Mom Burnout: We've all been there, but we can move through it

It's real and it's brutal: Mom Burnout. It creeps up on us a little bit at a time and, before we know it, we are consumed by it. We enter motherhood with an idealized vision of what life will be like, and in many ways motherhood is more beautiful and more amazing than we ever could have imagined. But in many ways it is more challenging and draining, more exhausting and depleting, than we ever could have imagined. After sleepless nights, the demands around the house, and day after day of constantly nurturing everyone else except ourselves, we find ourselves at the end of our ropes. This is Mom Burnout.

When mom is burnt out, everyone feels it: the words are harsher, the sighs are louder, the smiles are fewer. Suddenly everything in the home feels stressful and nothing runs smoothly. Mothers are pivotal, we are an anchor for the house and the family. When this anchor starts to lose its grip, the entire ship begins to drift away.

But these demands aren't going anywhere. Babies may sleep and they may not. Toddlers may wake up happy and they may not. Children may agreeably eat their dinner and they may not. So how do we notice the signs of Mom Burnout before we are consumed, before we are completely depleted? There are things we can do, things that can help us dig our anchor in just a bit deeper.

1. Speak up. Ask for help. Do not hold it in. Ask your spouse, your family, your friends, your neighbor. Reach out to support groups. Remember that it takes an entire tribe, a whole village, the community to raise a child. Reach out and connect. Help is a beautiful thing. Don't be afraid of it.

2. Release the pressure. Stop comparing. Our society has created this idea of a mother who has it all under control, every single day, without any help: a clean house, smart and obedient children, organic meals made from scratch, a never-fading smile, a sweet and gentle voice, and she showered, brushed her teeth and put on heels today. I haven't met this mother yet, not the one who pulls this off every day and on her own. The pressure to become this mother is heavy, so just release it. Stop comparing yourself to other moms. We all have our own challenges and mountains to climb. Let's climb together instead of trying to reach the top first. (Hint: There is no top.)

3. Take breaths, deep breaths, and root down in the moment. Motherhood is constant and it keeps us on our toes. So breathe, take moments to be where you are, exactly where you are. Be present in motherhood, even throughout the challenges. The inhale and the exhale will carry us through the struggles and allow us to experience what motherhood is handing us. We hold so much more strength than we ever could have imagined. And thank goodness for that!

4. Nourish yourself, really and truly. Schedule time. Make time. Demand a morning, a day, a weekend. Motherhood will empty your cup, and filling up your own cup will only give you more to offer those around you. So make it a priority. Make YOU a priority. One of the best things we can do for our kids is to take care of ourselves. Don't spend so much time and energy on everyone else that you forget yourself. You are important.

mom and baby yoga mom burnout

The 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood: Pranayama

On our journey up the 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood, the next limb we come to is Pranayama, but we'll call it PranaMama since we're bringing this all back to motherhood. Prana is breath, it's the life force, the constant inhale and exhale that brings energy to our being. Pranayama(Mama) is the control or regulation of this breath, often through exercises and specific techniques. This simple practice, this holds so much power, and it is a great tool for mothers!

Our breath is beautiful. It can be nourishing and energizing, bringing vitality to our bodies and clarity to our minds. Motherhood is beautiful too. But it a can feel depleting at times, leaving us exhausted and drained. Our prana is a guiding light out of this darkness and back into the light. Just like when we practice yoga, in motherhood we must also continue to come back to this powerful breath. We must acknowledge when the tides of motherhood are carrying us out too deep, and return to our inhale and exhale to feel grounded, supported and strong once again.

We walk through our days with shallow inhales and exhales that are cut short. We forget about this thing we have called breath, and we ignore the strength we can draw from it. The hours fly by and the days tumble into each other. We are scrambling to keep up and to be the best mothers we can be. It's so easy to forget to take time for this beautiful thing called breath. But we must.

So sit down mama. Relax the muscles your jaw. Draw your shoulder blades just slightly closer on your back. Breathe in through your nose and feel the cool air travel in through your nostrils. Feel your lungs expand completely, your belly rising. Embrace that fullness.

Pause at the top of that inhale. Can you sip in just a bit more? Now pause again.

Now move into the exhale. Releasing the air back out through your nose. Feel your belly release, your lungs emptying fully as the last of the warm air leaves your nostrils. Embrace that emptiness.

Pause at the bottom of that exhale. Can you release just a bit more? Now pause again.

Repeat if you like. Notice the shifts.

Draw strength from this practice of PranaMama. Feel grounded and supported. Welcome in that clarity and peace. We can all use a bit more of this in our lives. Now venture back out into that world of motherhood, and know that these inhales and exhales are always here, right here, when you need them.

Mom and Baby Pranayama

The 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood: The Ahhhsana

The third limb of yoga in the 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood is Asana, or as we’ll call it here: Ahhhsana. This is the part of yoga that many of us know well; it’s often times what brought us to the mat in the first place. It’s the movement, the postures. It’s the opening and the closing, the expansion and the contraction of the body. And we call it the Ahhhsana because it should feel like that word sounds. It should nourish and rejuvenate and replenish and restore.

