Parenthood can be a tough gig at times, that’s no secret. Recovering from birth, sleep deprivation, toddler tantrums, teenager hormones, balancing a relationship and a career … there’s not many moments of reprieve for your nervous system! Sleep deprivation alone rolls most people, there’s a reason it’s a form of torture!
It’s no wonder so many parents are burnt out, fatigued and over it. Having a self care practice as a parent is paramount for your own sanity, happiness and the happiness of your children. Whilst an indulgent daily self care routine would be heaven the reality for most is you’re not getting much time to yourself. I’m here to share with you a secret weapon for thriving, not just surviving parenthood… Meditation. It's something you can do anywhere, anytime. It takes 20 minutes and is biohacking for thriving in parenting.
Here’s 5 reasons why having a meditation practice is game changing for parents:
Quick note before we dive in… In the below reasons I’m referring to a style of meditation where we transcend the thinking mind. A technique that uses a mantra (sound) to help take you beyond the thinking mind and into a space of pure being. You can read more about it here
Biohack your lack of sleep!
There have been many studies into the effectiveness of meditation and its positive impact on sleep. Not only does a regular meditation practice help you sleep better due to the regulating effect it has on your nervous system but it’s said that 20 minutes of meditation has the equivalent effect on your body as 4 hours sleep. This is because of the deep state of rest you’re able to drop into during meditation. This is game changing for parents. It’s unlikely you’ll get time for a 4 hour nap (or even 4 hours of consecutive sleep!) But 20 minutes of meditation? Much more achievable!
You’ll become responsive not reactive
The more regularly you meditate the more regulated your nervous system becomes. Stress that’s built up over the years leaves your body and you suddenly start to respond to a situation rather than react. No one wants to be the parent that loses it over the simplest thing because they are tired and stressed. Sadly, it’s the reality for most. A natural byproduct of a daily meditation practice is you’ll start to respond rather than react to whatever situation you're faced with. This leads to a more harmonious home life for all.
Meditation enriches the present moment
Our children are great teachers of present moment awareness. They know nothing else. But for parents, we’re usually 10 steps ahead, meal prepping, bag packing and thinking about the next nap time. Meditation helps you become more present. The more present we are, the more we are able to respond, listen and understand the needs of our children (and ourselves) with compassion and kindness. The more we are able to see the magic in the seemingly monotonous moments of the day.
You can do it anywhere in just 20 minutes!
Baby asleep in the car? Pull over for 20 minutes and meditate. Toddler down for a nap? Take the first 20 minutes to meditate before starting your to-do-list (it’s also totally acceptable to rest during the entire nap time, just saying)… you get the drift. Meditation is quick, doesn’t require an elaborate set up and is something you can fit in during nap time or with older kiddos whilst they are entertained. It’s not often you can keep your kids away for a full hour yoga class. 20 minutes of kid-free time is much more realistic.
Set a powerful example for your children
We all want our children to be kind, compassionate, loving beings who honor themselves, their self care and their happiness. But we can’t teach them that, we must live and embody it! Having a daily practice of meditation as a normal thing for your kids to observe shows them that you are committed to your own inner work and growth. You might even find that they’ll be saying things like “have you had your meditation yet Mum?” When you skip a day. They will see the positive effect it has on you and be more likely to take it up as a tool as they grow.
Sitting down for 20 minutes each day is achievable in terms of your schedule, but might be daunting for some. If you think meditation is hard, have tried before and couldn’t quite stick to it or are curious to know more check out our meditation offerings.
The original version of this article featured in Body and Soul. You can view it here