Shonda draws from over 25 years in psychotherapy to provide women the resources they need to take care of themselves and learn quick, easy meditations.

383 Mindfulness For Busy Parents 

Shonda Moralis

Life can feel like one big to-do list, leaving us overwhelmed. So I invited Shonda Moralis back on the podcast to talk about how mindfulness can help us surf the waves of life. This is an unusual episode! Listen to Shonda help me through a tough moment and feel the power of a mindfulness practice. 

Mindfulness For Busy Parents - Shonda Moralis [383]

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*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Shonda: It's a practice, so we practice it on a regular basis so that we can pull it out and use it and remember to pull it out and use it in those moments when we are feeling really stressed.

[00:00:13] Hunter: You are listening to the Mindful Mama podcast, episode number 383. Today we're talking about mindfulness for busy parents with Shonda Morales.

Welcome to the Mindful Mama podcast here, it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Mama, we know that you cannot give what you do not have. And when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, hunter Clark Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.

I've been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years. I'm the crater of Mindful Parenting, and I'm the author of the best selling book, raising Good Humans, A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind Confident Kids. Hey, welcome back. So glad you're. It's a new year and as is habit in the new year, we are turning new leafs and I hope you are turning the leaf of mindfulness and if so, this episode is going to be perfect for you today.

But listen, if you have any yet done so please hit the subscribe button so you don't miss any of these episodes. And if you get value from this podcast, please go over to Apple Podcast. Leave us a rating and review, helps the podcast grow more, and it just takes 30 seconds a night. Truly appreciate it.

In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down. With my friend and licensed clinical social worker, Shonda Morales, who draws from over 25 years in psychotherapy to provide women with the resources they need to take care of themselves and learn quick, easy meditations. And we're gonna talk about mindfulness for parents and how it helps us be there for our kids and for other people.

And I know that life can feel like one big to-do list. It can leave us really overwhelmed. So we're gonna talk about how mindfulness can help us surf the waves of life, and this is a pretty unusual episode you're gonna see because I was having a tough moment as I came in to record this episode.

With Shonda, you're gonna hear that in the conversation, and we're gonna start with a powerful mindfulness practice, and I invite you to practice with me, and then we're gonna talk about how mindfulness really can help us live more fully, and that even that balance is possible. Yes. I stated and stand with Shonda in that here.

This is an awesome episode. I know you're going to love it, so join me at the table as I talk to Shonda Morales.

Okay, so Shonda has learned about my Stressful day so far, and she's back on the Mindful Mama podcast to talk about the new book. Don't forget to Breathe. Because I've had a stressful day, it's been kinda a hard day. We're gonna start with one of her five minute mindfulness moments for Mamas for Women.

So take me away, Shonda.

[00:03:28] Shonda: Sounds good. So sitting up nice and tall, or standing, whatever's going on here, and allowing your eyes to close or letting your gaze rest softly in front of you, just so you're not distracted by looking around. And let's start by taking a couple of long, slow, deep breaths in through the nose, out through the mouth,

and letting our mind arrive here with our bodies.

Letting your breath settle whenever you're ready. And taking a moment to connect to body sensations so we can begin with the feet. Just being aware of the feet on the floor, we're tucked up underneath us. We might notice temperature, warmth, coolness, or moisture. We're breaking that sense of curiosity, seeing if we can be right there, noticing sensations in the feet, whatever They are slowly scanning up the legs and as we notice sensations with the sense of curiosity, also letting go and relaxing any tightness or tension we might come across in the calves, the area of the knees, upper legs.

Being aware of the bottom. So maybe there's contact with the chair or a cushion, noticing the hips and pelvic region. The belly. Maybe there's some digestion. Fullness. Emptiness. And at the belly, we can also notice there's a natural rising and falling that happens here with the breath. It just comes and goes on its own.

Now, we don't need to make the breath any different or deeper than it already is. Being aware of the chest, we might come across some sensations that feel unpleasant, especially if we've come off a stressful day or moment, and especially Ken just noticing. So in this moment, maybe there's heaviness, tightness, pressure.

Can we allow. Rather than our human tendency to resist, we're just noticing coming around to the lower back, middle and upper back again. If we come across any tightness here, can we let go a little bit? Being aware of the shoulders and allowing them to drop almost like they're melting.

Noticing the arms, letting them hang from the shoulders.

Being aware of the hands we might soften through the hands

coming up to the neck and throat, the jaw, the mouth, cheeks, eyes.

Brow, forehead, scalp.

You might allow the corners of the mouth to turn up and a bit of a half smile that can just let go, relax some of those tense muscles in the face.

And then on your own for just a few seconds, scanning through again and letting go just a little bit more of any tightness, any tension.

