Life and Inspiration - Love and Relationships

15 Ways To Be A Zen Mama

It’s been quite a journey since I jokingly said in 2008, “I’m a Zen Mama now.” This was the response I gave when answering how I was handling two teenage boys. I had decided to change myself and my reaction to my children. I had decided to let go and stop worrying. Two books, a blog and an active Facebook page later, in 2012 I’ve never been busier or having so much fun! And I got closer to my kids as a result.

How did I do it? How did I stop worrying, let go and get closer to my kids?

I live in the moment.
Don’t always live in the future. When you live in the moment you can give your attention to your children. When they are with you, forget about what you are doing for a few minutes and give your children your full attention. It doesn’t have to be long, but at those times, be in the moment with them. Act as though they are the only person you care about at that moment. Make them feel special.

I practice active listening
Active listening is a skill. It doesn’t come naturally for everyone. Active listening requires practice and thought. Active listening is engaging and will make the people in your life much happier.

I have real conversations with my kids.
We often don’t really have a conversation with our children. Don’t always make it about homework or fixing their manners. Make the conversation fun. Say your high and low for the day. Have a riddle to solve. Have a joke that makes all the children laugh.

I think positively all day long.
Everything that happens to us is the result of our thoughts. So try thinking good thoughts for you and your children. You’ll be amazed that if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

I try to slow down.
It’s worth while to get ready to the night before so you don’t have to rush. Rushing stresses everyone out. When we slow down, especially in the morning, everyone has a better start to their day.

I take the kids outside.
Sometimes kids and mothers get a cooped up feeling in the house. A picnic in the park, visiting a farm, throwing the ball in back yard, even just a simple walk around the block are all ways to breathe fresh air and take a break from the stress. If it’s rainy, you’ll dry. If it’s snowy, you’ll warm up. No matter what the weather, get outside!

I’m kind to my kids and myself.
By being kind to your children, you teach them to be kind to people in their lives, now and in the future. Also, be kind to yourself; a happy mama is a happy family.


 I treat my kids as individuals

Each child is different. While we all know this as     parents and we don’t always appreciate those differences. We all fall into the trap of making someone be and do something they don’t want to do or be. As your child is discovering the world, you discover more of who they are. Embrace them and their personalities.

Let your kids try some independence
Giving our children independence we will end up with confident children that are able to go out into the world at 18 whether to college or a job. Studies show that when parents engage teens with a light but steady hand, staying connected but allowing independence, their kids will generally do better in life.”

I trust my kids
Trusting your kids is the ultimate confidence builder! They will try riskier behavior later on because they weren’t allowed to make mistakes as a younger child. Trust your child, and with your guidance, allow them to make decisions for themselves. If they can do this as a young child, hopefully they will be able to make better decisions as a teenager or young adult. And they also know that if turns out to be a mistake they have support.

I laugh more with my children
Laughter is a perfect way to let go of stress; it has been medically proven to enhance immune system function; it releases feel good hormones called endorphins; it helps with depression and anxiety by boosting serotonin levels; it increases oxygen to all the cells and tissues, and most importantly, to the brain, and it gives the laugher a sense of well-being. Scientific evidence is proving the old adage “Laughter is indeed the best medicine”. Your kids will want to be around you more if you laugh together.

I change myself or the environment.
You can’t change your children but you can change the environment you’re bringing them up in. Don’t like the video games your children are playing? Get rid of them. Don’t want your young children touching your special possessions? Pack them away until they are older. Don’t like the junk food they eat? Don’t buy it. And you can change yourself and your reactions, too.

I let go of the attachment to outcomes.
In our society we’ve been taught to expect more. But in reality if you expect less, or even have no expectations, you’ll actually get more!

I let go of anger.
I have discovered that anger is so natural! Some children bring out anger you never even knew existed! However, if you’re angry all the time, your children will tune you out. Use humor to get your point across. By the way, after you’re mad it’s ok to apologize and say, “I shouldn’t have gotten so angry. I’m sorry.”

I love my children unconditionally
Unconditional love is the key. It doesn’t spoil anyone. It doesn’t mean you can’t discipline and set limits. Just take the anger and emotion out. Love them and be unattached to the bad behavior.

I so glad to introduce you to Betsy Henry today. She is the author of How To Be A Zen Mama and The Zen   Mama’s Book Of Quotes. She writes weekly at The Zen Mama’s Blog. Betsy is a also a preschool teacher. She lives in Littleton, Colorado with her husband and three boys.

Betsy, thank you for sharing your Zen here today and for always being such a source of inspiration.

The Zen Mama’s blog and Facebook page are always good places to visit if you need a pick-me-up. Do visit them and also The Zen Mama Book Store to get a copy of her books.

May you be inspired – every day!

