The Mindful Mother

Cute little eyes look at me. My son smiles sweetly. It’s 7:30 am in the morning. He’s up earlier than usual. Today is the day of his regular health check. Wow! Time flies. He is 10 months old. He seems to plan his day with me. What do I mean by that? Read on.

The role of mother is the toughest and yet the most joyous of the many I have handled so far. I am content.

First three months were tough and at the same time rewarding. Such a tiny fragile creature he was. It was a pleasure to hold him and I was scared at the same time. I was very careful and worried about every silly thing. I often reached out to my postpartum doula when I had concerns. She was very supportive.

We were at the clinic for his first month checkup. A mother with her 8 month old was waiting for her turn. We greeted each other and had a small conversation. She told me how nervous and worried she was all the time for her baby that she missed to enjoy beautiful time with her daughter. She advised me not to make the same mistake. That is really what I needed to hear!

I am in this crucial project of raising a child. Sadguru, the Indian mystic says, “If you raise your child properly it’s going to be a 20 year project otherwise it’s going to be a lifelong project”. It’s for the good of my son and for my sanity, I better do my job well.

The title I kept for this article is my aspiration. I practice it and wish to perfect it.

I have made a few observations when I meet other parents

  • Moms who aspire to achieve new heights in their profession but feel bogged down by their baby.
  • Parents who are overly protective of their children and suck all the fun off their childhood. Also known as helicopter parenting.
  • Parents rushing their children to keep up with their schedule or plans causing discomfort and frustration to both.
  • Parents who ignore the small things the child wishes to share. etc.

When your heart and mind are being pulled in different directions you grow restless and in severe cases it can affect your health.

Children communicate in their own ways. It’s highly likely to miss those cues when we aren’t attentive. It results in cranky children and pissed off parents. Why can’t we give them our full attention when they really need it?

Often I slip into the thoughts of my career, what I wish to do when I return to work, what can I add to my skills etc and I grow restless. My sweet son pulls me back into the reality of the present. I fear my age, my health, my career and what not. It is exhausting to watch over the baby all the time. I get annoyed. Mind keeps wandering from one thing to another. Does it happen to you dear mom?

It took me a while to tame my mind and be rooted in the present. It has helped me enjoy the time with my son and be peaceful. I let the thoughts flow but not get carried away by them. I verbalize my thoughts with my husband or make a note of it to talk through later during the day so that I don’t interrupt him during his working hours. I remind myself that my first and top most priority is my son. It’s not an easy thing in practice to get over somehow from all the thoughts that run wild but I continue practicing this approach.

Nigel Latta in his book “Mothers raising sons” writes that as mothers we should focus on teaching values to our children. To be able to do that effectively we need to be present, focus on the moment and ensure we have their trust. There is a lot of good information in this book. A must read.

Naomi Chunilal’s elaboration in the book “The mindful mother” goes deeper into the aspects of mindfulness the time a woman is pregnant, giving birth to the baby and then back into carrying out the responsibilities and relationships much more than before. It’s a good read. I recalled what I learnt from that book while I was in labor and after birth. It helps me get back on track when I feel lost at times.

One of the important things about being mindful is taking care of oneself. I manage to do yoga at least for 10-15 mins every day, drink enough water and read a book if time permits. I would like to cook more. I create some simple plans for the day, the week and sometimes a month and ahead. I don’t press too hard on the plan but go with what my son feels like. Most often we end up sticking to the plan. I openly communicate this when necessary so that I don’t interrupt others’ plans or waste their time. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed looking after my son all day. I take a break and go out for a walk while my husband takes care of him. It helps me to clear off my mind and relax a bit.

I am content with what I can get done besides caring for my son every day. It’s not much and that’s fine with me. My husband is very supportive. We all have our food together. Our little son is getting more interested in the food we eat. We don’t disappoint him. We go for a walk together. These little things create joy for us and we feel the warmth of the family.

Have you heard of the saying “It takes a village to raise a child”. It’s important to introduce the child and make them part of the wider community. They can learn sharing, caring and develop good relationships. I meet with my friends and colleagues as often as we can. He really enjoys meeting people. We take him to the events that are suitable for him. Meet other mothers and children. But how practical is it for all mothers?

Unlike me, not all working women have the luxury of being with their children all the time. They have to get back to work pretty soon during their postpartum.It can be really hard to work when the baby is just a few months old. If you were to do that, be open about asking for required support at work or change in responsibilities until you and your baby feel comfortable. The first three years are forming years of the child where a primary carer is very necessary. Be mindful of any decisions you are making so that you don’t suffer or let the child face the problems later.

The essence is to be kind to yourself and others.

Before I say adios I would like to share something that has been bothering me. My wish is to leave a better world for my son. I sometimes feel helpless. For example, smoking in public. Some people smoke having their children around. Some smoke while walking on sidewalks leaving behind a trail of smoke for everyone following them to inhale. Passive smoking is more injurious to health than active smoking. All we can do is to limit such exposure as much as possible. I would like to call for your help through this article to be mindful of the health of your children and other children when you think of smoking in public.

Written on July 22, 2023