And then when you're ready, locating the breath wherever it's most accessible. So that could be the in and out breaths at the nostrils. It might be the rising and falling of the chest, or maybe the rising and falling of the belly. And if that feels too intense, there are also sounds we can notice sounds, but for now, experimenting with seeing if we can notice the breath, each inhale and each exhale, letting it come and go on its own.

Seeing if you can notice the beginning and ending of the inhale. And the beginning and ending of the exhale. And there may or may not be a pause happening naturally in between.

And what we soon find out is that our attention drifts off, which is perfectly normal. This is what our minds do. We hear sounds, we think all kinds of thoughts. We feel an itch. Anything can pull our attention away and it's fine. So each time we notice that we've drifted off, we note where we've. And then we gently return our attention back to that home base of the breath and begin again, simply noticing, sensing from the inside out, that inhale and that exhale.

And if you'd like, before we bring our attention back to the entirety of the body. Taking a nice deep hail in and exhale out,

noticing the entirety of the body. Sitting here, breathing,

and when you're ready, opening the eyes.

Hello, .

[00:09:32] Hunter: Hi, Shonda. Thank you so much. Oh, you're welcome. That was very helpful for me. Thank you.

[00:09:41] Shonda: No, you're welcome. Yes, we can all use that's for

[00:09:44] Hunter: sure. And it helps to have somebody walk you through it no matter how much experience you have. We're the mindfulness practice. When you're in a moment.

That's a challenging moment. It really does help to have that guidance.

[00:10:00] Shonda: It's a challenging moment and it takes the onus off of us to guide ourselves, right? , and it really can be almost like a little bit of a training wheel that feels so nice to have that support in a moment.

Agreed. Yeah.

[00:10:14] Hunter: So a very unorthodox way for me to start the podcast.

poor Shonda, she opened up our studio and I was like, hi, I'm a mess. Please help me.

[00:10:27] Shonda: But no, it was on your face and that's, I am a therapist by training for 25 years. That's my initial, Hey, what's wrong? What's up? Yes, .

[00:10:36] Hunter: Yeah. And that's I think maybe that's one of. Myths about mindfulness, right?

Is that oh, you're going to practice mindfulness? I've been practicing now since I was, I don't know, like 18 years or something like that. And it's and you're never gonna be upset again, . You're never gonna have difficulties again. And that is a big myth, right? Yeah.

[00:11:03] Shonda: Oh, absolutely.

Yes. Oh yeah. It is an ongoing practice and tool and support for all of. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:11:15] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcast right after this break.

Yes. So I'm so glad you came back on the Mindful Mama podcast. Shonda is a friend we both presented together at events and. and supported each other and writing our books, and I'm so excited that you've written another book. Don't forget to Breathe Five Minute Mindfulness for Women, and I know you're a Mama and so I'd like to dive into all of that.

But yeah, the mindfulness piece itself, I think hopefully maybe dear listener, you, you stuck with us and had that experience with me of coming into your. But that whole experience of just acknowledging what is, it's amazing how such a simple thing can be, have such powerful and profound effects. How I feel enormously different than I did seven minutes ago.

. When did you discover mindfulness and how did it help?

[00:12:26] Shonda: Yeah I formally, I would say around the time you did 17, 18 years ago, nine, something like that. My kids are 20 and 10 and my daughter was around three when I took a mindfulness-based stress reduction class at my local hospital.

As I wanted to learn more to bring some mindfulness into the therapy. So I thought I, I needed to really experience what this was because I had a yoga practice and there's Shavasana and there's some meditation at the end, but it's a little bit different. So I wanted to get clear and I faith only meditated for half an hour every day as part of the homework.

So I'm a recovering perfectionist type A and within just a couple of weeks I was like, whoa, okay. I don't typically like to slow down a little bit, but I was finding that I had more energy and more patience with my daughter, and I was just more playful and I just felt better. And so I was hooked right away and then kept practicing a half an.

Quite faithfully for up until the time my daughter was about to turn 10 and I was about to have my son, and I knew there was no way with a newborn I would be meditating for half an hour every day, . And so that's where Five Minute Mindfulness was born, along with my son really because I wanted to, I knew how powerful it was and I wanted to figure out some ways that I could keep it very practical, very doable and flexible.

And started working with other moms and teaching it to them and just amazing. Just that even a few seconds can shift like how we're feeling. And we know, it's a practice. So we practice it on a regular basis so that we can pull it out and use it and remember to pull it out and use it in those moments when we are feeling really stressed because otherwise we don't remember or we think we don't have time, or we pull out our phone and start scrolling through Instagram thinking that is the answer.

Forget about the stressful day we've had. , it's all attempting. So yeah. That's, that was my introduction. I love a short

[00:14:32] Hunter: practice too. And I've done a whole gamut. Like you, like I went through a period as I was doing a mindfulness meditation teacher training where I did a half an hour every day and every morning, and I was like, this is amazing.

