Moms on the Mat: Tessa (aka Run Tessa)

Tessa is a designer and small business owner living in Vermont.  She’s also a mom, wife, runner, Jasyogi… the woman is busy! We’re honored that she agreed to give us a few of her motherhood cliff notes and a real view into her days juggling her many roles and passions.  

Thanks for talking with us Tessa. First of all, introduce us to your crew!

Wesley is 3.5 years old and Lily is 1.5 years old

How did things change after having your second?

Wow, big question! In many ways things were smoother with the second because we had done it before, I knew what was normal and most importantly I knew things (good and bad) didn’t last forever. I definitely stressed less about development stages, baby gear and all the little things. I tried to drink in her baby stage as much as I could. But phew! Sleep was still rough and the dynamic of two has its own twists and turns. Getting out of the house by myself was a lot harder, I used to go out often with my son but I felt more drained and overwhelmed with two. I really had to pump myself up for adventures! But it was almost always worth it once we got out the door. It was a lot harder to work from home with two so I had to make a plan to get more childcare so I could go back to work. 

You are a designer and self proclaimed #girlboss, what’s your work schedule like? 

For the first three years with my kids I worked very part time. My husband and I started our business in 2008. I brought my work to our house after I had our son, I really focused on my handbag line and the work I could do online. But it felt more like a hobby than a business and very stop and go. I didn’t plan to be a stay at home parent but we also didn’t plan childcare thinking we could just swing it as self employed people but honestly that was pretty naive!

So it was a bumpy road to the schedule I have now. Lots of discussions between my husband and I, crying, confusion over what was the right path. But also joy with my kids and time to really figure out what I liked and needed to be happy and successful in life. I found out I am an introvert who needs to be creative and I love my job, I also love structure and outside motivation. All those things I didn’t truly understand before I had kids. We also discovered our marriage is stronger when we can work together, we learned a lot about communication these past few years!

This past fall we got more childcare and I moved my studio back into our screenprint shop in the next town over.  I work 4 days a week and have Weds off with the kids. I love having that day to get our home back together and connect with them on my own. I try to keep work at work and home and home. There are still times I chose to do some work on the computer or go into the workshop at odd hours but mostly it’s separated now. That has helped me get back into running. Now I can use my ‘free time’ at home for running instead of squeezing in more hours sewing.

You recently ran a 1:40 half marathon, congrats!! How did you make it happen? 

Honestly it was a tough race! My pace and legs felt off those last 4-5 miles so I thought I would be further away from my goal time (1:40) So when I saw the finish clock I literally yelled! Turns out I was coming down with a cold (we get sick a lot with two little kids) and that's probably why I felt so strange the last half. But I am SO proud to have stuck to my training and keep pushing in the race. This training cycle was my most steady and dedicated since 2009 when I ran my last full marathon. So that in itself was a BIG accomplishment. Just finding out the best way for me to fit running into my full life again has been such a gift. I had a hard time last year when I first tried to come back into running and had to pretty much put it on hold, so to have it be successful this time has been great.

When did you find Jasyoga?

I found it through Oiselle last summer but didn’t use the videos seriously until this winter. I learned to love yoga when I was pregnant and postpartum but having running specific and muscle/area specific yoga has been a lifesaver. There were many times as my muscles were getting stronger this winter that those 10-30 min videos each night saved me. I couldn’t always fit in cooldown or stretch after my run so knowing I could do a quick video after the kids went to bed helped so much! I would have had more aches and pains for sure without those videos.

How do you find time to fit in the training and the strength and recovery? 

The most successful way for the whole family is to schedule it out. For the past 5 years or so my approach to running was the “fit it in when I have time” model. And I never felt I had time or energy to do so. It was half hearted and loaded with guilt. But I stepped up and got a coach (Mollie from Piece of Cake Running) this past winter and we worked on a training plan that worked for me. Almost every week is the same. I take two days off a week (Monday and Friday) and after a few weeks I figured out a way to work in all the other runs. I spend 5min the day before discussing with my husband what would be the best time for both of us and after a few weeks it felt like second nature. I had designated time to do my run and we all knew when it was going to happen. That has lifted all the running guilt and also made each day feel so much more successful and like I could check off my goal proudly. Taking the mental planing away as much as possible helped so much. Running feels more like it did in HS and College as a designated practice time and I really missed that. I also work it around our busy seasons at work now. We are slower in the winter so that is when I have more flexibility to train for a goal race. I love running in the cold so even the VT winters don't bother me that much. Then I schedule in a break in the summer when we are very busy with work and life. 

Recovery has been so important, those two days off plus Jasyoga videos 2-4 nights a week and also extra sleep has been important. When I start to feel drained or overwhelmed I really just put myself on sleep bootcamp. I do a week of going to bed at 9:30 with NO electronics (phone, TV, computer) in the room and it puts me back on track. But I also use the Jasyoga videos as a two for one strength and recovery. If I feel up for it I do the core or mobility ones and if I don't I do the recovery/reset ones. With little kids we are stuck at home most nights anyways so I might as well use that time for something other than drooling in front of the TV or computer (though that totally happens too). 

What’s your favorite Jasyoga video?

The Full Body Recovery, and hip/hamstring mobility ones. Also doing a few different of the 5-Minute Resets are great! I can’t wait to try the new videos that just came out.  I would love a way to make personal notes by each video as to when I did them and what issue/body part it really helped with.

As a mom of two do you have any advice to new moms? 

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. You may not get it, there were times I wanted more help and support and just didn’t know how to find it. But speak up and work to make a change if something isn’t going well. Sometimes just sitting down with your partner and being like “this is what I am struggling with, can we talk about it?” is so helpful. I love putting little plans in place and then changing them as we need to. There is a lot of unpredictable moments so being able to structure what I could made it easier to really enjoy and go with the flow of the crazy times! It’s such an adventure to be a parent, my husband and I often joke we go through more emotions before 9 am than we used to in a whole week. But gosh, seeing these two little humans grow and discover the world?! It really is one of the coolest things to be able to witness and support. 

Thanks for chatting with us Tessa! And happiest of Mother’s Days to you!

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Follow Tessa’s adventures on her blog, Run Tessa  and Instagram and be sure to check out her shop Foliage Handbags