Becoming a mother ranks as one of my most important life achievements. I love my two daughters with all my heart, but sometimes, I need a break like anyone else. Given I also work, finding quiet moments to sit in meditation proves difficult to say the least.
However, without my regular yoga practice, I doubt I’d be an effective parent. Even though parenting is a job I never get a holiday from, I wouldn’t change my life for the world. I’ve learned to make time for work, play and myself each day, and you can do the same.
Why I Love Being a Yoga Mom
When I had my first daughter, I maintained a regular yoga practice throughout my pregnancy. Most yoga poses cause little concern when expecting although I did refrain from doing any lying back poses out of fear of disrupting the flow of blood to my uterus. Once I started to show, I used a chair or a wall when doing standing balance pose to keep from tipping over — the extra weight around the middle wreaks havoc on your center of gravity.
Now that I have two littles to tend to, I rarely participate in an hour-long class. I simply lack the time for that. But I’ve found fitting 10 minutes of yoga in periodically throughout the day keeps my limbs limber and my head focused.
I begin my day with a 10 minute stretching routine which helps me wake up my spine and work out any kinks from sleeping in the wrong position. When I get a break at work, I’ll take a brisk stroll around the office followed by five minutes of stretching. I try to fit in longer sessions nearly every night, but I’ll be perfectly honest — it doesn’t always happen. Even though my oldest is in kindergarten, she still needs help with school projects on occasion. And of course, the four of us need to eat. I do squeeze at least five minutes of yoga time in before bed.
The techniques used in yoga spill over into everyday life. When my stress levels grow too high, the awareness I’ve built sitting in meditation allows me to step back from the situation, so I can see the matter more objectively. I’ve learned to practice mindfulness in many ways. Brushing my daughter’s hair when she’s getting ready for bed becomes worship; cooking my family dinner when it’s my turn becomes an opportunity to focus on the power of love.
Why I Love Being a Working Mom
I love working from home many days to be with my 5-month-old, but if I didn’t have a home office to retreat to, I’d probably go stark raving mad. I never got into the whole baby talk thing, and even my 5-year-old can drive me up a wall when she begins chattering on like a squirrel on amphetamines, dashing from one topic to the next without pausing to breathe.
I crave adult time and grown-up conversation. If I didn’t go into the office once or twice per week, I’m not sure how long my patience would last. Also, getting dressed instead of lounging in sweatpants makes me feel professional and reminds me that while yes, I’m a mom, I’m a human being, too.
Even on days I work from home, closing my office door and enjoying the sound of silence from the baby monitor is like a mini-happy hour with no alcohol. Finally, the sound of cartoons and the smell of yogurt dissipates, and I can find my writing zen. When my hubby is home, a closed office door means do not disturb.
Many women don’t realize how parenthood changes their sense of identity. Seemingly overnight, my name changed from “Jennifer” to “Mom.” Working while raising my family reminds me I have a lot to offer to the world besides changing diapers and suctioning out tiny allergic noses.
Plus, working gives me more control over my pocketbook. While my hubby and I maintain a joint account for household expenses, we each have our own savings as well. While I’m sure my DH wouldn’t begrudge me if I withdrew money from the joint account to buy a designer handbag (as long as I didn’t spend the electric bill money), I feel better about splurging on myself on occasion
I’m certain if I didn’t have a job, I’d make a worse mother. I’m very driven, and I fear that I may push too hard for perfection from my children if I were with them 24/7. Furthermore, I’d feel obligated to do all the housework, and let’s just say laundry really isn’t my bag, baby.
Finding Proper Work-Life Balance
Juggling work, home and family wasn’t easy at first, I won’t lie. But with time and patience, I found ways to structure my time for doing the heavy lifting, time for bonding with my children and time for taking care of my physical health. I’m proud to be a working yoga mom.
My goal is to encourage other young people just starting their families that having it all is possible. It may not always be pretty — it can be downright ugly sometimes — but in the end, everything all balances out. For that, I am happy and grateful in life, and I want you to be, too!