Motherhood is full of seasons. Some are shorter than others – lasting only a week or two. Others are long and feel never-ending, lasting for months at a time. These seasons can be full of excitement, exhaustion, sorrow, overwhelm, or any combination of emotions.
When I am in a season that is uplifting me on a daily basis, I find it reasonably straight forward to do my best being a centered and connected parent. On the other hand, when there is financial, developmental, or some other kind of stress, I more often waver in my confidence as a mother and feel that I can *never* do enough.
When I am struggling, feelings and behaviors can creep in that I don’t usually have to deal with on an “easy” day. From sudden feelings of frustration or loneliness, to a spell of yelling or “too much TV,” some days I function far from my best.
But the past does not have to determine the future. Change is possible and the season will turn… if I allow it to and do my part along the way. Internal challenges remind me that I need to address my own tension, so that I can get through the difficult seasons without falling into negative habits. But how can I do this?
I find I need to nourish myself often: increasing the fun and humor in my interactions with my children,simplifying our lives, and taking time for things that feed my spirit. I definitely need to de-stress and dedicate time to center myself during each day.
Sometimes it is helpful to make a list of things frustrating me so I can address them as necessary. I feel once my “cup is empty” I can begin to fill it with more positive feelings and ideas. Then I make a list of things that will “fill my cup,” both during the day when I am with the children and when I have some time alone.
Here are some examples of things I can do during our regular routine (with the kids):
- Stretching and a few yoga moves (one book I like for the kids is Little Yoga: A Toddler’s First Book of Yoga – affiliate link)
- Visualization exercises, maybe during breakfast or before nap time
- Singing and dancing – two of my favorite things to do, especially to Broadway Musicals!
- Listening to a calming CD with the family every evening (one of our favorites is You Are My Little Bird – affiliate link)
- Adding a few favorite food items for myself to the grocery list, like roasted almonds, mango sorbet, raisin bread, banana chips. Some days I end up eating leftovers that the kids did not finish, instead of nourishing my body with compassion.
- Using the inspirational picture I have above my kitchen sink to refocus during kitchen duties
Here are some things I like to try when I have time alone:
- Praying each evening for strength to parent (for me, evenings are usually much more quiet and solitary than mornings)
- Saying an affirmation each morning before leaving the bedroom
- Taking a walk around the block when my husband gets home, just to get out of the house and be on my own for a few minutes
- After both kids are asleep, making myself a cup of tea and closing my eyes for a few minutes of meditation
- Visualizing a joyful moment with my kids as the last thing I think about before I go to sleep, so I can honor the wonder of parenthood versus being worried or stressed
When I take time for my own self nourishment, I feel I am able to parent from a more loving, aware, patient, and centered place.
How do you nourish yourself as a mother? What are some steps you can take towards adding nourishment into your day?
P.S. You may also enjoy these two free ebooks for moms that I recently contributed to:
Heart centred living – with intention, grace and growth features essays by 19 mothers. Throughout the 85 pages you will read about being open to learning and change; finding your path or passion; self care and self love; and the here and now (about mindfulness and celebrating the everyday). This book was edited by Debra from Home Life Simplified. Go here to find out more. The essay above was my contribution to this book.
Awakening Wonder: Discovering Delight in Everyday Moments features interviews with 28 magnificent women on a mission to uplift and encourage moms around the world.
This free ebook was compiled by Becky of Raising Loveliness and it’s purpose is to inspire mothers to incorporate more “wonder” into their lives. Find out more here.