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I can’t do it all, at least not well. A couple weeks ago I realized I was feeling very overwhelmed. I had an epiphany after lunch with a friend who has twin boys. I found myself feeling so jealous that she stayed home with her boys till they were in preschool (she now has an amazing career). I got curious about this feeling, and the overwhelm I had been expericing, and I asked myself: what do you want? I realized it came down to time, and how I use my time. The answer is that I want to spend as much of it as possible with my boys. And to focus on running and growing @innerlightwellness. This isn’t easy for me to do – to slow down and pursue the simple life of leaning into the joy of motherhood that I crave. I have SO many ideas and passions I am deeply excited about and that I want to pursue NOW, especially around supporting other mothers. But the reality is that I have to shelve these dreams for the time being. The oxygen mask analogy comes to mind – I need to put mine on and take a breath before helping others. I have spent zero time on self-care recently, and I need to walk my talk and take better care of my Self by focusing on what matters while creating space for rest, before taking on anything else. It’s about time and priorities, and for now, I am intent on keeping it simple so I can take care of myself and enjoy my boys (all four of them @tightlined & angler 🐶 too.) Photo by the amazing @mymotherhoodstory ). #theingrahamguys #twinmama #honestmotherhood #motherhoodunplugged #motherhoodunfiltered #twinboys #matrescence
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WHAT DO I VALUE? / You may or may not know that Venus has been in retrograde this past month. What this means is that the areas of our life that Venus rules – what we value – is up for review during a retrograde – like communication is during a Mercury retrograde. This can result in challenges, as well as up-leveling. This particular retrograde is during Scorpio, which forces us to get into our shadow and fears. It also spans Libra, which affects relationships and balance, before it "goes direct" (aka ends) on November 16th. As we come to a close in the next week on this retrograde, ask yourself the question of what do I value? What's my relationship to money? Has this shifted much over the past few weeks? We'd love to know your experience so please share in comments below! (Image via @magnoliawellnessoc ) #venusretrograde #whatdoyouvalue #astrology101 #selfcareisselove #innerlightwellness
Where are you from originally?
I am from Darien! Apart from three years that we lived in London when I was in elementary school, I grew up in Salem Straits and went to Tokeneke School and Middlesex. My parents still live in town on Goodwives River Road and I live in West Norwalk, perfectly in the middle of Darien and New Canaan.
What made you choose Darien over other towns in the area? How long have you lived in Darien?
I grew up in Darien, and went to high school at Sacred Heart in Greenwich, and my husband grew up in New Canaan, Stamford, and Norwalk, and went to school at New Canaan Country School and Brunswick. I share this because it has given us a pretty wide-ranging experience of southern Fairfield County and I have to admit that I don’t really prefer one town specifically, each has it’s merits and flaws. Darien is so familiar and comfortable for me, Greenwich is great for shopping and I love how it has more of a bustle, Westport has my favorite restaurants and I love the more nautical feel, New Canaan has a quaint, country vibe with the most beautiful downtown, and we also love Rowayton where we have my husband’s fishing boat. I love to venture to each town to see different friends, visit different shops, and find new restaurants.
How many kids do you have and what are their age(s)?
I have twin boys, Mack and Sawyer, who are ten months old. Becoming a mom of multiples has been a wild, unexpected ride as we don’t have any in our family, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. It is challenging! But our children are our greatest teachers, and having a set of twins has so many incredible gifts and lessons.
What are your favorite things to do with your kids in general or in town?
Our boys were born in the dead of winter and they were both pretty high-needs babies (colic x2), so we did not get out much for a long time. When we started venture out, we usually tried to bring along a grandparent or friend to help us. We have found that four adults to twin infants is the ratio for the most enjoyable time! This is getting so much easier as they get older. I like to take them to Rowayton on Fridays late afternoons and go to the farmer’s market, walk around the town, and then have my husband meet me at Rowayton Seafood for a glass of wine on the deck. Now that the weather’s getting cooler, I want to take them apple or pumpkin picking but to a farm that’s far enough away from the city to skip the crowds!
What are your favorite events or favorite season in Darien and New Canaan and why?
I love the winter and Christmas in New Canaan – the town is so picturesque with the brick sidewalks, twinkling lights, and snow. Darien feels like such a beach town especially in the summer, which I love! We grew up staying in town during the summer, rather than escaping to an island, so I love Darien’s quiet months and it makes me think of pools, hydrangeas, and Jeeps with the top down.
Three things in New Canaan or Darien that you can’t live without:
Darien Farmer’s Market – I love going every Wednesday during the season for fresh flowers and organic veggies.
Rosies in New Canaan – it’s my favorite brunch spot. I always get the huevos rancheros and when I was pregnant I’d get them PLUS a full stack of the pancakes.
Five Mile River – We have a fishing boat in Rowayton and pre-babies, that’s where you’d find us on the weekends! It is still my favorite place to be in the summer especially, and we look forward to bringing the boys on the boat more as they get older.
Which are the best spots for beauty and pampering?
Well I happen to own the best spot for relaxation in Fairfield County! I opened Inner Light last year with the mission of offering a space for healing and relaxation to our community. We have three private infrared saunas and a boutique with goodies all focused on supporting your self-care ritual. I am usually in work-mode when I am at Inner Light but I try to sauna three times a week. When I’m on top of it, I notice that my skin is clearer, my sleep is much better, and I have more energy. I love to go to To and From in Darien for pedicures (I’m not a big manicure girl) and to Ann at Williams and Company for massages when I can find the time. She is amazing.
