A cup full of love…for me

 

Last week the parenting gods battered me (I’m sure I’m not the only one!)… But how do you take care of yourself, like ‘they’ tell you to, when you just don’t have the time?
On this day I didn’t even have the time to get to yoga, so I found a quicker way to give myself love.

I came across this tahini/date/pear smoothie (thanks Janella Purcell).
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Whilst I don’t feel the need for ’emotional eating’, I figured this would be a nutritious and filling snack AND would give me an opportunity to be mindful, taking the time to make myself something I wouldn’t normally, along with the cinnamon sprinkle on top!  I didn’t even multitask.

By slowing down to make this smoothie, knowing it wouldn’t take THAT long out of my day, I’ve given myself a little bit back.  Cinnamon and a warm drink didn’t go astray either.

I’d love to know the small things you do for yourself as a parent, even when you don’t have the time!


Mindful children – the answer to the future

Imagine having a child that is learning to be more mindful of others, at one with their natural environment and able to calm and regulate their emotions?  This is just some of the benefits of teaching your child about mindfulness.  If you’re not sure what mindfulness is about, you can get a quick induction by reading my previous post ‘Are you a mindful parent?’.  Now we can apply this to children.

Children are more in touch with their senses than us adults are.  They use these to learn from their world whilst us grown ups are busy thinking, thinking, thinking, but not necessarily feeling.  Without realising, our children might be a step further along their mindfulness practice than we are.  They just need us to guide them.  And this is why it is important to have a think about how mindful you are and start to become a role model of this.

The following list of activities is just a small start to get you thinking about the types of situations that are ideal for encouraging mindfulness with your children.

  • Eat outside.  This can be any meal or snack of the day.  Breakfast outside? Why not.  After school snack outside? Why not.  Eating itself is a great mindfulness activity.  Talk about the foods you are eating, the colours, the textures, the smell and even the sounds while you are crunching capsicum or snapping beans.  By eating outside, you can help your children to take in the sights, sounds and smells around them.

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  • Have a sing-a-long or blow some bubbles.  Singing and bubble blowing (letting the kids blow, that is!) involves using diaphragmatic breathing.  This encourages relaxation straight away, not to mention focussing on an engaging task.
  • Practice kids yoga.  The ultimate in breathing, body awareness, relaxation and enjoying the outdoors!  ‘Let the children show you how yoga is done’ gives you a run-down of how to get started.

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  • Get the kids washing each other’s hair!  Receiving a massage from a sibling is a great mindful activity.  Using a shampoo with essential oils also makes this an enticing olfactory exercise too.
  • Read books that focus on the child or their body.  ‘From Head to Toe’ by Eric Carle encourages your child to do animal actions.  ‘I Grow in Grandad’s Garden’ by Brian Andrew is a wonderful aide to help your child talk about their worries, feelings, dreams and gratitude.
  • Take the time to appreciate life and each other.  This could be as simple as encouraging the kids to thank the earth and farmers for the veggies they are eating, imagining how empty life would be without each other and appreciating the small actions of love they have received that day (for example, another child sharing with them, a sibling singing them a song or a hug from Daddy).
  • Study nature together.  Whether it’s talking about the weather, noticing the shapes of leaves or checking out the stars, this helps your child to look past their worries and to use their senses.
I wonder what the clouds are telling us today..

I wonder what the clouds are telling us today..

As you can see, these ideas are mostly activities that involve being outdoors (and taking conscious note of it), using the senses (and taking conscious note of it) or requiring children to move their bodies (and taking conscious note of it!).  This all helps your child to achieve more mindfulness.  And hopefully inspires you too!

What ideas can you come up with?

Have you signed up to follow I Raise My Kids yet?

I wasn’t being mindful….and I paid for it!

So today I experienced one of those days where you just want to yell out ‘Universe, stop playing against me today!’.  Well, when I actually analysed where it all went wrong, I realised it was actually ME that let the present and past get in the way of what should have been just a ‘normal’ day.  Where did my mindfulness go?