Motherhood is so demanding and so much is required of our bodies. We grow a human life, we expand to make room for that life to develop and mature, and then we bring that life into this world. We endure long days, sleepless nights and late night feedings. Then we find the strength to get up and do it all again the next day and the next. We pick babies up and put them down and pick them up and put them down. Then we pick them up again. We hold our little beings on our hips with one hand while we make dinner with the other hand. We open the stove with our foot and close the fridge with our shoulder. Our bodies become off balanced and stressed. We develop carpal tunnel syndrome and our posture goes downhill.

And during all of this, we often times put our own needs last. We focus so intently on our darling babies, our babies who almost always need something from us, and we put our own needs on hold. It’s so easy to say that we are being selfless in doing this, but are we? Is it really best for our families if our health declines? If we do not make ourselves a priority and take care of our physical bodies, we will one day find that we have less to give and share with those we love.

So welcome Ahhhsana into motherhood. Find time each day, even if it’s just for 5 minutes, to reach up high and bend down low, to twist your spine and extend your limbs. Open your heart and expand your ribcage. There is so much healing that happens when we connect with these postures and move through our Ahhhsanas.

Many mothers have so little time, and committing to a yoga practice can feel like a scary step to take. Make it small. Roll your mat out and keep it rolled out for an entire week. When you pass it, step onto it and hold one posture, just one. See how it feels. Touch your toes or hold a Warrior pose. See how it feels. And the next time you pass that mat, do it again. Come up into Cobra or balance into Tree pose. See how it feels. Maybe commit to one simple flow, perhaps a series of 5 postures. And bring your little one onto the mat with you. Let them crawl under you in downward facing dog and climb up your legs in chair pose. Make it fun and playful, and make it feel good. Enjoy your Ahhhsana.

Motherhood is hard and it takes a toll on our bodies. We are doing a disservice to everyone in our lives if we do not take the time to nourish, rejuvenate, replenish and restore these amazing bodies. So take the time, commit to a posture and then maybe another. Roll your mat out. This, mama, this is the first step.

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The 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood: The Mama Niyamas

As we continue to climb through the 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood, we move on from the first limb, the Mama Yamas, to the second limb, the Mama Niyamas. While the Mama Yamas focus on motherhood’s social guidelines and ethical practices, the Mama Niyamas hone in on personal behavior and observances. They speak directly to self-discipline and the daily practices of motherhood.

Again, we have 5, so let’s jump right in…

  1. Saucha: cleanliness, purification. With motherhood comes a whole new definition of cleanliness. On one hand, we want to feed our baby the cleanest food, use the purest detergents and soaps to wash their clothes, keep germs and dirt away from them. But on the other hand, keeping a clean house becomes more challenging, finding time to cook meals from scratch can seem impossible, clutter seems to pile up in all corners. The things we welcomed into our lives to purify our own bodies and minds (massages, meditation, sleep, exercise), even these are bumped low on the priority list. The practices and standards we had before motherhood are challenged in every way once we take on this new role in life. But it is so important, both for our families and ourselves, that we incorporate Saucha into our daily lives. We must consider how our daily practices are affecting our family. Is the home clean (not spotless of course!) so that it’s a safe and healthy environment for our children? Are we eating healthy food that will nourish and fuel our bodies? Are we minimizing pesticides and parabens and unhealthy, unnatural additives? Find what is important to you and your family. Figure out what your standards are and where your boundaries lie.
  2. Santosha: contentment. This one sounds so easy, and it can be. But it can also be hard. Before we were mothers, we had goals. We had dreams and aspirations. And then we became mothers and our priorities may have shifted. Our goals may have taken a back seat, perhaps temporarily. Our dreams and aspirations stood to the side while we battled sleepless nights and struggled to find the time to eat a proper meal, ideally sitting down but usually not. And this reality can be jarring and it can be hard. Or maybe we had an idea of how motherhood would roll out. We saw ourselves moving through it with ease and grace, but the reality was something less flowery. Parts of ourselves are put on hold as we navigate this journey. And the journey in itself comes with highs and lows, often times unexpected ones. But this is where Santosha comes in. Santosha is the daily practice of reminding yourself that you are enough, that you are not lacking, that you don’t need to be someone else. It’s embracing contentment and gratitude and turning away from resentment and jealousy. Instead of looking at other mothers and feeling inadequate, Santosha welcomes in presence and peace with your own motherhood journey.
  3. Tapas: discipline. Ah yes, discipline! Just as Santosha teaches us to seek contentment in the present moment in motherhood, Tapas asks us to find the discipline to move towards our goals. Who are we and who are we becoming? What are we creating and how are we building? It often seems that motherhood leaves little time for this, but the opportunities are there. We must have the discipline to find them and the discipline to pursue them. So whether this pertains to goals you are pursing for your family or goals you are pursuing for yourself, it comes down to discipline. Discipline isn’t easy, but it is so important.
  4. Svadhyaya: self-study. The glory of self-study. It’s scary. It’s raw and it’s so revelatory. We find the most truth when we take the time to truly study ourselves in this motherhood journey. How are we responding and how are we reacting to the circumstances of our day? And is this aligned with the intentions we carry into motherhood? It is so easy to stray and to be distracted from the morals and ideals we believe are so important. Motherhood gets busy and messy and stressful. But each day, at the end of the day, we have the chance to revisit our choices and contemplate our actions as mothers. This is self-study and it does not always come easy, but it is very important.
  5. Isvarapranidhana: self-surrender to a higher being or purpose. This one is so personal, it’s so specific to you. But there’s a constant, there’s something we have in common here: We must have courage. We must be brave and understand that there are pieces that are out of our control, and that is ok. In fact, there’s a lot of power and beauty behind this, but it can be hard to embrace. The power comes when we are able to release the idea that we must have complete control, when we are able to lift up our arms and let go of the need to own it all. Motherhood is the epitome of this. We bring life into the world, we nourish and cherish it, and then we watch it go off and become its own glorious thing. It is surrender at its highest point. So let go mama, let go.

