Starting off the New Year with Playfulness: It’s much sweeter than the alternative…

chocolate buddhaNothing lights up a child’s brain like play.” – Dr. Stuart Brown

Maybe the same could go for parents as well?

As I was shopping for last minute holiday gifts, I found the cutest hand-made milk chocolate buddhas. How wonderful, for people to be celebrating and savouring the season with a full-bellied chocolate buddha. The playfulness of this treat got me thinking about the benefit of adopting an attitude of playfulness in daily life – especially with children – and even more especially when things don’t go our way – with our children…

Tonight, I finally got the baby to sleep and my partner was putting our son to bed. Ok. Off to meditate – another new years promise to myself, getting back to daily meditation after having a baby. Part way through, I hear a cry through the baby monitor. Again. “So much for meditation tonight,” I mutter as I trudge upstairs, noticing my shoulders tensing and a scowl fully formed on my face.

As I snuggle with my sweet baby to help settle her back to sleep (she is cutting some teeth as we speak, poor thing), I realize I have a choice in this moment. I can hop on the train of anger and irritation, feeling hard done by and clinging to all the unhelpful thoughts like, “I never have time for anything anymore,” “why do I have another baby is not a good sleeper” -whatever that means- “I am never going to get anything done.” The anger just makes me feel worse and certainly does not help her get back to sleep.

Instead I can chuckle to myself and approach these situations with playfulness and acceptance (since they are happening whether I like it or not). “Perfect timing – right before the final meditation bell,” “Now I get an extra snuggle,” “I bet I would be screaming if I had sharp objects poking through my gums,” “She’s just like her big brother” (who happens to sleep VERY well now I remind myself) and of course, the ever important “this too shall pass.” Jumping on this playful train of thought makes me feel much better and the situation feel more manageable.

I relax next to my sleeping baby and I smile as I realize I can always get back to my meditation – the next time it will be mindfully eating my chocolate buddha.