Big news folks, I’ve converted to ‘carenting’.
I know, I know, I’ve made up a (vaguely rude-sounding) word there. But I stand by it. Over the last few months I have made the shift from mildly-panicked, pessimistic, battle-ready war-mum to a (I’ll say this quickly and hope you don’t immediately leave) ‘mindful mother’.
Those of you who know me have definitely already left.
Yes, I said mindful. And no, I wasn’t being sarcastic.
But since I made the shift, I feel less stressed, far less panicked, less like every outfit change and tooth brushing is a battle, and generally like being a mum is a hell of a lot better.
And kind carenting type that I am, I thought I’d share some steps to how you can be a calmer, more mindful mother, too. See, sharenting is on my list, too.
How to be a mindful mother (without making everyone want to vomit)
- Take time out. You know how you’re programmed to feel guilty when you do anything that isn’t at least 99% for your child? Forget all that. The old empty cup metaphor is the basic premise here; you can’t be a good mum if you’re running on empty and doing something nice for yourself (from pedicure to girls’ weekend away) is the best way to top up your supplies while reminding you you’re actually a person too.
- Read. Whether it’s the Sunday papers, a trashy beach read, or a 700-page parenting tome, reading something other than Tabby McTat (work of genius though it is) once in a while is not only enjoyable, it’s a good idea so that your brain doesn’t stop working.
- Stay calm. This is the most important one. While I was on a break to Porto (see point 1) I read a book (ahem, 2) called ‘Calm Parents, Happy Children’. So much of it made sense to me, the underlying theme of it all being that remaining calm and never reacting without considering the best response is ALWAYS the right answer.
- Be kind to yourself. You can’t be expected to get everything right first time, all the time. If you’re a first-time parent, every new challenge is as brand new for you as it is for your mini me. When you lose your head and shout at them in haste, apologise to them, but forgive yourself.
- Be kind to your little one. When they do something ‘wrong’ consider whether they actually know what they’re doing. When they charge through your flower bed or tear your very important work paper in half, rather than react in anger, wait until you’re calm and explain to them why they shouldn’t repeat the action. Once they’ve done it the third, forth, fifth time however… #naughtystep #orsomesuchmethodofdiscipline
- Be late. I found that the biggest stresses, tantrums and dramas occurred when we needed to stop doing thing A and start doing thing B. Stop watching Peppa, start brushing your teeth. Stop being in the house, start being on the bus. Etc. Be more flexible with your times. If they’re not ready to get their shoes on, take a breath and ask again in two minutes. They don’t have a day planner yet, they don’t know there’s a deadline. (Does yours have a day planner? This isn’t normal.)
- Enjoy them. When you’re worrying less about getting the 7.47 bus, because there’s an 8.03 as well, you’ll notice the funny, amazing, clever, silly, beautiful things they’re learning to do every day a little bit easier.
- Keep quiet. Don’t get all #smugmummy about your new found zen and general mindful goddess mother abilities. It will probably make everyone vomit, very quickly and for a very long time.