Randi Zinn is the founder of Beyond Mom and BeyondMom.com. Born from her own experience of motherhood and the desire for a more connected community- Beyond Mom offers content, podcasts, mixers, events, and retreats for forward-thinking Moms. She encourages moms to cultivate a life “Beyond Mom”- one that embraces the gifts of motherhood but expresses all that they are as individuals: creators, businesswomen, thinkers, friends, and so much more. Randi is an ambassador for Athleta and has partnered with Comptoir Des Cotonniers, SoulCycle, Mio Skincare, TOWN Real Estate, The Mother Company, Body Conceptions, and IntenSati. Her writing has appeared in Honest Company Blog, FitBump, Epoch Times, and Well Rounded NY. She is a certified yoga instructor through Laughing Lotus NY and has taught since 2008. Check out her first book, Going Beyond Mom: How To Activate Your Mind, Body & Business After Baby, set to be published on September 17, 2017.
What are 3 things or experiences that bring you the greatest sense of fulfillment in life?
- My children. I still can’t believe I made them. But it’s not just the feeling that I’ve made such two amazing beings; it’s also the amazement of how much their presence in my life has shaped ME.
- Movement. I have been a mover my entire life. Dance, Yoga, Fitness, Pilates. I was born deeply connected to my physical body, and movement brings me to a place of relaxation, gratitude, and a sense of extreme possibility.
- Soulful Conversation. Sharing insightful conversations with wonderful people, well, there’s really nothing like it. I love to serve by listening and sharing insights from my heart and growing continuously through the stories of others.
What are the small things you do every day to be happy/fulfilled?
- Movement wakes me up and makes my mind still. It keeps me sane when my mind is whirling and gives me that critical ME time, which is so necessary as a mom!
- I read! I keep my mind full of new, fascinating stories and ideas, which keeps my creative wheels turning. It is so important as you grow your own vision.
- I cook! It’s not every day that I can do it to the level I want to, but preparing fresh, healthy food for myself and my family keeps me fulfilled.
People often find they don’t have enough time. How do you make time for those?
I’ve discovered that telling yourself that you have no time while [will] ensure that you have no time. In other words, it’s a mindset. If time is tight, I try to avoid the anxiety and the excuses as much as possible. And instead, I look at what’s on my plate and how to work with it. For instance, as I write this, my baby is sleeping, and I decided to allow my older child to watch a movie while he eats a peach. Everyone is happy, and I get to get a bit of focused work done. I’m also very organized with my calendar and my time- you have to be if you’re juggling work, kids, and self-care!
What health habits do you stick to no matter what?
Fresh, organic food in my home. When you travel, you loosen the reigns a bit, but what is in the home is what’s eaten most and has the most effect.
What’s your best relationship tip?
Couch time! My husband and I started a tradition before our kids were born that about once a week, we plop down on the couch and talk about what’s going on on a deeper level. What are you feeling? Is anything bothering you? Can I be a better partner? Simply carving out time, even in the midst of the family craziness, allows for better connection on a more frequent basis.
You seem to balance both happiness and success. What’s your secret to being happy and productive?
ME time. If I don’t get a little bit of time to myself each week, I don’t feel happy or successful. The great news is that it doesn’t take much. A solo walk, a workout, a coffee with a friend, a massage. It’s not the quantity of the ME time I get; it’s the quality. And it really allows me to feel more balanced, more grounded, and inherently more productive.
What – in your opinion – is the best way to spread happiness and fulfillment to others?
By being the best version of yourself, people become curious. What do you do? How do you look so radiant? How do you stay so healthy? Why do you seem so happy? Lead by example, not by preaching. When people ask, answer with clarity and without judgment. Share your tips with love in the hopes that you’re making an impact in this person’s life by just being you.
An exclusive excerpt from Randi Zinn’s upcoming publication, Going Beyond Mom: How To Activate Your Mind, Body & Business After Baby:
The Emotional Tsunami—What Is It and How Do I Surf?
As moms, we come to rely on certain things—or certain people—working properly or showing up. We rely on our partners, our caretakers, our friends and family, and even the schedule we create for our children. We rely on the stroller not jamming, the car seat not breaking, and the nearest grocery store to keep stocking our child’s favorite pouches/biscuits/instant grains. Naptime is another key part of our foundation. It’s when we rejuvenate or simply just fall asleep ourselves. The people who help care for our children (be it our husband or the teenager next door) give us those moments of freedom to look forward to and, frankly, make our load a little lighter.
But in the great stretch of motherhood, it is best to expect the unexpected. Are things ever how we imagined them to be? Most women are shocked at how di cult nursing actually is and confounded by how di cult age three is as opposed to the typical Terrible Twos! Things are never exactly how we imagined them.
