Why Being Mediocre is Pretty Awesome

The name of this blog just came to me one day. I was thinking about the kind of work I wanted to write if I was going to continue writing at all, which has always been a question for me. Keep writing or throw in the towel? Get off the internet! Do something different altogether? One day, I might, but for now the words keep coming so I keep jotting them down. But “mediocre” just fit with what I wanted to do. I didn’t want to be perfect. I didn’t want to be mind-blowing. I just wanted to be relatable.

Little known fact. Most of you know I’m a yoga teacher because I talk about it frequently on this blog. But I’m also a certified personal trainer, specializing in women’s training. Personal training was a fulfilling occupation for me when I had time for it (which I haven’t had much of in the past 4 1/2 years of stay at home mom-ing).

But there also came a point when I started to question it, or the struggle for perfection. Rightly or wrongly, my favorite people to work out with were the moms that came and brought their babies or two kids (who relentlessly beat the crap out of each other or their Ipads made sounds the whole time and the workout was actually really, incredibly hard to concentrate on).

While those workouts were no doubt more difficult to get through, I felt I was serving a purpose. Helping these moms who weren’t striving to be perfect, just striving to get in some exercise, feel good about themselves and call it a day, had an immediate impact on both their lives and mine. Sometimes they had to leave early from sessions. Sometimes they sat in my living room and breastfed afterwards while I went upstairs and folded laundry. Sometimes my own baby woke in the middle and I had to wear her or rock her through half the session. But it was worth it to help these mothers have something for themselves. Nothing about it was perfect. But for these parents, it was necessary.

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What was tough for me though was finding the motivation to help a 4 pack become a 6 pack. Or a size two drop to a zero. I never got why it was so important, maybe because truthfully, I don’t believe it is. I think we should strive to be healthy, functional and happy. And sure, it’s true that striving for perfection might make some happy, but I don’t think dedicating our whole lives to our physical bodies is a healthy way to achieve feeling content. We are so much more than just a body.

So it makes sense that I went in a different direction altogether. Teaching yoga is different from personal training in every way. Yoga does not/should not focus on perfection. But it does focus on finding joy and moving into and creating a better, more positive space in your life where you can exist. This is something that resonates with me much more greatly than turning 4 packs into 6 packs. And while yoga isn’t a bad way to get there, it certainly isn’t the focus. It’s about creating a better life, not a better body, and no, creating a better body does not always equal a better life. It does not. It does not. It does not.

So I thought about this all today on my run. My first wildly mediocre run since having my baby 8 weeks ago. I started off jogging and immediately felt the need to stop because my pelvic floor is just… gone. But I kept going, jogged down a main road with traffic whizzing by and tried not to worry about my huge nursing breasts sloshing from side to side. I stopped to walk over a very uphill bridge and then picked up again jogging for 6 or 7 minutes before finishing up with a brisk walk that felt good and cleansing and I had to stop myself from dancing to the Van Morrison Pandora station playing on my phone. It was so not perfect. In truth, it was probably pretty ugly. But it felt good. I didn’t feel the need to push myself to uncomfortable extremes. My postpartum body is already doing amazing things, keeping my beautiful child nourished and healthy.

This seemingly simple experience that started my day only confirmed what I already knew. That being mediocre is pretty awesome, too. That not needing or wanting perfection goes a long way and opens you up to so many more meaningful and amazing forms of happiness. Strive for greatness, yes, but don’t lose yourself in the meantime. Being you is totally amazing enough.


How DO YOU overcome postpartum struggles? Um…

I’m currently trying to respond to emails and tweets in response to my last HuffPost piece asking me “how I overcame” my postpartum struggles. This is so hard to answer because it’s such a loaded question. It’s really more like a book than a tweet or even a blog post. But I’m pacing around the upstairs of my house wondering what to write back. I don’t want to leave these women hanging. I don’t get emailed for expert advice all that often, after all. 

