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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hey Mommies…Are You Breathing?

Those of you who read my blog on homeschooling will remember my little confession that I am rarely alone. My life is constantly filled with noise. Sometimes it’s sad noise, sometimes it’s really mad noise, and then sometimes it’s quite happy noise.

But it all sounds the same when I just need a moment of peace and quiet!

As I have thought about ways to carve out a bit of time for myself each week, I have started paying attention to how I feel so I can figure out when I most need a break. And I began to notice an alarming trend. Sometimes, I actually forget to breathe! Or I breathe so shallowly that bringing attention to one single inhale feels heavenly and seems to lift my whole mood.

During a recent episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah interviewed Goldie Hawn. They spent some time discussing this very issue: the importance of deep breathing, and building time into each day just to sit in quiet. Oprah promised that ten quiet minutes every day would change your life. But she was quick to say that even starting with one minute would be really beneficial.

So I thought what the heck…it’s worth a try! I began finding time each day to sit in quiet. And I discovered that while it’s so helpful, it’s really not that easy! Not only is it challenging to find the time away from my kids and all the other daily chatter, it’s also really difficult to turn off my own mind. After the first few seconds, I find myself thinking about all of the things I need to do, or focusing on the specific things that worry me or cause stress. All of which made me realize just how much I need quiet time, and how much practice I need to make it restful.

I also began wondering how other moms find quiet time. So I asked a few friends, and looked around online. One of my favorite suggestions was putting on headphones...not to listen to music but just to muffle the noise around you. Of course this won’t work if you’re on baby duty. But if you have a few minutes to yourself and find it hard to get to a place where it’s actually quiet, this tip could be really helpful!

Another idea was making car trips quiet by turning off the radio and focusing on breathing during your commute. I have to say, the fact that my husband has an hour commute to and from work each day sometimes makes me insanely jealous. Who would have thought, right? But it's true! I think about all of that time alone and what it would mean…even if it's while navigating through traffic, and around the crazy streets of Charlotte!

Some moms said they make it a priority to wake up at least thirty minutes before their family, so they can spend that time in meditation, prayer, or just quietly sitting. As much as I love my sleep, I can’t help but see the wisdom in that.

Of course we all love our children, and for those of you who work and even love your jobs, our lives are still a constant juggling act. It can be so hard to find the right balance between meeting the demands placed on us and still taking care of ourselves. So often it becomes about trade-offs. Sometimes we just need to cancel that outing because we can’t bear the thought of one more activity squeezed into an already busy week. And sometimes we need to just pretend we don’t see that mountain of laundry, or those crumbs all over the kitchen floor. Instead we need to head straight for a hot bath, or a solitary glass of wine on the back patio.

Regardless of when or where we find the time, we have to commit to making it happen! We've all heard the phrase, “When mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” And I think inherently, we all know it to be true. But then we become too busy, or we feel too guilty to actually make it happen. But caring for ourselves really does help us care for our loved ones by ensuring we will be happier, and more patient while spending time with them.

So what about you..are you breathing? Are you finding your quiet time every day? Will you make the commitment to write this into your daily routine? And if you already are, we'd love to hear any tips you can share on how you make it happen!

Post submitted by Heather (imarriedrich) from UnionCountyMommies.

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