• 21
    May 2015

    What does it really take to be sexy in your 30’s, 40’s and 50’s?

    Back in the fall, Redbook.com approached me to help them “rebrand motherhood” and I’ve been writing a series of articles for them on the topic. A few months ago they asked me to write about, “What does it take to be sexy in your 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.”  To be honest, I was a bit stumped, so I asked for some time to do “research” on the topic.  The process was amazing, and I learned so much about myself, my beliefs and what I truly believe it takes to be sexy as we get older and have children.  Now, let me be clear, I talk about what it means for ME, which may be very different than what it means for YOU, but my hope is that I can guide you to figuring out how you connect with your sexiness in this phase of your life.  I wanted to share this article with you here in case you missed the article or are new to this community, because it’s been one of my favorite topics to write about.

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    Here’s what I said on Redbook.com:  

    In 2014, I had my first child and turned 30 in the same year. I am under no illusion that 30 is old, but somehow the combination of having a baby and entering a new decade made me feel light-years away from my 20s.

    When I was in my 20s, how to be sexy was clear: Wear tight clothes, flirt, act frisky, strut, be coy. I had the “young and vibrant” thing down. And I enjoyed it. It felt authentic, fun, and enlivening. It kept my marriage fresh and my life interesting. And it seemed like overnight, after having my baby and turning 30, I had no idea what it really took to be sexy anymore.

    It didn’t feel right to act frisky. I didn’t want to act “young” or flirt with the guy behind the coffee counter. And I certainly was not into wearing tight clothes. It would’ve been easy to blame it on my body, which was no longer the compact yet curvy form it once was, but the reality was that my identity as a woman was being challenged.

    When I was in my 20s, I had role models for sexiness. Sure, they weren’t all great, but there was an abundance of young, fun, sexy, embodied, alive women I could emulate. Now that I am firmly planted in my 30s with a baby, I can’t find what it means to be sexy at this stage anywhere.

    In fact, I feel like it’s expected that sexiness is inappropriate or frivolous.

    Now, you may be wondering, is being sexy really that important?  In my opinion, yes, but probably not for the reasons you think. Many of us equate sexiness with being young, hot, and flirty. Is it important to be young, hot, and flirty? No. But I believe being sexy is so much more than that.

    Sexiness is about feeling alive. It’s about having a deep connection with what it means to be a woman. Feeling sexy gives us energy, makes us glow, and helps us attract what we want in life. It’s about being real—not about being fake. Tweet it: Sexiness is about being real—not about being fake!.

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    So how exactly do we cultivate feeling sexy in our 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond?

    Sexy is moving your body. Whenever I’m feeling unsexy, I go to a dance class. Moving my hips and getting my blood flowing reminds me how amazing my body is. I love hip hop, but you can also try belly dancing, zumba, or ballet. If you don’t live in a place with dance classes, try dancing in your kitchen or buying an incredible dance DVD like this one.

    Sexy is not about what you look like, but how you feel. It’s so easy to look at ourselves in the mirror and think, There is nothing sexy about my body. But sexiness has nothing to do with how you look and everything to do with how you feel about about yourself. In my coaching program, Live More Weigh Less, I help women change how they feel about themselves by looking at what kind of life they have. Is your life monotonous, stressful, and rigid? Not sexy. Is your life full of joy, pleasure, and laughter? Very sexy. Having an incredible life gives you a swagger, a glitter in your eye, and a glow of power. It’s when other people look at you and say, “I’ll have what she’s having.”

    Sexy is for you, not for them. Somehow women have been taught that being sexy is for a man’s enjoyment. No, no, no.

    Not only do we not have time to worry about what everyone else thinks, but seriously? What a waste of time.

    Feeling sexy is about you enjoying your beautiful, wise self. It’s about loving the extra energy, having a love affair with life and relationships on your terms.

    Sexy is listening to your heart. There’s an old form of sexy that encourages being nice, going with the flow, and not being too loud. But I believe sexy is knowing and speaking your truth, listening to your intuition, and being bold.

