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My new year’s resolution? To unleash the power of being gentle in a hard world

It will look like: audacious self-acceptance, relentless self-care and radical love.

My new year’s resolution? To unleash the power of being gentle in a hard world

Throughout this last year, I have found myself feeling heavy—not depressed, but weighed down.


The state of our country and world is likely the leading cause of this heaviness.

Wrapped in that, of course, is everything that has transpired with women regaining our voices in 2017. This is hugely awesome of course—the persistence and fierceness that we are wielding is awe-inspiring.

But to be head-on confronting this beast that’s been breathing fire in our faces for...well, forever—has made many of us realize just how heavy this weight has been, and how long we have carried it.

Under the weight of this load, my steps have grown lead-footed. My posture has slouched forward. My brow has furrowed.

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We feel it as women and as mothers. We feel it at work and in our social circles. We feel it, perhaps most strongly, in how we think about and talk to ourselves. The doubt, the fear, the silence—it’s been so heavy.

But now that we’ve noticed it, we are doing the work to shed it.

The effort of women around the world—women that I have never met but that are fighting for me, women that I will never meet but plan to fight passionately for—is working.

Now I am ready to approach my life with gentleness.

Not weakness. Far from it. My storm has just begun—and it’s wild.

But gentleness.

Gentleness that comes from lifting this burden off my shoulders, stretching my arms up and being free.

Gentleness that comes from feeling strong and empowered for the first time in this society, maybe ever.

Gentleness that comes from welcoming my self-worth and value.

I think that gentleness is a form of confidence that comes from recognizing how forceful we actually are. We have the very real capacity to unleash that force with precision when need be. And we have the confidence to recognize our own flame, and tend to it with the loving care it deserves.

So in 2018—

I will be gentle on myself.

I am done trying to change myself. Because finally, over the course of the last year, I have stopped caring what other people think. I can stop spending my days making sure that everyone likes me and start spending them loving myself.

I will continue to be kind, I will continue to apologize when I make mistakes. But I will not continue to apologize for not fitting into a mold that was created for me, by someone I don’t even know.

I am good enough. As I am. In my natural state.

I will be gentle on my body.

For so long I have ignored my body—it’s been screaming at me, but I’ve tuned it out. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe because I’ve felt like it’s gotten in the way. Maybe because I’ve absorbed the message that in order to be ‘successful’ I have to power through the fatigue and discomfort. But I am tired.

So I am going to be gentle on my body by listening to it. I plotted out my schedule with less to do, to allow more room for to don’t.

When I am tired, I am going to sleep. Even if it’s at 9 p.m. every night that week.

When I am hungry, I am going to decide what my body needs to be fueled with, not what I can shovel in as fast as possible to fill the hunger void. As food educator Annemarie Cantrell says, “Sometimes it will need salads [way more than it gets now], but sometimes it will need a burger with fries.”

When I need to move, I will respond—not with “I’m far too busy to go to the gym” but with “Am I in the mood for yoga, Zumba, or a dance party with my kids?”

I will be gentle on my children.

I practice attachment parenting. I try so hard not to raise my voice, and I never use physical force with them. Still, too often, I rush through our days in a way that feels sharp or harsh. We scoot from one place to the next with my constant uttering of, “Come on guys, quick like bunnies, please!”

When I play with them, I am often scattered and thinking about all the things I am not doing but should be doing. Bedtime feels like a finish line, not a bonding time.

I am craving gentleness. The gentleness of a day spent in our pajamas reading books and building towers, with absolutely no agenda.

The gentleness of a movie that I watch with them, not put on so I can ‘get some stuff done.’

The gentleness of stopping to watch the “eagles” (they’re just seagulls) in the mall parking lot with them, and being equally as fascinated.

The gentleness of allowing them to drag out bedtime, even if it means me falling asleep in their beds next to them—and loving every second of it.

My word for 2017 was fierce. And I kinda nailed it ?—we all did. Because of that, it’s now time for gentleness.

My gentleness will look like:

Audacious self-acceptance
Relentless self-care
Radical love

And from that gentleness, my audacious, relentless, radical power will grow strong, and join with women around the world in raising this mighty movement that we have given birth to.

