A Mother’s Rights #6: You have the right to exercise every day.

There’s an author named Candace Pert who wrote a book called, “Your Body is Your Subconscious Mind.”  I love, love, love this concept. It makes so much sense! All things that happen in your life and the way you feel about the things that happen are stored in your body and mind. Our bodies have intelligence and preferences. They are not separate from our existence but integrally a part of how we interpret and process the world, including our inner world. To keep those energies and emotions and thoughts fluid and flowing, we must move our bodies if we can.

you have the right to exercise every day

Bodies love exercise. They need it.

But no two bodies are the same. I know my body is not the same as Charlize Theron’s body.  Pretty sure about that one. Not the same as my husband’s or my kids’. There are exercises that feel good to me that may not feel good to them. There are different kinds of movement that used to feel good before I had children that don’t feel as good now.

It’s ok to meet yourself wherever you’re at and find something that feels good to you now. This is all about asking the very important question:

What does your body want now?

And finding a way to get it.  Is walking around the block exercise? Yes. Yoga? Playing catch with your kid? Climbing up the playground slide? Dance party with your baby? Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

We often sneak ourselves into a corner by thinking that exercise only counts if you’re at the gym or in cute workout clothes or it lasts for at least an hour and your kids aren’t there. If we set aside the mind for a moment and pay attention to the body, you may get some clues about what your cells really need. Maybe soft flowing dance, maybe wind sprints, maybe 50 squats before you sit to pee, maybe a little movement every day or maybe something big 2 times a week.

It may be a 10 minute postnatal core strengthening focus (this one has modifications for diastasis recti) so you feel like your insides aren’t that delicious pudding dessert your aunt makes. Or 15 minutes of tai chi during naptime to calm your emotions and re-center.  It could be an hourlong hike if your kids will sit in a stroller or wagon or be happy in a carrier. Like these guys occasionally would:


Awwwwwwwww.  Those walks were crucial to my body’s health and well-being whether they lasted 5 minutes or 45 minutes. So bend over and try to touch your toes every now and then for God’s sake. Your body sooooo needs you to.

A Mother’s Rights #5: You have the right to shower every day.

you have the right to shower every day (1)

This one seems like it shouldn’t be hard to accomplish and sometimes it might even seem like not that big of a deal. But I propose that taking a shower can sometimes be the only 10 minutes of truly alone time you may get. It may not be enough, but it can be a few minutes of heaven that you truly need in order to recharge.

It also is one of the only places where the sound you are surrounded by may actually be louder than the sounds of your children. Which means your ears and brain get a small break from the hard work of filtering demands, requests, arguing, outbursts, sharing, questions, wailing, and insistences that they are still hungry even though you JUST FED THEM DINNER.

I recommend carving this time for yourself, even if it means setting your little one in a pack and play with a soft toy, or setting your child in front of PBS Kids in a child-safe room with a bowl of Goldfish crackers. And…this is important-

put your child in a room other than the bathroom you are showering in

It doesn’t count if they are just on the other side of the shower curtain! For toddlers, you know they’re just going to peek their head in at you and ask: “What is that? Ewww” while they point to your pubic hair.  And for older kids, there’s no reason they need to be in there.

Once your kids are settled, spend a second just appreciating your naked bod. You are amazing. Then pretend there is a personal assistant speaking in a sexy Australian accent with a tray holding your favorite cocktail and a CBD joint saying,

“How do you stay so beautiful when you work so hard? Now, I’ve already prepared your gourmet meals for the week. Why don’t you just take your time in the shower and I’ll be right outside the door waiting to give you your foot massage when you’re done. No rush.”

While you’re at it, splurge on some body nourishing and activating items. Sugar, coffee, and dead sea salt are all super cheap, probably already in your cupboard and make really easy feel-amazing scrubs.

You deserve 10 minutes of hot water on your back !! Take a shower already.

A Mother’s Rights #4: You have the right to revise your sex life as needed.

We are four posts into the 15 Mother’s Rights.  Ready for #4?


When I interviewed my mom for my podcast. one of the things she said she wished had happened differently through her early parenting years was that there was more education about what happens to your pelvic floor and your sex life after giving birth.