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An inspirational writer, a creativity and writing trainer/coach, I write about life, gratitude, healing, wellness, relationships at Everyday Gyaan. I offer training/coaching to anyone looking to explore their creativity and heal through writing via The Frangipani Creative, located in Secunderabad, India. You can also find me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for my weekly newsletter, Bytes of Gyaan, on Substack.

22 Comments on “15 Ways To Be A Zen Mama

  1. Corinne, even though my children have all grown and moved  away I can still take these skills and apply them to my life. I try to think positive thoughts and stay in the moment. I try to be an active listener. Actually my children did teach me that. Sometimes I wish I could go back and do some things differently, but hey, that’s not living in the moment now is it? Anyway, I loved today’s post. I should pin it to my heart.
    Sending love!

    1.  @floridancing Thanks so much for your comment Floridancing!  I have heard that from a number of people who have read my book… that they use the advice for their grown children as well!  We can’t go back in time, but we still have the rest of our lives to do things differently.  Loved your comment about “pin it to my heart”.  That inspires me to keep going!  Thanks!

  2. Some useful points here.
    If only everyone could follow some of these, the world would have been a better place to live.

  3. I loved this post! I can identify with many of the approaches listed. Compassionate and open listening, patience, trusting our children…everything listed is a beautiful way of building a strong foundation in our relationship with our children and helping them to develop their own wings in which they will use to soar to unknown heights when the time comes. This was a great post…I’m going to pass it on!

    1. @jessica, So glad you enjoyed the post!  We were heading in the wrong direction several years ago as a family with teenagers.  These 15 tips really helped us become a closer family.  So glad you’re going to pass it along!!  Thanks!

  4. Hi, Betsy! ~
    Great advice!  Especially the part about humor, and especially with boys.  Another thing I’d add about boys (and men) is that when they say they want to be alone — LEAVE THEM ALONE!  Being raised in a family of girls, with 2 sons of my own, this is one of the most important lessons I ever learned about relating to the male of the species.  They don’t want to necessarily talk everything through or have mama ‘fix it’.  Sometimes they just want to be left alone to work it out 😉    

    1.  @DangerousLinda Hi Linda, So true about boys.  I read in a book about gender difference is that they also don’t like to look you straight in the eye.  That’s why the car is a good place to talk.  Talking everything through is definitely a “girl thing”.  And yes, humor has been the saving thing at our household!!
      Thanks for commenting!!

  5. Hi Betsy,
    Great advice for all parents. I love this line – “Each child is different. While we all know this as parents and we don’t always appreciate those differences.” So true, when you have several children, it is important to acknowledge their differences and it is amazing to realize how individual they really are. Thanks for sharing a great post!

    1.  @Cathy Treatment Talk That was very important for me to figure out, that every child is different.  I did know this intellectually and yet, I expected the same things from both.
      Thank you for your comment Cathy!!

  6. Great advice. I always feel guilty of not doing enough for my children, of not being a good mother, and all those points you mentioned are so easy to apply, so why not? I will try. If i can at least chose one of the points for every day?! 

    1.  @5a574457eaecfb2fc0a9b161a9871273:disqus Try to let go of the parental guilt.  We’re all doing what we can as parents.  Yes, start with one thing and add on when you’re ready!  Thanks for the comment!

  7. What an awesome list Betsy! After reading this I definitely have a few more ideas to add to my repetoire with my three little ones.

    I’ve discovered that living in the moment with them is so important. I work from home with some or all of my kids around me. I used to try to work and appease them at the same time. This only aggrevated and stressed both of us out. Now I know better. Stopping what I’m doing mid-stream and focusing on them for the moments they need me makes all the difference.

    And now that the snow is melting and the temps are finally rising, we’re outside much more. It’s all I can do to keep my 2 year old in the house. Sometimes I think about all the work I should be doing while we’re outside but I look at her and her adventurousness and smile. I take a deep breath and absorb all the beauty around me and send my daughter a little thank you for getting me out of the house to appreciate where we live.

    They can bring us so many blessings if we’re open to them. Thanks for a wonderful post!!

    1.  Thanks Paige!  Yes, I agree that living in the moment is what kids do best.  They can’t understand, “Just a minute.”  The outdoors is also a really important thing.  It seemed like all our problems melted away when I took my young children outside. 
      Thanks for such a wonderful comment!

  8. This is so beautiful and I truly wish I could be Mama, let’s add the word Zen to it, someday.

    Of the 15 ways, I think active listening doesn’t come easily to me. I really have to empty myself inorder to do so. I love that you love kids 🙂 It’s a mom’s vocation.

    Thanks for sharing this BS.

  9. This was truly inspiring and so full of simple wisdom. Thank you for sharing this Corinne. I will surely go and look up Zen Mama now. I could do with some improvement regarding being a better mom to Ron, especially the fretting and worrying part of it.

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