Thursday, 17 July 2014

Thoughts on modern parenting and mindfulness

As a new mum I have been amazed by the amount of varied thoughts I now have on a daily basis and the sheer number of things I now need to consider. Whilst we have all settled down into a routine and go about our little life quite happily, I feel like my brain is in constant overdrive thinking and churning over all sorts of things. Even though we seem to be successfully raising a little person right now, I often find myself thinking about the next step and then further ahead. 

To give you an example, in one day I can go from planning what we are doing next, to the logistics of taking a baby abroad,  to trying to learn about weaning as that’s not too far off now, to making a packing list for our holiday, to being concerned about how much TV we should be letting A see, to considering the dangers of social media in thirteen years’ time, to thinking about what type of gender image we should be projecting on to her and then back to what to order for next week’s shopping. It’s exhausting just writing it and to be honest it probably happens in less than a day, more like an hour. Then on top of that I’m checking my phone, emails, messages, trying to hold sensible conversation with other adults whilst making sure A is happy and her latest physical need attended to! Oh yes and me too, I’m trying to look after me…

In today’s society multitasking is a mandatory and now as we raise our children in a multi-screen world, I sometimes think we are all at risk of some kind of information overload. So I’m trying to slow down a bit and take a breath, or two as my Mindfulness app keeps telling me (more on that shortly).

I’ve recently started hearing about Mindfulness. Mindfulness is a therapeutic practice about focusing on the present moment and being really aware of your physical state through your breathing. It’s a way of stopping to take a moment and take in what life is like for you right now. It won’t solve life’s problems but it can help you to take a calmer approach and anchor yourself in the here and now.

In true twenty-first century fashion, an app (or many apps!) have been created to help with introducing Mindfulness into our daily lives. I’ve just downloaded Mindfulness Daily  and whilst I’m not always able to pause at the times scheduled (!) I’m really enjoying the pause function that allows me to look at different landscapes to help centre myself and take a couple of breaths.  

Someone told me that when it comes to raising children, ‘the days are long but the years are short’ and so far I have found this to be very true. We are now at the four-month mark and we are already glimpsing in A the little girl she will become. So I want to try and slow down the whirring in my head (easier said than done...) and savour as much of this time as I can. It’s about enjoying the simple things, lying in the park, cuddles at night and giggles when you’re singing nursery rhymes for the twentieth time in the row!

For more information on Mindfulness, click here.
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