A Mother's Mantra: 'I YAM Caring'

Written by Tish Hilyer on April 30th 2016.

It’s been written that Mothers are really our first Yoga teachers. They teach us how to love, give and share our lives with others. So in honor of Mother’s Day, May 8, our monthly Mantra is “I YAM Caring. Our own Tish Hilyer shares what being a “Fairy Steep Mom” means to her.

The idea of motherhood had always been scary to me.

My Mom had me at a very young age, and did the best she could, but it was not a stable environment for me growing up. She died in a car accident when I was 18 years old. And I’ve never met my father. By having this experience, I wasn’t sure I could be a parent … I never thought I would have children until I fell in love with my husband, Zach. And now I have two!

Harris and Margot were just 2 and 4 years old when Zach and I started dating. Honestly, in the beginning, I didn’t quite know what I was getting in to. But now they are 10 and 12 and I’m their “Fairy Steep Mom.” (The opposite of the evil step mother.)

Being a “steep mom” has been the most challenging role I’ve played. Harris and Margot live with us during the week and we have the daily routine responsibilities - school, homework, gymnastics, basketball, packing lunches and cooking family dinners at home.

And now, as we approach the teenage years, the kids are pushing boundaries and figuring out who they are in the world. They are amazing people. They are funny, smart and caring and I am so proud of them. What I wish most for them is that they are happy and healthy and rooted in themselves.

As a stepmom, I really have the best of both worlds … our schedule allows for time together as a family, but also time for my husband and I to be alone, time for work, and some time to myself.

It can be a lot to balance, but what I find most helpful is making my own self-care a priority. I am better able to care for my family when I am caring for myself. Yoga, meditation, receiving massage, eating well and trying to get enough sleep are all necessary for me. I’ve built my career around caring for others. Teaching yoga, being a massage therapist and a soon-to-be Ayurvedic Wellness Counselor all require that I have enough energy to give to another person. I must be present and provide the container for that person’s own self-healing.

Having a regular yoga and pranayama practice helps me to remember to breathe deeply when things are difficult, so that I can respond in a more loving way. Yoga helps me be flexible not just in my body, but in my mind, to be able to go with the flow. No matter how much you plan, it’s never that simple with kids. They need my attention right in the moment sometimes, and that keeps me present.

Author and spiritual teacher Ram Dass says, “If you think you’re enlightened, go spend a week with your family.” So true! Being a parent spotlights the areas where I need to work on myself. I learn so much from my kids every day. We are all growing together.

At home, we say that each day is a new day, and that is great for us. Each day we have another chance to love each other. One of my favorite traditions we have is our family meditations. We call them “energy blessings” and we do them whenever one of us has something we are trying to manifest in our lives. So far, it’s worked every time!

I practice yoga every day of my life, whether it’s on or off my mat. I try to stay aware, to find a balance between it all. And although it can be overwhelming, and the kids can drive me crazy at times, I couldn’t imagine my life without them. So while I did not birth them, I am a part of them and they are a part of me.

Please join me on Sunday, May 8 at 9:30 at YAM for Mother’s Day Yoga … FREE to all the Moms and Stepmoms as an opportunity to care for yourselves, so that you can care for your families with a full heart.

Love you all,


Posted in YAM Teacher Profiles

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