The other day I caught a rerun of Supernanny, a how-to reality television show hosted by a child rearing professional who teaches parents to deal with out-of-control children. Mostly, I can’t relate to the extreme issues suffered by these parents. When it comes to kids, I have really lucked out, but kids will be kids. They are known to push your limits until you burst with crazy. In this episode, the father was accused of “checking out” when it came to helping his wife deal with their unruly brood of four.
The term hit me where it counts, as I’ve been known to mentally check out when my kids are pushing my limits. When I’ve heard my youngest sing a song for the five thousandth time in the car, I check out. When my oldest is once again trying to have the last word in an argument she can’t/won’t win, I yell or I walk away and most times I check out. To me the term means to cut off meaningful communication, both with my children and myself. The inner mom-beast starts to rage, and to stop it I have to cut off everything.
Now, summer break is quickly approaching, and I need a way to check back in. It’s important for me to be a mom who is open to my kids’ quirky, always changing, and sometimes unmanageable personalities. But let’s be honest, I don’t have an hour to spend meditating to bring myself back to center. I need something quick, guided, and easy to access on my busy schedule.
And of course, it appears they have an app for that – meditation for moms.
In lieu of taking anxiety medication to reach my calm (been there, tried that), I decided to try the app Guided Mind — Guided Meditation, Relaxation & Mindfulness for Stress, Depression, Anxiety, Insomnia & More. I’m not big on apps for my iPhone. They drain my battery, and most times I forget my password for the iTunes store. The constant updates are too much of a hassle, and sometimes the reviews don’t give you the real deal.
Lucky for me, everything fell into place with a quick download, like a higher being knew getting to this app to my phone may help stop the mom-beast. Several reviews let me know that there were some good points and some bad.
The Guided Mind app is free to download from iTunes (and Google Play) and has in-app purchases. I know I’ve mentioned before my propensity to be very thrifty, so I decided to stick with the freebies for now.
The Things I Love
One of the things I love about this app is the quick guide page on how to meditate. It even comes with a warning, like don’t do the deep meditations while driving. Just kidding. The guidelines actually give some tips on how to control breathing, and the type of routine to set up for the best results. This page also allows you to change the screen colors to match your mood. I like purple.
The meditations come in a variety of lengths and are sorted by topics in alphabetical order. Some of the topics are acceptance, addiction, anxiety, depression, body image, career, failure, and so on. Some topics have up to thirty-four subtopics to choose from, and it’s possible for the subtopic to fall under more than one main heading. A user has the ability to preview each subtopic before a full download.
The Things I Don’t Love
Many (and I mean a lot) of the subtopics are locked and can only be opened with an in-app purchase. The prices range from $0.99 to $4.99.
Some of the voice recordings are not clear quality. I am hard of hearing, and I either have to listen with the phone speaker on and my hearing aids or pop my hearing aids out and use earbuds. Some of the speakers were still hard to understand after trying both ways.
Also, it might sound stupid, but a few of the terms are what I’d call advanced. I have to assume my crown chakra is my head, and I don’t think I’ll ever figure out how to open my lotus leaf. Maybe that’s for the best.
What I Tried
My meditation of choice comes from guide Terri Cole under the title Mini Relaxation Meditation and is 2:59 in length. Her voice is clear, and while the music isn’t what I’d choose, the whole point is to let someone else take over. It’s super quick, easy to access, and when I’m having a mini-meltdown, a quick listen brings me back to center. I’ve been using it a couple times a week for the past few weeks and find it’s an even better release than calling a friend to complain about the kids (again).
Am I all smiles when the youngest starts in on his favorite song for the umpteenth time? Not yet. But understanding yourself enough to know when to bring in outside help is half the battle. If I were to review this app on the iTunes store, I’d give it a solid 4 stars.