This feels good. And I would actually just sit silently during that whole. and it's shifted and changed for me and in a lot of different ways. And sometimes I sit silently and sometimes I sit out of meditation and sometimes I sit for, 10 minutes and sometimes I sit for 15 minutes and sometimes I sit for 20.

And it doesn't it's all good. It's all just an anchor in my day to then, like you said, if I then without it, then you forget that it's available to you and you forget that those little moments. Because a lot of people teach like you can, you can be Mindful while you're washing the dishes and things like that, and that's great and you can, but I find probably like you do that we just don't remember if we're we don't have a regular practice in our day.

It's just hard to even remember that it's there. .

[00:15:35] Shonda: . Yeah. Yeah. And it's one of those things, like a lot of things that are good for us, that we, if we get off, fall off the wagon, then we get back on and we're like, why didn't I, why did I think, why did I forget to do this or this? It does feel so good.

It makes such a difference. So I just I have a Mindful break for that, for falling off the wagon, because that happens too.

[00:15:54] Hunter: Oh, I love that. What does it involve though? Falling off the wagon? Mindful.

[00:15:59] Shonda: It's recog, first of all, forgiving ourselves if we're judging ourselves for the fact that, how could I, what's wrong with me?

Why I can't, all that, that running dialogue that we might notice the thinking of why can't I establish a habit and keep it? So noticing that, forgiving ourselves compassion, where do we get off course? Just recognizing how we did fall off the wagon and how do we course correct so that we can set up the conditions to to stay on the wagon as best we.

So it's simple, but often powerful because otherwise we give up and we start talking negatively and that, that negative reinforcement, of course is not very motivating.

[00:16:40] Hunter: No. It's weird that we think it is though. You also mentioned judgment, right? Obviously non-judgment is a big piece of mindfulness, right?

That's where we're bringing an attitude of non-judgment, of curiosity to what's going on. , did you notice, do you remember it? It's funny to ask these questions cuz I imagine if someone is asking me, I'm not sure I'd remember, but did you notice like a shift in the sense of judgment that you may have had?

Mindfulness and then post mindfulness.

[00:17:12] Shonda: Definitely, I think just a big boost in awareness, self-awareness and what was going on in my thoughts and body sensations and emotions, but especially thoughts and and that is why I felt like it was so powerful to practice mindfulness with as a therapist because we have cognitive behavioral therapy, which is about our thoughts and our be.

And I felt like mindfulness was that heart piece that often was missed of. Oh what else was there? So yes, definitely more self-awareness and oh boy, like I said, recovering perfectionist. I could judge myself really, I was. Quite skilled at it. , aren't we all to some degree still, but just noticing it and then noticing the judging of the judging.

How could you be so judgmental of yourself? What's wrong, like ? I remember really taking a couple of years to, what do I wanna say? Really work on being able to have that distance, that objectivity to the judging. I could get really lost in the judging for a few. . And then of course I still can like the rest of us.

But but like anything that's a practice that I've learned to let go a little bit more not get so attached to. Yeah.

[00:18:29] Hunter: Yeah, I think I'm personally like

[00:18:31] Shonda: better. I'm not

[00:18:33] Hunter: very self judgmental anymore. Like at all. I'm pretty good, unless I'm, I do something that I'm not terribly proud of.

And then, of course, judgment arises. It's I'm now aware of how much judgment it happens to be, like, a default like reaction as I move through the world. And I think that's really interesting. It's just it's not what I would choose necessarily to think, but it's, it, I, we recently went on a vacation, we traveled.

It's really interesting for me to notice how my mind. Makes these discernments and these judgements so instantaneously about what things are, what they mean, what they're about, and I really have no idea. You know what I mean? Yeah. I honestly have no idea, but it's interesting how to watch my mind make these like guesses,

[00:19:31] Shonda: generalizations without even, or assumptions even.


[00:19:34] Hunter: exactly. Assumptions.

[00:19:35] Shonda: Yes. Yeah our minds want to, we want certainty for sure. We want, and we want to categorize, our minds like that order. And I think what really helped me was having this attitude of amusement, of watching my judging mind, because, it is quite amusing and And if we can have that, that take, that, that flavor then we don't get stuck in judging our judging.

[00:20:03] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah. That, yeah. And I agree. Like that whole idea of looking at the judging, seeing the judging, and then. Allowing an attitude of non-judgemental illness, about the judging, which sounds so funny, right? But it's then you're like, oh it's interesting. That's how the brain works, but you can't change what you can't see.

So I think before I began a mindfulness practice, I remember thinking like, sure, if I wanna be more self-aware, Because I, yeah. At times in my life, like painfully self-aware. Yes. And I'm, I wonder sometimes if that's something that holds people back from practicing, because they don't necessarily wanna be more self-aware if that self-awareness is painful.

