How to find Meditation Time as a Parent

When my oldest daughter J, was four, I moved back with my mom so I could finish school.  During this time in my life, I was severely stressed and depressed.  I started seeing a wonderful therapist, who introduced me to meditation.  At that point, I didn’t know much about meditation and I thought it was something really complicated and hard to do.  I thought there would be all of these steps to proper meditation. 

I was surprised when she just had me simply follow my breath.  Just breathing in and out?  I could totally do that.  So I started practicing daily.  As I got better at keeping my mind still while meditating, I noticed a shift in my mood.  For almost a year I meditated daily and sometimes twice daily.  I eventually was able to get off antidepressants and meditating became a big part of my world. 

When I graduated from school and didn’t have 2 hours of downtime between work and school, life got busy and meditating got put away.  It has been a little over a year and a half since I graduated from massage school.  I had noticed that I was getting angry more often and being short-tempered with those around me.  I have been trying to get back on the wagon, but it is hard to find uninterrupted alone time when you have two children.  I can’t imagine doing it when you have more than that! 

I ran across an article yesterday that got me to thinking.  So what, I can’t always get alone in the quiet to meditate, I can make my whole day a meditation if I want. I can focus on my breathing, both the in and out breath while I focus on my family.  I can be present when demands are made of me.  I can breath while holding a smile.  I can be aware.  I can bring my attention back to my breathing when I realize my mind is running away with me.  When I feel angry and frustrated, I can breathe and focus on being compassionate.  Then my family will benefit directly from my practice. 

I tried this yesterday and right before I tucked my oldest daughter into bed, she said, “Mom you were really happy and laughing a lot today.” 

That made my heart smile.  I just tried to focus on my breathing and maintaining a smile and she noticed it.  I didn’t point out what I was doing or make a fuss about it, and she noticed a difference in me. 

What about you?  How can you incorporate whole-day meditation?  How do you think that your family will benefit?  I intend to keep testing it out and see what happens.  I believe that having meditation time by yourself is important to, but when you can’t get away, meditate with your family.

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