When your toddler is fighting his nap again, do you ever shake your head in wonder? What wouldn’t you give for someone to put you down for a three-hour nap? It’s one of the ironies of motherhood; we spend so much time trying to get our little ones to sleep and, as a result, we ourselves are often totally spent and exhausted.
While the physical demands of motherhood are extensive, what many moms find surprising is the breadth of the mental and spiritual demands. Children are all encompassing. They come into our lives, and not only do we give them our bodies, but they also take up room in our once sharp minds and our now bursting hearts.
Even though we complain and sometimes fall apart, the truth is that in between the less-than-glamorous hours of motherhood, we are keenly aware that raising these children is an honor and joy we’d never want to miss.
But if there’s one admission every mother must eventually make, it’s we cannot do it all. We come to the end of ourselves faster than we think we will. If we intend to extend our abilities and energy, we cannot pour ourselves into our jobs, relationships and children without also drawing strength and peace from another source.
So what’s a mother to do when she feels like her limitations are standing in the way of a fuller enjoyment of her life? While there are many solutions or partial solutions, one that you can incorporate today wherever you are and with little to no financial investment is meditation.
Meditation addresses some of the most common issues busy moms, and women in general, face.
While motherhood is a fulfilling way to spend your day, it can also be stressful at times. Meditation is a well-documented way to reduce stress. The very act of sitting down and taking a few deep breaths is calming. As you bring your focus inward, your internal world becomes balanced so the demands of your external world don’t feel quite so daunting.
When we hear the words “impulse control,” we probably think of our children more often than we think of ourselves. But think about it. How often do you snap at your kids? Or how often do you grab that candy bar for breakfast? When we’re feeling our most depleted, our ability to control these impulses (or even cultivate the desire to do so) is diminished.
Meditation trains our minds to control the flow of our thoughts, which allows us to control our response to those less-than-helpful impulses.
Grounded in the Present
How many times have you been told to enjoy every moment of raising your children? If we’re honest, there are times this well-intentioned mantra grates on our last nerve. Motherhood is hard, and the day-to-day is filled with a lot of moments we’d rather not remember.
This is one of the best reasons to meditate. If we can ground ourselves in the present, a clarity will come that allows us to appreciate this moment in time, to find the contentment that beats beneath the messiness of our days.
There is no doubt that a powerful connection exists between our minds and our bodies. Over and over again, studies have confirmed that those with healthy minds and spirits are better able to maintain good physical health. Meditation brings a holistic view to health by linking our mental health with our physical health.
Sometimes we forget that our children are always watching us. When you halt your busy day and choose to make space for meditation, you show your kids that health and wellness is a priority. Not only do you increase the probability that they too will place value on health and wellness, but you also teach them that even though you are their mother, you have basic needs and deserve an opportunity to meet them.
Perhaps you once meditated regularly and have lost your practice. Or maybe you’ve never meditated a day in your life. No matter your level of experience, meditation is available to you. One of the easiest ways to start is to download apps of short, guided meditations to your phone. Some of the most popular and best-rated apps are:
- The Mindfulness App
- Smiling Mind
Each of these apps is available for both Android and iOS devices. Most of them offer a wide array of guided meditations, with subjects ranging from anxiety to issues at work to sleep problems. Because meditation is so intensely personal, you may want to install a privacy service on your phone. This will ensure you can work through each of your own personal troubles or situations without worrying that someone else (like your kids!) has access to your private sessions.
At the end of the day, the only person who can bring calm and perspective to your life is you. But the wonderful consequence of this choice is that everyone, especially your children, benefit from it. If you think you can’t find a minute to meditate, remember there will always be a million excuses not to take care of yourself. None of them compare to the two most important reasons to make space for meditation and self-care: Your kids are counting on you, and you are worth it.
About the Author: Caroline is a writer with a soft spot for anything that makes women’s lives easier. She meditates every single day, even when her mind is reeling with new ideas she can’t wait to share with the world.