We're going to bet that at not one point in your life as mothers, you wished you were busier - rushing more, doing more, thinking more. While chasing career goals and life ambitions often comes with an influx of back to back appointments and calendar events, the moment you have children thankfully comes with a sense of clarity, and that usually involves the need to step back and take stock of what’s really important...
For Megan Gale, motherhood not only redefined her priorities, but also inspired an entire shift in both life and career goals. The word mindful gets thrown around a lot these days, you could say it’s on-trend, but to live it is another thing entirely, but something Megan is committed to. “I can appreciate everyone is very busy – we all seem to be getting more and more time poor, juggling competing priorities and the work/life balance. I created this line of children’s products in a bid to help everyone (including myself) slow down and be present in the smallest but unsung moments of our day – for example, bath time. After I had River, I remember everyone reminding me to ‘cherish these moments, they go so quickly’ – and they really do. Apart from being beautiful, quality bath time products, I want Mindful Life Child to remind everyone to enjoy these little moments with their children.”
As we’re all on our own quest to slow down and switch off in one way or another, we knew we had to learn more about Megan’s new range of baby and children’s skin-care essentials that allow us to cherish the little moments in our children’s lives that often end up being the most important.
Read on to hear more from Megan on the Mindful Life, her top tips on managing mum-guilt and stress, and how she approaches the concept of mindfulness with her own two children, River and Rosie…
Photography: Julie Adams
How has the arrival of your children inspired you to live a more mindful life?
My children have encouraged me to look after myself more – if I’m not fighting fit and healthy, then I can’t be the best Mum that I can be for my kids. I do my best to not overload myself with commitments in order to avoid getting run down and when I do feel this is beginning to happen, I get on top of it quickly by slowing down.
I am also more mindful of my health, my stress levels and how I can manage them. I am mindful and present of how I spend my time and how I prioritise it, dedicating it to the things in life that matter most and that bring me joy. Not only that, children make you re-assess your life in such a beautiful way and are a reminder that our time here is precious.
Can you tell us a little about Mindful Life Child?
I’ve been working on Mindful Life for over four years, since giving birth to River. The idea for Mindful Life was really sparked from my own experiences as a parent which then formed a desire to encourage other parents to be present and mindful whenever possible.
At first my goal was simply to create a range of fully functional skincare products for babies and children that were safe, gentle, made with naturally-derived ingredients – I felt the market lacked variety with this type of product, especially when I was a new mum. It has since developed into so much more than that and I hope I can inspire other parents to be mindful also – with their children but also for themselves.
What does a mindful life look like for you?
I can appreciate everyone is very busy – we all seem to be getting more and more time poor, juggling competing priorities and the work / life balance. I created this line of children’s products in a bid to help everyone (inlcuding myself) slow down and be present in the smallest but unsung moments of our day – for example, bath time. After I had River, I remember everyone reminding me to ‘cherish these moments, they go so quickly’ – and they really do. Apart from being beautiful, quality bath time products, I want Mindful Life Child to remind everyone to enjoy these little moments with their children.
How do you incorporate these products into your everyday?
I use the Mindful Life Child range each bath time with River and Rosie, especially the body wash which is a staple in our bathroom. I use the nappy cream for Rosie at every change and alternate the oil and the lotion for massage time for her every evening before bed. I also keep a Restorative Balm handy in my handbag. While it’s a great multipurpose balm for the kids, it also works as a fantastic nourishing lip balm which I use on my lips – especially in these cold months!
How do you go about encouraging presence and mindfulness in your own family?
Along with bath time, we always like to keep 4pm-7pm just for family time. During this time, we try to stay off our devices as much as we can so we can engage with the kids and each other with no distractions. On weekends, we ensure we get out and about together – we love going for a walk, a family bike ride or playing in a park.
What have been some of your most cherished moments of motherhood so far?
I don’t think any moment can compare to holding your child in your arms for the first time, looking into their eyes and meeting them. Every time I think about both of those moments with River and Rosie my heart melts. Seeing a lot of their firsts are great too – first smile, laugh, steps – such beautiful moments. When you see them overcome little obstacles and problem-solve, figure things out for themselves too I find to be quite amazing. You just marvel at just how smart they are and just feel so proud of them.
You’re a master at juggling a demanding career and a young family. What tips and tricks have you picked up along the way?
I don’t really have any tricks as such. Like everyone, I just do the best I can juggling it all and I have to say it is a team effort. I’m very lucky as Shaun is very hands on and our Mums are great at helping us out as well.
Do you suffer from mum guilt? How do you cope with it?
Of course, I do – don’t we all! But again, I think it’s another area to really apply mindfulness (which is really just awareness) and acknowledge when you’re feeling it, why you’re feeling this way and then you can begin to work past it. A lot of the time it’s not really warranted and it is more of a knee jerk reaction to something. Self-judgement can creep in too, which of course and doesn’t help matters either.
I think it’s best to really just try and let go when you can and not be too hard on yourself. It’s usually a case of we are all trying our hardest and some days we will nail it, some days we will not and it’s the reality of parenting.
How do you make time for mindfulness and self-care in your own life?
I always endeavour to make time for small things which I enjoy. I adore yoga – yin based and also a more intensive flow paced style. I also love getting out in nature and going for a walk with our dog, as well as meditation – anything that allows me to slow down and breathe for a short amount of ‘me’ time.
How do you deal with the tough days? Do you meditate? Drink wine? Indulge in Netflix!?
I first and foremost try and really scale down what I need to do for that day and try not to load myself up with too many things, as this will only lead to me feeling more overwhelmed. I think on days where anyone is prone to struggling, you really do have to watch your thoughts and try and not concern yourself with what happened earlier or what will/might happen later – just stay as present as you can.
A good friend of mine often talks about compartmentalising – she visualises her mind with lots of boxes in it and she puts the things that are perhaps a bit too overwhelming or too big to deal with that day inside one of the boxes and deals with it later, when she’s in a better headspace. At first, I asked her “do you think you’re falling into denial?” to which she replied “Oh no, I’m not in denial and I do plan on dealing with it, I just know I will deal with it poorly when I don’t have a good mindset. So, I just wait until I feel well-equipped enough to deal with it properly”. I thought that was brilliant and now sometimes apply that same philosophy myself.
What legacy are you hoping to leave for your children?
My mother always instilled mindfulness in me, which has stayed with me throughout my life and career and now forms the backbone of the Mindful Life brand. If there is one thing I would like to leave with my children (among others) it is to slow down, look after number one first and always try to be present.