Deb Ross is a licensed acupuncturist and board certified herbalist in New York City. She has been studying and practicing Chinese Medicine for almost a decade. As a mom to two young children, Deb often calls upon her knowledge of Qi Gong and meditation to help root herself. She balances the stresses of work and motherhood by reminding herself that staying present is the key. Deb shares with Beyond Mom her favorite NYC wellness spots plus why she can’t live without coffee, breathe work and exercise.
What makes you a Beyond Mom?
Sometimes just being a Mom is enough and makes you beyond. Taking that “beyond” farther is when there is a fluidity and in an ease when confronting various challenging moments throughout the day. For instance, let’s say my almost five year old is having a melt down and I need to find my calm first so I can help her find hers. I call upon my knowledge of Qi Gong and meditation to help root myself. I will then teach her or together we can take deep breaths to find calm in the chaos.
Sometimes your kids are the perfect mirror of something you are feeling and you realize you need to address it. It’s important to recognize it as something to address versus being frustrated or annoyed at “the what” that transpired. There is such an overlap in these life experiences, that make life whole and “beyond” being just one thing at one specific time.
What are the parts of you that have grown and expanded since becoming a Mom?
When you become a mom there are things that shift in huge ways (like lack of sleep and being responsible for something much greater than yourself) and then there are changes that are subtle, and all of these shifts create a new version of yourself. I have found a reservoir of patience I never knew existed, especially when managing the ever evolving terrain of being a mom to two kiddos (an almost 2 year old and 5 year). As your kids grow so do you and your parenting tools. Also, my ability to multitask in the day and quickly switch roles from mommy, to acupuncturist, to friend, to wife, to playing princess, to making dinner, to coordinating everyone’s schedule so everyone is happy, healthy and connected. It’s a lot. And sometimes it can be overwhelming and that is when you need to stop and evaluate what really needs to be done today. Ask yourself, what is just stuff? Stuff can wait. Being truly present with your family takes priority.
Can you share a collaboration/success story with another woman; what helped the collaboration become successful?
In graduate school I connected with some of the most open, lovely and community-driven women I’ve ever met. It is amazing to know you can always find support or information whenever you may need it.
I have also found many women who are part of the Beyond Mom community to be incredibly inspiring and doing interesting creative work, from wellness centric workshops to kids events. I like to support them however I can and participate wherever I think I will add value. The community is warm, supportive and open to helping women achieve their goals and dreams.
What relationships help you stay connected to yourself?
Grateful to say there are many relationships that keep me connected to myself. My husband is the ultimate cheerleader on all things me. He’s see all the little things I do, which is important because they often feel so big to me. He validates my mothering instincts and parenting skills. And he is also wonderful at complimenting me as a woman, the one he first fell in love with, which feels so nice especially when there are days you are not sure you even managed to brush your teeth. And then I have some amazing girlfriends who have been in my life since freshman year of college (and before). We have supported, laughed, and loved one another through so many of life’s journey’s such as marriages, break-ups, pregnancies, miscarriages, moves, career ups and downs and just the everyday of figuring out who you are. There is nothing like having friendships that have withstood time where you can just be you without judgement.
Career wise, I have had an amazing mentor, Thomas Droge. He has helped guide and inspire me for over 12 years through graduate school, apprenticeship, clinical work and beyond.
Do you have a ‘Beyond’ dream that you are pursuing? If so, please share…
After my second daughter was born, I was lucky to take an extended maternity break and after 7 months returned part time to the Droge Clinic to treat patients again. For the past year it’s been about creating a new vision of what I want my work and life balance to look like, which is exciting and feels like a rebirth for me.
What wellness activity can you not live without? What is one thing you do daily that balances you?
Coffee, Exercise and Breath Work.
Coffee is a wellness activity, right? Well the ritual of it feels that way at least. I just love coffee in the morning.
Exercising is crucial for my overall well being. It helps me balance myself from the inside out. It is a moment for myself that I make a priority and schedule into my calendar like a doctor’s appointment and therefore gives it value. Honoring myself that way helps me get centered and trickles into my ability to parent because I can find more patience, more ease and playfulness which essentially equals being a better mom. Also, it’s a great reset on a stressed, rushed or challenging day.
