Mindful motherhood wasn’t on my mind this morning, as I was frantically trying to put away piles of folded laundry while organising my day and the week ahead. In my rush, I snapped at my eldest son for throwing tantrums.
As soon as I gave my toddler time out, I began to feel rallied up again, as I usually do when I’m feeling anxious. I stepped back, took a few deep breaths, sighed, went into the bathroom, knelt on the floor next to my son and asked him why he was having a meltdown.
By then his temper had cooled down. He looked at me with those big doll-like eyes and threw his tiny arms around my neck. We embraced each other, while I apologised for snapping at him. He continued to hug me tightly and didn’t stop until his little brother crawled into the bathroom, ready to join in the hugfest.
After my husband had come back from dropping off the boys at their kindergarten and daycare, he went to the kitchen and as usual, made me my favourite breakfast of eggs.
He looked at my still-worried eyes, and reassuringly told me that it was just ok for me to put my feet up, and relax.
I resisted. How about all the things that I need to do. I have homework to complete before tomorrow’s class. I have bread that I need to bake. It is Monday; my schedule states that I need to vacuum and mops the floors, clean out the fridge, make dinner before 6 pm.
‘You don’t need to do all that,” he reassured. ‘Just do what you can do, and leave the rest.’ he continued.
‘How about my gym!’ I exclaimed, frustrated. ‘It’s been a while since I worked out. It feels like I pay membership but never turn up to train.’ I ranted.
‘Yes, that is because you are always busy. You need to stop and do something for YOU.’ he bargained.
‘I know, I know…it just seems that I can barely make time for myself without feeling selfish.’ I said, emotions straining my voice.
‘Well, see that is it. You need to say, I want to do this, for me, and I will happily pick up the boys, make dinner, play, bath and put them to bed. You don’t have to worry about that.’ he reassured me, for the umpteenth time.
Why is mindful motherhood important?
I often have this conversation with my husband. He knows me and knows that it is essential for me to have a mindful morning and an equally conscious life.
Often, I’m so caught up in taking care of everyone else, that I forget to step back and just breath. To be an intentional and healthy woman, mother and wife, means that I don’t always have to entertain a busy mind. Yes, there are nights when I lay my head on the pillow, but my brain refuses to shut down. The constant churning of thoughts, worries and ambitions keep me counting sheep, longer than I need to.
As a mindful mother, I need to stop habitually glorifying the term ‘busy’. I realise that it is perfectly ok to have days when I wake up without a clue of what I need or should do with my time. I leave the house without a plan, only to return later with amazing stories of happenstance.
Being a mindful mother means that I can listen to my busy thoughts and filter out unnecessary noise. It also means that I don’t have to be an over-busy mother, to be a happy one. I can have a dirty house (hard as it may be) but healthy and happy children. My boys can scatter their LEGOs and other toys all over the floor, without me biting their heads off. I can instead sit down and build those LEGO blocks with them, as my older son loves to do with me.
Slow down and enjoy life
My youngest son recently left the nest to start full-time daycare. Ok, I just made that sentence seem dramatic as if it means that he moved miles away from me. He is only 15 months old and still has a long way to go before him, and his three years old brother can leave the nest.
So, why is it that I am already suffering from the empty nest syndrome?
That’s because, after a one-year maternity break, I am back to chasing busy ambitions. Making job applications, networking, going back to school, and basically, I am back in the rat race after a long break, and I am not cutting myself any slack.
Recently I remarked to my friend that I was feeling burned out. I was planning to take a break from job-hunting, to enjoy writing and photography, and being present for my sons.
I was slowing down to enjoy this downtime. A period granted to me so that I can relax, replenish and revitalise.
As my husband likes to say; it is okay to enjoy your downtime without feeling guilty about it. Let go of the need to be overly productive, and ‘just do you’.
In this light, I acknowledge that an exhausted, worried, anxious mother/wife easily snaps. Today you crash, tomorrow you break. Pause. Stop. Breath. Take in these moments.
My sons’ childhood is fleeting; I will slow down, savour it all in with them, and make memories to see us through this life.
For now, I am writing this story, while listening to soft sounds of music streaming into the quiet Monday midday, my slice of heaven. A moment to sit, deflate and relax.
Que sera, Que sera, what will be, must be.
#livingwithanxiety #mindfulness #mindfulmonday #motherhoodunplugged #kenyanmom