How do the Mama Niyamas speak to your motherhood journey and how can this framework encourage you to approach motherhood more consciously? Where is there room to grow and to expand as a mother? Stay tuned for more...

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5 Ways to Practice Ahimsa in Motherhood

We recently took a deep dive into the Mama Yamas, which make up the first limb, the foundation of the 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood. There are 5 of them, so it was a lot of information to digest. But now that you have the high-level view of the Mama Yamas, we are going to spend the next week focusing on incorporating them into our lives, working them into motherhood one at a time. Because talking (or reading) about guidelines and practices is only part of the process, now it’s time to build these into our days as we move towards a more mindful approach to motherhood.

Beginning with the first Mama Yama, Ahimsa, which means non-harming and non-violence, here are 5 ways to weave this into your day and hopefully, eventually your life.

  1. Harm and violence manifest in many ways in our daily lives, and so often this is directed at ourselves. So often the most painful dialogue takes place within our own minds, directed inwardly. But before we can truly make mindful shifts in life, we first need to be aware of what we are shifting. So this week, be aware. Just be aware. Listen to the words you are speaking to yourself. Hear what it is that you say when you look in the mirror, when you make a mistake, when you feel like you fall short of your expectations. Just listen. Tune in. Be aware.
  2. And this internal dialogue also flows out to those around us. So this week, also be mindful of the words you speak. Be mindful of the intentions behind those words. Be aware of the negativity, the passive aggression, the hurt that likes to creep into our messages. Negativity spreads so quickly, but so does positivity. Spread positivity. Spread love. Begin with your words.
  3. Mothers so often harm themselves, completely unintentionally. In our quest to love those around us, to provide for them any and everything, we often neglect to do the same for ourselves. And this happens over and over, day after day. And then this becomes a habit. And then this becomes the norm. And then our entire self is being poured into those around us and nothing is coming back to fill us up again. Soon the well runs dry. This week, allow yourself to make yourself a priority. Start with something simple. Demand 10 minutes a day to do what you want. Read. Write. Walk. Sit in silence. Fill yourself back up again. Soon this will become a habit. Then it becomes the norm. Then you are filling yourself up, over and over again, and you have so much more to give.
  4. Every time we choose to eat, we are making a decision regarding Ahimsa, but rarely do we even notice it. Every time we buy food at the grocery store or cook dinner, we have an opportunity to practice non-harming. Food is the fuel that we live off of. As mothers, we are often so involved in this decision for our families. What are we eating? What are we feeding them? How is this nourishing us? How is this harming us? Be aware. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, but at least begin to be aware of the decisions you are making here. So much of this can become auto pilot, bring awareness back into this. Make these decisions consciously. As you choose food this week, be aware. Notice your habits here. Notice how and why you are making the decisions you are.
  5. Find movement. This body is miraculous. It carries us through our days and provides for us in ways we don’t even notice. But it was made to move. These muscles want to reach and stretch. These joints want to bend. These bones don’t want to sit in stillness for too long. Bring movement back into your life in a way that nourishes your body. And move with your little ones. Let their little bodies stretch and roll and twist and move. If we make this a part of our days and then our lives, it becomes a part of theirs too. This week find 5 minutes each day to move with your little one. Dance to a song, run down the sidewalk, do yoga, play at the park, crawl through the grass. Anything, but do it once a day.

As you begin to weave this into your days, notice any changes, any shifts. Moving away from harm and violence into a life of Ahimsa requires effort. It means we have to shift our routines and change our habits. It means we have to find different ways to view the world and those around us. But it also means that we become a channel of love and peace, and that, after all, is such an important piece of navigating through motherhood consciously and mindfully.

Ahimsa in Motherhood

The 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood: The Mama Yamas

As we begin our journey into the 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood, we have to start at the beginning, the foundation, the first limb, the Yamas. The what? Yes, the Yamas, or what I call: The Mama Yamas.

