Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Matters
I am thrilled to announce that my first book, Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Focused on What Really Matters, is now available in bookstores and on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Parallax Press, and Powell’s.
Advance praise for Parenting in the Present Moment is out, and it’s great! You can read it here.
Here’s a short excerpt:
Are mindful parents super calm and happy all the time?
Sure. Just call me the Dalai Mama.
Not really. The truth is that we all have our good moments and our not-so-good moments and our totally freak-out-and-lose-our-proverbial-shit moments, but the point of mindful parenting is to try to make those warm, connected interactions when we feel like we’re actually getting this parenting thing right more intentional and less accidental. The point is not that we always respond perfectly to our children, but that we keep trying. We keep coming back to the present moment, with kindness and acceptance, whenever we can. And when we fail, we do our best to be nice to ourselves about that, too.
Mindful parenting is about remembering to find our North Stars. For centuries, sailors have navigated the vast openness of the seas by finding the one star in the sky that doesn’t move. Even when everything in our lives feels out of balance and unpredictable, even when we have no idea what to do or how things are going to turn out, we can always come back to our North Stars. No matter how far we have strayed, we can, at any point, choose to take a moment to get quiet and orient ourselves back to what really matters. While the details might look different for everyone, the North Stars of mindful parenting are staying connected, staying grounded, and staying present.
Thinking about parenting as a North Star practice is also a way of letting go of the idea that we will ever achieve perfection. The Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh describes it perfectly when he says, “The problem is whether we are determined to go in the direction of compassion or not. If we are, then can we reduce the suffering to a minimum? If I lose my direction, I have to look for the North Star, and I go to the north. That does not mean I expect to arrive at the North Star. I just want to go in that direction.”
If a Zen master doesn’t think he will ever get to the North Star, maybe we don’t have to have to hold ourselves up to unachievable standards of perfect either. (If you still don’t believe me, remember the words of author, motivational speaker, and father of nine (!), Stephen Covey: “Good families, even great families, are off track 90% of the time. The key is that they have a sense of destination. They know what the “track” looks like and they keep coming back to it time and time again.”)
I’m going to say it again and again: mindful parenting—or whatever words you want to use to described connected and effective parenting—isn’t about whether or not or even how often we get it right. It’s about noticing when we have strayed, and getting reoriented to our North Stars, over and over again. In this book we will explore the North Stars of mindful parenting in depth, and I will offer you brief, simple, concrete North Star practices to help you get back on track for each of them.