Back on the Blog, This Time with a Book! (Well, Almost.)

It’s been about a month since I’ve posted on this blog, and while some of the reasons are fairly banal (random viruses, PIPMstrep, school vacations, etc.), the main reason I haven’t been writing as much here is because I’ve been putting the finishing touches on my book, Parenting in the Present Moment: How to Stay Connected, Sane, and Focused on What Really Matters. It will be published this fall by Parallax Press, and it’s available for pre-order now!

I’ve wanted to write a book since I was about 8 years old, but it wasn’t until I became a parent (and got totally lost along the way) that I came across the biggest challenge of my life, and the topic for my first book.

After my daughters were born, I became fascinated by the different theories about what really matters in raising healthy and resilient children. I read everything I could get my hands on, some of which made sense, and some of which was just plain nuts. The problem is that most of the parenting advice out there is about picking a shtick or a dogma and sticking to it no matter what (or at least beating ourselves up sufficiently when we don’t). This approach to parenting can actually be quite nice, as having a clear set of rules can help temper some of the chaos of raising children. That is, until the rules don’t work any more, because our schedule or lifestyle or our kid’s preferences or personality or our style or whatever has changed, and then we’re lost all over again.

That happened to me over and over again.

It wasn’t until I was able to get a little distance from the soul-crushing fatigue and mental fog of early motherhood that I was able to remember what my entire life and career as a clinical social worker have taught me: that attuned, responsive, and warm relationships are the key to our children’s mental and physical health, emotional resiliency, and ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships of their own.

There’s just one problem with this handy relationship plan: it’s damn hard, especially when it comes to our kids. It’s not that we don’t love them (of course we do), and it’s not that we’re not good parents (we are). It’s that staying connected to our children is the most challenging endeavor most of us will ever face, and most of us are trying to do it under less than ideal conditions; we’re tired and overwhelmed and flooded by advice that often isn’t helpful. In addition, children can be inconsistent, moody, needy, demanding, and unpredictable.

And, to be honest, so can I.

It wasn’t long before the stress of parenting turned me into a yeller. I wasn’t much of a yeller before I had kids, and even though I knew yelling was pretty common, I wasn’t comfortable with how often I was raising my voice at my daughters.

I delved back into the parenting literature, this time in search of a way to stop yelling. Everything I read pointed me towards mindfulness, and it wasn’t until I actually tried it that I realized I had finally found a path back to solid ground, a place and space to come back to, again and again, something I could rely on to help me navigate my way through the messiness and confusion of parenthood. (Which, for the record, is as much about figuring out how to quiet the crazy chattering monkey in my brain as it is about figuring out how to raise a decent human being.)

As you all may know by now, that place is the present moment, and mindful parenting is about coming back to it as often as possible. This is not a book about perfection (that would be awfully rich of me!). It’s not even about getting it right (whatever that means). It’s about noticing when we’ve gotten off course and getting ourselves back on track, over and over and over again (and hopefully keeping a healthy sense of humor about all of it as we bumble along). This book explores my journey through the confusion of parenting into the power of staying connected to our children, staying grounded in ourselves, and staying present for as much of it as possible. I’ll go into more detail about this new model of mindful parenting in the coming weeks and months.

Now that the book is mostly edited (fingers crossed!), I hope to come back to the blog much more often. In the meanwhile, I’d be most grateful if you would pre-order the book (details are available on my website) or put it on your “to-read” list on GoodReads. More importantly, please send me your questions about mindful parenting, mindless parenting, or whatever else is on your mind!

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Shared by: Carla Naumburg, Ph.D, Contributing Blogger

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