Here’s how it went:

Last night, I realised how many activities I had to get done today and with my husband away, it all rested on me.  There was swimming, get the casserole on, bake banana bread (one of our staples) and deal with organising the third neighbour to come over and rescue the calculator Master 2 managed to wedge between our 2 glass sliding doors, so that we couldn’t actually close it.  Not to mention the usual loads of washing, packing lunchboxes, preparing food for the daycare days ahead oh and entertain the boys…

Tuesdays when my husband is away is always a stretch as we have to have both boys (and myself) ready to get in the pool for swimming lessons at 7.30am.  Normally we just sail in with not one minute to spare.  But today, we had Master 2 toilet training, which meant cleaning up two accidents as I was so focussed on getting out of the house.  I also noticed we finished the probiotics which meant adding a trip to the chemist (a dreaded trip with two boys in tow) to the list.  Mistake #1 I focussed so much on what was ahead, I didn’t stay on top of the present.  Mistake #2 I didn’t leave extra time for toilet training.

So we left late for swimming with me feeling guilty I’d had to call ‘time’ and leave without brushing the boys’ teeth.

Swimming lessons are not something I look forward to.  For half the class when I am in the pool for Master 2’s lesson, Master 4 is waiting on the side.  He has gotten up to every type of mischief you can imagine and I count the minutes until I can get out of the pool and put everyone else out of the misery!  Today, I was more tired than usual and was so focussed on getting out of there and home to face the rest of the day’s tasks that I didn’t realise I left our whole bag of wet swimming gear there…until we got home.  Swear words were sitting on my lips as I realised that now took nearly an extra hour out of our day for the round trip with the two boys… Mistake #3 I let myself get swept away with events approaching and instead made mistakes in the present.

Unfortunately, I let the hectic schedule get the better of me and focussed so much on getting my tasks done, that the rest of the place went into chaos.

Here’s a taste of what went on all before midday:

  • Whilst throwing food in the slow cooker, Master 2 threw a plate into the kitchen and smashed a glass jar of coconut milk all over the floor.  I of course cut my hand cleaning up.  All the while, Master 4 insisting on talking to me about anything and everything.
  • The cut on my hand stinging while I cleaned up about three accidents from Master 2, including one on our suede dining chair.  And plenty more loads in the washing machine.  And Master 4 still talking.
  • Chickens all of a sudden deciding to scratch the vege patch apart, which had me running out like a wild lady to shoo them away every 10 minutes.  Lucky Master 4 was there to ‘dob’ on the chickens each time.
  • The boys getting out more toys than they could play with.  This left that many obstacles to walk over I couldn’t help but kick them around as I ran from chickens to accidents to the clothesline and back to the kitchen.  Whilst Master 4 nearly tripped me up trying to talk about I’m-not-sure-what-by-this-stage.
  • The boys playing outside in the pouring rain which of course ended up with Master 2 coming down the wet playground slide with no undies on, flying off the end and scratching his bottom to bits.  And Master 4 insisting on a blow by blow.
  • The boys ending up in mud and bark up to their teeth, requiring full wash downs.  Master 2 who hates the bath on a good day fought me every bit of the way with his sore bottom… and Master 4 was still trying to tell me about exactly which imaginary friends had/hadn’t been playing out in the rain with them.
  • Fielding drop ins from the post man and 2 other people.  With Master 4 at the door to get a few more words out.
  • Organising the neighbour to help with our sliding doors and selling a port-a-cot on Gumtree.

Whew!

So if I rewind and look at how I could’ve been mindful in all of this and NOT ended up with the universe against me, I would have:

  • gone to bed earlier the night before, knowing it would be a big day and I’d need my energy and patience
  • I would have stayed present whilst preparing to get out of the house to swimming and stayed on top of Master 2 getting to the toilet
  • I would have regrouped myself on the way to swimming, taking the time to breathe and realised there were some things on my list I could drop if I had to.
  • I would have faced the swimming class with more energy knowing I would just ‘plod on’ with my tasks when we got home, which would have saved me the second trip back to swimming later.
  • Not being in such a rush, I would have taken the time to set the boys up with better entertainment to begin with, and had more energy to entertain whilst on the run with my tasks, saving me massive clean-ups and tidy ups.

And! The chickens probably still would’ve done their thing (or did they sense the chaos?) and the boys probably still would’ve had their fun out in the mud, but I wouldn’t be writing about a crazy day if I’d just had to cope with this!

Well thanks for anyone who is still listening.  It feels good just to pick this day apart and get it off my chest!  At least I went to bed early last night.  Master 4 up at 4am who’d wet the bed and wouldn’t go back to sleep, then Master 2 tagging him at 5am.  But that’s another story 😉  Heidi