Smile Meditation - it is getting me through the day!

My daughter won a virtue award today at school for patience. Yes, patience!! The irony was not lost on my family. We, in particular me! - are not normally known for our patience. We tend to be quite passionate about our feelings. We don’t take no for an answer easily. So to have a daughter be publicly praised for being patient is amazing!

For the record, my daughter’s efforts to be independent and her frustrations are quite normal. She does get mad! And she is so me! I don’t know how much she has channelled directly from me. But since my daughter is adopted we have to rule out my genetics and focus on myself as a role model So it is up to me to find patience - .insert laughter from my friends, family and the Moms at playgroup! – and cultivate this practice for myself and my daughter.

For example, every parent knows that your mood affects your kids and they affect you! If you are rushed, anxious, mind pre-occupied on other tasks – then it is inevitable that they push back; they dig in and slow you down. The dreaded morning ritual of climbing into a snow suit can push me beyond my limits of patience on a bad day or it can be a moment of triumph when my daughter gets dressed by herself with no fuss.

I learned a little trick to find patience during this morning ritual. It is a simple meditation. I smile. Rather than enter a screaming match and try to hurry her along … I look in to her eyes and I smile. Usually she can’t resist and smiles back. Sometimes it results in a staring match, a few “Mommy, you are crazy!” comments but eventually she gives in and smiles back. That breaks the tension … and then we can move on to getting the next leg in her snow pants!

I often idealize gaining patience by retreating to the mountains of Nepal and meditating. I would return to my life wonderfully calm and ultra patient. But until that happens this little practice – smile meditation - is getting me through the day, Mommy moment by Mommy moment.

P.s. We did do the award justice with an after school family party - dinner out, candles, a card and small gift! My daughter ate her favourite food and dressed up in a fancy purple flower girl dress, black patent leather shoes with sparkles and a tiara! Because patience is definitely something to celebrate!!

Jill Umbach is a single Mom who created her family through adoption. Life as an Artist, Humanitarian Aid Worker and Traveler has landed her in Owen Sound, Ontario where she is learning to like winter and maximize her time at the beach on the shores of Georgian Bay!



  1. Thank you for this beautiful story on smile meditation! I think we moms sometimes lose sight of what's more important... getting to the Mommy and Me class on time, but in grouchy moods from being so rushed and stressed... or being a few minutes late because we took a time-out to smile and connect? When my daughter is wailing over something, sometimes I look at her and start laughing, just because the whole situation (what she's wailing about) is rather ridiculous when you stop and think about it. Most of the time, she starts laughing, too!

  2. I am glad that people smiled when they read this article! I think we forget to check what our faces look like when we talk to our kids. Are you smiling or is your face scrunched up? A honest smile or moving towards one changes the message we are communicating ... even if it is hurry up! I should add that is important to look in your child's eyes while you smile! That goes a long way to expressing love!


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