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It has been another topsy turvy week in the world.

Driving horizontal rain and hail giving way to double rainbows. Unspeakable horrors happening to children on the other side of the globe. Funny man Robin Williams passing on. “Mum mum mum” from baby girl’s lips for the first time. Holiday booked. Colourful pictures galore. Plenty of rest.

Another week of trying to be a less anxious and more relaxed mum.

After finishing my first ever week of Mindfulness on a high, I feel I started this past week on a low.

My Monday in particular was relentless. It was traffic, anxiety-to-the-max, grizzles, naughtiness, washing, headaches, too many dirty nappies, airborne toys, tears.

The biggest revelation this week is I’m in love with night time. From about 7pm, a hush descends on our house that fills me with energy and peace.

Our children are snuggled up in their beds, sighing deeply as they sleep, full of dreams and dinner and cuddles. I can finally clear away the chaos from the day.

I can peel potatoes and carrots, and boil water on the stove, and load the dishwasher – all usually mundane actions – but they suddenly seem to sparkle and seduce me because I can do them without questions or commentary or a little duo nipping at my heels.

What I’ve already learned from Mindfulness is that perspective can change everything.

It can bring the sun out when dark clouds are threatening. Seems obvious enough, but honestly, when I was living my Monday I just couldn’t seem to pull my head above the chaos to see anything beautiful in each moment.

But, after having 2 hours post-7pm without the constant babble of little voices puncturing my thoughts, I can look back on the most stressful of days and see many, many gems. They were there, under the sea of commotion.

I tried to remember this as I went about my week. I tried to be more aware of what was happening, and thinking creatively if I encountered a particularly stressful moment.

One example: Amidst a bad cabin fever moment, with an antsy toddler and bored baby and torrential rain ruling out an afternoon walk, I decided I just had to switch things up. Usually I’d be content with puzzles, The Wiggles and playdough on a day like that, but the kids weren’t having a bar of it.

Determined to not let the grizzles get the better of me, I wrapped-up Mr 2 and plonked him undercover on our terrace with his easel and paints. He had a ball out there making a messy masterpiece and dodging the occasional rain drop that flew his way.

Little Miss had a prime viewing spot from the warmth inside, and happily watched Pint-casso at work. It bought me about 30 minutes of contented children and a minute to catch my breath. Success.

Another truly positive development this past week is my ‘to do’ list has shrunk, dramatically.

Even though I haven’t read anything (yet) about Mindfulness and ‘to do’ lists, I suspect if they ever did meet they wouldn’t have a good relationship. While Mindfulness is all about calm, presence and enjoying the current moment, ‘to do’ lists are about future stress, workload and always thinking ahead.

When I noticed I was getting through my daily list quicker than usual, I initially thought the meditations had magically made me more productive, enabling me to get more done. Instead, I realised I just hadn’t added that much to my ‘to do’ list this week, which – funnily enough – was enabling me to get more done.

It’s very out of character for me to not add everything and anything to my daily list; I’m a “list” kind of person.

Traditionally, if it was on my ‘to do’ list it was guaranteed to get done. Of course I assumed this would transfer to my life as a mummy, and I don’t know why it has taken me this long to realise how ridiculous that is.

I am at the mercy of two barely-speaking, fairly-irrational, extremely-cute, highly-adventurous, on-their-own-agenda individuals.

No wonder I was feeling overwhelmed at the start of the day looking at a list of non-urgent and unimportant actions a mile long, and then feeling like a failure at the end of the day when I’d only checked a couple of items off.

Interestingly, the one job that I absolutely must do each day never made it on the list – KEEP MY CHILDREN FED, THRIVING, HAPPY, DRY & ALIVE!

So now I have a much littler list which consists simply of important tasks with a specific deadline that I mustn’t forget, like “pay the electricity bill”. Everything else can be done when it gets done, enjoyed when it happens or be saved for another day.

And I’m finding that without the pressure of THE LIST telling me what to do, I’m fitting in all sorts of chores and errands into my day when I have a spare second here and there.

My days are flowing better and are more enjoyable as a result.

The week 2 Mindfulness meditation is so interesting.  It’s all about using your breath to reconnect with your body, and I must admit I have totally taken mine for granted, like a trusty car that will just go and go and go without so much as a warning light.

Might be time to prioritise more sleep, less sugar and a bit of brisk pram walking?  I’m amazed how Mindfulness is already helping to calm my life in unexpected ways. This thing is really starting to work.

*This weekly wrap-up of Latte Mum’s journey to becoming a less anxious and more relaxed mum, was written exclusively for Mouths of Mums readers. If you want more, you can follow Mel’s daily posts about Mindfulness at Latte Mum.
Image thanks to Shutterstock.
  • Great tips to remember amidst all the chaos around me at this time of the year.

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  • Not making lists can feel so liberating.

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  • Definitely going to try thank you for the info


    • Yay! Keep me posted on how you go and how you’re finding it all. I’ve still been struggling at times but overall finding the mindfulness techniques to be really useful.

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  • Good tips thank you for the info need to start to overcome it

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  • I’m a list maker and I’m trying to get out of the habit of putting that pressure on myself to complete every task — it’s a work in progress but I’m getting there!!


    • It is so hard to do and no easy fix – keep taking little steps in the right direction and don’t be too hard on yourself either; that’s what has worked for me anyway :)

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  • I need lists….if i dont write a list i find I over look things and that then leads to stress for me.

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  • thank you it is nice to read on some times

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  • I am a list person but mindfulness sounds like what I need

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  • I was introduced to mindfulness exercises and found them to be good.

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  • I love to do lists, but you do have to be realistic.

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  • I was always a list person, but realised once the kids came along that instead of putting things into order, it was making life harder. I completely ditched the lists (cold turkey…. and it was harder than I thought!) and it made me a lot less stressed. Every now & then I feel I ‘should’ be making a list lol, but mostly I resist.

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  • I love my to do lists – always help to keep me focussed and organized

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  • I have a to do list of the crucial things and if other tjhings get done then that’s always a bonus, don’t sweat the small stuff.

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  • Fantastic article but a “to do list” to beat anxiety is like adding fuel to the fire.


    • Haha – I know exactly what you mean! I completely agree that ‘to do list’s can be very useful at keeping track of the absolute essentials and help us make a plan of attack – which can minimise anxiety. However, in my case, I was expecting too much of myself in a day and adding items to my ‘to do list’ that weren’t essential to do that day – e.g. vacuum, clear out wardrobe, prune garden, write blog etc etc. I was starting the day feeling overwhelmed with a ‘to do list’ that was impossible to get through, and then unsurprisingly ending the day feeling like I hadn’t achieved anything – this cycle was actually adding to my anxiety and making me less productive overall. Now I’m just continuing to focus on the children (I have two under 3 years – so very busy with them anyway) and their needs, and any absolutely essential tasks (like paying the electricity bill by the 25th), and everything else is a bonus. I still have a little ‘to do list’, and a shopping list, and a list of things I’d like to get to at some point in time (and I refer to this if I find I have a spare half hour). This strategy has made me feel less anxious, but everyone is different and needs to figure out what works for them! Thanks so much for reading and for sharing your thoughts x

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  • I like to do list. I can be more organise with a list.

    Reply

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