Name: Brittany McKay
Where did you grow up: I was born and raised in West Palm Beach, Fl.
Town you live in now: West Palm Beach
Why you love living there:
I was born at Good Samaratin Hospital and grew up with my family on Palm Beach Island. I left Florida to go to Lake Forest College in Illinois for my Bachelors degree in philosophy and decided to travel to Maryland quickly after that to obtain my Masters degree in education. While in Maryland, I felt myself yearning to be home with my family and friends. I had never felt such home sickness. When I traveled home to visit Palm Beach right before my last exam, I told myself that I would never again live anywhere else. After my graduation ceremony, I gave away all of my winter clothing, packed my bags and drove like the wind back to where my heart is. Everywhere I go, I see memories like a movie reel; I look outside and remember riding my skateboard with my friends. I walk down Clematis Street and hear the sound of cackling, a familiar laughter that would echo down the street while chasing each other to the waterfront. I can’t leave those memories behind. This is where I was planted.
Tell me about your kids:
Six weeks ago, I had my first daughter, Lyla Maria McKay.
I know that everyone says this, but I’ve come to learn that most cliches are true: I cannot imagine a life without her…nor can I really remember why anything seemed so important before her. She is my whole world. I wake up and I can’t wait to hold her in my arms. She is already so alert and (do all moms say this?)…the most beautiful girl in the world. I can’t stop staring at her. She is the funniest person I have ever known and I can’t believe how I fall in love with her more and more each day we are together. She really is the silver lining of my quarantine; I get to be with my newborn everyday and witness how much she is already growing into her own unique self (and out of her newborn onesies!)
Favorite things to do with the kids locally:
Lyla was born on March 9th, 2020, right before we all were told to socially distance ourselves. My husband and I haven’t been able to do many things with her yet, but we do love going to a local nature trail by our home with her. She is only 6 weeks old, so her favorite things to do currently are cry, breast-feed and sleep. We can’t wait to go on adventures with her once we can all be social again! I am eager to show her the waves at the beach and animals at the zoo. She is already smiling and showing a range of emotion, so I really want to see how she responds to the world around her.
What’s your ‘day job’? How did you get started with it?
I used to be a Montessori school teacher for children 3-6 years of age at Turtle River Montessori in Jupiter, Fl. During that time, I was also a part-time yoga instructor at The Yoga Society in West Palm Beach, Fl. I credit yoga for saving my life. Since the age of 15, I have dealt with crippling anxiety and depression. There was one point in my life when I thought nothing could lift the fog from the tunnel vision that only displayed more darkness. I’ve always been very open about my story and the reason I decided to dedicate my life to teaching yoga. Too many feel that they must be ashamed to talk about anxiety or depression when we really should be supporting each other.
My anxiety only seemed to lift after taking or teaching a yoga class. I loved being with the children at school, but I knew that I wasn’t living my dharma or “truth.” I decided to step away from the Montessori world to teach yoga full-time. (We’re all just big kids after all.)
A year after making that decision I became an owner of the Jupiter-based yoga studio, Hamsa Power Yoga alongside my friend and co-owner, Jamie Tarasuk. I believe that things happen for a reason. When I followed my truth, doors seemed to open organically. I know how fortunate I am to be co-owning a yoga studio that is filled with so much love. I now have control of my anxiety attacks and have not felt any symptoms of depression since deciding to trust in my abilities and strength.
What is your best parenting advice. Lay it on us.
Well, since I am a seasoned parent of six whole weeks, I’m glad you asked. It’s a reality that sometimes breastfeeding is not feasible or someone’s feeding method of choice. I have been lucky enough to have the experience of breastfeeding my daughter, which has magnified our beautiful bond as well as the deep-rooted connection I feel with other mothers. I feel a part of something grander now- something primal. We are a tribe and must remember how deeply connected we are to each other not only because we are women, but because we are mothers who are all still figuring things out as we go. We are only as strong as the women standing next to us. One other thing I have learned as a new mom is to not judge the mama next to you. She is most likely doing the best she can with what she has.
What do you do for self care?
The topic of self-care is an important and timely one, since we are all currently isolated and must understand that self-care is not selfish. Acts of self-care are necessary not only for individual mental health, but for the health of your relationships. I began quarantining with my husband the minute we arrived home from the hospital. We wake up together, (multiple times a night), eat together, take turns burping and changing our newborn and have had more time than expected to adjust to parenthood. Now that we are both comfortable being alone with our daughter, my husband Neil and I take turns to do things independently that have always brought us joy. In the morning, Neil watches Lyla while I take an hour to go outside so I can roll out my yoga mat to meditate and enjoy a light yoga practice. This is how I self-care. But so is showering and even being able to do my nails while Neil watches our daughter. It’s so funny how much perspective shifts after having a baby. What I never before considered to be self-care rituals have now become surprisingly restorative. Taking a long, hot bath or cracking open a book used to feel routine, but now fill me to the brim with gratitude. Mom-guilt is real, but I am learning that wanting to be alone for just a few minutes each day does not make me a “bad mom.” We all need our time to reconnect and recharge.
Anything else you want to share?
Come see me at Hamsa Power Yoga even if it’s just to talk or drink tea in the lobby. I love meeting new people and am currently on the market & seeking like-minded mom-friends who enjoy Cardi B and red wine.