    Being sexy, really, is being the most fully embodied, most alive version of you. Today, I would love for you share in the comments below what it means for you to be sexy. Take some ideas from this list and add your own. Life is too short not to enjoy the very best part of being a woman.

    I can’t wait to hear from you below.

    And, do you know someone who would also be into this during this part of her life?  Make sure to share this with them on social media using the buttons below or send them the link in an email.

    Love,

    Sarah

  • 14
    May 2015

    What to do when your man insinuates you could lose a few

    Picture this: We’re on our way back from Mexico. I had just gotten Marshall to sleep after an hour of singing, bottles, peek-a-boo and a blow out.  I felt like I just won the lottery.  I took some time to write out my ideal schedule for the next few weeks.  Jonathan peeks over my shoulder and asks me to share.

    “Well, on Monday, I’m going to go to pre-natal yoga, then work for the rest of the day, Tuesday is my day of meetings and calls, Wednesday I’m going to go to dance and then work at a cafe the rest of the day, Thursday morning I’ll have some down time… etc etc.”

    Then he says, “Ok, I don’t want you to take this the wrong way…”

    Okaaay…

    “But do you think you should maybe go to yoga five days a week, since you know, you haven’t been going that much?”


    OH NO YOU DIDN’T.

    “I MEAN, you were just a lot stronger during your first pregnancy, and I want this pregnancy to be easy for you.”

    No sh*t Sherlock, probably because when I got pregnant the first time I didn’t just have a baby like 10 minutes earlier. (If you’re new here, I’m pregnant, which happened when my first son was 9 months old).

    I was livid. And hurt. And felt like I weighed a million pounds.

    I just stared at him, told him I didn’t want to talk about it and locked myself in the airplane bathroom and cried.

    Here’s the deal.  Jonathan didn’t call me fat, to him mentioning going to yoga is like asking if I was going to get a massage this week, but given my history with feeling terrible about myself and equating being told to workout with needing to look a certain way, it felt so different than he intended.

    And, this wasn’t the first time we’ve had a version of this conversation, though it had been a while, maybe years, but it still kills me every time.

    Has this ever happened to you?  And maybe it wasn’t your husband, but a friend, your mother or your doctor.  If it has, you know the pain, the embarrassment and the intense anger.  I was in that bathroom for a while, deciding how to deal with this situation because I was clear I never wanted to feel this way again.


    Here’s how I handled it and what you can do next time you find yourself in this situation…

     

    ONE: FEEL ALL THE EMOTIONS. I felt shame, embarrassment and anger.  I was reminded of all the times anyone had ever commented on my weight, like they were all on the plane telling me how fat I was.  I was second guessing wearing my bikini all week, questioning my choices to not work out 5 days a week. I got small, and sad.

    TWO: GET STRONG. After I went to the place of feeling like a helpless, worthless ten year old girl, I tapped into my strong inner woman.  I got back into my seat, sat up straight and looked directly at Jonathan.  I talked for a long time and don’t remember everything I said but the energy was, “I am awesome, I am doing the best I can, and my body is my business. Period.”  I told him he was never allowed to make a comment about my body (unless it’s about how gorgeous I am), my weight, working out or food, ever, for as long as we live.  It is my domain, not his.  This conversation is off the table.  I told him how much he hurt me, how angry I was and how he made me feel.  Yes, all on the plane, crying, and speaking pretty loudly.  I wanted him to really get that this was unacceptable.

    THREE: UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY MEANT. Now, this is not about excusing their behavior and making it ok.  I believe that people should never meddle in your health, ever, unless you are at serious risk of hurting yourself or others, but I think you get that’s not what I’m talking about here.  However, understanding what they meant will help you feel better.  The reality was that Jonathan was not saying I was fat, nor was he telling me he wanted a trophy wife or that I was lazy (even though that’s how I interpreted it).  He was actually just wanting me to feel strong, so I can be comfortable during my pregnancy.  Does this excuse the comment? Nope. But it allows me to come back to reality.  The truth is that our partners need to be sensitive about how certain things make us feel, not just what they meant.  Just because they wouldn’t feel hurt if we said that to them, doesn’t mean they have permission to say what they want to us.

