A MOTHER'S SELF-CARE IS GOOD FOR HER CHILDREN

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/in-defense-of-a-parents-day-off/2017/01/23/270ffafc-d8f2-11e6-b8b2-cb5164beba6b_story.html?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.0d65db1864a7

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/in-defense-of-a-parents-day-off/2017/01/23/270ffafc-d8f2-11e6-b8b2-cb5164beba6b_story.html?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.0d65db1864a7

The Washington Post recently published an article about the self-care of parents. “Maintaining the basic day-to-day with no extraordinary circumstances, keeping all those balls in the air, is a really demanding endeavor, and it leaves very little time for moms to be able to have fun, relax, rest and have downtime." 

I remember when I got pregnant for the first time, a friend and mother of four said "Every day you need to take an hour out for yourself. I don't care what you do: go for a walk, take a bath, read a magazine, just do it alone." I accepted the advice kindly but didn't truly appreciate it until my son was born. Nothing, and I mean NADA, can prepare you for your first child. I don't care how many books you read, movies you've seen, mothers you know, babies you've been around, until you are in the driver's seat, the road isn't real.

Between nursing, sleep deprivation and moments of shock--"is that really my baby?!"--and dealing with all the fucking paraphernalia, the two minute walk around the corner to K-Mart was like going to Hawaii. No one really talks about how physically bound you ARE to your child, especially if you're nursing. So to get away between feedings and stealing a moment during naps was so freeing. 

I am a staunch believer that the mother must take care of herself before everyone else. If I'm not in the best condition--physically, emotionally, spiritually--then I'm not the best mother I can be. It's part of why I work out with such zeal. In kung fu we call it "dong chan," or moving meditation. That time is all about me me me. Now that my kids are teenagers, I have more free time and I cherish it. I love the nights when I can be with friends or a lover or alone, lying on the couch eating Trader Joe's potato chips and watching Netflix.

Of course as a mother I'll do everything for my children and kill someone with my bare hands if he or she threatens my progeny, but short of something extraordinary, I will not sacrifice my well being in the name of maternal martyrdom. I love my children too much not to love myself.

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/on-parenting/in-defense-of-a-parents-day-off/2017/01/23/270ffafc-d8f2-11e6-b8b2-cb5164beba6b_story.html?tid=sm_tw&utm_term=.0d65db1864a7

TIMING TRUMPS LOVE

I don't believe amor vincit omnia. Love doesn't conquer all, timing does. I was head over heels in love with the father of my children; he taught me kung fu, Chan Buddhism, and the power of truly seeing every glass as being half full. "When the student is ready, the teacher will come." And it went both ways. He was raised at Shaolin Temple and I taught him a lot about living in America and running a business. 

I was sure we'd be together forever, watch our kids and grandkids hand in hand. But after 12 years of living, working, and raising children together, the love eroded slowly and surely, like a single drop of water on a rock that eventually bores a hole through it. And other than the trauma suffered by the children, I'm happy that my heart got to start anew and experience the inimitable magic of falling in love all over again.

I am strongly opposed to staying together for the children, which I think is bad for everyone. Even if the parents are Oscar winning actors who can convince the world that they are still happily in love, a child, even a baby, knows when something is amiss because they are bound to us by a profound energy that nothing can disrupt nor deceive. When I told my mentor Michael Ostin that things were bad between my ex and I, he said "Soph, is that the model of love you want for your children?" No.

I honestly don't know how couples stay together for a lifetime. I'm not saying it's impossible, nor that it's not beautiful, just that it's so hard to maintain. If we believe that we are ever evolving, which we should strive for, what are the odds that the person we fall in love with at 20, or even 30, will continue to unfold at both the same rate and in the same direction as us for the rest of our lives?

Since my ex I've met some incredible men and fell deeply in love with one in particular who was the best I've ever had in so many ways. But none of these relationships lasted because of timing--whether it was because I didn't want a boyfriend or children, he was living in another city, or he was incessantly on his grind or in a relationship. 

I think the Hallmark notion of a sole soul mate is a dangerous emotional fallacy. As I age, I grow, and only want to be with someone who inspires me to cultivate my garden, to quote Voltaire, and for whom I can do the same. I love and believe in myself too much to stay in an uninspired relationship for fear that there isn't someone else out there for me. In fact, I know that there are someone elses just waiting to collide into me and explore this beautiful mysterious journey of love.