I understand first hand how challenging it is to find even 5 minutes of peace and quiet while parenting small children. I have been single parenting my now 7 year-old-son for 6 years officially and it has been by far the most life shaping, heart wrenching, humbling, and empowering experience of my life. I have longed for moments of relief. An opportunity to just feel myself separate from him and his demanding needs. I have been a practitioner of yoga for over 20 years and, yet, for years I have struggled to find the time and space to really drop into my practice, always feeling like I am multi-tasking even when on the mat. Getting to a class has become impossible with the reality of having him so often and working when I do have the space. Bottom line, life is full and busy and when we have little ones who are begging for our attention it is very easy to put our own needs aside and lose our sense of self.
What so many mothers are missing is the essentialness of actually putting our own embodiment and self-care at the forefront and when we do so, everyone benefits. We become better mothers, partners, and overall feel a deeper sense of peace, joy and radiance for life even in those hard to reach areas.
I have endless empathy and compassion for all mothers and the magnitude of our ‘job’ and know that we must cultivate simple, user-friendly practices for ourselves in order to assure any sustainability.
Here are 3 simple daily practices that have worked for me to cultivate this state of being and to return to it when I need the reminder:
- Wake up at least 30 minutes before your children. An hour or more is ideal but if your kids are early risers such as my son and you cannot fathom being up at 4:30 then 30 minutes will do. Meditate for a portion of your solitude and use the rest of the time to make yourself a nice morning beverage and sit and write or read something inspirational. That quiet and tuning in first thing sets a beautiful tone to the day.
- Create an afternoon “siesta” or quiet time in your home. This is lovely to do after school for a bit or during the heat of the summer days. Get your kids set up with something to occupy them – preferably some reading or another project. Use this time to “restore” yourself. THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO CLEAN UP, DO DISHES, OR FOLD THE ENDLESS LAUNDRY. This is the time to get out your yoga props and get down on the ground. Re-connect with yourself through various gentle, yin, and restorative postures. There are some days I am so exhausted I literally put my legs up the wall for 45 minutes and fall asleep. Lots of bolsters and an eye pillow are essential for this session. DO NOT turn this into vinyasa flow hour. It is about restoring and rejuvenating your system so that you are balanced, grounded, and relaxed for the rest of your day and evening parenting. I always look at this time as the pause before Round 3 of the day and know that I need to stay grounded and embodied in order to have a successful last chapter.
- Have 1 green drink a day. It doesn’t have to be a big deal; i.e. a fresh juice, etc. A simple way of doing so is to have coconut water on hand and to mix in a green powder of some sort. Put them in a jar and shake it up and drink it when you are able to. Incorporating these greens into your daily routine will support your system and keep you feeling hydrated and nourished.