A Mother’s Day Gift to Myself

9 May

Mother’s Day started out just the way I was hoping it would. I threw a sweater on over my son Adam’s blue dinosaur pajamas and headed up to our lakeside country store to pick up a copy of the paper and a cup of coffee. The talk at the store was already abuzz from an article that appeared that day. My son was the star.

He is the gift I allowed myself to have that I get to enjoy everyday and Mother’s Day is a great time to think about that.

Anyway, that’s my little bit of sentimentality for today. Here’s the article. Enjoy!

Mother recognizes the Zen mentality of son

By Doug Gruse dgruse@poststar.com The Post-Star | Posted: Sunday, May 8, 2011 12:15 am

Megin Potter has learned that every emotion is temporary.

It took a child to teach her that lesson.

In “Heart of a Toddler: The Zen in Them,” Potter writes about 51 principles she discovered from observing her young son.

“You have to be present in the moment,” Potter said. “It’s hard when you have a million errands to do or you have to get your kid dressed and teeth brushed and then off to play group, but you need to take that minute and sit down and be present to what your kid is trying to communicate.”

Potter, who lives in Argyle, remembers the stress and frustration she felt being a new mom, especially after her son Adam reached his first birthday. Instead of getting mired in the chaos, she chose to embrace the unpredictability of life.

As she began reading Buddhist philosophy, she realized that much of Zen thought applied to her situation.

“I was surprised at how well Zen ideas fit into the art of raising children. I combined what these ancient masters said with this intuitive wisdom that is in our young children,” she said.

During the day she began taking notes as she observed Adam exploring the world. At night, she transcribed her journal entries and scrawled passages into something more concrete.

“I would stay up after he went to bed, and I started making it into a book,” she said.

Suddenly life seemed simpler and more harmonious.

Lesson No. 13: Constantly test boundaries.

Lesson No. 29: Laugh all day long.

Lesson No. 33: Wear your emotions on your sleeve.

Even the most difficult occasions of parenting began to create opportunities rather than obstacles.

“I find the most challenging moments with him are the ones where I sit down and say, ‘What am I supposed to be learning form this that I am not doing?'” said Potter, a former freelance writer for The Post-Star.

Before she released the book, she began posting some of her parenting thoughts in her Babbysitting with Buddha blog.

“I had been working on the book for about six to eight months, and then I started the blog just to have something for everyone I was telling about my theories to look at right away,” she said.

A recent entry reflected on the significance of the “Mommy Bag.”

“I was looking for a receipt to add to my scattered collection of expense reports when I made the mistake of reaching into the depths of the black hole I carry around with me daily, fondly known as my Mommy Bag. Originally it was called a ‘diaper bag,’ but it has become so much more than that. It is the ‘diaper, wipes, extra set of clothes, activities for when boredom strikes, money-holder, snack and drink carrier, toddler exploration exhibit I sling on my shoulder and have at all times’ bag,” Potter wrote.

Even a disorganized carry-all has something to teach, if you listen closely.

Potter finds disappointments often are self-fulfilling.

“One of the main ways to maintain a calm sense of balance and peace and connectedness is to drop the expectations. Go more with what your core is saying to you,” she said. “A lot of time we focus on what the people around us might be expecting from us or we let our own desires, expectations and fears lead the way.”

Potter said the lessons, while geared toward parents, are universally relevant.

“Children’s wisdom is so intuitive, and we tend to move away from that as we get older. If we go back to it, we can relearn a lot of the things we have forgotten,” she said.

Adam is now 2 1/2, and Potter said she still learns things from him every day.

“Everyone can be our teacher, no matter how old or young they are,” she said.

An impromptu hug or a twirl can be as inspiring as the entire parenting section at the library.

“There is someone here to teach you, and it is the child,” Potter said. “We can do more than survive the toddler phase, we can let it revive us and energize us.”

And even when things do seem out of control, one toddler-inspired tip can come in handy.

Lesson No. 2: Scream.

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