Welcome To (Mostly) Mindful Parenting!
Why did you want mbg to start creating more parenting content?
Colleen: I realized when I was pregnant with Ellie that unless I wanted to know what size fruit she was, there wasn't any parenting content for the type of mama that I aspired to be—grounded in both wellness and science…and lots of love.
What's the idea behind (Mostly) Mindful Parenting?
Jason: We all want to live mindful lives, and we all strive to be mindful parents. But life happens, shoes just randomly come off, and it's about being comfortable with that and doing the best with what you have in each moment. Especially those moments when you're sleep-deprived, stressed, and have a to-do list that never ends. Being mindful all the time just isn't really doable.
Colleen: Mostly mindful parenting is the idea that we're not striving for perfection in our life or in our wellness. Parenting isn't what it looks like on Instagram. We're not making kid smoothies all the time and perfecting our kid's yoga poses. There's so much of parenting that happens outside the Instagram frame, and we want to capture that part of it.
What's your take on it as two busy working parents? How do you approach work/life balance?
Jason: We realize we fail at work/life balance. It's not even a contest, it's a big fat F. Wellness is unattainable for many—like this thing we're all reaching for but never grasp—especially for working parents. So instead of striving for balance, what we believe in is work/life integration. It's about integrating wellness into our lives in a way that actually works and is sustainable.
Before Ellie, we would go to 90-minute yoga classes multiple times a week, meditate 20 minutes a day… Now it's yoga for 15 minutes and meditation for a minute or two. As parents and entrepreneurs with a growing business, we have to make wellness work for us in our busy lives. I always say my favorite quote about wellness is, "The best exercise you can do is the one you actually do."
How did your expectations of parenthood change when you had Ellie?
Jason: I don't think we had many expectations other than we were scared of sleep deprivation, which became very real. Especially now at 19 months when she's walking.
Colleen: But every month of the parenting journey changes so much that everything's just a phase, and as soon as you figure one phase out, the next one brings more challenges!
What do mornings look like at home?
Colleen: Sometimes we wake up to an alarm, but a lot of the time we wake up to a little one calling from her crib or hopping into our bed. Mornings for us involve really strong coffee made with lots of ghee, and Ellie will either have some eggs or some yogurt.
Jason: That's our one ritual that we pretty much never compromise on: Mornings always start with coffee. Always organic black coffee with grass-fed ghee. Coffee works, guys. It's fuel.
Who takes care of Ellie during the day?
Colleen: Jason and I were both raised by our grandmothers, and Ellie's grandmother takes care of her during the day. When we travel, my mom, on the West Coast, also travels to meet us wherever we're at.
So what happens if you have a long meeting or something comes up at the end of the day?
Jason: Long meetings happen frequently and often with very little or no notice, so sometimes we have to stay late. We try to tag-team. Colleen will take Ellie—or vice versa—and one of us will do the meeting solo. Or we'll ask my mother, Ellie's grandma, to stay late. She's really nice about doing that.
What do you do when you have to travel for work?
Colleen: We bring Ellie on pretty much every business trip we take together. She went on over 25 flights in her first year. My advice would be to travel a ton in year one, because it's a lot trickier in year two. I've also mastered the day trip: I go as far west as Minneapolis, Detroit, or Chicago for the day.
How do you make sure to fit in family time?
Colleen: We do lots of pools, parks, books, and walks.
Jason: Every weekend we always try to go for an epic walk—exploring Brooklyn, venturing into Manhattan—we try to take her to new places and to see new things. The stimulation she gets in the city is kind of amazing for a child; it's something I wish I'd had. When we think about raising children, it's exploration and curiosity and exposing them to as much as possible.
What are some things you're still trying to figure out?
Colleen: We thought we had sleep figured out, and we were pretty proud of ourselves.
Jason: God bless the SNOO.
Colleen: But then we took a turn for the worst, and we're back to trying to figure that one out.
Jason: We're trying to figure out what our threshold is for screaming in the middle of the night. Sometimes it's 10 minutes, sometimes it's a half hour, sometimes it's a judgment call of how badly we need sleep at the moment vs. how long to let Ellie scream. And if it's around 3 a.m., sometimes those judgment calls aren't the best.
What are some things that have really been working? What are you proud of when it comes to parenthood?
Colleen: Ellie eats pretty well. She eats what we do—lots of whole foods, veggies, salmon, and eggs. We haven't caved to the pressure to put Ellie in too many structured activities and have prioritized lots of play.
Jason: We just try to have fun with her and incorporate her into everything we do when appropriate. We're not afraid to just wing it. Sometimes that means we're at a restaurant, and if she's not happy, she gets to eat a lot of white bread. Kids love gluten. Don't tell anyone. It works. Like most parents, we're just trying to do our best—in a mostly mindful way.
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