Pre kids and pre marriage, when I was in my twenties I would practice yoga a few times a week. I loved the way my body would flow, the stretch it would give, the relaxation I would feel when it was done. Life then, seemed a lot simpler, yet at the time didn’t even know it.
Fast forward 20 years, I am a mom of two who works part time from home. My daily routine consists of pretty much the same thing when it comes to the kids and I noticed that I was starting to change.
My behaviour was changing. My tolerance became shorter and I was more tired than usual. I wasn’t as ‘happy go lucky’ as I once was. I didn’t know the reason for it. It wasn’t as if I was cooped up. I have a flexible schedule and spent an hour a few mornings a week for myself. But then I would be home to manage the household and try to get some new work. But something wasn’t right. My husband noticed it also…well, how could he not when I was yelling and fighting with him too?
I realized that I put a lot on my own shoulders without even knowing it. My husband works downtown, full time and is gone for at least 10-12 hours a day. Managing the household was up to me. And I started to feel the pressure. The pressure of that, as well as not having a steady job or income.
It is up to me to me to ensure the kids are up, dressed, fed, lunches made and to school every morning. Making sure that the laundry loads left over from the weekend were folded and put away. Making sure that the bills are paid, the shopping was done, the house was stocked and the random errands that need to be done, are done. Then picking up the kids every afternoon, getting homework done, getting dinner made, getting showers out of the way, and into bed.
Now this all seems typical probably to most. I’m a mom, I should know this is part of ‘the job’. Don’t get me wrong…I don’t consider it a job to take care of my kids. I love doing it. I love being able to have my mornings and afternoons with my kids. We chose to have me working from home so that we could save on a caregiver or after school program, and knew that certain sacrifices had to be made.
I just didn’t realize that it would take a toll on me.
My husband and I knew that in order for me to feel better, I needed to do something about it. I needed to learn to relax, and take my mind off of everything for at least a little bit before I go crazy.
I knew one way that would work for me was getting back into yoga. And though it has only been 3 weeks of making yoga a weekly morning ritual, I can already feel a difference.
Here are 5 things yoga has taught me:
1. To breathe – There are heated moments almost daily; the kids aren’t listening, you are just trying to get out the door to get to school on time but no one is ready, the kids won’t eat but they were starving a second ago….there are too many frustrations to count. I have learned to try to take a step back and pause before I get into my head and yell. If I remember to pause, I remember to breathe. A big breath in and a long release. Do this a few times and it will almost instantly calm you down, make you level headed again, and allow you to talk to your child with patience instead of anger.
2. To relax – I always blamed my years spent in the restaurant industry as my excuse for my sense of urgency. When I have my mind set on something, it has to be that way, and done exactly then. And I’m never late…and it bugs me to no end when I need to be somewhere but I’m waiting on others. This sense of urgency has caused arguments in my house because my husband is a little more relaxed than I am (he will tell you A LOT more 😉 ) So now, I am trying to simmer down a bit, relax a little and not to sweat the small stuff.
3. To live in the moment – For me it feels there is always something going on or something to do. My mind barely takes a break. Yet even when there isn’t something to do, I can’t handle it. I used to be a person who could just chill out and do nothing. But now, I always feel that there is something I need to be doing. I decided to take 20 minutes to myself last weekend to care for a sore back and take an epsom salt bath and just stop. But after a short time, I got bored. My mind started racing. I realized that I’m in my head and thinking way too much! I had to force myself to stay in longer. When I’m on my own because the kids are elsewhere or I have the chance to be without them for a little while, I don’t know what to do with myself. I have forgotten how to live in the moment and just BE. I need to get out of my head and stop thinking that something needs to be done. Laying on my yoga mat in savasana, letting everything go and letting the thoughts leave my head has been hard. But I am slowly learning to let it go and just live in the moment.
4. To be healthy – I’m always on my kids about what they eat. My oldest son (as I’ve said before) is extremely picky. I’m lucky if I get him to eat one fruit or one vegetable a day. And if I’m on my kids about their health, then I have to be about mine as well. As moms we want to be around for our kids for as long as we can. We want to be able to run with them and play with them when they ask. Not to be too tired to pick up a hockey stick and shoot on them for a while. I have gone through a lot of changes in the past number of months to change my eating habits (though still allowing my chocolate snacking addiction), and improve my overall health. I have learned more about my body and have become more aware of my body with each passing week. And let me tell you, it feels good!
5. That less is more – We have all heard this phrase in one way or the other. But it wasn’t until recently that I realized its true meaning. I try to do so much. I try to be there for everything. Even when I don’t want to be. I aim to please others more than I do myself. I always try to do more. But now, less is more. We do what we can. Just like in a yoga class…I’m no expert! I’m not as flexible or ‘bendy’ as others. And that is OK! I do what I can and work hard at it. Because what I can do is good enough. Listen to your body, your heart, your mind. It will tell you what you need to know.
Everything we feel as mothers is normal. It is how we deal with them that matters. And thanks to yoga, it has given me a new perspective that I will try to strive for everyday. So moms out there who are struggling with everyday stresses from work or from your kids, or whatever, take a moment to pause, breathe, relax, and let go. Yoga and motherhood really go hand in hand.