What do you say when, does, do you come

[00:20:49] Shonda: across this? Oh, of course. Of course. And I think that's, a. Barrier to some people sitting down and just getting quiet or still at all, is the fear that unconscious fear of what am I going to uncover here and is it going to flood me? Is it going to will I be able to tolerate it and, will I just completely lose myself in it?

And so when we test it out, so I always just invite people to experiment. And that edge, find your edge of where you, what you can sit with and be still, but not force. We never wanna force and shouldn't feel like that. But we realize often, wow, I can tolerate a lot more than I thought I could.

If we have. A little bit of guidance, and I think that's such a huge piece. Coming back to what you said in the beginning, especially when we are learning to practice mindfulness and meditation, to have a guided voice is so crucial because we can get lost in all of this and it's not rocket science.

But you do need a guide and a little bit of somebody to bring you back and show you when you might be getting lost in the judging, because otherwise people, I'm not doing this. , I can't calm my mind. I can't stop my thinking. All of those myths that we encounter around meditation and

[00:22:05] Hunter: they're, I know these benefits, but I'm gonna ask you cuz you're the guest on the podcast.

, what are the benefits of this tolerance that you, we talk about, right? Like we're learning to tolerate these uncomfortable feelings. Someone might say why would I wanna do that? I just wanna get rid of them. Yes. What are the benefits to this learning to be with all these. .

[00:22:26] Shonda: That's where empowerment comes in because when we can allow ourselves to feel, number one, we move through an emotion rather than in denial or try to go around it, which we know without our emotions will always show up and find a way to make themselves known somehow, some way if we're not willing to look and feel and go through it.

And it is hard. Absolutely it can be. And intense, it can be very intense and I like to use that word rather than hard. It can be hard as well. So the benefits are that we are able to be there for other people. That's definitely something I've noticed as a therapist in those first couple of years of really practicing meditation and mindfulness is my capacity to hold other people's emotion.

As a therapist, obviously that comes in handy, but for all of us in any relationship, to not become so easily triggered and you with Mindful, Parenting of course, is. And we've all been there and I still can get there is, when our kids are feeling intense emotions. We are, we feel it. Of course we feel it.

It's contagious. We love them. We care so much. We feel helpless. And then we're triggered and we're often running. So the more awareness we have, So being able to tolerate that and recognize, oof, I'm feeling it, I'm in it too, but I know how this feels and I know it's going to crest and then ebb and subs and subside, if I can ride that wave if I've done that through meditation and through practice, I'm more able to feel the unpleasantness of sitting with somebody else's intense emotions.

We live our lives more fully. It's a continuum of pain and pleasure and pain and all of those dualities of the more grief, for example, if I can allow grief to come in. I lost my father like a year and a half ago through cancer and sat with him when he passed. And yeah, and it was a very, actually, a beautiful experience because I was able, it was so in intertwined with love and grief at the same time.

I don't know if I didn't have a mindfulness practice, if I could have sat through that and felt that intensity. But it was a beautiful thing and a gift to him and to, to me. So that's a great example of how we can tolerate a whole lot and really not just tolerate, but open up the space and the capacity to live our lives to feel, I,

[00:24:58] Hunter: I'm sorry for your loss, and it sounds like that was a beautiful.

Passing. Yeah, it's interesting because having, normally I can speak of these things and it's it's something that's happened a longer time ago than like 20, 15 or 20 minutes. And just having, for the listener to your listener, having. I ca I had a rough morning.

Some things happened like right before this call, this interview with Shonda. , and I was like, I had to like, leave an intense situation and just come out to, to do this interview. And I, and so I arrived, she could see it on my face and I could feel, and I could feel that sort of crest.

And it's so interesting to feel that you feel that tightness and discomfort in your. and it's it's so interesting how this simple process of, and I mean I know because I trust it, but that simple process of feeling my feet, feeling my calves feeling, and it's not like I was my mind would wonder at times when she was leading me through those things, but it would come back and a little, that combination of a little bit of time.

And some loving attention. And oddly enough, the feeling of not trying to fix anything. Which is so interesting. J just this is what is right now. And it's that whole process of you have to move through it and now feeling that relief of the other side of having just given those feelings some attention.

that they, I it's so interesting cuz I say our feelings are like toddlers. Like they're like talking at her leg. Oh yeah. They're like,

[00:26:48] Shonda: you'll be a . Ill not go away until you're Right.

[00:26:53] Hunter: And now, my, my inner toddlers running free. It's just so interesting to have that happen, if you were a dear listener, a witness to that.

I guess real time for me.

[00:27:08] Shonda: Yeah, I would add too that sometimes it's as simple as that and we can come down the other side and it dissipates and sometimes it's like, , you may need to go off later on, and have a cry or something like that and make space for that.

And But sometimes we have to function in our lives. We have to do an interview , or we have to go into a meeting at work and , it's not the ideal time to, to lose it. So it helps us pull ourselves together. But then I also encourage people to make sure they're creating space somewhere in their days where they can feel it and let it out if it's still there and it's not always there, but it.

