One of the things I most value as a mamma is the time I get to myself during Joshi’s daytime sleep. It’s that small, golden window of opportunity in which I can do whatever I choose with my time. As soon as he goes down I know I have anywhere between 1.5 and 3 hours to work with. It’s a very precious time of my day which I want to spend extra mindfully.
A lot of the mums with toddlers who I’ve spoken to spend this time getting organised – cleaning, cooking, laundry, making an important call, paying the bills – things they might struggle to do when their kid’s awake.
There’ve been times when I’ve found it really difficult to have a normal, audible, attentive conversation on the phone for more than a few seconds, let alone get the cooking done. I remember when dinner was especially hard to cook while Joshi was awake. That’s changed now, but during that phase I really felt I was losing the plot. And yet, no matter how difficult it was, I never chose to cook, clean or do the laundry during his daytime sleep. I just didn’t feel it was the best use of my time.
I think the most valuable advice anyone could ever have given to me as a mum would have sounded something like this: Take time every day to top up your energy levels and take care of your mind and emotions. All us mums, whether stay-home, working or the combo mix, need all the energy we can get. And the way I see it is this – the most valuable thing you can have is a mind which is taken care of. We clean and take care of our homes all the time, but what do we do to take care of our mind and emotions? What do we do to reduce the possibility of getting stuck in negative thinking, complaining, irritability, impatience and exhaustion?
Being a parent has been a huge learning curve for me and doing it gracefully and joyfully is no walk in the park. While I love being a mum, I don’t always find it easy. It’s hugely challenging at times (understatement deluxe). Of course having all the love in the world for my son is awesome and goes a very long way, but I don’t believe that love alone is all I need in order to be a good mamma. I need a bigger manifesto that includes …
Patience – so that I can support him being where he is and not where I think he should be.
Centeredness – to be able to respond sensitively to his upsets.
Sensitivity – to know how not to distract him from his emotions.
Strength – to create a safe space in which he can release those emotions.
Creativity – to come up with solutions for the hugest variety of issues which present themselves to me on a regular basis.
And Heaps Of Energy – so I can get everything done and keep up with Joshi. I want to be able to move out of survival mode and share the fun times with him – like half an hour of bouncing on the bed even though it’s 9.30pm.
That’s why I set myself a guideline which I’ve lived by since Joshi was born: When my child sleeps the most valuable use of my time is to sleep or do sudarshan kriya and meditate. I’ve not found a more effective way of raising my energy and taking care of my mind and emotions than the kriya. I really see it as the most valuable thing I can do for myself and my family and that’s why I never miss a day. If I’m exhausted I’ll get some sleep first and do kriya when I wake up. If I’m not exhausted I’ll do kriya straight away. Both sleep and kriya play a huge role in me being able to honour my mamma’s manifesto and neither of them are possible when Joshi’s awake. That’s why anything that can be done when he’s awake can wait. The cooking can wait. The cleaning can wait. And the laundry can certainly wait.
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