Welcome to the March Mindful Mama Carnival: Mindful Mama Challenge
This post was written for inclusion in the Mindful Mama Carnival hosted by Becoming Crunchy and TouchstoneZ. This month our participants have challenges they've set for themselves toward becoming more mindful. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.
This month Tiny turned 3. My mouth is still agape over it. What the heck? When did my newborn baby suddenly grow into this little person? Where was I? I blinked and I missed it.
As I mentioned in an earlier post this month, Tiny's past year of life sort of passed me by. Some of that was due to reasons outside of my immediate control but at the end of the day, I allowed myself to become bogged down by life instead of living in the moment and celebrating the fact that Tiny and I are on this amazing adventure as mother and daughter. I stopped taking my own advice and no longer took the time to stop and smell the roses. Instead, I trampled them in my rush to get from one moment to the next.
I already had a long sit-down with myself earlier this year. There is still a lot going on for me personally and in our family in general. There is a lot of stuff to get bogged down with. However, I do NOT want to miss anymore of Tiny's life than I already have. Sure, I was physically present for her this year but I fell short when it came to allowing her to just enjoy her childhood. I swept her up into my hurried way of living. I forced her into rushing life. I met resistance often but still kept working to convince Tiny that expediency was the key to life.
I issued a huge challenge to myself. This is seriously momentous. I have challenged myself to slow down physically and mentally. I have challenged myself to carve out the space in time where I can just be in the moment with Tiny, embracing life for what it is right now. I have vowed to stay present and not let my mind grab onto everything I already am aware of in front of me. I have promised myself that I will venture off of the well trodden path more than I stay on it. I am opening myself up to life.
Tiny deserves nothing less. Period.
I would love nothing more than to be a child again. I would love to be able to play, to create, to enjoy the moment, to relish that which is and not what it will become. I want to be free to wake up and ingest the smell of the new day. I want to savor each new experience. I want to close my eyes and breathe in life…deeply. I want my mind free of clutter, free of to-dos, free of the weight of the world.
Practical? Not really. Possible? Of course.
Life is what you make it. Motherhood is what you make it. I want to start living the life that I had so long ago. The one where I enjoyed each day for what it was and where the next day was a new beginning. I want Tiny to grow and flourish in an environment where we are never too busy to stop and just enjoy being alive.
So here are my goals, my challenge…how I envision “slowing down” and living life more in line with Tiny's way of living:
- Instead of “rushing” out of bed in the morning to tackle the morning chores, I am going to follow Tiny's lead. If she wants to snuggle and read stories before we get out of bed, then that is what we will do. If she wants to get up and get moving, then out of bed we will go.
- Although there are household responsibilities to attend to every day, I am going to approach them with more joy. Instead of treating them as something to “just get done and over with” I am going to approach daily tasks as an important experience, something to be done with care and openness. There is no reason to instill a sense of displeasure with life's responsibilities in Tiny at such a tender age. She loves doing dishes and putting laundry in the washer, so why can't I?
- I will allow more time for our wanderings in nature. Tiny does not like to be rushed once we get outside. However, I also have a need for a brisk walk to and from our outdoor destination. Although we have not gotten outside much this year (due to Tiny's health and the ridiculously cold mornings) when we have, I am more focused on exercise than simply allowing Tiny to enjoy the world her way. Is my waistline suffering? Big time! BIG TIME! But you know what – that is ok. One day there will be more time for me to focus on exercise. Right now, I really do enjoy watching Tiny commune with nature. Because she does it brilliantly. Tiny, nature, animals, and wildlife have a very powerful connection. It is not my place to rush that. So I will make sure I afford her MORE unhurried time in the great outdoors.
- Tiny pretty much just wants to chill after she wakes up from nap. I am usually rushing around, making dinner, handling any chores that got left by the wayside in the morning, etc… Tiny has a need to be held, to be close to me. I have a need to do what I have to do. So I am going to make a huge effort to take everything in intervals in the afternoon. I will spend 15 minutes focused on Tiny then 15 minutes focused on dinner prep, chores, etc… I won't feel so frustrated about having Tiny wrapped around my ankles crying and Tiny won't need to leach on to me because I will focus my energy on her.
- I am going to start to breathe. Yes, breathe. I forget to inhale deeply. I forget to keep my awareness in the present moment. So I am going to take conscious breaths. I am going to focus my attention on my intention. I am going to focus on remaining grounded and centered and not letting a “hurry up and get it done” attitude encroach on being a part of the moment.
- I am going to take time to just enjoy existing. I am going to examine the dirt right alongside Tiny. I am going to marvel over the beetles mating on the side of the house. I am going to giggle over the puppy nose peeking through the fence. I am going to stare in awe at the cloud trails left behind by airplanes. I am going to swing on the swing set with reckless abandon. I am going to roll down a grass hill. I am going to go back to my roots and recapture that childlike joy and enthusiasm that adult responsibility rips away. For just a little bit every day, I am going to open myself to living life AS Tiny lives it and not vicariously through her.
That is all.
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Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
- The Importance of a Moment Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama reflects on the need to slow down and breathe in life instead of rushing from one moment to the next.
- Mindful Playing With My Daughters Rani at Om She Said looked at her girls and realized that more than anything they wanted her right there next to them, playing, laughing, creating, and having fun; that's exactly what she did!
- Watch Your Words Patti at Canadian Unschooler challenges herself to make her words a reflection of her intentions.
- The Mindful Benefits of Knitting Dionna at Code Name: Mama shares how knitting has helped lift her out of depression and has given her a new form of meditation.
- Self Compassion: How Thinking About Bad Experiences Can Make You Happier and More Compassionate CJ at Imperfect Happiness challenges herself to be more compassionate…with herself.
- Calming the Home Environment by Selecting Traditional Toys Sam at Love Parenting discusses the benefits of natural toys.
- Quieting my Infernal Inner Ramblings Tree at Mom Grooves writes about her commitment to get out of her head and into the moment with her daughter and husband.
- Changing Our Everyday The Aniweda Dream is sizing up the changes they've made by moving across the country and looking at how to make their lives more mindful as a family.
- A Mindful Cup of Tea Amy at The Daily Muttering tells how she's trying to regain control of her life with the chaos of 3 kids thanks to the introduction of a simple daily ritual.
- Mindful Mama Moontime Lucy at Dreaming Aloud shares how becoming conscious of her moon time has helped her find balance in herself as a woman, and a mama.
- Speaking to the Need Shana at Tales of Minor Interest shares how she tries to stay mindful of her preschooler's needs.
- Going Within Amy at Anktangle describes a centering practice she's been being more intentional about lately, and which she has come to realize is a precious gift in her life.
- Waking Up With Meditation Amy at PresenceParents shares how awakening with presence carries her through the day.
- Mindful Meditations Zoie at TouchstoneZ explores six weeks of seated meditation and discovers some things she doesn't expect.
- Mindfulness in the Kitchen – an Everyday Challenge Kelly at Becoming Crunchy shares how she's been challenging herself to involve more mindfulness in everyday tasks – especially in the area of cooking for her family.