These stories are different for every woman, but over the course of partnership, pregnancy, nursing, and parenting, our relationships to our bodies change.

Maybe we used to be kind of into our boobs, they used to feel sexy and now they feel like milk dispensers and you don’t want your partner anywhere near them.

Maybe our pelvic floor is like a loose stretched out rubber band and when we have sex, we’re so afraid pee will come out, we refuse to orgasm.

Maybe postpartum anxiety leaves us so stressed that the idea of getting intimate with someone is overwhelming and you’d rather read a book and take a bath.

Maybe you have weight that just won’t come off and you don’t feel like yourself, so how could you possibly want to share your body with someone else?

We have so many insecurities and expectations for ourselves. Adding an expectation that there is a minimum amount of sex we are required to have in order to fulfill our duty is an outdated notion. You do not need to meet a quota. Your sex life is YOUR sex life. If your libido is down and things have changed for you, talk to your partner and make some adjustments. Or get thee to a therapist and talk some more.

It doesn’t have to be a certain way. It is the way it is. Your relationship to your body and your sex life can change and grow. It’s ok.

A Mother’s Rights #3: You have the right to wear clothes that fit.

A few days ago, I started a feature: 15 Mother’s Rights. It started with a Mother’s Rights #1: You have the right to get 8 hours of sleep every 24 hours. Number 2 on the list was about taking time to eat.

Here comes number 3:


So I am going to admit that I wore the same pregnancy yoga pants and shirts for way too long, beyond postpartum, particularly when my baby weight stayed past its welcome like an unwanted house guest.

What I did not do was shop for clothes that actually fit.

For a period of about 2 years, I vacillated between 3 sizes, not just in pants and shirts, but my shoe size changed too. I tried desperately to work myself into that one size- the size I was before pregnancy- but that shit was not happening.

My metabolism slowed to a crawl after my third baby and I reaaaaaally like red wine and dark chocolate. And grains of any kind. And a good cheeseburger. And cheeeeeese.

Though it can be kind of fun to shop for maternity clothes, it’s not as much fun shopping after the baby arrives, carrying 20 extra pounds, admitting your postpartum body does not fit into pre-pregnancy sized-jeans.

It’s tempting to do nothing and just put up with feeling uncomfortable and unpolished for months and months. Like I did. Not proud. I encourage you to choose something different.

After-baby weight can last for months or for years. After-baby weight can just become, well, your weight. So embrace it, love it, and buy some clothes that fit your beautiful new body.

Old Navy, thrift stores, Target, and amazon all have options now for inexpensive clothing that can help you adjust to your new body. I particularly like Mod Cloth and Athleta if you want a spend a little more. Love your amazing bod however long it maintains its current shape and size, whether it be 2 months or 20 years.

And get some duds that you feel comfortable and confident in. You deserve it.

A Mother’s Rights #2: You have the right to eat a meal sitting down.

Yesterday I kicked off the first post here featuring the 15 Mother’s Rights. It started with a Mother’s Rights #1: You have the right to get 8 hours of sleep every 24 hours.Here comes #2…


Why is this a thing? Of all the possible ways we neglect ourselves in motherhood, why does eating at a table make the list of rights?

Here’s why.  Food restores our health. It is not only fuel, but also comfort and nourishment. I am not going to tell you to go out and buy an organic veggie box and only eat the bone marrow of grass fed cows, but I will say that most traditions encourage taking a bit of time to eat so the magic alchemy that happens when food is broken down in the digestive system can take its full effect.

The above Right is something I stand by. Having a meal every day where while you are not also changing a diaper or emptying the dishwasher feels like an extravagant luxury and maybe even out of reach for a lot of us.

Like most things that seem out of reach, taking microsteps will eventually get you there. I recommend setting this Right as a goal for at least one meal a day. And if you can’t find a way to make it happen, it’s ok. Try for once a week. And see if you can be mindful of any of the options below.