[00:27:48] Hunter: I think that's the greatest gift of mindfulness for me was that it used to be that I was this on this roller coaster of emotions and those intense things were so would either, they would just, I'd become overwhelmed by them very, just like I felt like on a regular basis. Like I felt overwhelmed by life.

But the process of on a daily basis, greeting myself, sitting with whatever is and. Over time, bit by bit, gradually becoming okay with all the stuff, like the whole spectrum. It becomes so it's not scary anymore. It's oh, this is here. I know I'm gonna recover at some point. , if I give it some time.

And And some attention. Yeah. It's it's such a, it's such a, I feel like for me, you're just reminding me of what a miracle it was for me in my life as far as like being able to surf those waves and not get, pulled under into this death spiral of what's wrong with me and, why can't I function in life and.

And being able to, then of course, for Maggie not be so triggered and things like that. But I, it just is shocking to me, I think in some ways that, I don't know, our MO for so long culturally was just like, Just don't feel those feelings or whatever. It's trund them in alcohol, , it's oh yeah.

It's so nuts. It's bananas now that I think about that. That sort of way that society has functioned for all or western societies. I know we have functioned for a long time.

[00:29:32] Shonda: Definitely. I think collectively we didn't really know. We didn't know how to talk about anything and we didn't know how to process it in a way that felt doable.

So it's just don't , keep just muscle through. . And as you're talking, I'm think thinking about how it was for me and the biggest benefit I felt, and you asked some of that, but thinking about, for me, it wasn't, it was always, I've always been more of an emotionally even person.

So it wasn't about that for me. For me, it was more about, I was always running through my mind, my to-do list, what's next? Onto the next. And I was missing so much of those ordinary, beautiful moments. And that for me is, What I, what was dramatic and so helpful. That changed for me.


[00:30:21] Hunter: And I think a lot of people can relate to. Achievement oriented thing because that is what that perfectionist, that to-do list that, parents like if, especially if you have young kids, like your life is busy. We live in a society that doesn't, we're like, a lot of, most of us are in this nuclear family where we're like two or one parent in a box by ourselves with a lot of kids.

All right, we don't have enough support. We're, so this feeling of. That like life is one big to-do list can really overwhelm people. Absolutely. Yes.

Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcasts right after this break.

So in your book, don't forget to breathe we look at this idea of that, that feeling of being overwhelmed. And you talk about the idea of mindfulness as a category for that, as a relief for that. And and the Mindful breaks being a piece of that. So what is the difference though, between mindfulness, meditation and the Mindful breaks?

[00:31:34] Shonda: You're. So meditation, so I'm sure your listeners are quite familiar, but mindfulness, present moment. Present moment awareness with kindness. Meditation is carving out time in our need to practice that skill of mindfulness. And Mindful breaks are just these reminders and pauses in the midst of our day where we don't need to go off and close our eyes and meditate, but we can come back to the present moment.

They're habits that we can establish so that hopefully we end up sprinkling our day with some Mindful breaks and we don't need to think about it and remember to do it. It's just part of what we do in our day. And I categorize them because there are different types of Mindful breaks. People will think it's all about calming and awareness, and that's certainly an a crucial piece of this.

But there are also other kinds of breaks that I talk about which are becoming breaks, and that is when we are feeling like we need a shot of confidence or assertiveness. Maybe we are taking on a new position at work or, we have a new phase in our. Development that we feel like I have no idea what I'm doing here.

So we might pull out a becoming break. And then there are balance breaks, which help us bring life back into a little bit more balance and recalibrate on an ongoing basis. Because there are times, especially I would say with moms, I hear it a lot. It's like monotony, lackluster boredom.

How we there, it's not all about calming ourselves down all the time. Sometimes we want a little shot of energy or engagement or excitement in our lives, or we want to, reach a goal or those kinds of things. And so it all requires awareness and intention. And so those are all the pieces that play together.

[00:33:16] Hunter: I love that. So can you give us an example of what is a becoming break and what is a balance?

[00:33:21] Shonda: Sure. A becoming break might be something called the Green Eye monster, which is when we are feeling envious of someone . And this can be so common on social media, but I talk about in the book my this was before.

COVID, but I still had my office and I was heading out the door. I had just put my son on the bus and I was rushing and I was, had my briefcase and I had my laptop, and I had my lunch and I was in my car and I'm pulling out of the driveway and I look over and I see my friend who's my neighbor, she is strolling with her dog in the sunshine, in her cup of coffee.

And I was like, Oh man, and I felt jealousy and I then I, then I started judging myself. And what's wrong with you? She's not laying around eating bond bonds all day. She has kids and she's taking care of the house where her husband is traveling. And I'm, I love my work, so what is my problem?

