I sat down at my computer this morning, in amongst the juggle of life at the moment and my aim was to write a blog. I thought I would write something about running on autopilot, the never ending to do list and good enough parenting. I know I had been keeping content ideas and moments of life blurted out into word documents over the last couple of years - and I stumbled across a section from my second pregnancy, some 3-ish years ago. Wow, time flies!

It is only recently, now with my second pregnancy (and this is where I am doing this research and my passion project) that I am rekindling my love and appreciation for meditation and mindfulness. I can only say I am sorry to my son and husband for not getting back into this sooner. But I am doing this work for me, my family and my unborn daughter - to give her the best start like I did her brother. Calmness in amongst the chaos. Knowing that I am the driver for her building blocks and the foundation for her life. I don’t say this to guilt myself, or you about doing it. But it is so truly important to me that I do this. I want to be present and enjoy this pregnancy in case it is my last. I want to soak in every moment of this time 1:1 with my son. I find I am taking in every facial expression, noise, touch of his skin and it makes me smile the amazing little human he is turning out to be. I am here, doing the work to break the cycle for my family. I want them to know that every emotion is valid. Stress will happen, but as a family we can learn together to build our future. You can too.

And here I am today, and this gives me all the feels. It could not sum up more perfectly where I am at and what I long to be doing. However….we now have our little girl in our lives, and we have a third. Life is a lot more chaotic than it was when I wrote this little paragraph, and the stress is present, life challenges are present. I am sitting here writing, while trying to entertain our little one for a space of half an hour so that I can feel productive - to start to give you, my community, some support and empowerment in your own journey.

But here I am, judging my own productivity about what I am achieving in the day, and looking outwards to get that noticed. But right now I choose to sit back and say “Erin, I am damn proud of you at the moment!!”

I often wonder, about sitting in this line of work, how it must look from the outside. That we must have the most calm, present home life. That we take in every moment, that we are so playful with our children all the time. But the reality is, this is not true. We are human beings too, and we are faced with the same pressures, stress, emotions, overwhelm and never ending to-do list that haunts us everyday. It can feel a bit like imposter syndrome at times, but this is where I remind myself that I am on my own journey as a mother, partner and business owner. This is where I know I have value to add, and that I can be on this journey alongside you. I am in search of my new identity, to find those things that fill my cup and to share with you the passion that I have for supporting families in their own journey.

I have begun to realise the need to slow down, to take in little moments and carve in time to notice the changes that have happened over the last 6 years. I continue to be in awe of the small humans that we have raised, their resilience to challenging times and periods of change in their lives. Our kids can be our biggest teachers of being present and in the moment, if we just let them. 

I feel guilty that I feel the last 8 months have been a bit of a blur within our lives. I regret that I haven't slowed down enough, that I feel like I am missing the little moments in the kids' development while I am struggling to stay above the surface some days. I am so thankful for the launch of Dear Dahlia, and its reminder to practice what I preach. To trust the process and know that I can journey through this period of change in our family and come out stronger on the other side.

So what is my take away message from this little note - it's to be kind to yourself, to be your own cheerleader, and to give yourself a break. No one has got this parenting business sussed 100% of the time. Yes we all have our moments that we let the overwhelm take the better of us. But we can choose to pick ourselves up, own our mistakes and take a step forward without letting us dwell on the past.

Mindful parenting is about being open and curious to what you are experiencing at an exact moment in time. Mindful parenting is not about perfection, and never being overwhelmed. But it is about being able to notice when life is getting on top of you, when your nervous system is feeling overwhelmed, when that inner critic voice starts to turn up their volume. In noticing this, you enable yourself to step back, pause, take a breath and ground yourself in the moment you are in. Knowing that just like a wave, these feelings can pass if you give them a chance to.

Even sitting here writing this - my brain started getting lost in the business to-do list, what I need to post, content to create, courses I am doing and how to implement them, email people ... .and it took me away from this blog. It happened so quickly and I felt like I had no control. All of a sudden I hear my son banging a bowl on the ground. Initially I was like wow that's loud, but then I stopped and paused. I watched him. I saw him explore the sound, smile, his legs kicking around, the difference in his reaction when he banged it on the tiles versus the playmat. I all of a sudden wasn't thinking of anything else. I was in awe of his experience and his learnings. I smiled, and thought wow, this is it. This is how we can go from being on 1000% run time, to stopping and slowing down and finishing one task at a time. All while still being here to watch him explore his little world around him. All of a sudden the guilt for him being on the mat alone is gone, and instead I am stoked for his learning opportunity.

So how do you ground yourself and allow yourself to be present in the moment?

  • Stop, Pause, look around you. Take a deep breath that fills your belly, and exhale slowly.
  • Engage in the environment with your senses. What do you see, hear, feel, smell, taste?
  • Take deep breaths whilst you explore your environment
  • Start to be curious about what your child may be experiencing in this moment
  • Notice thoughts that come into your mind, be curious as to how they make you feel. Say it out loud, write it down. Find a way to release your thoughts, so they may not have the same power. I will be sharing a blog all about this in the near future which will look at some strategies through Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
  • Focus back into your surroundings with your senses
  • Problem solve where you can, or break down steps into small, manageable pieces.

I love that I found the section of writing from 3 years ago. I know that I have had my ebbs and flows of engagement in mindfulness and meditation. This is normal! I choose now to really embrace little moments everyday, in small achievable ways for me and my family. These moments add up over time and will benefit us in so many ways.

Ways I will introduce it that works for me:

  • Watching my kids play for 5 deep breaths
  • Asking questions about the story book we are reading
  • Noticing the feel of the water and smell of the soap during bath times
  • A walk everyday outside, no set distance. Just to simply get fresh air and reset
  • Music on in the home

I will share my experiences with this over the coming days.

How will you set some small, achievable mindful moments in your family? Share a comment on here or through Instagram to share your experiences!

The biggest thing I want you to remember is to be KIND TO YOURSELF. Remind yourself that these hard times will pass, however while you are in a period that is challenging, you allow yourself to slow down, to let some things go and to nurture not only the small humans in your life, but most importantly yourself. 

You’ve got this! xx

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