    FOUR: BE CLEAR ABOUT BOUNDARIES  Tell whoever it is in a strong confident voice, “My body is my business. period. You are never welcome to mention anything about this ever again, am I clear? If you do, we’re going to have to reevaluate our relationship.” Or something like that.

    It’s never easy to feel attacked or shamed by a loved one, even when they didn’t mean any harm, and 99% of the time they don’t.  It’s ok to be sensitive, this is just how you are and there’s nothing to be ashamed of.  We all have a history that makes us emotional around conversations like these, and we can all do work to be stronger and more self-accepting, but that doesn’t mean we can’t set some healthy boundaries with our partners.

    In the comments below I want to know, have you experience this before? And how you would handle a situation like this?

    And if you know someone who has struggled with this in the past, I hope you will share it with them by sending an email or using the social media buttons below.

    Can’t wait to talk with you below about this sensitive topic.

    Love,

    Sarah

  • 07
    May 2015

    A very important Mother’s Day lesson

    A few months ago I was sitting with my dear friend Michelle Long, founder of Bloom Retreat and Becoming Grace talking about motherhood.  Michelle’s children are 19 months apart (mine will be 18), and I have been leaning on her a lot for support and advice.  Michelle revealed to me that her mother passed away in the midst of having her children, and I just couldn’t imagine. My mother has been my number one support around becoming a mother myself, and I couldn’t imagine doing this without her.  Michelle told me about how her mother has shaped her work in the world, what she taught her and the beautiful moment she had with her Mom when she listened to a recorded conversation they had that Michelle had been avoiding for years.  I knew that I had to share her story with you because the lesson she left behind is critical.

    FROM MICHELLE:

    It’s almost Mother’s Day – a day that is bittersweet for me. It’s sweet because all day my kids (now 6 and 8) will shower me with their love. I will get breakfast in bed, sweet homemade cards, hugs and kisses, flowers, snuggles, and most likely the two will fight over who gives me their present first. My kids teach me about unconditional love. They have such adoration for me that when I really sink into what that means, it can overwhelm me and bring me to tears. It is the best.

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    But Mother’s Day is bitter for me too because I lost my own mom to breast cancer more than seven years ago. She was an incredible mother and a best friend to me. I think of her more as a soul sister. She loved me like no one else has, and saw me for all that I am and all she knew I could be. My mom has been one of my greatest teachers, and today, I want to share with you what she taught me, because we all need to hear it.

    First a little background. The year my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, I got pregnant. It was unplanned and I did not feel ready to have a baby. My whole world was rocked. I felt like I needed my mom then more than ever, but right as I was becoming a mom myself, I was also nursing her and trying to be present with her during her passing. She died when my baby was only 8 months old.

    There was something I learned during that intense time that I will keep with me forever. In the end it became clear that my mom struggled with something her whole life – something I see a lot of women struggle with, including myself.

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    You see, my mom was the kind of woman who gave everything she had to everyone else. She was the PTA and swim team president, she volunteered time at a homeless shelter where she served food to people in need, she would take teens into her home who needed support and love, she had tons of friends who she would do anything for, she was a devoted wife, and an incredible mother. She gave and gave, but growing up, I never saw her give back to herself.

    I know this was hard on her. She was overweight for much of her life. She was unhappy in her marriage, she battled with depression, and while her life looked good on the outside, she really wasn’t very happy. Looking back, it was like her soul had been dimmed. I whole-heartedly believe this was part of the reason she got so sick.

    Interestingly, in the last two years of her life, when she had been diagnosed and knew in her heart she didn’t have much time left, my mom started to wake up. As Sarah would say, she started to “live more.” In those last two years, my mom came out of her shell and started to live in a way that I didn’t recognize. She started wearing leopard print clothing, she dyed her hair purple before going into chemo, she was interested in spirituality, and she became a different woman — a vibrant, fun, deep, amazing human being who I didn’t really know growing up. My mom found her roar and became herself in the end, and I am grateful to have witnessed her coming out. She was awesome.

