By Elena Epstein
Jamie Price and Julie Campistrom have created an app to bring us stressed-out parents some relief. These Santa Monica moms co-founded MyLife meditation app to offer simple tips for mindful parenting, as well as programs for the whole family and even educators.
In the app’s “Mindful Parent/Mindful Child” program, users participate in activities that guide them through a variety of exercises to remain present and grounded, including purposeful breathwork and tips to navigate power struggles within your family.
Price, mom to a toddler girl, first started MyLife to create more mindfulness curriculum for inner-city teens, and the app still offers an exclusive program for schools. Campistrom, who has a 10-year-old son, balances remote school, running the company and is a big believer in squeezing in tiny bits of mindfulness into her family’s day.
Here, they share a few reasons why starting a family mindfulness practice is essential.
What’s one thing you wish parents knew about the power of meditation and mindfulness?
Campistrom: I wish parents knew that taking just a few minutes a day for yourself to practice mindfulness (self-care is something parents always put last on the list of to-dos) can really have a transformative effect on your perspective and your ability to be a more patient/present parent. Sometimes we become fatalistic and think change is out of reach, but it’s incredible what 10 to 15 minutes for yourself — to give your mind a break —can do.
Price: I totally agree with Julie on this one. With just a few minutes a day of checking in, I am in a much better position to truly connect with my child. I become aware of what I am bringing, mentally and emotionally, to our interaction, and more easily recognize when I need to take a second to calm or ground myself. Then I can be more intentional about how I relate to my child. There is a closeness and trust that comes from spending time and giving my daughter my full focus.
What does mindfulness look like in your own personal life?
Campistrom: I try to do it every morning for 10 to 15 minutes. I will either do a check in with the MyLife app and select one of the recommended tracks, or pick some of my favorite activities like “Relax, Ground & Clear” or “Counting Breaths.” But right now, I’m using our Mindful Parent/Mindful Child journey and loving it. My two favorite activities from it so far are “Feeling like a Super Hero” and “Letting Go without Giving Up.”
Price: I used to have time for a formal meditation practice every morning. But that went out the window with the birth of my daughter. She is much younger than Julie’s son and far less independent. At this point, my personal practice is more relaxed. I will grab 5 – 10 minutes whenever I can throughout the day. My favorite thing to do is to step outside and breathe deeply, taking in the natural world through all of my senses. Stopping to get quiet and just listen to the sounds around me is also really helpful.
What is the hardest part of being a parent?
Price: How vulnerable it makes you. How any hurt your child feels translates immediately to your own hurt, and how you have to fight the urge to make everything OK for them, because ultimately you’re there to help them figure it out, rather than figuring it out for them.
Campistrom: Ditto! And not just when they are hurt. I have to resist the urge to jump in for her all the time, as opposed to allowing her the time and space to explore and problem solve for herself.
What is the best part of being a parent?
Price: Seriously, the snuggles. That’s the best. And the unabashed joy. She reminds me to feel delight and appreciation for the simplest things all the time.
Campistrom: The wonders and surprises of how your child evolves, how their personality affirms itself. I am always amazed at how my son’s evolution is always a few steps ahead of where I think it is. And the unconditional love your child brings out in you as a parent.
Favorite quote or mantra?
Price: “Love no matter what.” No matter what is happening, if she is acting out or having a meltdown, I try to be loving vs. reactive. I can be loving and firm at the same time. I have to work on this all the time!
Campistrom: “What’s the worst that can happen?” It has helped me take risks and embrace change. Visualizing the failure is a way to put specifics against the fear you have of it.
What is one reason why L.A. parents should focus on mindfulness?
Campistrom: We are fortunate in L.A. to live in a city full of nature, yet I feel we still sometimes lose sight of that nature, because of the “big city” effect. Staying present, connected with nature, and being able to step away from the hustle and bustle through those mindful moments is really important.
Price: I think Julie is pointing to a sense of gratitude and appreciation for the good things we have available to us, whatever they may be. It’s easy to take things for granted. I know I am much happier, and a much better example for my child, when I slow down and take in the good things with appreciation.
When there are no work deadlines and no school, where will we find you and your family?
Campistrom: Climbing in Joshua Tree or at the beach.
Price: At the beach, for sure.
For more on MyLife meditation app, visit my.life.