OKLAHOMA RED DIRT // While I’ve always struggled with accepting the conservative Christian influence [the judgement + sin-talk + weird obsession with talking about others + closed-minded bigotry] that is rampant here in Oklahoma, there will forever be something so comforting about Oklahoma’s sacred red soil.
I definitely reached a sweet spot [in my consciousness] in my late twenties. I mean, of course I did- I had no kids, I was in graduate school studying Buddhism in the middle of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, doing yoga for hours a day for my yoga certifications… It was the perfect recipe to bring me into the loveliest state of peace + perspective on life + a very calm place emotionally + a pretty consistent connection to my consciousness.
Since becoming a mama, I’ve been scrambling for that connection again. I’ve worked really hard, turning to all the things that used to raise my vibration; a clean diet + yoga + feeding my brain with knowledge + no alcohol + meditation + quality time with my tribe… I’ve come face to face with it, but haven’t really felt that sweet spot since becoming a mom. In July, I began meeting with Rebecca weekly + started reading The Conscious Parent. It has felt like a domino effect since July, a lot of hard work + the perfect series of events have brought me to a new place.
What I’ve realized is I’m a different person since I’ve had babies. The mama in me has new dreams + new fears + new pain + a new body I live in + new needs… that I had to make time to learn more about. That’s why I wasn’t connecting to my consciousness again, there was this giant piece of me I didn’t know + I wasn’t connecting with. I can’t say this process has been easy! I’ve had to go back + heal wounds from my childhood + make a huge effort to get to know myself as this new person, a mama. Thanks to Rebecca for holding me accountable, I’ve been taking much better care of myself; living a slower life, spending lots + lots of time outside, communicating my needs more openly + honestly with my man, staying on top of my holistic health [like acupuncture + adjustments at the chiropractor + clean diet + essential oils + existing in the present moment], making sure I eat more often, yoga daily, going on long walks, spending so much more time with my mama-tribe…
I’ve realized I need community more than ever. [This is a HUGE part of us moving back to our hometown.] I’ve been relentlessly indulging in my mama-tribe + have tapped into something new; a mama-consciousness. Something bigger than anything I’ve ever experienced. It feels powerful, yet still so raw + vulnerable. Of course this is major, I have the most badass + inspiring women cheering me on + supporting me [+ my babies] all hours of the day. They’ve played such a huge part in me learning to love myself as a mama. I’ve been pretty hard on myself since having babies. But being critical of myself did nothing but hinder me from being my authentic self. Which was painful. In this new acceptance, I have become such a better mama. So many of those things I did when I was judging myself harshly have simply dissipated in this new place. While I love how this feels [for myself], it’s been so amazing how it’s paved the way for me to be the mother I’ve always wanted to be for my boys. My heart has grown even more for them + my patience feels bottomless most of the time.
I wish for every mama to find her tribe, her village! It would be a revolution for future generations.
I love these words by Hannah at The Hushful, “There is a sisterhood within motherhood + that has become my village… This beautiful stage of life is where many women meet themselves, truly. A child is as new as his mother + both need nourishment, support, + a face or two who understand this new world in a way no other soul does. Motherhood cannot be done alone + was never done in such solitude as it is today. Women had a tribe of sisters to navigate raising children with. Our species was not as isolated as sometimes feel. We were not always so tired- or maybe we were, but our spirits were inspired, livened, + lit by one another. The Village needs a return. Mothers need it, fathers need it, our babies need it, + the Earth needs it.”
*beautiful photos by Choatehouse.
Here I am in Amsterdam on the left + Brazil on the right; addicted to adventure + travel since I was young. I think being the older child in my family, I naturally like a lot of alone time [because I am more used to that]. I can look back on my life [starting at a very young age] + see this continuous thread in me seeking adventures/moments alone; leaving my family every summer to go to camp starting at 8 years old + tearing out of my driveway every night immediately after dinner to go watch the sunset alone + traveling Europe without my family as early as 17 years old + living abroad throughout college + moving away for graduate school + still constantly craving travel… These things shaped me, they brought me closer to my authentic self. I wouldn’t have all of these beautiful experiences in my bones if I wasn’t comfortable being alone.
While I am constantly trying to instill security in my children through a modified version of attachment parenting [naps together + open/honest dialogue + loads of compassion/acceptance on them through this journey + extra time home in their comfort zone resting + playing + constantly giving them verbal affirmations], I do think it’s so important for my babes to feel comfortable + content in being alone. We spend most of our lives alone with ourselves! If we aren’t comfortable being alone, I think some major issues can come from that discomfort + fear of being alone. We can choose to do things we may not want to out of the sheer fear of being alone. We can shy away from our dreams because they may take a few lonely steps to get to that final destination. Our fears can dominate our choices to the point that we are no longer making any decisions for ourselves, therefore are not our authentic self.
