On Being Mom, Tiff DeLancy

So here's a little bit of truth. I did this interview with Tiff back in... February... of 2016. Yep, you read that right. Feb-ru-fucking-wary, before 45 was a done deal. I asked to interview her because I was so intrigued by her and her little family -- they RADIATE JOY. I wanted to know more. Since then we've become long distance sister-friends. Tiff and I crush on each other. Our husbands (Toph and Russ) crush on each other. And so do our children. It's pretty cute. They are the real deal. It's so refreshing. Enjoy!

Introduce yourself Tiff -- you know, the general rundown. Who are you and what are you about?

So I'm Tiff DeLancy (@namastetiff)!

Mother of two daughters, Nora Jane and Violet Lu, my husband Topher and I enjoy life with our littles near the ocean in Southern California. 

I am a yoga instructor, birth doula, certified aromatherapist and hypnotherapist. Passionate about all things motherhood! Birth, breastfeeding, babywearing, etc. I really find my joy in helping empower women through their pregnancy and birth experiences. And also, I'm all about bringing back the village and sisterhood!

What is the topography of your family? Can you give us a little bio on each member?

My husband is my polar opposite! Very outgoing, social, logical thinker, loves public speaking, and totally jumps in full force to his passions. 

My eldest daughter Nora is very spirited and silly. She's an entertainer, oddly particular, very shy with strangers, but wild with those that she knows well and feels comfortable with. She is crazy on the outside but a big lover on the inside. 

My youngest daughter Violet is so very sweet. She is mellow and easy going. Incredibly curious about all that's going on around her, and happiest when she is being held and included in conversations. 

As a mom to two young children and woman of many talents and vocations, I'm curious what the word "balance" means to you? Like, how do you "balance" it all? Or do you? There's a lot of pressure on women and mothers to have it all/do it all/find balance -- what does that mean to you?

Honestly, I'm still struggling to find my own balance in it all! Currently, since my littlest one is still so young, my primary focus is mothering. I haven't yet taken any birth clients and I am not currently teaching any yoga classes. Sometimes I do crave and wish for an outlet to share myself andserve in these particular ways that I love... But I know that this phase of my little ones being little is so very short in the large scheme of things and there will be plenty of time for my career later on when I'm ready. 

As far as caring for myself and taking time to refill my cup... well, I'm still figuring that out. It has been especially a challenge now with two kiddos and given our lifestyle and that my husband works so very hard to support our family. But alas it's a necessity and I've made a promise to myself recently to really prioritize it.

Did this passion for birth and empowering women through their pregnancy and birth experiences come from your own first pregnancy and birth experience? And if so, tell us a little about that journey.

Yes it did. During my own pregnancy and birth experiences, and through all of my research and reading, I found an inner knowing, belief, or trust in the innate power & wisdom of the female body and gained a reverence for the natural birth process. I felt empowered by witnessing what my body was capable of and wanted to share that joy and empowerment with other women and mothers.

So, tell me a bit about your super exciting new project Saturn*s Sister. What inspired you to co-create this little internet oasis?

mothers. Deep in the midst of my Saturn return, I was feeling completely lost and looking to find some calm clarity within the chaotic experience... and then after talking with my mentor and friend Maya, we thought it could be really special to bring a collective sisterhood together to share all of our own rituals, practices, and tools that keep us grounded during this sometimes difficult transformation.

Tell us an unexpected high and low of motherhood to-date.

Oh goodness.... you're talking to someone who really really feels the extremes of both ends. The highs are so insanely and blissfully high. And the lows can feel dark, despairing and isolating. I'll start with the highs, maybe not so unexpected but when you're feeling it rather than hearing about it it's quite a profound experience.... just taking in all of those little details, like the excited look in your child's eyes, the unexpected kisses hugs and "I love you"s. When you heart feels so very full that you swear it could just burst wide open at any moment. 

The lows: those hopeless moments, when you're at your wits end, when you feel like you've got no clue at all as to what you're doing as a mother and fear that everything you've done up to this point may have been a failure. Maybe I'm a bit hard on myself compared to others and could give myself a little more grace. Also, I have to say the lowest of lows is when you find yourself comparing to others, especially on social media when what we see is really only a glimpse -or "highlight reel". It's an ugly rabbit hole not worth getting caught in.

What gets you through the low seasons when you're *IN* them? In what (or whom) do you find inspiration/strength/refuge during these times?

