Back-to-School 2017: Embrace Your Feelings; Honor The Now

As I sit here in the quiet of the house, my son is napping and my daughter is at her first-day of second grade. Why is my heart so heavy with mixed emotions? I don't think my lady hormones are helping me much, but my heart truly feels so full of emotions. For me, I am always planning or thinking about what next that I often miss out on the now. This summer I decided to abort a lot of planning. My lists were very few and usually lasted about five minutes before I lost them or they got shoved in my back pocket or sribbled on. This was the summer of FUN and just allowing. 

I had a lot of adult celebrations with amazing wedding celebrations, 15-year college reunion and more. But in the midst of the crazy we squeezed in summer fun. I am talking small things like walks to the library (for the record we only went twice), quick neighborhood swims before teaching yoga or just being together while little brother was napping. It was something I will not ever forget. I can see her smile and hear your sarcastic jokes at lunch while the construction is so loud my annoyance level was up...saying "wow, this lunch is SOOOO relaxing!" Oh man, her light and sense of humor kept me going. Don't get me wrong there were many moments of crazy and me ignoring them or sibling fighting. However, when I reflect of course I sift through all of that. Similar to child birth and our distorted memory of it all. :) 

This summer I knew that I was behind on everything. in fact, early July my website went down because of technical issue that for most is a five-minute fix. After trying to consequctive mornings with the help desk I decided to abort and just enjoy the various "fun" we had on the schedule. If I felt called to write I would, but it didn't matter because what was in front of me mattered more. I did find time for me in small and big ways this summer and for that I am grateful. But some of my favorite memories involved my sweet second grader, just the two of us. Like the below picture where we came up with a no-bake cookie recipe for our kid's cookbook we are working on (slowly of course).

summer kitchen creations!

summer kitchen creations!

So today I just sit. I sit with my emotions as mama. As a torn mama, a woman that is on the fence about what my role should be as mom and professional. A journey I am developing as I sit. I am not sure what the future holds, how the days will flow, or how it will all work. However, I know what is the MOST important to me right now? Me. My self love. Time for me to feel how I feel and process all of the feels. What is most important is NOT knowing but allowing me to not know. What is is most important is my big learning about what self love is. I realize that none of it matters, not work, not alone time with the kids or family time or date time or a successful career or organized house or a website that is up and running if I don't love myself first. If I don't have faith in life first. If I don't let go of ALL of those things I cannot control, included in that today are my feelings and my lack of clearly knowing much of anything but that my heart is FULL. I am not perfect and have a long way to go as I show up in this life as a human.

Summer sunset fun!

Summer sunset fun!

Even though I know I am not perfect, I know that my little ones (second grader and preschool boy) won't wait for me to figure it out. They are watching me NOW. They are watching if I am complaining or being positive. They are watching me turn a crappy day around and bring back the joy that we all so deserve in all the days. They are watching me be kind to the slowest cashier in the history of Target. Why? Because I am their role model. Isn't that how it works? And yes, I know I have not been perfect (oh are there stories), but I know that because of the abundant amount of life lessons these little humans have taught me, I CAN and WILL and MUST keep going. I must show up and love myself enough to pause and feel and know that deep breaths, relaxed shoulders and looking these little ones in the eyes is a lot of what my job is. 

I will hug them and make lunches for them and yes, I will make them put their stuff away. I sometimes wonder how that will happen, but I will NOT give up on any of it. I will raise kind and responsible and loving humans because they are already so far ahead of what I could have imagined such small people could be. Through the honor of being mom it has become very clear to me that a lot is so innate. We are good. We are Love. And all of that light and potential lives in us the moment we take our first breath. Yes, I am a role model and a guide, but that personality is not taught and that light is what makes the world go round. So today I simply say, thank you for letting me be your mama. And thank you yoga and family and sometimes wine at 3 p.m. to help remind me to let myself feel so the days you come home sad or scared or mad I don't make you push it away and I sit with you and "let you feel!" 

Whatever your emotions are...allow the feels. Allow yourself to not know, but at the same time know that you are okay right now. Look around. Take a breath. Go to bed early. Take a bath. And just be okay with right now. No matter your feel, you let it roll off you like "water off a ducks back." Life is a little bit easier when we allow ourselves to flow with feelings and flow with life. 

Sending all you mamas and dads and caretakers LOVE and more LOVE on this day of transition (or coming transition). I couldn't quite get out of bed snuggling my son at nap today because I know some day he won't want snuggles from me so then I just stayed a little longer today. Why? Why not.

Namaste and love to y'all!

Kristin 

Raw Motherhood Lessons—love you today...FREAL!

