This post will be the first in a new series I’ll be doing here on Spoiled Yogi where I talk to inspiring moms in the yoga and mindfulness community about how they manage home and work life, take care of themselves and their families, and share their tricks and tips for a happier, more fulfilled life! Be sure to check back soon because there are so many inspiring women out there, and so much we can learn from them!
Lots of love,
|Photo by Ray Dumas|
On Creating a Joyful Life
When I first heard that my pal, Jennifer Fields-Williams had written a book, my first thought was, “Hell, yeah! I’m going to do everything I can to support this amazing mama because I know she’s awesome and has some really valuable things to share.” I didn’t expect her book to be such a big support to ME! The book hit me at just the right time, and it’s like Jennifer has psychic powers because she even wrote: “It’s no coincidence you picked up this book today.Your soul wants to be set free. Deep inside not only do you desire to fly, but you know you are capable of spreading your wings and soaring.” Umm… Yes! How did you know?
If you’ve been following my blog recently, you know I’m a little (or maybe a lot?) obsessed with self-care right now. It’s like after 3.5 years of being a mom, I’m finally realizing that my health is SOOOOO important. I know that I need to get it together so that my whole family can happier and healthier, too. In other words, I’ve just recently started taking my advice and realizing that, well, I was RIGHT all those times I told the sweet mindful mamas in my yoga classes to make time for themselves everyday. The struggle is real, people.
This is something that Jennifer knows all too well. As a mom of 6 kids, she’s a pro. So, if you’re struggling with self-care like I am, please do yourself a favor and buy a copy of her book NOW. You’ll be so glad you did. (Here’s the link: Creating A Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned From Yoga and My Mom.)
In the meantime, I picked Jennifer’s brain about writing her book, yoga, parenting, and all the amazing info she has to share.
Read on, mamas, there’s some major inspiration ahead…
Tell me why you decided to write Creating a Joyful Life: The Lessons I learned From Yoga and My Mom.
I didn’t set out to write a book. I was blogging and writing for magazines. Then life hit me pretty hard; the death of my mom, an unexpected divorce and drug addiction with one of my six children. Everyone kept asking how I did it? How I managed to keep it all together. Well the truth was although I didn’t feel like I was keeping it all together, I had no choice but to keep on moving forward. My kids’ future and my sanity were at stake. But I want people to know I’m not super woman. There were days I didn’t get out of bed and nights I considered ending it all. The small little baby steps I took are no different than the baby steps anyone can take to create a life they not only want to live, but can joyfully live.
Any woman who has ever looked around and said, “How the hell did I get here?” or “ How did this become my life?” Any woman who has ever doubted herself or questioned her choices will benefit from this book.
What do you think makes your book stand out from other yoga books out there?
My book is real. I’m a single mom of 6 kids. I don’t have the luxury of taking off to travel for a year and find myself. I don’t have a nanny, a chef, or even family in the same state to help me out. I had to live through all the bad stuff and put into practice everything that I had learned and been teaching. I had to walk the walk and talk the talk. This book is written by just an average woman and mom and I think that’s what it makes so relatable to other women.
Absolutely! In fact, people tried to get me to take the word yoga out of the title before it was published, but I refused because yoga played such a big part in my life and getting me to the place I am now. But, it really isn’t a traditional yoga book. I discuss very few poses in the book and instead focus on what I have learned as a teacher and a student and how I applied that to my life off the mat.
If people take away just one thing from your book, what do you hope it will be?
You are not alone. No matter what you are struggling with, there is someone else who is right there with you. And it is never hopeless or too late for you.
Tell me about how you manage to make time for yourself with SIX kids!? How do you make time for your yoga practice?
Fortunately my children are older now—the youngest is 10, so time for myself is a little easier. But just a little! In the book I talk about pulling over into a park to just sit quietly in my car alone for a little bit. And I will admit that some days I would drive the long way home from work just to have some quiet time before I got home. These days my bedroom is the gathering place for everyone in the evenings, which I love dearly, but I have a strict rule that at a certain time everyone out because it’s my quiet time. I think it’s important the kids understand that even moms need our alone time as well. Often while one kid is at an activity I will go to Starbucks with my laptop. The other kids know that is my time, just like dance is their time or baseball is their time to do the things they enjoy.
See also Perseverance Poses
What’s your best advice for a new, first-time mom?
Everyone says sleep when the baby sleeps, but for us Type A people that’s not really possible. So, I would say don’t get so worried about doing it “right” that you don’t trust your own instincts. Everyone is going to give you advice, and not all of it is good. Do the best you can with what feels right to you.
I have to pick just one? LOL. Looking back with the benefit of hindsight, the biggest mistake I made was not taking care of me. That might sound selfish, but let me explain. For too many years I was in a bad marriage but too afraid to leave. Take the anger, fear and resentment from the marriage, add it to an over-tired mom of six kids, throw in depression, and that’s a bad mix. I was so used to doing everything by myself I didn’t dare ask for help. And, also, I was embarrassed and ashamed to admit the truth of my marriage. I know that affected my parenting. I was so angry at the world I’m sure there were times that anger came out at the kids. If I could go back, the one thing I would do differently would absolutely be to speak up sooner and get myself professional help. A depressed mom isn’t capable of enjoying the good moments nor is she able to adequately handle the tougher times.
What do you do when you get stuck–creatively or in your yoga practice. How do you pull yourself out of a slump?
Exercise and self-care are vital to my creativity. I’m no longer the hard core gym rat I used to be, but even something as simple as a short walk can help me clear my head and move forward. When I’m entering a depressed period I become very dormant. I know the thing I need to do to help myself is write it out, but I don’t have the energy to do it. It’s a tough cycle to break. I’ve learned to force myself to do the self care things I need to do to stay healthy—wash my face, get outside, don’t isolate myself. And if medication is necessary, then get over it and take it. Your health is more important than any stigma attached to a chemical imbalance in your body.
See also Sneaky Self-Care
We can’t wait!
Now, I want to hear from you! Comment below and tell us what’s the biggest struggle you’ve faced as a mindful mama and what questions would you ask someone who’s walked the path before you (I’ll be sure to ask our next Mindful Mama for you!)
Pick up Jennifer’s book, Creating A Joyful Life: The Lessons I Learned From Yoga and My Mom, check out Jennifer’s amazing blog, Diapers, Detentions, and Downdogs, and be sure to check back soon for the next Mindful Mama post for more yoga, parenting, and life inspiration.
Read more …
5 Yoga Tips to Get Your Toddler to Sleep
6 Reasons Every Mama To Be Needs a Yoga Ball
3 Surprising Reasons Every Mama Needs a Yoga Mat (Or 3!)
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