In my early 30s, a lot of my friends started having kids to complete a life that they had dreamt of. They would say, “I’ve always wanted two kids” or something along those lines. For me, that never really resonated.
I started to feel a call that someone was ready for me to be their mom. It was nothing to do with me. I felt I was supposed to bring someone down and shelter and foster and nurture them. That’s how Griffin came to me.
I had no preconceived notion of how being a mom would be. I was an only child. I never babysat. I was never around kids. The only thing I really knew is that my mom gave me this amazing amount of love, and I always knew that I wanted to be able to give that, as well. I wanted to be in the right place emotionally and financially. I got to the point where I had gone through enough life lessons that I was in a place to give that kind of love to my kid.
When I had Griffin, I left my research position, and transitioned fully into teaching yoga, not as a full-time job but as the outside-of-the-home working experience. As I went along this path, each step I took revealed more of the path to me.
How does being a mother inform my yoga practice? It tells me I have a lot more yoga to do, for sure. I’ve been practicing for a long time. I do a lot of reading, a lot of meditation, and a lot of sitting. One would think I would have my yoga ducks in a row, but my son always brings about a lesson for me to get back to my mat, to get back to some stillness and meditation, and figure some more stuff out. Yoga teaches us to be present and to be in the moment, and that’s the way a kid lives.
My experience of motherhood is so much different from my mother’s because most of the time she was a single mom. My parents got divorced when I was nine, and it was tumultuous and yet, she always did her best to shield me from that… even when there was very little money in the pot. I remember really wanting a certain dress for a dance, and although she did not say it, I saw a struggle, but she got me the dress. I was grateful, but now, being a mother and seeing what she had to do to get that dress (and other things), I have profound gratitude.
As a yoga teacher, we are always talking about oneness and connection, which sounds really great in a yoga class, but not everyone can take that off of their mat. But when you have a child, you say, “ok, I am gonna take care of my child, and my child has these friends, and if they were in trouble, I would take care of them, too, and I know about that family that’s connected to him, and so I would take care of that kid, too.” It shows you how connected we are, and how much bigger and broader your web is. Without kids, I think it’s easier to stay in your small bubble.
Am I a different person because I’m a mother? I think I’m a truer version. I think motherhood makes you shed some layers to get down to what’s really important. At the core, I am the same, but there is a little more of the core shining through because of the layers that I was able to shed.
Advice? If a first-time mother were still pregnant, I would tell her to rest. To take the last week off from work, to fully appreciate being totally unattached for one more week before it all changes. Afterwards, I would say to be patient, to let it unfold, to try not to have a lot of grand plans because they usually will fall apart the grander they are. I would also encourage her to just be present. I know a lot of moms pine for one month ago, or two months ago, or when they were really little, and while it’s sweet and fun to remember those times, the longing takes you away from where they are now.
I know a lot of working and non-working moms have a lot of guilt about balance, self care and taking some time for themselves, especially if they are gone during the day. I understand that. But don’t completely lose yourself in the care of others, because the longer you are away from it, the harder it is to get back to it. Even if it’s just ten minutes in a bathtub, sitting and just being with yourself…Do something that returns you to yourself each day, grounds you, and helps you be a better woman, mother, friend, partner, all of it.