This morning was one of those mornings where it felt like I was never going to get my kids out the door. I felt trapped in a vicious cycle of ‘Brush your teeth! Put on your shoes! Did you brush your teeth? Where are your shoes?’. As a busy family, this is a pretty typical morning scene that can include a bit of anxiety, but all generally fine. Today, for whatever unknown reason, I lost my focus and let impatience and frustration take hold of me. Even as a mom who tries to support mindful living in my family, I certainly don’t always get it right.
After I had calmed down and my son and I were on the way to school, he pointed out that a mom with a mindfulness app should be more ‘mindful’. Since I was more relaxed by then I found this observation highly amusing. I said that I am not perfect, but I am usually trying my best. He then thoughtfully stated:
‘Practice makes perfect’.
Many of us often use a version of this popular phrase with ourselves and our kids. Practicing can help us play a musical instrument flawlessly, win a sports game or get full marks in a school exam. We practice for the end goal of perfection. My son's comment was perceptive and inspiring, and he was certainly on the right track with making sure that we keep practicing for positive results.
But can we really achieve perfection in our mindfulness journeys? And is perfection what we are trying to achieve?
When we practice mindfulness activities, including yoga, meditation, gratitude journaling and feelings check-ins as we do in the myKinCloud app, we increase our chances of living more mindfully, or becoming more connected with the present moment with a non-judgmental outlook on what we are feeling. These clear, present moments might be the 'perfection' we are trying to achieve, but unlike an error-free exam score, there is no obvious definition of what a perfect mindful moment is. Not only do we not really achieve perfection in mindfulness, that is not even the goal. A mindful journey includes practicing daily habits that help us live a life of constant present moments. As humans we cannot achieve these mindful moments 100% of the time, but we can keep practicing. Perhaps we should take ‘perfect’ out of the equation. How about:
Practice. And keep practicing.
Any stories to share from your mindful parenting journey? Or not-so-mindful journey?