How to be a more Zen parent
Perfect parenting is a myth of course. But most of us would love to aim for a slightly less shouty, more calm, more in control version of our parenting lives – in a word, something more zen!
Here’s our Neo tongue-in-cheek guide to achieving more zen in your life as a parent.
1. Swap kids
Isn’t it true how your kids are always on best behaviour when they are with another kid’s parents? Well why not benefit from being the recipient of all those willingly given pleases and thank yous! Find another parent with kids of a similar age and simply trade kids. While the impact may not be long lasting, you may get at least a few days of all vegetables eaten without fuss, of strangers smiling at your oh-so-polite little (borrowed) cherubs, and of never having to yell to get every.little.thing.done.
2. Filter your news
Step away from the tabloid press. That way only lies trouble and tears, with stories to torment you over everything you are doing – and not doing – as a parent. If they can’t decide if wine is good for us or not – and it is, for the record #wehope – then why leave it up to “them” to tell us what’s right and wrong as parents.
Instead, set up free Google Alerts so that your filtered news is sent straight to you by email. There is so much information out there, why not use it to your advantage. Search for terms that will not make you feel judged or inadequate. We suggest you receive articles and research on these topics: “screen time good for toddlers”, “fussy eaters become the best eaters in later life”, “children who grow up in untidy houses are happier”. But you can be as creative as you like.
Then quote the latest scientific research to your smug friend who boasts loudly that her child “only has 10 minutes of screen time a day, and only from carefully chosen educational screenings like wildlife documentaries”.
3. Tune out
Sometimes do you just long for a bit of peace and quiet as you go about your day? With children in the house, why does everyone have to yell, and why does no one actually listen to you? Well, here’s a little tip to help you glide through your morning rush hour in a calm little bubble – all the noisy cares and stresses will simply disappear like magic.
Like when you turn down the annoying sound of football on TV (you know, that constant unrelaxing noisy drone), when you turn down the sound track to your morning, you’ll find the impact is lessened considerably.
Here’s how to do it. When you wake up in the morning, put in some foam earplugs. It’s that simple. And don’t take them out until you are in a child-free environment. Smile serenely, nod regularly, and hope they aren’t asking for chocolate cake for breakfast or to play with the matches. Easy peasy.
Hopefully you can now breathe deeply and calmly float through your parenting life.
But, just in case you think you might miss your own kids too much, or if the alerts just aren’t popping up for “research shows all mums should have regular spa visits”, then stay tuned to our Part 2 of this series – where we will share tips from our experts on achieving more Zen in the real world.