Life in today's world is an act of balancing between rushing from A to B and getting the tasks done as efficiently as you can, WHILE trying to live in the moment and be present. Add kids to the mix and there just is never enough time to do everything we want and when we do finish the tasks we want, there always seems to be more to add to the list. However, having kids mean being present is as important as ever.
I don't believe in making BIG changes overnight but I believe small steps to change can contribute to being more present and having a more balanced life. I am not perfect at it and it is always a work in progress because we are humans and we ALWAYS have something to do and are NEVER done with that TO-DO list.
Here are the top 5 things I have learnt to incorporate into life to be more mindful while being a mama to two kids in this rat race we call 'everyday life'. They are small changes but they ensure you are PRESENT and MINDFUL while with your children.
1) NO PHONE/ TV/ IPAD/ TECHNOLOGY
When daddy gets home, it's family time.Everything is off until Dinner time and NEVER TV on at dinner time. This makes us talk to each other, find out about each other's day and how each is feeling. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't and my kids throw tantrums instead but atleast we are focusing on just us.
I am also trying VERY hard to stay off my phone and kindle while breastfeeding. Atleast once a day. It is a habit that I quickly have developed since day one, browsing online, shopping, working, googling while breastfeeding. Sometimes multitasking is great but sometimes, I realised I miss the moment right in front of me because I am too focused on other things. When did your baby start grabbing your hair when feeding? or playing with your bra straps?
2) AN ACTIVITY
This is something that I do and have always done to ensure I have QUALITY time and undivided attention with the kids locked in. I schedule them in - this is not for everyone but it works for me and I have reaped the rewards of doing it. Rewards being memories that are lasting and bonds developing with my children.
I go swimming with the girls since they are young (3months) and do one other class a week with music (wriggle & rhymes or baby sensory or SPACE). During those times, I don't use my phone - I do take photos now and then but usually it's just me and my little girl.
My eldest, Alyssa, is 3 now and she doesn't swim with me in class any longer but she trusts me in the water with her, we know cues and she always still talks about the times I took her swimming.
3) GET DOWN
Yup! Get down on the floor, grass, sand whatever you prefer but make time to see things from your baby's eye level. It will not only change your perspective but will ground you. Seeing the wonder of the small things we forget to appreciate as life passes us by- you will be more mindful of your surrounding, yourself and the parenting moment you are in. Embrace it all.
This, right here, was the inspiration behind our TERRA range cocoons where the colours reflect the ground of the earth, sea, trees, cloud, the beauty of flowers taking with you and your baby the little moments of life that normally pass you by.
It seems simple and it IS that simple.
Talk to your baby. What are you doing? Where are you going? Why are you cooking? What goes into the bread you are making?
You may feel silly explaining everything and essentially sound like you are talking to yourself but this does not only help develop baby's communication skills but it grounds you and brings you to be more mindful about what you are doing in that moment and why. Trust me on this, this little exercise is amazing because sometimes we do go into auto-pilot with all the things we have to do.
I try and don't always succeed but I try to get outside in fresh air and no phone. Put bub in a baby carrier and go walking even if it is around home or up and down your street, taking that time out to recoup and bond with your baby. BONUS if baby sleeps by the end of the walk.
Nature brings you back to present, it has a calming effect and not being inside the house means you can stop seeing all the cleaning that needs doing!
DO yourself a favor and do this once a day while you are out and about walking or even if it is when you are in a shower, when you wake up or go to bed.
If you can, close your eyes. Just notice these things:
1) What can you hear?
2) What can you smell?
3) What can you feel? What are your feet resting on? How do they feel? Where are your hands? Are they resting on your lap?
4) What can you taste in your mouth? Is your mouth dry?
5) Open your eyes and what do you notice around you? What colour is the wall? Are the leaves falling off the trees you are walking past?
It is not easy to do all of them at the same time or on the same day but you can pick one or two a day as they are simple enough to achieve. START SMALL AND SEE THE CHANGES.
Remember, your baby is never going to be this age again. Tomorrow, he or she is another day older so be present to cherish them,be kind to yourself and be mindful to all that surround you.