The Mindful Pause…

Being a ‘Mindful’ parent takes practice.  The concept of being mindful has become more and more popular with different theories and practices being written and talked about almost daily.  Quotes clutter our newsfeeds on Facebook and Twitter, all reminding us of what is really important and helping us to keep perspective in our busy lives.  So many of our kids are over scheduled and that keeps us parents over scheduled too.  We are too busy to be mindful.  We all just react.  We react to the craziness of our lives and to the constant pressures of raising a family and making ends meet.  So today I want to introduce my latest concept called the ‘pause’ – the moment in which you can decide how you want to respond to any given situation.  You really only get a millisecond and once it is gone, it is gone.  So I started to keep this idea of ‘pausing’ at the top of my mind and planned on practicing it with my own kids.  Overall I would say I am patient with my kids, however I too am human and can overreact.  So I was hoping that with this pause I could keep perspective on those days where my patience was thin.  So here goes it… the Friday night pause:

My husband was out of town for a few days and I was running the ship solo.  I had dreamed up the perfect Friday evening with the boys and I was actually really looking forward to it.  It had been a long day which included a visit from the Pest Control guy, so my nerves were already slightly shot and a smooth predictable evening was just what I needed.  The plan was to come home from school and play some monopoly on the family room floor, make an easy healthy dinner, ride our bikes to the twins batting practice, play at the park with the little one, ride home, bath/showers, jammies, bed, order sushi, open wine and have my three favourite moms over to enjoy it with me.  If only life went according to plan.

Here’s what really happened:

  • We all played monopoly and we totally lost track of time. Pause.  Slapped peanut butter and honey on bagels. Not healthy – but it will do.
  • Found out my bike tires were flat. Pause.  I’ll walk, they can ride.
  • Kai, my youngest, wants to ride his old bike – the entire reason for biking was      for him to ride his new bike. Pause.  No biggie – ride your old bike.
  • Half a block away Kai decides he wants his new bike – Pause. We are only half a block away.  I can safely get the twins across the busy street and they can ride the rest of the way on their own.  The Coach can send me a text when they arrive. (At this point I start to have an internal dialogue with myself that is quite opposite to the Pause – but I will spare you the details and leave it to your imagination)
  • I realize that I have left the house a slight mess from the quick dinner and because we biked we will be getting home with little time to spare before the Sushi and the moms arrive. Pause. I can quickly clean while the boys shower and get in their jammies.
  • On the way home one of the twins decides to be the parent and he yells at Kai in a way that makes my blood boil. Pause.  I firmly, but patiently ask him to find      another way to communicate his words to his little brother.
  • Just before we get home from batting practice one of the twins realizes that he      lost his baseball glove somewhere along the way. Pause.  I put all the bikes away and I put all three children in the car to go and look for the glove.
  • Time is no longer on my side. Pause.  It’s just my mom friends.  They will understand if my house is a mess and my kids are not in bed yet.
  • Just as we are driving along the same path that we biked we see a lady pick up      what looks like a brand new, well labeled, baseball glove and throw it into a 10 foot construction dumpster.  PAUSE.  PAUSE. PAUSE.

I have been so good, so patient on the inside, and the out, but I don’t have any pause left in me.  I am just fresh out of pauses.  I lose it.  This poor woman who can barely speak English watches me as I come undone.  I completely unpaused and went into this soliloquy of how I have people coming for dinner and my house is a mess and my kids are dirty and need showers and baths and I am hungry and tired, not to mention unwanted creatures in our home and all I want is a Friday night drink and for the life of me I cannot even begin to fathom why on earth you would throw a brand new, well labeled baseball glove that you found three blocks from the ballpark into a construction dumpster.  I demand that she get in the dumpster and get the glove, however, in my coming undone I realize that this request will be as likely to happen as I am to successfully get my kids to flush a toilet.  In my unpause I now find myself climbing into a ten foot dumpster in my flip flops all the while wondering how in the world I was going to get out.  There was a ladder on the outside, but not on the in, but I am so busy ranting away that I cannot even think about what I am going to do once I’m in.  Still carrying on in a pointless way as I am sure she cannot understand a single word I am saying. I retrieve the glove and begin to pile up scrap pieces of lumber in order to save myself a humiliating rescue.  I crawl out, dust myself off and drive off with what dignity I had left – none!  This goes on the list of ‘things you never thought you would do.’  So there you have it.  My attempt at the Pause.  Not bad. Not Great.  Yet a very human, compassionate, conscious and mindful experience of finding that moment in which we can decide how we want to respond to our children and the world around us.  I invite you all to try the pause and to share your experiences – both your triumphs and your ‘wish we could redo’ attempts.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

Lao Tzu