Like most things in life, being comfortable alone is learned + practiced. I can encourage this or discourage this in my children. And I am the first to admit that I am guilty of asking Lennon a million questions about his day at school the moment he gets in the car instead of offering him quiet time to process his day if he’d like, giving him the iPad so I can return phone calls instead of giving him a puzzle, even adding another child to our family so he isn’t lonely when we die [morbid, I know, but true!].
Lately, I’ve been more conscious in trying to encourage my babes to become comfortable being alone. I want them to feel brave in pursuing anything + everything they want without needing someone to come along with them. I think those [sometimes difficult] moments are where you come in contact with your authentic self. And there’s no greater peace than being in tune with your true self without apprehension.
I loved this article on Mind + Body + Green: How to be alone (without being lonely)
I’ve tried to make a conscious effort in getting more solo time + it’s been so good. Gotta nourish those roots! This is from a morning at Lake Tenkiller where I got some awesome time by myself out on the kayak + some yoga on the deck.
Figuring out the Oklahoma City education system has taken some time for us. [It's been the hottest topic in our house for quite some time now.] I grew up in Norman, 30 minutes South of OKC, where The Oklahoma University is + the education system is much different [than the OKC education system]. I actually think there are many more [good + free] options in Norman, but we have loved living in OKC. My favorite option in OKC is Keystone, but the tuition for each boy would be a pretty penny each year [as much as college]. While I do believe education is the most important thing I can offer my boys, I can’t stop thinking of all our yearly travels that would come to a screeching halt if we were paying $20,000+ for their education each year. So, we’ve continued scouring our options. I think there’s also too much fluff in most education settings [like Lennon watching Rio at school?! He could maybe not watch that, and just come home + play outside]. I like how The Academy does things; kids go to school 3 days a week, then do the rest of their school work in the comfort of their home [we'd be all over this if it wasn't Christian-based. My boys will learn plenty about Christianity living in Oklahoma, I don't want them spending extra time at school learning about sin + hell].
While we have loved our early childhood programs in OKC [Erna Krouch + Bilingual Schoolhouse], we’ve let Lennon start pre-K this year. An amazing [free] charter school opened up in OKC, this year. I didn’t want to start Lennon in grade school this early, but I figured once the word got out about how amazing this school is, everyone would want in + we’d never have a shot at getting back in. Since Lennon got in, I felt pressure to go ahead [this would also get Leo in]. However, it’s been kind of a nightmare. The 1.5-2 hour drive each day has been so rough on all of us. And I think it should be illegal to have a 4-year-old in school 40 hours a week. I think about Ken Robinson’s brilliant words on creativity + education every single morning when I drop off Lennon.
If you aren’t comfortable being wrong, you’ll never come up with something original. We stigmatized being wrong, which is ruining companies as a whole… We are now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. They have been frightened of being wrong. We are now educating people out of their creativity capacities. Picasso once said, “Every child is born an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
We don’t grow into creativity, we are educated out of it. -Sir Ken Robinson
I’ve surprised myself in how incredibly disappointed I feel about education as a whole now that Lennon is in the daily grind of school. This article [The Future of College: The Atlantic] got me thinking about how much our children learn in an unconventional educational/college setting. I don’t think today’s education system is as applicable as most think it is. Times are changing rapidly + I’m sure it’s hard to keep up with those rapid changes. While I still value the traditional education system for so many reasons, I’m not sure sitting in a chair inside learning things that may never be utilized is what I want for my kids. Where’s the fresh air? Where’s the exercise? Where’s the constant access to nutritious foods + water for the growing children? Where’s the rest? Where are the art classes + language classes? Where’s the safe space for children to bravely come into their authentic selves?
Being one that tries to live in the now, I don’t understand this craze we’ve subscribed to where we begin grooming our kids for college in kindergarten. I know it’s morbid, but we aren’t promised tomorrow. I want my boys to enjoy their day TODAY, not have teachers frantically shoving college-prep lessons down their throat that may never apply to their future selves. If they aren’t enjoying education, then how do I expect them to be committed to it?
I get the pleasure of doing my dream job, so I think it will only be natural for me to encourage my boys to locate their resources + passions + use those to support themselves, instead of subscribing to living a life doing something they do not enjoy. I don’t have faith in our education system [in Oklahoma especially] to do this. Sir Ken Robinson talks about the desperate need for a revolution in the education system in this TED talk.