The Mama Yamas are all about your integrity, your social guidelines, your ethical practices in motherhood.The Mama Yamas show up in your day before you even step on the mat. They sit with you while you move through your practice. And they leave the mat with you, journeying through the rest of your day right by your side. They are real and raw and bring you back to the basic fundamentals of humanity, the heart of who we are and how we navigate this life as mothers.

There are 5 of them, so grab a cup of tea (or perhaps that 9th cup of coffee if your baby didn’t sleep last night) and let’s get started…

  1. Ahimsa: non-harming. There are obvious ways that this applies to motherhood: not harming your child and providing all of the amazing care and compassion and love that you’re capable of giving your little one. But non-harming is bigger than this in motherhood. As mothers, as women, we are hardest on ourselves. We are the first to be deprived of something so that we can provide for those we love. And now, with a little baby asking for every ounce of our energy, we often find ourselves deprived. So Ahimsa also means non-harming towards ourselves, because we can only love our best when we are at our best. So go easy on yourself. Ask for help. Take a nap while someone watches your baby. Allow friends and family to cook for you. Tell yourself that it’s ok if your house isn’t spotless. You may find throw-up in your hair. That’s ok. And give your body some love. It may not look or act like it did before you were pregnant, but this amazing body of yours has grown a human being and is now supporting that life. That’s remarkable and deserves love. It’s not about lowering your standards in any way, it’s about finding a healthy balance in life as it is right now.
  2. Satya: non-lying. I believe the beauty of Satya in motherhood relates to our honesty with ourselves and the decisions we are making every day. It’s about living a life aligned with your values, one where you are completely honest in thought, speech and action. You say things are fine. Are they? Or do you actually need to ask for help? You say you want your children to be kind humans. Are you showing them what that looks like? You tell your children to speak nicely? Are you speaking nicely? You say you want your child to grow up to be a confident, independent and adventurous. Are you leaving space for this in their lives today? Oh man, this one can be a bit challenging at times. It is a chance to reflect on who you are and how you are moving through this life. Are they aligned? Are you being truthful to yourself?
  3. Asteya: non-stealing. We have so many distractions in our lives, so many things asking for our attention, demanding our attention. It’s a constant battle. Are we stealing away the best of ourselves from those who deserve it most? The truth is that there will always be something out there for us to like, to watch, to follow, to comment on. There’s always more. And then more still. But every moment we disconnect from what’s real, from what’s happening around us, is a moment we are stealing from those in our presence. And it all comes down to exactly that, presence. Are we present? Are we truly there, engaged and involved in the moment? These children are. It’s all they know. But sometimes the moment gets lonely for them. The find themselves right by our sides, but completely alone. So disconnect to connect. Stop stealing these precious moments, this presence, from the ones who need it most.
  4. Brahacharya: how we use our energy, both the ways we conserve it and the ways we expend it. The demands on mothers are endless, but our energy is not. We have a limited amount of ourselves that we can give to the rest of the world, to our families and friends and communities. We must be mindful in how we direct this energy. We must also find ways to protect this energy, taking time to restore and recharge. The word “no” is not an easy one for many of us to say. We like to please, we like to help, we like to take on more and more so that we can contribute to those around us. But there comes a point, and it sneaks up on us, when giving more results in giving less across the board. So be mindful of your energy. Be conscious of where you are directing it. Take inventory of your obligations and your commitments, and be sure that they are meaningful and purposeful. And, of course, do not forget to slow down and recharge. The world moves fast and motherhood is demanding. Protecting your energy is your responsibility. Never forget this.
  5. Aparigraha: non-greediness, non-possessiveness. As a mother you may feel like you are constantly giving and sacrificing. That’s what mothers do. But in what ways are you being greedy and possessive as it relates to your goals in motherhood? If you look closely, you may be surprised. We want to desperately to protect our little ones from the world, but deep down we know that is not possible. They will know loneliness and fear and sadness. They will feel isolated at times and hopeless at other times. These feelings are a part of life and we cannot shield them from the shadows, as much as we may want to. It is in living through these moments that our children will come out stronger on the other side. So instead of trying to own their path, to direct and control, it is our jobs to equip them with the tools they need so that when these moments arise, they can confidently navigate them. And then, at some point, we have to release them and let them move forward. Our children are ours, but also they are not.

In what other ways do the Mama Yamas relate to your own motherhood journey? How can this foundation, this first limb, help to shape your approach to motherhood?

We are never perfect, and we are always evolving in this life. Leave room for this in motherhood as well. Practice mindful mothering. Move forward with intention. Begin with a solid foundation: The Mama Yamas.

Stay tuned for the next post…the Mama Niyamas!

Mama Yamas 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood

The 8 Limbs of Yoga in Motherhood

I remember sitting in my yoga teacher training years ago and learning about the 8 limbs of yoga. I found this approach to living a conscious, mindful existence to be refreshing and grounding. It expanded my idea of what yoga was and exploded the possibilities of how yoga could be a part of my life. I committed to fully exploring each limb and weaving them into my existence.

