Young children are all about the here-and-now. But, as moms, we can struggle to calm our minds and be fully present with our kids. Sadly, we miss opportunities for deep interaction and bonding. You might be nursing or rocking your baby, but your mind is planning tomorrow's meeting or composing a grocery list.
Those of you familiar with 5-senses mindfulness exercises, know focusing awareness on your physical senses can snap you back into the present moment and calm your racing mind. Holding a child offers a special opportunity to practice this meditation and has the added benefits of increased bonding and wellbeing by increasing dopamine and oxytocin (feel good/feel love hormones). I've adapted the 5-senses exercise for moms and thrown in a little gratitude for good measure. So, give it a try...
Hold a calm or sleeping child and take a moment to be fully present and let the worries and stress of the day drift away.
Take five slow deep breaths and be fully present.
Hear: Begin to notice the sounds your child is making. Their breathing. Gentle rustling, cooing, or even snoring. Try not to judge the sounds- just notice them. They are not good or bad, they just are. Take a moment to feel gratitude for the child and the beauty of their life.
Smell: Now shift your attention to notice the scent of your child. Smell their hair or skin. Close your eyes to help sharpen your attention. Take deep breaths and silently feel gratitude in your heart.
See: Observe your child. Notice the details and features of their face. Notice ways in which they’ve grown. If you really look, you may notice things that have gone unnoticed. Take a moment to note the beauty of their little face and feel gratitude for their presence in your life.
Touch: As you hold your child, notice their weight in your arms. Gently touch their cheek or hair and notice the softness. Notice to yourself five things you love about this child.
Taste: Lick your baby..just kidding. Take a sip of coffee, mama. You've earned it. Take a moment to appreciate the love and care you give your child. Give yourself a moment of lovingkindness and realize you are exactly the mom your baby is meant to have.
Take a few moments to do this exercise every day and cherish the silence and the peaceful moments with your child.