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LETTING GO IS NOT EASY
Our kids are gonna leave us.

Ugh. Just this thought rips my heart to pieces. Yet, I know that letting go of my girls, baby-step by baby-step, is the deal. It’s what I signed up for, but it’s so hard to do! As a mom, it doesn’t matter if your child is taking her first big girl step into those pre-school doors, or your grown “little man” is hopping into his overstuffed car heading off to college. In moments like these, every mother experiences a range of emotions anywhere from fear and worry to excitement, pride, and hope. 

Letting go is an essential part of mothering, and we Mindful Mamas continually refine the art of doing it gracefully (if not for our sake and sanity, for our child’s well being). We have to love our children enough to let them go. They are not ours. They never were. They are their own entities, and our job is to protect and guide them as they become strong, independent, and capable. Clinging to their youth or to our identity as their mother only brings us pain and suffering. So not mindful, am I right?! Anytime we experience pain, fear, worry, anxiety, or a desire to control when it comes to letting go of our kids, we are reminded of the work we need to do on ourselves.

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IT’S ALWAYS BEEN A MATTER OF TRUST
Letting go is a crucial part of mindful mothering. Negative emotions like worry and fear always take us out of the present moment-- almost instantaneously. It’s impossible to “be in the moment,” exuding peace and acceptance when your head is projecting into the future events that scare the sh*% out of you! You are never capable of handling future events that aren’t real, and worry and fear are always about the future.
 
Worry. Worrisome and fearful thoughts always paralyze us because when we project into the future, we feel a tremendous sense of loss of control. And no mama enjoys feeling a loss of control when it comes to her kids. 
 
The secret is that you are always, always, always capable of handling any situation that occurs in the present moment. Always. The way you get yourself out of the mental trap that fear and worry has propelled you into is to rationalize with yourself that if that disastrous moment were to really occur (and we all know that the chances of it happening are highly unlikely), you’d be able to handle it. For you always have, haven’t you? I venture to guess that as a mother, you have a proven track record of handling many worst-case-scenarios in the moments they arise. Remind yourself of that. Trust yourself.

Yet, it’s so easy to forget. Letting go is easier said than done. I know. But we have to do it. We have to let go-- gracefully. Otherwise our minds rage like a toddler who is starving and sleep deprived. And every time this happens, we disconnect from the moment. And every time we disconnect from the moment, we disconnect from our lives, our kids, and ourselves. Since we recognize the power of mothering in the moment, letting of control, worry, and fear as we let go of our kids is what we have to do.
 
So what’s the worst that could happen if you intentionally let go of control, fear, and worry? My Ego tells me that if I don’t control enough, or worry enough, that bad stuff will surely happen. (If only that were the magic formula-- just worry and then bad stuff won’t happen.) In reality, the worst that could happen is the best thing that could happen… you’d stop letting fear and worry control you and how you mother.

Consider this little secret: when you let go of control and fear, you don’t actually lose anything (not anything worth having, anyway). Rather, you gain something in return-- trust. When we don’t unnecessarily interfere with our kids’ lives, we trust them. Trust is love. It’s a felt emotion. When your child feels trusted, they gain self-confidence and learn to trust others. When you trust yourself and your ability to handle any situation in the present moment, you gain self-confidence and trust life. When you trust the moments of your life, your ability to mother from a place of serenity and love is greatly enlarged.

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YOUR MINDFUL MAMA PRACTICE

“Fear is love inverted, or your own mental power turned against you.”
 
~ Marianne Williamson, A Course in Weight Loss

 
Give it 5 minutes, and you’ll be faced with a situation concerning your child where fear will strike your heart, and you’ll need to let go gracefully. Instead of turning your power against yourself by entertaining thoughts of fear and worry, choose hope. Choose trust. Hope and trust ground you in the present moment. Choose to trust your child, their strength, their wisdom, their spunky attitude they inherited from you. Let your hopes for your child outweigh your fears. Let go gracefully. For in letting go gracefully we remind our hearts that when it comes to letting our kids go, nothing is really lost and everything is gained.

 
 
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As moms, we thrive on being prepared. I swear, it’s in our mothering DNA. Think about how meticulously you prepared for the moment you brought your newborn baby home. When that nesting instinct kicked in, you probably couldn’t stop yourself from cleaning every inch of your house (twice), washing, hanging, and folding all those cute little outfits, and rearranging all essential elements--diapers, wipes, onsies, lotions, and an assortment of creams--in the nursery in just the right place.

Now, think for a moment about why we moms do this. Consider the thoughts that underlie the nesting behavior. We want to create a calm, clean, serene environment for our baby to come home to. And, we want to create a relaxing and peaceful environment for ourselves to come home to. The moment we bring our child home, we want to focus all our attention on our precious miracle, not all that needs to be done around us.

In your moments of preparation, (whether you realized it or not) you were lining up energy for that future event. You were “prepaving” it. Your thoughts and actions in the present moment of nesting were intentionally creating a future event to unfold in the exact manner you envisioned. 


YOU HAVE THE POWER

When we focus our mental energy on what we DO want to occur in the moments in our lives, we become masterful  creators! Think about all the things, circumstances, and moments you  have  already manifested in your life because you focused your mental energy on  creating them. When we realize, 1) we have the power to create the moments in our lives, and, 2) we have knowledge about how to do this, there is nothing we can’t manifest.

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 MASTERFUL MANIFESTING MAMAS

There are countless ways you can apply this powerful concept to mothering and get amazing results. Here are some “moments” in mothering where prepaving really pays off:

*the morning rush
*your response to your child’s meltdown
*the witching hour (5-6 pm)
*responding to your child’s night waking
*nursing
*disciplining your child
*your commute/ shuttling kids to their events (how you want to feel during this down time)
*bath and bedtime (even yours)
*talks with to your teen
*any transition time in the day (nap, bath, bedtime…)

Prepaving is super easy. All you have to do is give yourself a couple seconds (literally, seconds) in the present moment to direct your positive energy about a future event. My favorite time to prepave is right before I go to sleep. After taking some time to be grateful for the events of the day (it’s  essential to prepave from a positive mental state), I focus my mental energy on specific events of the next day. One moment in particular that I’ve been  really prepaving is my response to my daughter’s meltdowns. So at night, I focus  my thoughts (i.e., energy) on what I DO want to happen in this moment when it  occurs the next day ('cause it will). In my mind’s eye, I envision my most  graceful mothering self. I see my daughter starting to melt down, I visualize  myself kneeling down to her level, looking her in the eyes, listening intently  on what she has to say, and then giving her a big hug. Practicing my positive  response in my head paves the way for my response in that moment to be exactly like I energized it to be.



YOUR  PRACTICE

For many of us, focusing on what we don't want to happen  with our kids, our lives, our mothering, etc, has become a bad habit. The first  step to breaking this habit is to deliberately and intentionally focus your  mental energy on what you DO want to happen. Any positive mental energy you put  out, paves the way for your desires to occur. Make "prepaving" part of your  daily mindfulness practice. And never forget that as a woman and a  mother, you are a  masterful creator. You have the power to create your future  reality with the thoughts you think in the present moment.

Moment by  moment we create our lives, our selves, our kids, and our experiences with the  thoughts we think. Harness this power and make it work for you, not against you!