One of the things we most crave as mums – as modern humans – is space. We’re always available on our phones. Constantly bombarded with bad news, opinions and rants on Twitter. Occasionally questioning whether our living room will ever be stylish or tidy enough judging by Instagram.
When you can rarely even go to the loo alone, suddenly there seems like there’s no avenue of your life that isn’t road blocked by your child’s need, want, whim.
When you start to feel like these blockages are making you bubble up with resentment and frustration – coming out in heightened anxiety, anger, worry, frustration, sadness, it’s time to press pause. Build SPACE into your regular habits, and you should begin to see that you don’t meet those road blocks quite so often.
How do I create space? Three ways:
1. BREATHE. Fundamental to creating space is literally allowing there to be space within your body. Often we collapse our lungs and slump in defeat without really noticing. Begin to notice and honour your physical state by properly, fully, truly, consciously and mindfully breathing every day. Any breathing technique will do – simply pause and take 5 deep breaths. One of my favourites, which can be whipped out as a tool in emergencies such as at soft play: Breathe in through your nose for a count of 7. Breathe out through your mouth for a count of 11. Repeat 4 times. Space achieved.
2. A little bit more time to spare? MEDITATE. Go to a space where your children aren’t around, and there are no distractions. No phone, no computer. No “Mummeeeeee”… Sitting upright, comfortably, on the floor on cushions or on a supported chair. Breathe. Once you are settled into your breath, mindfully scan your body for tension. Soften. On your in-breath, silently say the word SO. On your out breath, say the word HUM. Repeat. So….Hum…..So….Hum…..if your attention drifts, this is only human – you are not “bad at meditating”. Simply return to the mantra, So….Hum…So….Hum.
You should emerge from your meditation after a few minutes feeling still and calm, able to take this space into your daily activities.
3. DISTANCE – lastly and when you can properly carve out time for mama self-care: give yourself some space by creating distance between yourself and your home, your commitments, your children. Escape to a yoga class on a Sunday morning. Go swimming on a Wednesday evening. Walk in the park early morning before work. Whatever it takes, whenever you can, commit to it weekly and you will begin to see an easing in the bottlenecks of tension and stress that can build up when there is no space.