Before I had a child I always had these dreams popping in and out of my mind about what I want to do with my child, what books I want to read to her, how many mommy and me dates we will go on and all kinds of fun games we will be playing…I had thought about what I will want to do with my baby from my own perspective and I put very little time in dreaming from her little perspective, I had monopolized the conversation or in my case the dream, yes my baby has a perspective .
Fast forward now that I Have become a mother and I am onto this parenting journey for about 9 months and am realizing how busy one’s life gets once you get upgraded to the title of a parent. Between parenting duties, household duties, work, family obligations … I find myself exhausted at the end of the day and I haven’t even started on my list of things I dreams of doing with my baby, imagine how exhausted she might be doing “my things”.
As I navigate through this journey of mommyhood and try to learn from the “experts” who have done it longer than I have, I stumbled upon a concept that I did not know about before becoming a parent and that is mindful parenting or as I understand it in a case empathetic mommying. It’s a concept that can be easily applied for grown kids but hard to remember when it comes to mommying little babies.
This concept became interesting to me when I was having a conversation with my new mommy group and someone asked a question about how to play with a 6 months old baby all day long. We all had babies in the same age range so of course we came up with a lot of suggestions such as reading books, singing songs, playing with blocks… Until someone in the conversation mentioned that they do all that and more and in about five minutes they run out of what to do to entertain their baby, and of course for that they feel the little mommy guilt sneaking in, well I looked away and sipped my tea, I have been there a couple times LOL. And “light bulb” moment happened, what if I just use a portion of the time I dedicate to entertaining my baby to actually just do what the baby wants to do at that moment? I am not suggesting doing this all day long babies do need interaction and to be entertained, and am not talking about watching her play while you plan your day in your mind which also is great by the way, I am talking about mindfully and purposefully turning off our grown up minds and viewing the world through their eyes. How about once in a while I let them take the lead, step down and be the guest in my child’s little world?
So the next day when I was finished with the books and the blocks, when I was done singing all the songs I can remember and made up words for some new ones too LOL. I just did what my baby was content doing which was just lying there on the floor of her bedroom next to her and just observing the little toy that she was trying to switch around in her little hands, she would observe and touch every nook and cranny of that little toy with awe, she would stare at each color with amazement and I found myself doing just the same. We spent about 20 minutes just doing what she wanted to do right there on the floor and I realized I LOVED every second of that moment we spent together. I actually had a BLAST at times doing nothing and just staring at the ceiling, ceiling fans are very interesting things! So from then on. I try, emphasize try, to do nothing of my mommy stuff during those few minutes and I just BE with her. She is growing now, so sometimes we just sit there and pick up all the books and put them on the floor, other times we just try to play crawl and catch and I find myself enjoying these few minutes more and more every day.
The other day I took her for a walk and I realized after we had been walking for about a half a mile that every time we would pass by a tree or a bush she would reach with her little hands, I hadn’t paid much attention to that gesture before that moment so I stopped next to a bush and just observed her; all my baby wanted to do was to reach up and touch the leaves of the bush and roll them through her little fingers …Oh how many days I have passed that bush with her in the stroller without actually thinking about it twice. Our minds are already used to these little things that surround us and we get caught up in dreaming about what we will do with our babies, planning our days and their activities and often times we forget that the leaves on a tree are a new discovery for them, a few minutes of them splashing water during their bath time is an exciting new music to their ears, their feet in the grass for the first time is a whole new world to enjoy. The way my daughter is discovering the world around her and how I am trying and learning to actually pause and enjoy with her as her little mind discovers a new side of the world every day, is becoming the highlight of my days. But also, forgetting about the chores and all the responsibilities that will be waiting for me at the end anyways, and taking the time to pay a visit to my daughter’s ever expanding little mind has been such a great stress reliever and energy booster for me, so the way I see it this little practice is a WIN WIN in my book.