Sarah Napthali is the Author of ‘Buddhism for Mothers’. She explains how parenting using the Buddhist philosophies can help you to become a more compassionate and helpful person overall.
Jacinta Tynam from Mother Zen says Buddhism for Mothers helped her focus on the joy of being a mother. Together, they talk about ways to be a better parent using Buddhist philosophies and you don’t need to be a Buddhist to practice self-compassion and other Buddhist techniques.
“Calling yourself a Buddhist is really not the point,” says Sarah when Jacinta. “The Buddha himself even says ‘try what I have taught, if it works for you good.’ He wasn’t fundamentalist about his teachings.’
“I’m very much for relying on your instincts but having said that you have to be present and attentive. you can’t live on automatic pilot. When you are really mindful and self-aware, then i think you are well equipped to rely on your instincts and can respond to the moment.
It feels very hard to live in the present and we have to remind ourselves time and time again.
Motherhood has been transformative for me. It really teaches you not to take on all the messages of the world. being a mother can potentially teach you to drop all that and just be. Children live in the present – they model it for us.
They can teach us about fun and playfulness. Travelling with them can really bring that out. They are always pointing things out.
Jacinta says parents often wish the time away? Sarah says, ironically, she had one word for parents to think about and that is ‘dealth’.
She adds: “Buddhists don’t shy away from the concept of death. Buddhists might meditate in a cemetery or about the decaying of the body. It is a great way to appreciate the quality of life. it makes them realise that evert moment matters. It help you not count down every moment of the day. Our children are not going to be there for ever. Children are changing all the time.”
Think about pausing for a minute, Sarah says. She says ‘come back to the present, come back to your breath, notice if you have tension in your body.’ These one minute check ins are good to do.
Top Tips for joyful experiences as a mother from parenting guru Sarah Napthali
Guard your thoughts and be mindful of your inner commentary. It can often be negative.
The first noble truth is suffering. we live in a world of chasing pleasures. Buddha says understand your suffering.
Realise your suffering can end. You can do work on it. By suffering, I mean any form of stress. Be aware of it and what is causing it.
Pure awareness will do so much to help you overcome it.
Find self-compassion. We have a lot of mother guilt. Cut yourself a lot of slack and love yourself just the way you love your child.