And then I had a child and everything changed. My time on the mat was reduced to a few minutes a day, maybe even just a few minutes a week. My reading material went from books that enriched my soul, to scouring the internet for quick tips on mothering: What should a breastfeeding mother eat? Will I ever sleep again? Are there any meals I can make in 2 minutes? It was survival mode folks.

But one day I was walking past my dusty shelf of long neglected books. Pablo Coehlo was flagging me down. Irving Stone looked at me with disappointment. Even Jane Austen was taunting me. And then I saw my yoga books and I thought surely I had some time to skim a few pages between diapers and tummy time. I randomly opened to a page that discussed the 8 limbs of yoga, the 8 components to living a meaningful and purposeful life. I recalled my dedication to these limbs in my past life as a non-mom and wondered how they fit into my life as a mother. Surely I still wanted to live a meaningful and purposeful life, perhaps now even more than before.

And so began my quest for the 8 limbs of yoga in motherhood. Yoga changed my life 10 years ago and reshaped the way I viewed myself and the world around me. It has been profound for me in many ways. And surely I would want to carry this into my life as a mother. Being a mother has brought new meaning and purpose to my life, but along with that has come the hardest challenges and deepest struggles. As a mother, if ever there was a time for living a conscious and mindful existence, this is truly it.

So stay tuned in the next few weeks as we take a deep dive into The 8 Limbs of Yoga as they pertain to Motherhood. We’ll take on the Yamas, the Niyamas, Dhyana, even Samadhi and much more. Are these words new to you? If yes, that’s totally ok. Really, it is. I’ll walk you through them. Hopefully this journey will support your motherhood journey, lift you up, shift your perspective, challenge you, inspire you, whatever it is that you need right now as a mom. Or perhaps it won’t. And that’s ok too. But for me, this has provided a framework for motherhood. This has been the bridge between my identity as a yogi and my identity as a mother. It’s been eye-opening, inspiring, grounding. I hope you find a piece of this too.

Stay tuned…

Melissa Kushnaryov, Co-Founder Seed & Song

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana with Baby

What to Expect from our Mom & Toddler Yoga & Music Classes

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". These may be the first lines of the classic piece of literature, A Tale of Two Cities, but they could also be the title of a memoir describing daily life with a toddler. These little people are so darn fun and SO utterly exhausting! They seem to be here specifically to call us to dig into our deepest wells of peace, patience and forgiveness. There are moments, most likely at least once a day, when mothering a toddler when you say to yourself, "I have no idea how to do this" or "I am SO frustrated!" We get it. They are testing their boundaries. They are growing and changing at exponential rates and they are testing you constantly. 

Our team at Seed & Song gets it. We are in the midst of mothering toddlers. We are still trying to figure out how to not throw your own tantrum when dealing with your toddler's tantrum. This is exactly why we have created our Seed & Song Mom and Toddler class. We want to teach our toddlers how to speak, explore and play with others. Even more than this, we want to teach them how to be strong, how to find peace and patience within themselves, and how to be kind. We need this for ourselves too. Our toddler class is fast paced, full of amazing music, yoga (for mom too!), art, and play BUT at the heart of this class are the principles we know you are trying to live out and teach your child. We will be fostering a space to take a breath, be kind to our neighbors, and love each other.  

Start Out With Seed & Song: Incorporating Music & Yoga Into Your Prenatal Journey

It's important to start out right- to start your day right, to start a project with the correct materials, to start a journey with the right map and the necessary supplies. Motherhood is the same. This is why we are thrilled to be launching our Seed & Song Prenatal Class. 

There are many prenatal yoga classes, and this is wonderful. Staying fit, flexible, centered and calm during the pregnancy journey is essential. Our program, designed by certified yoga instructors, music therapists and mothers, builds on these principles and takes them to another level. Just like our mom and baby and mom and toddler classes, all our music is created by board certified music therapists with the aim of supporting the movement through the music. The messaging of our music is designed specifically with mama and baby in mind. 

There are many wonderful mom and baby music classes but not as many programs for integrating music into the pregnancy journey but it is so important. We know that babies develop hearing at 18 weeks and that newborns recognize and respond to the sound of their mothers voice from the moment they are born. Talking and singing during pregnancy is a wonderful way for mothers to connect with their baby in utero. Our classes encourage music participation and singing throughout. We also teach moms songs they can sing throughout pregnancy and then take these songs into their child's life to teach and soothe them. 

Start out with Seed & Song. This unique program will truly support you and guide you as you prepare for you baby. 

Releasing Perfection in the Motherhood Journey

It’s a new year and everything is filled with the promise of a “new you”: a new diet, a new workout regimen, a new commitment, a new routine, a new anything and everything, as if "new" and "better" and "more" is precisely what we need. And as moms we judge ourselves harder than most, because our decisions, our choices spread beyond ourselves and truly impact the little ones in our lives. We hold ourselves to such high standards, we strive for perfection and take on more and more while our plates are already full. Often times we develop an idea of perfection and we reach for it, we reach high. And every day we are faced with so many challenges, and so many chances to overcome these challenges with grace or to be overcome by them. At the end of the day, we may wonder if we moved any closer to that idea of perfection. Did we cover any ground? Will we ever get there?

