CALIFORNIA, USA: I could have been anything, but I am a mother first

CALIFORNIA, USA: I could have been anything, but I am a mother first

I am a wife.

I am a daughter.

I am a sister.

I am an aunt.

I am a friend.

I am a blogger.

I am a photographer.

I am a glass half empty.

I am Polish,

I am an expat,

I am a coffee lover,

and I am more than that…

I might have been a globetrotter. I am nothing like, for example, our contributor The Third Eye Mom, but I wish I was, if I only could. I don’t deserve to be called globetrotter but deep in my heart I know I would like to live like one. (more…)

Ewa Samples

Ewa was born, and raised in Poland. She graduated University with a master's degree in Mass-Media Education. This daring mom hitchhiked from Berlin, Germany through Switzerland and France to Barcelona, Spain and back again! She left Poland to become an Au Pair in California and looked after twins of gay parents for almost 2 years. There, she met her future husband through Couch Surfing, an international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals. Today she enjoys her life one picture at a time. She runs a photography business in sunny California and document her daughters life one picture at a time. You can find this artistic mom on her blog, Ewa Samples Photography, on Twitter @EwaSamples or on Facebook!

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SOUTH KOREA: The Zen Mama Warrior

SOUTH KOREA: The Zen Mama Warrior

zenHere in Korea, there is a wonderful program that allows outsiders to experience life in many of the hundreds of Buddhist temples all over the country. Some programs are only for one or two nights, but some are for weeks or months or even up to a year. During your time there, you follow the exact schedule of the monks and nuns who live there, you wear clothing that is issued to you upon arrival, and you strictly observe all of the customs of the temple.

I recently enjoyed two days and one night at Golgul Temple, just outside the town of Gyeongju, which is about 2.5 hours from Seoul via high speed train. There are many options for Templestays, as they are called, much closer to home, but I wanted to go to Golgulsa when I learned that it is the home of sunmudo, a zen martial art. Yes, you read that right. Zen martial arts. I’d heard that it was a combination of Yoga, Qi Gong, and Tai Chi and that was basically all I needed to hear to be motivated to go have a look myself. Mostly I was curious about unwrapping this seeming contradiction – how could martial arts be Zen or Buddhist?

The land where Golgulsa sits has been a site of Buddhist worship since the 6th century A.D. There is a 1,500 year old stone Buddha carving in the limestone cliffs of Mount Hamwol. The main temple shrine sits just below this carving and the rest of the temple buildings are scattered alongside the steep path to the carving. The setting is beautiful and peaceful and the air was intoxicatingly crisp and clean, especially compared to the air in Seoul. (more…)

Ms. V. (South Korea)

Ms. V returned from a 3-year stint in Seoul, South Korea and is now living in the US in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her partner, their two kids, three ferocious felines, and a dog named Avon Barksdale. She grew up all over the US, mostly along the east coast, but lived in New York City longer than anywhere else, so considers NYC “home.” Her love of travel has taken her all over the world and to all but four of the 50 states. Ms. V is contemplative and sacred activist, exploring the intersection of yoga, new monasticism, feminism and social change. She is the co-director and co-founder of Samdhana-Karana Yoga: A Healing Arts Center, a non-profit yoga studio and the spiritual director for Hab Community. While not marveling at her beautiful children, she enjoys reading, cooking, and has dreams of one day sleeping again.

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Saturday Sidebar: We know exercise is good for us….but how do you fit it in?

This week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog writer Maggie Ellison.  She asked our writers,

“Do you have an exercise schedule? How do you do it with kids? What do you do?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

Hamakkomommy of Japan writes:
“Yes! I downloaded some circuit-training type exercise videos onto my iPad from iTunes. Nowadays I usually work out while the kids are at school, but before that (and now when they are off school), I would let them watch a video while I exercised with the iPad right behind them.

