Overcoming Mom Guilt: Being mindful and aware

By Kristin Allaben

It’s hard to believe that we brought my second born home 3 weeks ago. Part of me is amazed at how quickly the time has gone by. Part of me is amazed that it’s somehow only been 3 weeks.

But perhaps the biggest shock to me was holding my newborn while watching my first born play with his toys. Somehow, he was bigger, more mature. He was no longer the baby I left two days earlier; he was a little boy who was seemingly all grown up. And in addition to the shock of seeing how big my little guy was, understanding just how much he still needed me was another.

Sure, friends and family all told me stories about how different life is with two kids instead of one, but no one could have truly prepared me for the reality of being needed in two places at the same time.

Needless to say, the Mom Guilt has been real.

There are moments I want to be with my oldest, to play with him, to laugh with him, to read with him. But there are also moments when I want to be with my newborn, to hold him, to admire him, to snuggle him. And though I know it’s only been a few weeks and I’m still in the learning curve of effectively juggling two kids under 2­, the guilt for wanting to be with one when you’re with the other is already so strong. And the frustrated realization that of course I shouldn’t already have it all figured out is almost as bad.

Expectation vs. reality. But discussing expectations as a parent vs. reality is for another post…

I recently stumbled across a quote from Stephanie Precourt, an online content manager for Listen To Your Mother Show, that so beautifully describes motherhood: “There will be so many times you feel like you’ve failed, but in the eyes, heart and mind of your child, you are super mom.”

In those moments when I feel horrible for the rushed bedtime for my first born while the newborn was crying to be fed, or when I am laughing and playing with the oldest and know I’ve left the newborn in his bouncy chair for what I feel is too long, it’s easy to get caught up in thinking you’re not enough, that you’re sacrificing time with one for time with the other.

Being a parent is about being mindful and aware. It’s about accepting the challenges and adventures each day brings and learning how to appreciate each moment exactly as it is. It’s about being present, especially during those rushed or challenging times with your kid(s). You may only be able to read one bedtime story during a rushed bedtime, but be present in that moment instead of letting your mind wander, thinking about what else you still need to take care of when they go to bed. It’s about experiencing each moment. It’s about learning from and letting go of the moments that are frustrating or create feelings of self-doubt. Experience, learn, then let it go.

Reading the quote from Stephanie Precourt reminded me of my own New Year’s resolution to laugh more and to enjoy life’s little moments. It’s not always about the quantity of time, but the quality of time. And that means being present in and fully appreciating every moment I have with my sons, regardless of what those moments look like.

 

Looking for a little guidance for where you are in life and where you want your life to be? Explore Life Coaching services.

 

Consider reading The Greatness in the Small Things

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What the IMAX Teaches Us About Being Present

By Jay Forte, Coach, Author, Educator

I took a break from writing recently to see the new 3D movie Thor: Ragnarok at our local IMAX cinema.

The best way I can describe seeing a movie at the IMAX is that is a truly different type of movie experience. With a significantly larger screen and a fully integrated sound system that creates sound from every part of the theatre, you are completely pulled into the movie. And that’s only further enhanced when you’re watching a movie in 3D.

Those who know me may be surprised to hear I saw a movie – at the IMAX, no less. Truth is, I just can’t sit still that long. But I didn’t move for the full 2+ hours of that movie. I didn’t think about work, life’s challenges or opportunities, or what was due tomorrow. I didn’t feel the need to eat, chat or check my phone.

The IMAX knows how to make you very present, to focus only on the event in front of you and nothing else.

There are three big lessons we can learn from the IMAX experience to help us be more tuned in and present in our encounters with the people and events in our lives.

1. IMAX provides focus. At the IMAX, the screen quite literally fills your view. You’re forced to focus on the screen as a result of amazingly clear visuals that make you notice things about people and places a smaller screen with less clarity just can’t provide. As a result, you gather exponentially more information in each moment that keeps you more connected to the screen and the content.

What would it take for you to focus this way on someone or something to learn the most about them/it?

2. IMAX eliminates distractions. The screen is large and bright, and the rest of the theatre is dark. The sound and music are loud so the noises of the people around you are diminished or deleted. This compounded effect forces you to watch what they want you to watch, to tune in to the action of the moment.

What would it take to not be interrupted by distractions when you interact with someone or do something?

3. IMAX uses many senses. The sounds and sights are all-consuming. You don’t disconnect because the senses work together to keep you connected; this is done both exceedingly well and on purpose.

What would it take to concentrate all of your senses on someone or something to give your full attention?

The IMAX experience teaches us to focus, eliminate distractions and use more of our senses to be fully engaged, to get the full experience. Think of the impact this kind of awareness could have in your life, relationships and situations.

Important Questions from a Coach

  1. To be more present, how can you control distractions when you are interacting with another?
  2. To be more present, how can you give a person or an event your attention?
  3. To be more present, how can you manage your emotions and feelings to stay attentive and connected?

Need help getting present? Consider talking with a coach to develop your personal mindfulness practices.

 

Consider reading Moving in Autopilot.

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