Being a parent is completely different than thinking about being a parent. Pregnancy didn't really prepare me for childbirth or having a newborn. I read, imagined, did prenatal yoga, and took childbirth classes, but coming home with a baby was completely different than everything that had come before.
In the same way, having a baby didn't prepare me to parent a toddler and having one child didn't prepare me for the next. Each new experience is the same and different. With each transition I feel like I've been thrown into the deep end of a pool where I flail around feeling overwhelmed and confused and then eventually I realize/remember that I can swim. Then I go into the next deep end!
Although I continue to be confused by how to handle each new transition, I have learned something useful--to stay in the present moment. Basic, right? And important!
When I'm worried about what's about to happen, imagining scenarios where things go badly wrong, I'm in the future. When I'm beating myself up about all of the things I should have done differently, I'm in the past. Noticing the past or future focus, I can remind myself to stop and be right here in this moment. It works amazingly well. Try it!
I'm a mom, wife, daughter, friend, and teacher who has long struggled with the desire to be the perfect person I imagine that I should be. Practicing mindfulness has changed my life, helping me to make peace with myself as I truly am and to appreciate my family, life, and the world as they actually are.