This morning I got up to make a cup of tea before the children woke. I had scarcely filled the kettle before tiny sounds called me back to the bedroom and a sleepy baby held her arms up. I tried to set her down with toys so I could carry on with the morning but she fussed and wailed until I scooped her up again. Motherhood as a different pace than the life I knew previously. We have created different rhythms and embraced a slower pace of life. So I settled my daughter on my hip and finished filling the kettle, including her in my morning tea rhythm. A rhythm is a practice of ebb and flow that evolves to suit each season of your life. I have come to use rhythms at home to create a container for our daily movements. These rhythms arise as I pay attention to our daily life and our needs, using these rhythms to make space for our wants and needs, creating a flow for each day.
Before my children were born I liked to meditate first thing in the mornings. I would light an incense stick and meditate in silence before doing a simple yoga routine. It was a peaceful, gratitude filled practice that helped me feel grounded each day. While I still try to hold space for this rhythm in my life it doesn’t always work out when two small humans wake up hungry for breakfast before the sun rises. At first I struggled with this, feeling frustrated by the needs of these children and the interruption to my routines. One day I turned off my daily notification to sit and meditate and let go of my expectations for how life should look. I leaned deep into the season of life I’m in right now, settling into slow living daily rhythms that have helped me stay calm in the difficult world we’re in right now. We have created rhythms for wake up and breakfast, morning music followed by story time. As a family we’ve built weekly rhythms of baking on Sundays and going for a long nature walk every Thursday. Familiar with the process of creating daily rhythm, sometimes as a new rhythm arises I recognize it as a meditation practice. Sometimes, motherhood is meditation.
This morning, balancing my babe on my hip while pouring tea I realized that my morning cup of tea is my daily meditation practice now. Even with the early-rising-very-needy-hungry chicks that live in my home I still have a cup of tea every morning. I take the time to fill the kettle. I stand and wait for the water to warm, bouncing a babe on my hip. I fill the strainer with my favorite loose-leaf and pour the steaming water over. I pick up the mug before it’s cool enough to touch and burn my fingers a bit each time. I bring it to the sofa and sit and talk to the toddler while my tea cools, sipping it while I feed the babe and for just those few moments I feel still and peaceful inside. Yes, sometimes, my tea gets knocked over or breakfast gets demanded but I take a breath, I pause. And then I get up and make a new cup of tea and sip it while I prep breakfast. On mornings like today, my little one wants to be held all day and so I do. I hold her in both arms close to my chest and we watch the sunlight make shadows on the wall as it creeps over the horizon. No television or radio playing, my phone tucked away in another room.
Today, I held my little one until her eyes closed softly in sleep after our morning stories. And then I sat with her, holding her even closer and marveling at how peaceful she looked. I know there is laundry to finish, and floors to sweep, and that book I really want to finish. But I also have this sense that there is nothing more precious than these tender moments of togetherness. So I slow down. I find that when I move slower, there is more ease in this parenting life. The slow parenting rhythm becomes meditation.
Moving slowly often means letting go of expectations for a tidy home or those solitary morning moments. But moving slowly helps me find my feet in the chaos of parenting two children. I can find stillness in the few moments I have in the morning before the children wake up, a few breaths in and out. I can find stillness in the bubbles in the soapy dishwater while the baby babbles in her high chair. I can find stillness in the sound of toddler laughter during bath time. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
May I invite you today to find 3 moments of stillness in wherever your day takes you, slow down and pay attention to your day. What rhythms do you already have and how can you use rhythm to embrace the slow flow of being a parent? Share your slow family living rhythms in the comments!⠀