When my children were younger, long before I became interested in Yoga, my husband bought me this book 'Buddhism for Mothers
' by Sarah Napthali, a parenting book with a difference.
I was a huge fan of any sort of parenting book, and had bookshelves of them. From 'Raising Boys
' by Steve Biddulph to 'Toddler Taming
' by Christopher Green, I had read them all (or so it seemed), each with great pieces of advise. I had routines down pat, a great 'time out' corner, reward charts and the like all in a bid to have my children behaving the way the books told me they should.
It wasn't till a few years later that I realised that I have good children, and that it was my high expectations that sometimes caused friction in our house. I was always in a rush, trying to plan every minute of our day, that I would often forget to enjoy the moment. I would often hear myself say 'not now', or 'hurry up' or 'we don't have time for this'!!.
When my husband bought me 'Buddhism for Mothers
', he himself was in the early stages of meditating and finding it of great benefit to him. I knew that with 4 kids aged 5 and under I was going to find it very difficult to have the time to sit and meditate, but on reading the book I found that there are many times throughout the day that I could 'meditate' without actually sitting for a long period of time. Like when I was washing up, or doing the housework. But I found that the most important thing was to STOP. Simply to stop rushing, stop worrying about the future; to live in the present moment and enjoy my children. Sarah's book gave me strategies on how to to do this and how to deal with the everyday challenges of bringing up children, and she also showed me that everyone is not perfect.
My children are older now, the oldest being 10, and I still find myself losing it with them on more occasions than is necessary. I am constantly having to remind myself to live in the present moment, and also to remember that they are only kids. I know that each year will being new challenges (and hormones!), that my husband and I will have to deal with and I think that the best way to do this is one step at a time.
I would like to share with you some excerpts from Sarah's book:
"Our love for our children brings us joy, bliss, and happiness. What's really inspiring though, is that through loving a child we deepen our capacity to be a loving person for others too. The potential to take what we learn from loving our child and apply it to other relationships is limitless Many mothers discover this for themselves: they feel more compassion towards other human beings, realising they all started as precious babies worthy of a mother's devotion. These mothers discover a new potential to be patient with the surly cashier, the aggressive driver or the needy relation...For me, the most accurate comment on motherhood is that it makes your life twice as bad and
twice as good. there is suffering and unsatisfactoriness, but love saves us....."
"...Imagine a calm, serene mother, who accepts whatever life presents her with. Unexpected or unwanted events don't rattle her. She never over reacts. She's aware of the times when she lacks wisdom or compassion but she doesn't waste days feeling guilty, she might do better next time. She's self-aware, but because she has fostered self-love, she is not self-conscious or self-adsorbed when she talks to others. Her friends say she is gentle and kind in a genuine way... She's creative, spontaneous and quick to laugh because no matter what she's doing, life is play, not work.
Buddhism can help us to become more like this mother, a happier kind of mother."
This great parenting/meditation book is available online or in store at Yoga King Products.