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If you are looking for a fun and creative craft activity to do with the kids with a mindfulness twist, check out the Calm Down Jar. We just made 4 last night...super easy and so much fun. Thank you, Here We Are Together blog for the tip!
Nothing frustrates me more than when I lose control and then my temper. Nothing! Especially when I do it in front of my kids. In fact, if I had to pick one thing...one thing...that I feel the most guilt over as a mom, it’s when I lose my cool, come totally unglued, and unleash some pretty negative emotions in front of my sweet, impressionable little girls. After every one of these not-so-stellar mothering meltdown moments, I can’t help but mutter under my breath, “What the hell? What is my problem?”
Well, my problem lies in my resistance to the mothering moments that irritate, anger, and frustrate me (with raising twin 3 year olds and a 4 year old, these are pretty frequent). Classic example, when my daughter starts to throw a tantrum, my resistance shows up as anger, and it makes this moment persist that much longer. What I resist always persists.
The antidote to resistance is acceptance. The biggest part of accepting is just letting go. When we let go of our resistance to the stressful mothering moments, these moments lose their power, and we gain the power in return.
YOU'VE ALWAYS HAD THE POWER
“Her favorite moments were those when she let go of all expectations and worries and just simply celebrated the very moment she was living.”
I love this quote by Kelly Rae Roberts. And based on Facebook “likes” on our Facebook page, so do you all! I think this resonates with us because we all instinctively desire to be present more often and to truly celebrate the mothering moments in our lives, even the less than loveable ones, instead of curse them.
The great news is if you want to do better, if you want to be better, if you want to have more control over your negative emotional reactions to the moments in mothering that that seem totally unacceptable, you can.You really, truly can. Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, you’ve always had the power inside of you. All you gotta do is access it.
If accessing your power in times of chaos is your will, then the way is through the present moment.
This concept of finding our power in the present moment is the heart, the essence, the soul of mindful mothering!! Present moment awareness is so important because when we accept the “now,” in whatever form it takes, we access our power of responding (not reacting) in loving ways.
Your way into the present moment is always through your breath. Yep. It's that simple. The next time a mommy moment challenges your resolve in maintaining your composure, try this:
BREATHE IN...BREATHE OUT....RELEASE...RESPOND.
*The key to this working is the RELEASE part. You need to release any negative emotion you feel swelling inside of you. Sometimes during my "release," I visualize hugging this emotion (anger, for instance) and compassionatly letting it go. Sounds kinda kooky, I know. But it really works!
You have the power to accept any moment in your mothering when you breathe in, breathe out, release, and respond. When you follow these four simple steps, your mind clears, calm washes over you, and you access the infinite wisdom of the Universe. You become responsive, not reactive, and you emanate pure love, not pure anger in those challenging moments. In effect, you disempower the moment and empower yourself!
“Stop and smell the roses. Take time for yourself. Appreciate the moment. Be in the now…” blah, blah, blah.
Seriously?! As mothers (working or stay at home), who really has the time to do any of these things? Sure, we’d like to. We really would. And intellectually, we know we should. But something keeps holding us back from integrating these very important practices into our daily lives. What gives?
What gives is that for a lot of us, our typical day looks a little something like this: work, work, work, prepare for the next day, collapse into bed. Am I right? If this is the case for you, chances are you are stuck in a vicious cycle! You have become trapped in your own life. You are stuck in the proverbial rut! It’s this rut, this vicious cycle that keeps mindfulness, mothering in the moment, taking time for yourself, and smelling the roses at an unreachable distance.
Stuck in this cycle, it’s so very easy to forget this basic truth:
You own your life. It doesn’t own you.
Yes, yes, I know it might not feel like this some (most) days-- You gotta go to work, you gotta run the kids around, you gotta make dinner, you gotta spend time with your spouse, you gotta fold the laundry, clean the house, you gotta…, you gotta…, you gotta.
It’s these “I gottas” that trick you into believing you have no options. When you get caught up in the vicious cycle of doing, doing, doing, you forget you have the power to stop the insanity. You forget other things, too; you forget that the bliss of life is really found in the moments between the “doing,” that your needs are important, and that in terms of mindful mothering, a very important “I gotta” is investing time in yourself.
Now please understand, I am not suggesting that all the "I gottas" I listed are not important. They are-- sorta. I am suggesting that we need to really prioritize our "I gottas." Some really are not as important as others. They are not all equal. "I gotta vacuum the floor this instant," vs "I gotta take 10 minutes to just sit down and rest and be with my kids," are two very different I gottas. The one that gets done is the one that is higher on your priority list. Start watching the I gottas that run through your head, witness the ones you actually react to (as in, the ones you actually do), and take note of how you prioritize them all.
IT’S ALL IN YOUR HEAD
I was recently skimming through Working Mother’s Magazine, and something the editorial director, Jennifer Owens said struck me to my core, “I know much of my problem with finding time (and spending money) for myself is all in my head.”
All in my head! Yes. This is always the case, but I always forget it. You, too? When we always think we gotta do this and that, and we never think we gotta slow down and take care of ourselves, our lives follow suit. If our minds are stuck in a vicious cycle, our lives will be, too.
The most effective way to stop the insanity, step out of your rut, or end the vicious cycle is to shake things up a bit. And I mean shake things up in your head first! You gotta start thinking differently, mama, if you want to see a difference in how you live your life.
So…try thinking something new! The next time (and it won’t be long) you start to think about all you gotta do, follow these steps:
1) Recognize you are thinking this way-- awareness of this thought pattern is the first step to stopping it.
2) STOP yourself from continuing to think the thoughts that keep you stuck in the "doing" mentality.
3) Replace the old “I gotta” thoughts with new thoughts: “Everything will be okay.” “I will get everything done in time.” “This isn’t critical to do right now.”
4) Prioritize your "I gottas." Perhaps peppering in a couple, "I gotta be alone," "I gotta just sit down for 5 minutes," "I gotta just breathe for a second," into your habitual thinking is the most direct way to accessing the power of the present moment.
Life and mothering are not meant to be “one damn thing after another!” And if your life and your mothering currently feel like one damn thing after another, it need not remain this way. As MINDFUL MAMAS we must remember that it’s all in our heads-- our power that is. Our power to reclaim our time and our lives starts with our thinking. The moment you start thinking new thoughts (as in new “I gotta’s”), pockets of time for self-renewal, stillness, and savoring the precious moments of mothering magically appear.