Svenja Ostwald | Another Mother Her Way
Svenja Otswald is a sight for sore eyes. She is rarely without a smile and a laugh as she navigates our NYC neighborhood with her daughter, Matilda in tow. Coming into this chapter from a background in fashion and design in Germany, she's reset in motherhood finding her peace and creativity in practicing and teaching pre-natal yoga while raising her daughter. Now, she's welcoming baby number two into the world and her warm, genuine reflections are gathered below on allowing herself the permission for more help and her tools online and offline to connect to herself when hours feel limited and expand her village while far from family.
Q HOW DID YOU CHANGE AFTER BECOMING A MOTHER?
For me, being a mother meant being responsible for more than just me. So there was a shift of perspective - taking care of my daughter and myself at the same time!
But the thing was: it was actually not about always putting my daughter at the top of the priorities but realizing that we had to share being the number one priority. My doula told me to think about the airplane situation where you have to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help others! This was such a great reminder!
Q WHAT CHOICES DID YOU MAKE TO ACCOMMODATE MOTHERHOOD? WOULD YOU MAKE THEM AGAIN?
It took me a while to leave my daughter with a caregiver so I sacrificed a lot of me time during the first year. With the second baby coming soon I will definitely take better care of myself. Having somebody to help is not a failure or weakness but totally normal - either, it is family close by (which we don’t have) or a wonderful nanny or babysitter. I will totally make better choices when it comes to “ME”.
Q DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A MOTHER IN 3 WORDS. WHAT KIND OF MOTHER WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE?
Q HOW DO YOU TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD?
I started a routine of taking yoga classes, teaching yoga classes and trying to make space for myself as best as I can.
Outside of that, walking around with no where to go and just being present in the here and now. Oh and for sure a pedicure!
And very often: not picking up my phone and deciding not to talk! Nap time is quiet time and I stopped using it for phone conversations and use it for my little creative space and taking a short break from motherhood!
Q EVERY MOTHER NEEDS HELP TO FIND BALANCE. WHAT DOES YOUR VILLAGE LOOK LIKE?
I am so grateful for my little village:
I met wonderful mom friends who made me leave the house in the morning and hang out, do playdates or take classes together. Leaving the house was the best thing for me to still experience some kind of freedom and not feel stuck alone at home.
And my digital village: I am in a message group with a few other moms where we can ask questions and give advice which is awesome. Whatever time, somebody is awake and ready to jump in and answer questions which is truly amazing. I honestly don’t even know half of the group but they are all so helpful and there for one another. Reading about other moms struggling and seeking advice about sleep regressions, kids who refuse to eat, bathe or listen is a huge help every day.
Q WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON IMPROVING ABOUT YOURSELF AS A WOMAN & A MOTHER?
Mom guilt is such a huge thing! I have to work on improving it.... it’s so easy to lose yourself in it so I really, really have to improve this.