With a 5-year-old, 2-year-old, and 8-month-old running around our house, there is rarely a moment in our day that someone isn’t talking, laughing, screaming, or yelling. Being mindful in the midst of constant stimulation is incredibly hard. Even when things slow down around me my mom brain is still spinning, thinking about the 101 things that are still to be done on the to-do list for today alone. There was a time that I didn’t think it was possible to incorporate mindfulness into my day. Didn’t that mean I had to somehow get away from the kids to meditate? That requires concentration, which realistically only happens after the kids are in bed for the night and I have a bunch of work to get done instead. So how on earth can we be mindful during the day when our attention is being pulled in a zillion directions?
1. Stop. Observe. Focus on the little details that are in front of you every day.
During those brief moments in my day that things are at a lull, I love to soak in all of the little things about my children that melt my heart. While I was taking this picture of my son, I admired his beautiful eyelashes. I smiled at his crazy curls and jammies that show his love of all things dinosaur. I filled with pride seeing how much he learned in the few short months since he started kindergarten. I saw myself in the way he concentrated with so much concern about getting the details of his drawing just the way he wanted. It’s not that I don’t appreciate these things about him all the time, I just don’t focus on the details until I intentionally slow down. The quiet moments speak louder to my heart than the crazy ones. I put cleaning and working on hold whenever they happen so I can just sit and observe these beautiful little creatures of mine.
2. Include your children and make it part of a routine
I am not perfect at following routines. I give myself grace when they don’t happen the way that I plan but I am grateful for the structure in my day when I can use them. Throughout my day I try to incorporate small snippets of time to slow my overloaded mom-brain. When I wake up, the first thing I do is write in my journal using a technique I learned from the Science of Success. They call it the 2 minute morning and honestly it takes even less time than that. “I will let go of…I am grateful for…I will focus on…” At meals, we have a jar on our table with prompts for sharing what we are grateful for. This way we all get a chance during our day to speak and be heard. After dinner, we choose a calm family activity – coloring, reading fiction, taking a tub, or doing yoga. Finally, for the kids’ bedtime, we go around one more time to share our gratitude and affirmations for each other. My five-year-old and two-year-old participate in their own unique ways because they consistently see us doing it with them.
3. Prioritize your own wellbeing
My husband is a personal trainer and one of his first questions for new clients is “What are your top 3 priorities in life right now?” It is amazing how infrequently people include themselves in that list. You are needed all day, every day. In order to have enough to give, you need time to replenish yourself. Get out on a date with your significant other. Find a way to incorporate exercise into your weekly habits. Nourish your body with healthy foods. Drink water! I’m not sure why that last one seems so hard but it is. You are an essential piece of this family. When you take care of yourself it is much easier to be aware and mindful of the beauty that is all around you every day, even amidst the chaos, clutter, and noise.