I am also participating in a 9 month program called The Bridge – The Three Treasures founded by my mentor and yoga teacher Kevin Courtney. A group of us meet over 3 weekends with 3 months between. The weekends we have met have been the first time that I have had significant alone time since becoming a mom. I have returned to me. I take these opportunities to look inward to myself as Deb, not as Pia and Marley’s mom and I ask myself, what do I want? Who I am now? This has been a profound personal and spiritual journey. There are readings, meditations, Qi Gong exercises and breath work that we do everyday to cultivate the learnings from the weekends. They have come in handy especially when I feel overwhelmed.
How does style influence the way you stay feeling ‘Beyond’? Who is currently your favorite designer?
I like to be comfortable, cute and stylish. I walk so much in the city from drop off to work, sometimes it is a matter of function than style. Wearing my work out clothes to drop off my daughter at school saves me time and allows me to go straight to a morning spin class or go directly to the gym. It eliminates any excuses to not make it happen. So of course I love work out clothes and cute sweatshirts. Outside of the work out world, I am pretty laid back about my style. A pair of good fitting jeans (AG, Madewell, Levi’s), brown or black boots (Frye) and a sexy denim or plaid button down from Rails and I am good to go.
Aspirational designer wear that I like varies, I care more about fit and feeling good in the clothes, then who I am wearing. I think it is important to know yourself, your body type and style, and wear what makes you feel good and dress around those feelings.
Favorite NYC Spots that Embody The Beyond Mom:
Union Square Farmers Market – A great place to explore with or without the kids.
Highline -I love walking nearby to Chelsea Market to eat brunch, food shop, walk around and back.
Tribeca Ancient Aire Baths – When you need a stay-cation with your partner or girlfriends or just yourself.
Beyond Cocktails and/or Food:
I drink rose in the summer which reminds me of my Spanish honeymoon. Another favorite is tequila with soda and lime, it’s refreshing without all the sugar of a margarita.
I love ABC Kitchen in the city. It is farm to table delicious, fresh and the ambiance is just cool, modern NYC.
For date night and neighborhood sushi we venture to Momoya.
Before kids I thought working out had to be long to mean anything. Now with kids I am thankful for any time I get. So if it is 30 minutes, I work hard and intense for that time and feel grateful for the time. I am able to see a difference in my body even with 30 minutes and of course my mind and spirit gets a huge benefit as well.
Spinning at Flywheel is the ultimate work out and me time. I work hard, push hard and I’m done in 45 minutes. I like that you have a mini computer to know your resistance and rpms. There is no cheating. You know exactly how hard you should be working. I love the dark room, the music and having the rare opportunity to just be in the moment. It’s a great time to leave the to-do list at the door and just efficiently work hard.
This summer I also started doing a lot more cardio dance, AKT and 305 Fitness primarily. I have had a blast moving my body in a different way then biking. I felt strong, sexy, silly and saw changes in my body pretty quickly. It was fun to challenge myself in a new way and dance as cardio, versus dancing out in clubs like I used to do in my 20’s. It was liberating.
Pilates with Christina Reilly — I started seeing Christina at 8 weeks pregnant with my second baby. I intuitively felt that pilates was the place for me this time around versus prenatal yoga. It was a way to keep strong and I have seen her every week post-partum to help strengthen my body post baby. She’s smart and understands all the restrictions of the body through pregnancy and after. She is also a doula, so she really understands pregnancy and beyond.
Plain ‘ole gym work out — lately I have gotten back into lifting weights (arms, lunges, squats, planks etc) and then doing cardio on the stair master. I no longer run anymore, in effort to protect my back, and when I used to work with a trainer he told me if I wasn’t going to run, then get on this machine for 25 mins. It is a challenge every time, which I love. It is efficient and tough and you get the benefits in a short amount of time versus being on the elliptical for 45 minutes not paying attention and not even sweating. So when I can not make a class or I have other errands – I can squeeze in a great workout whenever I need (usually when both kids are napping). Also I switched gyms, so I work out at one that is very close to my apartment. Again, allowing for no excuses and ease.
I have a very laid back style, so a great pair of jeans, cool shoes and a top and I am good to go. I love AG jeans and own a ton of Levi’s. Once you find what feels and looks good, I have to get every color grey, dark and light wash. I love Fyre boots and booties, I have a pair that I have owned for over a decade. They are molded to my feet and are so comfortable. And I have more black tank tops then a normal person should own. I have the everyday, the work out, the sexy date night and everything in between. I like feeling casual cute, not overdone and I have to have comfortable shoes that are cool but I can wear and walk in for hours for my days at work or with the kids.