How does it all boil down to this?

I have reasons to feel pretty well-footed in the mellow mothering department. Six kids later—boys and girls ranging from four-years to almost 13 years old, more than a decade working in urban elementary charter schools in cities all over our country, yogic trainings, my own studies, meditation, wellness and personal development retreats. Blah, blah, blah, Ginger. [If you don’t get that reference to Gary Larson’s classic Far Side cartoon, click here.]

But often I’m the farthest thing from mellow. Parenting is tough stuff. But what’s interesting to me now that I’ve taken some steps back from my career to rebuild:

It’s just as challenging to live well — live yum — whether you’re single, married, no children, any number of children, big job, little job, no job, artist, homeless… It’s just different. Different guilt triggers. Different feel good triggers. Sometimes no triggers, just numb.

Because wherever you are, your people/posse/network/buds/family/community is mission-critical. My husband is No.1 in my lifeyum posse, especially as we navigate parenting our brood. Buddha Daddyo.

I’ve come to realize that with all the metaphorical banging-head-against-the-wall that I do in the name of health, balance + independence, the sloppy swish* wins every time. {*The sloppy swish is “…a really stupid dance created by a crazy person” in a Saturday Night Live digital short, rhythmically narrated by Kenan Thompson, giving us the history of Mokiki and the powers he possesses.}

We tape SNL and let the kids watch select skits. Sometimes it’s Elf”s (Will Ferrell) outrageously long burp with the finishing touch of “Did you hear that?” at the end. Or a little Austin Powers. Withhold judgment, please.

But lately it’s been my introduction of Deepak Chopra‘s guided meditations that has provided the best material for Buddha Daddyo. His mantra now? “MAL-A-TAT-TOO” followed by “In with the good air!; Out with the bad air!” in an indiscernible, deep-voiced accent.

Uproarious laughter, even from super-cool oldest child. The massive argument over who touched whom first and who ate the last apple+cinnamon oatmeal? Wiped out. Instead, smiles. Laughter. Be here now.
The kids even recite the Malatattoo.
And remember the green juice experiment when I was freshly greener-than-thou after returning from Occupy Wellness?

 Two months later, after a major dance session in the kitchen, same little guy:




What changed, other than a few kiwi, peeling the lemons, and adding a striped straw? Upping the fun. Making him laugh with my—apparently—funny dancing. And a request from a friend to show him drinking the green juice…a little change in perspective thanks to lightness and the fun factor. (That’s a Daddyism, too.)

Mopping doesn’t have to be miserable

It works. For five-year olds, and 44 year olds. On a recent cranked out, no energy, head-throbbing Saturday morning, I gave it a try. Enter essential oils, commercial microfiber mop, and great tunes on my stereo→Transformation.

I felt good. It smelled really good. I was dancing! My head didn’t hurt. I wasn’t thinking about headaches; I was moving, smiling, doing something that felt good + right + I was in that moment, nowhere else. Right on. Same as when I’m walking alone or with my family on our nature trail. Hanging upside down in a yoga swing. Or crying laughing over Buddha Daddyo’s latest skit.

Here are my happy songs:

Related Gems

1. I don’t know how Emily Parkinson Perry graced my life, but I send her mental hugs every time I read one of her articles. In my recent switch to self-hosted WordPress, a few of my LOVE comments have disappeared…including one for this recent post that brought me to loving tears:  A Bigger Heart (The heART of Living,

2. Choosing fulfillment turns the tide of history: When we make feeling good a priority, everything changes—our individual lives change, and social systems change.

Feelings are magnetic. Each feeling is a beacon that attracts a reality. Love attracts love. Generosity creates a generous response. Anger creates more things that could make you angrier—if you let them. What we focus on expands. So choosing to focus on life-affirming feelings is the surest way to create the experience you want. —Danielle LaPorte, The Desire Map

3. I love how smarty Paul Jarvis (creator of Danielle LaPorte’s gorgeous website) sums up what not to be efficient with on this post:

Don’t be efficient with: spending time with loved ones, laughing until you might pee, cuddling with pets or walking in the woods. Things like that don’t need time-limits, end games or any goals. The more you lose yourself in these, the better they are.

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