When I first became a mom, I was really adamant that my mom life and work life would not intersect. I’d have awesome boundaries and leave my work on the mat, so to speak. Working after dinner would simply not happen. Being on my computer while spending time with my kids would be a huge no-no.
These boundaries held well when Milly was a baby, but as she got older and as I added 2 more kids to the mix, those boundaries disappeared like a bag of chocolate chips sitting unattended on the counter.
Boundaries have never been my strong suit, but that’s not what this is really about.
This is about the fact that somehow I had it in my head that work and kids did not mix. More specifically, it was a problem to indicate in my work that I even had children at all — which is odd, given that my target audience is moms.
I think it stems from the fairly toxic idea that children should be seen and not heard. This narrative I had in my head, however said that children can be referenced in your work but not seen or heard.
So I could mention I had kids. Maybe share a few adorable or annoying stories about them in blogs or on social media. But allowing them into my workspace or even take my classes, was unacceptable.
It took me actual years unlearn this and to figure out what was behind this ideology that so many moms like me have assumed as truth.
What I learned is that trying to hide my kids from my work and also hiding my work from my kids was a boundary that someone else had created. In fact, it actually felt more like a patriarchal structure that I was choosing to hold in place to make other people more comfortable.
The truth is, I don’t mind having my kids in my classes.
But that’s not how I felt at first.
When Milly was born, I didn’t bring her with me when I went to teach. Instead, I paid for childcare that I could barely afford. I was briefly able to bring her to one of the studios where I taught in the care of the office staff. That is, until she started getting bigger and louder. They did have massage services, after all. Who really wants to hear the “soothing soundtrack” of a hungry baby when they’re getting a back rub?
Things were different with my second kid. Milly was in school 5 days a week, so she was set, but I didn’t always have reliable childcare for Archer.
I started bringing Archer to class when he was just about 2 months old and I had a weekend of leading my Yoga Teacher Training that involved 8 hr days. There was no way I could pump that much in advance to get him through the day, so I just brought him and nursed him during the breaks. Anyone from that YTT remember that weekend?
After that, I brought him to class more often. Sometimes I’d wear him and he’d sleep. Other times, he’d be awake and wiggling on a blanket. I never had a single complaint about having him in class with me.
When I transitioned to online teaching, I was once again nervous about having my kids around and tried to keep them out of the room when I had class. But there were many times when that just wasn’t possible. Either I was soloparenting or one of my kids was having a rough time and needed me.
So I loosened that boundary again and let them in.
The best part is that more often than not, my students were happy to see my kids there. They didn’t get annoyed when I nursed my baby while I taught a pose. And they didn’t complain about the occasional kid sound effects during savasana.
In one of my recent live classes, Milly (who is now 8) joined me for class. She stuck through the entire 30 minute class, full of challenging poses for her. At the end, everyone who was online during the class, cheered for her.
It hasn’t always been seamless or easy. I’ve definitely gotten annoyed at my kids for banging on the door when I’m teaching, asking for snack. Or times when the needs of my kids have legit distracted me or stopped me during class.
It’s also allowed me to teach my online classes without the stress of yelling at my kids for interrupting or needing to find childcare when I just didn’t have it (helloooo soloparenting during the pandemic).
Perhaps the biggest benefit has been allowing my community into my life and my kids lives.
They’ve watched Milly grow from a teeny tiny baby to a strong, confident 8 year old who has taught her own yoga classes.
They’ve been witness to Archer transition from baby to big kid.
They’ve watched Nettie learn how to roll over and start to crawl and walk and now run in circles around me while I teach.
And maybe most important, they’ve also watched me grow into motherhood, navigating the challenges and the joys both on and off my mat.
In my most recent video on YouTube, I share a quick segment from the live class Milly took with me. It’s 2 flows to work on balance, leg strength, and shoulder opening. Watching her move with me makes me so proud. And so grateful that I stopped letting other people’s boundaries influence my own.
This class also gives you a taste of what my classes feel like in my online studio, MOVE with Naomi. If you’ve ever been curious about what those classes are like, definitely check out the video.
👉🏽interested in joining MOVE with Naomi? You can use the coupon code YOGASUPPORT to try it for free for one month.