BE A MINDFUL MUMMY
We know how hard it can be to get any time for yourself. Around life, running a household, work, taking care of kids (or fitting in anything else you need to), it can seem impossible to get a moment’s peace! Mindfulness is a highly beneficial skill to develop that can have incredible, evidence based, positive effects on your life. It can help to reduce stress, feelings of anxiety, enhance your performance on given tasks, gain insight to your true feelings as well as increase your attention to other’s well being in a way that’s beneficial to all and not self-sacrificing.
But what exactly is mindfulness? In its simplest definition, mindfulness is “the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.” This can be further elaborated by being in a mental state that focuses on your present moment where you accept your feelings, thoughts, bodily sensations, and situations exactly as they are right then and there.
The good news is mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, under any time schedule and made to fit into your unique life! Even if you have children!
Here are my top tips for finding mindfulness in your day to day routine as a busy Mum.
YOUR NEW MANTRAS
1) Don’t consider it another chore to add to your to do list. Recognize that being mindful and present in your daily routine is a simple task and something that we are all capable of doing. You don’t need special skills or formal qualifications to be a mindful Mum!
Your personal mantra: I am already a Mindful Mum.
2) Take the time to notice everything around you. Really taste your morning coffee as you sip it. Notice how your child looks at you lovingly (or with a cheeky glint in their eye!) while you help them get dressed for the day. Feel the way the carpet feels under your bare feet or the breeze in your face as you rush to your car to make it to the school drop off on time. When you’re stopped at traffic lights, or rocking a baby to sleep, notice how deeply you can fill your belly with a big breath in and out and really feel the weight of your own presence as it exists right now.
Your personal mantra: Peace and mindfulness
3) Practicing mindfulness when you eat or drink can be a great way to incorporate what we like to call “conscious eating.” Too often it’s so easy to grab something on the go, scoff a meal down or drink without thinking or help yourself to your child’s leftovers (guilty as charged here!)
If you take the time to eat and drink consciously you will notice a really positive shift in the way you view meal times. Maybe you’ll start to read the ingredients on the packet of food you’re consuming or ask your waiter where their ingredients are sourced from as you’re ordering. Perhaps you’ll start to notice the way you measure out cups or tablespoons for a recipe. Or the smell of the ingredients you’re using and how you chop things up on the chopping board. Making a meal can be an incredibly mindful experience with all your senses being utilized - tastes, sounds, sights, smells, sensations! By being a more conscious eater, you’ll naturally start to make better food and beverage choices because you’ll be more innately tuned in to how you feel while you’re eating. Children (especially babies and toddlers) are naturally quite good at being conscious eaters - they take their time, they make it a full body experience (especially if their food ends up all over them!) and they intuitively know what they feel like eating when you offer them some different food options! Just ask any Mum with a fussy toddler at meal time!
Your Personal Mantra: I am a conscious eater.
4) Parenting is not without its challenges. I know how hard it can be some days particularly if you’re sleep deprived, exhausted by a strong willed child throwing another tantrum or even just tired of the groundhog day routine that being a Mum can entail! It can feel all too much at times but mindfulness will be especially helpful to you during these times.
Don’t focus on what your child “should” be doing. Accept their behavior and feelings as they are right then and there. Don’t focus on where you have to go or what you have to do in the near or far future, focus on where you and your child are at right now at this given moment in time. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else’s parenting existence. You and your family have your own way of living and being that works for you so focus on what’s going on for your family at your present moment. If you feel particularly stressed, practice the pause. Before reacting, pause and take in 10 deep breaths through your nose and out through your mouth. Flood your body with oxygen, relax your shoulders and then proceed. You've got this.
Your personal mantra: This too shall pass. I am exactly where I’m meant to be right now.
5) Sometimes we don’t notice our body’s signs or feelings to certain people, situations, foods, and environments. By being more mindful you’re able to make choices that are better for you (and your child) in the long run which you might not have noticed caught up in the ‘busyness’ of being or focusing on what you have to do or where you have to go next. If you start to be more aware of how something makes you feel, you can make more conscious decisions that reflect what you truly want in your life.
Your personal mantra: I am aware of my feelings.