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Mom, Please Breathe...



I've been searching for the words to write in this blog for weeks now. Should I be more informative and offer a list of tips on how Moms can practice self care? Should I share my story about why I even got started practicing self care myself?


I've been sharing snippets of my most mindful thoughts on IG hoping to get your attention. I've been softly admonishing you to pause for a moment. Stop scrolling long enough to hear the soft whisper of love, of recognition pouring from my heart. I see you, Mom. I notice the weariness in your eyes. You're saying you're okay and you're really not. I hear you. You are not alone.


As Moms, we spend so much of our time and energy working, giving, nurturing, completing tasks, and meeting everyone else's needs. By the time we have a moment to ourselves, we do not find rest in solitude because our minds are too crowded with concerns. We worry about whether or not we made the right choices throughout the day. We allow our thoughts to drag us into the next day's agenda. Exhausted, we eventually collapse into bed without even considering what our own minds, bodies, and spirits need.


In case you're wondering, it's air! Our minds, bodies, and spirits are gasping for air!

Yes, A-I-R:

~ air as in what we breathe in and out a dozen or so times a minute without even noticing

~ air as in a fraction of time between thoughts, conversations, tasks.

~ air as in a moment to pause and just be still (even if we have to lock ourselves in the bathroom)

~ air as in looking at ourselves in the mirror just to notice how magnificent we are.


Mom, you are a carrying the complexities of multiple roles and insurmountable expectations. You deserve a breath of fresh air. You actually NEED a breath of fresh air. In fact, when was the last time anyone even asked not "how are you DOing," but "how are you BREATHing?"


What would your answer be?


Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body. – Thich Nhat Hanh

The other day, I could not find my breath. I just felt like my mind was entangled with so many other people's concerns that there was no room for clarity. I wasn't heavy, but I had a crowd of concerns fogging my vision. After several client calls and hours of data entry while juggling the kids' remote learning, I needed fresh air. So I grabbed the kids, some snacks, a blanket and we went to the park for some literal fresh air.


I found a well lit spot near a gathering of trees.

I laid the blanket out in the grass.

Took off my running shoes and socks.

Gave my daughter my phone so she could chat with a friend.

Shewed my son away to play at the nearest playground.


I sat down. Crisscrossed my legs. I felt the ground beneath me, supporting me. I inhaled as I whisked my arms up toward the sky, my gaze followed and caught the glimpse of a leaf dancing on the ledge of a branch as the wind teased its stem. I exhaled as my arms returned to the earth and I looked ahead toward a group of children walking away from a schoolyard. I could hear their chatter, but it all became ripples in the background as I repeated my mantra - "I am loved and supported. All is well. I am enough as I am. All is well."


Every breath, every movement, every affirming thought brought me closer to my calm. I came home to myself at the park. And so did my kids. They found peace playing in the dirt. My son made mud pies that he couldn't wait to share with me (oh, but he waited until I was done breathing lol). And my daughter created a mini hut out of a broken acorn and a leaf, you know, for the homeless ants. About an hour later, we went home and had dinner - short, sweet, simple.


It doesn't take all day or a million dollars to find your breath, to practice self care. The next time you feel yourself gasping for air:

  1. Stop what you are doing

  2. Take a deep breath - Inhale - give thanks for life. Exhale - release the breath.

  3. Ask yourself "what do I need right now?" Perhaps you need to shift your thinking to something more affirming. Perhaps you need rest or something to eat. Maybe you need a short break from work, a quick walk outdoors.

Consider repeating these 3 steps 3 times. You may find that a moment of self compassion was all you really needed.


Your heart may just want to be acknowledged. Maybe your mind needs a quick break from all the thinking. Your body probably just wants some attention. Take a moment to check-in with yourself and respond with patience, compassion, and loving acknowledgement. As mothers, we are always serving oxygen on a silver platter to everyone else. Aren't we just as worthy of such gracious expressions of love? If you need help, ask. Just find your way back to yourself - where the energy to Mother patiently and lovingly comes from.


Mom, count yourself worthy of your own breath.


Moms, We Don't Have to Breathe Alone


My friend Natiya McFadden and I went live on facebook to chat about the ways we practice self-care. Not because we have perfected anything, but because we believe every Mom can find whatever self care practice works for her to keep her sane and to help her along her path toward thriving. Check out this video. Natiya is the Founder of The Family Made Mom and author of Help! I'm More Than Just a Mom. She has great resources for us to explore.


In addition to subscribing to resourceful blogs, connecting with other Moms is a great way to support our self care, which is why I linked up with Motherful, a non-profit organization offering a supportive community for single Moms. Visit their website for more details about the resources they provide, including a weekly resource garage and regular online group sessions. To launch my first Sawubona "I See You" Project, we are gifting 100 Moms through Motherful and other non-profits with self care kits, tools and strategies this fall season.


No Mom, self care is not selfish. Self care provides the fuel you need to be more supportive of others, including your family. This is how we build community and create opportunities for impactful service. Once our lives are full of the oxygen we need, we discover an overflow of fresh air to share with others. Join me, will you?


Find a comfortable seat.

Close your eyes.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Just breathe.


 

For more information about the Sawubona Project and how you can get involved, email tifanikinspires@gmail.com. Let's work together to equip 100 Moms of school-aged children with self care tools and strategies.


Looking for an Inspiration Coach? Complete the form to set up a consultation with me. Let's explore ways to add more oxygen to your daily life.

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