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Two weeks ago my husband was sick and a lot was just on me. I also had PMS and little sleep. Thus, I wrote the below blog post in the midst of it all. I never got around to posting it, well, because I was doing my best. This past week I am having a flashback to these moments because my son had my husband's illness (I think of version of the influenza) and it has been rough. He also added in the barfs with it intermittently so that has been a not-so-fun curveball! Poor dude. I thought it would resonate with somebody, even just one person, so I decided to share from two weeks ago my Raw Motherhood Lessons.

I know for me there are many moments on this parenting journey that I could be REAL hard on myself, but I know that doing will only harm myself and others. I must surrender those not-so-pretty moments and dig deep. I must accept that I am doing my best, I am enough and I am deserving of loving me today.

I hope the below story inspires you to remember: you are doing your BEST, you are ENOUGH, and you are worthy of LOVE! 

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Sunday, Feb. 12 at 11 p.m. and Monday afternoon, Feb. 13, 2017

I sit on the couch right now (my bed for the third night now) in tears. My hubby is sick and it's been a long weekend. I have felt behind on EVERYTHING. I tried to catch up and take care of my two little people and my hubby: making juice, doing laundry, roasting veggies, shopping, mopping, taking kids to swimming, valentine's boxes, and more. All with an attempt at loving. But during all of that the reality was that I never felt like I was enough: I felt behind, crabby, irritable, selfish, unloving, frustrated and angry. 

I SO want to be adaptable. I SO want to be able to skip sleep and self care and be enough for my family. I SO want to give them the love they give me but I snap, or yell and they quickly remind me, "mom, you are in the amygdala!" For those of you that understand this part of the brain, it is the part of your brain that manages your fight or flight. It is the part in your brain that tells sends the blood to your arms and legs to get you ready to run from the tiger, fast and NOW! Here is a website that I found explains it pretty well: The Amygdala & Emotions. Thanks to SuperStretch and my amazing yogini friend (the creator of SuperStretch) I teach my kids that when we are yelling the amygdala is in control. It might go something like this: "Sweet child, we aren't thinking straight. We must breathe to think through this situation!" Of course those words come out with an intense restraint of yelling (but sometimes raising my voice—eek)! Most often two or three breaths by all parties and the challenge subsides. And that is that. Those are the glorious and amazing parenting moments. The intensity of life happens, we acknowledge and use our tools, and move through it. Obviously that doesn't always happen, but is my ideal. :) When it doesn't happen I do re-do's (just did one this morning) and will share what that means in a blog post soon. It is quite amazing actually.

This weekend was a different story. I felt like I was clenching my body and especially face and throat. I felt so frustrated because I just got off caffeine in an attempt to switch my diet, sleep, and exercise to create a new internal rhythm. I want to feel better and snap a hell of a lot less at my people. It hurts my heart so bad to know that I get so mad and am resisting so much. I honestly feel like sometimes I cannot control it. Other moms (and dads) out there: you know that out-of-body feeling where you know you are being unreasonable but you cannot stop yourself? Please say some of you are nodding with me?? 

Recently I got my copy of the Adrenal and Thyroid Revolution by Dr. Aviva Romm. After reading this book everything seemed clear. As I was a couple chapters in I thought, "Awe shit, there is nothing wrong with me, my hormones are just f'd!" So the intense food cravings and the yelling at the loved ones and flying off the handle is explained. As I continued to read the book I felt my shoulders drop and thought, "So there is a chance I can feel better than this?" 

After drinking 3-5 shots of espressos per day in the past couple weeks (that is the equivalent of 2 or 2'ish cups of coffee) I weaned in a week, and was ready to rock it! I bought some of the hormone-balancing foods and was doing a lot of the flow ("ideal day") of the reset: more sleep, winding down, breathing, yoga, and slow-carb eating (all explained in her book). The bottom line: I haven't nailed it yet, and know that I am obviously free to do anything I want (no rules right)? But at the deep of my heart I want to follow this protocol for 28 days because days like these HURT. They hurt so bad. I pause and I think, what do my kids think and feel in their heart? The one person that is supposed to always be there (MOM) is mad a lot! Do they think it is them? I pray on this one: God no, don't think it is you my sweet ones. Mommy just doesn't feel good and I'm sorry. I will do better tomorrow. I promise. I'm sorry. I love you. 

