Friday, February 21, 2014

Not Every Parenting Moment Has to Be Mindful

Have you been watching the Winter Olympics?  

Admittedly, I've been a bit obsessed. There's been A LOT of Olympics watching in my house. The stories of these athletes are great, aren't they? So many people overcoming adversity, families coming together, 4 years of hard work coming down to a mere 4 minutes or hundredths of a second. 

It's been exciting and by the time you read this, they'll almost over. That quickly. Two weeks and done.

I read a really great blog recently about how to create teachable moments out of the Olympics. Honestly, for a second, I thought to myself "Damn. Why didn't I think of that?" It was a good idea and I am sure it helped a lot of parents.

Here's the thing about posts like that, though. They really annoy me! The Olympics are such a great time for families and they happen organically, naturally, and without thought. Families I am working with are having "Olympic parties". One family held a "Minute to Win It Championship."

Such good stuff! Fantastic memory making. Solid family time.

Love it!

But you know what? They didn't think about it at all. They just did it. They lived in the moment, had a heck of a time, and were a family.

That's what I think parenting is all about. I don't like the titles I am seeing on parenting blogs these days talking about mindful and intentional parenting. That, to me, reads as pressure. It implies that parents have to think about parenting Every. Single. Second.

No wonder why there are so many mommy wars and we keep hearing about parenting guilt. If parents are told they should be thinking about their parenting every minute, they are always checking to see if "they're doing it right." I absolutely hate that.

Yes, parents need to know their values. They have to think about what they want to teach their kids. Absolutely.  However, there is a difference between knowing your parenting style and feeling like you can't ever just be with your kids.

Here's the thing about just being with your kids and having a fun time watching athletes--- they'll likely learn the lessons anyway.  They're sitting right next to you watching those athletes get up after a fall. They're seeing the grace and sportsmanship athletes that haven't won are showing. They're experiencing family time right along with you.

They don't need you telling them and pointing it out. In fact, they prefer you not to. You pointing it out will likely ruin the moment for them and the "lesson" will fall on deaf ears.

Just be, parents. Spend time with your kids. Have conversations. Be present. Show up. Yes, you have teaching to do. Yes, there's discipline and accountability involved. However,  at the end of the day, you are a member of a family. Be in it, not on the outside wondering how you can turn your time into more effective parenting.

Just be the parent and be in the moment.  Trust that everything else will follow.

Until next time,



  1. Heather, I love this post! There's so much information and advice imposed on parents these days, that we forget what our kids need most is our time and presence -- no fancy parenting skills, no deep psychological knowledge. I'll be sharing this on my FB page to help get the word out -- "just be!"

    1. Thanks, Lori, for getting my message. I am glad it resonated with you.