Learn how practicing mindfulness can help with some of the stresses of motherhood.
Nothing in the world can fully describe the emotional roller-coaster that is motherhood. Motherhood marks a new chapter in a woman’s story and brings with it a new sense of purpose and meaning to life. Mothers experience a myriad of new emotions and a fierce love for their children, like they have never felt before. Nonetheless, motherhood can get overwhelming and exhausting. Some days you may feel like you are being pulled in a thousand different directions, making you feel drained and in desperate need of some peace and quiet. This is where the art of mindfulness comes in. Mindfulness is a free and powerful tool that any mother can use to feel calm and present. Mindfulness has helped thousands of individuals be present in the moment, allowing their minds to be still. Applying mindfulness to your mothering can give you peace of mind, something that seemed to be a thing of the past since you entered motherhood. We will take a look at a few reasons why incorporating mindfulness into your mothering might be the best decision you ever make and a couple of ways you can begin incorporating it into your daily life.
Famous words from Diane Von Furstenberg, “The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.” She is right. We can easily get lost in our children and completely forget about ourselves. The first step of taking care of others is taking care of yourself. If you are not at your best, you cannot give your children your best. Practicing mindfulness allows us to be kind and accepting of ourselves while not giving into negative thoughts, like we are not a good parent or we are not spending enough time with our children, that leave us stressed and frustrated with ourselves. Mindfulness allows you to confidently acknowledge these feelings and process them without feeling overwhelmed by them. With consistent practice, you will feel yourself becoming happier and becoming calmer — allowing you to develop better methods to discipline your children without snapping at them and having better control of your anger.
Bonding with Your Child
There are very few things in the world as unique as the mother-child bond. What if I told you mindfulness could help you have a stronger bond with your child? Mindfulness is all about being completely present in a moment. Practicing mindfulness can help you be fully present in the moments you interact with your child, giving them your undivided attention. It gives you the power to let go of whatever kind of mother you think you should be and enables you to just be with your child and soak in the time you have with them.
Furthermore, mindfulness allows you to be more aware of others and their feelings. Hence it can help you better understand your child’s moods and feelings at the moment and respond to their needs with love and compassion. This can be especially useful the next time your child is throwing a tantrum.
Reduce Overreactions and Better Control Your Emotions
Let’s be honest with ourselves, though you may love your children to bits, you must admit that sometimes they can push you to the limit. Children have this uncanny ability to push us to our absolute limit. However, by regularly practicing mindfulness you may find yourself with the unique ability to have complete control of your emotions. Now we are not saying that you will never get angry or frustrated with your child with your new-found mindfulness. Instead, you will be able to acknowledge these feelings, calmly process them, and discipline your child accordingly. Imagine that you go to your child’s room and find they have decided to decorate their room with a sharpie. While normally your first instinct might have been to yell, with regular mindfulness practice you can handle the situation more calmly and discipline your child without having to yell at them.
Enhance Your Intuition
As a mother, you get advice and information from every corner. Sometimes all this information can get overwhelming and confusing as you wonder which advice to follow and which to disregard. Mindfulness allows you to access the greatest asset any mother has: intuition. Practicing mindfulness can help you intuitively know what feels best for you and your child while effectively catering to their needs with no worries.
Ways You Can Incorporate Mindfulness Into Your Life
- Take a Breathing Break — A breathing break will do wonders in reducing your stress and anxiety throughout the day. The best part is you can do it anywhere and it will barely take you more than 10 seconds. If you are feeling overwhelmed during the day, take a moment to tune into your breath. You can even put a hand on your chest to help you feel the movement. Whatever the situation, I guarantee you will be calmer once you take a few deep breaths.
- Savor the Moment — Try to give your full, open, accepting and discerning attention to all your tasks throughout the day. No matter how mundane. Focus on how they make you feel. Find happiness in the moments with your children.
Mindfulness can make your motherhood a delightful experience. However, note that mindfulness is like a muscle, to grow it you need to regularly practice. Incorporating the above methods in your daily life can go a long way in making you a more mindful mother.
Anthony Cupo is a trained mindfulness facilitator (TMF) from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He is a co-owner of Stepping Forward Counseling Center, LLC and has been meditating for over 30 years.