    Right after the birth of my first baby and six months before my mom died, we were both feeling really raw and emotional. We knew the end was near and I wanted to somehow freeze time. I recorded a conversation with my mother on an old cassette tape, where we talked about cancer, healing, motherhood, and hardships. She was open and candid with me and I was grateful that I was able to save that little piece of her. I held onto that tape for the next six years without ever listening to it. I missed her too much. But last Mother’s Day, I brought it out and heard her voice for the first time since she died.

    I sat alone and cried as she spoke. It had been so long since I recorded it that I didn’t remember anything we had talked about, so it was like having a brand new conversation with her. And the amazing thing was, it was like she was speaking to me about what I am going through today.

    You see, today I have a husband, two kids, two cats, a house, and I run my own business where I hold space for a community of women. My life is very full, and sometimes I catch myself getting caught up in the pace of everything and I don’t remember to take care of myself. This was the theme of my recorded conversation with my mother. On that old tape, she spoke directly to me about how to live a fulfilled and meaningful life in the midst of all the busyness.

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    Her words felt like a gift, so I wanted to share some of what she said. We were talking about what she had learned through having cancer. There were three things that stood out to me:

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    ONE

    She told me that “fulfillment in life comes from finding your spirit.” My mom realized that she had to discover who she was beneath her roles as a wife, mother and career woman in order to feel whole.

     

    TWO

    She said that cancer taught her to “slow down and watch the sunsets.” It taught her to enjoy back rubs, warm blankets, slow conversations, and chocolate chip cookies. She wanted me to “keep enjoying life – every single moment, even when things are crappy.”

     

    THREE

    Finally, she told me her secret to healing her spirit: “Build support around you because it keeps you strong, but also know that, in the end, you are the one that has to heal your spirit – don’t wait for people to heal you.”

    When she passed away, it was as if my mother’s roar – her strength and power – entered me and began to push me on my own journey into myself. I began to go deeper into my own self work, I stepped in front of my fears and started my own business, and I challenged myself to become all of who I am. I began to understand what it means to take care of myself and truly love myself.

    It’s because of my mom that I am committed to living the very best life possible. And I don’t mean eventually, when my kids are grown, or when things slow down and I have more time or more money. I mean now. This includes setting boundaries and giving back to myself.

    It’s now my mission to take everything I’ve learned (and am still learning) and bring it to other women. I believe it is time that we as women start advocating for ourselves and living lives that we feel good about, right now.

    So, on this Mother’s Day, I invite you to slow down – to enjoy your kids, the quiet conversations with loved ones, and maybe even watch the sunset. I invite you to ask yourself what your spirit needs in order to thrive, and to start going after those things. I invite you to reach out to your sisters and friends, and build a cheer team around yourself so that you can heal your spirit and thrive. I invite you to bloom.

    If you have your mom with you today, I hope that you talk to her and have a good laugh and cry. Absorb every minute. Hug her. Thank her. Love her up.

    xoxox

    Michelle Long

    A note from Sarah: What struck me most about this story is that as women we are driving to do so much for other people because we deeply care, and on some level, although we hate to admit it, because we want to be liked, feel worthy and like we are pulling our weight or contributing.  Michelle’s Mother shows us so clearly that we don’t need to do all those things to feel loved or to be admired.  Does it mean we have to give ‘all the giving’ up?  Of course not, but we have to stop doing it at the sacrifice of our happiness, health and well being.  There is a space in between of taking care of others and taking care of ourselves.  If you are struggling with this I would strongly encourage you to visit Michelle’s Retreat Center, Bloom Retreat here in the Bay Area or check out her online program, Becoming Grace.  And of course, make sure to sign up for our summer challenge where I will be walking you through a small activity everyday to nurture yourself.

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