Casually saunter into class.
Unroll my mat.
Clear my mind.
Enjoy the flow.
Going to yoga as a mom is a completely different story. Let me count the ways:
- Getting out the door is impossible. If I’m working, it means I have a 45 minute window to leave my office, drive to daycare, pick up the toddler, pray he doesn’t throw a Level 10 meltdown about leaving play time, drive to the gym, drop the toddler off at childcare, pray he doesn’t have another meltdown, change my clothes, and make it into the studio. If I’m not working, I have to find a way to pry my toddler from whatever activity he is immersed in, pray that he doesn’t have a meltdown, drive to the gym, drop the toddler off at childcare, pray he doesn’t have another meltdown and make it into the studio. It is truly a wonder that we make it anywhere on time.
- Finding a spot close to the door is a necessity. If my toddler is in childcare while I’m in yoga, there is a 95% chance that he’ll pick a moment during mommy’s only hour-long parenting respite, and he’ll have a bowel movement. One of the poor childcare workers will tiptoe into the studio with a little dry-erase board with my son’s name on it. She’ll hold it up. I’ll peak between my legs or under my own torso, and then I’ll audibly grunt because my flow has been interrupted by a perfectly-timed-toddler-turd.
- Focus is all about the pelvic floor, not relaxing through the poses. Listen, I fancy myself to have pretty excellent control of my downstairs region, considering the fact that I birthed an eight-and-a-half-pound baby. That said, the risk of breaking wind in yoga has risen exponentially since having my son. When the instructor says it is time to twist my body into a bind, there is a good chance that I’m also going to twist my bladder in the process. And, in that position, twisted up like a post partum pretzel, I just don’t trust the lower portion of my body.
- Know your quickest route to the bathroom or face the consequences. I didn’t think about this before kids. But, see #3. As I panic my way through a bind, I’m silently mapping the quickest route to a toilet in the event of an emergency.
- Finding a way to suppress the guilt. My child’s language skills have managed to simultaneously make my wildest dreams come true and crush my heart in the most devastating way. Nothing is sweeter to my ears than “Mommy, I love you. I want snuggles. Can I give you a kiss?” Which is why it destroys me when that same sweet voice says, “Mommy, I miss you. I need you. Don’t leave.” My toddler reaches levels of devastation I didn’t know were possible if I dare to lock the door while I use the toilet, so I can only imagine what goes through his little mind when I’m gone for an entire hour. Excuse me while I stifle a sob just thinking about it.
- Some poses just don’t work the way they used to. I realized that I had a slight case of diastasis recti the first time my yoga instructor told me to lay on my back and throw my legs over my head. I felt like my intestines were trying to escape from just under my breast bone. I’ve even managed to temporarily dislocate a rib more than once. Welcome to Modification City. Population, Mom.
- Getting back to reality after a class can be downright cruel. I used to leave class feeling so loosey goosey. Someone cuts me off on the way home, no worries. I just got my “om” on. Take the right-of-way, my friend. But when I pick up my son, and he starts demanding a snack but refusing the snack I offered him because it isn’t the snack he wanted and then starts demanding a drink but not the drink I’m offering him… Toddlers really know how to harsh a mom’s buzz.
- These classes are more important now than they ever were before. My favorite buzz words of the moment are “self care.” We’ve all been taught that when the plane is going down, we need to put our own mask on before assisting others. Can’t pour from an empty cup! Given that the average mom works a 98-hour week, it is simply a fact that none of us are getting the self care that we really need. So, if the best that mommy can do is to get her butt to yoga once a week, then mommy better get there! Because that hour of zen each week might just keep mommy calm when all she really wants to do is lose her ever loving mind.