Mindful VS. Mind-Full. How to Balance Both.

4 years ago
This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

This morning, I forgot that one kid had his sharing time at preschool, and the another one was supposed to be dressed up as a super-hero for Drug Free week. A couple of years ago, I may have felt like a failure. But, today, I’m happy that I got my grocery shopping done for the week, and didn’t forget to pick the preschooler up after school. And, lets not forget to point out that I fed them two meals so far. So, for me, it’s been a good day.

When, I was thinking about switching my blog name again, I was thinking about this little blog of mine and what it’s done for me. One name that popped into my mind was The Mind-full Mama. With some sort of play on words about being mind-full or mindful. Because while I am often just full of an endless stream of thoughts, and a Mind-full mama, blogging has also helped me become mindful too. I think each day about how I can improve, and what I need to change. As I was thinking about that this morning during my errands, I decided that I’m OK with being both.

I woke up this morning with a foggy brain. I had a horrible night’s sleep that I can’t blame on the kids this time, and went for a jog at 6:30 am (stupid daylight savings time). So, I was one step ahead this morning in everything. I had the preschooler ready for school an hour early. I was done with my grocery shopping an  hour earlier than normal, too. I had done a little work, and made some important phone calls, and was feeling good. Until I remembered the superhero thing and the sharing time thing, and realized I wasn’t quite as together as I thought I was.

Did I beat myself up? Nope. After all, the preschooler gets sharing time every two weeks. Did I make myself feel guilty? Nope. After all, these endless dress up days at school aren’t going to make or break my daughter’s education (or her popularity), or make her a drug addict if she doesn’t participate. The truth is, sometimes we will screw up and forget. And, myself from 2 years ago would have felt immense guilt and felt bad about herself, but my 36 year old self with three kids doesn’t have time for that anymore. Or the patience.

My mind is so extremely full. I told my husband this morning that I had about a million thoughts going through my head when I woke up. I’ve started working from home part-time, so I’m trying to balance that along with being a mom. I have chores around the house that are getting neglected, meals to cook, responsibilities at church, and DIY projects floating around somewhere in the way back of my mind of things I dream of doing if I only had more time. So, you see….my mind is full. Big time.

But, just because we are mind-full doesn’t mean we can’t also be mindful. I see moms around the world debating everything from whether to work or stay at home, to who is paying more attention to their kids and who is checking their phone too much at the playground. It’s all such nonsense to me now. I don’t care what the mom next to me is doing anymore. Instead, I care about whether or not I can control my own mind that is full, and also take time to be mindful, too.

And, I think it’s possible.

One of the things I’m learning to balance is to not hop on the computer during the time when my family really needs me. I’m not perfect at it, but I’m getting better. The urge is there to check the email real quick while my daughter is getting ready for school, or do one quick thing for work while something is boiling on the stove, or whatever. But, I’ve realized that I can be mindful and aware. Yet, I can still have a full plate. AND be happy.

But, there’s one key to all of it, I think. Letting go of the guilt, and that’s not an easy thing to do.  But, you can be aware. Like when you see the disappointment in your child’s eyes when you say “one minute”, think about getting up right then and doing something for them. When you think you have 15 minutes of free time, ask your child what they want to do with you. Let them choose. 15 minutes of playing UNO can make a child feel loved so they can move on with the rest of their day.

When you see everyone playing in the other room, make the work wait every once in a while. When you have work you absolutely have to do, get the kids to help you. Sure you’ll be slower, but you’re being mindful, too.

file000918948795You don’t have to do it everyday to be a good mom. You just have to be aware to do it sometimes. No, I don’t think women can have it all and balance it perfectly. Something will always have to be sacrificed. But, beating ourselves up about it does no one any good. It certainly doesn’t make us better moms.

I don’t feel like my kids need me to be staring at them every second for me to be a mindful mama. I don’t feel like I need to “enjoy every moment” before it disappears. And, I don’t believe that I have to let go of every outside distraction to be a good mom either. After all, I’m a person too. Instead, I think I just need to listen. Clue in. Quiet my mind when I can and do my best. Mindful just means to be conscious or aware. It doesn’t mean be perfect all the time.

I don’t expect my kids to be perfect at everything, so why do I expect that of myself?


I just need to remember to give piggy back rides and make snow angels sometimes. Not all the time.Sometimes. Sing a song with them while I’m bathing them. Just be present when I can. And, forget trying to be the perfect, un-distracted, always in tune, mindful mama that is never mind-full. That’s not reality. It’s only something that will put thoughts in your head that don’t need to be there. Instead, just let the mistakes be what they are. Mistakes. And, forget about them and be more mindful the next time. If you can just be aware and conscious, then you will automatically do better the next time. I believe it’s that simple.