But where is this idea of perfection coming from? And is anyone really ever achieving it? We live in a world of airbrushing and filters. We see lives portrayed on social media and we think that is life, that is real, that is what we are reaching for. But is it? This world is filled with struggle, and motherhood can be one of the greatest. To step into the identity of a mother and to expect ourselves to walk this journey in perfection, it is perhaps one of the greatest injustices we can do to ourselves.

So release this. Release the idea of perfection. Open up to the mother you are, the mother you are always becoming, and embrace this identity. We can always hope to walk through the journey of motherhood with a little more grace, a little more patience, a little more ease. But we cannot ask ourselves to walk through this journey with perfection. We cannot expect ourselves to match those airbrushed versions of womanhood, those staged and filtered versions of motherhood. The curated images are not the real journey.

There is the Dark and the Light, in Motherhood too

My two year old daughter has recently become fascinated with light. She loves flashlights and the lights on our Christmas tree. She especially loves those little battery operated candles that you can switch on and off. The other morning she grabbed one of these candles and switched it on. When it didn't shine brightly she looked at me and said "this one isn't working". I explained to her that it was working if you look closely but that we can really see the light of the candles when it is dark. 

As we approach the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, we are enveloped in more darkness than usual. The earth reminds us of the need for dark, of shadow, waiting, and stillness. 

While the earth is darker, we adorn our homes with light. Whether it is with lights on our Christmas tree, candles on the Hanukkah menorah, or the light of a fire we gather around. This season is full of dark and light. 

And so it is with our souls and our hearts. Especially as mothers, we daily experience dark and light. There are the sleepless nights, the fears and the complete frustration. And then there is the purest joy, love and sweetness. We are made of shadow and light. Our lives are made of dark and light. They both hold lessons and gifts for us and our children. 

 

How can we lean into darkness and see its hidden gifts? How can we approach the shadows without fear, knowing they also reveal the light? This season offers us an invitation into this mystery.  

Thriving in Motherhood: Find your Mom Circle

It’s simple: mothers need other mothers. If you’re already a mother, you may already know this. But if you’re a new mother, expecting or just beginning to plan, this simple truth may be one of motherhood’s best kept secrets. We women are strong, resilient and determined. We take pride in being self-reliant and capable. We will take on motherhood with the same determination and strength that we’ve used in the rest of our lives. But we don’t have to do it alone and we shouldn’t do it alone. We aren’t expected to. It takes a village to raise a child, this is certainly true. But your village must include other mothers, because they enrich your village in ways no one else can. They are one of your bests assets in surviving and thriving the beautiful chaos of motherhood. We all know motherhood is a journey. It’s a gift and a blessing. But it can be hard and lonely and scary and unknown and uncertain and so tough at times.

But other moms, they get it. They give you strength, support, empathy, opinions, stories, assurance, laughs, cries and love. They truly understand what you’re living each day and they can help you through in a way no one else can.

So get out there. Seek out your mom group, find your sister circle. Go beyond connecting in the digital world. Find a moms group in your community. Sign up for mom and baby classes. Go to meet up groups. Go to the park. Introduce yourself. Start to find your tribe, form your support group, create your mom circle. It is most definitely one of the keys to thriving in motherhood.

Releasing Expectations and Embracing Gratitude

We have expectations, expectations of ourselves, our spouses, our children, those around us. We expect that the day will unfold a certain way. We plan and prepare as best we can so that everything will get done, everyone will accomplish what they need to accomplish and things will go the way we expect.

Expectations can be good. They usually move us in the direction we want to go in. They may bring about certainty and edge us toward sanity.

But expectations can be the thief of gratitude. When we cling to these things, when we hold to them so tightly and allow ourselves to be disappointed when they are not met, we lose the opportunity to be grateful for the way things unfold in our world. We miss out on the chance to experience unexpected beauty. Things rarely go exactly as planned, no matter how much we prepare. And especially walking through this world with little ones in tow, this is even more true. And it's ok. It's perfectly ok.

Instead of allowing ourselves to be disappointed when life doesn’t roll out in front of us the way we expect, instead of feeling like something is lost, is there a way to shift our perspective? Can we instead ask what the gift is in the situation? Can we embrace gratitude for what is and look a bit deeper for the beauty?  Can we release the hold we have on our expectations and allow the universe to unfold with its own plans, letting go of how we think things should be so that we can embrace the wonder in how life actually is.

The Truth About Gratitude in Motherhood

We are told to be so grateful, to cherish every moment, to love every single inch of motherhood. Babies don’t keep, and soon they will be walking. The toddler years fly by. Suddenly they will be off to school and driving and staying out late and heading off to college. We are told they will be all grown up in a blink. In some moments, this sounds like great news. But mostly we just feel it looming over us, like a scary, unfamiliar event that is about to happen, one that we know is coming but can’t begin to prepare for.