What’s your favorite restaurant in town for a family date? Night out with friends? Romantic evening? Why?
My favorite restaurants are all in Westport – sorry Darien and New Canaan! I love to get out and about in Fairfield County and try new things. Right now we’re loving the Tavern at Gray Barns (in Silvermine) for a night out with friends or a romantic evening. Our favorite spot for the family is the new Baldanza location in Darien for weekend lunches.
What is your favorite kid-friendly recipe?
I thought nourishing my body well while pregnant was overwhelming, then the first six months of breastfeeding were full of challenges, and then when it came time to start feeding the babies solids I was like how is this getting even harder?! I feel like now that they eat a variety of food, it’s starting to get easier and they can eat a variation of whatever we’re eating. Recently, I made them roasted salmon (plain) with steamed carrots mashed up (but still textured) with a pinch of sea salt, some turmeric and cumin, and the boys LOVED it.
Who do you follow on Instagram?
One of my favorite things about owning a business in our community is connecting with other women! My favorite mom blog to follow on instagram is Liz of @mrsnipple_ (New Canaan dweller!) and my favorite style blog is Stephanie of The Girl Guide @stephanietrotta (a Darien mom!) Ever since having the boys, I have realized that I feel a calling to helping support mothers, especially new mamas, so I am obsessed with following all things motherhood. A few of my favorite accounts are @alexandrasacksmd, @doulabliss, and @violetgaynor.
What has been the most difficult age with your children to date? What helped you overcome the challenges at that time?
I am still a new mama, figuring things out slowly one day at a time. The most difficult period so far was when both the boys were very fussy, or “colicky,” starting around four weeks old to when it began to get better around ten or so weeks old. I tried absolutely everything to help them feel better, from tongue and lip tie corrections, to changing my diet drastically, to eliminating all outside stimulation. It was a challenging time for me as I was still physically recovering from giving being sick when the boys were born. That’s a whole other story, but I had a severe cold, I fell and pulled my groin two days before they were born, and then I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia and had a c-section. I learned right off the bat that things take the time they take – eventually the boys grew out of their colic, and I slowly recovered day-by-day.
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms? What was the best advice your mom gave you?
A piece of advice I’d love to share with other new moms is to put down the books and step away from your internet browser. You know what’s best for your baby – or babies. Trust yourself. It takes some space to tune into your inner voice, your intuition, whatever you want to call it, which is why I encourage you to close the sleep book you’ve been relying on and throw all the rules out the window. You have all the wisdom you need inside you and know that you are doing an amazing job!
One piece of advice my mom gave me when I was pregnant was that I should ask for help – she worked until my sister was born, and then she was a full-time mother. Full-time moms need help, we all need help, whether it’s from family, a caregiver like a nanny or aupair, or friends and neighbors. She encouraged me to ask for help and I listened. I was never one to ask for help in general, I’m pretty independent and it was a challenge for me to let go and bring in everyone I could to help us, especially in those first few months. I still do and will continue to ask for help when I need it, it’s a muscle I’m learning to flex because it takes courage to say, I can’t do everything in our “do it all” society.
What was your career before having children?
I have done many things, from working in corporate communications to interior design to a small jewelry business. I was doing interior design from my home when I had the idea to start Inner Light, my wellness business based in Darien. The concept came to me and it flowed easily and quickly from there, not without lots of work and many hours spent on the permitting process with the Town of Darien! It was a couple days before construction started on my space that I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant and two weeks later I found out we were having twins!
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
I own and run Inner Light, a space for healing and wellness, with infrared saunas, a self-care boutique and events, based in Darien, CT. I mentor women during pregnancy and new motherhood, and I recently started a monthly workshop series in partnership with WYLD Leadership called WYLD Mamas. Utilizing the WYLD curriculum, rooted in positive psychology and ancient wisdom, each workshop is centered on a different topic or theme that activates the mind, body and soul. My mission is to hold space and provide support for mothers to help them enhance their wellbeing and reconnect with their highest Self. WYLD Mamas launched this fall, and it’s been such a beautiful experience to connect and share with other mamas.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
I connected with the Local Moms Network a few months ago, and it has been such a pleasure to get to know Nina, Layla and work with the team of incredible moms creating this community. I am so impressed by everything that Local Moms is doing and I know that it will be instrumental in growing both my business at Inner Light, and helping me with my calling to connect with and serve mothers in the community. On a personal level, the websites are such an incredible tool for me to find out what there is in the area as a new mom. I grew up here, but that doesn’t mean I know other moms or what activities are out there for my babies! The calendar that aggregates all the fun local activities is my favorite thing – genius tool!
Favorite hobbies? Guilty pleasure?
I love to horseback ride! I rode as a kid at New Canaan Mounted Troop, and I was just getting back into it when I got pregnant. I would love to find an affordable place to ride locally that also has great school horses, if anyone knows of a barn! My guilty pleasure is all things Bravo, I am a huge fan of Housewives, Vanderpump Rules, all the worst shows (and so is my husband but he wouldn’t admit that!)
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