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Episode 44: Does Mindfulness Make You a Better Parent? with Hunter Clarke-Fields

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Brief summary of show:

Does mindfulness make you a better parent?

How can we use mindfulness to help us yell less and be more present?

If you’re like me, you’re a busy mama who may not always have time to find stillness and ground yourself, which is why I’m excited to share this conversation with Hunter Clarke-Fields with you.

Hunter, MSAE, RYT, is a mindful mama mentor. Hunter is the creator of the Mindful Parenting course, host of the Mindful Mama podcast and widely-followed author of Raising Good Humans: A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind, Confident Kids.

She helps parents bring more calm and peace into their daily lives. Hunter has over twenty years of experience in meditation practices and has taught mindfulness to thousands worldwide.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • [00:01:54] The power behind mindfulness

  • [00:09:18] How to heal generational patterns of yelling within our families

  • [00:11:54] Tips to learn mindfulness and heal our own patterns

  • [00:13:17] How to become aware of our triggers

  • [00:15:19] Ways to build a mindfulness practice that you can actually incorporate into your schedule


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View Transcript for this Episode

[00:00:00] Natalie: Thanks so much for listening today. This topic is one that most of us can relate to overwhelm overcommitment and stress as a busy person, as a mom.

[00:00:09] How do we push that reset button? When we feel like life is just too much and we need some peace? Well, I can't tell you how often I used to feel this way. In fact, I'll admit I still do. We all do. It's very normal. It's how we react and how we recognize that. Tension and how we actually do something about it.

[00:00:31] You are going to love my guest today. Her name is hunter Clark fields, and she is the author of raising good humans, a mindful guide to breaking the cycle of reactive parenting and raising kind confident kids. So hunter is going to give us ways that we can bring more calm into our daily lives and we all need.

[00:00:55] In every way, we need a whole lot more of it. Before we get [00:01:00] started. I want to thank you for listening each week. And if you haven't done so already, would you hit the subscribe button on your podcast player?

[00:01:06] That way you can have each weekly episode ready to play and also sharing these podcasts with friends. A whole lot to me as my goal is to help more people with topics just like this, that matter and help us live more fulfilling and healthier lives. Okay. Let's get on to the interview now with hunter Clark fields.

[00:01:32] Natalie: hunter. One of my pillars of this podcast and my website is mindset um, health family mindset. And I think it's a really hard thing as a parent to get our mindset, right. I mean, as an individual, as a working mom, that can be difficult, but let's talk about how you apply your mindset to parenting and why that's so important.

[00:01:54] Hunter: well, when I think of mindset, I mean, I think of mindfulness and mindfulness is you know, [00:02:00] this attitude of kindness and curiosity, and really being present, right. Bringing this attitude of kindness and curiosity to the present moment. it helps every single thing we do because in my work, the more I'm present with, you know, right here right now, I'm, I'm more focused.

[00:02:18] I'm clearer. I get things done faster. You know, I'm not distracted by all the rumination and things like that. And then with my family, That mindset of kindness and curiosity. It's so, so helpful because as parents we're like, we're often on autopilot, we're labeling, we're taking mental shortcuts with our kids.

[00:02:38] We're not really being present. And so we're saying. You're the athletic one. You're the, smart one. Right. And we don't really give our kids room to be who they are and accept who they are. And if we can bring the mindset of curiosity and non-judgment into this moment, like, We can then say instead, who are you?

[00:02:58] You know, we [00:03:00] can be accepting of who they are instead of trying to make them into something. We can say, who are you right now? How can I be curious about you? Can I be interested in you? And I really think that, Love loving somebody. You know, if you think back to when you just really fell in love with somebody, it's like, you're just so interested in them, right?

[00:03:21] You're giving them so much attention. And if we can be attentive, if we can, we really be present and we can really be curious and interested in our kids, that means we're, we're accepting them for who they are. We're not saying you have to be X, Y, or Z. We're saying, who are you? So we're accepting them. And that feeling of like, love and acceptance.

[00:03:42] If my kids can have that. in their bodies and hearts and minds, as they move forward into adulthood, they can do anything. And I know that if they can accept themselves for who they are, and then that starts with me loving and accepting them for who they are.

[00:03:56] Natalie: One thing I talk about a lot and I think about a [00:04:00] lot is being present.

[00:04:03] I feel like there is always something else in my mind when I'm trying to be present. So, you sit down with your child, you're trying to have a conversation and then you just drift off into this. Oh, what are we going to have for dinner? I'm listening. Yep. Oh yes. That sounds. And then yet I'm still thinking about dinner and coming back around to that.

[00:04:22] How do you learn to be more present? And is that what you consider? Being more mindful.

[00:04:29] Hunter: Yes. Yes, absolutely. And it is a muscle that you can develop the, what you can't develop that. Okay. Yes, yes, absolutely

[00:04:39] Natalie: hopeless.

[00:04:40] Hunter: Cause no, no, no, no, no. Everybody's like that everybody's minds are like crazy pants but we can start to become more of a master of our minds. And by that, I don't mean that we stop our thoughts, but that we can start to direct our attention in more purposeful ways. [00:05:00] So our minds and our attention is. It's like a puppy, right? And that puppy is like an untrained puppy and it's over here and it's over here and it's up there and it's like, where are we going?

[00:05:09] And you're trying to walk this puppy along and say, here, we're going this way. And it's just the untrained mind is sometimes they call it the monkey mind is just all over the place and that's totally, totally normal. And then what happens is Over with time and practice. Another metaphor I like is kind of the idea of training a horse, like a horse.

[00:05:32] If you're trying to train a green horse, they'll wander all over the place and you just gently bring them back to the path. You bring them back to the path, you bring them back to the path, right. Then eventually they start to go along the path. And it's the same with our minds where the practice of mindfulness.

[00:05:49] uh, first we sit and we see how crazy and chaotic our minds are and that's totally normal. And then after a while we sit and we still see like, oh, my mind is wandering. My mind is wandering. [00:06:00] Then we bring it back. Then as we start to bring our attention back, that's like, That, that moment in the gym where you're like doing a rap, right.

[00:06:08] And you're building the muscle of attention and then it does start to get stronger so that you can hold your attention in the present moment for longer and longer. It's not like, so at this point I've been practicing mindfulness meditation for like 17 years. And so. I still have you know, my mind thinks right, the mind thinks just as the ears here in the eyes.

[00:06:31] See, but I can bring my attention back very quickly and easily to the present moment when I choose to and what happens. At first, when would the untrained mind, you know, the mind thinks, and we're lost for, you know, 15 minutes, but over time we just bring it back, bring it back and we can start to, be able to hold our attention where we want to hold our attention for longer.

[00:06:53] And it is absolutely. We have neuroplasticity. It's absolutely something that you can grow[00:07:00] and it's. The studies of the MRI studies, there's actual physical changes that happen in the brain. It's really, so obviously we can apply this to our work-life to our family. There are a lot of different ways you know, even at work, you can say I'm in a meeting and my mind wanders here, and I'm trying so hard to pay attention, my mind wanders here.

[00:07:25] Hunter: Yeah, absolutely. So, and that's the thing, the thing about training the mind is like Every single thing in our lives is filtered through our minds, everything right. We take in through our five senses and everything is filtered through the mind.

[00:07:39] And over time we have habits and, and things, and the kind of lens gets dirty. And what mindfulness does, it helps us to kind of clean the lens. we, then we have a muscle, we are able to direct our attention it with more clarity and more purpose in the way we want to, rather than kind of being, I kind of think of it as like, [00:08:00] Jon Kabat-Zinn has a great quote about this.