But I find myself wondering, did I? Overcome it, that is? The way I see it, postpartum changed me completely. It wasn’t exactly a phase that I one day awoke from. It was a momentous shift in my life and one that I could never turn back from. It was growing up, saying painful goodbyes, learning to look forward instead of back. Does that answer the question? Probably not. 

It was accepting that there was hard, and really hard, and excruciating things in front of me that I couldn’t run away from. That there were things that a shot of tequila and a couple of margs couldn’t fix. That there was an entire life dependent on me because I created it and that that was okay. That I could handle it. That it wasn’t beyond me. It was embracing things I was born with but had to uncover and letting them unfold within me. It was knowing that I was the mother, no longer the child and that I was capable and strong. That it was okay if I was misunderstood, that I had bigger fish to fry. That my life was divided in two, that my heart now lived in two places. 

I don’t know if these things are the right answer. I think you all might want something a bit more black and white or easily attainable, as I did. But there isn’t one answer. There is no cut and dry. It took me years to feel happy, good, centered, like I wasn’t failing all the time. But there are some things I couldn’t have done without.

Here are a few things that helped me that you can actually put your finger on.Image


  • Yoga. Not as much the physical practice but the learning to breathe, to let go, to be present (even in the rough moments because they are the ones that help us grow). 
  • A supportive spouse. Sometimes I felt I was teaching my husband how to support me and at the same time learning how to support him. If your partner has no paternity leave (ugh) this is really hard because time together to figure out how to give each other breaks is crucial. It took years and my husband switching jobs to be closer to home and a lot of practice to figure this one out. 
  • Realizing that every stage passes quickly and tomorrow the next stress will seem bigger, more important and likely it will be. Now that I have a four year old with more emotional struggles and awareness I find myself thinking, “oh things were so simple when I could pop her in the car and let her fall asleep.” I know they weren’t really so simple but the grass is always greener, eh? 
  • Babywearing for bonding, yes, but also moments of peace. 
  • Accepting and embracing my new normal. 
  • Learning to say no, a lot. “No, I can’t go to dinner. No, you can’t hold the baby. No, we aren’t coming for a visit.” This is a lot harder for some of us than others. The most assertive mothers I know are by far the more content ones. I’m a work in progress. 
  • Believing in yourself. Knowing that you aren’t screwing it all up, though every mother feels this way at some point. But it’s that insecurity that should really tell you how good of a mother you are because caring is the most important thing you can do. 
  • Finding friends, acquaintances, blogs, books, anyone who understands what you’re going through because feeling alone is the worst part. The truth is you are so not alone. Every day mothers struggle. Every day mothers don’t know how to ask for help. Be brave and start the conversation. 

Now I’ll ask you all the same questions. What were your postpartum struggles? And, who/what helped you? How did you move forward and what can you tell other mothers about this sacred time? I’d love to hear from you! There is so much more to be said and written… 


What Postpartum Moms Really Need

When I became a parent at the ripe old age of 24, I was glad to kiss a difficult pregnancy goodbye and embrace the joys of new motherhood. But while the joys were many, so were the challenges. I thought I had been adequately prepared to reach a whole new level of sleeplessness, to feed someone from my own body more than I fed myself, to answer every beck and call and do it effortlessly.

Now the word “prepared” seems laughable to use in the context of becoming a parent — literally, becoming a whole new version of yourself, shedding your old skin and giving birth to the mother in you from the moment you give birth to your child. There is no way to prepare for motherhood and I wish I’d known that. But I also wish I’d known how to ask for help.

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Continue reading at HuffPost… 


How can I get my kids to eat their veggies?

If your kids willingly eat their veggies, kudos to you. But let’s get real; Most of us aren’t raising a posse of natural born broccoli-biters like the Gwyneth Paltrows of the world. For most families, maybe there are a few “safe” vegetables. You know, the ones you can serve without having them fly at your head, but the rest is really a toss-up.

Even if we make an honest effort to have a variety of healthy food on the table most nights, kids aren’t always the easiest bunch to please. And it doesn’t help that when they decide they actually do like something one week, it could be totally out of the question the next. It’s incredibly frustrating, but it happens to the best of us.