I’ve run a million ideas through my head… trying to fix this. My mom thinks it’s an uphill battle + I’ll never find the perfect scenario, so I should just settle. And no, I haven’t found my perfect scenario because Oklahoma doesn’t offer my dream come true education system [like SEEDS], but I’ve dreamed up my biggest dream without us having to get new jobs + be away from our family in another state. We are now trying to make it all happen. Unfortunately, it still includes us having to sell our house + buy a different one [which is always a stressful thing]. But we will have some amazing things that we can’t make happen in OKC. We want to be walking distance from school + the grocer + a park. We want to be closer to our families + our Norman tribe. This plan will inevitably grow us as individuals + as a family unity. It has already taken us beyond our [comfort] limits + it will continue stretching us. While I have those days where I don’t think I can take another day in the house hunt, I have definitely come to a place where I appreciate the process of things. That is where refinement occurs.
I have a friend who has one of her kiddos in this online school program. I love everything she tells me about it! With all of the traveling we do I think we could be candidates for this some day. For now, I think social interaction is such a sweet part of the education experience for my boys. So, we are going to try out public schools for a while with supplementation from travels + extracurricular activities.
Recently, I’ve had a few weird exchanges with friends that left me pretty broken-hearted. While I always try my hardest to brush things off quickly, I was really bummed about these exchanges. Pushing through these emotions has been quite the process. At first, I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me because the exchanges revealed that I had continued being completely vulnerable with these friends that don’t necessarily support + love me like I thought they did. That realization made me want to be soooooooooo private + closed off from the world. I went through a few weeks of major cynicism toward humanity as a whole. bahahahahaha! I know, so dramatic!
But [ironically] this TED talk about marriage reminded me of some rudimentary truths, I need to be smarter about with whom I surround myself + nourish the relationships that nourish me. People evolve differently + sometimes those differences can cause people to grow apart + possibly even make it difficult to understand one another. I don’t have to remain friends with people that do not love me just because I’ve known them for years.
I’m so nostalgic + also so habitual, I tend to keep friendships alive even if they’ve taken twists + turns + become forced. And I think that is when disappointment + hurt feelings are surely inevitable. duh. So… I have a few forced friendships that I have stopped nourishing. Simultaneously, I’ve been celebrating the healthy friendships I have by getting even more vulnerable in those [which has been so awesome!] This alone is nourishing for me! The healthy relationships in my life have felt so symbiotic, lately, feeding my bones with almost every exchange. And I’m no longer distracted by superfluous drama from the forced relationships.
WORKING MOM GUILT // When a working mom feels guilty for being away from her children + might even spoil her children when she does get to spend time with them. I used to think it was BS, but that shit’s real. I get it, now. And my working mom guilt cuts me real deep when I’m traveling for work.
I had some time to process a lot when we were in California doing our typical flee from the Oklahoma heat. Our first week there, Papa came out to be with the boys while I worked in Venice on a project [Coconut Kitchen, so stoked about this project. It's going to be a gorgeous coffee table book on how to add coconut into your every day life.] I can’t lie, it got super stressful at times. I had moments of thinking, “What the eff am I doing. I need to stop working for a while + live on a budget + just manage this family.” Then I would quickly come back to reality + recall the joy I get from my work + the things my income provides for our family.
When I finished up the Coconut Kitchen, Papa went home, + I had the boys by myself. I got [am I'm still] deeply entrenched in The Conscious Parent. It is blowing my mind + enlightening me with every page. I feel like I’ve been in therapy the whole time I’ve been reading it.
A few things I noted while I was in Cali: [one] I very much believe my [un]happiness has a direct correlation to my children’s [un]happiness. [two] I am juggling more than I ever have in my life. Going from one kid to two is a major game changer. [three] I feel very guilty when I work + I’m not spending time with my boys. [four] I feel this major shift in my bones recently, I started to feel that one-year-post-birth-dust-settle about a month ago. I remember this time with Lennon. And if I utilize this shift to the fullest, I can transcend some huge things.
I first thought of getting a business coach. But my business is doing great. [Thanks to Braid Creative's method + newsletters + workshops.] It’s more my home-life that I needed advice. I have a beautiful tribe, brilliant people that love + support me to the maxxxxxxx, but sometimes I hate burdening them with my problems. They have jobs, they have families. So, I looked at other options… I decided to hire Rebecca to help me through this process. My pride was hesitant to hire her because I felt like I already know what I need to do + it seems silly to pay someone to hold me accountable. But within moments of hiring Rebecca, I felt this huge calm come over me. I knew it was the right choice. And it’s been great to have her advice with everything that is going on in our lives. Below is a little bit about Rebecca’s vision for mamas:
You are the nucleus of your family. It is ok to thrive and take care of yourself. And guess what, it is way easier to achieve this than you’re making it… I address the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual bodies that all humans embody, but Western Medicine often doesn’t tend or care for all the bodies. I believe that addressing each of these areas is a core value in raising healthy mothers, vital families and communities… I help make a plan to help you take necessary risks and leaps in your relationships and career, support and connection with your partner without asking, and learn it’s OK to follow your heart and mess up and not be perfect. I guide you, and provide resources to help educate, inspire and gain access to a health information that will help you live the life you desire in the early postpartum years.