Chapter 2: Finding Balance in All the Chaos
When the chaos of the holidays had finally wound down, I set an ambitious goal for myself to become a yogi. Yes, a yogi. I wanted to be the type of mum wearing leggings because she was on her way to a yoga class, not because they were the last pair of pants without baby spit-up. This year, my oldest child Zoe started preschool which meant that during the day I would only take care of our baby Mattie. Of course, taking care of one kid instead of two should give me lots more free time. If you’re also a mum, you know that’s not what happened. Life got in the way and I postponed all of my ambitious projects. Painting all of the kitchen cabinets? Marie Kondo-ing the closets? What was I thinking?
I usually give up on my New Year’s Resolutions by March, but this year, this resolution, I hadn’t even started by the end of January. Now that a new yoga studio would be opening in my town, I was determined to find inner peace and make 2023 my year of zen. Ok, February and beyond would be full of zen.
Today felt like a series of setbacks every time I tried to start practicing yoga. Apple juice spilled on my leggings, a baby who wouldn’t nap, and a long search for my mat that was hiding in the back of my closet (maybe Marie Kondo has a point!) I had decided to give up on finding time today and started making soup for dinner while the kids played together. The soup needed to simmer for 30 minutes, and the kids were quiet. I realized…could this be the window of time I had been searching for all day? I quietly unfolded my mat in the corner of the living room and queued up a video. The sounds of Peppa Pig threatened to drown out the soft instructions. It was a stark contrast to the yoga classes in my 20s, a mix of deep breathing, a soft-spoken instructor, and the faint notes of a flute in the background.
Now, calm for me sounds like my toddler humming, my baby babbling, and dinner simmering on the stove. My one-person practice grew in size as the kids noticed me and came over to see what I was doing. I paused my video, moved Zoe’s dolls closer to my mat, and held Mattie in my arms. I looked up to see Zoe quietly observing me and I felt proud of the example I was setting for her.
All day I had been stressed over when I would have time for yoga. Being a mum can sometimes mean you have to add time to “relax” to your calendar so it becomes a priority. Maybe I had been putting so much pressure on myself to make time for zen that I didn’t let zen into the everyday moments of my life. Maybe my practice will look different than it used to; replacing a studio with my living room, a matching outfit with whatever is clean, and soft wind instruments with the sounds of my kids playing. One day when my kids are grown, I will miss these moments. Stretching amongst the toys on the floor with a baby on my hip.
As a mum, balance is about making time for myself during my family’s busy routine. Setting an example for my daughter about living a healthy lifestyle. Reminding myself that it’s ok if I prioritize doing something for myself over cleaning the bathroom. Giving myself grace when I can’t find time for exercise every single day.
I finished my practice today with the tree pose. Balancing on one foot, while the sole of your other foot is pressed up against your inner thigh requires a lot of stability. With a baby in my arms, holding the pose and staying balanced was even more challenging. With my son’s warm body snuggled against my chest, I found my center.