For the My Motherhood series, we ask different women the same series questions about mindfulness and motherhood to see what works for other women, but also to show how even though we may be different, we are all in this together.
I am so honoured to be featuring Susan Verde today. An award winner author of children's books, a certified yoga and mindfulness teacher and a mama of 3, she is truly a huge influence on us! You can see all her books and information by visiting her site and make sure to follow her adventures on Facebook and Instagram as well!
What does your perfect day look like?
A perfect day would be one in summer full of sunlight and warmth. It would be a day that began with a bit of meditation and a soulcycle class or yoga. Then stopping at the outdoor market on the way home and picking up fresh corn and tomatoes and anything else that looks beautiful and delicious. The rest of the day would be one spent with my kids. We have our best days when we have no schedule and lots of beach time. Perfection is waves just big enough for diving under but not too scary and the 4 of us swimming and laughing for hours. And then salty and sandy and happily tired we would head home with friends we ran into at the beach. The perfect end to a perfect day would be an evening spent with my kids and friends sharing an impromptu dinner of fresh fish and veggies from the market swimming in the pool and more laughter and conversation late into the night. I am lucky enough to have had these perfect days and am grateful for each one.
Do you have any daily rituals you use to center yourself?
Exercise and meditation are a part of each day. They are the way I take care of myself and prepare for whatever the day brings. With 3 children and writing deadlines and household responsibilities finding ways to practice self care and make space for creativity and patience and awareness are a necessity. Even when traveling I always make sure I find time to start the day with both some physical and spiritual practice. Yoga and spin or a good weight training class make my body feel great! Grounding meditation practice focusing on my breath and noticing the thoughts that pop up with kindness and curiosity and then letting them go helps me remember not to become my emotions throughout the day when confronted with all kinds of scenarios. These are my rituals and requirements that help me stay centered and be a better person and mother.
How do you make time for the different facets of your life?
It’s a juggling act for sure but I have learned that certain things are a must and other things I can let go. I have had to work hard on my time management skills as they have never been a strength of mine but with kids and a career you either figure, it out or go a bit crazy! Once the kids are in school I have designated a certain amount of time for exercise and meditation and a certain amount of time for work. These are a must! Once I have stuck to those rules I have a bit more flexibility with the rest of my day. I don’t have a typical 9-5 job so often I get emails that need responses at odd times of the day and my travel schedule varies but as long as I am open with my family about what is going on in the different areas of my life and what I need from them it seems to work out. There are certainly some days where it feels like it’s hard to squeeze it all in but I practice forgiving myself and not holding onto guilt. I have also made sure that when I am with my kids and they want to share time I am fully present and if I cannot be I try to prepare them ahead of time and let them know what they have to say is important and they will have my full attention in a certain amount of time.
Do you have any special family rituals?
We try to eat dinner together as many nights as possible. And in the mornings we have to share a hug and kiss before they get out of the car and go to school. I make sure at that moment to always look each one in the eyes and tell them something good about their day ahead. It’s the same at night. No matter how busy it has been we always take a moment to ask how the day went and share a story a hug and a kiss. Even as they are getting older it’s still our ritual. At least for now.
What is the best advice you have ever given or received about motherhood?
When you are a mother, especially a new one people love to give you advice. I found there was a lot of “you should…” and “you have to…” Often that wasn’t very helpful because if things didn’t go the way they “should” I felt like a bad mom. The best advice I got was to find ways to take care of myself. If I felt okay then I could face the challenges that motherhood brings. Based on my own experiences the advice I give is that there is no perfect, and there are many ways to be a mother and every child is different so let go of “should” and guilt and when you need help, ask and when your gut tells you something listen…trust your instincts.
What is your favourite part of motherhood?
There are many favourite parts to being a mother. It’s incredible to watch these little people grow both physically and mentally and being able to participate in that and share lessons learned, make new discoveries and be the comfort and the one they can turn to. I didn’t know how deeply I could love someone until I had children. And although it can be hard and scary and there are times when I feel like I don’t really know what I am doing motherhood is also a chance to share profound love and trust. The best parts are the times when we really connect, whether it’s in conversation or just being. It’s those unplanned moments of complete togetherness. To me that’s everything.