My early motherhood experience felt like a continuous quest for the next point of comfort. At first it was milestones, like “once the baby sleeps through the night” or “once she starts taking a bottle”. When I realized those dreams were illusive and perhaps unattainable, I started aiming for more short-term reprieves, like nap time or bed time.
I was just so desperate for some peace, and believed my internal peace would come from the harmonious alignment of my external circumstances.
I have come a long way from those days, and while my baseline level of peace in my motherhood is much higher now, I recognize that this journey towards Mindful Motherhood is a continuous one. I have not arrived and oddly, arrival is not even my goal. The practice of mindfulness is a process that is never complete, but always unfolding.
Here are three essential concepts that have helped me develop mindfulness in my motherhood:
Ride the Waves
The swings between ecstatic highs and darkest lows can occur within a few moments of each other in motherhood. Part of Mindful Motherhood is learning the art of riding the waves instead of attaching to them.
When your toddler won’t stop biting his brother, it is easy to start assigning narratives like “he is in his terrible two’s”, or “he is doomed to be a bully”. Don’t try to be your child’s fortuneteller. Everything has a season, and most behaviors are simply a part of their stage of development. Ride that wave; feel the swell and let it drop off in its good time.
Develop a Vision
Do you notice other mothers who seem to have that quiet peace and satisfaction in their motherhood? Me too. Do you slightly resent them? I used to too.
Now, though, instead of envying them, I channel them. I consider what it must feel like to be them, notice how they respond to their children, and try to emulate it. Not just in my actions, but also in my feelings. Having a motherhood alter-ego is a terrific and helpful tool to becoming the mother you want to be because it casts a vision. Knowing who you want to become is a critical first step to actually becoming them.
Choose Your Attention
I remember thinking that I had “no time” when I had my first child… and then along came my second. I quickly realized that I did in fact used to have some time – I just paid no attention to it. All I could see was the time I spent caring for my baby.
Paying attention to all the difficulties of motherhood left me struggling with persistent feelings of being trapped. Trapped by my children’s needs, by the burden of housekeeping, by the constant pace, by the absence of breaks.
Here’s what I gradually came to understand: Motherhood is not a trap – my negative thoughts about motherhood are the trap. Once I realized this, everything changed. Not immediately, but with each subsequent choice to attend to my thoughts of opportunity, solution, and growth, I took off the trap of motherhood and stepped into the gift that it truly is.
To me, Mindful Motherhood is intentionally cultivating a mutually joyful relationship with my child. It means living tuned in to the frequency of my own heart, as well as the hearts of my children. It means accepting authority over my mind, rather than allowing my thoughts to dictate where my energy is expended.
Mindful parenting did not come naturally, but through deliberate research, intentional practice, and nurtured habits that serve as reminders of who I want to become. I hope the advice I offer can be a starting point for you on your Mindful Motherhood journey.
This post was written by my beautiful and talented friend Christie. I have asked Christie to share a post with me each month, as I find I have so much I can learn from her. I want her to be my personal parenting coach! I hope you enjoy her posts as much as I do.
If you liked this post, you might also be interested in this post I wrote previously on a few tangible things I do each day that help me to be a Calm Mom. You can read that post right here: How I Became a Calm Mom.
Thank you so much for reading friends,