Bringing more awareness and less judgment to our everyday parenting decisions is the essence of mindful parenting.
But how, specifically?
Setting our intentions is a great way to start.
INTENTION: "An aim that guides action."
Here are some parenting intentions from the book “Everyday Blessings” by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn you might find helpful. (These have been paraphrased in the first person for better readability.)
Intention 1: See parenting as an intentional practice
I use parenting as an intentional practice, not just a role I happened to take on. Self-awareness, wisdom, and openheartedness are only some of the things I can cultivate through day-to-day interactions with my child.
Intention 2: Let my parenting bring out the best in me
Parenthood provides me with an infinite number of opportunities to work on myself. I use my parenting to bring forward what is deepest and best in me. I express these to the world through my children. (What if I fail? See Intention 6.)
Intention 3: Bring mindfulness into my daily life
Mindfulness is the awareness I create when I pay attention to the present moment, without judging it. I use my body awareness—and breath in particular—to bring me back to the present moment, especially when I'm with my children.
Intention 4: See and accept my children as they are
My expectations and fears do not define my children. I see them as they are. I accept them as they are. I support them in becoming the best version of themselves.
Intention 5: See things from my children’s point of view
I try to understand my children’s needs. I do my best to meet their needs but I also understand when they need to do things on their own. I give them the right to speak up for themselves, even if it means protesting the limits that I can't change.
Intention 6: Deepen my capacity for empathy and compassion
I work on increasing my capacity for empathy and compassion, first for myself and then for my children. If I fail in being my best at any time, I use my self-compassion.
Intention 7: Put these intentions into practice as best I can
I own these intentions. I commit to putting these to practice as best as I can. My intentions will let us—both me and my child—be our sovereign selves. I can revise my intentions anytime. There is no such thing as a perfect parent. Good enough is good enough.
Now it's your turn. Start with this list and then go ahead and create your own intentions! What are the aims that guide your parenting actions? Start by asking yourself the question, "Why did I become a parent?