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Thriving through Caregiver Compassion Fatigue: Mindfulness While with Our Children

In this episode, you'll learn about ways to be mindful while with your children. So once coronavirus started and I was home with the kids all the time, my stress level really, really, really took a turn for the worse. And even though I was already experiencing compassion fatigue, at that point, it just got so much worse because I was with the kids and there. 24/7. And it was really challenging, but I realized after, I guess the first two months of quarantine, that by using the mindfulness strategies that I talk about all the time in my job, I could actually enjoy the moments with them and make the most of the time that I had with them, because I had kids because I wanted to spend time with them.

And I'd kind of gotten away from that because of the compassion fatigue that I was experiencing, because I was at zombie level. I really was. And so I'll just share with you some of my experience of how I was mindful with them to see if, you know, maybe you guys can, who were listening, can take some of those strategies and utilize them with your own children to at least make moments with them while you're interacting with them a little bit nicer. So one of the things that we started doing was walking around the neighborhood with the kids. We were lucky in that there are a lot of condos and townhouses and apartment complexes around where we live.

So we could walk around with them and granted. Those times with the two young kids that we have, we're full of whining and screaming and kids dragging their feet and aggression. However, I was able to find a lot of things that I really loved and could really just be mindful of and zone in on. So I loved feeling the air blow against my skin because I'd been inside for two months straight.

I loved seeing them, this was early spring of 2020, seeing the blossoms of the spring and summer flowers and how they changed, how they grew, how they fell off and what the kids did with them. I loved being curious about why and how the flowers grew, the way they did, because there were some that were really wacky.

I loved rediscovering the joy of blowing dandelion fuzz, and you know, thinking about, and then singing songs frozen because of that phrase and watching the kids. Play with it for the first time and just delight in finding as many dandelions as they could. I loved going in search of the motorcycles and pickup trucks and Jeeps that my kids adored and searching for them all the time and then grabbing my youngest and chasing the garbage truck through the neighborhoods so that he could watch it eat the trash.

I loved watching our toddler learn to walk, then run, then frolic through the grass and rocks without falling. And it was, it was really cool watching these things. I've also learned to watch, you know, inside of cherishing their humor. Watching the gears turn in their mind as they try to solve a problem.

And just seeing it when it clicks, listening to the funny ways, my oldest with autism scripts, the things that he's heard and realizing that, Oh, I actually have an end to know what's going on at school and all the conversation he has because of the scripting. I love gazing into their shiny sparkly eyes.

And watching what they're looking at. I love holding their soft hands and they're silky little chubby cheeks and analyzing their growth over the long months because they are much bigger than they were when we first started. They were totally different kids. I loved seeing how they were stretching out and growing, starting to wear different clothes.

And the youngest ones started to wear the clothes that the oldest wore at the beginning of quarantine. I know them turning into toddlers or actual full-blown kids. I loved listening to them, figure out how to use new words and conversations. Even watching them try to drive each other nuts. Getting more clever about it.

I loved watching them be able to do new, fine motor and gross motor activities that they'd never been able to do before, or that used to cause them immense stress and would cause tantrums. And I love to this day, watching my youngest, my almost two and a half year old, run for second place before taking off just like the roadrunner and then doing something silly every time he runs back and running forward and back and forward and back, and just seeing the silliness.

I love watching them learn to use their utensils and trying new foods and having all sorts of reactions to foods they like, and they don't like. Watching our youngest look at our oldest with love and trying to copy everything. The oldest does down to exactly how that one coughs or touches a wall.

So I found that moving from the distress and incredible stress and difficulty that I was experiencing to more mindfulness around my children, made some of those moments better and made those bad moments shorter. So I found that it also made me appreciate the time that I had with them, even if it wasn't as much as I desired.

And then I was a better me and a more present me and a less distressed me when I was mindful. So I hope that helps open you all up to what do you enjoy watching your children do? Or what could you be more mindful of in your moments? That would make you enjoy those moments a little bit more. In our next episode, we will be talking about cheap and easy self-care strategies that can help us get through really tough times.

Thank you for listening to this course on Listenable. I hope you enjoyed it.

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Written by

Jessica Temple