Turns out mindfulness requires, ah, mindfulness


Mindfulness requires mindfulness

I’ve been on a mindfulness mission this year (I should ® that gem). It’s all part of my plan to nourish myself in mind, body and spirit. I recognised that I’m rarely present in the moment. I’m always either fretting over past wrongs or trying to conjure future rights. It’s exhausting.

So, I set out with determination to be more mindful and present in my daily life. I wanted to #cherishthemoments and #livegratefully and #breathe. Yeah, well, let me tell you, that’s #nothappening.

The thing is, I reckon many of us mums are deliberately not mindful in daily life. We are mindless on purpose. Does that count as a kind of reverse mindfulness? To be totally, utterly, completely out of our mind?

Mind how you live, kids

It’s not secret that daily life with kids sux balls a lot of the time. I absolutely wish to be elsewhere when the kids are fighting (regularly), the clothes pile is mounting (always) and another kid needs another lift to another thing (#blessed). Why on earth would I want to be present for that?

Practising mindfulness while driving - not happening

I tried, I really did. In the car I told myself, “This is it, Bron. The perfect opportunity to be completely focused on the now. Here’s the road in front of you – hmmm, what’s that guy doing – [beep] your own lane, mister!”

At home, washing dishes, I thought, “Ah, feel the suds fizzing across your hands, the gentle clink of glasses immersed in the water, the – [mother-beeeeep] I’ve broken the damn glass!!”

At bedtime, I cuddled my daughter, thinking, “Now this I can get mindful for. The sweet give of young skin, the warmth of our embrace, the – [beep] I feel like a [beep] paedo, oh my freaking freak!”

Drift versus interject

Mindfulness is so much harder than I thought. I know I’m supposed to simply acknowledge all the interruptions without judgement and let them go. My thoughts need to drift, rather than interject. “Oh, hello complete and utter dickhead who just cut me off and nearly maimed my children, have a nice day,” new mindful-me will say. Or, “Ooh, the glass broke, I’ll just continue on my merry washing ways while the water turns red.”

Just hug, don’t think about the hug. Don’t think about the hug, don’t think about the hug, don’t think about the hug, hug, hug, hug…

Some #moments are working

I have found a few moments of everyday mindfulness that have stuck. Or rather, they’re everyday mindlessness in the best possible way. These things are good and I think they count as mindfulness:

•  When I make a cup of tea, I don’t sweep the floors, wipe down the benches and put a load of washing on while the kettle boils. I just make the tea.

Mindfulness for mums - try making tea

•  When I walk the dog, I no longer listen to podcasts or music. Instead, I hang with the dog and enjoy where we’re at in that moment.

•  When I’m writing for work or just for me (hello, me right now), I allow myself to focus completely on my work, regardless of what else I have going on (except, now that I’ve written that it’s no longer working…)

So, a little progress, but mindfulness mostly eludes me. I know it’s important, but I think I might be trying too hard, which seems to go against everything mindfulness stands for.

++ Related: Why mindfulness for kids is more than just a buzzword ++

For example, I’m trying to eat more mindfully but just this very minute while writing this article I seem to accidentally got up and gone to the pantry (this never would have happened if I hadn’t just written that I focus completely on my writing because now I can never do that again), found a bag of peanut M+Ms (which leapt into my trolley when I wasn’t being mindful last week), and scoffed the lot. Servings per package: approximately seven very mindful people or 1 mindless fat person. Thank you, Mars Confectionery Company.

Kids, I need a moment

Still, I’ll keep trying. I was even explaining to the kids that I was trying to practise more mindful meditation around daily life. I did it mindfully, of course. I was exceptionally mindful of their eyes glazing over. Their incessant fidgeting. The furtive glances across at their iPhones. I saw it all. I felt it all.

“It’s really important to me to find more joy in the everyday,” I continued, ignoring their very unmindful attention to my mindful soliloquy about mindfulness. “I want to feel present and calmed by life’s little moments. Mindfulness is -”

“Ugh, who farted!?!?!?!” all three cried out in unison. “Blergh! Yuck! Clear the room!”

And just like that, they were gone. Leaving me alone with my mindful thoughts and a stench so bad I wanted to claw my way out of my own skin, but no. Instead, I sat there, present and aware, letting life waft over me the way life has a tendency to do.

How’s mindfulness working out for you?

Feature image by Michelle; driving by takahiro taguchi; tea by Matt Seymour

Written by Bron Maxabella

Bron is the founder of Mumlyfe and is so happy to welcome you here. Bron has been writing in the Australian parenting space as Maxabella for more than seven years and is mum to three mostly happy kids and wife to one mostly happy husband. Mostly happy is a win, right?

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