How To Be A Mindful Mama
Even though most days feel long trying to keep my toddler entertained, I’m very conscious how fast time is going overall. I think in the first year as mothers, we are anxious to reach milestones and developmental leaps which keeps us anticipating the future. Of course if we are worrying about the future it’s very difficult to be fully present. I heard a quote recently which goes something like “The days are long but the years are short”. This really resonated with me. I feel it’s my responsibility as a mother and an individual to be as mindful as I can. I know the term ‘mindfullness’ is a pretty trendy word these days but all it essentially means is; paying attention. I know life with a baby or toddler can be both messy and magical but I think we call benefit from paying more attention.
Treat everything as part of a spiritual practice. Pay attention to every single action you take. So when you are hovering you are fully watching what you are doing and noticing the action of you body. Do this, instead of thinking about a conversation you had yesterday or the errand you need to run tomorrow. When you are washing dishes, feel the temperature of the water on your skin and notice your posture.
I remember when the public health nurse came for the routine visit a few days after my little boy was born. I was changing his nappy and he was crying. She said “Talk to him and reassure him”. Can you believe that thought never even entered my head?! It was such a good reminder to be present. Every since that day, I use nappy time to really connect. I make eye contact, tell him how handsome he is and we sing or chat. You know this scenario; bag packed, coats on, engine running and then you smell poop? It’s exhausting and the tendency here is to rush. But next time this happens, slow down and use it as a nice excuse to have a check in with your baby.
I love food and sharing meals with my little boy is one of my favourite things. We used a mixed of mashed, pureed and baby led foods. I let it get messy and allow him time and space to explore the food. He tastes it and feels the texture and often throws it down to share with the dog or tries to ram it into my mouth. Meals are a great way to be present so make sure to eliminate all screens and spend lots of time enjoying it.
Choose how you spend your money wisely. Consider shopping in charity shops or sourcing your clothes more ethically. Cheap clothes almost always come at a cost to those making them. When you do your grocery shopping avoid excess packaging which will all end up in landfill. Teach your children the importance of avoiding single use plastics such as straws or cups.
Out And About
One thing I’ve noticed about toddlers is they don’t do straight lines. Going for walks is an adventure. Children will go backwards, sideways and off the beaten track. They might stop or even sit on the ground if something warrants further investigation. Slow right down and notice what your child sees; a cool stone or a fantastic stick. Feel the texture, discuss it. There is no better place to practice being mindful than out in nature.
Leave Them Be
The author Wayne Dyer has a beautiful quote about the Tao Te Ching that I love; “The Tao teaches us not to intervene and interfere. The things we love we have to learn to leave alone. And the people we love we have to learn to let them be”. I think this is so important. Its difficult not to be a ‘helicopter parent’ constantly hovering over your kids fixing this and changing that. When they are playing, try to resist the temptation to make their experience ‘better’ by stacking the blocks properly for example. Let them figure stuff out on their own and when they need your help, they will no doubt communicate it.
Do you practice mindfulness? Any other tips on how to be a Mindful Mama?