Dear Mama: Sophie Jaffe
Everyone knows a mama who appears to effortlessly balance having a family, career and "me time"—meanwhile, it can even be struggle to dedicate time to loving ourselves, much less, others. If you're following Sophie Jaffe of Philosophie on Instagram (and you should be), it could be tempting to reach that conclusion, were it not for her refreshing openness about the struggles and joy of motherhood. And whether you have little ones or not, getting to know Sophie will show you that the secret to 'having it all' is realizing that you already do.
What do you love most about being a mama?
I love having teachable moments with Kai and Leo. I learn right back from them, they are my greatest teachers and students. I also love seeing the look on their faces when I give them a surprise or gift, even something simple like seeing their aunt and cousins or an afternoon at the beach.
You blend the worlds of parenting, having a career and doing you beautifully. How do you find balance?
It’s not easy, but I absolutely must give myself as much self-love as I need without a grain of guilt. Until you are filled UP, you cannot give fully to your little loves, friends, husbands and others in your life. Take long baths when the kids are asleep, drink that glass of wine, book that massage, go out with your best friend. This is okay AND necessary in order to truly be present with your babes.
Continuing to have an adult life is so important for my spirit. We don't have toys all over our living room and huge, plastic items scattered throughout our community space. The kids have a playroom for toys, and that's where they belong. I want to feel as though my home is beautiful, something I'm proud to bring friends into, and not a space that's taken over by having kids. I also don't think you need to pause your fun, grownup life until the kids are much older. My husband and I get away about once a month for at least a night to recharge, sleep in and reconnect. We really notice when we let that slip away, and this practice helps keep our family strong and healthy.
What was the most unexpected thing you’ve learned from motherhood?
It TRULY takes a village to raise a child. I just left home for a ONE WEEK retreat and had almost 10 people chipping in, from my sister to babysitters to my hubby to friends from school to teachers at school. And when Kai was first born, two hospital nurses, my parents, my sister, my husband, the lactation consultant, my doula, and many others were all doing something to help Team Kai be successful. My message is this: don’t be afraid to ask for help. Let friends bring dinner. Let them help clean. Let your mom allow you to take the kids so you can take a nap and get a haircut. SAY YES to your tribe!
Seeing you practice with your littles is so beautiful and inspiring—how did you get them into the idea of yoga and meditation? Any tips for parents who want to do the same?
I practice yoga all the time at home, so my kids watched and naturally wanted to join in! When they were babies, I would lay them on my mat while I practiced and they would watch and giggle under me. As they got older, they just mirrored my behavior. I taught yoga in their preschool once a week and that helped them really see me as a yoga teacher and give them real experience in a “class” for 30 minutes. I practice with them so it’s like we’re all playing together. I also give poses fun names like “twisting dragon” and mantras to pair with the asanas, such as “I open my wings and let myself fly” and “I twist like a spiral.” We play tons of yoga games and I let them make up the rules and take turns.
We’ve heard Kai is quite the helper in your kitchen—what are a few of your favorite things to make together? Any advice for teaching kids the importance of what you put into your body?
Kai is ridiculously adorable right now. He is obsessed with the idea of going on Master Chef Jr. at the age of 8. He keeps saying “I have a year and a half to learn so many recipes!!” He can read really well now, so we will look through my cookbooks and he will pick what sounds good to him. He goes through the pantry and the refrigerator to make sure we have the ingredients, then preps and creates the ENTIRE recipe beginning to end all on his own, including plating the dish and wearing an apron. My heart breaks into a billion pieces. His specialty right now is shakshuka, an Israeli/Middle Eastern dish. It makes my husband so happy, who’s from Israel. Anytime I’m making anything now, from a smoothie to our dinner, he wants to help. I absolutely love it. I think teaching kids to eat high vibe foods, super foods, fruits and veggies, is vital. This is when they learn about flavors and create healthy habits for a lifetime. This is when their brains and bodies are developing so it’s the most important time of their lives to amp up with amazing nourishing foods.
What are the most important lessons Kai and Leo have taught you?
I had this realization in the park one day as I was juggling Baby Leo in the carrier and chasing 2-year-old Kai around—as a mother, you are off the hook. My priority now in life is that my children are HEALTHY and HAPPY. As long as both of those things are true each day, it doesn't matter what else does or doesn't get accomplished. When I realized this, I could actually breathe deeply and not feel so overwhelmed. As long as they are healthy and happy, I am doing an awesome job, and everything else is extra credit :)
Who is the most inspiring mama you know?
Honestly, I am. I don’t have a lot of friends with kids, so I have to figure everything out on my own. I primarily support our family financially, I don’t have much help from family, I am with them every moment they aren’t in school, teaching them lessons every day, doing yoga with them, teaching them about nutrition, traveling the world with them by my side, leading retreats and workshops with them there. I’m taking them to auditions, to the library, to the park for picnics and play. I am being the mom that I wish I had, being the mom that I want to be for them. I don’t have a mold to follow, because I’m creating the rules as I go. My childhood best friend, Eva, and I talk every day, so we bounce ideas off each other and help each other when we need an ear. It’s all a VERY intuitive process, and not always pretty, but I couldn’t imagine it any other way. They are my world.
What does being a spiritual gangster mean to you and your crew?
A Spiritual Gangster, to me, is someone who finds ways to keep spirit and soul at their center, no matter what else gets in the way. It's someone who is effortlessly and consistently spiritual, soulful and full of heart.