When I'm in the super low-lows, writing out my feelings and sharing them is actually very therapeutic for me. Knowing I'm not alone in how I feel and connecting (especially in the flesh) with other mamas who have been or are in the same state of mind.

What book, film, or piece of art has impacted you as a mother?

The Business of Being Born was one of the most impactful things I watched when first pregnant with my oldest daughter and it planted the seed, I felt totally sure that a natural home water birth was what I wanted and it called to me. As far as books, there are so many wonderful things I've read during pregnancy, "Painless Childbirth" & "Hypnobirthing" are my absolute favs.  as well as anything by Ina May Gaskin. "Deliberate Motherhood" and "Hands Free Mama" are some really great reads to keep me grounded throughout mothering.

Tell us a bit about mothering in the past, present, and future. What went well/was difficult? How do past parenting experiences inform your present and future?

With my first daughter I was very much an intense mama bear. She became my entire world and I wrapped myself up in her existence. I hardly would let anyone -including family- hold her. The only person I trusted to leave her with was my husband for an entire year. So ya, quite over the top controlling and obsessed pretty much. And then once she got into toddlerhood around a year old I started to realize that this was unhealthy for the both of us. I slowly started to lighten the hold on my reins and allow her and myself more freedom. This unhealthy attachment created a problem in my marriage as well. I found my intimacy in mothering in a way and I neglected my relationship with my spouse. I can say all of this now being on the other side but while I was in it, I was pretty out of touch with reality.  

Now that I have another child, I'm obviously way less intense and I even encourage my little one to be passed around. I'm sure part of that is the fact that she was my first child but either way I am much more aware now of how my actions can have a negative effect. I'm sure I'll find in a year or two from now that there was something I could have done different or better but that's just life with parenting isn't it?

With regard to your realizing your intimacy needs were being met in your role as mother and how that was in turn allowing you to neglect your marriage, how did you come to realize this? What did you do or what helped you get from that point to where you are now, again mothering another infant and now two small children?

I started to have a bit of awareness of this once my husband and I started going on dates alone together again when Nora was about a year old. That alone time together was life changing and absolutely essential. But to be totally frank, I think the hindsight awareness really came when I weaned Nora when I was first pregnant with Violet. I think it's very common for a lot of women to have a lack of sex drive during the postpartum period and especially while breastfeeding. The hormonal shift I experienced once we had weaned was very eye opening. I once again had a sex drive (quite a robust one at that ) and recognized that I had been pushing my marriage's intimacy needs away.

I'm at a struggle a bit again with the intimacy now having a four month old and also with the demands of having two children now rather than one, it's hard to find the time or energy! But I am much more aware now how essential it is to our marriage for us to really nurture our intimacy.

Whether she knows it or not, have you had any mom-mentors who you've been significantly impacted by? Who? How/in what way?

Oh definitely! I think every mother that I surround myself with have certain characteristics that inspire me to be a better mother. My closest friend Elaina for example, is a wonderful example to me. My daughter Nora is very strong willed and stubborn, and I'm very timid. To say it plainly, she kind of walks all over me at times (hopefully I'm just exaggerating). But I've learned how to set more healthy boundaries and be a bit stronger in standing my ground. And in turn, that has created a better relationship between Nora and I, thanks to my relationship with Elaina.

What are you currently reading?

"Same Soul, Many Bodies" by Brian L Weiss. Recently finished his book "Many Lives, Many Masters" and I was hooked, so I went out to find another of his books. I'm intrigued by everything he writes!! I'm basically always reading something "self-help/spiritual" related.

Introduce us to one brand or product that is a part of the joyful fabric of your mom life? Why/what do you love about it?

My ring slings! I've got both Wildbird and Sakura Bloom slings. Babywearing saves me on a daily basis. 

Your go-to dinner?

Right now we are really loving sweet potato hash! So yummy! Chopped sweet potatoes, kale, sweet onions and sometimes we add in some ground turkey... can't get enough of it!

What is one word or image that centers you?

*gratitude* 

In a world where we are always focused on what MORE we could have or want, gratitude brings me back and reminds me of all of the abundance we already have in life. I'm currently in the mode of purging and simplifying and it feels so good to be letting go of clutter and things that are no longer bringing me energy, but actually taking it away.

You can find Tiff on Instagram @namastetiff, or visit her at Saturn*s Sister.