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  • Clare Bowers

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

us bare-footed.


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

amazing.


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.


Always here.


Clare.

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