In a world that can feel so fast-paced, it can be a challenge to make time and space to intentionally love our children. Yes, our love is ever present but there is a strength and soothing energy that comes from intentionally being present with the powerful love we have for them.
Three weeks ago I gave birth to my daughter. My life has slowed down as I surrender to the endless flow of caring for a newborn. We nurse, rock, sleep and change her in a never ending cycle. It makes no difference if it’s night or day, weekday or weekend. In so many ways it is a blissful pause in my regular, busy life.
She is also my third child, which means there is plenty of noise, chaos and general busyness. I can’t slow down too much because her older brothers, who are five and two, need to eat, dance and play. We’re all finding our groove together.
My newborn is a constant reminder to stop and take a mindful moment because she needs to nurse and cuddle often. A typical day pre-baby would include a non-stop day of picking up, cooking, cleaning, packing a day pack, loading and unloading the car and any other day-to-day agenda item. These days she’s keeping us closer to home and regularly she asks me to just stop. And sit. And be.
At first I notice that even though my body stops to sit with her my mind keeps racing. I begin to think about what I’ll do next and I may even come up with a few new blog posts. I might even get frustrated that I can’t reach a pen and paper to write my brainstorms down. I look down to see what is stopping me and am jolted into the present moment. This little one shows me with her eyes, her aura, and her whole being that there is nowhere else but here.
I realize how fast these first few weeks have flown and I know first hand from the past five years of parenting that she too will grow quickly when I’m not looking. One day this will all be a faint memory and it will happen fast while I’m not noticing.
I want to notice. I want to pay attention. I want to Be Here Now. Not just for her, but for my other children, for my partner and for my friends too. But I can start here. Instead of letting my mind whip around the busy corners of life I pour love into her as we pause to nurse throughout the day. I allow the deep well of maternal love to well up and pour out. I visualize it swirling into her little body. I ask her to accept me, as imperfect as I am, as her mother. I promise I’ll do my best and I assure her I’ll love her infinitely with my whole being.
It’s only been a few minutes out of my day, but I somehow feel more purposeful. I know that intentionally loving her has added health and quality to her life and also to mine. I feel more present and more patient. My two year old bounds into the room and I look up and realize I can pour love into him too. I can carve out a few moments while we’re stealing a quiet moment to read a book or as he falls asleep at the end of a long day. I know he feels it. I believe it helps him adjust and feel secure as he we make this transition as a family and he learns what it means to be an older brother–no longer the baby of the family.
And that five year old who now seems like such a big kid? Right now I feel very far away from him as he jumps into friends’ cars for play dates or builds a lego set quietly on his own. He’s not a baby anymore and he’s more than capable of getting himself snacks, dressing himself and brushing his teeth. I find that taking time to intentionally pour some love towards him helps me reconnect in a way that I miss. I’m sure he misses it too.
In a time where it doesn’t seem possible for me to have enough time or enough hands there is one thing I can count on — more than enough love for everyone.
Hillary is a busy mom who blogs about mindful family living at Infinitely Learning. She is also an active maternal health and childbirth advocate who co-organizes Free Our Midwives and saw the Midwifery Modernization Act successfully passed into law in New York State in July of 2010.