7 Tips for mindful eating:

  1. Eat hot food while it is still hot. In Eastern and Ayurvedic nutritional practice, eating warmed food is nourishing to the system. Warm food stimulates digestion and can help restore some of the energy spent in our busy days, especially if you are recovering from birth. (See The First Forty Days by Heng Ou)
  2. Chew thoroughly. Your stomach has no teeth. Let’s imagine that food is filled with all kinds of tiny nutrients and minerals that are wanting to be absorbed by your your body as it digests. Chewing slows down your eating and makes digestion a little easier on your body. It’s a way of being good to yourself.
  3. Smell, taste, and appreciate your food. Whether it is a Hostess cupcakes (that’s right, I just linked to Hostess cupcakes, bitches) or an organic sweet potato, savoring and actually experiencing what you are eating is a way to bring yourself into the present moment. This kind of mindfulness is good for for every system of your body.
  4. Eat without interruption. Ok, this seems like a high bar, I know. Our best hope is to realize it’s important to not be startled while you’re eating. Rest and digest. If one meal a day uninterrupted is too tall an order, start with one meal a week. Why do this? Because being interrupted adds stress and stress impairs digestion.
  5. When eating food, remember its source. The original saying goes, “When you drink water, remember its source.” But the benefits hold true for food, particularly food that comes from the earth. Following this tip slows your eating down and allows nourishing yourself with food to be a whole body and mind experience. It also enhances the connection between you and the fuel that runs your body, and the earth that creates that fuel.
  6. Give gratitude for the nourishment. Gratitude is never a bad idea. But when it comes to food, it is an essential. Food keeps your body alive…so mustering up some thanks for that is pretty easy. On top of that, giving thanks for how your food came to be on your plate is kind. How tired would we be if we had to harvest and hunt all our own food? Giving a little thanks for the efforts of others that go into allowing us to easily access grub…it’s a no-brainer
  7. Eat sitting down. Don’t even ask me how many times I have eaten in nibbles while making dinner for others. Or hunched over with a slice of pizza over the sink while doing dishes. Even if you know you can’t avoid getting interrupted, sitting and eating is so much more beneficial than eating on the run. It is better for digestion, better for your body, better for you. And you deserve good things.

A Mother’s Rights #1: You have the right to 8 hours of sleep every 24 hours.

Several years ago I wrote about a Mother’s Rights, the first of which is:


Ladies. Please don’t do what I did and think that you will catch up on sleep when your child is done night nursing or done co-sleeping or done teething or through this growth spurt or entering middle school.

Good sleep is necessary for good health. It just is. Everything from skin to metabolism to immune system to mood to heart health, blood pressure, learning and memory, and pretty much every aspect of how we operate in the world.

Ideally, when expecting a child and creating your birth plan, you are also creating your sleep plan and how you plan to get sleep after your baby arrives. Err on the side of caution and assume your babies will be like mine where they wouldn’t sleep without nursing, being held, or being rocked for the first several MONTHS. Followed by night nursing that continued for several years and then a second child who had major sleep problems due to sensory issues.

It is likely you will need support. You will need to nap. You will need to laugh. You will need to line up some local resources and look into what night services are available in your area and which relatives and friends are willing to help out.

I loved the advice of my lactation consultant who said this:

After you give birth, for the first few weeks, do not change out of your pajamas until after you have gotten 8 hours of sleep. The day looks like this: baby nurses, mama eats, everybody sleeps. Repeat.

Please know that in the coming months if you are planning to sleep train your baby, it sometimes does not work out and:

It is not your fault. And it is not your baby’s fault.

I know of some babies who, while attempting to sleep train, would cry until they threw up. Or who would cry for two hours or more night after night after night. Babies are people and need different things. Likewise, you may end up needing something different than what you can predict. But one things you will need, without any doubt, is a reasonable amount of sleep.

During our efforts for achieving solid sleep, my partner and I found some tools quite useful into the toddler years. Things like blackout curtains and sound machines.

For a short time, things like baby swings and co-sleepers were helpful too. Though baby sleep books were not helpful for us, a lot of my friends found them extremely helpful, as well as consulting with local sleep consultants.

Getting a decent amount of sleep- 8 hours a night- is a basic human need that does not disappear simply because you have a new life to care for. Work with your partner, take time off work or shorten your days so you can nap if you need to. I’ll explore other options for getting sleep in a future post, but for now, know that sleep is your right to claim…so claim it.

