Being a mother is the hardest, most challenging, and most rewarding job on the planet. It can too often be thankless, the pay is lousy, but it is also the most important thing we as humans can do. It can range from stressful and chaotic to boring and lonely. But it’s one of the things nearly all women were born to do. It’s in the genes, and no, I’m not talking about mom jeans.
From single mothers to married moms, from working mammas to stay-at-home mums, from step-moms to half-moms, the role of the mother comes in all shapes and sizes. But at the end of the day, it’s always about love and devotion to her family.
While being a mom can sometimes feel like a chicken running around with its head cut off, there are simple steps to becoming more mindful, more present, more loving, less stressed, less overwhelmed, and less hectic. Here are those steps.
There is no better way to start the day than with a mindful meditation for moms first thing in the morning. I recommend 20 minutes minimum but you can work your way up to that as well.
I know what you’re thinking: What kind of a mom has 20 minutes of time to herself to meditate (I edited out the swear words)?! I’ve heard it all. But, I know single working moms of three who make the time to meditate.
The secret: Don’t find the time, make the time. Commit to yourself to wake up 20 minutes earlier if you have to. Many moms tell me that they have more energy by meditating for 20 minutes than they do sleeping an extra 20 minutes.
So find a peaceful place, tell your older family members not to bother you during your morning “mommy” time, and do your best not to miss a day.
Don’t feel bad about taking a little time for yourself. It’s like the old airplane line, “put your mask on before assisting others.” We’re of little use to anyone if we don’t take care of ourselves first.
This short amount of time can refocus you, ground you, recenter you, calm and relax you so that you are able to be the best mom you can be without burnout.
How to Meditate?
Sit in a comfortable place or lie down with your head propped up by a couple of pillows. Make sure the lights in the room are not too bright. Set a timer or check the clock before you begin.
Then close your eyes and relax every muscle in your body. Breathe slowly and deeply, but not forced or overly exerted, just as you would normally when you’re very calm and relaxed. Pay attention to all the little sensations of your breath. Really observe the subtleties.
As your mind wanders, which it will probably do a lot at first, just gently and kindly bring your attention back to your breath. Do this over and over again. What you are doing is training your mind to be more present, calm, and less identified with thoughts, judgments, the past, and the future.
Mindful Meditation for moms is a skill. Nobody is great at it right away, just like any other skill we learn. It takes practice and patience. The help of a skilled teacher can make learning much easier and faster.
Being present isn’t just for our morning meditation. The purpose of mindfulness meditation for moms is to become more present throughout the rest of our day. Breathing consciously means becoming completely present as we observe the sensations of a complete inhale and exhale.
As many times a day as possible, take a conscious breath. Feel free to even take two or three in a row. Make it a habit to take them at certain times throughout the day, like before you brush your teeth, before you put on your seatbelt in the car, before eating, before doing the dishes, before going to bed, before looking at social media, etc…
The more you make it a habit, the more present you will be in your life, the more peaceful and mindful you will be. Feel free to set reminders on your phone, put a post-it note on your computer or bathroom mirror, or however else you want to remember.
Stop Waiting and Start Meditating
Moms make the world go around. From picking up the kids to running errands, moms are go go go. But, there’s also a lot of waiting that goes with being a mom. Waiting in the carpool line, waiting in checkout lines, waiting at red lights, and so on.
While some moms see frustrating waits, mindful moms see golden opportunities to turn this free time into a powerful meditative practice. After all, it’s not waiting if you’re using your time wisely.
Instead of waiting, observe closely all the sensations that are happening within you and around you. Notice the light reflecting off the surfaces. Really notice the complexity of the sounds you’re hearing. Feel the floor beneath you and your breath filling your lungs. Observe your thoughts instead of just thinking your thoughts.
The more aware and present we become, the more joyful we become. It’s a practice, so be patient. Try to resist the urge to bring your phone out every time there is a moment of waiting. Maybe instead, you’ll even strike up a meaningful conversation with someone in line next to you. You won’t notice these opportunities though if you’re not present.
Practice Washing Up, Dressing, Cooking, Cleaning, Eating, Walking and Driving Mindfully
Sitting meditation isn’t the only kind of meditation there is. Buddhists also practice walking meditation, eating meditation, and even sleeping meditation.
