Posts tagged Parenting
Mindfulness for Moms

Mindfulness and meditation have become buzzwords lately. With the popularity of yoga and other Eastern-influenced practices that are becoming more mainstream, this skill is another valuable one to have in your arsenal as a parent.

Raising little ones is tough. I often feel like my head is going in a million different directions, and it’s not easy to run a business and a household at the same time. Little people have a way of reminding us that we can’t do everything all the time. That dissonance (the difference between your thoughts and actions) can cause some major anxiety, but mindfulness can help in so many ways.

What is mindfulness?

It’s pretty much what it sounds like. Mindfulness is bringing your attention to what’s happening in the present moment. This includes your internal experience as well as your external experience.

So why is this so helpful?

We have a way of going through life on autopilot. We can often be doing things without even recognizing what we are doing, and if you have an anxious mind it’s easy to be parenting and going through the motions but missing out on what’s really happening.

Have you ever been giving your baby a bath while simultaneously going through the list of things you need to get done after they go to bed?

The little moments that can be so precious are not savored because we simply aren’t present in them. I’m not saying you need to be present for every single moment of bath time, every day of the week – I’m currently writing this post while my 2-year old is splashing around in the tub, but a little bit goes a long way. 

I often think of a woman’s brain like a web browser with 100 tabs open at the top, and we toggle back and forth through each of those tabs at any given moment. It’s often difficult to stop and it can take over and create feelings of overwhelm because it can feel like it’s never ending.

Creating a new reality takes practice, and mindfulness is a practice much like yoga. The more you do it, the stronger that muscle will get – kind of like working any other muscle out at the gym.

Practicing Mindfulness

I’ve come to realize that I’m not the only mama who has experienced overwhelm and anxiety, and so I created the Mindful Mums Group where I teach mindfulness. Moms share their experiences and have a special place where they truly find that they are not alone. They gain the support they need to be open and honest about their struggles and their wins.

There is a ton of ways to practice mindfulness, but the easiest is to just pick a designated activity to start with. I like to do it while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea and I choose a time when my kids are asleep or out of the house.

From start to finish, challenge yourself to focus only on the task at hand and engage and pay attention to each of your senses.

While you are brewing your cup of coffee or tea, take the time to smell it as it seeps. While you’re pouring it into your cup, notice the aroma. Notice what the cup feels like in your hands, and take notice of the warmth.

As you take a sip, do it slowly, and notice what it feels like when it first enters your mouth, as it sits on your tongue, and as it goes down your throat and into your stomach.

Drink the entire cup slowly, engaging your senses each time you take a sip. This entire exercise may take 15 minutes. But when was the last time you truly enjoyed a cup of coffee? Mine usually sits on the table and gets cold by time I get to it.

You can do this with anything you’d like, a glass of juice or water, a piece of fruit, or toast.

Once you’ve done this exercise you can translate it to any other activity in your life, including those moments with your little ones that you know you should be more present for. While giving a bath, close those tabs in your brain’s browser and engage your senses. What does the water feel like? What do the bubbles look and smell like? What do your kiddos giggles sound like? Engage in play, give some extra kisses after the bath, sing a song, and be present.

It’s not always easy and I’ve had my fair share of rushed baths full of tears and tantrums, but when I go into the process with the mindset that I want to be present, things seem to turn out so much better.

Often times the stress comes in when we feel overwhelmed with the to-do list in our minds, and feel as though what we are presently doing is just one more thing on that list, which makes it difficult to enjoy.

Mindfulness is a practice. It takes time to implement any kind of change, and support goes a long way. If you’re interested in learning more about Mindful Mums, click HERE. We currently have a few spots open for our upcoming 4-week session, which begins February 10, 2017. 

The Superpower Every Mom Needs

There is the hierarchy in family life in which everything aligns. At the top is you. The mom. The person who holds it all together, the knower of all – we’ve all heard the saying “It’s not lost until mom doesn’t know where it is,” right?

