I thought I would share with you today a course that I have been undertaking online. It’s one that I would recommend to any mum as I am already reaping the benefits of the insights given to me.
Mindfulness for Mothers – Self care at any stage of parenting is a powerful toolbox of expert lectures, insights and mindfulness practice.
Busy has become a buzz word to describe our experience of parenting and it is most often worn with pride like a war wound. We are asked how we are, and we reply ‘busy’. When Kellie Edwards of Mindfulness 4 Mothers first approached me about undertaking the course, I must admit that I was at what I would have termed by ‘busy peak’. I think what I didn’t realise at the time is that ‘busy peak’ was actually code for ‘pure exhaustion’. After months of caring for my toddler son full time during the day and working until the early hours of the morning on producing Bubba West Magazine, among other projects, I was beyond tired. I was fried.
So I was wary of adding to my load with an additional course. However, having been introduced to mindfulness two years before, I knew it to be powerful, and so dutifully I sat down with a cup of tea and started listening to the lectures. I am so glad I did.
The lectures are quick (most are about 10 minutes long) and the experts chosen to speak are accessible, real, understanding and parents themselves. I was especially taken with Rick Hansen’s interview. In it, he states that mothering is known to be more stressful than any other day job; the stakes are high, the work relentless and mothers care deeply about the outcome. We try hard, we are overworked and we are critical of ourselves because we care so much about getting things right for the children we adore.‘The factor that probably has the highest effect on outcomes for children is the level of wellbeing and functioning of their mother. If you care about children, take good care of mothers.’
So it makes total sense in this context to ‘study up’ and arm ourselves with as many tools as possible to ensure that we are healthy and happy and that our kids are, too. Sarah Napthali (another interviewee in the course) suggests that we create ‘islands of mindfulness’ within our day to help us centre. This can be as simple as checking in, and focusing on washing the dishes, for example: focusing on the present, rather than ruminating on the future or past.
In addition to lectures, the course guides you through mindfulness exercises designed to centre, calm and assist you to appreciate what is around you and within you.
I guess what I have taken from the course thus far is the power of the ‘pause button’. With social media, facebook notifications, email boxes buzzing and kids whining, it can be hard to switch off and this permanently wired state is doing us and our children harm. I am now much more aware, and actively trying to take time to pause and appreciate simple pleasures and tasks. Taking my time over eating and savouring meals. Allowing myself to feel annoyed about something, but waiting to take stock before I act. Enjoying the heat of a cup of tea, or spending 20 minutes watching my son’s favourite ‘green mower’ at the park. It has changed how I think about meditation; I no longer bemoan the fact that I have no time to even contemplate meditation, but rather, I now see everyday occurrences as opportunities to practice mindfulness. These simple moments have been so precious and the result is a much calmer me!