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.
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.