I choose routines that are no more than thirty minutes long and often have to pause frequently and attend to the kids. It’s not ideal, and I don’t really like letting them watch TV, but it’s the best I can do right now. I usually manage to exercise four times a week, plus living in the city in Japan I have to do lots of walking and bicycling whether I want to or not.” (more…)

World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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CALIFORNIA, USA: Yoga and Motherhood

When I step onto my mat, there is nothing else that matters. There are no toys to be picked up, dishes to be cleaned, or clothes to be folded.  I am no longer mom. I am me. There is just myself, my mat and my yoga practice.

As I take the first downward dog of the day, I can feel my whole body open up. My spine gets longer, my hamstrings and calf muscles stretch out, and my sinuses clear. For the next 30, 45, 60, or 90 minutes, all I have to do is listen and breathe and move.

Inhale. Exhale.

Over the years, I have taken many yoga classes. Some mediocre, many (thankfully!) not. While on my mat, I often get more out of my practice that just stretching my muscles. I often get a life lesson. Sometimes it is a psychology class about my ego. Other times, it is like therapy. Yoga calms my mind. It reduces my stress level both physically and mentally. It makes me a better mother. (more…)

Angela Y (USA)

Angela Y. is in her mid-thirties and attempting to raise her two daughters (big girl, R, 3 years; little girl, M, 1 year) with her husband in San Francisco, CA. After spending ten years climbing the corporate ladder, she traded it all in to be a stay-at-home mom! Her perspective of raising a child in the city is definitely different from those who have been city dwellers all their lives, as she grew up in rural Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) surrounded by her extended family. Angela Y. and her husband are on their own on the west coast of the United States — the only family help they receive is when someone comes for a visit. But, the lifestyle in San Francisco is like no other for them, so there, they stay! This exercise conscious mom is easily recognized, especially when she is riding around her husband-built bike with two seats on the back. And, when she’s not hanging out with the girls, you can find Angela Y. in the kitchen. She loves to cook for her family, especially dessert, and then eats some herself when no one is looking! Sneaky, mom!

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SOUTH CAROLINA, USA: Breaking Down and Building Up

We all, I think, have our hard times when we think, “that’s it!  I’m done!  I cannot take it anymore!”  Life throws us curve balls that we don’t expect and some are much tougher than others.

As I have written about before, we have moved around a bit in the last 5 years: 4 times to be exact and 3 of which we thought were going to be permanent.  No, we are not in the military.  My husband just seems to be in the wrong field at the wrong time.  He works in research and when the economy is down, there is less money available to support research.  His last 2 jobs were lost because of funding cuts.  It’s been tough.

When my husband got his last job about 8 months ago,  we had to move again, but we were filled with hope.  He was going to make a comfortable salary, it was in a place we both liked, and we were close to family.  Things were going well for months and although it has taken some time to adjust to living in an entirely new area again, I have felt so content and happy.

Since having my kids, all I have wanted was to be able to stay home with them, have a good school for them to attend and that I could be a part of, live in a nice place and take care of our needs.


Maggie Ellison

Maggie is so grateful to be raising her 2 children with her husband in the low country of South Carolina. Life at the beach is what she’s always known, although living in SC is new to this NJ native! The beauty of the live oaks and the palmettos takes her breath away on a daily basis and being able to go to the beach all year is a dream for her. Art and music have also always been a part of Maggie’s life, and she is happy that her family has the same love and appreciation for it that she does.
Maggie and her family are also very active. Her husband coaches both kids in soccer, and they like to spend their time outdoors kayaking, biking, swimming, camping, etc. They try to seize every moment they can together, and they feel that it’s not just the family time that is important. They want their kids to know a life of activity and respect for the outdoors, expose them to new things and teach them about the world! Maggie and her family are no strangers to overcoming life's challenges. They've had to uproot their family several times when jobs have been lost in the economic crisis.
They also lovingly face the challenges of having a child diagnosed with special needs. Through all this, Maggie has learned to celebrate the good times and never take them for granted. Her family is everything to her, and she is incredibly grateful for every day she has with them and for every moment she has shared with them. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t tell them she loves them and how lucky she is to be her kids’ mommy. How sweet!

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