If you’re in major freakout mode about the nutrition your child isn’t getting, stay calm. All is not lost. Instead of slamming your head against the kitchen table night after night, try some of these surefire ways to get them to eat their veggies, no questions asked (except maybe “can I have seconds?”).

Continue reading at Scary Mommy… 


How can I help my family get healthier?

As the member of a growing family, I’ve found that taking care of my health comes a whole lot easier when I have the proper support. Though all my husband really has to do is cut out dessert, or exercise a whopping two times per week to get fit (infuriating, yes), having common goals makes all the difference in motivating us both to do better. Likewise, the minute I get knocked-up, turn into a barf bag and my workouts get flushed, he immediately becomes a slug and packs on the “sympathy weight.” This is also true for other times I fall off the wagon, but my current (pregnant) situation proves this point pretty accurately.

Though my husband may have an easier time toning it up than myself due to his chemical make-up, good choices are contagious. Spouses and children that see good habits happening on a day-to-day basis are likely to have an easier time engaging in them without question. It just becomes part of the daily flow.

Here are a few simple tips to make getting healthy together part of that daily flow…

Continue reading at Scary Mommy… 


15 things I wish every struggling mother knew

There is so much I still don’t know about parenthood. In fact, there is a lot I will never know. But I’ve picked up a few truisms along the way. Ya know, things that keep me from screaming into a pillow all too often.

These are the things I wish every struggling mother knew:

1. Patience, the kind that parenting requires, is not something  most of us inherently have- it is a practice. Let it evolve, let it grow and watch yourself do the same.

2. One day, sleep will come. It won’t be soon, but it will be worth the wait.

3. Luke warm anything can be too hot, drinks can be too cold and sandwiches can be “too sandwichey.” Act accordingly.

4. Your work is important. And the days where it feels unimportant, it is probably the most important.

5. Persistence is everything. Breathe, don’t quit.

6. Ignoring your kids sometimes is good for the soul.

7. Vacations are completely and totally exhausting in every way.

8. There will be a point in your parenting journey when you are certain you are doing everything wrong and that no one understands you at all. Disregard and move on.

9. The most important thing you can do is to have faith in yourself as a parent.

10. Kids repeat everything they hear on TV or in books. Choose wisely or take being called a “scrub” in stride.

11. In times of trouble, go outside, look around and remember there is a whole world outside of your four walls.

12. Yelling is pretty much never worth it.

13. Don’t believe anyone who acts like they have it all together. None of us are without struggle. Some just try harder to cover it up.

14. Childhood is magical and amazing. You’re the lucky one who gets to participate again. Don’t be a bystander.

15. For every difficult moment, or meltdown, or stage- this too shall pass.

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5 “Workouts” only moms know about

There is a lot of physical labor involved in child-rearing. Much more than I ever anticipated. Though I exercise for sanity’s sake, having kids is kind of the best workout there is (given it’s not optional). Sometimes it’s pretty brutal, and or weird/gross, but one of the perks of having kids is that they keep us moving. Whether we like it…or not.

Here are a few examples of “workouts” only moms know about.

Let's get physical!
Let’s get physical!

1. Playing horsey, aka, crawling across hardwood floors listening to your knees crackle and gasping for air. I gave this one up a few months ago (since I’m 7 months pregnant) but it totally sucks and is the equivalent of any solid 30 minute sweat-sesh.

2. The toddler drag. Or, as I like to call it “lazy legs”. You’re walking through a store and your kids legs go limp. They’re tired of walking. They start to pull on your arm but you march on. The screaming and yelling and protesting kicks in but you must prevail! This one gets my heart rate jacked every time. Everyone is looking, you’re definitely sweating up a storm and you eventually end up pleading for mercy. Crossfit has nothing on this shit.

3. Coming in from the car. You have no less than 20 bags of groceries in your arms when your kid throws her school bag at you. The contents spill all over the sidewalk. “Pick it up!” you holler, but she’s already jumping in a pile of leaves and shit is blowing down the street. You notice the neighbor opening his front door and you start to speed walk knowing he will chat your ear off totally oblivious to the fact that you’re about to pass out or puke from exhaustion.

