Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Your Parenting Brain: Mushy or Mighty?


Well, it’s probably no surprise to many of you that I’m finally blogging again on New Year’s Day, or, as I like to call it, “The Day of Best Intentions.”  Yesterday, when I wrote up my list of resolutions, one was to blog weekly.  The other was to start cleaning my house again.  So it only makes sense to blog about the epic failure of my great decluttering project.  (If you’re new to the blog, read a few earlier posts or trust that, in spite of my enthusiasm, I abandoned my decluttering after just a few rooms). 

Way back when I was single, I spent weeks thinking about my New Year's resolutions.  My focus was on living my best possible life: Being kinder, ending bad habits, challenging my fears, and taking risks.  Nowadays, I don't spend much time thinking about my better self.  My brain is just slightly more productive than oatmeal.  I can’t think deep thoughts anymore.  (This is my mind on parenthood.)  Not to fear, though!  I know it will pass as my kids move out of toddlerdom.  So one of my resolutions this year is to simply get a toehold into the mountain than used to be my mind.  

I began by downloading podcasts by Krista Tippet, who does the "On Being" radio show on American Public Radio.  She’s who I have to thank for realizing my brain was mush.  I listened to one of her shows back when my kids were six and twenty-three months, and I could barely follow her conversation.  My first podcast of 2013 was her interview with Jon Kabet-Zinn.  They were talking about being in the moment, Budhism, and other stuff.  Kabet-Zinn equated parenting with living in a very rigorous monastery, where “little live-in Zen Masters…are parachuted into our lives” to push all our buttons and see how we handle it.  Those Zen Masters are, of course, our children.  Which made me realize that even though I may not think big thoughts lately, I’m actually in the perfect place to challenge my mind and grow as a human being.   

I don’t have the freedom to spend an afternoon hiking in the Sandia mountains or reading a novel or sitting in my living room watching the sunlight move across the floor.  But I can develop in other ways.  Like channeling inner peace in the face of fussy eaters, bickering, and mind-numbing, repetitive tasks.  Even doing something small, like cleaning the house for fifteen minutes a day, contributes to my well-being and mental dexterity.

So my next blog will begin at where I am in this moment:  Next week, let’s talk about house cleaning! 

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