The Mindful Mum. Well sort of ...
Mindfulness to me means living in the present moment and
not allowing the past or the future to determine my choices.
Being a mum of three has its benefits when it comes to
supporting other mothers. I get asked about my experiences
and how I manage my business around my family life. People
want to know how I am always on time for everything. That’s
a life skill from my time in the Royal Navy! But I’ve used that
to help other mums with their time-keeping by
recommending diaries, planners and mindfulness courses.
One of the environment changes that I would have made
before becoming a mother would be to introduce mindfulness
into my home. I strongly believe that you can create a relaxing
environment before your baby is born, to help both mum and
newborn settle in. When everything around you is calm and
relaxed, organisation and time-keeping becomes a lot easier.
I only reached out to the world of mindfulness during my
third pregnancy. After delivering a session in my then
workplace, I saw the positive impact it had. I hoped that it
would help with all of the sickness and anxiety I was
experiencing. It did immediately open my mind to just how
much energy I was using worrying about possible scenarios
and other people. I decided to make mindfulness a vital part
of my routine, even if it was just one activity per day. It soon
became natural to me and I relaxed enough to enjoy and be
present during my pregnancy just that little bit more.
I didn’t believe that I was capable of moving forward from
past experiences like a relationship break-up and judgement
from being a single mother. I didn’t know then that by holding
onto these negative memories, I was keeping them alive.
I allowed them to restrict the opportunities I went for in life,
because I was frightened that those memories would repeat
themselves in the present and I would experience the hurt and
anger all over again.
But I worked through this.
I started small with mindfulness activities. I would play
relaxing music while I was falling asleep.
I soon stepped it up a level and began to take my children out
to parks, turn my phone on silent and walk in the present
moment talking to them about what we could hear, smell and
see, and how it made us feel. We once spent 15 minutes trying
to see the bird we could hear in the tree branches above our
head. It was magical as we were all in the same moment
enjoying and recognising one another without being
distracted by mobile phones, televisions and gaming stations.
It seemed to come more natural to my children than it did to
me. As soon as I recommended that we practised mindfulness
with our words and actions, they were all for it because they
knew that it meant more activities where they got to spend
time with their mum, whose focus was all about them.
I’m not suggesting that your focus isn’t on your children if
you don’t do mindfulness, but it is easy to get distracted. This
can be through work commitments, friends who call around
just as you’re sitting down for supper or when you're out as a
family and your mobile rings. It happens a lot more than we
realise. When you’re mindful in your day to day life, you start
to value the present moment and make the right changes in
order to enjoy those precious times with your loved ones.
After a visit to the park with my youngest daughter who has
just turned three, I wrote a post on social media to explain our
experience. This got a lot of positive attention and other mums
commented that they wanted to follow in my footsteps, switch
off and focus on the present moment with their children.
We go about every day trying to show the world what great
parents we are through social media. We show off what we
buy them or how well they’re doing because of us. What we
should be doing is focusing on how our children see us, and
not living up to everyone else’s expectations.
Be present with your children, be mindful with them, because
it won’t be long before they don’t want to play airplanes with
Mindfulness teaches you that there are ways of
communicating where you don’t always have to be the person
who sits nodding her head to the needs of others.
If you start small, like I did with the bedtime music, and then
build up to putting your phone away more and focusing on
things like tasting your food while you’re eating it, you'll start
to understand what mindfulness is all about. It can bring
positivity and understanding into the present moment. In the
past I ate so quickly that I was always the first one to finish,
because I was so used to shoveling down my food to get to
whatever I needed to do next. I now enjoy every bite and it’s
The start of your mindfulness joinery won’t be easy, but
recognising that you need the change is the start of something
powerful that will alter your whole approach.