So we try to cherish it all, every moment. And then milk gets spilled on the new couch, we find marker on the wall and we realize we’ve been walking around all day with spit-up in our hair. We showered yesterday and probably weren’t going to get another one in today, so this is very bad news.

None of these are the moments we would like to cherish. And the ability to find gratitude here may completely lost on us. We are perfectly ok with these moments flying by.

But there is something very important to remember about gratitude in motherhood: this is a journey, and without the downs, we wouldn’t fully appreciate the ups. And these little ones who are on this ride with us, they are figuring it all out for the first time. They are looking to us for guidance to help them shape their lens of the world. How will they react to situations? How will they see others? How will the respond when life gets hard? How will the celebrate the beautiful moments? We are helping them to shape this in everything we do.

So celebrate the happy moments, cherish those times when motherhood is easy and beautiful. Then breathe deeply and embrace the hard times too. Find the learnings in them, find the chance to show your child something new, something important. Teach your child how to navigate both sides of this world with grace and gratitude. What an amazing gift to give them.

Music Crafting with Your Kids

With the holidays coming up, cooler days and more time inside with your little ones, you may be looking for some new ways to keep these little people occupied. Here's a very fun idea for a musical craft. It's super easy and fun and can lead to hours of music making fun! 

 

What you'll need:

Empty and dry water bottles (we used standard size but the tiny ones would work really well for tiny hands)

Assorted beads, the brighter the better. You can find great packs of beads at crafting stores or Target or Walmart 

Tiny bells. We found a lovely pack of small bells at Jo-Anne's

Washi Tape. We love these great packs at Michael's

Stickers of your choice 

Gather the kids on the floor and spread the assorted beads and bells out on the floor. Give them each their own water bottle and have them fill their water bottle with the beads and bells that they like the most. This is a great fine motor activity. 

Once the water bottles are filled, make sure to securely close the cap. You can even apply hot glue to the inside of the cap to make sure they can't be opened. Once the bottle is closed, it's time to decorate! Kids can select their favorite colors of Washi tape and with your help, they can wrap the tape around the bottle. They can also choose favorite stickers to put on the bottle. 

Now it's MUSIC TIME!! Put on your favorite music or grab a guitar or ukulele and get ready for some music making. We like to shake along to one of our favorite Seed & Song songs, Om Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

Gratitude: An uncomplicated, life-changing practice

It’s proven yet so many of us neglect it, disregard it, ignore it. It will make you happier and sleep better. You will become more resilient and forgive easier. You will experience less anxiety, less depression. It is good for your children, good for their teachers, good for their schools. And the effects on your body are just as impressive: stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, reduced symptoms of illness, and more. 

It is simple. It is GRATITUDE.

Yet so many of us overlook this important thing in life, we breeze past it and say we are too busy.

This simple word, this uncomplicated idea is life-changing, and it is such a powerful tool that we need to welcome into our lives and the lives of our little ones. We work so hard to prepare them for the world, to give them the tools they need to grow and thrive. We research and analyze and second guess so many decisions that we make for them. This is an easy one, and this is a powerful one.

So over the next 2 weeks we will be digging into gratitude. We will be diving deep and giving you some amazing tools to use in your life, in your home, in your busy days to come. Stay tuned mama!

10 Self Care Quotes for Motherhood

Self care can feel a bit selfish, sound a bit indulgent and easily become a low priority, especially for mothers. While moms are busy changing diapers, making meals, cleaning up messes, working, chauffeuring and trying to maintain a basic sense of balance and order in their family's life, their own self care takes a back seat. Actually, not just a back seat, self care is often times dropped off at the curb and forgotten about entirely. It's time to pick self care back up again and make it a priority. Clear off that front seat mamas, self care is back.

Remember: A mother is the backbone of the family. She is the trunk of this beautiful family tree. But if the trunk is not thriving, nourished, strong and grounded, how will the limbs of the tree thrive? How will they grow and blossom and reach their full potential? Do not take your own self care for granted. Do not disregard and neglect it. The strength of your family depends on it.

So here are 10 self care quotes to remind you to take take care of yourself, to nourish and nurture yourself. These self care quotes will inspire you to carve out time for the things in life that feed your soul and refresh your mind. When life gets too busy and the days are too full, when everyone needs something from you and you are holding up the world on your shoulders, remember to pause and reflect. What is it that you need? What is it that will ground you, strengthen you, feed you? Every single day, find your own way to focus on self care.

2. Self Care for Moms Be kind. Be patient.png

Be kind. Be patient. Be generous. Be accepting. Be all of these things to yourself. That is where it begins.

9. Self Care for Moms Surround yourself with those who reflect your own beauty (3).png

Surround yourself with those who reflect your own beauty and brilliance back into your heart.