The beauty of meditation is that your whole life can be a meditation! Did you know that in MRI scans, the brain of an expert meditator while they’re not meditating looks the same as a novice meditator when they are meditating?
You too can live in a mindful, meditative state, fully at peace and happy no matter what kind of child-rearing chaos is happening around you.
In mindful meditation for moms, we practice observing the nature of our mind, the nature of reality, the cause of suffering, and the way out of suffering. The more we observe, the wiser we become. Eventually, we realize that getting upset, focusing on negative thoughts or emotions, and living lost in our head is not doing us any good.
We understand the habitual thinking patterns that we’ve been doing unconsciously by becoming conscious of them, and we are then able to turn our attention instead towards positive thoughts and emotions, the present moment, and we are able to stay calm and grounded. This makes us better parents, spouses, friends, neighbors, workers, and people.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget our many blessings when we’ve been up for three nights in a row with two sick kids. That’s why practicing gratitude is the best way to stay positive and feeling blessed.
You can’t feel worried while being grateful. And there’s never ever something not to be grateful for. If you’re having trouble thinking of something, just think harder. The act of looking for something to be grateful for is a great way to shift habitual thinking that tends to look for things to be worried about.
Every day, as many times as you can, think of the many things there are to be grateful for. You can write them down in a journal, share them with your friends and family (everyone loves a friend who is always a positive ray of sunshine).
Here are a few things to be grateful for if you need some thought starters:
- God or the universe
- The miracle of life
- The power of love
Create Space for You and Your Child to Share
So, we’ve talked about easy ways to feel less rushed and more peaceful when you’re alone, but what about when you’re with your kids? Luckily, the same rules apply.
Oftentimes, busy moms try to make busy kids, filling up every single minute of their days. Sometimes, we’re so busy doing things that we forget to just be with our kids. This makes for impatient, anxious parents and kids.
The best use of our time with kids can be just to be with them. Sit with them. Look at them. Listen to them. Don’t try to immediately think of what else you can be doing together. Don’t start playing a game or turning on the TV or iPad. Just allow for spaciousness between you.
This space where you’re both just being together, fully experiencing the other person, is an incredibly sacred space. At first, there may be some resistance.
Modern technology has given children and adults alike at least a little ADD or ADHD. But that is why this is so important. It helps kids and parents slow down, relax and become calm. It creates a healing and peaceful atmosphere that benefits the whole family.
Set Down Your Mental Baggage That’s Weighing You Down
Nearly every single human being carries the weight of their entire past on their shoulders at all times. In addition, nearly every mom carries their worries for their children on their shoulders at all times.
This enormous weight leads to all sorts of problems like back pain, joint pain, high blood pressure, digestive issues, trouble sleeping, and more.
You don’t need the baggage. And you definitely don’t need to carry it all the time. You can still try your hardest to get your kids into the best schools, but carrying the thought of rejection won’t make you more successful. In fact, the stress makes you more likely to make mistakes, drains your energy, and makes you less productive.
Set down the baggage with mindful meditation for moms. I promise it will always be there if you ever want to pick it back up. But once you set it down, you’ll realize you never needed it in the first place.
What To Do When You Worry?
Whenever you find yourself worrying about the future or reliving the past, just bring your attention to your senses. What are you seeing, hearing, thinking, and feeling? Tune in to what you’re perceiving and you immediately stop identifying with the negative thoughts you were having. You become the witness, not the thoughts.
By identifying as the witness and not your mind, it’s like the difference between being lost in the drama of a movie vs. watching a behind-the-scenes documentary of the movie. When you see the crew and the camera and the lights, when you see the director yells cut and the actors go back to their trailer, what was happening during the filming suddenly doesn’t seem so serious.
We all carry with us mental constructs of who we are, who we want our kids to be, our past experiences, and our future ambitions. But I promise you will still be a complete and functioning human if you put all that down, become fully present, and let the universe unfold without any resistance. With mindful meditation for moms, you will act with greater intention and awareness, your thoughts and words will be more mindful and deliberate, and the success of you and your family will come easier and be greater.
Thank you, moms
You sacrifice so much. You give and give to little humans too small to be able to say thank you. No one would be here without their mom’s love and care. You dedicate your lives to your children just so they can grow up and move away. All because you only want the best for us.
Thank you, Moms.