And so I say forget the list. It is there and it will stay there. What is on the list: sympathy cards that got melted in the snow unbeknownst to me and I have to resend or how about the Christmas present (yes I said Christmas present) for for my hubbies side of the family. It's just sitting there and OMG it's Valentine's Day Tuesday. How does that happen? I have to order brochures for essential oils class that is coming up and supplies for it. How about the invitations for the classes and the b-day invitations, not to mention the Golden b-day presents to go with it. Oh, and how do we make Valentine's day special but do everything we can to not get sick?? I should go sanitize right now right? But in the end, none of it matters. Truly. It. Doesn't. Matter!!! It doesn't matter when I am doing the best I can right? It doesn't matter when I am barely getting basic needs met right? And finally, none of life matters when my attitude is focused on the list or the things NOT going well. That is when the spiral happens and the opposite is true. When we focus on LOVE and when we focus on what IS going right and what we are grateful for, magic happens. I find connection with my kiddos and efficient-chore doing and a letting go of how fast the stuff gets done. 

It will all work out and my heart says breathe. My heart says, go to bed sweet mama. Don't worry. Try again tomorrow and with the power you have use what you know to kick ass tomorrow: gratitude, meditation, the power of intention, laughter, movement, sleep, breath and LOVING ME FIRST!  That means saying nice things to me regardless of my challenges or opportunities. We are all imperfect and to grow stronger and brighter it only serves us to focus on Love. Trust me I know the end result of not giving that to me because I felt that today. 

So I say goodnight Minneapolis. Good night sick husband. Good night angel babies. And good night world. As my daughter wrote in a card to her daddy, "sick man," get better because you are missed and damn you do a lot for our family. And good night sweet little ones. I hope tonight you saw that mama was tired and hormonal and just needs space sometimes to be the best me. I hope you alway remember that no matter what, LOVE wins and it starts with YOU!! Be proud, forgive, love hard and laugh harder! 

What are you saying to you today and in your head? Why are making the choices you make? You deserve to love you ALL the time: thoughts, speech and action. Start today with me won't you? 

Oh, wait you thought I was done. I wrote this last night and started today great. I did my morning prayer and breath and movement. It totaled ten minutes but I was ready, right? And then I couldn't win against the clock this morning and the mess seemed to multiply. I stopped breathing and damn, I was SO. HARD. ON. MYSELF. You can ask my husband. I was a MESS. After the late drop off for the oldest kiddo I went on a walk around the lake and the first half felt heavy. I was feeling sorry for myself and that inner voice was, let's just say, not kind. And then I thought, why am I doing this. "What you resist, persists!" And I kept playing this wisdom reminded to me by my amazing coach Laura Burkey. Oh no...I was doing it again. I was creating a reality that was filled with suffering, anger and a lot of time not breathing. This was felt in my heart and in my little ones. This isn't working. And each step around the lake allowed me to breathe in fresh air. I was able to connect and "chat" with my son. We played the game, "What do you LOVE?" in honor of Valentine's week (also taught to me by Laura Burkey). It was fun and at the end of it I felt uplifted and inspired to show up for me. After the game and stopping my crazy spinning mind, I stopped feeling sorry for myself and choose be nice to me today. Let GO sister! Today is going to be as good as you make it. 

My sweet little man resting

So I challenge you one more time....can you be NICE to you? Can you talk to yourself like you would a good friend? And if that is hard to do that (which it was for me), can you somehow move your body? Can you hide from the family or kids and then make a list or say it aloud of "what you love?" and why? It helps. I promise. And maybe in that little journey of writing or saying it aloud you realize you are truly badass. You have done a lot and you keep showing up. Love isn't about being perfect my friends. Love is getting back up again and trying again. It is reflecting on where you are challenged and looking at that dark inside of you and shining your bright and amazing light at it. You are worth it! I love you and darn it...you should love you!!! And I will do the same....that I can promise. Thank you to those closest to me that remind me of this, I am grateful for you! And thank you for each and everyone of you that continue to teach me on my path!!

Thanks for reading, loving, and living. It truly is what makes the world go round. 

In love, light and gratitude, 

Kristin

A view from my first run last week. The lake is melting and this week has taught me to keep letting go!

A view from my first run last week. The lake is melting and this week has taught me to keep letting go!

P.S. Thanks little bean for this message on Saturday. You were right when you said "Mom, sometimes you
are so overwhelming!" That's right sweetie. I am. And I overwhelm myself. Thanks for the reminder kid. You are a light that shines so bright in our lives! 

P.P.S. I realize It has been QUIET on the blog and website, but again, I have not abandoned anything, I am trying to be strategic and rest when I can. More to come on that later. XOXO

Resisting: parenting and the existence of children being children and parents learning too!

PARENTING WIN - THE KIDS LOVED THIS ONE!

PARENTING WIN - THE KIDS LOVED THIS ONE!

I cannot tell you how many times I have set a new goal of not yelling at my kids or not getting frustrated or impatient. Sometimes I hide in my closet or in my bed. Sometimes I want to have a tantrum like a three-year old and just bang on the floor. Why? Why? Why? Why won't they pick up their shit? Why won't they listen to me the first, second or third time? Why do they make a mess and lay they clothes everwhere (insert laughing b/c I am not so good at putting my 10 pairs of workout/yoga clothes away)? Why do they want what they want? Why are they so adamant when they want the gloves vs. the mittens? Why do they jump on me when I just need a minute to breathe? Why do they actually want mom vs. dad when I am not patient and can be grumpy and unintentionally mean? 

