How Long is a Year?

I meant to do this post after Aiden’s first birthday in the middle of May… but then “summer just flew by… ”

I bet you have heard a version of that phrase more than once lately; a mom commenting about how she can’t believe that it’s already time for the school year to begin or a college student lamenting that summer ended too fast. I didn’t realize how much rhetoric we constantly hear about how fast time is flying until Aiden turned one. I felt as though I heard the following phrase a hundred times: “Can you believe how fast it goes by?!”

I remember hearing the same thing when I was about to get married. Well-meaning friends would say things like, “Don’t worry about the details. The day is a blur; you won’t remember much anyway!” I didn’t want that to be my experience. I set an intention to consciously slow down the day and savor each sweet moment. And I did. I loved my wedding day. It was one of the best days of my life. I took a yoga class that morning, enjoyed a delicious  burger and champagne with my friends, cherished the sacred vows I exchanged with my love, and thoroughly enjoyed the friends, family, food and dancing. I still remember the smell of the ocean air and the feel of the breeze and sunlight on my skin as I walked to the ceremony. I was high on life and pure love.

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Aiden’s first year

As I look back on the first year as a mom, I don’t feel that time has somehow flown by or that I have missed something I should have captured. I have been there with Aiden every day, and I have been intentional about being present for each moment. Yoga teachers talk a lot about being present. It’s almost a trendy topic. And one might get the idea that presence is something you cultivate on your yoga mat while wearing Lululemon and perfecting bird of paradise pose. While yoga can be a great tool for teaching us to be in the moment, I have not had any experience teach me this lesson the way motherhood has.

I am guilty of getting lost in the black hole of social media, entertainment, or online shopping. That time seems to disappear into thin air. Being glued to a screen can quickly take us away from the here and now, and I know I’ve used it to escape when life seems dull. But here’s an important exhortation to myself and to other new moms: Hold that little hand and look into those pure, innocent eyes when you are feeding your baby. Put your phone away. You want to make time fly by?! Surf the newsfeed on Facebook while your precious little one is in your arms, against your skin, close enough to kiss. I promise that you won’t read one thing that surpasses the importance of the bond and trust that is being developed with your little one.

This time never comes back. You won’t get these days again. I firmly believe in putting our child(ren) first and your career/job/hobby second. No, that doesn’t mean giving up your own thing; I think it just means keeping it in perspective and realizing that life has seasons. I’ve not once heard an older woman say, “I really wish I had spent more time at work and less time with my children.” I’ve always heard the opposite. It’s easy to lose sight of priorities when the routine tasks of life lull us into a coma. It’s easy to lose heart when we live in a society that undervalues a mother’s nurturing role. I’ve found for myself that it takes intention and effort to stay engaged and present.

Our words have so much power. I am making a conscious effort to stop saying things that reinforce the idea that there is not enough time. Time is not my enemy, and I don’t have to fight against it. This moment is all I have, and it is good. When I’m about to say, “I haven’t had time to do such-and-such”, I’m working at stopping myself and saying, “I haven’t chosen to do that.” I want to take more responsibly for my life experience rather than feeling like life is happening to me.

If you believe that time is flying by and you’re inevitably going to miss out on the sweet everyday moments, then you will certainly experience that. Being present requires surrender. It won’t always be easy, but I believe it is so worth it. You have a choice. Time isn’t going anywhere.

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once
~ Albert Einstein

 

Rise n Shine!

I’ve never been a “morning person”. In fact, to me there are few simple pleasures in life as lovely as curling up in warm covers in the morning and drifting back to sleep. Ahhh…

Enter baby. There is no snooze button on my little one. When he is ready to rock n’ roll, he is quite vocal about it. And thus the day starts on my baby’s terms, not my own. This is just part of being a mom, and I roll with it. However, I do get frustrated with myself when I’m still in my pajamas at 11am staring at a sink full of dried egg-encrusted dishes. #stayathomemomfailure

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It’s time to play!

I have the privilege of primarily being a stay-at-home mom. I wouldn’t trade it for the world! The few hours I do go to “work” each week are spent giving bodywork and teaching yoga, two of my biggest passions. You won’t hear me complaining about the tedious work of stay-at-home-mommyhood because I love my life, every bit and facet of it. I will say though that unless you get your game face on for rocking the stay-at-home gig, it can feel as though you are slipping into some sort of domestic twilight zone. I’ve found it vitally important, for my sanity and the overall health and energy flow of my home, to treat my role like any other job. The biggest factor in how my day goes is my diligence with committing to some sort of morning routine. Something that sets me on good footing for the rest of the day.

Whether you’re a home-maker trying to avoid the 11am pajama scenario or an entrepreneur determined to hit your goals each day, may the following suggestions for a butt-kicking morning be as helpful to you as they’ve been to me. I certainly don’t nail this list every morning; I’m putting these into writing as a reminder to myself too! But on the mornings I do hit most of these, the whole day takes on a better tone.

1. Give THANKS

Before your feet hit the floor say a quick prayer of gratitude. This might be as short as “Thank you God for giving me another day, thank you for my breath” or it might be more detailed. Gratitude it crazy strong magic.

2. Set an Intention

At the start to each yoga class, we begin by setting an intention for our time on the mat. I’ve found that to be a powerful practice that overflows into the rest of my life. Starting the day this way is so important.

3. Rehydrate and Flush to start fresh

Drink a cup of warm water with the juice of half a lemon or a few drops of a pure  therapeutic grade lemon essential oil. The health benefits of this simple practice in the morning are impressive.

4. Move that Body

Stimulate your energy flow by some simple massage and movements. Start with massaging your ears. The outer portion of the ear is viewed as a representation of the entire body. As with other forms of reflexology, points on the ear correspond with specific areas of the body. Massaging these points can produce therapeutic benefits in the corresponding body part or system and it just feels really good! Next, massage your scalp, then your chest, working outward from the sternum to the crease where your arm meets your torso. After your mini self massage, do a few gentle exercises that feel good to your body first thing in the morning (more on this in next month’s post) or put on some happy music and have a little dance party in your kitchen. Just. Move. Yo. Body. It’ll clear the energy cobwebs. If you have time to add on a little morning run or a full yoga practice or whatever your thing is, get it done!

5. Fresh air and sunlight

Even if it’s cloudy and gray, getting outside and taking some deep breaths is one of the best ways to start the day. Exposure to sunlight helps your body create hormone levels that help you feel more awake and alert.

6. Make a Nutrient Dense Breakfast

Breakfast is not the time to get lazy about fueling your cells. Think veggies, complex carbs, and some good protein. Enjoy the ritual of making tea or coffee.

7. Shower.

Water is so refreshing and wonderful. Besides, you’ll thank yourself when 11am rolls around! If you don’t have time to shower or you’re conserving because there’s a drought, just wash your face with alternating cold and warm water.

8. Get dressed and put yourself together

No, you don’t need to look like you just stepped off the cover of Vogue, but seriously, pull it together. “I wish I hadn’t looked my best today” said no one… ever.

9. Make Your Bed

Because you’re an adult. Plus, the whole room looks better almost instantly. Studies show that accomplishing even small tasks can trigger activity in the reward centers of the brain, motivating you to accomplish other tasks!

10. Do the Dishes

Unless you have a maid coming, do the breakfast dishes ASAP. No, that pan doesn’t need to soak any longer.

Extra Credit:

Throw something in the crock-pot for dinner!

(*Please note, if you have a newborn at home, ignore all of this and get as much rest as you can! Let someone else do the dishes, and enjoy those PJ’s!)