Mom-ME circle

This blog...

This is a blog about celebrating being a well supported, self-cared for, happy mama. It celebrates living fully, abundantly, authentically and reveling in ordinary and extraordinary moments. It gives you permission to be angry (if that's how you feel) and calls you out to experience more joy (if you want to!)

I believe we must live well nourished, expressive and juicily feminine lives as women and as mothers so that our children have role models of what it means to live full out. 

Photo by TongRo Images/TongRo Images / Getty Images

Photo by TongRo Images/TongRo Images / Getty Images

Whenever I read self-help books (and I read them a lot!) I am so grateful that other people have gone before me to raise their children with respect, live their lives with a sense of peace and calm, started mindful businesses, and then have written about their experiences. I feel grateful because I can now walk in their footsteps.

This is NOT THAT. I don't want you to walk in my foot steps. I want you to walk beside me, hand in hand. We are on this journey together. I do not know more than you do.

My investigations have shown that we frequently think other moms know IT, but we don't know IT. "IT" could be:

  • How to have it all- clean house, happy kids, satisfied husband...
  • How to get their kids to go the f*ck to sleep
  • How to make home cooked, pinterest worthy meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week.

Facebook is famous for making us feel this way. I'd like our page to be different, a place where we can show up as our not always so positive selves. As Elisabeth Kubler Ross says, "I'm not ok, you're not ok, and that's ok." 

People often comment that I am such a "positive person." Being positive is a choice. I am flooded with the same self doubts, anxieties, insecurities, rages, incessant worries and critical inner voice as you are- probably more!

Sometimes I feel like, in our circle, I go overboard describing my faults or flaws, to the extent that I wonder if the other moms are cringing on the inside and wondering, "Why am I even in circle with this person who is so riddled with stuff?" But aren't we ALL riddled with stuff?!

At the same time, I feel it is much more interesting and often just FEELS BETTER to focus on and magnify the positive. Being positive doesn't mean being accepting of the negative, or ignorant of issues, or the state of the world. It means seeing grace in as much as we can see. 

If we share our stories, we will have companions on this journey. My personal story is full of fear, pain, love, shame, wonder, ecstasy, good fortune, bravery, and glorious imperfections. I invite you to travel along with me as I share my stumblings as a wife, astonishments as a mother, and discoveries as a woman. And PLEASE, share your own stories!

In what ways are you tempted to collapse into the negative?

Going out alone

If questioned about going out alone, do you make squeamish faces and say, "I couldn't go out ALONE. It wouldn't be any fun." I feel like there is a social stigma about being "alone." (Translation: boring, desperate, nobody likes me.) I believe that going out alone is a skill and and art that can be learned, shared and implemented.

In last week's post I shared about going to a restaurant alone. I remember the host greeting me with, "Just one?" I smiled and said, "OH, one is more than enough, you'd be surprised."

Some things you can bring along to assist you in being alone confidently:

  • something to write on/in (not your phone)
  • something to read (again, not your phone)
  • an attitude of confidence, curiosity, and openness (don't worry if you don't feel any of these- just act as if.)

Personally, I LOVE going out alone to restaurants, movies, and walks. Something that helps me with being alone but not being lonely is saying to myself, "I am welcome everywhere. A place is lucky to have me visit it."

Another useful skill I have cultivated is talking to strangers- striking up conversations with interesting people helps me to feel not so alone. Some of this involves eaves dropping, which we are taught not to do, but don't YOU do it too?! I simply find people (usually another mom) that interest me and I find a spot to comment, ask a question, or deliver a compliment. Most people are receptive and I have even invited mamas to join the mom-ME Circle this way. If they are not interested I know right away and can busily read or write something as a diversion.

We cannot meet or be met if we don't speak up or take a chance. How can you deny someone the pleasure of meeting you?

Please share in the comments below if you like or shy away from boldly talking to new people and how it makes you feel.

Postpartum depression

Did you know that at least one in ten mothers will have an episode of PPD?! This will increase her risk for hormonal problems a year or two later. I didn't know this stat when I gave birth the first time. And since I had never really been depressed before it hit me like a ton of bricks. Even more good news (NOT!)... If you too suffered from postpartum depression with your first baby, it triples your chances of experiencing it again with a second child. I also did not know this stat and YUP, it happened to me, again.

Being on this side of depression (that's the much happier, less anxious side) and looking back I can see that what was most depressing was how alone I felt. A part of me knew it was not normal to feel this way and that's because it's not normal to raise children this way! Historically, mothers have raised families in small groups of hunter-gatherers. THIS feels like the "right" way to raise children. Doesn't it?!

I feel nostalgic for this old fashioned way of life in which it was normal and free to eat local, fresh, organic foods and breath smog free air and drink water free of chemicals. Mostly though, I long for a time when mothers spent most of their days with other mothers, surrounded by a community. 

Unfortunately, compared with our ancestors few of us eat whole foods and much of our daily diets consist of white flour, sugar, and artificial chemicals. It literally leaves my skin crawling to think about how my own innocent children are absorbing toxins released into the environment and that even my breast milk has traces of toxins in it.

Raising kids is not meant to be like this!