Oh, that is right, they are kids. They are simply being kids. They are little humans figuring out the world. They are watching our every move and word (gasp) and they are navigating a lot of things for the first time as they continue to have birthdays. And when I think about it that way, well, I think I might be a total jerk of a mom. And then I think again and say, wait, you are just a big human. You might be a grown up, but you are a kid when it comes to parenting. I have only been parenting as long as my oldest has been a kid. Funny how that works right? So isn't it fair to think that I might screw up, not be patient, and have learning to do too? 

The answer to that is yes. I must remember that I am learning as mom, and my kids are learning as humans (brother, sister, friend, student, grandchild, neighbor, etc.). And when I remember that I am still learning, my shoulder softens and my face relaxes. Maybe I am doing an okay job after all. Maybe I am trying too hard to not yell and at the same time setting myself up to fail as a mom because I want it neat or I want them to "listen the first time" or I want them to just roll with it. How can I expect them to do that if I am not a role model of these exact things? And then I think to getting dressed in the morning. Why is it such a struggle? Obvious. Why do us big-kids like to stay in our pajamas on Sunday mornings or the mornings of holidays and have an extra cup of coffee and snuggle in? Because we are human and it feels so flippin good, especially when it is so cold that your clothes and dishes are cold from being near in outside wall (thank you Minnesota winter).

As I was reflecting on parenting after a decent morning last week it still was filled with a parenting "incident" of tension and a perhaps some raised voices by both parties (we won't say who started it). I reread a text I got from my coach and why I get so frustrated with my kids. She reminded me oh so gracefully that each time I give resistance everything regarding parenting is going to be that much harder. And on top of it my body will be filled with cortisol, which we all know isn't awesome for the health or the waistline. And then I smiled when I read this because my latest test results at my physical show a very similar hormone panel as last fall. Thus, I would imagine that if I tested my cortisol again it might be a little low as it was early 2016. Why? Because I am using it all up getting so darn mad at the the little things.

So then why resist all of it? Why try so hard? Why not be more effortless? Why not roll with it and instead of resist do the opposite, be at ease? Allow for them to not listen to me the first time but still encourage respect and kindness. Because that will only make me healthier, their hearts less beat up from intense parenting/kid moments, and our house a happier place. 

The above sounds nice right? Be at ease? But like my sister always encourages me to to do with everything I asked myself, what is the root cause of my impatience? The last parenting moments I have been aware and I think I nailed the biggest reason for me at this current time in my parenting journey (or learning). I am not patient with them because I am not present with them. Not because my phone has a bigger appeal, but because I am thinking about various responsibilities that distract me and are the farthest from parenting and the present moment.  Examples: I might be thinking about the class I teach at 6 a.m. that I am not prepared for or something that I know is coming fast regarding an obligation/to-do. Or what about about the pressure of am I moving fast enough with my business or when can I get a shower in? Or how about what the heck is for dinner and what about lunches? Do I really feed them that again? And the examples could go on and on. 

WHERE ARE THE PHOTOS OF TANTRUMS OR SADNESS? I think I don't have many because THEY ARE WAY LESS FUN THAN THIS CUTENESS! :)

WHERE ARE THE PHOTOS OF TANTRUMS OR SADNESS? I think I don't have many because THEY ARE WAY LESS FUN THAN THIS CUTENESS! :)

You know that feeling of being behind and never prepared. That is a huge distraction for me and impacts how patient I am with the kids. Thus, it is one thing for me to say, "I am going to parent with ease, stop resisting and let us learn together because we are all kids." And it is another to set this intention with the awareness of my triggers and instead of try to battle these, avoid them all together (as best as possible). I am sure I could get a long list of what sets me off (one that pops in my head is making lunches, cleaning up, making breakfast, getting us all ready, and helping with homework all in an hour's time...no wonder we are late and I feel like a volcano when we are done). Additionally, attempting to carve out the time I need to be prepared for teaching, family business, writing and more! It is not going to be perfect, but I am willing to do the dance and honor both my children and their learning and my parenting learning as well. I will try to ease up and resist less; it is worth a try in my mind especially for the love and trust these little munchkins give me.

What are your parenting battles? Are you constantly doing the same thing or beating yourself up for not being perfect? I am sure we all have them; parent guilt is real. And if you don't have kids, what are your battles that get you all hot and heavy? What makes you mad and actually deters you from being at ease, ultimately impacting your day and overtime your health? Become aware and curious. Be kind. And most import, remember you are a learning too. Isn't that the fun of life? 

