Haha, get it ‘No-Brainer’? When you meditate, you give yourself a break from all the thought trains in your brain. I know, I’m so funny! In fact, if I didn’t meditate, I probably wouldn’t be any good at entertaining my blog readers. I would probably be a tired, stressed out, complaining Grumpy-saurus Rex. It’s certainly not easy raising two kids with nobody to help except your poor husband who comes home from work all exhausted. But, I do have a little secret on how I handle it 🙂
Every day, for over the past ten years, I’ve been doing a practice of yoga, breathing and meditation that I learned from taking the Art of Living course taught by the Art of Living Foundation. Before I had kids, there was never a question, I started every day the same way: wake up, hydrate myself, shower, yoga, breathing, meditation. When Margo was a baby, I still managed to get my practice in sometime, relatively early in the morning, as she would usually take a morning nap. Morning time is the best time to do these things. One, because it makes the whole rest of your day much more smooth. Two, because if you don’t do it first thing in the morning, your mind will come up with a gazillion and one excuses of things that you ought to do instead.
With one baby, I found it pretty easy to fit my practice into my schedule. And, even when I went back to work part time, when Margo was 15 months old, I would wake up early enough (4:30 ish) to make sure that I had time to yoga-fy myself before I left the house. Of course, I would sometimes get interrupted. But, I would just do what I could, and then finish the rest later whenever she fell back asleep. If Art was around, he could also watch her so I could finish. Similarly, I have a friend who, after having kids, really couldn’t meditate at home because it was too noisy and hectic. Instead, she’d visit Float Valley a couple of times a week for a floating session, and she says it was better than any meditation she’d ever managed before!
All through both pregnancies, newborn sleep deprivation, work, travel, toddler-ism, etc., I have never skipped a day. It just makes me feel so good! It’s hard to describe. I know that if I don’t do it first thing in the morning, I start feeling really strange. I get tired and grumpy and ‘fuzzy’. By fuzzy, I mean, it feels like the room is spinning or something. Like, my head doesn’t work right and I feel like it’s probably not a good idea to leave the house.
It’s been a bit more tricky fitting in my practice with two little ones. At the time of writing this, Goldie is 4 1/2 months and Margo is 2 3/4, about to turn 3 in a few months. Art is often gone really early in the morning for work, sometimes he has to leave around 5:45am. And, even if he’s home, there’s nobody but mommy that will do in the morning, especially for Margo.
But, I still find ways to fit it in. The great part about having a baby is that they do tend to take naps! Sometimes, if I’m really desperate, I wait until just Goldie is asleep. I can easily do yoga with Margo around and sometimes, she even joins me. Then I give Margo some chore or something to entertain herself with (safety scissors and paper to cut will keep her occupied for sometimes 25 minutes) while I close my eyes to do the breathing, (called Sudarshan Kriya), which provides me a soothing environment for meditation! Meditation has always been my escape from the daily hectic life that I lead. Yoga can also be equally effective. I know people who create calming environment by using nature 5 panel wall art or plants for the perfect yoga practice session. Anyway, for the time being, I am only doing mediation. As Margo also accompanies me in my sessions, I like to incorporate scented candles and soothing music. One of my friends suggested me to use salt lamps and candles during meditation as they tend to help alleviate my stress levels. You could find them on websites such as The Lamp Life (thelamplife.co.uk). I hope this helps all the mothers who are coping with daily stress while juggling household chores and managing their kids.
However this works, but is not ideal, because I sometimes end up with a toddler in my lap, but it’s better than nothing. She’s not too bad, as she knows that mommy is ‘resting’, so she usually doesn’t squirm around too much. Sometimes, she may whisper a question to me. Rather than trying to tell her to leave me alone, I found that if I just whisper an answerback, she usually continues on with what she’s doing.
Another way that it works, is if I can time their naps together. For now, for about 95% of their naps, I can get them to do it at the same time. Margo only has one big sleep in the middle of the day, so this time is my only Margo-free time. Sometimes I have to split up my session and do yoga in the morning and breathe and meditate when they take their nap, but I eventually get it all in, and man, do I feel like 1000x better for it!
I like to do it in the bedroom with them in there snoring, that way I can hop up and get to them, if they start to stir. I cannot think of a better way to spend their nap time. We both get our rest. If I’m lucky enough to have already done my practice in the morning, then I crash with them for nap time. Otherwise, I’m happy to get my rest by other means. You know, they say that doing 20 minutes of meditation is equivalent to getting four hours of sleep. I would say this is absolutely true! Tried and tested by a mother of two kiddies under the age of three! I wish the whole world would meditate. I know if it can make that huge a difference in my day, and all I have to do is take care of two little kids, imagine what it would do for other people and entire societies? If everyone could take a few minutes out of their day to have a ‘No-Brainer’. Wow,,, it could be amazing!