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Friday, May 9, 2014

The Mindful Mom

The most important, rewarding, and enjoyable role in my life is being a Mom.  I think most Moms would agree with that statement.

When my oldest was 10 months old, I became a single mom.  I was 24 years old and I wasn't finished my education.  I was scared to death, but I knew I had love to give to and love to receive from my child.  I devoted my life to my daughter over the next 15 years.  Yes, I remained 'single', although I did date sometimes and even had a few 'relationships' - but no one was aligned enough with me to commit to.  I finished my education and my career developed nicely - but I missed only one of my daughter's events in that whole time.  Like I said, I was devoted to her... in a mindful way.  We have an amazing relationship and I have no regrets.

When she was 15 years old, I met my husband.  Two years later I had another baby girl.  I was 40 and my oldest was 17.  When my oldest was a baby I always said I'd have my children raised when I was in my early 40s and my friends would still be raising theirs.  THEN I'd be able to take care of me.  Ha!

Well, the joke was on me.  You see, being mindful does not mean do not take care of your own needs.  Being a devoted Mom does not mean letting yourself come last all the time.  How can you possibly be fully devoted to your children if you don't take care of yourself?  We are role models and our children will learn our behaviours.  And we certainly want our children to take care of themselves.

I wasn't all that bad... I mean, for the most part, I exercised and ate well and had a healthy mind.  But I didn't do things I enjoyed, I rarely took time just for me, and I VERY rarely spent money on myself unless it was an absolute necessity.  One time, one of my daughter's friends asked me why I wore the same pair of shoes every day.  Of course, the reason was because I wouldn't spend money on another pair of shoes for me because I spent it on another pair of shoes (or dance class or swim goggles...) for my daughter (if I had it).  And I told her it was because I loved my shoes and wanted to wear them every day.  To be honest, I still struggle with spending money on myself.

Since my youngest was born, I've struggled with the balance of being that 'devoted' Mom and taking care of myself - doing the things I love to do.  I see how wise and mindful my oldest daughter is and I want my youngest to be like that too.  I have such an incredible relationship with my oldest daughter and I want to have that closeness with my youngest too.

And I will.  Because I continue to work on this thing called mindfulness... being in the moment on purpose without judgement.

My life is different now.  I've grown.  I know more... well, I know different things.  My children are not meant to be the same.  They are different people with different lessons to learn and I'm here to guide them as best as I can at this moment.

To me, being a mindful Mom means being here now with my kids, making decisions that make sense in this moment, loving them unconditionally, accepting them unconditionally, not judging their decisions as good or bad, and... taking care of me while I'm at it.  Twenty years ago, that last one wasn't on my list.  Now it is.  So in this moment, that's what I'm working on.

The most important, rewarding, and enjoyable role in my life is being a Mom.  And I like shoes and I think I'll buy a pair for myself for Mother's Day.

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there!