Parenting with Intention
Recently, I've been inspired to be a better mom. During one meltdown with my son three weeks ago, I finally hit a tipping point. His aggression triggered aggression in me that I never want to see again. I can do better. Overtime, I lost my anchor, my intention to be a deeply attached, connected parent. I decided to recommit to preserving my relationship with my son, to parent from a place of love, respect, and kindness.
Pregnancy is the perfect time to dream about what kind of mother you'd like to be, and what kind of child you'd like to raise.
Reflecting on how you were raised can be a helpful way to think about parenting that you might like to carry on, or completely end. Without being very intentional about your parenting, you'd be surprised how much you'll parent just like your own parents did! I can personally speak to that.
Yes, the child that comes into your life will always surprise you, and parenting is not easy, but you can strive to stay true to the values and qualities you want to teach. Parenting is a spiritual practice. And it can also be a chore, full of reacting, and just surviving. You choose. Without being intentional, we lose sight of our deepest desires for our family and our children’s future.
The yogic philosophy of self-inquiry can be applied to parenthood. By analyzing our thoughts, actions, and feelings with our children with an observer/witness frame of mind, we can become clear on the roots of our behavior. Then, ask the question, “Am I in alignment with my true intentions as a mother?” By practicing self-inquiry we open ourselves up, and peel back what no longer works –or who we no longer are. We are in constant evolution. This is the journey. These are the precious lessons our children are here to teach us.
A few journaling questions are: What qualities would you most like your child to have? (For example: compassion, empathy, independent thinking) What values are currently most important in our family? And how was I raised? What qualities do I most appreciate from my parents, and which ones will I avoid for my own kids.
To learn more about this, check out the practical book Positive Parenting: An Essential Guide, and the more spiritual book Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting.