Body, Mind, Spirit Magazine

How The Zen Mama Became The Zen Mama

By Zen_sheila @BeZensational

I’d like to welcome the beautiful and talented Betsy McKee Henry as my very first guest blogger at Zen-Sational Living! Welcome, Betsy! Betsy is a wife, mom, a preschool teacher, and the author of two great books (both of which I highly recommend) HOW TO BE A ZEN MAMA and THE ZEN MAMA’S BOOK OF QUOTES.  Okay… without further ado heeeere’s Betsy!

“If you can solve your problem, then what is the need of worrying? If you cannot solve it, then what is the use of worrying?”
~ Shantideva

“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there and worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the loss of sleep.”
~ Dale Carnegie

If you don’t like something – change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”

~ Mary Engelbreit

Back in 2009, I became a Zen Mama.

Back in 2009, my husband and I had just finished a challenging year with our children; grades had fallen and limits were being tested. The teenage years are not easy, as anyone with even one teenage child will tell you.

Being a positive and optimistic person, I tried to find the lessons in all of our experiences and understand where we had made mistakes. I couldn’t continue to be the person I’d become over the summer and the new school year. I was a frantic, nagging mother worried about my kids in this modern world with text messaging and Facebook and our demanding culture that wants them to be volunteers, super athletes and ivy league students. Yet at my job as a preschool teacher I felt more Zen-like, giving out “pearls of wisdom” to those overly concerned parents of my 3-5 old year kids. I decided at that point that I had my own life to live and I needed to let my children live their life. If I let go, maybe we’d all be happier. I decided to combine the two, the frantic mother and the Zen like teacher and become one, become a “Zen Mama”. I started writing to myself when I was up in the middle of the night worried, giving myself these “pearls of wisdom” like chapters in a book. This became my first book, HOW TO BE A ZEN MAMA.

What is a Zen Mama? She is a devoted mother who has tried to stop worrying, who has let go of the attachment of an outcome and in doing so has become closer to her children.

How do you stop worrying? Well, you don’t! You just change how you worry. You change your attitude. You don’t worry about the small stuff. You don’t worry out loud. (Nothing turns off a child more than too much worrying. It tells them you don’t accept them as they are.) Don’t worry about what others think. For instance, here’s some things you can stop worrying about:

• If your baby is still using a pacifier.
• When preschooler chooses his own clothes and he’s wearing plaid with stripes.
• If your elementary student doesn’t always do well in spelling.
• When you’re middle schooler’s pants are riding too low.
• If you sophomore in high school can’t decide where to go to college.

You may have real worries like speech problems, learning disabilities, illness or abuse problems. Seek professional help instead of worrying.
Solving your problems or working towards solving them will make your worry seem more manageable.

How do you let go? This is difficult! You’re so attached to your worry. It’s like a crazy making friend. You know you have to let go, yet your brain keeps thinking about the worry. Thinking makes it so. So the first thing you need to do is to pretend that you’ve let go. As Wayne Dyer says, “Change your thoughts, change your life.” Eventually your brain will believe your new thoughts, then finally you’ll see changes. Letting go of attachments and outcomes is a freeing thing.

How do you become closer to your kids? When you’re not worrying that their life is a mess, you stop criticizing and being mad at them. Slowly they feel that you’re trusting them more and they open up and want to be around you. It’s amazing and it does work.

By the way, being a Zen Mama doesn’t mean you don’t set limits. It doesn’t mean you don’t care. It means you care but you’ve stopped being controlling. You’re not as attached to the outcome. It means setting limits with calmness, not anger and trust, not worry.

Try being a little more Zen! You’ll be happier and so will your kids.

How The Zen Mama Became The Zen Mama

HOW TO BE A ZEN MAMA is a book with 13 tips on how to stop

How The Zen Mama Became The Zen Mama
worrying, let go and be closer to your kids. At the end of each chapter is a “Zen Mama Master” story to illustrate the chapter.

THE BOOK OF QUOTES contains a collection of quotes through the ages to help you on your life’s journey.

Available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, and 

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