In the beginning, having children seems like a great idea. But somewhere along the way you realise that, if you are going to avoid burning water and losing your phone in the fridge, again, then you have to take a moment; to take a moment. To be an effective mother you need to be resilient, calm and have a strong handle on your emotions even in the face of challenges that would reduce other adults to tears.
Being a parent means you rarely have time to yourself. When you become consumed with anything, regardless of how enjoyable it was to begin with, you can end up becoming resentful, or tired of it and that’s where anger, frustration and impatience take place.
Meditation comes in many forms. Time out through meditation helps you to undo the years of conditioning that we have to do more than one thing at a time, to juggle, and hurry, and do more than before. At its simplest, it is taking a few minutes in one block, each day, to allow yourself to be an individual. Set aside, for just a small block of time, a space to practise finding a balance and calmness in your life.
There are studies around that show clearly that meditation helps with a range of mental illnesses and that it can help manage periods of intense stress, change and challenge. If that doesn’t describe motherhood to you, then I don’t know what else might! Meditation decreases your stress hormone responses in the part of the brain that manages the whole body so it reduces the side effects of stress too short temper, not sleeping, not being able to focus or remember in the short term, high blood pressure and so on. Meditation activates the bits of the brain that control emotions too, so it calms you down and gives you more depth to cope better than you did before.
All you need is 10 minutes a day.
The way to meditate with children is to start off by making a space in your life for the idea. This is probably the hardest and biggest step because it means acknowledging that you can’t do more than one thing at a time and in those minutes you aren’t going to even be doing one thing. You have to be strong about your boundaries for this one too. You deserve 10 minutes a day.
- Make it a part of your routine. Get up 10 minutes early and simply sit beside the bed in your room, in the empty bath or where ever you can be comfortable.
- Focus on your breathing and just on your breathing.
- Breathe out, then fill your tummy, your diaphragm, your ribs and your collarbone. Count to 4 as you do, hold for one, then breathe out slowly to the count of 4. Pause at the bottom of the exhalation.
- Close your eyes and just focus on your breath. Focus your thoughts on the simplest of acts and feel your mind quiet. Excited thoughts and pressing problems will try to barge in on this quiet time, and demand that you worry at them instead.
- Be patient with the process of learning and of meditating, and commit to 10 minutes of just being.
- Give yourself a few moments at the end to allow your thoughts to flood back in
At a pinch.
- Meditate while you’re doing something otherwise mindless, such as hanging the washing up or washing the dishes.
- Set the kids up in a kid-fabulous room, with lots of things that don’t require supervision, and sit with them. They will come and check in with you now and again and you can pause and respond, or just keep at it, depending on how blood curdling the screams are.
- Learn to meditate with a focus point, such as a candle. If a real candle is too much of a challenge with small children, download a candle app for your phone instead.
- Download an app to guide your meditation. Some use a mantra or phrase to focus your mind on something, rather than on nothing.
Meditation is about taking yourself to a quiet place, to clear your mind and concentrate on your soul. Do you meditate? Do you think if it helped you to manage other people’s lives as well as your own stress, you could do it for a few minutes each day? Try it and tell us how you found it.