Momfulness- the attempt to remain fully present while doing at least two things at the same time.
When I was pregnant I took an 8-week Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class. I wanted to enhance my yoga training and have another tool for staying calm and grounded in labor. I also hoped it would help me slow down time once my son was born. Parents kept telling me “don’t blink or you’ll miss it!” “Before you know it they’ll be in college!”
In my mindfulness class we were reminded that while we may often attempt to multitask, we can only ever really be doing one thing at a time in any given moment. I’m still experimenting with whether this is true or not. When I’m making a bottle of formula, while on the phone with the insurance company, while gently bouncing to keep my son calm in the sling: which is the one thing that I’m actually truly doing?
Other times, it is actually helpful to ask myself; “What one thing am I truly doing in this moment?” This question is how Nursercise was born. While wrestling with pressure to choose between two things I love: being immersed in the moment of a particular nursing session or being fully present in maybe 5 minutes of yoga before my son wanted to nurse again. I wondered if this really had to be a duality.
Two of my mom-friends; Tali and Sue, helped me solve this. I told them one day about how I’ve been kind of making a yoga/exercise/nursing routine. They loved the idea and asked me to teach them. Before we even started they had named it: Nursercise!
If it has name, am I no-longer multitasking?
The next morning on my mat with my son, I realized that these amazing friends had also solved my Momfulness dilemma: blended words! Maybe if I can name a multitask, with just one word, then, just maybe I’m not actually multi-tasking?
This is where the Mindfulnes class became really helpful. By asking myself in random moments what single task I was doing in that very moment, I realized I was doing partner yoga with my son. And I dropped in.
I stopped over-thinking the mindfulness/multitasking duality-or-not question. I dropped into this precious and fleeting moment. I realized: I feel my son nursing, tiny pull-sips on my nipple, I smell the eye-rolling goodness of his sweet head, I hear our breathing together, I see my eyelashes, arm, and the floor, I taste the coffee that I snuck in before practice, and I notice those pudgy hands wrapping around a strand of hair right before he pulls it.
So this is Nursercise.
I wonder if we find blended words for our multitasking if that makes it true that we are really are present in the moment. My first example, the phone call/bottle making/baby bouncing; maybe I should call that tele-insurance-formu-bouncing. Now I’ve added another layer to each task: decide what I’m doing, give it a blended name, then proceed to do it while as fully present as possible. This is my work around. This is Momfulness.