In love, light, and gratitude (and hopefully ease),

Kristin 

Perfectly Imperfect

Today It is late and I am trying to actually get to sleep so I have decided to share a little of the messy parts of parenting for me before I head to bed. This is unedited and simply from my heart. I want to start by saying that I love my kids oh so much; you know that deep love in your soul love. However, being a mama in a lot of ways doesn’t come easy to me. I get caught up in the emotions of the kids and the resistance and it gets the best of me. I hate to admit it but I sometimes yell, I try not to but my swearing comes out and I even ignore them (gasp)!

The last two days I have been in full-on mommy duty. I did teach a class this morning at 6 a.m. and then my hubby let me go for a run around the lake. Check out some of this picture. This was a run that although I was physically spent, I knew my soul needed to move. I always feel connected when I get outside and move my body; I am reminded of the gift of life and it helps me to do my very best.

That is what happened for me today. My head was spinning on my run because the day prior was a mess. It had some very amazing, even bliss-filled moments with the kiddos during the day. In those moments I was fully present and I felt so blessed. I could see the twinkle in the their eyes as we went to the local pumpkin patch (aka-the local garden store that has loads of pumpkins and a sign that says “pumpkin patch). Thank you Sunnyside Gardens for saving my Wednesday. My kids were pumped and I was present. My phone was only out for the fifty pictures I snapped because it was one of those moments I could feel in my bones that I didn’t want to forget. And as I am starting to figure out as a mom, the farther you are way from the messy parts, the more amazing those moments start to take over your entire memory. I sure as heck hope that my kiddos feel the same. I hope that when they think about their childhood they remember the love. They remember the moments of fun that we created in our family. And they remember the hugs and kisses and most importantly the times I said I was sorry. Those moments are hard for me as a mama because I know I wasn’t perfect. I know I let them down. But I also know that telling them I am sorry for my words that may have hurt them is the best that I can do. And I believe, deep in my heart, that they need to know that I am not perfect and I never will be. I am perfectly imperfect. And so are you and the rest of us.

This morning in class I was sharing parenting stories and talked about how it can hurt so bad as a mom when what you say to your kid takes their energy from that bright and big vibe of happiness and kid curiosity to small. Please tell me you know what I mean. For example, if I say something like, “name-of-kid.” In a disappointing tone, they look at me with sad eyes and immediately their energy shrinks. For my little boy he starts to cry because he knows I am mad and can feel my disappointment. Or how about, “what were you thinking?” What? I know it sounds like I am awful, but sometimes these words slip out. And I know exactly what those words make a little kiddo feel: shame. And that is the LAST thing I intend to make my kids feel. So then as a mama I feel small. But then I dust myself off, and I keep going because they need me to. They need me to keep trying and to love them still and to do a little better next time. And sometimes, getting mad is the only way to get them to get my attention (and I am working on this mentality too), but tonight I was calm with no emotion for most of the night with the exception of a couple minor moments. And for me and for us, that is a miracle. The love outweighed the mess. And that my friends is my goal.

I will leave you with a little excerpt from a moment on Wednesday where I thought I was going to lose it on my kids. Instead of scream or have an adult tantrum I ran to my computer and wrote. Another time I ran to the porch and started to do deep belly breathing. I suppose this is a good example for them to see me channel my frustration in a positive way right?

Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016 at 10:30 a.m.

I am ignoring my three-year old crying for a quick moment and I wonder why the heck I cannot be more patient. I decided to skip my planned at-home workout today so that we could get a quick store run in and have some outdoor fun. And now it is 10:30 which leaves two hours and a lot of mama anger. Why can't I ever feel like i have it together? Seriously. I try so hard. I stay up late and make lists and write plans and decide to be kind. And for the beginning of the morning it was fun; everyone was playing nice to each other and we were getting a few extra things done. And then the morning poops and the spilled water and the mess from playing. And the laundry that I am trying to stay on top of so the busy weekend plans can fall into place. And what about quality time with my oldest kiddo because I  know we don't get it much. We plan to do a spa day, but must do it right at the beginning of nap because then we are running to dance. And I wonder if I am the crazy mom that is making her do dance when I peak in her room and I find her doing ballet in her room (ribbon around her leg) with a huge smile. Okay, so the running around is worth it.

