I’ve always been a Type A, need-for-order sort. Liking structure in my days. Preferring to avoid the unexpected. Planning and enjoying knowing what’s coming next. But as anyone who has had a baby knows, order goes out the window pretty soon after you bring that bundle of joy home from the hospital. When my second arrived and I had a toddler and a baby on my hands, any last strand of predictability to my days was snapped in two. Torn to shreds. Became a long-lost dream.
As a working mom, I was having a harder and harder time finding calm in the chaos around me and was grasping for ideas on how I might get my head in a better place. I remembered people recommending meditation to me over the years as a way to find stillness and calm, and truth be told, I’d tried some guided meditations and liked them in the past. But that was before becoming a mom and having NO time for myself whatsoever. How on earth could I pick up a new meditation “hobby” now? Doing nothing for some period of time – any period of time! – seemed like a waste of time.
Until I tried it. In tiny, tiny doses. Because that was all the time I had.
First, I had to fight off all those voices that told me I couldn’t do this:
You don’t have a zafu (a meditation pillow)? Can’t start until you get one! Nonsense, I told her. There’s a Boppy in the baby’s room. Sit on that. And so I did.
Your house isn’t quiet! You have nowhere to go to sit and do this. Okay, you win on that one. My house isn’t quiet most days. But that doesn’t mean I can’t start. So now on my way to work some days, I sit outside on a park bench by a fountain (or in a hotel lobby near my office on cold or rainy days), turn on the fabulous Insight Timer app for 5 minutes, and away I go. On Fridays I work from home and my house is quiet though, so I pull out the Bobby in the baby’s room, plop down on the floor, and take my 5 minutes of calm.
All you have is 5 minutes! Ha! That’s nothing. What good can that do? Oh sweetie, you have no idea, I now have to laugh. According to my Insight Timer stats (yes, the app actually has stats…it knows the Type A side of me likes my metrics!), I’ve meditated exactly 34% of days over the 4 past months. And my average meditation session is exactly 5.3 minutes. So if I wanted to beat myself up and say that’s a pathetic record, I easily could. But I don’t, because I feel the difference. I know even just 5 minutes sets my day on a different track and calms me down immensely.
This sitting and doing nothing is frivolous! You have a million things to do! And I will get them done faster, better, and in a more relaxed state, if I take this time for me.
My meditation adventure is work in progress, and I’m absolutely still a novice. But even these small doses have made all the difference in helping me be present for myself and for those two wonderful and crazy kids of mine.
Want more advice on getting your head in a better place for your return to work after maternity leave? Check out the Mindful Return E-Course here. New sessions start soon.