0. Self Care for Moms Find time to nourish yourself with the pieces of this world that feed your soul..png

Find time to nourish yourself with the pieces of the world that feed your soul.

Turn off the world and go within. Rejuvenate & refresh. Open your eyes and begin again.

If you are to be a light for those you love, you must find ways to nourish yourself, to feed your fire & keep it burning.

Self-care is not a luxury. Indeed not. It allows us to show up in this tumultuous world as the best versions of ourselves.

This is your life and you are the curator. Be intentional. Be selective with what you let in.

Breathe deeply and allow yourself to let go. If you were able to let it into your world, you are able to let it go.

In moments of stress, a cup of tea & a deep breath go a long way.

A walk. A deep breath. A stretch. A moment of silence. A smile. You deserve all of these.

Om Namaste to Start your Day

"Sometimes a break in routine is the very thing you need."  
 -Unknown 

I honor the light within you and in all things.

Before reaching for your coffee or the phone take a pause to honor your light. When we say "namaste"  we acknowledge that the light within us is the same light found in all living things. We honor our interconnectedness -- our oneness. 

Have you ever wanted to learn an instrument but didn't know where to start? Do you find that you sing way more, now that you're a mom? Music is the language of love. Sing loud. 

Try using 'Om Namaste' as a grounding practice before you start your day and a reminder that we are all connected (whether we like it or not).  

Take a few deep breaths to ground your day. Chant om a few times or as long as you'd like.  It's perfectly great to chant or sing while you're breastfeeding, too. Babies love it. 

Dust off your musical skills or that old guitar in your closet and learn how to play!  Learning activates new parts of your brain and keeps us young.  Notice how singing can reduce tension in your jaw and clear the mind.  

If you have older kiddos, get them involved. If you don't have instruments in your house, bust out the kitchen spoons or buckets for drums. Music is everywhere, and creating it will shift whatever energy is happening in that moment. 

Save this post for later when you are in need of a routine switch-a-roo.  Have fun.

Download MP3 "Om Namaste" by visiting our website: www.seedandsong.com

Download Ukulele chords & lyrics

 

Quiet, Curiosity, and Care

My family and I recently moved from the heart of the city to the mountains. This has been a great gift to my inner life, my soul care. Most mornings I try to get out of the house before my daughter wakes up, while my husband is still sleeping or sitting with his cup of tea. I make a cup of coffee, put it in my mug and I walk out of my house into a morning wonderland. 

I walk down our little road into quiet. The trees above me are golden and the bunnies scurry across my path. The natural world stops me in in my hurried tracks, it quiets my anxious mind. The beauty of the world cares for me on days when I do not know how to care for myself. 

This morning I hiked up a familiar path near my house and came upon a group of six deer. While five of them ran quickly away, one stopped to look at me. I stood as still as possible and we took each other in for a moment. I was completely there, in that space with that beautiful creature. The world of media, politics, my never ending list of chores and work deadlines.... all of it was out of my mind. 

I walk and I listen. I walk and I wonder about the sound of a bird I have not heard before. I walk and the curiosity expands to the state of my own heart, the places and people I have forgotten to notice. 

I am reminded of a favorite poem by Wendell Berry. I am reminded that I am part of a larger story, the story of the earth and the story of humanity. Nature has this way of putting us in our place oh so gently in a way that we are nurtured and changed. 

The Peace of Wild Things
"When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free."

Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things” from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry. Copyright © 1998.

The question for each one of us lies in how to encounter this wild beauty which calls us to more quiet and curiosity. When we find it and make space for it in our lives it will change the way we listen, parent and show up in the world. It will care for us in a way that we so desperately need.  

Self Care Walk

The Importance of Self-care: What are you missing?

We care for others. That’s what we do as mothers. We care and care, but not always enough for ourselves. If we do not take care of ourselves, who will? And if we are not cared for, who can care for those we love? Self-care is not a selfish act, no, indeed it is a selfless one. But why do we run from it? Why do we prioritize everything else in front of it? Why is it so hard to embrace, to cultivate, to put into practice?

It’s not about massages and facials (though there’s nothing wrong with those). It’s not about yoga class and new clothes (though these things may be a part of it). Self care is about saying "no" often, and mindfully, consciously saying "yes". It’s about listening to yourself and understanding what it is that you truly need. Self care is about speaking kindly to yourself, it’s about giving yourself opportunities to grow and also to rest. It’s about sitting with yourself and listening to what it is that you have to say, what it is that you need to make known.

So often we as mothers put our health, our nutrition, our sleep, our creativity, our rejuvenation and our growth last. But no, no we cannot. If we do not make ourselves a priority, if we do not stand up for ourselves and understand the value of self care, then who will?

So, mama, sit with yourself. Find space and time to dial in. Tune in. Find your center and dig deep. What are you lacking? What are you needing? What are you missing in this life? Listen. And then listen some more. You are strong and resilient and so amazing. But even a fire that shines so brightly needs to be tended. If you are to be a light for those you love, you must find ways to feed yourself. So begin. This is important.