And then coming back to the present moment I realize I am making my kiddos feel bad that the time is the time and we just cannot do it all in four hours. And that isn't right. So I type. I choose to type instead of keep sputtering words out of my mouth that are annoying me and likely unintentionally hurting them. I read a post from someone yesterday talking about how much it hurts when our children grow up because we miss when they are little. But why was it so hard during that time of not being able to reason? Why did we wish to lock ourselves in the bathroom because it just seemed too much? Is it because the phase is actually hard or is it because expectations in just one simple day tend to be too high. For me today I want to get chores done, do fall fun, pack for the weekend, buy some stuff at the store that we need and some Halloween things, and have one-on-one time and more! Oh, did I mention my yoga and meditation? And the prep for the barre class or the writing that I want to finish up? How about the packing list for the coming trip? And how many hours in the day do I think that I have?

Typing this I realize that maybe my kids aren't messed up or annoying and that my expectations are just too much for one person/day. So I guess it is time to get the teapot off the stove and adapt. I must adapt, look into their eyes and make them feel love and safe. Isn't that my job after all? Do I really need to have it all together? I guess if we walk to the local garden store instead of find a pumpkin patch it will be okay and f I don't get to the store until tonight and we have PB sandwiches for dinner, it will be alright too. So, I breathe in love and exhale all the shit that just happened in the last 15 minutes. All is well and I am grateful for all of my blessings. 

Parenting is a gift and can be so hard all at the same time. So we must continue to keep ourselves in check and adjust adjust adjust. That my friend is the best I can do. And when I tell myself I suck, well then I actually do.

Here's to finding the beauty in the mess of parenting (and maybe a little bit of fun). 

All my love to you in your parenting adventures, or life adventures. How are you perfectly imperfect? I am sure you have your own story and are doing your best. In class today I asked the question, "what are you awesome at?"  I will leave you with that question because I am sure you are a rockstar in the mess of it all.

Shine on!

In love, light, and gratitude,

Kristin

Take Care of You First - Different Each Day

Take care of you first! Self care and taking care of you first each and every day is something I often encourage my friends, family and my students in my yoga and barre classes to make a priority. This choice to take care of you first is a sign of self-love—you know that deep down love where you actually recognize how flipping amazing you are? This awareness and self loves empowers you to rest more, take a run, sit your butt down to meditate, take a bath and more. I also find that this choice helps me be a better wife, mom, friend and simply have more positivity, joy and faith in my life. For me it is truly a ripple impact in my life.

So how does 'taking care of you first' look? Different. That's right. I know you are thinking obviously, we are all different. Yes, we are all different, but my point is each day for you is different. I am encouraging you to honor that your days ebb and flow and again, the message to listen to what you want to do versus what you think you should do is critical. I will also add that this gets a bit tricky when you have multiple priorities and things tugging at your time, but like I always say to my kids, “I am only one person!” And you too, are just one person. Thus, it is okay to say no to things so you can say yes to others and it is okay to embrace that your list might be behind for a while, especially if you are on a new project, in a new job, moving, have kids, and more.

I would like to share a story from this weekend that illustrates how 'taking care of you' can be different on any given day. Here is what I wrote at the end of last Saturday: 

Saturday, June 4—9:45 p.m.

Today I chose that taking care of me was actually not doing anything for me but to be present in each moment—to embrace my discomfort of not enough movement or sleep and to lean in to my sweet life, especially the blessings of my little kiddos. I planned to swim for 10 minutes for me after their swim lessons and hand off to the hubby, but the locker room situation did not allow. I planned to lock myself in my room at nap time to do my yoga practice and rest because I am so tried. However, my daughter sat right next to me after lunch and looked at me with her bright blue eyes and said, "mom, can I whisper something to you?" Always trying to teach a lesson, I paused her and said it would be rude to whisper in front of her little brother and I asked her to write it down. You can see below that the note was a simple request—"mom, can I make a recipe with you?"

Translate - "can i cook with you at nap time? answer: _____" My response was "maybe." And then you can see her desire to make "chocolate balls!" 

Translate - "can i cook with you at nap time? answer: _____" My response was "maybe." And then you can see her desire to make "chocolate balls!" 

This was her saying, mom, I want to spend some time with you when…you aren't prepping dinner or for a class or you aren't on your phone or doing one more thing. Her message to me hit me loud and clear: Be. Present. With. Me. Mom. Yet, hanging over my head was a commitment to ME. I deserve a break! I have to get my practice in. If I'm going to do this journey called life and honor my needs I am going to have to say no. And then I thought to myself, maybe, just maybe saying yes is exactly what I need to be doing.

I feel the words stronger each day from those older who always utter(ed), "enjoy every minute, it goes fast," while toting the kids around. I used to be angry at those words and now I see the wisdom from them. Those women and men that, with passion, reminded me how important being in the moment was as a parent. I am now clear that they knew deep in their hearts that they were there once too. You know what I am talking about or at least have heard what I am talking about: sleep deprivation at its best, not a second for a shower or a conversation with anyone, and how about a new outfit or any time for your brain or body to rest, never feeling like you could catch up, and God knows getting ahead was for your neighbor. And in all the energy it takes to parent they remember how hard it was and how those moments of playing and present moments slip quickly away each year your kid grows. I now feel their hearts speaking to me as I reflect upon the happenings of today.

