Life with children is often a contradiction. It’s beautiful and magical while at the same time being incredibly noisy and chaotic. You’re always being told ‘Enjoy these days, they’re gone all too fast”. And it’s true. It’s gone all too fast.
But in the world we live in, a world that’s evolving faster than ever before, how do you do that? How do you step back and enjoy the time you have with your kids when your ever growing list of things to-do just keeps getting longer and longer by the minute?
How do you bring yourself back to the present? Right back into the moment that counts the most? By practicing mindfulness.
Mindfulness is quite simply a state of being, a technique derived from Buddhism that can help counter the stresses and ‘constant-state-of-busyness’ that many people face. It’s the intentional state of being with an accepting and non-judgemental focus on the present – your emotions, actions, thoughts and feelings.
Mindfulness can lower stress and is one of the keys to allowing you to be right in the moment with your children, so that when your time comes to reflect on your own years as a parent, you’ll be able to say with confidence that you were really there for them. That you were present.
Ten Steps To Mindfulness
- Put down the iGadget. Yep, the iPhone, the iPod, iMac, iPad. Because while you were on it, your child likely iPoo’d, iPee’d or iDrewOnTheTV’d. Life isn’t inside the little rectangular screen, it’s right in front of you.
- Take a deep breath. Focus on your breath going in and out.
- Do one thing at a time. Ouch. I know, I feel you. As a serial mutli-tasker, this is a tough one for me. But I guarantee that you’ll achieve more if you focus on one task, one moment at a time, rather than getting lost in a flurry of thoughts and activity. There is a time and place for multitasking, but it doesn’t have to be how you live every minute.
- Focus on the present. When you find your mind wandering and worrying, bring yourself back to the now and make a mental note to create a time later that day to deal with whatever is bugging you. Allow cooking and cleaning to become moments of meditation. Rituals performed every day that can become a source of inspiration, rather than frustration.
- Take your time. Look around. Enjoy your surroundings and who you’re with. You miss so much in life by rushing: that gorgeous smile your child is giving you, the picture that they are trying to tell them about. Rushing won’t change the amount of time you have. It just means that you’ll enjoy it all a lot less.
- Do less. Set up systems. Prioritise. Delegate. Do what’s important to you, not just what’s urgent.
- Spend a few minutes every day doing nothing. I love the early morning and get up before my kids. There’s a stillness and freshness about that time of day that really energizes and inspires me.
- Don’t overschedule. There are so many things available to you these days that it’s easy to get caught up in the hype with that new awesome kids activity being offered. Give your kids instead the gift of freedom and allow them the space to ‘get bored’. It switches on their imagination and safeguards them from developing a need later in life to fill every minute of their day.
- Enjoy your food. Many mums often eat on the go, standing up or try to swallow quickly so they can get back to ‘parenting’ or averting whatever crisis may be about to occur. Try to set up a space that encourages mealtimes to be enjoyable and work on instilling good habits in your kids to do the same. Food is one of the true luxuries in life so savor every bite.
- When you’re with someone, be present in your conversation with them. Especially when you’re talking to your kids. Look them in the eye rather than speaking over your should and make sure you’re actively listening rather than just rehearsing what you want to say next.
Mindfulness and modern motherhood IS possible, but it’s most definitely a choice. It’s something simple that with a little practice, can become completely integrated into your routines, lowering your stress levels and gently encouraging more beauty into your day-to-day living.
Life is there to be lived. How do you find ways to ground yourself back into the present during your day-to-day routines?