I don’t look in the mirror often. Not on my average, stay-at-home mom day, where I still wear Juicy Couture track pants like its 2007 and I repeat common phrases to my two-year-old in French 90 times a day.
I cook her organic food from scratch topped with flax seeds now stuck to my face, which I didn’t know because I don’t look in the mirror often.
Not on my average, work-at-home mom day, where PBS’s educational cartoons entertain my child with promises that local libraries are cool while my professional brain spreads intelligent love vibes about my new baby yoga mat around the world from my Mac. The 1,000 people that read my social media blitz yesterday had no idea I had green glue on my face and play dough in my hair from our frog art lesson.
It wasn’t until my first Skype episode with a friend in Indonesia last week, I saw what the woman behind the curtain really looked like! It’s times like those you wish “Get eyebrows waxed” had come before “Create bendibaby yoga mat Board on Pinterest”.
Don’t get me wrong. I love myself and my body. I’m a yogini after all. That’s what we do. But there is a point on your path when vanity takes a backseat.
There’s a sticker above the entrance to my yoga studio, “Check Ego Here.” It’s a common theme in yoga philosophy to let go of your ego, your pride, and just be your true self to live a richer life. This is a painful test with the abundance of mirrors in yoga studios. A place you’re expected to look at yourself (and no one else for that matter) clad in tight black pants at the most!
There’s also a point in plain ole’ motherhood, when you realize, somethings gotta give! Criticizers, obviously men or idealist young women who haven’t had their heart yet blown open by a child’s soulful presence, call it “letting yourself go”. Maybe they’re on to something. That is exactly what it is. You wildly abandon your ego in favor of unconditional love of another.
There could be mindfulness in it all that brings balance. If the mother makes conscious choices in her love and brings a living awareness to the art of a 24-hour-a–day career, then maybe we can bring the mirrors back into our lives.
We can love what we see when the whole tribe looks in, not just the perfect skin of the baby.
As my little girl grows, she’s becoming my best friend. And in classic best friend fashion, she tells me the truth. She has no problem pointing out my skin blemishes and announcing I have a boo-boo.
Yesterday, she said something that made me gasp. It was as if I were hearing it for the first time. I actually think it was the first time my heart truly heard it and believed it.
She took my glasses off, looked me dead in the eyes and said slowly, annunciating every word, “You. Are. So. Beautiful. Mama.” She through her arms around me and breathlessly held me so tight. I was witnessing first hand in another human being those moments of pure love and beauty that take your breath away.
And this time, I was the pure love and beauty.
Edited by Hayley Samuelson
Brooke Kochel is a passionate student of Shiva Rea. Her baby yoga mat, bendibaby, debuts this summer. I’m a lover of two soul mates: husband and babe. Jet-setting citizen of the world, foodie and cultural junkie: I’ll try anything twice. She is currently on a farm in Arkansas living off wild game, fish and fowl. Rantings of her satisfied soul can be found on her blog, Yogastronomy, Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter.