Many moms become overwhelmed with the daily responsibilities of life, a career and raising a family. They begin to doubt their own ability and look outside themselves for answers. They wonder how to be the best mom for their children. The truth is, moms, you have the answers within. When you take the time to get quiet and listen, you learn to trust your inner voice—your intuition.
You become a more mindful mom as you learn to self-reflect on your thoughts, beliefs and actions. You consciously become aware of the way you interact with your children. And you learn to make appropriate changes on a day-to-day basis. You learn to respond to your child rather than react to their behavior. And even on the busiest of days, it only takes a moment to choose mindfulness in your mothering. Here are five tips to get you started:
1. Connection is Key
Your child wants a deep connection with you. Research has shown that children who feel connected with their parent are more cooperative and are more willing to listen and follow-through with requests. If you find that most of your conversations with your child related to an agenda (“Take your bath.” “Did you do your homework?” “Go clean your room”), think connection first. Remember to make eye contact. See your child—really see them. Most kids like to be touched. Even teens who might resist a hug are comfortable with a fist bump! Pay attention and ask your child if they like to be hugged or maybe if they just want to sit close to you. There are many different ways to connect.
2. Change Your Lens
Most of us view the world through our particular lens, unaware of the extent to which it determines what we see—a lens created from past experiences and distorted messages we’ve received along the way. It is only when we see the world with soft eyes, eyes full of compassion and acceptance, that we find understanding.
Seeing clearly with soft eyes allows you to drop unconscious assumptions and judgments, to delve beneath your perceptions and attachments and open yourself to the truth of who your children are, not who you think they should be. It begins by seeing yourself with acceptance and love. And it culminates when you can see your children, truly see them, for their true essence and the miracle that they are in your life. When you begin to see things more clearly, you’re able to handle even the most difficult situation. It’s also when you’re truly able to be authentic in your relationship with your child.
3. Messages Matter
Your messages have the power to nurture your child’s heart and cultivate their growth. Your beliefs about your child also have the power to influence your child’s self-beliefs. And positive healthy messages given to children help grow positive healthy adults!
Here are a few positive messages you can gift to your children:
- I love sitting next to you!
- When I look at you, I smile.
- I can see you have been working very hard.
- I notice that you like to take your time to think about something before you make a decision—take as much time as you need.
- Today was a tough day, but we did okay, and we’ll try again tomorrow.
Positive messages you give to your children should not be dependent upon their emotions, beliefs or behavior. There are no conditions. You appreciate them simply for who they are.
4. Take Care of YOU
Many moms take care of others before caring for themselves. Self-care is not selfish—it is selfless. Airline attendants tell mothers to put their own oxygen mask on first before helping their child, advice counterintuitive to most mothers. Self-care is not only important but also crucial to your well-being and that of your child, simply because you cannot give what you yourself do not have.
5. Play … Kids Do it Best!
Over the years I’ve worked with many kids and teens. When I ask them if there is anything they wish they could change about their family, most all say: "I wish my mom was happy ... She’s always so stressed!"
Playfulness reduces stress. Research shows that families that play together build strong bonds, are more cooperative and communicate with each other. It is human nature to want to be seen and heard. Your kids also want to be seen and heard. And play provides the perfect way to acknowledge them. One of the biggest benefits to playing with your kids is that it helps build relationships. It helps you connect with them on a different level. Be open to your kid’s suggestions for playful activities—after all, they are the experts!
As you embark on this mindful journey, you will begin to find your own answers. You’ll become more self-reflective, make mindful decisions, and learn to trust your own intuition. As a result, you will begin to discover what really matters for you and your family.
My Mother’s Day wish for you is that you learn trust yourself and remember that you have the answers within. That you learn to release your self-doubt and mama guilt. And you have fun with your kids and rekindle the joy of motherhood!
Written by Bonnie Compton for Working Mother and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.