Essentialism + Motherhood: Jillian Woods
by Michelle Briggs
4 months ago
Welcome Jillian Woods to the Essentialism + Motherhood series. Jillian is a mother of three, certified Yoga and Prenatal Yoga instructor in Oklahoma City and champion of women and mothers in her community. Jillian's pleasures are travel, food, and good company. In a past life she was a peaceful warrior.
Our essentialism and motherhood series celebrates motherhood and the age old tradition of passing down wisdom, experience, and shared sentiments with a focus on what is essential to a life well lived. We hope you will find camaraderie in their words and inspiration to deeply discover what is most essential in your life.
Q: What does "Essentialism" mean to you?
A: Having less and doing less to make room for only the good things in this life.
Q: What are your three most essential personal values?
A: Love + Integrity + Authenticity
Q: What parts of your life could you not live without?
A: My family + nature + a good cup of tea + REAL conversations with my nearest and dearest.
Q: How do you create space for margin in your life?
A: I try to create space by saying no to things that do not serve me or my family and protecting time for only the good stuff. It has taken me a long time to get here, but I feel so happy only committing to the good stuff in life. I also love to rise early and have alone time to set an intention for my day and feel settled before I greet my family for the day.
Q: What is non-negotiable in your life as a parent and as a woman?
A: Respect + Kindness + Good Manners
Q: What are the essential tunes for your life?
A: Anything I can dance to with my kids! We are currently listening to uptown funk + joy to the world. Its pretty funny watching them get down. They have good rhythm and they get it from mama! My husband has the BEST taste in music and is always finding something cool and new and underground. He curates my playlists and its the best music ever!
Q: What are your most essential food and drinks?
A: Shrooms + dark dark chocolate + anything fermented + lots of GREENS + lemon water + seasonal fruits + a good craft beer + a delicious slice of pizza from Halls. (they have the BEST gluten free crust ever! Its wild!)
Q: What is/are your favorite place(s) in the world and why?
A: Montana will always be special to me as I grew up going there every summer as a kid. It is truly God's country. It is special space and I have so many fond memories of running around with my brothers and cousins and soaking up nature at its finest.
Santa Barbara, California is where I was born and my parents live there now. It is such a great small town and that ocean breeze gets me every time. I LOVE the farmers market in SB and all of the local tastes and treats.
I did my college internship in Shanghai, China, and it was a life altering experience. I went the semester after 9/11 and all of the other students in my program backed out. My parents encouraged me to still go and not live in fear. It was the BEST decision I ever made. I experienced so much personal growth during my time in China. I found out what I was made of and made some incredible friends along the way. The world opened up for me. It was a beautiful thing. I will always cherish that experience and all of the kindness I found along the way.
Q: What makes your heart race?
A: That Dateline makes my heart race in a bad way. My man makes my heart race in the best way!
Q: What three values do you most hope to instill in your children?
A: To be kind and to be honest and to be joyful!
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: I found inspiration in women speaking their truth and I find inspiration in people doing good work in their communities. I am always blown away by random acts of kindness.
Q: How do you like to begin and end your days?
A: I like to start my day with an intention, hot lemon water and moving my body and getting my blood pumping. I end my day with a guided meditation and a good book and a cup of tea.
Q: What beauty or skin care products could you not live without?
A: Tata Harper + Evan Healy + Mountain rose essential oils.
Q: What is essential to your parenthood style?
A: I like to parent from the loving but firm quadrant. It works best for us! I am obsessed with these monkeys and I love on them and kiss them every day, all day, but I run a tight ship as I am trying to put good human beings out in the world.
Q: One of our favorite mantras is “strip down to the essence, but don’t remove the poetry” - what is “poetry” in your life? How do you define beauty and where do you seek it?
A: Any piece of art + music + literature + life experience that stirs emotions is poetry to me. Beauty is confidence and being your authentic self. I find beauty in someone is who vulnerable enough to be themselves. I find it so beautiful when someone laughs really hard or has a good cry and feels all of the emotions in between those moments. Beauty is living your best life every day and feeling all of the goodness that comes with it.
Q: As a parent, what essential values do you see lacking in the culture today that you hope to see improved in your child’s lifetime?
A: I hope that children can be more respectful + kind + empathetic. These values are at the core of people who change the world and do good things. It is so important to teach these values to our children in this very "ME, ME, ME" world that they are growing up in. We must pattern our behavior in the way that we want them to behave. They are always watching us and learning during the good and the bad and the ugly moments.
Q: Can you point to a moment or season of life that challenged your priorities, for better or for worse? How did you weather that season and did you find yourself changed or more steadfast in your challenged priorities?
A: Motherhood challenged my priorities but in the best possible way. I was a bit selfish before I had children and they took me to my knees and really opened me up to so many things that I needed to work on. It has been the best possible experience to shift my priorities to 3 little human beings. They have made me a better and more empathetic human being.
Q: Where do you feel most drawn towards? In other words, when you daydream, what do you seek and where do you go? For example - Do you seek adventure? If so where and how? Do you seek solitude and reflection? If so, where and how?
A: I seek solitude and reflection in my busy life with 3 kids and teaching yoga classes. I find it on my yoga mat as a student or in nature without any distractions.
Q: How do you know when your family has found rhythm? What do you do to recalibrate when you feel your family is burned out or lost its rhythm?
A: When we are in a good rhythm everyone is well rested and getting exercise and eating well and HAPPY!! When we got off track it is because we have taken on too many things and I clear some things off of our plates and say NO and we reset the button with downtime and nature and epsom salt baths and unstructured play.
Q: How do you feel about exposing children to current events and issues? Do you do it? If so, when did you start and how?
A: My oldest son can read the paper now so he asks me questions and we discuss it and I am honest with him but I also shield him from some of the scary things going on in our world because I dont want to be fearful. We talk about leading with love and kindness and not leading with fear.