What is Mindful Parenting?

When I was a newborn mother everything occurring in my life was a glaring example of how motherhood could be a spiritual practice. The focus, devotion, endurance, love, sleep deprivation, learning curve, uncertainty, intuition, and rapid development for both baby and mama all seemed to ignite this divine unfolding of my inner strength, wisdom and authenticity. Something radical was clearly going on, I was thrilled about it and so I made this site to muse on these happenings and to share the possibility that parenting and spiritual practice could be married with harmonious results.

Fast forward 20 months and the sense of newness has long since faded and I sit here in my life, a large part of which is being a mother. The act of parenting is so close to my center now it's very difficult to see the novelty in what I am cooking up in the realm of Mamacitta. Before I was joining two pieces of my life that had been disparate; my practice and then mothering. But now, those two are so integrated I struggle to see where one starts and the other joins in. This brings to mind something my teacher taught me: the third way. 

When you take two concepts and merge them they do not simply create a spectrum between those ideas, instead they birth a third way, which holds new meaning beyond the two original parts. So now that I am steeped in the startling, and sometimes tortuous, reality of parenting, "mindfulness" itself has taken on new meaning. In truth, for me, parenting mindfully looks like this: 

asking for help,

embracing routines and structure so that I have a sense of certainty and control amidst the chaos,

responding more than I react to situations arising in my world, 

going to counseling to confront and embrace the demons rising from the far reaches of my mind,

Making the time to take care of my personal needs (easier said than done!),

working deliberately to transform breakdowns into breakthroughs,

embracing the aspects of mothering I struggle with and making an explicit effort to work on (and even excel) in those areas,

staying present, especially in the beautiful moments,

and having gratitude for my son, my husband, and the lovely little life we do lead.

So really, it's become as simple as this to me. I am holding the clear intention to be an alchemist in my role as a mama, because I believe there is more latent potential in the act of parenting than has ever been acknowledged. Taking parenting as a mindfulness practice is my way to embrace the challenge and utilize the struggle in order to become the fullest expression of my richest potential, especially for my son's sake. In his honor.