GLOW: We are really looking forward to your workshop on 13 August Kellie. What can you tell us about it?
KELLIE: Well it’s an opportunity for parents to take time to slow down and tune in to what’s going on for them. To press the pause button and experience some of what mindfulness and self compassion have to offer parents in an otherwise hectic schedule! We are going to do some short and sweet exercises specifically chosen for parents and really bring mindfulness to life - have a little taste!
GLOW: Sounds great - but what IS mindfulness and how is it helpful for parents? We hear so much about it these days - what is all the fuss about?
KELLIE: (laughs) How long do you have? It’s helpful in so many ways! It saved me from being overwhelmed by the unrelenting demands of parenting and continues to do so every day - but more than that it brings back the joy in parenting again, it connects me to my children and the moments of fun and delight that otherwise would pass by in the blur of busy lives. It restores and resources me for what’s to come - and it gives me confidence to trust my own intuition and wisdom rather than go scrambling for all those parenting books for the “right answer”. It gives us back the power to choose how we will respond in those challenging moments rather than react on automatic pilot.
It’s like I forgot all this when I became a parent though – so I understand that we get so caught up in being the best parent we can possibly be that we forget to take good care of ourselves. That I loved my children didn’t change the fact that I was exhausted and barely coping. But this is a recipe for what Rick Hanson calls Depleted Mother Syndrome in our interview for Mindfulness 4 Mothers. When I finally remembered and started practicing all that I had learned about well-being and happiness in my career as a positive psychologist, I turned the corner and knew I wanted to work with other mothers – giving them the tools to take care of themselves better and be the kind of loving and connected parents they want to be. So I interviewed international experts and created Mindfulness 4 Mothers. Now I work with parents from all walks of live to do exactly this: thrive not jut survive.
GLOW: Wow! So what is Mindfulness exactly?
KELLIE: There are more definitions of mindfulness than there are brands of shampoo - but the one I use is pretty simple - it is being aware of what you are experiencing, as you are experiencing it. Sounds simple but studies have shown that we are all distracted a lot of the time - about 47% of the time according to Harvard University! So it is not how we are by default - but we miss almost half of our lives if we leave it at that. Learning mindfulness means we are “showing up” for our own lives and also for our kids! If you are never mindful, you are not really there and your kids miss out as well as you
"A moment of self-compassion can change your entire day. A string of such moments can change the course of your life." Christopher Germer
GLOW: You mentioned self compassion too - what is that and will we get to try that at the workshop too?
KELLIE: Yes we definitely will! Self compassion is 100% necessary for parenting. Parenting is hard. Really hard. And if we layer on top of that more criticism or guilt about not “getting it right” in every moment, then we make life much harder than it needs to be. Self compassion is turning towards ourselves with the kindness we would show a good friend - when we make mistakes, when we yell when we wish we hadn’t or snap when we are exhausted. It is recognising in those tough moments that other people feel the same frustrations, challenges and difficulties we do - that we are all imperfect and to tune in to those feelings with mindfulness, kindness and acceptance.
I interviewed many amazing mindfulness teachers, psychotherapists and neuro-psychologists for my online program mindfulness4mothers (which is included in the 4 week course we are running in June at GLOW) and one of them was Dr Kristin Neff - who is a pioneering researcher and teacher of self compassion. She is also a mother and I often quote her from our interview:
"The more support, encouragement, kindness and care we give ourselves, the more we will be in the optimal emotional state to help our children” Dr Kristin Neff
I mean it makes sense doesn’t it - but we don’t always act that way towards ourselves. I know I was really hard on myself as a new mother - had enormous expectations of myself and was really harsh when I didn’t measure up. Self compassion has transformed my experience of surviving to thriving as a mother and I cannot imagine what my life would be like without it now. That’s one of the main reasons I started doing this work - because parents, particularly mothers - we are so hard on ourselves - it’s awful!
GLOW: So what kind of differences do you notice in yourself as a parent through being compassionate - or kinder - to yourself?
KELLIE: Well, to name a few I would say:
- Far less criticism of my husband (phew!).
- More natural and spontaneous kindness, generosity and forgiveness toward myself and others.
- A lighter, more fun engagement with life.
- Greater curiosity about what arises and less desire to push negative feelings aside.
- Greater self acceptance - in good times and bad - and an honesty about my weaknesses that does not threaten my well- being.
- Better sleep.
- Greater calm and less feelings of stress.
- More productive and sensitive coping with difficulties as they arise.
- Greater optimism about the future.
- Lower anxiety, irritation, frustration and rumination
- A resilience born out of grounded confidence rather than sheer force of determination.
- Greater happiness and well-being.
- A flexible approach to achieving my goals that is more open and creative.
- More wholehearted connection to others in my life.
It is the foundation of calm, confident and lovingly connected parenting - not just in my opinion but the research also shows incredible benefits like: lower levels of depression, anxiety, stress and negative body image…and greater happiness, life satisfaction, optimism, coping, health behaviours and motivation and resilience
AND it is easier to learn than straight mindfulness
GLOW: OK Sign me up!
KELLIE: Awesome - see you on Saturday 13 August
Mindful Parenting Workshop with Kellie Edwards mindfulness4mothers.com
Saturday August 13 9.00am - 11.00am and 11.30-1.30pm
GLOW Clinic Suite 1, Level 1 40-42 Clyde Road Berwick Vic
9769 5606 to reserve your place.
Following the workshop - Mindfulness 4 Parents 4 week Group Program Thursday mornings 11am - 12.30pm August 25 and September 1, 8, 15
GLOW and Kellie Edwards are excited to announce a special offer allowing full lifetime access to Mindfulness 4 Mothers online program for a discounted price of $65 USD (~$90 AUD) rather than $99 USD (~$140 AUD). Click here to see what's included and join up!