Who’s Taking Care of Mama?
For real though…Who?
Part 3 Avoiding the meltdown
The month of May brings forth many different things; for example, here in North Jersey it finally starts to feel like Spring. (Thank sweet baby Jesus) Even though May is packed with fun,this post isn’t about Cinco de Mayo (sadly), nor is it about fun spring outings (those will come soon). This is about the holiday May brings, that’s right kiddies I’m talking Mother’s Day. I won’t be focusing on the usual Mother’s Day shenanigans though (not yet anyway). This series, yes I said series, is going to be focused on YOU as a whole… mind, body, spirit. So, go get out your notebook, grab a glass of wine, and get ready to fill your cup (your hypothetical cup this time, but as always #doyou)
Today’s installment is how to cope with the intense stress being a mother creates, as well as a way to stop yourself from getting sucked in. Meltdowns are the effect not the cause. Remember keeping yourself sane is the key to keeping your family in motion.
Let’s jump in…..
I’ve hit a wall earlier this year. Dom had started melting down A LOT. Let’s just say that I was not coping very well with my son’s screaming tantrums/meltdowns, (trust me if no one has told you…toddlers are assholes) and it lead me to feel out of somewhat control, a bit helpless, and in all honesty straight up cause me to lose my shit. I basically started losing control when he threw fits, the whining still can make my eyes twitch, I’d begun screaming at him (incredibly unproductive I’m aware). My mindset and behavior needed to change, for both my son’s and my sanity.
Soooooo this mama started meditating.
For years, I had heard about the benefits of meditation, including increased clarity and focus, reduced stress and anxiety, elimination of depression, a calm mind, and better sleep. I gave myself a 40-day meditation challenge and have been sitting silently daily since then, without missing a day. My morning meditation has made a huge difference.
Every morning, I roll out of bed and on a pillow in my living room. I close my eyes, breathe deeply, and work my fingers around my mala beads. I feel more content, calmer, and better able to help my child navigate his, seemingly intense, emotions.
Here are some tips for meditation that can help prevent your meltdowns
I know it feels like you’ve kissed “me time” goodbye the day you gave birth. Though I can only dream of taking a nap or a stroll alone through the Target or sitting on a cliff overlooking the ocean, I think of my morning meditation as “me time.” It’s a chance to turn inward and take a break from the chaos of raising a family. These precious minutes help me ground myself and manage my feelings.
Do you find yourself analyzing everything that you think, say, and do? And then you judge yourself, right? These negative thoughts can affect the whole family. Saying a positive statement (mantra) to yourself during your meditation practice can greatly affect how you feel. For example, think “I can do this” during an inhale and “Yes, I can” during an exhale. Or “calm” during an inhale and “peace” during an exhale. My favorite mantra when my son was an infant was “You’re meant to do this.” My current mantra during my morning meditation is, “Happy, healthy, wealthy.” I fill my thoughts with images of happiness, good health, and abundance for myself and others. It makes me feel more empowered, confident, and hopeful.
Meditating for five to 15 minutes every morning has helped to make this practice a habit, just like brushing my teeth. Starting the day by breathing deeply sets me up for a more relaxed morning. My monster seems to experience the benefits, too. Not to say that my morning meditation has stopped my son’s tantrums, but I’m better able to cope with his outbursts. I have found that I sleep better after a few rounds of mindful breathing, and then when I wake up, I’m refreshed and looking forward to sitting silently on my cushion. You might prefer to meditate during the day or in the evening. Again mama #doyou
I started to see the benefits of meditation pretty much right away. I started to feel more calm and positive. Sure, I still lose it once in a while, but I’m better able to apologize for my behavior, forgive myself, and move on. I am learning to embrace my humanness and turn around my negative thoughts. After reading dozens of parenting books, I’ve found that having a positive mindset is actually one of the best things I can do as a mom.
When we are stressed or anxious, we often breathe shallowly into our chests. By breathing deeply into your belly, you use your breath to calm your body and mind. Place your right hand on your belly and your left hand on your chest, then feel the gentle rise and fall of your breath with a three-count inhale followed by a three-count exhale. Close your eyes, too, if that feels comfortable. You can return to this breathing technique throughout the day to deal with parenting challenges.
As moms, our minds are bombarded with kid stuff: making meals, driving them around, playdates, setting up kids’ activities, and struggling through bedtime. The purpose of mindfulness and meditation is learning to live in the present moment. By letting go of the anxieties of the past and the worries of the future, you can fully experience what’s in front of you, moment by moment. By listening to your breath or the sounds around you during your meditation practice, you begin to quiet your busy thoughts and start to feel calm.
I know that it’s hard to believe that simply sitting silently, breathing deeply, and thinking positive thoughts for a few minutes every day could have such a profound impact. But hey, if it works, then I’ll keep meditating—and that’s good enough for me!
Let me know if you try it!!