Putting Yourself on 'The List' | Exploring Food Meditation
From experience, and a busy life with two children, my own needs never quite make it on 'the list’.
We all have a never-ending list of chores, tasks, appointments and reminders. Family life is busy, but when do we ever find time to put ourselves on the list? What I did with my time before I had children I’d love to know. My role since they were born is that of a mom to two beautiful girls. A dentist appointment pushed out for another month because my youngest is teething and clingy. I couldn’t possibly leave her when she’s not herself. A night out on the tiles, planned for months, cancelled at the last minute because of a high temperature.
All familiar sounding stories to moms all over, I’m sure. Our children come first, and rightly so, we are here to protect and nourish them. And we adore them, to be fair. But do we need to be a little bit selfish, to ensure we get some ‘mom ME time’ now and again? After all, we do need to look after ourselves too. So, feeling somewhat guilty and having to be pushed out the front door by my partner, I join a Mindfulness and Relaxation class. Feeling confident it will make me a better person, less stressed from juggling and general everyday busyness that is being a mom. At the same time feeling pity for the teacher getting my mind to relax!
I find since having my children there is hardly a minute goes by that I don’t worry about them, or money or life in general. My head is constantly in overdrive, constantly thinking and worrying unnecessarily. The class is one hour a week for six weeks and with little expectations, apart from being able to listen to the radio uninterrupted on route, I arrive to find I am the only student! So, for the first time in many years, all the attention is on me. And I feel anything but relaxed!
However, the teacher is wonderful, with a calming aura and as soon as she starts to speak I relax. I spy a bar of chocolate next to the CD player that emanates relaxing soft music, and she introduces me to food meditation! For all those chocoholic moms out there, food meditation is a real treat. A treat for the senses and the thighs!
Take a piece of chocolate, don’t eat it. Just hold it, look at it, smell it” I am told. “Now, put it in your mouth, don’t bite it just savour the feeling and taste”. Five minutes later I am still savouring that same piece of chocolate! I have to say, this was something else. So many days at home I’d stick on the kettle for a quick coffee while getting my little ones bottle ready and I’d think, "I’ve had a busy morning so I deserve a bar of chocolate". Most of the time, I don’t even remember devouring the chocolate that just happened to have about 8 spoons of sugar in it!
Well now that I have discovered food meditation, one square of chocolate is all it takes. And it’s utter heaven! I tell my teacher that I have two children, and little time to scratch, let alone sit and meditate alone in a quiet room. All I am fit for is a cuppa tea and the warm electric blanket! Over the weeks, she shows me that it’s all about the breathing, which can be done while doing household chores or even driving the car. Washing up has taken on a whole new meaning!
I have to say I feel so much more relaxed, in the now, and mindful, as oppose to mind full! Putting myself on the list was never high on my priorities, but I have learnt that a more relaxed, less stressed mom results in a happier, smoother running home. I’m much calmer when I have to ask my 9 year old to get ready for bed, for the tenth time! I am less inclined to worry about what may never arise, focusing on the here and now, the present.
So my advice to all you moms out there: take a little time out for you. When the kids are in bed, run that warm bubbly bath, you so deserve it. Break off a square of chocolate, sit back and put yourself on the list.
Written by Susan Caplice for eumom