On a regular basis as a mother I hear people tell me to “enjoy it while you can, they grow up too fast.” Believe me I get it. I look at pictures of my kids almost every night when they go to bed and wonder how they have grown up so fast already. The thing is, it’s so easy for someone to say that where they are now. In the heat of motherhood with small children it’s not as easy to stay mindful and present while our little ones are growing.
We are finding our new selves after giving birth, building careers, managing a household, being bombarded by distractions, and trying to learn everything we can to be the right kinds of parents for our kids. So I’m going to share some of my personal secrets to finding more mindfulness for moms like you.
Table of Contents
What is Mindfulness
Mindfulness is living in the NOW. It is the ability to be fully present and aware of where you are, what you are doing, and how you are feeling. It is basking in the right now and not letting your mind wander to past or future moments in time.
Mindfulness is innate but due to the distractions of life we often are pulled out of the present. It is something that we can cultivate and increase in our lives to find more joy and embrace the precious moments we are given.
Mindfulness is inherently pretty simple. You can be seated, walking, standing, or lying down. Unlike other meditative practices it can happen naturally in your everyday life as you move through the day.
So mama, it’s not something you have to work into your busy schedule. Mindfulness for moms can happen with just the simple choice to focus your mind and attention on the present moment.
How Can Mindfulness Improve Your Motherhood?
- Improve your relationship with yourself
- Improve your relationship with your spouse
- Improve your relationship with your children
- Decrease anxiety and stress
- Decrease your emotional response
- Connect more with your core values
- Increase confidence in yourself and your motherhood
How I Implement Mindfulness
Now My children are 2.5 and 18 months old. They are quite a handful, but that is toddlerhood. Being a mindful mother takes practice and is not something I am great at every day. However, when I choose it, I find more joy in my motherhood and I find my children are also getting more of what they need.
So how do I become a more mindful mother and embrace this phase of life as much as I can while my children are young? This is something I am practicing a little bit everyday.
When is it Easy to be Mindful?
I’ve noticed It’s easy to be mindful when my child needs something immediately. Yesterday my family and I were at the playground and my 18 month old walked to an opening on the playground equipment that he could have easily fallen from. I ran to be by his side to prevent the fall. At that moment I was fully aware of my son, myself, the children around us, and the sounds in our immediate surrounding. I was completely focused in that immediate moment.
The smell of a fresh poopy diaper has the power to do the same. You can’t avoid it for long as the smell will get to you. If the smell doesn’t do it for you, knowing it could lead to some wicked diaper rash will motivate you to change that diaper. So you pick them up and take them to the changing table. You are engaged in that moment as you look into their eyes, talk with them, and focus on cleaning their skin and putting on a new diaper. Your hands are busy and you are engaged in that present moment.
I have found that motherhood inherently has many of these simple moments and as we choose to embrace them and stay in the present it will get easier to find more mindful moments throughout our day.
How to Implement Mindfulness in Your Daily Life
- Focus on your current task: When engaging with your child keep your mind in the present moment. If thoughts about other things come into your mind, dismiss them and get back to what you are doing right now. This will be difficult at first because we are so used to multitasking as mothers, but set a timer and for 3-5 minutes only allow your thoughts to focus on what you are currently doing. As you practice this more it will become easier and easier. You will be able to be mindful for longer stretches of time. Keep your phone in another room or far away so you don’t get distracted by notifications or the temptation to check your phone.
- Observe: As you engage in this task observe your thoughts and feelings. Try to view them as simply an observer and without judgment. Don’t allow yourself to label those thoughts or feelings. Just observe them and continue onward. Jumping back to the present if your thoughts start to wander. Push out any negative self talk or thoughts leading you away from the present.
- Ground Yourself: When you find yourself drifting out of the present moment you may need to implement some grounding techniques to help you focus your mind back in the present.
- This could include things like taking a deep breath and focusing on the breathing.
- Carrying an item that you can hold when you need a physical reminder to refocus on the present.
