this is not about perfection

Recently, I wrote that parenting is a practice that asks us to move with grace between our needs and our children’s needs, a journey of growth if we let it be.  (If you didn’t read the post, you can find it here.)

I love thinking about parenting in this way, because it takes the pressure off. It allows us to be human and to feel connected with other parents who are on the same journey.

And so, I’ve continued to refine the idea.  Here’s what I have to add today… parenting is a meditation.

If you've hung around here at all, you know that I strongly encourage every parent to create some kind of self-care practice, with meditation high on the list of recommended practices.

Yesterday, I was talking with a friend about this metaphor, only she doesn’t meditate and so she didn’t follow. Maybe you do meditate, and you know exactly what I mean. If not, I’d like to share with you what I shared with her.

People often think that meditation means to sit quietly with a completely blank mind for as long as possible, as if there is a ‘goal’. I believed this for a long time too, even when I had begun meditating. But what I finally began to understand is that meditation is the practice. That is to say, meditation is the process of sitting with quiet mind, getting off track, noticing you’re off track, and coming back to quiet mind.  It is this, over and over again.

And so it is with parenting. When I say parenting is a practice… yes, to some extent I mean that it is a learning process and that if we practice it improves with time… but the deeper truth of what I mean is this: it is the process of finding your calm center while parenting, getting off track, noticing you’re off track, and coming back to center. It is this, over and over again

Parenting is a meditation ~ tweet that!

I bring this up because when I was talking with my friend yesterday, she said to me: “I’ll bet you’re calm with your kids all the time, right?”  Oh my goodness, no ~ I am not. I get frustrated, angry, and off balance.  This is why I have such compassion for parents, for all of us. We just want to love our children, to do our best for them. And we are human. We are not perfect. 

My wish is for us ~ all parents ~ to learn to forgive ourselves when we find ourselves off the path. When we do, we can get back onto it that much quicker ;)

Love and compassion,