present mama interview series
Founder of Spiritual Fitness, creator of the intenSati Method, and Mama of 3!
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU TO BE A PRESENT MAMA?
It means that I value doing the work to be present with my family during the mundane as well as the special moments.
YOU HAVE 3 KIDS AND YOU RUN YOUR OWN BUSINESS - HOW DO YOU FIND BALANCE BETWEEN BEING A MOM, WORK LIFE, AND EVERYTHING ELSE?
I do my best to be realistic about how much time things take and only give my time and attention to what has priority. If I am with my kids, I am with my kids and when I am doing work I focus on my work. If I am with my kids and thinking about work or what I have to get done instead of being present, everything is rougher. I have less patience and lose my temper too easily.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE TOOLS FOR FINDING MORE CALM IN THE CHAOS?
I wake up every morning by 5 am and take 2 hours for myself. I meditate, I make fresh juices for the day, I workout, and then I am ready to greet the family. That time in the morning reinforces the habit of staying present and gives me the tools to handle the chaos. I know that my energy affects everyone else’s. If there is chaos in the home, I take responsibility to calm myself down and I notice it helps everyone else calm down too. I don’t always succeed but at least I keep working towards it.
WHAT DOES “SELF-CARE” LOOK LIKE IN YOUR LIFE AND HOW DO YOU FIND THE TIME TO TAKE CARE OF YOU?
My self-care is absolutely non-negotiable. I am a beast if I don’t prioritize myself and everyone pays the price. It is the gift I give to my family and my business and my students. I go to bed when I put the girls down, so usually by 9pm. I do a night time routine of giving gratitude or savoring what was good about the day. Maybe I do it with my kids or my wife or just by myself so it is the last feeling I feel before I drift off to sleep. I workout every day even if it is for 15-20 minutes and make sure I am well fed so that I don’t eat off the kids plate and regret mindless eating and get into beast mode. It’s pretty basic but the important part is that it is part of my life like brushing my teeth. It’s non-negotiable and everyone in my family knows my routine.
YOU’RE HAVING A ROUGH DAY - EXHAUSTED, ARGUING WITH KELLEN (YOUR WIFE), NOTHING IS GOING RIGHT. WHAT DO YOU DO TO RE-SET?
Usually I cry first. Then I try to isolate myself for a while so I don’t do anything I will regret. My reset is based around getting my body out of fight mode. It may be a strong workout, a call with a friend, or a meditation to help me see the situation differently. But most importantly my number one priority is to not let it linger. Definitely no going to bed angry. My go-to meditation is a healing prayer called ho’opponopono. You breath deeply and get centered then you say, “I am sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you.” I say it towards myself, the situation, the other person, until I feel myself grounded. Then I can deal with the situation and not end up doing something I regret. So I reset before I regret. Very important for the longevity of a marriage.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST PIECE OF ADVICE FOR HANDLING MOM GUILT?
First thing is to know your values and priorities. I was feeling mom guilt a couple of years ago because I was working outside of my home and missing doing the mundane things for my girls like baths and meals. I realized that I was wanting to be doing those things and making those memories so I changed my work situation so I could work from home. I also travel for my business and am away sometimes on the weekends but I value my work and finding the balance I feel good about. I think it is so important to make sure you are doing things that light you up, that fills your soul so you can be present with the non-stop pressure of mothering. And besides that I say “I am sorry” a lot! Mom guilt is also guilt we have inherited and has been passed on for generations and generations. Sometimes I think, “Who’s guilt is this?" because this is simply too much guilt for that action! The key is not to push your guilt under the rug but feel it to heal it. Let it give you the information that will help you evolve and take care of what needs your attention. The more you question it and ask, “What is it that needs my attention?” the less guilt and the more good you will feel. It’s a wake up call to take care of something.
YOU TEACH SO MUCH ABOUT BEING KINDER TO OURSELVES, MORE FORGIVING, AND SELF-COMPASSIONATE - HOW DO YOU SEE THESE CONCEPTS RELATING TO MOTHERHOOD?
OMG it’s everything. It is how we teach our kids about forgiveness and self-compassion. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. If you don’t forgive on a daily basis you are going to be resentful, critical, judgmental, short tempered, annoyed and at your edge all the time. Forgiveness is an essential daily practice that will keep you sane as well as self-compassion. They open your heart. These feelings harmonize your heart and your brain, give you access to your heart’s wisdom and will be what helps you make better decisions so you have less regret and more joy in your life. One great way to be more compassionate is when you are having a rough time, acknowledge it. Sit down for a moment and give yourself a time out. Talk to yourself like you would talk to a frustrated child, with kind words and acknowledgement. Then think of all the other moms going through a rough time and maybe even have it rougher than you. Maybe they are single parents, in abusive relationships, or don’t have enough money or security. Think, “just like me there are moms feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. I am sending us all some love.” And imagine sending a huge ball of love to all the moms having a rough day, just like you. Taking the time to do that exercise for 3 minutes when you are stressed will absolutely change the course of your life. The key is, you have to do it.
WHAT’S THE THING THAT SURPRISED YOU MOST ABOUT BECOMING A MOM?
The thing that surprised me the most about becoming a mom was that I was not the “Mary Poppins” mom I thought I would be. I thought I would be the snow white of moms. I would feed my kids all healthy foods, I would play with them, and enjoy every moment. I would be able to handle the hard times easily. OMG!!! That didn’t work out so well. I am surprised at how angry I can get. I am surprised at how hard it can be. I am surprised at how much I am constantly being called to change and evolve my ideas and how even if one thing works one day, it probably won’t the next day. I am surprised how parenting is what will call me to be a better person than I ever dreamed I could be because It gives me plenty of opportunities to practice forgiveness, patience, love and compassion not because of the conditions but because if I don’t it is literally life threatening.
WHAT PIECE OF ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER TO THE MAMA OUT THERE WHO WANTS TO BE MORE PRESENT AND MINDFUL BUT HAS NO IDEA WHERE TO BEGIN?
Start by making it a rule that you find out what your non-negotiable DAILY self-care practices and stick to them no matter what. Train your kids and your partner to know what you need and support your partner and kids in figuring out what they need. Create an environment in your home where you say, “I will take care of me for you, and you take care of you for me.” Obviously age appropriate. Find one mantra or prayer or meditation that you love and use it daily so that you learn to generate positive life enhancing emotions so you fill yourself up. You are the leader and your energy affects everyone. They will be happy when you are calm and present so take the time to find your way of getting grounded and make it non-negotiable. No matter what. If you find what you love it won’t be “have to” it will be a “get to”.