I’m writing this blog post at 11.50pm. Rio’s just had a melt down because he’s rolled out of bed and duty fell on me to get him back to sleep.... five renditions of Paw Patrol later and I’m wide awake, at midnight.
It’s times like this where I feel like I’m walking a fine line between calm and chaos and motherhood seems littered with these moments. For example when your child refuses to eat what you’ve just cooked from scratch or turns the living room upside down just as the guest arrive… ( deep breath..... )
I wish I could say I always handle these situations with grace and decorum but In all honesty, sometimes I loose it. Yep, I’ll hold my hands up, sometimes I crack. I’ll hear myself shouting all the stereotypical phrases like ‘You’ve got till 3’ or ‘stop it now’ and although we're yet to find out exactly what happens after I get to three ( thankfully we've never got there), when it comes to the latter ‘stop to now’, I have to catch myself and think…. but why?
Why can't Rio stand in the garden in just his pants? Why can't he bring gravel from the drive into our hall and why in the name of all that is good can't he wear his favourite shorts on his head to the shops pretending to be a dragon!
Is what he's dong really so wrong, or is it just unacceptable in the eyes of what society tells us is ok?
That’s how I began to think about Mindfull Motherhood. Stripping back what’s being dictated by my ‘adult’ self and instead embracing life through unfiltered ‘childish’ eyes. Here’s what I learnt and why I think every mama should try it!
- Tip One -
No one likes being patronised and children are exactly the same. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that we could all learn a thing or two from them. Childrens Emotions are valid! All too often kids are treated as though they're not allowed natural human emotions ‘ frustration, sadness, anger,…’ all seem to be recieved with a hostile response. Haven’t we all heard ( or said) ’ Darling,we don’t have time for this’… as if having emotions is time wasting and over dramatic? A close friend of mine over at MKOM.com taught me that it’s precisely at these moments that it's important to really listen to our children. When they're frustrated or sad, they are communicating! After all shouldn't we treat them with the respect that we wish them to have for themsleves? So let's listen, and not just for the sake of it but with the intention of trying to understand.
- Tip Two -
I know it might sound like a far-off hippy notion to discuss situations with a toddler but the benefits are numerous. Not only does conversation and understanding distract from a heated moment and reduce stress for your child BUT your stress levels will be alleviate too.
I remember one ‘battle’ about a year ago which seemed to go on for hours. Rio's whinging was winding me up just like a clock, when eventually the springs snaped. I went from screaming to crying to pleading and in all the chaos he became even more confused. Due to shear exhaustion after about 90 minutes we both caved in, but I swore I would never allow this to happen again.
Mutual Mediation means not only listening to your kids but showing them you understand. Try talking them through the process with you and navigate the situation together. Simplify the issue to their level and come to a solution together. Explain WHY something isn't appropriate and find an alternative that you could both enjoy.
Little Life Lessons
- Tip 3 -
I recently tweeted that;
‘Teaching a child not to step on a catepiller is as beneficial to the child as it is to the catepiller’.
Well really, I find that teaching a child anything at all is as beneficial to the teacher as it is to the child.
You see, parenting goes through stages ( and as Rio is only 2 I’m aware I’ve barely scratched the surface) however, what I have learnt in the last two years is that everyone could stand to embrace a little more of their inner toddler.
In a world where technology and communication are increasing at a rapid pace, demand and work rate are increasing also. As a result anxiety and stress are developing and becoming an accepted component of day-to-day life.
Now I get it trust me , children don’t have the responsibilities adults do. We can’t all ride our tricycles to the park every lunch break BUT what we CAN do is learn to slow down our pace. Just a fraction. Even if it's only for 10 minutes a day.
which leads my nicely onto my fourth than final tip,
Mindful Mama Moment's
- Tip 4 -
In a world with 'on demand' TV and 'High Speed' internet, we seem to have lost sight of the fact that 'Fast results don't mean success'. No... true success is found in longjevity and in order to sustain you need recuperation and rest. That goes for business goals, family matters or in a sports arena.
As a mum, Juggling school runs with potty training, work meetings and hobbies, can make taking a moment for yourself seem impossible.
Children don't worry about deadlines. Children live in the now.
How often do you let your body and mind relax?
When I'm with Rio, 90% of my energy goes into making sure he's being safe. I'm pretty much walking around on red alert and as such my anxiety can shoot through the roof. 'Mindfull Mama Moment's' have halved the tantrums in our house and doubled my energy. I literally force myself to switch off. I don't worry about what emails I might be missing or who else might be getting ahead whilst I rest.
Living in a world of being 'on it' 100% of the time is exhausting and unsustainable. I want to enjoy every moment and that means allowing my body to recharge and recuperate when it needs too. A Zen proverb states that;
'You should sit in meditation for 10 minutes a day, unless you don't have time, then you should sit for an hour'.
There is so much truth in this.
Mum's, you're human. Be mindful of moment you are in. Allow our body to feel tired and let it rest. Refuel with healthy food. Leave adulthood behind for a hour.
You don't need to be 'busy' to be productive and you don't need to be 'on it' to be a good parent. They say the day's are long but the years are short. So let's embrace the now and be a little more mindful of the moment's we have.