Summer Surf

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Summer Surf

We spent a lot of time at the beach this summer. Because the girls are older now, we chose beaches that were a little further and felt a little more adventurous, like Emma Wood and a cool spot in Montecito.

Lorelei went out on the surfboard with her dad for the first time and subsequently fell in love with her wetsuit. She now wears it at the beach even if she doesn't want to try surfing again. Isla loves running around in the little wavelets, screaming and jumping and splashing. She also went out on the surfboard, which was surprising and adorable. And me? I love to read, or look for rocks and shells. I also like to eat a lot of snacks and lay on my back in the sun as long as my kids will let me. That kind of warmth is a requirement for my soul.

Click photos to enlarge.

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Summer Harvest

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Summer Harvest

This summer was all about growth. Of course there was personal growth (when isn't there?) and physical growth (my kids are weeds), but there was also so much plant growth.

My mom and daughters grew a garden together. They grew corn, tomatoes and sunflowers. The corn and tomatoes were often ravaged by little creatures, but the sunflowers thrived, as did a passionfruit vine that was planted a few summers before. 

Isla loves passionfruit, as in she's obsessed. She wants to gather passionfruit every time we are at my parents' house and it has been a really sweet way for her and her papa to spend some awesome, nature-based quality time together. These photos are of her most recent harvesting adventure, which she began all on her own. In fact, she did everything on her own! It was one of the most wonderful things I've seen her do.

Lorelei loves all plants and vegetables and fruit. She enjoys gardening and getting dirty and muddy and sticky. Messes are her thing. She's fascinated, really. So feeling all of the sunflower seeds and observing the ladybugs crawling around them was a cool experience for her (and me). We all know I love nature and things that grown and bloom. That's why the photo of me holding some pups that I found on a walk is here. I got in on the harvesting action as well. Not gonna lie, I'm kinda hooked.

Alas, here are some highlights of our summer harvest. And if you've never harvested sunflower seeds before, I highly recommend it.

Click photos to enlarge.

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I Should Be Sleeping

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I Should Be Sleeping

Song to Match: "Lately" by Memoryhouse

I should be sleeping, because I’m so tired. The day has been hot and long. I had many important conversations about things that change lives. My daughters used up every ounce of patience I had left in my thirsting body, the one that deals with a chronic pain illness every day, the one that grew them and birthed them and fed them. The one that is passionate and purposeful, gentle and full of all kinds of mystery. The one that’s for sure PMSing.

I should be sleeping, because I’m touched out. The same body mentioned above is aching to lay down with no more than a sheet covering my skin, for comfort reasons more than anything else. Certainly not for warmth. My room is 85 degrees and doesn’t seem to be cooling. When the bodies of my children touched mine today, I inched away because everything intensified. Energies intensified, body temperatures intensified and my perception of the progress of the day intensified. So I told Lorelei to move her small feet away from my legs. I was simply burning. But I felt bad doing this. I should treasure every moment, right?

I should be sleeping, because I’m a badass boss mom who works hard to accomplish her goals and make life better for others. My blog posts are sometimes really long and my work ethic is sometimes unreal, meaning I am undeniably persistent and focused. But this is all good I am told. This will make money. Sleep will not. Sleep is for the weak, right? But I know that I’m strong no matter what, and sleep only makes me stronger, better, funnier, kinder and more efficient. If only my children understood. If only I understood, myself. Then they, and I, would provide my body with rest as soon as it became an option.

I would go to bed at 8:30 p.m.

I would be a morning person.

I would get more done and the mornings would be much smoother.

My body wouldn’t hurt so much.

We’d always be on time to preschool.

I would be patient.

But I, like every woman, have a dark side. A shadow side, if you will. It’s a side of me that prefers the evening and the alone time it brings. It is self destructive in such a way that requires me to persevere against my own desire to defy authority, me being the authority in this situation.

For so long I have guarded myself from all that tries to limit me and apply frivolous rules to all that I do. In giving myself an evening routine, no matter how much I will benefit from it, I feel that I am punishing myself. I should be sleeping, but I should also do whatever I feel like doing. I’m a mother. I’m allowed this time in the evening, when my children are asleep and I am at peace to explore my innermost thoughts and cave in to the slothy couch lover that I sometimes crave to be.

So rather than go to bed at a decent hour that would have an amazingly positive impact on my mood overall, I stay up late reading, taking notes, watching HBO (currently Insecure), watching the news, scheduling various business tasks, responding to emails, responding to texts, sharing uplifting shit with my mom and husband, reminiscing about what I used to do at 10 p.m. on Saturdays, making outlines for my first novel, writing children’s books, eating lots of pistachios, fighting baby fever, shaking my head at another traumatic birth story that’s made the news, or at a Facebook post where hundreds of moms are talking shit to each other.

Sometimes I just do yoga and dance by myself to what Lorelei calls “Buddha Music” (Paul Avgerinos is my fave Pandora station to soothe my fascia to).

Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I call a friend. Sometimes, if it’s a significant moon phase, I set intentions or release that which holds me back.

