When your sleep is deprived, you struggle to be alone even to go to the loo and constant demands are being yelled at you, day and night, it can be hard to find time to practice anything like mindfulness.
But amidst the chaos that is parenting small children, there may be moments that you can make more of an opportunity for relaxing than you had at first considered.
Here are a few ideas for taking time out in your busy day to unwind, without any little people noticing you are doing something for yourself.
Adult colouring has been hip for so long now it’s practically square again. But I’m not talking about wasting your precious post-bedtime evenings carefully shading in detailed mosaics with coordinating colours. When your little darlings are demanding you join in at craft time, zone them out while you focus on filling in one small part of the picture. The satisfaction in finally completing a task you set out to do can work wonders. Just don’t be picky about what colour you want to use – it will always be snatched from your grasp.
Some people will insist that sitting cross-legged in a circle singing Wind The Bobbin Up is their idea of torture, and who knows what goes on in Guantanamo now Trump is in charge. But there is an undeniable sedative quality to be found in the simple, repetitive nature of nursery rhymes. One can achieve a certain state of serenity swaying along and singing If You’re Happy And You Know It, as long as you are able to tune out the discord and pandemonium around you… whilst still maintaining control of your own wild child.
Now you are sure you are being taken for a ride! The sight of your child’s every possession turned upside down in a heap on the floor could not possibly be a chance to find a Zen state of mind. Just breathe in slowly and deeply. And out again. Now methodically begin putting everything back in its place. Feel the sense of order being restored and let it wash over you. Or at least enjoy obliterating any evidence they were ever there to begin with.
Unlike adult fiction, children’s books are full of hope and caring. Instead of racing through the promised ‘last’ bedtime story while fantasising on the glass of wine that awaits you – take your time to appreciate the moral messages you are sharing with your child. Because when the mouse has scared away that Gruffalo, it has peace and quiet in the wood to sit and enjoy that nut all to itself.
Hide and seek, a game of chase, or just a good old tickle. Nothing makes you appreciate the joy of life’s simplicity more than the sound of a child giggling uncontrollably.