If you are one of the few mothers to have low demands, substantial resources, and low vulnerabilities count yourself as one of the lucky ones. I know I do, every single day. And still, my cupboard gets emptied out and I struggle to put anything back in. THIS is why I wanted to create a community where wise women (nutritionists, acupuncturists, therapists, outdoor educators, midwives, doulas, yoga teachers, parenting coaches, massage therapists... and more) come to educate and commune with us and remind us that we do not have to do this alone. Because, I am DONE with that. 

If you would like to join our circle you can do so here. Take care of yourself and let others take care of you too. xo, mama.

Refilling your cup

Nothing changed my life more than becoming a mother 4.5 years ago. And there really was no way to prepare for it. Suddenly I was working all the time, up to my ears in stress, and had close to no support. I felt frayed around the edges, let down by my partner, and worn out beyond anything I ever could have imagined. Worse of all, I felt like it was my fault, that I must be the only one who couldn’t handle the strain.

Now I know that there are plenty of practical things a new mom can do that will help her feel better and get more support and partnership from her significant other.

3 WAYS TO FEEL BETTER NOW:

  1. Lower the demands on you
  2. Increase your resources
  3. Build up your resilience

You are entitled to a joy filled life and Mom-ME circle is here to support you.  This time with your little one(s) is so special and fleeting and you should be able to enjoy it fully. 

A baby is an inestimable blessing and a bother.

-Mark Twain

Since having my 2nd child I am learning (I’m a work in progress!) that taking care of myself is NOT selfish. It’s what I need to do in order to be the best mom possible and still have energy left over for my relationship with my partner. 

Through our circles together you will see what minor miracles can happen in your life when you make some simple changes in such things as what you eat, the way you think about stress, and how you talk to your partner.

As demanding as parenthood has been on our partners, it has an even greater impact on us, the mamas. If you gave birth, you had the incredible task of using 80,000 extra calories to grow a new person! And if you breastfeed you use about 750-1000 extra calories a day. That's like running 7-10 miles day after day.

NEWS FLASH!!!

The real labor begins after birth.

And the more committed you are to being sensitive and respectful to your child, the more work there is. This was my biggest challenge as a new mom- I felt I always had to be present for someone else and I could never take a break. I was on call 24/7. I was the one, not my beloved partner, who stumbled down the hall at night to tend to baby G when she cried in the middle of the night, dealt with hair struggles, and am still the front man during preschool tantrums. And of course, when we added baby B to the mix 4 months ago things only got more stressful. 

So, I am giving myself this reminder more than anyone else: If the demands on a person grow, her resources should grow as well. Have your resources grown since having a baby? If you would like them to, I hope you will think about joining a mom-ME circle. Whether you are going back to work or staying home with your little one, when you've got a young family, joy can fall away all too quickly, old friends drop out of your life, and you never seem to have any real time to yourself... UNITL NOW! Get the support you deserve and need.

Why create a mom's group in the first place?

Since I embarked on this motherhood adventure 4.5 years ago I've come to this realization: motherhood is a very personal experience and yet I've had many people who I don't know tell me how to do some part of it, from strangers on the street to professionals. I want you to know that this is NOT where I am coming from in my desire to offer support to fellow mamas.

For me, being a mom has been the most wonderful, incredible experience of my life and I wouldn't trade it for the world. AND... at least I found it to be, the most draining pursuit (physically and emotionally) that I have ever done. I am astonished by the impact of becoming a parent and am naturally eager to learn ways to cope with what I find difficult. So, early in my struggles, I joined several moms groups in hopes of finding some respite. But when I brought up difficult topics to these groups (like how let down I felt by my partner, who wasn't helping me enough at home and couldn't understand why I was so overwhelmed and depressed) I heard crickets. Was I the ONLY ONE dealing with these issues? The groups just didn't feel like a safe place to be vulnerable. 

Every mother needs to lower her stresses, replenish her body and create a strong relationship with her partner- or else she will become physically depleted, which is exactly what happened to me despite my efforts to get the support I so desperately needed. So, rather than give up and fall even deeper into my depression (well, actually, I did do this at one point, but I climbed out of that hole by telling myself that if this was hard for me it was probably hard for other women even if they were't owning up to it.) I decided to form the circle I always wanted to be a part of and I couldn't do that from the depths of my despair. 

So, I began to study the pertinent research, talked with experts in the self care fields, and asked joyful mamas what worked for them. I drew on my background in yoga, started meditating with new purpose, and took a course in the mothering arts... all in an effort to form a circle in which moms could be themselves, relax, and learn to deal with the stressors that come with motherhood.  

I realized thaI have control over how I want to feel. I don't need to wait for support to come to me, I can create it myself.

The focus of these circles is on those years before our children are in grade school, because from my research I have learned that that is when the demands on us are the greatest; and since I now have a preschooler and an infant those are naturally the ages stages that will be addressed in by the speakers who will come weekly. (They will also address our minds, bodies and relationships because each of these aspects of our lives is also affected by motherhood.)

Some of the topics that speakers will cover during our circles (you can find more details on the home page):

  • Ways to cope with stress and manage the thornier emotions that often intensify with motherhood, including sadness, anxiety, shame and anger
  • How to keep your body well in the first place, and what to do if it gets depleted
  • Building teamwork and intimacy with your partner
  • How to juggle motherhood and work

If you have other topics that you are interested in learning about please share them in the comments below or contact me.

The lord hath decreed... that ye shall show kindness to parents.

-The Koran, 17:23