What inspired you to start your blog? (www.mindfultreemama.org)
What originally inspired me to start my blog was the outlet I needed to express the thoughts going through my mind about this journey to parenthood. My first post, “Lessons From the First Trimester” had been a mental work in progress for months before I sat down and starting typing. Then, the second post “Puberty and Pregnancy” and the connection between the two milestones struck me as a piece that needed to be shared as we learn to all relate to each other whatever our experiences. Through writing (or typing, rather), more and more ideas started coming to mind and when I finally shared these ideas with a close friend, she stated how much she believes other women could relate to my writings. To my great surprise, this was confirmed when my first post was commented on. It brought tears to my eyes that one woman actually reached out and shared her story as well; it was the gratitude this post made me feel (and each post I’ve written and will write) that facilitated further enthusiasm to open up about what’s on my mind during this parenting trek.
Essentially, I want to be able to appreciate everything about parenthood and this journey to becoming a mom. So what continues to inspire me now in keeping up with my blog is to provide a spot where women (and men, too) can learn to be more accepting of their roles and also savor every aspect – positive AND negative, rewarding AND challenging – of this lifelong role. There’s a lesson to learn in all of it and it’s so important to model to our children that we can be playful and light-hearted and successful and assertive in our roles all at the same time.
What is your blog about?
This can best be described in my About section of my blog: Motherhood and Mindfulness – What This Means To Me
When I first received the news that D and I were expecting, my mind jumped to so many “what ifs.” As someone whose struggled with anxiety (seriously, it’s the family curse) and all of the future-oriented catastrophizing, I wanted a much more here-and-now focus on my life germane to myself, my marriage and relationships in general, and for my child(ren).
I’d been meditating daily from about January 2015 to September 2015, when I took a break. Ironically, this break came after a visit to Walden Pond, famously known as the site where Thoreau lived alone and passionately wrote on his observations. Of all the benefits I’d gained from my daily meditation practice, I noticed my mind was still stuck in the future – when will this all cure my anxiety and when will I be the calm person I long to be?
This is where the focus of the present comes in. This is where acceptance of myself for myself and for time contributed to helping others comes in. In my Clinical Mental Health Counseling graduate program, there’s a significant emphasis on self-care. Meditation taught me so much about not judging myself for who I was and for considering positives instead of negatives as alternative explanations for my thoughts and behaviors. I am very much a Leslie Knope type of person (if you haven’t yet watched Parks & Recreation, pull up netflix right now!). And that’s OKAY. But I want to make sure I am not driven to rigidity out of my automatic, temperamental predispositions. I want to be interrupted in my thoughts and enjoy the now. I want to do this, as I mentioned, for myself, for my relationships, for my child(ren), and for my career.
As I write and drink my tea, I can notice the warmth of the mug. There’s the warmth of the liquid. The pattern of the foam as I swirl the honey around. These little things, so seemingly insignificant, are comforting and are often unrecognizable if we don’t just take the moment to stop.
Motherhood is going to be challenging, silly, full of tears, exhausting, anxiety-provoking, happy, energetic, lifelong. This blog is my accountability measure to take those moments to stop, regardless of my moment’s perception of it being positive and/or negative.
In summary: My blog is really about reconnecting to ourselves through parenting – in learning to be more child-like and in-the-moment as children innately are. But there will also of course be pieces about the unique mindset of parenthood.
What are you passionate about?
Oh god, this is a hard one to nail down… does it count if I say I’m passionate about drinking tea (wine when not prego) while knitting? That’s the first thing that comes to mind. In general, I’m passionate about learning. Whether it’s learning about someone else’s unique perspective, digesting more of the assigned material from grad school, or figuring out how to recreate a diy post from pinterest, I find myself constantly curious and wanting to take in as many of these existential and/or hands-on moments as I can.
Where do you see your blog in five years?
At the moment, I am about to begin a month-long bookclub for pregnant women (and partners) who would like to be more in touch with their bodies through this process. We will be reading from Birthing From Within, and it is my hope that my blog can continue to serve not only as a source of personal insight and continuous engagement, but also have a more didactic aspect as we read books every so often and create this online community of sharing our reflections about the readings we’re consuming. For example, there’s a well-known mindfulness instructor (Jon Kabat-Zinn) who has a book on parenthood and being present – how being a parent can be like a lifelong meditation retreat if you are able to use your children as little teachers and stay in the present moment with them (Title: Everyday Blessings). I’d love to use this book in the future as a source of reading material.
Furthermore, I think I can provide an online space that is safe and very accepting for anyone at any stage in this journey to share their accomplishments in putting down their phone while baby takes a bath, of delaying responding to a work email when our children want to share their art projects. The little moments that seem inconsequential really aren’t and in keeping that mindset for my blog, I simply hope that in five years my blog will be a source of comfort, calm, presence, and self-acceptance as it relates to parenthood amidst the racing clock that parenthood seems to induce.