So it took me a moment to take a breath and ask, what's up, what's underneath that? And really what it, what easily came to me was that I just had overscheduled myself with work, and I needed to find a little bit of space to just feel like I had 10 minutes to walk my dog in the sunshine with a cup of coffee.

So I went to work and I opened up my calendar at my lunch break and looked a few weeks ahead where I could start scheduling a little bit of white space in my calendar. So it just felt a little bit more spacious. So it's this idea of when we notice and me it's sometimes it's not the first thing that shows up.

We might think, oh, I. It might be like something materialistic and then you think, real, what's underneath that? Do I really want that big house in the pool? Or whatever it is? No, I wanna feel financial security. It's getting in touch with what is that? What's underneath that initial pang of envy?

And then what is one step I can take toward moving myself in that direction of what it is I'm really craving? So it's just a bit of insight. That's an example of a becoming. I

[00:35:21] Hunter: love that idea because what you're saying is you, a lot of us see that, and then we see your judgment and then we think, and a lot of people don't.

We feel like this is how life has to be. Like I have to just be busy all the time. I have to be overwhelmed. I have to be stressed. This is my lot in life. And you saw that and you had the worthiness, right? The sense. I'm a human being that deserves to be able to not be running around with a chicken with my head cut off and also go for like a 10 minute walk with my dog.

And I just wanna point that piece out because that's so important, that idea that change is possible. But first we have to dis give ourselves permission Yes. To live that m more balanced life. Yes. That we are deserving of that more balanced.

[00:36:16] Shonda: You choose. You're absolutely right because we might even recognize it's possible maybe.

But it's been permission. And some of us are really stuck in martyr syndrome of again, this like parenthood or motherhood or has to be a grind. It has to be all nonstop. And I come absolutely last. So permission. Huge. Yes.

[00:36:36] Hunter: Awesome. And you're gonna talk about balance breaks, but I love this idea of that of.

And I was thrilled. So you, you know so many people, right? Say that balance is impossible. It's not possible. That's been a trendy thing to say in some ways in the last couple years, but you say it's not only possible, it's optimal. And I love that because I. I, I'm with you.

I believe that it's possible too. I think it can be possible. It can be something we shoot for. Yes. It doesn't have, we don't have to give up on that dream. Okay. So how is this possible ?

[00:37:11] Shonda: First of all, let's say coming back to what you said Yes. And I'm like, ah, somebody else is gonna tell me it's a bs.

No, please. Why would you not want balance? And I do get it because I think sometimes we. We've, especially moms have been striving to create what we expect balance to look like, and we think it's perfect, and it's like we're gonna reach this point and it's all balanced. And don't move a muscle because if we, something, tips over, forget it.

There goes the balance and we're done. But it's our definition and our definition. My definition is it's this ongoing recalibration of life balance. And it can be fun and playful and not so rigid and not so perfectionistic. It changes. Seasons of life, it changes with our moment to moment, really. Right?

But it wasn't, but the balance in my life with toddlers looked way different than it does with a 10 and 20 year old. And it will look different when I have an empty nest. Knowing, the seasons of life and how we evolve and balance can, a balance rate can be as simple as knowing recognizing how does the pace of my life feel?

Is it feeling like. Going too quickly, too fast. There's not enough time in space. And then I know I need to put on the break a little bit and let go of something or delegate something. Or maybe it's time, like I said, where I'm ho hum. I don't know. And this isn't very exciting.

Is this it? And then I might figure out a way to step on the gas pedal a little bit. Maybe I take on a project or I volunteer, or whatever that looks like, that kind of energizes me again. Sometimes life throws on the emergency break for us, and then we have to readjust then too. So really just, this again, ongoing awareness and making one subtle shift toward a little bit more balance.

That's it, right? Because it really matters. And over time then we can maybe make another shift in another shift, but to not overwhelm ourselves so much at one time. Okay?

[00:39:10] Hunter: So I love that. Is an example of a balance

[00:39:14] Shonda: break so that the gas pedal and the break and the service knowing, yeah. Yeah. That's one.

So life is pie. I've talked about this idea of two. If you imagine two circles, you can write them down and just divide them up. So your current pie, how your life is right now. So what sort of pie piece is D is work taking up? What about your family, your spouse, your hobbies, self-care. Any of those pieces of your life, what does it look like right now?

And often people are like, oh man, this is a terrible pie. And then what is your ideal pie? What does your ideal pie look like? And getting out of our own way, not how am I gonna get there, but just what would it really look like in the current condition of my life? And then what is one step I can take toward adjusting towards my ideal pie?

Again, one step at a time. And I think that's what I like to really propose is these are doable and we feel when we make a subtle shift, but it's intentional, then we feel that, we feel the benefits of that. And it brings confidence, the more action we take, the more confident we feel, the more we're motivated to take another action toward more balance in our lives.

