It’s tough being a mother. The laundry is never done, you are constantly feeding everyone but yourself, your email inbox is piling up and you can’t remember the last time you showered. With endless to-do lists, it’s easy to find yourself thinking of your next task rather than being conscious of the present. It’s important to catch yourself in these times of fast-tracking your mind and check in with your body to enjoy the present moment. Here are 5 ways I have found to practice being a mindful mother:
1. Practice your breath.
Diaper changes, constant breastfeeding, rocking little one to sleep, cleaning the house once they’ve gone down for their nap – each day as a mother, we find ourselves doing repetitive chores and letting our minds wander during each of them. Instead of thinking of what is next on your to-do list, take these moments as opportunities to practice your breath. Inhale for a count of four, expanding the belly. Hold your breath at the top for a count of four, and exhale everything out to a count of four bringing your navel in to reach your spine. Continue this mindful, diaphragmatic breathing until you’ve finished with the task. The result is a clearer mind and increased energy.
2. Turn off the tech.
Put your phone down. Turn off the Netflix. Close your computer. If you have a bottle in one hand and your smartphone in the other, you are not being present in the moment. This is the true key to mindful motherhood. Embrace the time you are spending with little one. Watch their smile. Make them laugh. Listen to them. Ask them questions. Tune in to the true joy and blessing it is to be a mother and to be shaping new life. The more invested you are in the present, rather than trying to return an email, watch the next episode of a TV show or check your social feed, the more fulfilling each moment as a mother becomes.
3. Find time for yourself.
As a mother, it becomes second nature to put yourself second. But it’s important to remember the strong woman that you are and that you were before motherhood. Tap into your true self by finding at least 30 minutes to escape each day. Ask your partner, family members or babysitter to watch your little one (or ones) while you take time to do something that you enjoy. Practice an online yoga class, make yourself a healthy lunch and eat each bite mindfully, read a chapter from your favorite book, give yourself a massage with essential oils. Whatever it is, do it for yourself and don’t feel guilty about it.
4. Embrace the power of sleep.
The first things to go when you have a child are selflessness and sleep. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation can wear on our bodies and our minds more than we know. In order to avoid feelings of irritability, anxiety or depression, it is important to find time for sleep. Whether it’s 15 minutes or 3 hours, nap when your little one is napping. Even if you are still and lying in bed, your body is getting almost the same amount of rest as it would if it were totally asleep. So rest up Mom, whenever you can. [http://www.sonima.com/meditation/sleep-meditation/]
5. Re-start your day with meditation.
It doesn’t take an hour to meditate. All it takes is 10 minutes and a quite space. I practice my mindfulness each morning during my little one’s first nap of the day. During that time, I find a comfortable seat outside, I light a candle and I close my eyes. Being outdoors in the fresh air and finding time to quiet your mind from all the chatter can be the perfect way to re-start your day no matter how difficult the morning may have been or how much is on your to-do list for the rest of the day. Start fresh by finding the time to practice a mindful meditation – and if not each day, than once a week.
And if all else fails, grab another cup of coffee. Just remember, you’re doing a killer job, Mom.