Everything hinges on mom. Mom knows where everything is, and knows the perfect sequence of all that must align in order to get the kids where they need to be and keep the household running on a daily basis. Mom knows what to pack; mom knows the perfect toy or stuffed animal that’s going to keep the baby from crying the whole way to grandma’s house. Everything and everyone is dependent on mom.

And that can be insanely exhausting!

What I’ve learned from talking with the moms I work with in my practice and from my own experience is that this pressure for mom to have it all together happens for a couple of different reasons.

One of the biggest reasons is that mom has trouble asking for help.

She feels as though she can do it all, she runs herself ragged trying to do it all, and does do it all. Until she can’t.

When you can’t do it all, frustration, anger, and sometimes even rage are the results.

Anger towards your partner - that should’ve known you needed help.

Anger towards the cars in front of you that are moving like snails and making you late for the doctor’s appointment.

Anger towards the kids for having the unnecessary tantrum in the waiting room over their juice being the wrong flavor.

So why not just relinquish control?

Well, because no one else knows how to do it quite right.

They don’t know that you need to kiss the boo-boo 4 times before you put the band-aide on, or that you need to pack the diaper cream and the cold pills because your little guy’s stuffy nose and diaper rash can flair up out of nowhere. No one will be as careful, no one will be as attentive, and no one will be as loving.

Mom must do it all.

But what happens when you can’t? What happens when you feel the crazy overwhelm that turns you into Monstermom - you know, where your head spins around twice and then you spew out your anger like a fire-breathing dragon?

Or maybe you cry a little. Or a lot. You hide in the bathroom after the kids are asleep and just break down into a good ol ugly cry. You feel sorry for yourself. No one else can possibly understand how hard this mom thing is, can they?   

You might wonder if it is really this hard for everyone else. Your partner certainly doesn’t understand, he acts like it should be a breeze – damn, it is a breeze for him. Why doesn’t he get as overwhelmed as you?

What if being supermom meant something a little different?

What if instead of it meaning that you create the perfect bento box lunch, and remember to write the perfect note to your child daily, it meant that you knew how to ask for help?

What if doing it all meant that you show up for your kids, and didn’t get so overwhelmed? What if it meant that you were able to be present, that your mind didn’t race, and that you no longer were fearful of leaving your kids with grandma for a night?

What if your new superpower became asking for help, before you needed it?

What if it meant taking care of yourself before your kids?

I’m here to tell you that, THAT is a superpower!

I’m willing to bet you a pack of fruit snacks that you have at least 2 people in your life that would be willing to help you on any given day. One of them probably sleeps right next to you every night.

It’s not easy to ask for help. I get it. No one can do it the way you do, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing! They may just do it differently, and if you live in the US, there’s probably a store located within driving distance where you can purchase anything that may have been forgotten.

I’ve been on a weekend retreat with 9 other fantastic therapists, all sharing ideas, inspiration, and support to one another in a cabin on Lake Tahoe. Sure I miss my kids and my husband, but it’s really hard to write these posts, and get other projects done in the house while also trying to be supermom.

What’s even harder though, is trying to pour from an empty cup.

I’ve had 3 fabulous days to get work done, collaborate, talk, laugh, and enjoy some beautiful scenery. Working through a weekend might not sound that fab to everyone, but I love the work I do, and it fills my cup.

Even though I know my 2 year old has likely had more screen time, and sugar over the weekend than I would have given him, he’s with people that love and care about him. They don’t do it the same way I do, but what’s more important to me is getting back to him and doing it my way with a sense of calm and the ability to be present, which I’ve come to recognize only comes when I take care of myself first.

I didn’t get to this place where I could be away for an entire weekend overnight, and I don’t expect you to either. It doesn’t even always take an entire weekend, and I’m so blessed to be able to do something like this, but it’s a mama superpower to recognize when I need to recharge.

Next week I’m going to share 10 ways you can tap into this superpower and recharge on the fly, so be sure to look for my post in your inbox. See ya there! Until then think about ways you can let go a little and ask for what you need. If you continue to struggle with this, I’m happy to help, give me a call and we can talk about whether joining out Mindful Mum Tribe is right for you (909) 226-6124.