I start my day, every single day, with meditation and yoga. I used to make exceptions — if I was tired, or cramping, or sick, or had a lot to do, or traveling. But I no longer make exceptions because the benefits of these two practices are just too wonderful.
Meditation is what I’m going to talk to you about today, though. Meditation has made me a better parent. Not a perfect parent, but better.
Mom (or Dad) Sets the Tone
In a two-parent home, if one parent is in a bad mood, the other can try to offset it — or get the kids out of the house for a while to avoid the bad mood and give it a chance to improve.
When you’re a single parent, though, it’s all on you. If you’re in a bad mood, the kids are stuck with you. And often, your bad mood will rub off on them.
It leads to crankiness, snapping at each other, and just an all-around bad day.
By starting my day with meditation, I ensure that I at least start the day in a good mood. It’s a few minutes spent centering myself, remembering who I am and the kind of person and parent I want to be.
It’s time to get grounded.
This grounding, or centering, puts you in a better mood. Whether the kids give you grief, work gives you a problem, or life in general is just super stressful, you’re better prepared to deal with it.
This sets a better example for the kids. And it cuts down on the chances that everyone’s in a bad mood at once.
It’s a Stress Reliever
Homeschooling, working from home, dealing with clients, and taking care of a house — it’s a busy, stressful life. Some days, there’s so much to do that it feels overwhelming to even look at what’s on tap for the day. Whatever your situation, I’m sure you can relate.
Meditation is a huge stress reliever, giving my brain a chance to “cool down.” And that chance to cool down is not only desperately needed, but also allows me to clear away all the “clutter” that makes me feel overwhelmed.
Meditation gives your brain a break and allows you to look at your day with a clear, calm mentality. It eliminates the panic of “There’s too much to do!” and allows you to think, “What absolutely must get done, and therefore needs to be my first priority?”
It might sound counter-intuitive, but doing something for yourself can make you a better parent. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying about not being able to pour from an empty cup.
If you’re exhausted, stressed, and feeling empty and used up, you can’t be the best parent you can be. You won’t be a bad parent, necessarily, but you may find that you look back later and feel regret over decisions you made or things you said that you wish had been different.
Taking a few minutes every day for yourself allows you to rest, refill, and relax. You’ll be more forgiving of yourself, of your kids, of life in general. It refreshes you so you can keep things in perspective.
Being a Single Parent Isn’t Easy
Whether you co-parent with your ex or you’re doing it completely solo, being a single parent is not easy. For me, meditation makes it a little easier.
I feel more myself when I meditate, and that contributes to better parenting. I feel calmer, soothed, and more secure in myself. I have more confidence in my decisions.
I’ll be the first to admit that finding time for yourself, especially when you’re a single parent, isn’t easy. But I’m also willing to be the first to say you should do it anyway. You don’t need much.
Meditation doesn’t have to take up a huge chunk of your day to be effective. Just a few minutes a day is enough.
And if meditation really isn’t your thing, that’s okay. What is? Bubble baths? A good book? Binging on your favorite Netflix show?
Whatever it is that helps you relax and feel calm, do that. The point is not so much what you do as that you do something for yourself so that you remember that although you are a mom or a dad, you’re also a unique person who deserves a little something that’s just yours.
Although I’d still recommend you give meditation and/or yoga a shot. Being bendy, both mentally and physically, is fun.