Over the years, studying parenting has been a hobby of mine. A strange hobby, I know. What’s stranger is that when I was single, in my early twenties – even in my late teens – I spent so much of my time studying parenting. I was fascinated by it. What made it work? What didn’t make it work. I worked in a pre-school setting starting in my late teens, and saw so many examples of loving, vested parents who just couldn’t seem to make it work with their kids. Other parents – working moms and stay-at-home moms alike – just seemed to be able to make it work. I looked for common denominators, talked to moms whose kids were thriving. I wanted to know all their secrets.
When I became a mom, at the age of 29, I had a really good foundation. Still, I worried all the time. I never slept (and not because my baby didn’t sleep – she slept through the night at 11 weeks old) but because I was obsessing about my day and if I was a good enough mom. I knew all too well that any mistakes I made would affect my child. I was determined not to make any. I was determined to be the best mom I possibly could be.
The obvious problem here was that I was stressed out. Strung out. Completely uptight. Never sleeping made me a miserable wife to my husband and caused our marriage to struggle. It took it’s toll. Not to mention the stress it put on my child. Thankfully, I had many wise and good mommy mentors and an exceedingly patient and supportive husband. One of the things that one very dear friend and veteran mom told me was “Don’t focus so much on doing all the right things. Focus on being in tune with your child. If you are in tune with what your child needs, you will be able to meet her needs.”
The advice I received from that very dear friend resonated with me. It stuck with me as I had my second child, who was extremely different from my first. It stuck with me as my first child received her diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. It sticks with me even now. You see, being a good mom isn’t as much about what you do, what parenting philosophy you subscribe to (even though I definitely have mine), how hard you work, if you are on the PTA or not, if you homeschool or not (I do not) – it’s about knowing your child – being a student of your child (as another dear friend and mentor put it) – and responding accordingly. In other words, you are “nurturing mindfully.”
Nurturing Mindfully is about learning to be in tune with your child, and responding accordingly. As I work through this blog I hope to give you a view into my own struggles and insights on my journey to becoming a mindful parent, and provide you with tips and encouragement that I have found along the way. I will talk about parenting a special needs child, but will cover general parenting topics as well. As I am a Christian, many of my posts will be drawing from Biblical Principles. However, if you are not a Christian, I believe that you will still find my posts useful, as much of what I will be talking about is also supported by the most current research in the fields of neuro and developmental psychology (as I said – this is my hobby – I read a lot).
I look forward to beginning this journey with all of you. I hope that you will find my experiences and insights to be helpful to you on your own journey through this messy and exhausting but wonderfully exhilarating experience called motherhood.