- Practice the 54321 Game. This is when you name 5 things you can see, 4 things you can feel, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell, and 1 good thing about yourself. These things can help you refocus when you are struggling to maintain mindfulness.
- Practice: implement this into your life daily in small increments. As you master stretches of 3-5 minutes you will find it easier to expand that time to 15-20 minutes. If you need more help look into practicing guided meditations as well. These two activities with a little practice consistently over time can lead to a more mindful and happy mother. You will see improvement and more power over your mind and body in a busy and chaotic world.
Tips to Enjoy the Fleeting Moments of Motherhood
Record it: set up a camera in your home during some meaningful moments such as bath time, feeding, bedtime, or playtime. So often no one records our moments of motherhood but as we capture these we will have living memories that can help bring us back to that moment even in the future.
Journal: I used to be a consistent with journaling. I would write every night in my journal for 25-30 minutes. When I go back to those journal entries and read them my mind is able to place me back in that moment in time. It’s amazing what our mind is capable of doing.
Buy a basic journal or invest in a prompted journal to help you recall the things that are happening in your daily motherhood journey. This will help you to remain present and positive in any season of motherhood.
Let go of Expectations: whether it be the expectations of others or yourself let go of the expectations that motherhood will look like this or that. It takes you away from enjoying what is right in front of you. For me it is letting go of the thought that my house will be clean.
I love a clean house. It makes me feel good. I am teaching my children to help me by cleaning up spills on their own, cleaning up their toys when they are finished, putting dirty clothes in the hamper, and other age appropriate tasks. However, it’s not perfect. My house is still messy most days. I am letting go of the expectation that my house will look like it did when I had no children. It is helping me enjoy moments with my children more.
Let Go of Your To Do List: The long list of things to do each day can pull you away from you children. I see it in myself all the time. I have these great expectations of what I will get done while I’m caring for my children. Once I ditched the long list and choose 2 things I needed to get done everyday I noticed my stress and frustration go down significantly. I was able to enjoy more of my time with my children.
Slow Down: Children move at a different speed. We are always rushing around trying to do this or that. Try to set aside some time to just go at their pace. Many cultures embrace a slower lifestyle and find great joy and happiness without the stress of moving so quickly through life.
Get Outside More: There is something powerful about nature. It has an amazing ability to ground us. I notice it especially in my children. Whenever they are having a rough time I try to get them outside. Almost immediately I see a change in their attitudes and behaviors. Nature is the perfect environment to learn and also reduce stress.
Therapy: Many women are struggling with their mental health whether it be postpartum depression/anxiety, managing how relationships have changed, finding yourself in motherhood, or a multitude of other reasons. Motherhood can challenge you mentally and emotionally. By finding a professional to help you work through any mental or emotional struggles can help you embrace your motherhood more and find more joy in it now.
Be Playful: This is something my husband is really good at. It’s one of the many reasons I married him. His main goal in life is to make others laugh and it brings out a joyful side in me. I have tried to implement this more when I’m with my children and things are becoming more chaotic and stressful. Especially when my children are throwing tantrums for one reason or another. I try to add playfulness to the situation and it has helped resolve a lot of issue that would normally lead me to want to yell or be frustrated with my children or my situation.
Motherhood is often an overwhelming and chaotic experience, but practicing mindfulness for moms can help bring a sense of peace and joy as we move through the days. Being present in the present moment and cherishing the fleeting moments with our children can provide us with a deeper appreciation for the wonder and beauty of parenthood. By staying grounded in the present and letting go of worries about the future or regrets about the past, we can cultivate a more fulfilling and joyful experience as mothers. So let’s make a conscious effort to slow down, breathe, and savor the precious moments with our children, because they do “grow up so fast.”
Jess is a registered nurse with over 6+ years of critical care experience for patients young and old and is the mother of two small children. After having her own children she felt inspired to provide mothers with real actionable guidance and education to make informed decisions throughout their pregnancy and postpartum experience.