This week, our Mom Monday series features the co-founder of My Mommy Manual, Suzanne Tucker, a.k.a. Zen Mommy. (Try saying Mom Monday with My Mommy Manual’s mom of multiples 5 times fast!) She co-creates this online mommy community that includes online events and giveaways, a Yogi Parenting course and “practical and inspired tips” for parents. Suzanne is also the proud new mommy of twins!
You are one of the creators of MyMommyManual.com. How did your website come about?
That’s a great story. Ria and I actually met at a hospital. We were both there to support one of our close friends who was delivering her first child. So while our mutual BFF, Emma, was laboring (for 36 long hours with no meds I might add!) we were having a slumber party in the waiting room… complete with pizza, yoga, tarot cards and The Devil Wears Prada on DVD. As we prayed and sent our friend good vibs to hang in there, our friendship was born. It was from this place of loving and supporting each other in motherhood that My Mommy Manual was born as well. I became “Zen Mommy” as I love to talk/write about all things spiritual and inspirational while Ria, ever my practical friend, took on the pen name “Practical Mommy”.
How have you been able to connect with other moms through your site?
My Mommy Manual is unique to other mom sites. Our tag line is “connecting you with practical and inspired tips” and we take these words to heart in everything we do. Ria and I and all the contributing writers on MMM not only share tips – we share our lives. In my work I am deeply inspired by the words of Henri Nouwen, “Our lives are not our own… they are for us to share.” Good experiences, challenging experiences… on MMM we share them all and our readers share back!
Because we are always pushing the envelope in using technology to “connect” with our community, we host a lot of live online events. In fact, we’re having one tomorrow to launch a parenting course. It’s called Yogi Parenting. I’m excited because I also get to introduce my six week old babies (Hadley and Colin) to our online peeps.
Can you tell us more about Yogi Parenting and the Party?
Sure. Yogi Parenting is a positive approach to parenting which Ria, myself and long time educator and Yoga Kids Certified Instructor Michaela Turner created. We’ve been teaching parenting classes live in St. Louis for years. We’re excited to launch this online version as it makes Yogi Parenting available to parents all over the world. Unlike many parenting classes, it’s convenient, accessible AND affordable. The launch party will be online tomorrow, March 16. And through March 29th we are offering the course at the charter enrollment price of 50% off. Check it out here.
You have two girls, seven and nine years old, & now five week old twins. What has been your greatest joy of motherhood?
My kids make me slow down and smell the flowers. All kids do I think…. They are SO good at being HERE NOW. That has been the greatest gift of being a mom… slowing down in my life long enough to catch the occasional glimpse of the here and now.
How about your biggest challenge?
Ha. Is it fair to say ditto to what I said above??? Biggest challenge… I’d have to say being present. By that I mean being able to let go and give up control (or at least what I thought I controlled) over what is happening right here… right now in my life. I am ever learning to accept life as it comes, moment by moment, curve balls and all. This acceptance stuff is sometimes easier said than done.
Have you had an “Ah-ha” mom moment that you can share with us?
Yes. It came after much pain and heartache. After five miscarriages hoping to have a third child, I finally had this profound ah-ha moment that I AM NOT THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF MY LIFE.
Here’s what happened: I had just lost our fifth baby and went for a walk on a beautiful fall day. During that walk I think I had my first real taste of what it means to be fully present. I was walking, I was breathing… and then it just happened.
In that moment I wasn’t a woman who had just miscarried. I wasn’t even a woman. I just was. I felt this deep connection to the earth and all the beauty that surrounded me. It was in that split second of peace and love that a voice inside me said “YOU ARE NOT THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF YOUR LIFE… YOU ARE LIFE. YOU ARE LOVE. YOU CAN LOVE THIS DAY.”
I like to think it was my sweet baby angel whispering to my heart, giving me this gift of awareness. It has changed my life.
You have some great reviews of various products on your blog. What would you say is the “must have” baby product?
Hmmm. I’d say my iphone. Is that crazy? Really though-it’s so easy to feel isolated as a new mom, and I did at times, especially with my first born nine years ago when iphone technology was not even on the radar.
All those hours alone in my home nursing those first few months almost drove me insane. It was such a shift from how my life had been owning my own business and working full time as a Physical Therapist.
This go around has been so different, largely because of the great online mommy community I am able to access at the touch of a button on my iphone. I post pics on Facebook, I tweet with friends on twitter (that are awake when I am for 2am feedings!) and DM my sister day and night who has a five month old in Seattle. I do all this while nursing not one but two babies! I just feel so much love and support this go around… so connected. And moms, if you can’t get an iphone, at the very least, be sure you’re a member of My Mommy Manual. *Wink* The support we can tap into online as moms is truly amazing. We are NOT alone!!!
Any advice for first-time parents?
Hmm. Again. Look up to the last question. My advice is “You are not alone!” so be sure to access support from all around you; family and friends, online communities like My Mommy Manual… pay for it if you have to!!! Cleaning ladies, frozen food, paper plates, doula’s etc… just get yourself support, especially in those first few months. If you are feeling isolated, you have to talk to someone. Community is essential to parenting. Essential. You know the saying “It takes a village”? Well, it’s true.
Now for a quick glance into Zen Mommy’s life
What is the book currently by your bedside? Which one?!?! Ha. OK… I’ll go with Allen Watt’s The Way of Zen. Love it. Have read it many times.
What’s your favorite holiday? Mother’s Day. Is that wrong?
What song always motivates you? Easy. Ray Lamontagne “Let It Be Me”. For me, that song explains all of life.
If you had a “free day” with no commitments or obligations, what would you do with it? I would go on a Yin Yoga retreat somewhere out in nature… it could be in St. Louis or in Colorado… just so I’m doing yoga, breathing and enjoying the earth, the wind and the sky.
You favorite saying? “What is most personal is most universal” – Henri Nouwen. This is what has me share my life so publicly online as Zen Mommy.
What’s one thing on your list of dreams to accomplish? To be present for 25 seconds in a row. I’m still working at it.
Thank you “Zen Mommy” for taking time out of your very busy schedule to talk with us. We look forward to your party tomorrow & meeting the twins!