My daughters friends never know what to expect. On some days, they come bursting into our home and are greeted cheerfully by a friendly, seemingly normal mom.
Occasionally, these hip, cool preteens are even in the mood to sit down and fill her in on the latest news or drama of the day. Unfortunately, on some days, the normal mother is not available to listen.
Unavailable not because shes sick, at work or on the phone. Its because shes upside down. Yes, you read right. upside down.
OK, sometimes shes only partially inverted. During a shoulder stand, for instance, the poor children might observe her 49-year-old body rolling back and forth into a ball, until the momentum forces her legs straight up towards the ceiling (or collapsing suddenly sideways towards the floor).
Other afternoons they walk in and wonder if perhaps this woman is searching for something.
Did you lose the remote? they query. No dear, Im doing the cat-dog pose, I reply.
For you non-yogis, this common pose begins on all fours, back rounded and arched like a cat, alternating with forearms stretched in front of the body. In the animal world, dogs and cats do this instinctively when tired or after exercise. When attempted by a human being, however, this move does not look natural or normal.
If you do decide to try yoga, its not only your childs friends who will think youre crazy. The household pets in your life dont seem to understand that you are imitating them. Out of concern, your loyal 80-pound black lab may bound over and thrust his body directly on top of you. Like Lassie, he naturally believes you have fallen into a crevasse or have suffered a heart attack, and must lick you to death in order to resuscitate.
Even worse, mistakenly believing that your body is a new cat scratch toy, your furry feline leaps directly onto your neck and begins to sharpen her claws.
Yoga has become so trendy that not all of your kids friends may think its strange. Your child may arrive home from school, only to find mom balancing on one leg atop a wobbly board, attempting to resemble a tree, while simultaneously holding a controller.
As usual, children are more perceptive than adults. We just did that stretch in P.E. today, so why do they call it yoga? he asks. Good point, junior. Why cant they just say, Grab your ankle with your hand and pull back, I wonder.
Im not saying yoga is a hoax. Yoga experts ascertain that the difference between stretching and yoga is that yoga focuses more on breathing and meditation.
In theory, this should ease stress and calm the mind. In reality, the people who suggest this are definitely not mothers of children. Find a quiet place to meditate, free of distractions, they suggest.
Sorry, we parents do not reside in a quiet mountaintop monastery. Now, lie down, and listen to your breath rising, up and down.
The last time I tried this, I was overcome by a strangely familiar feeling. An hour later, I heard a concerned voice. I dont know, Dad, she went to go do yoga or something and just disappeared. Familiar feeling, indeed. The same feeling you get at night right before your sleep-deprived brain falls asleep.
So, heres my advice to frazzled mothers everywhere: Carve out a half hour. Tell the family youre doing yoga, close the door, then sneak under the covers for a good old-fashioned nap.