Most people who take time to journal, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes to start or conclude their day, go on about how amazing and therapeutic it is. I won’t do that. But it is. Reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron convinced me that journaling as a daily practice creates wonders. It allows us to observe all those repetitive thoughts, actions that we keep postponing for too long, situations that no longer serve us. However, journaling doesn’t have to be reserved for dealing with hardships only. I often use writing time to play with affirmations, or to list thoughts that feel really good in that moment. Another one of my favourite journaling practices is self-soothing. I take a negative aspect or situation swirling around in my mind and write about it in a way I would soothe my best friend going through it, except that I write in first person. “I am doing the best I can” – “I am where I am” – “This is working out for the best”. Mastery of self-soothing means we become less critical of ourselves as parents as well as towards our partners or children.
Nurture the you beyond the parent
It might sound strange but one of the fastest routes to feeling at ease and content as a parent is making time and space to nurture all those yearnings outside of our parenting role. So find even the smallest ways to play with, create or express what wants to come out. It’s not your job to judge the quality of the outcome – just do it for the pure fun of the process. Do your thing – you know what your thing is! Mine at the moment are making paper collages and going out into nature with a witchy friend to have magical conversations over many cups of tea.
Make space for deep connections
Becoming a parent profoundly changes us and our relationships with others. But sometimes holding onto happy memories can get in the way of creating new ones right where we are. So instead of longing for what was, the trick is to focus on everything we enjoy about the new way we relate (something that I often need to remind myself of). The other evening instead of watching TV my husband and I played one of the Q&A games for couples. It ended up being such a giggly night, and I found myself thinking about how he still smiles exactly the same way as he did on the day we met seven years ago. Whether it is a date at home with the partner, a long heart-felt call with a close family member or meeting up in a café with an old friend, nurturing these connections helps us maintain the feeling of our village – that we belong, are supported and not alone in this journey of parenting.
Whether it is a date at home with the partner, a long heart-felt call with a close family member or meeting up in a café with an old friend, nurturing these connections helps us maintain the feeling of our village – that we belong, are supported and not alone in this journey of parenting.
Make time to forget about time
One of the reasons why we often find ourselves tense around kids is their complete “oblivion” to time. The less time we have before the next agenda point on our to-do list the more likely it is that this will be the precise moment they decide to turn into a snail. Yep, literally, on her stomach slowly slithering through the kitchen floor. And while we may not be able to cancel our adult lives completely, making time to join kids in their world, to slow down to their rhythm transforms how we relate to them, their experiences and feelings. So let’s take a moment to just quietly observe, to be curious about the 174th helicopter of the day passing by (I swear, there is always one just above our house!), or stoop down to check out that ant family.
Fast-forward the difficult times
Of course, there are times when tapping into ease is just… not easy. Big upset feelings, nights of fever, worries and fears about the future. My ritual in these moments is that whenever I catch a fearful thought related to the present situation, I immediately reach for an imaginary future scenario. It’s a detailed vision of all of us around a big table having a family meal together – my daughter is in her mid-twenties and is laughing her head off, she is glowing with wellbeing and contentment. Somehow replacing my fearful thought with this image always brings a moment of ease and hope that we will get through.
Revel in easy moments
And then there are all those parenting moments that are SO absolutely easy, delightful, delicious, hilarious – everything that warms our hearts and makes our souls sing with happiness. Knee-height hugs, random kisses, tiny hands to hold, hilarious made-up songs, pillow talk, beaming with pride about their achievements and ours as parents. Milk them for all their worth! Revel in these moments, soak them up, enjoy them, pat yourself on the shoulder, high-five about them. This is the obvious evidence – there are so many moments of ease and flow in being a parent.
A friend of mine once quoted to me some guru about how having children is one of the most advanced spiritual routes towards enlightenment. The guru was probably right, and I am not saying its always easy being a parent. Simply, that to experience more ease, we have to become keener observers of its many forms. To make the decision to create it. To remember to tune into its clues. That, and in my case, to always get the WHITE spoon with the pumpkin soup!
Originally published HERE.
Asta Rudzinskaite is a mom and blogger from Lithuania, now living in Spain with her husband and daughter. Before the birth of her daughter, she studied and worked in the field of international development, but has since been promoted to being a full-time mom. She shares her reflections on gentle parenting and life with a touch of magic in her blog Wildish Wonder, Facebook page and Instagram.