How We Parent like a Monk

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I’ll never forget the day (over 10 years ago) when my husband comes home with our 2-year-old very distraught (the husband not the kid!). They had been at a splash pad/ playground and I had stayed home with the new baby. Apparently, our toddler did not want to leave the play area and threw a pretty epic tantrum.
 
Ok, I know you seasoned moms are wondering ‘what’s new?’ Well, the tantrum was so epic that it traumatized my husband! He was thinking that our son was insane and may need counseling. Now in the meantime I had taken the same child out a lot and remember hating leaving the train table at Barnes and Noble, knowing it would be a nightmare to tell my son we were leaving. But we went anyway because hey I needed to get out of the house!
 
As my husband was leaving the room, after telling me about the traumatic experience at the play area, he was whispering ‘psycho’ to himself. The two-year-old heard this, of course, liked the sound of the word, starting giggling and saying “psycho, psycho, psycho” over and over. At that point, we all had a good laugh and realized it was another day in the life of with a toddler!
 
Like many of you, we’ve had many discussions since then about parenting. One day my husband said, I think we should parent like a monk. At the time I was not familiar at all with Buddhism or monks and had no idea if monks could even have kids! Since then I have read more about meditation and mindfulness but would never claim to know how to live like a monk. But I did know he was onto something! Since then we both try daily to be more to be more non-reactive, calm and present with our children. 
 
Today one of my favorite books is The Parent’s Tao Te Ching, A New Interpretation by William Martin. It’s on my bedside table and I can open any page at any moment and be inspired to parent more mindfully!
 
And just so you know, the 2-year-old is now a great 13-year-old who is still strong willed and still has a great sense of humor, some things don’t change!
 
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Katie Woodard
Katie has lived in Flagstaff for 22 years and grew up in North Carolina. She has 10 and 12 year old boys who are certainly an adventure! Her family is by far the most rewarding part of her life. Katie loves hiking and running in our beautiful hills, skiing, river rafting, traveling, health and clean eating (thanks to a whacky thyroid). She is also always taking small steps to clean up our environment, and she is currently learning meditation and just loves learning in general! Katie and her college roommate drove to AZ from VA after college and Katie has only left briefly but Flagstaff is her home for sure! She met her wonderful husband while river guiding in the Grand Canyon. Katie is a family photographer at www.katiewoodardphotography.com, here in Flagstaff and loves capturing the natural love and beauty in families. Her newest fun adventure is co-founding Women Empowering Northern Arizona.