[00:40:30] Hunter: I'd like that. And I like that you're, it involves this knowing where you have to know where you wanna go, right? You have to know if you are ever gonna have any chance of getting there. You have to know where you wanna go, at least to be able to make those decisions. Rather than just letting life, completely take over, it's great to have a decision.

And then when you have a Choi choice point, you know where. Where, what the direction is, right? And

[00:40:58] Shonda: another Mindful break is about knowing our values, knowing, our top three or four values in our lives and getting really clear on that, letting that be our inner compass. So when we are making these changes, these shifts that we're always filtering through those top values as a, a barometer to keep us headed in the right direction intentionally.

And where it feels. So

[00:41:23] Hunter: I've heard that before. You know about our values, right? We wanna know our values so we know where we're going and et cetera. How does a person, figure out their values? I imagine there's like obvious, there's probably like an exercise for this, right?

Where but it's just as I can think of I don't know, it's all, they're all like vague and floating above my head, I think at this.

[00:41:46] Shonda: Yeah, totally. Brene Brown has a values list on her website, so you can, something as simple as looking up a values list and then it's getting quiet.

I always recommend, of course, anytime we're doing this kind of work, spend a few minutes getting quiet still with meditation or whatever that looks like, so we can access that. Just that knowing that inner wisdom. And circle the top 10 because it is hard to narrow it down, circle the top 10.

What jumps out at you? What's really important? and then what can I let go of? Sometimes we might say, oh, this one fits in this category. Maybe family is a top value, but it also goes under love for me and love for my friends and community and that kind of thing. Or so it's all so personal that it just only matters what it means to us, and that helps guide me personally.

Not what anybody else thinks of the val value of family kind of thing and making sure they're ours and not what we think we're supposed to choose. Yeah,

[00:42:42] Hunter: that makes sense. Yeah. Do you know yours off the top of your head?

[00:42:46] Shonda: Yeah. And they're one is funny cuz it's slow love, nature.

And gross and slow came to me because years back I was interviewing someone and she, I thought she said her value was slow and I was like, oh, I need that one. And she had said, But I didn't know that until later, until I was joking with her. But, so I adopted that for my own because I, like I've said, that's my mo I need to be conscious of being more slow.

[00:43:14] Hunter: I like slow love, nature and growth. I love those values. Those are so cool. Yeah. I'm gonna have to look at the list and I might steal your face. You can steal them.

It would make sense though, right? That's amazing. Okay, so you. You have two kids 10 years apart. What are some of the ways mindfulness has helped you as a.

[00:43:39] Shonda: Yeah. Oof. My poor daughter, right? When I, it just, she really got the perfectionist coming out and I say I had issues between perfectionism, insanity, and thankfully sanity won.

So that was a good thing. And I think my son, he has the benefit of me seeing that a lot of the little things, don't matter. , really that I was so worried about with my. . So I'm more easy going and I don't sweat the small stuff as much so mindfulness and my daughter has especially as a kid, had a lot of anxiety.

So it was hard. Even, it doesn't matter that I'm a therapist who was trained in that. When it's your family member we were talking about before or your child and you just feel so helpless. Me being able to tolerate. Feeling so helpless to me was one of the most intense practices and still can be.

Oh yeah, absolutely. But it's gotten easier over time. It has. So that was definitely one. And and my son, it can crop up a little bit here and there. And then I am, I know how to do this thing. I don't like it , I don't really like it, but I'm more skilled at it and practiced. It's so

[00:44:55] Hunter: interesting, isn't it, because.

Similar for me it wasn't necessarily perfectionism, but we know that like for those first three years, like the brain is developing and they're like imprinting everything. And it's so hard with our first kit cuz we don't. We don't know anything. We've never done this before.

There's no no one takes, right? I had one couple take Parenting class when their child was like on top, like a infant or something like that. But basically no one does that, and. And so we don't know it then. And then we have, there's a, I think for me, I had, there's a measure of forgiveness, that has to go along with seeing our unskillful. , our unskillful of the past.

[00:45:45] Shonda: Yeah. And I talk about g good enough, Parenting, it definitely letting go and being good enough. And I see that's really, yeah. White great actually, being a good enough parent and you.

That's, and forgiving ourselves like we were talking about before, when we make mistakes or, act in a way, like being able to be compassionate with ourselves. Oh, and just, I think also for me, again, coming back to these ordinary moments, knowing that I didn't have to create these big special memories maybe that I thought.

They're great sometimes. Sure. And they're memorable obviously, but often these in between moments, I still talk, think about my daughter on a ferry like I was holding her, she might have been four or five and just her falling asleep and rocking her on this ferry. Wow, just the wind in my face and feeling the sun.

