When Ella was born, I had ten days before returning to my studies. Fortunately, my hubby was home full time and for the most part we managed fine. Four months into motherhood, I am quickly learning that motherhood is taxing. Ultimately, mothers themselves need to receive tending to offset physical and emotional costs associated with childrearing. In the process of learning how to care for a newborn while continuing with my studies, I missed out on connecting with other mothers who had given birth around the same time.
Research suggests that fostering close personal relationships with friends affects mothers’ well-being. This further highlights the benefits of being part of a community whatever the medium. As I navigate through this early stage, I find Instagram is a great source of support because I am able to connect with other moms. Recently, I asked a few to share their mom friendly slow living activities:
“waking up an hour earlier than normal to read, and taking a bath after the little ones to go sleep even if it’s later. I find if I can push myself to a little less sleep to give myself quiet time by myself it’s worth it” @britstrawbridge
“simply enjoying a pot of tea and listening to a good podcast instead of switching on the tv or drinking it whilst managing the laundry! immersing in nature even on a rainy day, I switch my phone off and I see things through his eyes…pointing out different things for him to see ..steam rising on a cold winters morning, orange and pink shades of the sky at sunset…we collect colourful leaves, flowers, pinecones and conkers” – @hannah.fanciful
“for me it’s my warm drink in the morning – coffee or chocolate and the opportunity to do some reading. Whether it’s an article, or a post, or a book. It’s a little bit of time to kick off the day” – @ meredith_deanne
“my most important things in this slow living process are my miracle morning ritual and meal planning” – @ _slowliving
“try to get out of town as much as possible. spending time in nature as much as possible…and for inside activities baking and drawing together, doing lots of reading, singing, and dancing together” – @most.darling.days
“there’s nothing that can help you figure out priorities faster than a week with a fussy baby. But even then, it can be hard to slow it down and not feel overwhelmed as the laundry sits in the dryer for days and plants go unwatered. It’s times like this that I force myself to slow down and do these two things: 1) take five as soon as the baby is asleep for a nap and go do five minutes of something you love…a quick workout, reading or a nice hot shower & 2) scale back. replace a car ride to a big park with a walk around the block….Also, we have eggs and toast for dinner. Clean laundry goes into a hamper and we just grab as needed. This extra time and reduced pressure means we can enjoy the simple things together” – @buenomarket
Even in this short-list of slow living activities among moms from the Instagram community, it’s evident that finding a little bit of “me time” and introducing daily rituals is a way to tend to ourselves. Another important common factor to point out is spending time outside and switching off. I recognise an area of my life where I could implement a small change that would allow me to pause. Simply, I need to turn off my phone. If I am looking to embrace slow living activities as a mother, perhaps a good place to start would be limiting screen time when out and about with Ella.
Aside from less screen time, future rituals may include set work schedules to eliminate this internal and constant sense of urgency to attend to outstanding work (e.g., write thesis, pay bills, finish client notes). It might be useful to prioritize some things to allow room and headspace for slow living. I’d love to hear more on this and the type of tea you moms love to drink, podcasts you like to listen to, what books you are currently reading, lifestyle tools you find helpful and/or any other tips you might have!