Growing up in the 1980s as a British-Indian brought up by immigrant parents, I experienced a traditional upbringing. I was raised with a rather authoritative parenting style. So, I strived to be the perfect child to be considered worthy. I yearned to be accepted and subconsciously mastered how to be the model child.
As I grew into an adult, this led me to feel a little lost and sometimes suffocated. Despite that, a single heartstring would always pull me towards connecting to and learning something creative and new—something from my childhood that I never fully explored. This yearning was so strong I tried to follow it, whatever the circumstances, without realising what was unfolding.
Years later, I realised that my heart was signalling to me subtle messages, and my true self was desperate to be free and live a more aligned life. Leaning into those cues would change how I saw the world and eventually parented, and moving to Qatar was instrumental to that process.
A Busy Young Family in London
As a mother of two in London, my daily life consisted of running, racing, and clinging on to just about anything to prevent eventual exhaustion. And I was not alone—this was the norm for many families living in the city.
My typical day would involve waking at 5 am, making dinner for that evening, getting my daughter ready, and dropping her off at her nursery. Then, I would take a chaotic commute to work for over an hour to get to my physically and emotionally draining job in a stressful hospital environment. The day would end with my rushing back to collect my daughter before 6 pm, giving her dinner and 30 minutes of free play, and finally, bedtime.
Multiple tasks and thoughts were racing through my brain every second of the day. I had no quality time for my children, let alone to practise self-care or cultivate self-love, which is a core foundation of mindful parenting.
I felt blessed to have received 10 months of maternity leave to connect with both of my daughters. However, once this was completed, I felt I was back in the race and life as a mother felt challenging every day despite my parents’ support. My inner self was yearning for something more, and I felt deeply lost and disconnected in many areas of my life.
New Beginnings in Doha
In 2016, I received an opportunity to work in Doha as a full-time paediatric clinical pharmacist. Although I felt challenged by the psychological demands of my job and the working environment, I quickly noticed my ability to switch off more easily outside work. The calm nature and slower pace of life here almost forced me to be present in every moment. As a result, I really began listening and getting to know my daughters for who they were.
It goes without saying, the privileges many of us have in Qatar, such as home help and other benefits, can help to eliminate many daily stresses we may experience in our home countries. Daily travel is relatively straightforward, and convenience is at our fingertips.
This can undoubtedly give us increased quality time to spend with our children. I noticed I was more available to my daughters.
I realised how significantly our lifestyles could impact our parenting. I became a more open mother from being a blurry-eyed mother in London. However, a tiny part of me still did not feel fully content.
Unexpected Turns and Insights
After three years, I was informed that my role as a pharmacist was being terminated. I came to terms with it very quickly and was preparing for our move back to the UK. However, to our surprise, a new path began to unfold miraculously and with so much ease.
I began my journey as an entrepreneur in Qatar, which led to having more quality time with my children. I also noticed my self-awareness begin to expand harmoniously.
At the same time, I had moments of flooding emotions as my childhood wounds surfaced. Yet, I considered this the start and pinnacle of my journey as a conscious parent.
Evolving as a Conscious Mother
Since then, I have chosen to commit to my healing and growth, connect to my intuition, and live the truest version of myself. As a result, I began to experience what felt like magic in my interactions with my daughters.
I started to really get in tune with their emotions and thoughts, and it became easier to stay fully present with them in every situation.
We often believe we are listening to our children when in reality, we are thinking about a million other things simultaneously. When your child wants to speak to you, pause what you are doing for a moment, look into their eyes and listen openheartedly. Really process what they convey. Doing this has led to so many “wow” moments for me, which, in turn, have given me so many opportunities to self-reflect.
I have observed that children are incredibly connected to their intuition and gifts and will simply tell you how it is. When I am racking my brain trying to determine why my daughter is going through a difficulty, spending quality, fully present time with her makes all the difference. During those moments, I tune into every inkling I experience. Living consciously has sharpened this intuition, and I believe I now understand and connect with my daughters more than ever before.
As parents, our role is to guide our children in their life paths. Their journeys are unique, and if we invest in ourselves, we can have a significant positive impact on them. This will most definitely open the gate to their reaching their full potential.
The best parenting school, in my view, guides you to fully embrace who you are, so you are centred and fully equipped to support your child on their life path. That’s why I am committed to conscious parenting.
Still, none of this means that parenting is easy, especially with a strong-willed child. So often, when a difficulty arises, we jump straight to correcting our children, losing our patience, or getting angry with them. However, the conscious parenting school teaches that we can learn to manage our emotional triggers and control our impulsive reactions. Regulating ourselves around our children gives them the space to express themselves and allows their sense of self to flourish and not be hindered by feeling unseen or unheard.
When I face these challenges, it helps me to always remember that I am in co-creation with my children in every situation. So, I remind myself that letting them be who they are and nurturing their inner spark will allow them to grow into the best versions of themselves.
With everything said, no parent is perfect, regardless of how they describe their parenting style. We are all continuously learning how best to support our children in their uniqueness and wonder. So, have faith in yourself. After all, you can only do your best.
Tips to Help You On Your Conscious Parenting Journey
- Sign up for the Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids course with Dr Laura Markham.
- You can also sign up for Path of the Conscious Parent by Dr Shefali via Mindvalley. This course is free.
- Read Conscious Parenting books such as Happy Parents, Happy Kids by Dr Laura Markham.
- Spend 10 minutes daily in nature to help keep you grounded and connected to your intuition.
- Take 10 minutes for yourself in the morning before your children wake up (without your phone!). Use this time to stretch, enjoy a warm drink in your favourite calm spot in your home, choose a mindfulness activity, or even sing!
- When choosing an educational facility for your child, know that one size does not fit all, and each of your children may need something different. Use your intuition to guide you in this decision.
- Be a child with your child sometimes—this is so good for connection.
- Speak positive affirmations to yourself and teach your child to do the same.
- Fill your home with scents and ornaments that foster a sense of calm and create a healing environment.