What is left of our version of "chocolate balls"

What is left of our version of "chocolate balls"

So today I decided to listen to my heart and what I needed today. And that was to slow down and make that choice a mama does to be with my daughter. I could have used some "me time" but looking back on my day today my decision to be present and feel gratitude for my kids and our health and their smiles and their wise and passionate eyes—WAS me taking care of me. I will never get today back and although I could have used that swim or the yoga or the walk I planned at 7:30 and got dressed for, instead I listened. My son was hysterical for mama at bedtime. Why? Because it is almost always me (because I am lucky) while my hubby cleans up. And I missed Thursday and Friday bedtime and both were also school days. He missed his mommy. And so I paused, felt, and said, sweet son, you are heard!

Just maybe me listening to my kids and their requests some of the days and some of the moments will wash out any of my shitty-mommy moments. I'm talking about the moments you take out your crappy day or internal struggles and subtly project them onto your kid(s). Those days and moments have been too many for me. I have struggled these last couple years and the kids (and my hubby) have had to deal with hormonal and emotional mommy/wife. I know this is not so easy on everyone and I know we all deserve better! 

So today I took care of me by trying my best to kick ass as a mom and a wife. Did I swear in front of them a couple times, maybe, but it was accidental. I feel extra firey lately. I know this is related to hormones, not enough sleep and a lack of quality yoga practices, specifically my mediations. When I fall asleep doing my mediations I do not tap into that inner peace that I feel when I have been dedicated. My mind becomes much more active, my fears louder and my patience; well, it's usually shit. That is how I know I must find a way to practice earlier, even on the days I am teaching at 6 or 7 am. I will figure it out. We are in transition and my self work is still going strong: I am listening more, supported greatly, changing my energy as fast as I can when I feel negative or am hard on myself or in old patterns. These are all huge wins for me. And what I can also say is that I am challenged right now as I work through this deep change—changes to thrive instead of suffer physically and mentally (and yes, this is subtle). And Rod Stryker in his Four Desires book says the hardest practice of yoga is change. So my friends, instead of being angry I didn’t get to have “me time,” I instead I loved through today by doing what my heart (and the heart of my kids) needed.

These little moments in my mind are wins. Again it comes back to living your life each day and honoring how life shakes it up for you. If we get SO wrapped up in the rules and the expectations/plans we set forth for ourselves can we actually listen and take the right action? And are we really taking care of ourselves first? Also, what happens when we miss what we planned to do? There is a good chance we spend a lot of energy and time beating ourselves up because yet again, we missed the mark. Self-criticism is not the goal of self-care or time for you. When moments that push you away from your version of “me time” happen, maybe you can think about them differently. Perhaps you needed to do something more important deep in your heart.

As I wrote this I couldn’t help but think of a quote Brené Brown references in her book, The Power of Vulnerability, that I would like to leave you with. It is from a book written by Lynne Twist’s book on scarcity, The Soul of Money: Reclaiming the Wealth of Our Inner Resources. You can also find the longer quote on Brene Brown’s blog post from 2008.

“For me, and for many of us, our first waking thought of the day is “I didn’t get enough sleep.” The next one is “I don’t have enough time.” Whether true or not, that thought of not enough occurs to us automatically before we even think to question or examine it. We spend most of the hours and the days of our lives hearing, explaining, complaining, or worrying about what we don’t have enough of. We don’t have enough exercise. We don’t have enough work. We don’t have enough profits. We don’t have enough power. We don’t have enough wilderness. We don’t have enough weekends. Of course, we don’t have enough money – ever.”

Well said; we are SO hard on ourselves! There truly are only 24 hours in each day and A LOT in our lives. Just today I challenge you think about your self-care or "me time" differently—because maybe you deserve a day off or a bath or rest versus a run. The more you allow freedom of what "taking care of you" looks like the more you will be free and empowered to keep making awesome choices for you that make you feel amazing! Try it for just one day or maybe even week—I know I will be doing it with you!

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin

Enjoy Every Minute Of It!

“They grow up so fast! Enjoy every minute of it!” How many times have you heard someone say this to a parent or to you as a parent? I would imagine it is the number one thing that people say to parents with little kids. I totally get it. The little kiddos with the sweet cheeks and the sparkling eyes are so damn cute. They are pure light and vitality. Children have innocence and joy and pure bliss written all over their expressive faces. I think on any given day we all might want a little bit more innocence in our adult lives.

