Kick-ass prenatal yoga, childbirth education, lactation support, vinyasa classes, baby & mama yoga, and a place in the Madison area that offers community, connection, and a heart-centered place to relax and restore. Meet Megan Stansil-Reilly and Kristin Nemecek, the amazing owners of Haumea in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin.
As the saying goes, only you can be you. I love that. Our problem often lies in thinking that we need to be the best version of ourselves every moment of every day. The standards that most of us try to live by as women are 100% ridiculous and will drive us right into feelings of inadequacy, anger, and self-doubt.
For most of us, our problem is not that we just don’t try hard enough to be good parents. It’s that we think we must be perfect or our kids will be forever messed up and it will be our fault.
Living up to impossible standards is what drives us into a panic attack trying to choose between organic or conventional blueberries. Expecting that you will never yell at your kids, wear dirty clothes, let your kids watch TV for 5 hours, serve Cheerios for dinner, have a messy house, wear the same underwear two days in a row, put in 50% at work, eat a whole pizza by yourself, have B.O., do some really half-assed parenting, not read the newsletters from school, leave the beds unmade, ignore your vacuum, blow off yoga, or WHATEVER you think is unacceptable and less than your best- expecting that you will never do those things is unrealistic.
You are a human person.
Anxiety often arrives when the expectations we have for ourselves become so limiting that we are squeezed into a tiny box of how we think we should be acting in order to be “good enough.” Your best is good enough. Your worst is probably also good enough too, if you have a conscience, a moral compass and you love your kids (and you’re not Cersei Lannister.)
Consider offering your best to your child for 30 minutes and letting yourself be at 60% awesome for the rest of the day. What would that feel like? Or redefining what “best self” actually means. Or loosening the grip on nighttime nursing your 18 month old so that YOU can get some sleep. Maybe it doesn’t mean picking organic blueberries at a farm with your children even though you were sick the day before with diarrhea. Maybe it means you call Grandma to watch the kids so you can lay in bed and treat yourself with the kindness you deserve.
Most likely, you are doing a great job. It’s fine. And fine is usually good enough. And there is nothing wrong with good enough. In fact, it might be healthy for your kids to see your humanity and your the beauty in imperfection. Every day does not have to be a gold medal day. Just enjoy your green participation ribbon and get this t-shirt.
Please take the time to tune into your breath. There are centuries of wisdom keepers who recommend it and whole philosophies of enlightenment built upon it.
Here’s an easy 6ish minute meditation to help you.
There’s an author named Candace Pert who wrote a book called, “Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind.” I love, love, love this concept. It makes so much sense! All things that happen in your life and the way you feel about the things that happen are stored in your body and mind. Our bodies have intelligence and preferences. They are not separate from our existence but integrally a part of how we interpret and process the world, including our inner world. To keep those energies and emotions and thoughts fluid and flowing, we must move our bodies if we can.
Bodies love exercise. They need it.
But no two bodies are the same. I know my body is not the same as Charlize Theron’s body. Pretty sure about that one. Not the same as my husband’s or my kids’. There are exercises that feel good to me that may not feel good to them. There are different kinds of movement that used to feel good before I had children that don’t feel as good now.
It’s ok to meet yourself wherever you’re at and find something that feels good to you now. This is all about asking the very important question:
What does your body want now?
And finding a way to get it. Is walking around the block exercise? Yes. Yoga? Playing catch with your kid? Climbing up the playground slide? Dance party with your baby? Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.
We often sneak ourselves into a corner by thinking that exercise only counts if you’re at the gym or in cute workout clothes or it lasts for at least an hour and your kids aren’t there. If we set aside the mind for a moment and pay attention to the body, you may get some clues about what your cells really need. Maybe soft flowing dance, maybe wind sprints, maybe 50 squats before you sit to pee, maybe a little movement every day or maybe something big 2 times a week.
It may be a 10 minute postnatal core strengthening focus (this one has modifications for diastasis recti) so you feel like your insides aren’t that delicious pudding dessert your aunt makes. Or 15 minutes of tai chi during naptime to calm your emotions and re-center. It could be an hourlong hike if your kids will sit in a stroller or wagon or be happy in a carrier. Like these guys occasionally would:
Awwwwwwwww. Those walks were crucial to my body’s health and well-being whether they lasted 5 minutes or 45 minutes. So bend over and try to touch your toes every now and then for God’s sake. Your body sooooo needs you to.
This one seems like it shouldn’t be hard to accomplish and sometimes it might even seem like not that big of a deal. But I propose that taking a shower can sometimes be the only 10 minutes of truly alone time you may get. It may not be enough, but it can be a few minutes of heaven that you truly need in order to recharge.
It also is one of the only places where the sound you are surrounded by may actually be louder than the sounds of your children. Which means your ears and brain get a small break from the hard work of filtering demands, requests, arguing, outbursts, sharing, questions, wailing, and insistences that they are still hungry even though you JUST FED THEM DINNER.
I recommend carving this time for yourself, even if it means setting your little one in a pack and play with a soft toy, or setting your child in front of PBS Kids in a child-safe room with a bowl of Goldfish crackers. And…this is important-
put your child in a room other than the bathroom you are showering in
It doesn’t count if they are just on the other side of the shower curtain! For toddlers, you know they’re just going to peek their head in at you and ask: “What is that? Ewww” while they point to your pubic hair. And for older kids, there’s no reason they need to be in there.
Once your kids are settled, spend a second just appreciating your naked bod. You are amazing. Then pretend there is a personal assistant speaking in a sexy Australian accent with a tray holding your favorite cocktail and a CBD joint saying,
“How do you stay so beautiful when you work so hard? Now, I’ve already prepared your gourmet meals for the week. Why don’t you just take your time in the shower and I’ll be right outside the door waiting to give you your foot massage when you’re done. No rush.”
While you’re at it, splurge on some body nourishing and activating items. Sugar, coffee, and dead sea salt are all super cheap, probably already in your cupboard and make really easy feel-amazing scrubs.
You deserve 10 minutes of hot water on your back !! Take a shower already.
Here comes #2
Why is this a thing? Of all the possible ways we neglect ourselves in motherhood, why does eating at a table make the list of rights?
Here’s why. Food restores our health. It is not only fuel, but also comfort and nourishment. I am not going to tell you to go out and buy an organic veggie box and only eat the bone marrow of grass fed cows, but I will say that most traditions encourage taking a bit of time to eat so the magic alchemy that happens when food is broken down in the digestive system can take its full effect.
The above Right is something I stand by. Having this kind of meal every day when you have a newborn or young kids feels like an extravagant luxury and maybe even out of reach for a lot of us.
Like most things that seem out of reach, taking microsteps will eventually get you there. I recommend setting this Right as a goal for at least one meal a day. And if you can’t find a way to make it happen, it’s ok. Instead, see if you can be mindful of any of the options below.
7 Tips for Mindful eating: