Non-striving is one of the 7 attitudes of Mindfulness but where does it fit into Mindful Parenting? When my children were smaller I remember thinking, “When they sleep through the night things will be better”, “If I was calmer, they would be calmer”, “I really want my boys to be friends”, “When I have my second child I’m going to make sure they eat better”, “I need to take them to music lessons so they get to be creative”, and so on and so on.
As Parents we are often striving for the next stage in our children’s lives thinking it will be better or easier, we are striving for a time when life will be calmer or striving for a holiday when we can spend more time as a family or striving for bedtime when we can sit alone without being touched or asked for something.
This constant striving is one of the reasons we miss being present, in the here and now with our child, meeting their needs, connecting to their feelings and being able to soothe them when they aren’t able to manage their emotions and ‘act out’. Striving is often why we miss out on joy in the ordinary moments, why we feel unfulfilled, desperate for a break, unable to stop and just be – instead signing up for every activity possible so that our children are constantly doing and then all of us feeling exhausted by the day.
When we can welcome non-striving into our lives we still have goals, and dreams and doing things but they come from being, from presence, from connection, from our authentic, imperfect selves and allow space for our children to be themselves too. When children play they don’t strive for anything – there is no goal, no outcome, no plan, no agenda and yet they still manage to learn, to develop, to build their brains and this doing comes from a place of being rather than a place of striving. It’s one of the reasons why play is so important to a child’s development and why nature intends for human children to spend a lot of time playing.
When we embrace mindfulness into our lives, we are able to parent from a place of being mindful rather than trying to do mindful and this is when we are really able to role model and teach our children in the most authentic, way – through our presence, in each moment.
I teach a Mindfulness Practice workshop for parents every month alongside the Mindful Parenting Workshops so you can learn and feel supported on your journey as a mum or dad. If you’d like to know more please visit my workshop page for details of my next series of Mindful Parenting workshops.