These challenges from Nike PLAYlist are exactly what my child needs to stay active

Plus a fall family bucket list to keep everyone moving all season long.

While it's hard to name anything that the pandemic hasn't affected, one thing that is constantly on my mind is how to keep my family active despite spending more time indoors. Normally, this time of year would be spent at dance and gymnastics lessons, meeting up with friends for games and field trips, and long afternoon playdates where we can all let off a little steam. Instead, we find ourselves inside more often than ever before—and facing down a long winter of a lot more of the same.

I started to search for an outlet that would get my girls moving safely while we social distance, but at first I didn't find a lot of solutions. Online videos either weren't terribly engaging for my active kids, or the messaging wasn't as positive around the power of movement as I would like. Then I found the Nike PLAYlist.

I always knew that Nike could get me moving, but I was so impressed to discover this simple resource for parents. PLAYlist is an episodic sports show on YouTube that's made for kids and designed to teach them the power of expressing themselves through movement. The enthusiastic kid hosts immediately captured my daughter's attention, and I love how the physical activity is organically incorporated in fun activities without ever being specifically called out as anything other than play. For example, this segment where the kids turn yoga into a game of Paper Scissors Rock? Totally genius. The challenges from #TheReplays even get my husband and me moving more when our daughter turns it into a friendly family competition. (Plus, I love the play-inspired sportswear made just for kids!)

My daughter loves the simple Shake Ups at the beginning of the episode and is usually hopping off the couch to jump, dance and play within seconds. One of her favorites is this Sock Flinger Shake Up activity from the Nike PLAYlist that's easy for me to get in on too. Even after we've put away the tablet, the show inspires her to create her own challenges throughout the day.

The best part? The episodes are all under 5 minutes, so they're easy to sprinkle throughout the day whenever we need to work out some wiggles (without adding a lot of screen time to our schedule).

Whether you're looking for simple alternatives to P.E. and sports or simply need fun ways to help your child burn off energy after a day of socially distanced school, Nike's PLAYlist is a fun, kid-friendly way to get everyone moving.

Need more movement inspiration for fall? Here are 5 ways my family is getting up and getting active this season:

1. Go apple picking.

Truly, it doesn't really feel like fall until we've picked our first apple. (Or had our first bite of apple cider donut!) Need to burn off that extra cinnamon-sugar energy? Declare a quick relay race up the orchard aisle—winner gets first to pick of apples at home.

To wear: These Printed Training Tights are perfect for when even a casual walk turns into a race (and they help my daughter scurry up a branch for the big apples).

2. Visit a pumpkin patch.

We love to pick up a few locally grown pumpkins to decorate or cook with each year. Challenge your child to a "strongman" contest and see who can lift the heaviest pumpkin while you're there.

To wear: Suit up your little one in comfort with this Baby Full Zip Coverall so you're ready for whatever adventures the day brings.

3. Have a nature scavenger hunt.

Scavenger hunts are one of my favorite ways to keep my daughter preoccupied all year long. We love to get outside and search for acorns, leaves and pinecones as part of our homeschool, but it's also just a great way to get her exercising those gross motor skills whenever the wiggles start to build up.

To wear: It's not truly fall until you break out a hoodie. This cozy Therma Elite Kids Hoodie features a mesh overlay to release heat while your child plays.

4. Have a touch-football game.

Tip for parents with very little kids: It doesn't have to last as long as a real football game. 😂 In fact, staging our own mini-games is one of our favorite ways to get everyone up and moving in between quarters during Sunday football, and I promise we all sleep better that night.

To wear: From impromptu games of tag to running through our favorite trails, these kids' Nike Air Zoom Speed running shoes are made to cover ground all season long.

5. Create an indoor obstacle course.

Pretending the floor is lava was just the beginning. See how elaborate your personal course can get, from jumping on the couch to rolling under the coffee table to hopping down the hallway on one foot.

To wear: These ready-for-any-activity Dri-FIT Tempo Shorts are perfect for crawling, hopping and racing—and cuddling up when it's time to rest.

This article was sponsored by Nike. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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