4. The morning routine. You kid comes in for “snuggles” which somehow turns into you fighting for your life through blankets and sheets. Pillows are coming at you, there’s legs flying about. You’ve learned to protect your nose and crotch because this morning routine is really quite terrifying. Pretending your asleep only makes it worse so after being stepped on, punched and headbutted 47 times, you get out of bed. The only good part of this is if you’re mad at your husband you can say “Daddy wants snuggles!” and you won’t be mad anymore. You’ll just feel really bad for him.

5. Baby squats. No, I don’t mean a miniature version of a squat. I mean squatting (or really doing anything remotely tiring) while holding a baby. The bigger they get, the more intense this exercise is. Once they are toddlers you realize you should probably try out for some extreme sport because you’ve become a monster, aka, strong as crap.

Can you add anything to the list? What other “mom” workouts do you do?


30 before 30

Since my 29th birthday is juuuust around the corner (Aries, baby), I figured I better make a lofty list of goals for the next year that I probably won’t achieve. Not to sound like a Debbie-Downer! It’s just, I’ll have a new baby (and an old one) and um, yeah okay, that’s about it but… that’s a lot! I’m not sure how I’m going to have time to keep up with my writing “career” (I use that term loosely) or yoga-ing myself back into a human-being or, really, anything aside from wiping butts all-the-live-long-day.

But I still think it’s important to have goals! Goals you might not achieve but at least aim for. Goals that keep you sane in the middle of the night when you feel like your life has turned into an endless stream of feedings and diaper changes, feedings and diaper changes and wondering how you got into this mess and will you ever find your way out? Or, maybe that’s just me.

I’m not worried about turning 30. I don’t mind getting older and I hear thirties are awesome. They are also the new twenty. By the time I’m 30 they’ll be the new 18 basically so, I’m pretty much sold. But either way, it feels like I should have something to show for myself by the time I get to the big 3-0, aside from the two smelly butts I’ll be wiping. And I mean that lovingly.

Here are 30 things I’d like to accomplish over the next year and if I don’t, it’s really not that big of a deal.

1. Do yoga everyday. Even if it’s just meditating or deep-breathing and even if it’s only for ten minutes.

2. Read a book from start to finish. More specifically a book that isn’t about parenting, child-rearing, mothering, identity-crisis’s or babies.

3. Have a date night at least once a month that doesn’t end at 8 o’clock.

4. Go to a beach. Lay in the sun. Drink margs.

5. Paint more.

6. Knit more. Something besides hats.

7. Write a children’s book with Piper with hopes of turning it into a series.

8. Go camping. And find away to escape the mosquitoes from murdering me and only me, yet again.

9. Make more money than I made this year. Ha! That shouldn’t be too hard.

10. Write for a new publication.

11. Create a weekly yoga video for readers.

12. Take a class.

13. Teach a class.

14. Don’t watch The Bachelor and The Bachelorette.

15. Breastfeed when and where I want to.

16. Take a nap. That’s right, just one. Let’s not go crazy here.

17. Do things with other moms.

18. Do things with people other than moms.

19. Take Piper on more play-dates.

20. Make a healthy dinner at least four nights a week.

21. Don’t yell, ever, at all.

22. Try a new food trend. A cleanse? Paleo? Something that doesn’t suck, obv.

23. Be mostly happy.

OR as happy as Piper on her birthday morning.
OR as happy as Piper on her birthday morning.


24. Have two or three wine-less nights a week, every week.

25. Do a yoga challenge for a month.

26. Don’t feel guilty about working (ha).

27. Get rid of cable.

28. Go outside everyday for an hour.

29. Be a better wife.

30. Finish my “book” even if it’s just 150 pages of crap that ends up sitting on my “desk” in the basement.

That’s about all I’ve got! If I cover half of those I’ll be pretty satisfied but why not shoot for the moon. What are your goals this year?


