Conscious parenting beginnings: A tale of the twisted seat belt buckle

Earlier this year, after a trip to get some groceries, my daughter was having a large amount of trouble doing up her seat belt.

“Mummy, I can’t do it,” she whined.

“Yes you can sweet heart,” I replied. “You have done it before.”

My daughter tried again and again, pulling the straps in different directions so they had no chance of reaching the buckle.

“But Mummy it’s not working!”

At this point my ‘normal’ reaction to this situation is to roll my eyes (kind aren’t I?) and get out of the car and strap her in. But instead I made a conscious decision. “Sweet heart we’re not in a rush… take your time.”

She continued to unsuccessfully put the straps in the buckle. After a few minutes I turned to her and said, “Let’s try breathing together and if you want close your eyes to give yourself a break from what you are doing. ” I took a breath and realised that she needed space and I needed to not rush in and rescue her.

This was certainly not a regular reaction or words that I usually use. I was inspired by my first week of learning how to meditate with Dr Shefali Tsabary in The Year of The Awakened Heart course.

My daughter and I breathed together, silently.

Wiping her tears she said in an upbeat tone, “Mummy look the lock is all twisted.” She untwisted the buckle and almost got the left strap into it. Almost… In.

She tried with the right. In. The look of pure joy on her face when she realized what she had done. I celebrated with her and also celebrated to myself that I had allowed her space and time.

If I had rushed off I would have missed my first 20 minute conscious parenting lesson in the car that day. I can be in such a rush to get from one place to the next. I forget to have fun and be patient in the moments that may arise with my children or life in general. When things run against my expectations… I get frustrated.

When I say ‘conscious parenting lesson’ it was a lesson for me not my daughter. I needed to breath and accept that the seat belt lock was twisted and we would not leave quickly. In my eagerness to leave I had placed pressure on her and myself. I noticed how my presence not my words ‘spoke.’ I continue to learn.

Our drive home was a happy one.

Every interaction with our children is a reflection of our own relationship with ourselves. — Dr Shefali Tsabary