Five Steps Towards Mindful Mothering
Prior to motherhood, self-care was an action that came naturally to us. Showering regularly, eating well, and exercising slipped ever so seamlessly in to our daily routine. Today we're juggling babies, children, mealtimes, sleep schedules and cleaning! Say goodbye to the days of wellness and hello to quick fixes, caffeine and dry shampoo.
It's tough being a mindful mamma especially when you are constantly putting your needs aside in order to accommodate the little ones. Self-care has become an event, one that can easily be neglected if not maintained.
Here are a few tools that got me back on track whilst in the thick of motherhood.
Time alone is imperative. If you can do something nourishing, something you enjoy and something that doesn't require too much of you, you will allow yourself to recharge. Meditation is great if you can grasp the idea of sitting and doing absolutely nothing (but breathing) for 10-20 minutes you will see drastic results. YouTube has some excellent instructors; it's accessible, free, and a perfect way to get a head start on your day. Meditation reduces stress, induces relaxation, increases happiness and is anti aging! (And let's be honest, we all need a bit of that!)
If you're anything like I was quick fixes, caffeine and food on the go is what kept me in check or so I thought. What it actually did was made me lethargic, anxious and I even gained a few. When I pack lunch for my children in the morning I make sure I throw in a few pieces for myself. Nuts, fruit, carrots and celery go a long way after a morning at the park. Stay cool and hydrated by drinking lots of water, go easy on the sugar, and snack regularly. Your body and skin will thank you later on.
I cannot stress the importance of getting out enough. Load the children into the car or stroller, pack a lunch and get out. Leave the washing the dishes and any other accumulated mess and go. The outside world is your friend. Parks, libraries, museums and play groups are perfect for days when you just need to leave, not only will they tire your children out but also provide you with a bit of respite from being the number one entertainer.
Become friends with other mothers.
When someone suggested I join a mothers' group I smiled, nodded then kindly declined. I had a two month old at the time but after a year and a bit I was itching to meet other mothers who had children the same age, who knew what I was going through and who could talk preschools, strollers, and co-sleeping. It was a lifesaver. Support and laughter will carry you through these early years.
We do so much self-sacrificing, and so little self-caring. Treat yourself. Buy that dress. Try that menu. Sign up for that class. Do something nourishing your future self will thank you for.
Get someone close around for a few hours to look after the kids (you'd be surprised at how many friends/family members would be happy to help out a 'selfless mother'. Enjoy yourself! Be productive in your care but also give yourself time to wonder aimlessly and collect your thoughts before returning home. By taking care of ourselves were also taking care of others. So set a date, get a sitter and really marvel in your 'you' time!
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