mindfulness tips for single moms

Moms can leverage the process of mindfulness to make their lives easier. It goes without saying that you love your kids – but did you know that the stress and responsibility of child rearing can weigh you down and make you a worse parent?

Mindfulness is a restorative process that helps you be your best. Click To Tweet

Mindfulness is a restorative process that helps you be your best. It allows you to escape the pressures of being a parent without actually leaving your family for a two-week vacation from them! It adds self-confidence to your plate and reduces that double-portion of fear and anxiety that you might be feeling in regards to raising those kids.

Here are 9 great mindfulness tips for single moms. And they will benefit everyone in your family as well.

1. Read Books About Mindful Parenting

Books can help you learn and grow as you put more attention into mindfulness in your family life. The everyday stressors that we experience within the family and throughout our day can often be soothed with exposure to different perspectives.

One recommended book is, “The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting,” by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn. It has several mindfulness exercises specifically designed for parents, so don’t hesitate to incorporate them into your daily schedule.

2. Let Yourself Feel

One of the pitfalls of parenting is that you may be pressured to be on duty 24/7. Parents often feel that they must know how to do and be everything so they are able to be good roles models. While that is important, try letting yourself feel the ups and downs of emotions.

For one minute, three times a day, take time to reflect on the array of emotions you’ve had over the last several hours. Have your emotions shifted widely or have they been fairly stable? For example, have they shifted from happiness to despair, which is a huge change? Or, have they hovered between peace and contentment, which are about the same?

Don’t judge your emotions. Allow them to come and go like waves on the sand. Click To Tweet

Don’t judge your emotions, as there is no right or wrong answer to this. Simply breathe and play a replay of your emotions for the last few hours in your mind. As they do, various thoughts will run through your head about the events that triggered the emotions. Simply let these thoughts pass through your mind without judgment, knowing that emotions come and go like waves on the sand.

3. Listen To Laughter

One reason we love to have children around is that they constantly play. They don’t take life seriously and they cherish every little discovery from bugs to snails to puppy dog tails.

For a few minutes, just sit near your children without attempting to join in their games or guide/instruct them in any way. Simply listen to them and count the number of times they laugh during those few minutes.

Remember that mindfulness is not for judging or evaluating their behavior but rather simply observing it. Let their playful sounds roll over you for a quick minute, letting their sounds be part of nature.

Remember that mindfulness is not for judging or evaluating but rather simply observing. Click To Tweet

This exercise should be done in a safe environment where you feel comfortable taking your eyes off them for a few minutes while you simply listen.

If the exercise itself becomes harmful, i.e., you react negatively to their games and feel compelled to intervene, then of course end the exercise immediately. You can always try again another day.

4. Try Yoga With Kids

If your kids are too young to be in school, or if it’s a weekend with some free time available, try yoga with the kids.

There are many yoga exercises that kids can do. Check out this awesome list of must-read kids yoga books.

Kids can understand the difference between breathing deeply and gasping, and they might respond to yoga quite naturally. The purpose of the exercise is to move mindfully, being aware of every movement and how your body feels, without judging performance or the sensations you feel.

Be aware of every movement and HOW your body feels, without judging your performance. Click To Tweet

Work well within your abilities, and observe whether or not your children respond calmly or wildly. Their response will be an indicator of the general tone or atmosphere in the home. Start with a very short session, perhaps 2-3 minutes, and then expand on it when they start to get used to it and don’t seem to hold any resistance to it.

5. Practice Mindful Shopping

Try practicing mindfulness in the grocery store. When you enter, look around the store carefully, especially at those places where you don’t often look. Without judging or trying to find something you’re looking for, scan the environment for color, design, or any other point of focus.

Listen as you enter the store. Are there loud noises? A low hum? Are there any bells or intercoms projecting sound? Observe but don’t judge.

As you walk from aisle to aisle, appreciate the many varieties of supplies that are available for you in the store. You don’t have to use them to appreciate the many choices you have.

This grounds you in mindfulness, because you’ve taken something very mundane and transformed it into a mindfulness exercise.

6. Try Meditation

You have very little spare time in your life if you’re a mom – don’t worry, you’ll get it back after everyone turns 18! But right now, you’re probably very aware of the amount of time you don’t have!

