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10 Tips for Mindful MOMents

“Now is the only moment that matters.”  Deepak Chopra

Guest Author, Annmarie Chereso, is a single mother of three awesome kids 15, 13, 9, Founder at Project Mindfulness and Co-Founder of Positively Mindful ParentingBelow are her 10 gentle tips for being in the MOMent.

If you are a mom every MOMent counts and if you are anything like me, early mornings can be a little crazy. Grumpy kids, backpacks and lunches to pack, breakfast to make, emails already dinging and it’s not even 7 a.m. yet … Before I know it, I am swept up in the rhythm of the day dictated by everyone else’s needs.

By the time bedtime rolls around and the house is quiet again, I am too exhausted to even think. This routine has often left me fatigued, discontented and depleted.

The greatest gift I have given myself these days is the gift of my morning practice.

Just a little stillness to check in with myself before the day begins is like the spoonful of sugar before the medicine goes down. When I became friends with my mindfulness practice, I realized that liberation and freedom were just a breath away, and peace is always available when I choose it.

Even if you only have one minute to devote to yourself before everyone comes knocking, take it! Whatever amount time you have, give yourself the gift of quiet awareness and give yourself the gift of finding presence in every MOMent.

Our mindfulness practice can support us as we navigate the everyday demands of raising a family. Here are 10 gentle tips for being in the MOMent.

10 Tips for Mindful MOMents (the morning routine)

(1) Start each day with your breath

It sounds like a simple task – yes? But do you really pay attention to your breath? For the next few days, just notice how quickly you hop out of bed in the morning at the demanding sound of your alarm, or, more likely, to take on the kid’s schedules. For one week, before you roll out of bed, take three deep, slow and nourishing breaths. Then you have permission to run like mad to get going.

(2) Notice the quality of your thoughts

What is your first morning thought? So often we wake up in a flurry of thoughts.  “I’m so tired, get the kids up, I’m running late again, shower, OMG! I have no milk again, no time for Starbucks; did I pay the gas bill? Where is Billy’s homework?”… Take the time to notice how you are setting up your mind each morning and redirect those thoughts.

Try the MOMtra, “Today is a new day and I have plenty of time to accomplish what I need to. All is well”

(3) Leave yourself a Love Note

OK, this may seem a little strange, I agree, but just try it. Each night, before bed, write on a post-it or set your clock on your phone to remind you to think a thought that you love or appreciate about yourself as a parent.

It doesn’t have to be anything extraordinary. Something simple like, “I made a healthy dinner last night” or “I am a good listener” or “I am patient”. Find ONE thing to celebrate each morning and focus on that. When you wake up, read the note and thank yourself.

(4) Rate your to do list

We know it makes perfect sense, but for some reason we expect so much more out of ourselves than we do anyone else. When looking at your day ahead plan realistically. Make a to do list of the ramblings in your head and decide which one you MUST do today and which ones can possibly wait.

A MUST is something that will prevent you from surviving that day, like eating a healthy meal. Start to notice how you prioritize your list. Each day ask yourself what is most important to your health and wellbeing that day and let the rest go. I PROMISE the rest will get done much more easily if you’ve taken care of yourself, first and foremost.

(5) Take another MOMent to breathe

Just take a pause after the morning rush, and stop and breathe three deep slow nourishing breathes. Even if you are doing dishes, at a red light, reading the text that just dinged on your phone or before going to the next email. Stop for a MOMent and breathe. Notice how you are feeling, check in with yourself, and become aware.

(6) Know your limits

Resist the urge to overcommit and do too much. When we do this we compromise our resources and ability to take care of the people we love, including ourselves. For the next week, pay close attention to when you are on empty. Take note, and try to under plan the following week — maybe just one day. See how that day feels and compare notes.

(7) Know your kids’ limits

Often we think our kids can do it all, or we just want them to. Then we get frustrated when they act out, retaliate or don’t cooperate. Pay attention to your kids’ signals and adjust accordingly. They don’t know their own limits yet and we are here to teach them.

(8) Smile deeply

So another seriously simple but complicated thing for some of us to do. Just notice how many times a day you catch yourself smiling. If you’re not, just flip your lips upright and notice how it feels or changes your mood. I’m trying it now myself! Careful, you may catch yourself giggling!

(9) Always make new mistakes

I hate to break it to you, but you will mess up as a parent a LOT. Love your mistakes — embrace them. Find gratitude for them and most of all learn from them.

Each MOMent is a new opportunity to start fresh. Without compassion, all that’s left is criticism and complaint. Nothing good ever comes from criticism, EVER. Find the compassion for YOURSELF and bathe yourself in it each time you “mess up”. Remember that in order to grow we must, “Always be making new mistakes.”

(10) Pretend to be a comedian

Watch a comedian make fun of everyday parenting situations for inspiration and see if you too can make fun of your crazy life. Really, in the end it’s all about seeking out the joy in the MOMents.

Don’t stress about how to change an impossible situation, just notice how ridiculous life can be at times and laugh it off. Sometimes I pretend my life is a sitcom and millions of people are watching, the only person who truly feels frustrated is usually me — all the viewers think it’s all pretty funny. Challenge yourself to find the humor in a frustrating situation once per day.

Ask the kids to join in. Laughter really IS the best medicine.

All in all, life is all about being present in each MOMent to what is arising, accepting it and allowing what is. From that place, we can breathe, make conscious choices and move fluidly through parenting and all of life’s daily struggles.

Share your practices for living in the MOMent in the comments and on twitter @BubblesAcademy. Until tomorrow…

Annmarie Chereso

For more explorations on Mindful Parenting, join Annmarie for Positively Mindful Parenting Monthly book group starting April 16th at 7:30 pm CT. Connect with other parents around the country on the FREE live call to explore how you can add mindfulness tools to your parenting toolbox. The April book choice is The Conscious Parent by Shefali Tsabary, PhD.

For all of the details, please sign up here!