involved in their lives. Besides her work and family, she was also highly involved in the community.
I dug a little deeper. “How do you mean?” I asked.
She replied, “Now I can take care of myself, and that will help me take care of them.”
A simple but deeply perceptive realization. As a pediatrician, I have seen a person’s whole world shift when they become a parent. It is no longer about them. It is all about the child. An unconditional love, relentless care, and protection poured out of them for their child.
And yet, I've also seen the detrimental impact a parent's mental state has on the child’s physical and mental well being. A parent may be too busy or stressed to make a beneficial shift (like switching from sugary juice to water in the sippy cup as a way to avoid hyperactivity), but instead may want a quick fix (like medication). Or so often with children with depression and mental illnesses, the root cause lies in the home dynamics.
While many parents focus unwaveringly on the child’s health & development, they often don't pay as much attention to their own mental well being. But your mental state as a parent, plays a bigger role in your child’s development than you imagine.
Learn about Parent half hour: Finding calm in chaos
Pulling back to give more
James Baldwin said, "Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them."
Have you seen those cute videos of young kids talking like grown ups on the phone or scolding their elders? Wonder where did they learn that from? From the adults around them of course.
A parent’s state of mind and behavior have a remarkable impact on the child. Children pick up subtle cues from people around them.
A child does not grow up in a vacuum, but rather in an environment consisting of family, school, social groups. You, as a parent are an essential part of that ecosystem.
Children will learn a lot from you - communication, understanding and trusting the people around them, coping skills, behaviors under stress etc.
So while you as a parent, focus on providing the best nutrition, education, development to your child, I encourage you to also focus on taking care of yourself.
I know it can be hard.
There are infinite demands on your time.
But nevertheless, take the time to invigorate & nurture yourself. Consider it a part of your parenting responsibility.
By doing this, you can show up with more joy, love and patience for your family.
Sometimes as a parent, you need to have difficult conversations with your child. You may be perturbed yourself. You need to navigate your emotions, as well as educate and help your child process what they are going through.
Do you see why it becomes even more critical to take care of yourself at that time?
Take some time to take care of your mental health. Not just through sleeping or resting - although there is nothing wrong with that - but go a little deeper to really clear the mind and cherish your spirit.
Meditation can help you tap into your inner resilience and strength.
A simple and effective way to do that would be to join the Parent Half Hour: Finding calm in chaos. It's a special workshop designed for busy parents like you to squeeze in me-time and self care.
You will learn effortless breathwork techniques, and experience a restful meditation. It's the perfect downtime your mind and body need.
Being a parent is precious. It's most rewarding when both the parent and the child are happy, healthy and well.
I wish for each parent to enjoy this experience enormously, and be present for each moment of it. I am here to support you as you move through your journey of parenting and raising your kids - the future of humanity.
See you online.