Try meditating for just a few minutes per day. Although meditation has been associated with Eastern religions, it actually does not require any particular spiritual belief or practice. It is a practice of relaxing the monkey chatter in your mind so you can actually focus on your own inner guidance from deep within.

Relax the monkey chatter in your mind so you can focus on your own inner guidance from deep within. Click To Tweet

Set a pleasant alarm tone on your phone and plan to sit still for 3 – 5 minutes. Remove any particular goal or expectation from your mind, and sit very comfortably in whatever position is best for you. Often, it is in a very comfortable chair in a quiet room where you can hear some signs of nature.

Concentrate on your breathing and count 1, 2, 3, 4 as you breathe in and 1, 2, 3, 4 as you breathe out. If you get distracted from counting and find your mind wandering, gently move your mind back to the counting until the pleasant tone on your alarm clock rings. It’s just as beneficial as a quick nap.

How does this work? Scientists have discovered that moms process over 50,000 thoughts per day, but that most of them are the same old thoughts we had yesterday and the day before. That means that we are not tapping into our creative abilities. When you slow down the number of thoughts you have, then your deeper awareness (intuition) can come into play.

You know you get your best ideas in the shower, so why not get the same benefits several times a day with mindfulness?

7. Express Yourself By Coloring

We all love to give our kids coloring books to keep them busy, but what about coloring ourselves?

Coloring is a right-brained activity. It taps into our creative inner self and allows us to express ourselves without anyone or anything “talking back.” The canvas or posterboard doesn’t argue, reason, push back, or try to force you to change your mind about anything.

Coloring taps into your creative inner self and allows you to express yourself without judgment. Click To Tweet

Coloring can be an incredibly cheap hobby. You can buy some posterboard sheets at a local dollar discount store, and get some colored highlighters or crayons there too. Stock up, and if you don’t like what you’ve created, just throw it away. If the kids want to draw on your paper, let them do it, and just grab another sheet for yourself.

8. Notice The Birds

A great mindfulness technique is to simply shift your attention. What better way to do this than to look at something beautiful that symbolizes freedom?

One of my favorite friends used to look out the window and see if her favorite bird was there. The more birds she took the time to look for, the more she saw. Instead of simply seeing the regular little birds around her house, she began to notice extraordinary birds that she wasn’t expecting to see: hawks, falcons, owls, and even egrets. She would see them in the most unusual circumstances, and came to see them as a sign that all is well.

You might take the time to appreciate one butterfly, only to realize that there are hundreds more that you couldn’t see until you took that time to focus.

9. Give Yourself Some Credit

Being a single mom has its own special challenges. While many women are in this position, few consciously chose it. Most women would feel much more secure if they had the father available to take care of the kids.

No matter why you ended up in this position, take some time to appreciate yourself. You don’t have to close your eyes to do this, but you do need to be mindful.

Sit at a desk or table with a clean sheet of paper and a pen or pencil. Write a list of numbers, 1-10. Start with #1 and write one reason why you’re a good mom. Now go to #2 and write another. Continue along down the list until all of them are filled up. Now give yourself a big hug and kiss and tell yourself that you’re doing great.

When you take the time to focus on your strengths instead of weaknesses, and when you appreciate yourself instead of finding more and more things that you “should” be doing, you actually make yourself stronger and a more appreciative person.

When you take the time to focus on your strengths, you become a stronger, more appreciative person. Click To Tweet

Strength and appreciation always elevate the quality of your life. Take those few minutes every day and appreciate yourself. You’ll find yourself appreciating your kids, your home, your friends, and everything about your life more.

Life can be truly inspired when you take the time to appreciate.

Mindfulness can have an element of fun. It’s okay to enjoy the process, whether it’s meditating, coloring, doing yoga, or simply appreciating all the choices in the grocery store. It’s not meant to be serious, but uplifting. It’s true that the Tibetan monks who practice mindfulness can perform what we would consider miracles through the practice, but you don’t need to approach it with the same intensity.

Think of mindfulness as an escape valve for stress, and you’ll have more joy and less stress-related disease in your life. Your kids will thank you for it, even if they don’t know the secret of why you’re a great mom.

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