And that is a moment that's woof locked in and I savor that. It's, it was quite

[00:46:43] Hunter: ordinary. Yeah, I know all those moments of holding, now that my oldest daughter is 15, I can think of yes. All those moments where she was just like glued to my chest, arms and legs wrapped around and those are like, just like to think about that is that's a shot of love in my day to think about that.

[00:47:07] Shonda: Yeah. And as you're saying that, I'm thinking also those moments of intensity, like we're talking about that can be, they are clinging to us and we're feeling like, oh my gosh, I don't want another human being clean to me right now. And then guilt, we might lay on ourselves about that. So a lot of the mom guilt, I've been able to really let go of, because.

Again, it's, to know that it's passing, it's, I think that's a super helpful thing that those intensity of those newborn days when we're feeling so out of control and exhausted and that it's short-lived and will survive because I wasn't sure I was going to survive with my dog.

Honestly, a moment are moments

[00:47:49] Hunter: I. I know my daughter was such an intense baby and all that. Yeah, it's interesting. I think for me what's helped too is like that I did everything I could, that like I, I know when she was, under three, like my temper scared her and that wasn't, like that was not good for her, but yeah, for her.

But I guess I also, I also know that I did everything I could to turn that around and I was able to like, and time and all of that, was able to turn that around. But it wasn't like, I think the, I think taking action is helpful for. Letting you know for, forgiving that younger and more unskillful self

[00:48:38] Shonda: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. And intentional action because, we could throw a spaghetti at the wall trying to figure out what that is. But if we can pause and have more awareness and know our own habits and reactivities, what, where we fall on continuums, some people are more passive, some people are more active, some people are.

Temper driven and some, some people check out. So it's knowing where you are on that continuum and trying to come a little bit more toward the center. Oh, Uhhuh.

[00:49:07] Hunter: Yeah. Shonda, I'm so happy to connect with you again and talk to you. Thank you for. Helping me through my afternoon .

[00:49:18] Shonda: The bill is coming your way for the therapy session.

No, it's been a pleasure as always. Hunter .

[00:49:27] Hunter: Oh my goodness. So tell people where they can find your book and where they can talk to you about it more

[00:49:34] Shonda: if they'd. Sure. My book is Anywhere Books are Sold, and my website is Shonda, s h o n d a, Morales, m o r a l i And I'm on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn.

So come say hello

[00:49:48] Hunter: and her new book is, don't Forget to Breathe.

Thank you so much for listening. I hope this episode helped you as much as it helped me, as you could hear, it really helped me enormously, so thank you so much. I hope you enjoyed it. If you enjoyed it, please. If you love the episode, please go leave us a review on Apple Podcast. Get, maybe don't worry about it, , but I wanna give a shout out to a great review from Laura p Varo, who give us a five star review.

So helpful for moms. She says, for all of us moms who love learning more about the Parenting journey and having someone confidently help us along the way to being the exact mothers we want to be. Yay. Thank you, Laura. And that's it for today, for this week, next week is a special on air coaching session.

We're gonna talk about how it'll hold space for big little ones with big emotions. You'll, you've heard me coached through a mindfulness practice today, and you'll hear. Me coaching one of the Mindful Parenting members next week. So awesome episodes. Make sure you are subscribed so that you get that episode right in your inbox or whatever.

And yeah, I'm wishing you a great week. I hope that you are, had a, it's been kinda like a quiet, restful new year here for me, and I hope it's been, I don't know. I'm wishing a similar vibe for you, something restful and quiet in this darkest. Time of the year, at least here in the Northern Hemis.

If you're in the Southern Hemisphere party on, in the Sunshine . And thank you. Thank you for listening. I really enjoy connecting with you each week and I'm so glad you're here. This is gonna be an amazing year this year in the, for the Mindful Mama podcast. So please share with your friends so that they can be part of this journey too.

And thank you for being part. Amazing community worldwide, thousands and thousands of us who are doing this work, and I am inspired by you and your presence there doing, being part of the healing. I can't wait to talk to you again next week. Thank you so much.

[00:52:25] Shonda: I'd say definitely do it. It's really helpful. It will change your relationship with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better and just, I'd say communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse, it's been really a positive influence in our lives, so definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.

It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit from being a better parent to your children and feeling like you're connect. With them and not feeling like you yelling all the time, or you're like, why isn't things working? I would say definitely to it. It's so worth it.

It'll change you no matter what age someone's child is. It's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue in your old habits that aren't working, or you can learn some new tools and gain some perspective to shift.

Everything in your Parenting,

[00:53:29] Hunter: are you frustrated by parent? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?

Hi, I'm Hunter Clark Fields, and if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting membership. You'll be joining hundreds of members who have discovered the path of Mindful Parenting and now have confidence in clarity in their Parenting. This isn't just another Parenting class.

This is an opportunity to really discover your unique lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go. Mindful Parenting to add your name to the wait list, so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment.

I look forward to seeing you on the inside, Mindful Parenting

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