In many of these unexpected instances, I experience what I call the emotional tsunami—or the flooding response to something that we think should be unfolding in another way. For certain, hormones and lack of sleep only accentuate this response. But I’ve learned some serious lessons of my own on how to better manage and recognize what some of these emotions are really about.
I remember several years ago, when my little one was just walking, my husband, who travels quite a bit for work, learned that he would have to be away over the Memorial Day weekend. I don’t know what happened to me, but looking back, I’m certain it was an emotional tsunami. I became angry and resentful—frankly, pissed off that he would be leaving us during a holiday weekend. I was bubbling over with anxiety—what would I do with my little guy, all by myself, for a long weekend? We would be at our upstate weekend home, so this made me feel even more removed from our New York City reality, where we tend to have a little more going on. Any friends we might turn to for company would be busy with their own families, I assumed. My husband took the “you guys will be just fine attitude,” which only angered me more. If I weren’t a mom, I’d think this reaction was excessive, but I assume most moms will understand what it feels like to be told that you will be solo with your eighteen-month-old in the country for four days. EEK!
As the weekend rolled around, I got myself prepared. I stocked up on both our favorite foods and began to call the few family friends I thought might be around. When the weekend arrived, my husband traveled up with us and helped settle us in. When he left, I bit my tongue, trying not to say anything negative. He probably avoided a giant fight prior to his departure (which wouldn’t have done anyone any good.) Time began to slow down for my son and I. We took walks to the pond and watched ducks, frogs, and dragonflies for an hour. We told stories about worms in the dirt. We inspected our tomato plants. We threw rocks into the Hudson River. We snuggled and watched a little more TV than usual. Surprisingly, friends weren’t too busy for us, and we were invited to several Memorial Day barbeques and play dates. This unexpected holiday weekend with my son ended up becoming some of the sweetest time we had ever spent together. Was my initial reaction excessive? Maybe. But I definitely understand how these emotional reactions arise so furiously for mamas. Our emotional stability is so often dependent on our schedule and, of course, on our major relationships, and like everything else, we can’t always control these external forces. But if we’re working toward having a positive and proactive relationship with our lives, we have to learn to work with these moments in a way that is clear and rational. Let’s discuss.
What You Can Do to Accept What You Cannot Change
In life, it’s easy to lose it and blame realities in our lives on something else instead of owning our relationship to it. Many people function in this way 100% of the time. These are not generally our favorite people to hang around, nor are some of the most positive or productive people we know. An Emotional Tsunami is totally normal. Getting slammed by it for long periods of time? It’s not pretty—and not the platform for forward motion. Let’s discuss helpful tips to mindfully navigate these moments. I’ll use my above story of finding out my husband’s traveling over Memorial Day weekend as an example.
- Slow down your immediate reaction. When my husband told me he would be traveling over Memorial Day weekend, I quickly wanted to give him the “Are you F-ing kidding me?” response. I wanted to guilt-trip him and make him feel like a bad father and husband. Would these reactions have gotten me anywhere? Nope. It would’ve definitely sent me way back into the emotional doldrums. I’ve learned over time that many of my emotional tsunamis are made twenty times worse by verbally acting on them the moment I feel them oozing in. If you need to simply nod your head and take a few moments to yourself, do so. Just don’t speak before you’ve had time to process.
- Ask yourself what it’s really about. Often, when we take the time to slow down and process our feelings, we can figure out what our emotions are actually about . . . and often it’s not what we think. In my case, I immediately felt abandoned by my husband and resentful of having my son all those days solo. When I slowed down, I realized I felt embarrassed that my husband would be away during a holiday weekend. My family taught me that families should be together for holiday weekends and most evenings—a bit of a traditional approach. When I really dug deep, I recognized that we aren’t a traditional family, and 95% of the time, I’m okay with that! We work with what we’ve got and come together meaningfully in all kinds of ways, but it’s not always according to a specific calendar. I had to get over that sense of shame and embarrassment that came from my old mental tape player.
- Remind yourself that you are stronger than you think. So often, we react because we think we can’t pull it off and we need something . . . or else we will fall apart. Every single time I have been caught on guard in a moment with my child, I have surprised myself with my ingenuity and creativity. They haven’t always been easy moments, but I have come through stronger and more confident than before. Our ego loves to tell us how weak and incapable we are, but the reality is generally something else entirely. We need to recognize our individual capabilities so that our fears don’t make that tsunami wave even higher and more devastating when it crashes.
Excerpted from GOING BEYOND MOM. Copyright © by Randi Zinn. Reprinted by permission of Skyhorse Publishing.