Leah is our first Featured Movin’ Mama of September, living outside of Boston with her husband, 11-year-old daughter, & 5-year-old son. This gal is super busy between caring for her family, amping up her education, and running both a small business & farm! As for down-time, she loves to curl up with a good book (when she can keep her eyes open, that is!).
How do you typically start your day?
We have a dog, cat, 5 chickens and a duck, so my husband and I take turns getting all the animals taken care of first thing in the morning. Right now, my daughter is at soccer camp from 9AM – 3PM everyday so it’s been kind of like being back to school. My son gets up super early and will follow my husband around while he gets ready for work. Our daughter usually has to be wrestled out of bed and during the school year has to catch the bus, so I make breakfasts, lunches, and chug coffee before sending her outside…and also get my son over to pre-school a few times a week. On smooth mornings, my husband and I have a few minutes to eat and have a quick cup of coffee together. It’s definitely chaotic, but I think most people with kids can agree that mornings are seldom a calm time of day.
What is your diet like and where would you like to improve?
Breakfast is super important to me, I eat really early with my kids, like a bowl of Kashi Go Lean cereal with blueberries and coffee, then will have some fruit later. Lunch changes daily, but I like “Mediterranean” style lunches with a bunch of snacks, or another quick favorite is scrambled eggs in a tortilla with veggies. I cook dinner almost every night and try to plan in advance accordingly. My daughter is vegetarian & gluten-free, which has presented some challenges when factoring in her insane schedule, but I’m getting the hang of it! I really love to cook and teaching my children the value of growing/preparing their own food. Collecting our own eggs, apples and other small veggies from our garden, then using them to make a meal gives me so much satisfaction. That being said, I’m definitely not a purist, I have the WORST sweet tooth. It’s a constant internal battle for me to step away from the sweets. Always room for improvement there!
What do you wish you knew when you first became a mom that you know now?
For me this answer is less about the physical side and more about the emotional side. Motherhood is a very romanticized life event. When I had our daughter 11 years ago, it was just “oh how wonderful!” and “isn’t it the greatest?!” While it is wonderful and great and all the happy things, its also an insanely impossible task. You have no idea what you’re doing, you’re exhausted and in pain and outrageously overwhelmed…all while being screamed at by a tiny stranger.
To put it in perspective, my husband was a Marine in Special Operations. During hell week, they deprive you of sleep for days then stick you in a room with the recording of a baby crying on a loop. There’s a reason for that, you know? I was under the impression that my love and connection with my child would be instant and for me, it wasn’t. It was more of a “labor of love” situation. No pun intended.
Through the struggle of learning what it means to be a mom, and sorting out all the emotions and changes is where our relationship was forged. I still find it difficult to not be defined by motherhood, to maintain my sense of self, but it’s a work in progress. I’m growing with my kids every day, sometimes I feel like I am learning as much from them as they do from me.
I admire my kids as people, they are fascinating individuals. It’s really been the development of social media and websites about parenting where I’ve learned that I’m not alone in feeling like this. Eleven years ago, that really didn’t exist, at least not as fluidly as it does now. If you can wade through all the nonsense of Mommy Wars and women pretending that motherhood is never anything but dreamy, you can find niches of reality that are so encouraging and uniting. I hope that all new and future moms can find that and know that they are not alone.
How have you streamlined your beauty routine since having kids?
The biggest change I have made was chopping off my hair into a pixie. Which I have to say actually had the reverse effect, as I put more effort into styling my short hair than I did when it was long. I can’t whip it into a ponytail anymore and I have some really aggressive bed head that needs to be addressed in the morning whether I want to shower or not. Sea salt spray is my best friend at the moment!
What do you do when you want to have me time?
Yoga. I love to go to yoga class. It’s just as much, if not more, for the mental break as it is the work out. My brain is always running, down to the second I fall asleep, but for whatever reason when I do yoga I can shut it off. It took some practice but now as soon as I walk into the studio I can focus entirely on myself. Plus, the women at the studio I go to are amazing!
*Can’t get to the studio? Check out these free online videos to try at home from DoYogaWithMe.com! All you need is a Mat and a quiet space (hello, nap-time!).
What is one thing that you never had that you want for your kids?
I want them to travel, far and wide. I want them to see as much of the world as possible. I’ve been to 8 states, mostly in my adult life, and one other country when I went on my honeymoon with my husband. That is pathetic! Now that our son is older we plan on trying to take family trips out of the country every other year starting with the Galapagos Islands. Who needs Disney when you can hang out with a 100-year-old tortoise in its natural habitat?!
Who do you lean on for support when it comes to wellness the most and why?
My sister. She doesn’t BS me. She’ll be the first to call me out if she knows I can do more, physically or emotionally. On the flip side of that she is never stingy with praise. She could build anyone’s ego in 3 minutes flat. To me, that is what wellness is…your soul, your body and your mental self all being looked after. She keeps that in check for me.