In their speech at my wedding and at my brother’s wedding, my parents talked about how they had “grown up” with us, how they had learned important lessons with — and through — us. I didn’t truly understand those words until I became a mom. When I got married, I thought I was an adult. I thought I was clear on who I was, that I had a good handle on how to deal with most situations, and that my life experiences so far had prepared me for raising kids. But when I look at the past seven years and how my children have affected me, I realize they have taught me more about myself and the way I approach the world than I could ever have imagined.
My daughter and my son have allowed me to re-examine my own belief system and — through witnessing their interactions with the world around them, I have gained deeper insight into some pretty important life lessons. I once joked with a friend of mine that, with young kids, every day is like a philosophy class. My children offer me daily reminders of ways to live but there are two lessons in particular they have taught me that have changed my world.
Living in the present with all our emotions
The world through a child’s eyes is one of curiosity, imagination, endless possibilities. My kids get engrossed in an activity, a conversation or an experience without distraction. They also let themselves feel their emotions, instinctively, without trying to shut them down and — because they are able to let their feelings out — they are quick to move on from a situation.
As a yoga teacher, I have always felt I lived with awareness, and was able to be present. But in witnessing the openness and honesty of my kids, I see that in many situations I’ve tried to try to fit my reactions into certain “ways of behaving,” I’ve often manipulated my feelings, or shut them down. And this is when resentments build or issues come out sideways because they haven’t been addressed. It’s also very easy to get caught up in to-do lists, what’s next on the day’s agenda, or worries that take me outside of the present moment. I am so thankful for my children for constantly reminding me of the freedom, simplicity and emotional honesty of living right here, right now.
Failure as something separate from ourselves
Both of my kids have experienced small failures. But, this year, my six-year old went through a difficult time that left me trying to explain to her how failure can be a positive thing. As I was reassuring her that whether she failed or not, she is still the same little girl that I love, that this “failure” didn’t do anything to change the person she is, I experienced a massive realization in my own life. That failing at something doesn’t define me. It doesn’t mean that I, myself, am a failure. I just simply “failed at something.” Regardless of what I have achieved or what I have failed at, I am and always will be — at the core — the same me. The act of failing is something separate from myself. As I sat on my daughter’s bed, I was in awe of how I had made it into adulthood without understanding or being able to articulate this seemingly simple premise.
In some cultures it is believed that your children choose you when they come into this world. If this is true, I am supremely lucky my children picked me. And I am so thankful for what they teach me every day.
There’s nothing I love more than summer family vacations. They provide the perfect opportunity to relax and recharge, to get outdoors together, and to enjoy quality family time. We’ve been lucky enough to experience a variety of different vacations in Ontario over the years, but I’m particularly excited that this year part of our summer holidays will be spent at the YMC Clevelands House Family Getaway from August 15th-18th.
And guess what? You’re invited too!
Our family has three main priorities on our summer vacations. The primary focus—and I’d be willing to bet for most families—is relaxation. Lazy afternoons reading a good book is a definite favourite! But we also make a point of staying active, playing our favourite sports or trying new outdoor adventures. My husband loves to golf, while I often find a local yoga class and explore new running trails. And swimming, hiking and getting out in nature are always a big part of our days with the kids. Our third priority is family meals together because—despite our best intentions during the regular school year/work weeks—eating together as a family isn’t always possible.
Generally, my husband and I aim to find a balance of individual time, time with the kids, and time alone together. It’s so important to reconnect with one another outside of our daily stressors, and I love having so many special summer memories to look back upon.
Clevelands House Resort couldn’t be a better fit for a family vacation for us. It's one of the best Ontario resorts for kids. in Located on Lake Rosseau in the Muskokas (one of my favourite areas of Ontario), the view from the resort alone gives me an instant sense of calm.
Clevelands House offers the perfect mix of relaxation, activities, and fine dining. With golf, swimming, tennis, fitness facilities, boat rentals, and topnotch programs for kids of all ages, I know we’ll be able to carve out family time and alone time, with the added the bonus of hanging out with the other fabulous YMC families.
I have fond memories spending time at Clevelands House as a teenager. I clearly remember thinking how awesome it would be to work there one summer. Well, my dream finally came true! While I won’t exactly be working there, I’m thrilled to be teaching yoga for the YMC weekend getaway. On top of a fun-filled and chilled-out weekend for my family, I get to share my love of yoga and add a little extra zen to the weekend. I can’t wait!
If you’re looking for a summer vacay where you can connect with your family and fit in some serious R&R, come and be part of the YMC Clevelands House Family Getaway. Hope to see you by the pool!
And, whether you’re joining us or not, here are three tips for getting outdoors to exercise when on vacation this summer:
The beauty about doing yoga outdoors is you don’t even need a mat. And you can do your poses solo or with the whole family. It’s a great way to start the day. Try out one of my favourite summer yoga sequences.
There are always new places to explore. Find a trail or path near where you’re vacationing. My kids like to take bags or baskets and collect twigs, rocks, leaves, etc., and more often than not our family hikes turn into nature walks.
Let each family member pick an outdoor activity for everyone to do on “his or her day.” It gives the kids a sense of pride in their favourite activities, and it makes for some interesting escapades.
Happy summer to you all!
Wanna win your YMC Clevelands House Weekend?
We're giving away a four day/three night summer vacation package that includes accommodations, $400 towards meals, and access to resort activities, facilities and entertainment. It’s a value of $1,600!