How yoga can make you a better parent

As I navigate the sometimes treacherous waters of motherhood, I am often looking for a place of both contentment and stability. I often wonder, how can I push myself to be a better mom while at the same time letting go and enjoying peace with the way things are? In my experience, the practice of yoga has been both freeing and grounding.

While children bring endless love and joy, they also present us with some life’s toughest challenges. They test our patience, require boundless energy and severely limit our personal space (wait, what’s that again?). They are often to blame for our groggy heads, tired arms and empty wallets, but we love them more than life itself — they are our babies after all. To say this parenting jam is easy would be the biggest lie ever told. It feels like a never-ending test, one we are not always on the winning side of, no matter how hard we try. In fact, if you’re not interested in failing and failing often, you’re surely in the wrong game. It’s just par for the course in these digs.

Continue reading…


A little yoga goes a long way- My favorite second trimester poses

Last year, I got certified as a yoga teacher. I was in a very yoga-y place, so even though I’d had a rough first pregnancy, when I got pregnant again, I had high hopes for my yoga practice. Unfortunately (once again) my hopes were short-lived. The truth is, my pregnancy practice has been majorly lacking. Like, to an embarrassing extent. I went from teaching weekly classes and practicing daily, to practicing almost never (at least, not in the form I was used to).

Pregnancy is not a glowing time for me like it is some moms. My first 16 weeks were filled with unrelenting nausea, vomiting and fatigue that made it almost impossible just to get through the day. So my yoga practice came to almost a complete halt. In the first trimester and beginning part of the second, the only yoga I was doing was deep-breathing. I would tell myself, “Okay, I’m going to practice.” Then I would lie down  (okay, I was usually already down) and I would focus on my breath (and trying not to throw up). I sometimes worked on my shoulders and stretching my legs or releasing my hips, but that was about it. That was my practice. Deep breaths and a wee bit of stretching.

I try not to beat myself up about this. Yoga tells you to do what you are comfortable with and for a long time, only a very small amount of yoga felt even remotely comfortable. If I was forcing myself to sweat and barf or God-forbid, put my head below my heart, I definitely would not have been listening to my body. While typically, you can maintain your yoga practice during the first trimester, yoga teacher or not, for me this just wasn’t an option. So my yoga had to transform, just like my life and that’s okay.

Once I was able to keep down food and move about like a semi-normal person, I picked it up a bit. I started doing about six of seven poses a day, again, just the ones that felt good. That’s one of the best things about pregnancy. You can do only what feels good to your body and no one will fault you for it. And I have to say, it’s kind of refreshing to do what I want and not what I think I should be doing.

Here are some of my favorite second trimester poses:

  • Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle)– This is one of my favorite poses always and forever. It’s easy to perform and feels wonderful. It stretches the inner thighs, groin and knees which can all become very tight during pregnancy.


Start by finding a comfortable seated position and bring the soles of your feet together. Sit up nice and tall, drawing the navel towards the spine and reaching through the crown of your head. Draw your chin slightly towards your chest and lengthen out the back of the neck. Use the hands to open the feet like a book and let the knees release towards the floor. Start to move forward, hinging at the hips, as if you were laying the heart on the floor. If you can’t hinge very far, that’s okay. Stay wherever you feel the stretch and breathe into the posture. Focus on creating space in the body, wherever that may be.

  • Malasana (Deep Squat)- Deep squatting feels so good to me during pregnancy, but this is probably because I used to do it a lot before I was pregnant. It opens up my hips, groin, ankles and helps relieve lower back discomfort. I could really hang out down there all day, it’s that comfortable.

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Stand with your feet a little further than shoulder width apart. Turn your toes out. Bring your hands to heart center and bend the knees deeply. Lower your body as far as is comfortable into the squat but keep your chest upright. Press your elbows into your inner-knees. This will help you to lengthen the torso. Release the shoulders down the back. If your heels come up, you are trying to move too deeply. You can adjust by coming back up, or by placing a folded mat or towel under your heels. This is common for people with tight Achilles.