Top 10 Signs That I am Now Old-ish


In no particular order.

  • I talk like Ned Flanders. I’m not sure if this is a symptom of parenthood or of growing older.  What I do know is that if my 20 year old self could hear my now 39 year old self, there would be mocking.   Most of the time, my speech now is G-rated, predictable, and probably a little annoying- like a movie with talking animals. I say things like (and I’m totally not kidding here): “Skoodle-dee-doo!” (translation: hurry up) and “Hey there, mister, is that a sad face?”  and “Now it’s time for lunch-erino!” What has happened to me?

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Hospice: The question of isolation and the absence of touch

I took a job a few months ago working for hospice doing massage therapy.   I’m in the business of human touch because I know that hands heal. I have seen people melt and come to tears when they experience the effect of compassionate touch. For me, it’s spiritual work. Tensions dissolve and hope is restored under the hands of someone offering non-judgmental loving kindness.     All kinds of communication happen with touch:    

You’re not alone.
You’ve worked hard.
It’s alright to feel good.
You deserve good things.
You’re safe.
It’s ok to relax.

Massage doesn’t just communicate these things to the recipient, it proves them: the evidence happens in real time in the body mind and spirit.    

In the last few weeks, things have changed rapidly as assisted living centers, memory care units, senior homes and skilled nursing units have all gone on various levels of lock-down in the interest of protecting residents from catching a virus.     

The question I’ve been asking myself is: What happens when people who are already challenged are kept in isolation? Dining rooms closed, activities canceled, family and friends unable to visit. Massage and music eliminated, spiritual care and mental health support limited to phone calls for those who can hear and are still able to talk on the phone, which for hospice, is not many. Nurse and aide visits restricted to essential care only- once or twice a week for aides, less than that for nurses.    

I don’t argue with isolation as a strategy to slow the spread of an easily transmittable virus. I don’t know that I’m arguing against anything at this point. I just know that these patients under the care of hospice will decline and approach death more rapidly without human contact, whether they catch a virus or not. I know that their quality of life will plummet and the allover comfort of loving hands, kind eyes, and aides who used to visit 4 or 5 times a week whispering “You look beautiful today” into their ears….That comfort will be gone.    

Human presence heals. Touch soothes. And the benefit these patients receive through the incredible work of nurses and aides, and music and massage and mental health workers and spiritual guides who come to sing hymns with them…. cannot be underestimated.    

The truth is that they’re on hospice because they’re declining and approaching death. The role of the hospice worker is to support and nourish, enhance and enrich the quality of life for these people. Truthfully, we can’t do this if we’re not in the room with them.

Philosophically, the larger question is: if saving lives is the primary goal and quality of life becomes secondary, we might seem to be taking the correct ethical approach, but what’s the cost?    

I don’t have the answers, but the last few weeks have certainly raised alot of questions.

New Song!

It has been eons since I shared a song but I finally have one for you!  Recorded Sunday morning in my living room.

A few notes.

  1. If it looks like I am gazing meaningfully at the camera in the last verse, it is because I displayed the just-written lyrics for myself right next to the camera and I am trying to read them.
  2. I mess up a chord. See if you can find where.
  3. I recorded this on my iphone and the volume is pretty low…headphones might be a good bet.
  4. This is a 3 chord song! Easy to learn if you like.

Lyrics follow.


By Kris Adams

Holler around the bend
Ahead just a day or two
You see me walking there
And I turn back to look for you

There you are yesterday
And here I am overjoyed
Cause I hear you call to me
Like time is another toy

So many hours or none at all
We watch the clocks spin and dissolve

When we’re in another world
I will remember this
I will remember you
Remember the way you kiss

You got the best of me
And I see the best in you
Our own little miracle
Just an eternity or two

You know we are everyone
We roll the dice, have a little fun

Older than the road that we’re walking on
Younger than the thoughts that have yet to come
Stronger than the storms that we’ve overcome

This is no fairy tale
You make it up as you go
Nothing is ending here
It’s better if you don’t know

What’s coming straight to you
Has already begun
And all that your living for
You were destined to become

So many hours or none at all
We watch the days spin and dissolve