Then, my husband gets home from his late evening at work (which is the only reason I have this kind of indulgent alone time in the first place), and we crawl into bed, wishing we both could have done so earlier.

But, I suppose I could have. The issue is that I don’t let myself.

I can’t decide if this is something I need to change. It’s a battle I’ve fought and lost for years, and it’s also a character trait of mine that doesn’t always seem to serve me well. But does it only seem that way because I am fighting my shadow side, a part of me that I need to nurture in order to fully function as my truest self? Probably. I hope so, because if that’s the case, even if I should be sleeping, it’s totally okay that I’m not. Who doesn’t love an excuse to keep things just the way they are?

But at the same time, I really, really like challenges and coming up with creative ways to get what I want while also doing what’s best from a logical standpoint.

And so, I intend to learn how to satisfy my shadow side during the dark hours of the morning instead of the dark hours of the night. In going to bed earlier and waking up before the sun rises, I will allow myself the darkness my soul needs in order to feel whole. I will use the extra morning hours to welcome the day and set intentions for all that will be accomplished, with love and understanding at the forefront of all I do.

Instead of allowing hungry children to be my incessant morning alarm noise, a digital chime will stir me up and out of my dreams, which I always remember, by the way. I can ease into my wakeful state slowly and purposefully, and then I can read, take notes, watch HBO, watch the news, schedule various business tasks, respond to emails, etc. All will be the same, yet my mind and body will feel heard, respected, loved and cared for.

I also believe that my shadow side will feel inspired and invigorated by this change because, for me, the early hours of the morning remind me of Disneyland. They remind me of waking up early for road trips and weekend plans. They remind me of excitement and happiness. They inspire me in a way that my Self is afraid of.

But really, I should be sleeping, and so I will. At this point, it seems like the rebellious and clever thing to do, and my shadow side never could turn down an adventure. Yes, for me, flipping my routine will be an adventure of the most intimate kind - an adventure of will power, self care and lifestyle changes.

What morning routines make you feel empowered and on task? Any and all advice is welcome. It makes no sense to journey without a map.

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Revolutionary Motherhood

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Revolutionary Motherhood

My mother and me at my sister's wedding reception.

My mother and me at my sister's wedding reception.

I think the revolution that is to come will be led by mothers. Mothers of all shapes, sizes, colors and age. Mothers of all types of children, with all types of capabilities. Mothers as a whole.

It will be led by mothers because mothers don’t do anything that isn’t essential, and a revolution is absolutely essential. They make decisions based on the well being of their children before anyone else. They can sense threat and they can protect fearlessly. With a vigilance like no other, mothers always succeed at that which needs to be accomplished because the livelihood of their children depends on it. Mothers know best, and mothers do best. No matter what the circumstances are, they always do their best.

It will be led by mothers because mothers have endured pain. They have endured abuse and disrespect for centuries. They have always come last and yet always continue to put others first. They are an imperative part of nature and its cycles, and are treated as such - but this is not a good thing. Like nature, mothers are treated as property. They are torn down, mistreated and destroyed simply because they are women, women whose bodies and hobbies have changed since bearing children. Women who are sexualized while simultaneously being very undervalued in their personal lives, in their maternity wards* and in their workplaces. It is truly disastrous, for mothers and for society as a whole, that this is the way we treat our mothers.

In contrast, mothers who are revered - who are treated like queens, who are supported by their communities and upheld by the laws, who have love made to them and exude love within them - these are the mothers whose children are happy and healthy; primarily because of the amount of maternal love that is always bestowed upon them, and secondly because of their mothers’ access to the services she needs so as to care for them.

It is time to value the mother, and mothers know this. They will not stand for the current state of our world because their daughters need them to clear the path, and their sons need to know how to treat the mothers of their own children. They will do it because it is what their children need them to do, and the children come first. Please note that it is so fucking good for society that children are first in the eyes of mothers, for society’s well being** depends on it.

The future of everyone is reliant upon how children are raised, how well they develop and how much they thrive in their environments. Thus, the mothers themselves will lead the revolution because the children need them to in order to survive. A key component of the mothers’ success is that you will help them. You will help the mothers to win the revolution because you need the children. You need the children because without the children, there is no future. Without a future to strive for, what’s life? Because, eventually, the future will come and it will be the present. If that future never comes, what happens to the present it was supposed to become?

So, yes, mothers will lead the revolution. And it will be celebrated for centuries more. Until then we will all continue to fight for the rights of mothers, especially in the worlds of healthcare and business. We will work to empower them and care for them when they are in need. We will not judge them, we will assist them. We will not outcast them, we will enable them. All of them.

I help mothers by guiding them through birth and early motherhood as a doula. I do this because I believe that world peace starts with creating positive pregnancy, birth and postpartum experiences for mother and child. How do you help mothers? Together we will help them to attain all that is required to truly change the world.

* Further reading on birth trauma here.
** I do not personally practice any religion, but I am spiritually inclined and admire other spiritual thinkers. What the Pope says here about mothers is truly beautiful.

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