*If a deep-squat was not previously in your yoga practice, pregnancy may not be the best time to start. As always, listen to your body. There is some research that says to avoid it in the third trimester, but there is also a lot of information that says it’s great for labor preparation. So, squat at your own risk.

  • Utkata Konasana (Goddess)- This is a great modification for the previous pose. During goddess, you are definitely working the muscles of the pelvic floor and strengthening the legs.

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Start with your feet a little further than hip-width apart. Bring your hands to your heart and turn your toes out. Begin bending the knees, tracking the knees over the toes. Come down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, or as far as is comfortable. Either keep the hands in prayer, or bring the arms up to ninety-degrees. Breathe and allow the opening aspects of this pose to work for your body.

  • Cat-Cow- This is one pose that is usually present during prenatal yoga classes. It’s important because  you are able to be in a belly-down position (which we rarely are during pregnancy, so it feels so good!). It can be helpful for getting baby to move from a breech position during the third trimester and it helps with lower back stiffness and mobility of the spine.

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Begin on all fours with a neutral spine (flat back). Inhale as you lift your head and tail to the sky and draw your shoulders away from your ears. Let the belly be heavy (cow belly). On the exhale, draw the belly-button towards the spine and tuck the head and tail. Focusing on the pelvic tilt is crucial.

*Once the belly grows past a certain point (usually by the third trimester) moving too deeply in cow pose can feel uncomfortable. You may find it becomes easier to inhale to a flat back and exhale to round. 

  • Utthita Trikonasana (Triangle)– If you want to hear “POP POP POP!”, do this pose. Maybe I’m just speaking personally here. Something pops in my groin/hips every.single.time. But in the best possible way.

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Start with feet together in mountain pose. On an exhale, step your right foot back about 3 or 4 feet. Turn your toes slightly (or to ninety degrees if it feels okay). Inhale the arms to shoulder height reaching from front to back. Send energy through the pinky side of your back foot and begin to press through you back hip as you reach forward, hinging from the hips (as if you are reaching across a counter). Once you have lengthened your spine as far as possible, stack your shoulders, taking the right hand to the sky and the left hand to the floor, foot or ankle (or wherever it naturally rests). Imagine you are between two panes of glass, all in one plane.

  • Janu Sirsasana (Head to knee)– Aaah. I don’t think I’ve ever taught a class without this pose. That’s how much I love it. It stretches the hamstrings, improves back strength and digestion and feels oh-so good during pregnancy (and pretty much anytime).

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Begin from a seated position with both legs extended in front of your body. Bend the right knee and draw the right sole of the foot to the left inner thigh. Allow the knee to rest on the mat. Inhale the arms by the ears. Exhale and twist slightly to the left. Hinge forward from the groin, as if you are laying your heart onto your extended leg. Only come forward as far as is comfortable (which during pregnancy may not be very far at all!). Keep a flat back (as opposed to rounding) to work on strengthening the low back and stretching the hamstrings and hips. Breathe deeply, filling the belly. Continue to lengthen the spine as you move deeper into the pose without shortening the torso. Focus on extending and sending energy through the crown of the head. Hands can come to either side of the extended leg for support. Take a few breaths here, the switch sides.

  • Virasana (Hero)- This pose is a great stretch for the knees, the fronts of the thighs and ankles. Because fluid can build up in these areas during pregnancy, it’s a great pose to do in any trimester.

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Begin by kneeling on the floor, sitting on your heels. You may find you need a blanket to give a little added support to knees and ankles (this is especially true if you have bad knees). Slide your feet apart so that your sits bones (your butt bones, or bones at the base of your spine) touch the ground and turn your big toes slightly towards each other. If your sits bones do not evenly touch the ground, sit up on a folded blanket or a block rather than forcing an uncomfortable position. Wide your collar bones and open the heart. Release the shoulders back and down making space for the neck. Draw your navel slightly towards your spine and find a nice tall seat. Breathe here and feel the stretching and rejuvenating benefits of this posture on your entire lower body.