August 30, 2016

The Mindset of Being a Kind Parent

As a fellow writer, also trying to finish a novel, I can relate to a lot of Cara's thoughts, namely her ways of being kind to her professional self. But what was most eye-opening about our conversation was her own coined term of kindset. She has such a profound perspective on how to be kind as kids, as parents, and as human beings. I'm so lucky she decided to stop by here. Hope you enjoy her words as much as I did!

Tells us the kindest thing you’ve ever experienced as a parent?
My third child was born by emergency section. The doctors expected it because she was huge, but I didn't! I didn't even pack a hospital bag! My mother in law, who's afraid of flying, got straight on a plane and came to help us out, making sure I got plenty of time to rest and that I built up my iron levels (she knew I wouldn't eat red meat if I could get away with it).

Who/what inspires you to be kind? Explain why they/it inspires you to do so
My friend Louise was saying a while back that she tried to do something kind every day. She was explaining why she'd bought a plant for a neighbour. I thought that that was a nice way to be, but not especially practical. But I thought I'd try to perform a little act of kindness every day this year. Sometimes all I do is let a car come out of a junction where it's stuck, but I think it all counts

It’s important to be kind to others, but it’s just as important to be kind to yourself. What do you do (or plan on doing) to be kind to yourself (either as a mother, as a professional, or as a woman)?
I'm not very good at this, but I hurt my shoulder last September and it's still not better. I am taking steps to make it get better, and when that is done I intend to get stronger, so it's hopefully less likely to happen again!

Professionally, I like to take part in the #WhatI'mWriting linky over at Maddy's Writing Bubble: every month I talk about what I've done with my writing. Day by day it doesn't seem like I'm getting anywhere fast, but looked at monthly I'm coming on in leaps and bounds!

It’s often said that kindness is easier said than done. As a parent, what valuable advice can you give for showing kindness to others (especially to those who may not seem like they want or deserve it)?
I think we can always show other people what kindness is. Quite often the kids who are mean to my kids seem to be those who maybe haven't been shown enough kindness themselves. I talk about that with my kids, and that makes it easier to understand and to forgive. Some people need more chances.

As a parent, what does kindness mean to you?
Kindness means avoiding judgments. Helping people to help themselves, and just keeping an eye on everyone else, being aware of what help people might need. It takes a village to bring up a child, and it's important to be a part of that village – helping others out, and accepting help yourself. Kindness also means bringing joy to people, for no reason other than it being a nice thing to do – baking cookies, sharing flowers. My kids especially enjoy hiding pennies to bring other people good luck. They love to check if a penny they hid before is still there, or if it's already brought someone luck.

What lesson do you want your kids to learn about kindness?
That it's not difficult to be kind, but it takes practice to get into the kindset – the mindset of being kind. Being self-centred is our default setting, but thinking of others is just a step away, and being kind to others brings all sorts of joy upon ourselves. Helps to make friends, swap favours, and bring delight.

Find Cara on: Oh We DoTwitter | Instagram | Facebook

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