Last Saturday, we kicked off Mother’s Day Weekend with a conversation about motherhood and mindfulness. Vision + Goals coach Alexis Brandolini led the discussion that started with feelings about our own moms and morphed into a discussion about our own insecurities and how motherhood surprised us.
Full disclosure, I wasn’t participating in the discussion. I was listening. Listening to how moms talked about being a mom. How they opened up about their own stories. How they never fully appreciated the sacrifices their own mothers made. How they get frustrated about physically moving toddlers out the door in the morning. How their concept of time completely changed. How their concept of time did not in any way shape or form match those of their kids. Schedules. Scheduling. And rescheduling. Reinventing identities. Exhaustion. Exhilaration.
Motherhood has become synonymous with selflessness. But should we wear that like a badge of honor?
One thing that became clear during the session was that in order to be the best mother to our children (and I’m not talking parenting styles, we all have our own and what works for your family is what you should be doing), we have to reclaim some part of ourselves, determine the person we want to be, and work toward that goal. If we lose our way when our kids are young, who will we be when they go out on their own?
Hence the inspiration for our new series: (cool) mindful moms. From now until the end of the year, we’re on a mission to become more mindful and purposeful about this whole idea of motherhood — and what being a modern mom means. Each month will focus on a different theme and we’ll hear from experts in various fields related to those themes. Mindfulness, goal setting, health, creativity… Each week, there will be a series-related article on (cool) progeny and we’ll be discussing it in a private Facebook group. (Want to join? Just request to join and an admin will add you!) We’ll also be arranging fun meet-ups related to the monthly theme.
This is not one more thing to add to your to do list. Try one of the ideas. Try thirty of them. Do what works for you. There is no right way to do this.
becoming more mindful
Our first theme is becoming more mindful. I don’t know if you have had a chance to watch Dr. Kristen Race’s TEDTalk about keeping your brain happy, but you should. (I know, what does this have to do with motherhood? Stay with me…). Kristen is a brain scientist and her talk focuses on how stress effects our brains. She leads with how the pace of her life –she had a toddler, a full time job, working on her PhD, pregnant with her second child, remodeling the house — led to a full body breakdown. She goes on to talk about how women are the consummate jugglers, and it doesn’t matter which woman she talked to; all of them were living at a breakneck pace. How does this crazy pace physically affect our brains?
The science of stress. That most certainly applies to motherhood.
As moms, we are often living in constant reaction mode. You’ve heard of flight or fight response, or stress response? When we’re living crazy, over-scheduled lives, our brain performance goes into constant stress mode — and that becomes our baseline. It’s not necessarily the best thing for our health. That said, moving our families to a yurt on a remote island isn’t necessarily the best thing either. Becoming a more mindful parent not only helps bring our own brains back to baseline, it can help alleviate our kids’ stress.
Kristen gives three simple ideas for practicing mindfulness:
- mindful breathing
- mindful listening
- gratitude (people who practice gratitude are happier!)
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be exploring these practices. Let’s start with Mindful Breathing.
For the next week, take 10 minutes per day and pay attention to your breath. (Kristen suggests 20 minutes, but we’re easing into this, right?). If your mind wonders — and it will — simply bring it back.
It’s a small change. Let’s give it a week and see what happens!
(cool) mindful moms week one: mindful breathing
For the next week, take 10 minutes per day and pay attention to your breath. (Kristen suggests 20 minutes, but we’re easing into this, right?). If your mind wonders — and it will — simply bring it back. It’s a small change. Let’s give it a week and see what happens! Don’t forget to join the Facebook group and participate in the discussion — or leave a comment below!