Welcome to Week 33 of Motherhood by Design – the series where mothers who also run creative businesses share their inspirations and their experiences juggling the demands of raising children while growing a creative career.
"Motherhood offers us a way to offer a grounded love that is unconditional. I strive to love in this way. Unconditional unattached love is one of the hardest practices, especially with people so close to you that call you Mom."
This is the second time Maryam Ovissi has appeared on my blog - the first time was in this recent post about how yoga helped me heal from one of my surrogacy experiences. And now, here in today's post, you can see Maryam's beauty in body and spirit for yourself. BelovedYoga, the studio she owns, is truly an inspirational place, filled with plenty of natural light, spectacular views over lush greenery, a fountain and a pond, as well as beautiful art, much of it created by Maryam herself. Maryam's creative spirit is evident not only in the physical space, but even in the classes she offers, ranging from beginners to advanced yogis, and from infant mother-and-child classes to sessions for those with limited mobility. BelovedYoga is a yoga studio that truly celebrates and honors creativity and individuality and I'm pleased to include Maryam in this series.
Welcome to Motherhood by Design, Maryam - can you please describe your family?
Salvador Pendleton, 21 years old (he has been a part of my life since age 3!) is my step son and Cyrus Pendleton, 11 years old, is my son.
What is your business?
I am honored to be a founder of BelovedYoga: Flow from the Heart Yoga Studios in Reston and Great Falls, VA.
When you were a child yourself, how did you spend your free time?
As an only child I spent a lot of time with my parents and extended family. Lots of adults with few kids around. However, I do not remember ever being bored. Life revolved around food with my Mom and her side of the family. Life revolved around art and museums with my Dad.
Did crafting or handwork play a significant role in your childhood? If yes, in what way?
My father is an artist and is still actively painting. Creative expression was a part of childhood and art always surrounded me. I grew up to have reverence and love for the creative spirit.
When you were a child, did you have ideas about your own future as a mother? Was motherhood something you’d always imagined for yourself, or is it an idea you grew into later in life?
Motherhood is something that has taken me time to adjust to and often feel I am still figuring it out. However my stepson Salvador, now 21, was my first teacher of Motherhood in the traditional sense. My sense of Motherhood reflected the mothering I received, simple and not overly indulgent. I knew I was loved and this was the most important feeling I wanted to share with all beings - my own children, my family - is that they know they are loved. However, motherhood offers us a way to offer a grounded love that is unconditional. I strive to love in this way. Unconditional unattached love is one of the hardest practices, especially with people so close to you that call you Mom. After 5 years of marriage, Cyrus was born, now 11, and he has been a great teacher to me.
In your early years of motherhood, did you have/make time for your creative pursuits, or was your creative work put aside for a while? If the latter, when did you pick it back up?
I placed things aside for the first year of Cyrus’ life and then picked Yoga back up and began to be fiercely devoted to it as a teacher. When Cyrus turned 3 years of age I open Warrior Yoga with Odisa Walker. The studio was renamed to BelovedYoga and we have locations in Reston and Great Falls, VA. Finding my way to my creative pursuits, whether in teaching, painting or writing…I found the late hours of the night my respite.
Did you start your creative business prior to becoming a mother, or after?
Prior but it took off after the birth of Cyrus.
What prompted you to start your creative business? Is it something you saw yourself doing when you were a child?
Yoga found me. I have always been a seeker, first I sought to honor the creative Spirit and then the pursuit of the spirituality through all the tools of the human experience. Yoga offered me a complete package.
How do you balance your creative work with your role as a mother and how has that changed over time?
As my son Cyrus grew up, I release the reins as his Father held more space. His older brother, Salvador was also able to be supportive.
I made small simple decisions, like being home when he arrived from school, enjoying a few meals a week together, not always easy to do. Finding the sweetness of the moments and not asking for too much. Less and less expectations has expanded by heart beyond words.
In what ways does motherhood affect your work processes?
I do not compartmentalize being a mother but find that that journey is helpful in my ability to nourish my team of teachers and others. Owning two yoga studios, they have become like children.
My husband and children often feel neglected and feel my love of my service as teacher and mentor overshadow my role as mother and wife. I try to not uphold labels but be in harmony with my being. I find Motherhood can bring in a certain level of guilt, especially in Northern Virginia. Always feeling you are not doing enough. I have made peace with myself.
I am currently in an evaluation in my relationship as we are dissolving roles of husband and wife, focusing on our friendship and the upbringing of our son, Cyrus. His son, Salvador, will be starting his 3rd year at Virginia Tech.
Motherhood teaches me the necessity to change and evolve. Currently I am seeing how do I best serve my son as mother now that he is 11 is very different then when he was 6. I love this about Motherhood….everything changes.
In what ways does motherhood affect your creative products?
It reflects the changing. Yoga is a process of making peace and falling in love with all of it. Motherhood is the awareness of it and putting it into action by holding a mirror.
What is the biggest impact that your children have had on your business?
Teaching me to slow down and be present and realize how simple life truly is….
How do you think your creative pursuits, including your business, affect your children?
They see there is a way to use the gifts and energy of this life in service of others. I trust they also see that love is non possessive and can be shared.
Is there something you hope your children learn from you by having a creative business?
Learn the value of having space in order to contemplate, serve, be and ultimate love.
What advice would you offer the mom who feels drained by the demands of motherhood and wants more hands-on creativity in her life?
Slow down, breath and start with small simple moments that connect you to your creative spirit. You may be surprised how simple it is….
Thank you so much, Maryam, for sharing your thoughts with us today! You can find Maryam in the following places: