With a thousand and one parenting podcasts, books and websites telling us how to be a super-mum, manage every behaviour, cook each night’s dinner like a Michelin chef whilst balancing work and home like a plate-juggler, sometimes I even wince myself when I say that I’m a parenting blogger.
There is certainly no harm in seeking out the life-hacks specific to families and using them at will. I do it, and I love reading a good parenting book or listening to a great podcast. You will find recipes here on this site even. (I hope you like them!)
In truth though, I am far more drawn to versions of these that support a slower and gentler, or somewhat deeper approach to the whole way that we raise families. I’m a holistic thinker, and in turn, I need holistic approaches to the way I’m interacting with my family.
It is a very personal process of baby steps, of becoming and approaching rather than ‘achieving’ a level of some kind. Every day we do a little bit more ‘work in the garden’ of our selves and our families and hopefully over time we slowly and lovingly and gently have more positive impacts. There is no shortcut, or simple answer, just a continuing conscious intention.
If you are here, and if you are reading this (as a parent or non-parent) then I applaud you! If one in ten of us begin to take responsibility for the matrix between our inner and outer worlds, I truly believe we will transform our future in the most magnificent of ways.
If you are grateful at any given moment, then you cannot be resentful, angry or enraged. If you are contemplative and reflective for even a few moments a day, then you are moving in the direction of self-awareness. A two-minute daily meditation will benefit your mind, body and soul. It doesn’t matter if it’s not the perfect life of a zen-master, it matters if you are making that move towards a life of inner peace at all, in ANY way.
By all means, if you feel drawn to go for that more demanding and more profound inner transformation, go for it – of course. However, if you only have a minute, then take just a minute to go within. It will still help. It will still bring you closer to a sense of consciousness and awareness that will only serve you.
There is so much research now bearing out on the role of trauma in our development as humans. Dr Gabor Mate is one practitioner who espouses the idea that newborns and young children need only two things to avoid trauma in their early years – attachment (preferably to one main carer, often a mum) and authenticity (to be able to be themselves in an uninhibited way). And yet a lot of our modern setups do not allow these. If you need to go back to work, or you are a single parent and you cannot afford to stay with your baby, or potentially any one of a multitude of very real constraints, it is not always possible for these requirements to be met directly. This does not mean that trauma will occur, it means we can still approach our role as parents with these imperatives in mind.
I hope that by taking moments to heal ourselves of our own traumas we are able to be more present to the needs of our families and loved ones. Charity begins at home, as they say. And by charity, I mean healing. Small intentions, momentary considerations, thoughtful reflections: these all add up.
Yes, we will certainly make mistakes. But as the best learners know, this is the only way we can improve. As with education, so with consciousness. We weedle our way through the quagmire of our minds, hearts and souls to a clearer idea of who we are. From this place we can only be more available to be there for others. And after all, any yogi will tell you that’s what really matters, to serve others selflessly, egos aside.
When you think of your favourite aunt or uncle, you don’t necessarily remember what they said, or the gift they gave you for your 14th birthday (well you might, but it’s unlikely to be the most important thing). You will probably remember the feeling of being around them.
This speaks to the fact that ultimately how people feel around us is likely to be our true legacy.