As a mother of a two-year-old, I’ve found it challenging (if not downright difficult) to nourish myself like I used to.
Before we had children, we did yoga and long nature walks, and sound healing meditations. We swam, sauna-ed, and salt scrubbed. Unfortunately, we simply don’t have the time to immerse ourselves in those kinds of practices now.
I went through a period of grieving the life I had pre-baby. I sometimes felt despair—longing for those nourishing, nurturing practices I used to engage in.
After that period of grief drew to a close, I began to look forward and ask myself:
How can I, as a mother, nourish myself spiritually?
I kept my heart open for mother-friendly rituals and practices that were connective and holistic. My criteria were that they didn’t require a lot of time, uninterrupted focus, or silence. They also needed to be able to be performed at home.
Over time, I compiled a small number of little rituals and practices that fit this profile and allowed me to feel connected and restored—to feel empowered, revived, and flexible. This list is for all the mothers out there, looking to reconnect with their Inner Beings again.
Here are five deeply nourishing practices for mothers:
1. Intuitive movement.
Intuitive movement is a sure-fire way to connect with the self, as a whole. Feeling our way through movement releases pent-up or stuck emotions and invigorates our bodies, minds, and souls. This practice might look like a loose homage to yin or restorative yoga. These use a series of bodily positions or stretches, called asana, that are held for a minute or more with props such as pillows or yoga blocks for comfort or support sometimes.
It may be dancing to music that aligns with how we feel in the moment. We might feel like spinning round and round or shaking our whole body out.
No matter what we do, if our children are up and about, they will find this very interesting and fun to watch. They’ll likely want to join in, too.
2. Love our skin.
It only takes a few minutes of our day to love up the face that our children look into and see so much beauty. It’s there, even though sometimes all we can see is fresh lines, tired eyes, and unkempt hair.
>> Put a drop of lavender oil on a hot cloth for a ridiculously quick mini facial. Don’t forget to splash with cold water afterward, which closes the pores.
>> Moisturise with frankincense oil or lotion.
>> Gaze into those eyes and be seen. Say into the mirror, “I see you. I see your beauty.” And learn to mean it.
3. Start a small herb garden.
Two or three potted herbs are easy to maintain and can be kept inside if necessary. Tending to herbs brings us into the present moment and grounds us. It’s a reminder that growth takes time and that all living beings need nurturing. As our plants and children grow, nurturing the garden together can be a wonderful bonding experience.
I find it lovely to pop out to the garden and pick herbs for the evening meal as a pair or even as a family. It’s a beautiful, connective practice for both child and mother, and also a fun, sensory experience for young children.
4. Deepen your relationship with your menstrual cycle.
When we connect with our personal feminine cycle, we are inadvertently connecting with the Mother cycle—the rhythm of Mother Nature.
Think of it like the solar system. All the planetary beings are within their own cycle, but within the one system; all moving in time and rhythm, each cycle purposeful and essential.
We can use a journal or app to track our menstrual cycle and learn about the different phases within it.
Furthermore, we can learn about the inner seasons that correlate with each phase.
Inner Winter —menstrual phase
Inner Spring—follicular phase
Inner Summer—ovulatory phase
Inner Autumn—luteal phase
Once we better understand the physiological aspect and seasonal rhythm of our cycles, we can begin to understand our feminine self as pertains to each season—like how we act, react, think and feel or our likes and dislikes and our desires.
We can go deeper by learning how the moon phases influence our cycles. We can unpack our own personal conditioning around bleeding and the shame surrounding it. We can even adorn ourselves with our blood or paint with it.
Getting intimate with our menstrual cycles and yonis can, for some women, feel uncomfortable and emotional at first, but being devoted to developing our relationships with our cycles can heal and transform our personal femininity and sexuality.
This is a super easy one to do with a child of any age. It also teaches children self-regulation and how to take a break in and amongst the full moments of life. This is really a practice everyone could all benefit from.
So just stop. Don’t touch anything, don’t do anything, and don’t look directly at anything. We can be standing or sitting or lying down.
Then just breathe in deep, through the nose, and then sigh it out. Exaggerate it. Make it a big breath and a big, audible sigh.
Feel the sensations throughout the body. Feel the chest and belly expanding and contracting. Feel the cool air coming in through the nose as we inhale and warm air leaving the body as we exhale. Such bliss is found in our breath.
Perhaps these things seem too simple, compared to the elaborate practices we may have been used to before our little ones came into our lives. To be frank, I thought so too. I realised that in a life as complex, busy, and complicated as a mother’s, sometimes it’s the subtle, simple things that have the most impact.
We shouldn’t wait until our children are older or not around to nourish ourselves. It’s even more imperative to be nourished during the times our children are young or we can’t find time away.
That’s exactly why I compiled this list.
And I know some days, even these simple practices can seem impossible. That’s okay. Being consistent doesn’t have to mean we practice every day, it means coming back to our practice time and time again. The breaks in between our practice evolve into a practice of their own, in a way.
Integrating even just one of these beautiful practices into our lives will help us to notice how we feel so much more capable and have more clarity and patience to carry out our day.
Let’s discover just how much nourishment can be found in the depths of minutes, moments, and little slices of time.