Today I reflect on motherhood. Today is my daughter’s sixth birthday. I remember the day like it was yesterday; little did I know how much my life would change, my heart would change, and how much her little soul would teach me every day.

I have been blessed to mainly be home with the kids since I was laid off in 2011. These experiences in the last four plus years are a story of their own. I felt a huge pull after I was laid off to follow my dream of working in the wellness world. I became a certified personal trainer (2012) and went through an amazing yoga program to become a yoga teacher in 2013.  The past couple years I did a kettlebell training and barre training! I now teach barre and yoga and have a couple of personal training clients. However, my main job is being mommy. And that is where the next chapter of this story begins.

For the last year it has been so clear that I NEED to do more work in addition to being home with the kiddos. I believe in all of my heart that balance and finding what makes us content is different for each and every one of us. When I was working full-time I thought I wanted to be home with my daughter more. Once that became my reality my struggles with my mental-emotional self seemed to intensify. It got a little better when I was working as a personal trainer and doing part-time HR contract work. And then I had another baby (boy).  After the newness of having two kids wore off shit hit the fan. I was sad and angry and confused and so much more. Of course we had awesome moments and I did the best that I could, but I know I did NOT enjoy every minute of it. In fact I think I have written about this a few different times because let me tell you there are a lot of moments that I can barely breathe through and enjoying every minute of it is not happening. I know I am NOT alone. And this goes for anyone that is a parent...working full time, part-time or at home full-time (I can see a little head nodding with me). :)

I am now realizing that perhaps the advice of my husband to do more work outside of the house might have been the right advice a while ago. But for those of you that know me I am very stubborn. I decided that I had to find a way to dig deep and thrive being home full time. I was lucky right? I could stay in my pajamas in the morning and have an extra cup of coffee or go meet a friend at the coffee shop. I could go shopping, meal plan and go to the gym. I can actually have more time with them to play. Why would I want to go back to work? I can stay home with the kiddos when they are sick. I think you get the picture.

The answer is my soul is screaming at me to get out of the house and work. I want to live my passion. I want a break from being mommy so that when I am back I am filled with so much appreciation for the gifts that my children are to me that I can actually see them, feel them and show them. I know my sanity lies in space. I need space from this role as a mommy. I do NOT have all the answers on the work that will fill in the days when my son starts preschool soon. I am open to finding a balance between my corporate days and my wellness experience. And I know it will continue to evolve. However, the goal of obtaining health and wellness credentials was to follow my passion and to have more tools in my toolbox. And four years later my toolbox is bigger. I am sometimes so focused on what I have NOT done or how I have not been the perfect mom or my struggles that I forget to be grateful for what I have done. I know I am not alone in this regard. Maybe as you are reading this you might think of some things you have forgotten that you actually kicked ass at doing. If that is the case, give yourself a pat on the back! Feel PROUD! I know we all have done some amazing things and leaning into gratitude will only help you find more amazing things.

Outside of the gifts, the hugs, the cake and singing I am thinking a lot today about what I want to give my daughter (and my son…he thinks it is his birthday too)! I want to teach them to feel confident in their own skin. I want to teach my children to love themselves all the days. I want to teach my children to listen to their inner guide because their soul will guide them exactly where they need to be to thrive and to make a difference in the world. I want to teach my children to know it is okay to make mistakes and it is okay to not be perfect because nobody is perfect. I want to teach my children that when we make a mistake or a choice that doesn’t feel good we resolve it by saying we are sorry or doing something kind and move forward with forgiveness and grace. Move forward without shame, without the guilt we often find in that little voice that likes to scold us for not doing it perfectly. I want my children to feel so confident in their choices and their personalities that they are able to stand strong in what makes them feel good and right. I want them to be honest, brave, kind and true to themselves.  I want them to believe in themselves and life, always and forever.

So in this quite hour of the afternoon before the crazy begins I realize that if I do not feel these things in myself I will not be able to pass that along to these beautiful gifts in my life. These little people deserve a mom that acts on her intuition. They deserve a mom that loves herself despite struggling with things in life and despite that I am not perfect. I try each day to show up for me and some days are better than others.  But what I can say I have done very well is that I will NEVER give up. I owe it to them to keep going and to keep shedding some of these layers with my eating disorder stuff and parenting struggles (you know like yelling when I shouldn’t or maybe saying a bad word, etc.).  I owe it to those kids to pass on how I want them to feel by actually feeling it and living it in my own body, mind and soul.

So today I choose love, power, strength, faith, and surrender. What do you choose today? You are worthy of making a choice to bring in what you deserve. Keep asking yourself questions on why you think something or feel something and then ask yourself how you WANT to feel. You have the power to thrive and shine so so bright! Let's do this!

In love, light and gratitude,

Kristin