This is a question I’ve seen come up in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy books, courses, etc. I don’t know who to credit the quote with, so if you know- tell me in the comments!

A sunset or a math problem? Yikes. That can be a tough pill to swallow if we’ve been spending all our efforts in problem solving our parenting.

​A sunset or a math problem?

I ask this NOT to cause more guilt and overwhelm. There is a time and place for math problem solving in parenthood. Without any ‘solution-focused parenting,’ where would your child be right now? Stuck in all kinds of unhelpful behavior patterns, unable to communicate effectively, and not making the growth and progress they are capable of.

So, for all your problem solving skills and efforts, – you deserve some congratulations! Good job!

​But sometimes we stay in problem solving mode, and we miss the amazing sunset right in front of us. It’s easy to be a parent who is too busy to stop and enjoy the sunset.

We need both- the sunset and the problem solving. If you’re like me (and so many of the parents I support in the Bx Mom Collective and through Parent Coaching), the sunset side is the one we need to work on. We need to continue to make the effort to be present, right here, right now with our kids and truly enjoy what’s going on in our families.

When you wake up in the morning, what do you do first thing? Check your phone. Stop doing that! There’s so much research about how our smart phones are hurting our mental health! (Okay, soapbox message over.) But seriously, instead of first checking your phone, try thinking in a sunset state of mind.

Tell yourself before you even get out of bed, “I’m going to enjoy all the sunsets of today.”


Getting into this mindset and keeping it on the top of our mind can help us find those sunset moments.

On hard days or during difficult times, the sunset moments are quick and can slip by unnoticed if you aren’t looking for them.

In your life and as a parent, become the seeker of the sunset moments.

Look for them. Pause. Enjoy them.

But you’re thinking, “Great! Something else to DO, to ADD to my overfilled plate. Thanks so much.”

True – It is a behavior, something to do. An act of noticing and pausing. But does it add to your overfilled plate? Or does it create balance? Does it give meaning to the overfilled plate?

Seeking the sunset moments with your child can build your connection, strengthen your relationship.

Isn’t that the reason you are balancing so much as a busy parent? Isn’t that your reason why?

Imagine you are at a beautiful scenic location watching the sunset… your favorite vacation spot- the beach, the mountains, a family lake house, somewhere meaningful to you.

Picture that moment. What do you see around you? Who is with you? Which direction does the sun set so you know where to watch? As the sun is dipping down, what colors are across the sky? What feelings come up for you? Does a smile come across your face? Can you choose a few simple words to describe that moment?

My spot is a beach on an island where my husband and I lived for a few years before we became parents. We had the most incredible sunsets out there, and most evenings (for years!) we would walk down to the beach to enjoy them. We knew we weren’t going to live on an island in the Pacific Ocean forever, so we didn’t take these sunsets for granted. WE knew that watching the sun set in Dallas, TX wasn’t nearly as amazing and that the view from our city neighborhood street wasn’t quite the same. So we would add this moment of pause to our day as often as possible and enjoy the sunset over the beach.

Do you see where I’m going with this parallel?

We won’t get this stage of life with our kids forever. They are growing and changing so fast (and we are changing and growing as parents right alongside them).

Is it worth focusing your attention on the sunset moments now before they change into something else? I think so.

But how do we actually DO this? How do we actually work towards having a sunset state of mind?

There’s no magic answer here. The thoughts in your mind are uniquely yours, but I can give a few tips rooted in the science of behavior to help you.

1. Set your intentions to be sunset seeker at the start of your day. Tell yourself, “I’m going to seek out some sunset moments with my child today.”

2. Remind yourself throughout the day. Ask yourself, “Is there a sunset moment happening right now?

3. Use reminders that work for you. A visual of a sunset can be saved as your phone lock screen. You can set timers or alarms or reminders in your phone that just say “seek the sunset” or something along those lines.

4. Buddy up with another parent- ideally your coparent. Share a sunset moment each day with each other. That way you can be held accountable. You know you’re going to have to report your sunset moment so you’ll remember to be on the lookout for it!

5. Enjoy the sunset moment. Put down your phone. Limit distractions. For that moment be the tourist, the vacationer, the islander who can take one hot minute to look at the sunset and just smile.

So how do you view your child? As a sunset to be enjoyed or a math problem to be solved?

Working towards a sunset frame of mind does take practice! And it takes having the headspace to do so.

That can be challenging when you’re feeling the burnout, overwhelm, and exhaustion that comes with the everyday parenting job

If you are struggling to find any sunset moments at all, you are not alone.

This is where my FREE and ready to access Banish Mommy Burnout workshop can make a huge difference. This workshop has resources to help you get past the burnout and ready to work towards having a sunset mentality – meaning less overwhelm and more sunsets enjoyed!

Check it out and sign up by clicking here!