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Walking into the gorgeous WMN Space in Venice, California is like stepping into a warm hug. From the white-washed walls to the earthy wood accents, the vibe is calming and comforting — somewhere where you could envision curling up and staying for a very long time. Paula Mallis is the woman behind the space, a Doula, Spiritual Counselor and Facilitator of women circles, who lovingly created the studio in partnership with her husband Todd. After a quick tour of the gorgeous space and a cup of tea, we settled in and chatted with this grounded mama as she shared details about her journey in building this beautiful women’s community and how becoming a mama to her daughter Madeleine has made all the difference in both herself and career. Read on…

Being her mother has allowed me to just grow in a way that I don’t think I would have had I not had her.

Paula, your space is absolutely gorgeous. Thank you for having us! Tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to create your practice.

Thank you! My practice and life as it is today was all inspired by my daughter, Madeleine. Believe it or not, I had signed up to train to be a Doula already and on my first day of class, I found out I was pregnant! It was crazy. It all fell into place for me from that point on because once I had given birth and gone through the experience myself, I truly knew how I could be of service to others. I had this desire to give back to at least one woman the way my own Doula was of service to me. Everything evolved from that experience and here we are today – I’m in my fourth year and I haven’t stopped going since!

What were you doing before becoming a Doula?

I was modeling and acting before, and had been since I was 15 – I only really knew that world. I was at a time in my life, typical Saturn Return, where I was getting ready to turn 30, getting married to my husband, and really soul-searching. I really felt that I was meant to be of service in some way, but I had no idea what it was going to look like. And so, from one soul-searching event to another, and then my pregnancy and birth with Madeleine, everything just started to unfold and reveal itself.

We love when motherhood makes you pause and take a closer look at your own life. Tell us more about this experience.

Madeleine has been my initiation into everything: into motherhood and being a business owner, into knowing myself and who I am, separate from being her mother. Being her mother has allowed me to just grow in a way that I don’t think I would have had I not had her. It’s just so interesting now, five years later, looking back. That really came up for me last week when we celebrated her birthday. I just can’t but help to think of the birth every year, and just how much has changed and shifted since she came into our lives. She has been the absolute transformation in both my life and my husband’s. We both started new careers and left our old jobs. We’re only six months apart, so a lot of our journey in our relationship together has been very parallel. He was DJ’ing in New York…He’s the DJ and I was the model! Met at the club! You know…that was the old life, almost eleven years ago. And then we moved out here [to LA] and everything changed. Everything.

What has been the most surprising thing about motherhood and the journey it has brought you upon?

Probably just the amount of patience that it requires. And how it’s such an opportunity – that I haven’t done perfectly by any means – to fully embrace the opportunity of being present in a way that I wasn’t when I was a maiden, before I was a mother. Madeleine really challenges me and really gives me the opportunity to experience being in the present moment with her – when I choose to. For her, it’s not an option. And it’s such a mirror back of, “Where am I not being present right now?”, and that she usually reflects that back to me by being upset, or when she was younger, it was emotions or tantrums or whatever. But now, being five, she can tell me, “Mommy, I need you right now,” or “Where are you?” or “Hello?”…So yeah, I would say patience and the opportunity to experience being in the present more fully.

What do you do when you feel like you’re kind of at wits’ end, or your patience is being challenged? How do you keep your cool and stay patient?

Breathe. And I taught Madeleine how to do that. She had a moment at the end of her fifth birthday. She was tired and it was over-stimulating, and I was just getting frustrated and so was she. Then I just looked at her and I was like, “Breathe,” and we both just inhaled and exhaled. And then I asked, “What do you need right now and how can I help you?” If I don’t breathe, forget it. So, for me, breath is huge, and I taught her that from a very young age. It’s a tool for myself, too. So it’s something we know how to do together.

What is your “real” morning routine like? On a “good” day and a “crazy” day?

That’s fair, because it is not the same every morning! So a “crazy” day – and this is the honest-to-god truth – I am taking care of everyone else and I’m the last to get into the shower, the last to brush my teeth, the last to get my tea — you know, making sure everyone is sorted. But, on a “good” day, and when we are in rhythm and things are flowing, I am awoken by my child’s song, because I am a sleeper, she actually sings to me, and that’s our alarm clock. Then, we sit and have breakfast together, and we set our intentions for the day. On the mornings when Todd takes Madeleine to school, I get to meditate and take my time washing my face and doing my whole beauty ritual which is an OCD routine, but it just makes me feel so good! In the mornings that I take Madeleine to school, I still do my beauty routine, but then I meditate in the parking lot. Or, I get here at WMN Space and meditate here before I teach. This space has been such a gift and safe haven for myself – if I’m not here for a couple of days, I can really feel it, and as soon as I walk in, I’m like, “Oh, thank god!” I really use this as my sanctuary. My ideal is to wake up before everyone else and have a sadhana practice again, which I used to have before Madeleine was born – to get up, to meditate and to meet the sun is my ideal, but that’s just not my reality right now. I look forward to getting back to that one day.

Paula Mallis WMN Space

What’s your ideal breakfast?

My favorite thing is going to Moon Juice for a smoothie. They all know me – my order is the “Paula Special #1”. Even though I can make it at home, there’s something about going out into the world and seeing familiar neighborhood faces that brings me back to my mornings when I lived in New York, and I really enjoy that.

In the mornings at home before I do anything, I always make a cup of tea. Always. I don’t drink coffee anymore. If I’m eating at home, it’s usually what my husband and daughter like to tease me and call my “sand muffin.” It’s basically cardboard, but I love it. It’s good to me! They’re like, “Oh, Mommy, you’re going to have your sand muffin again this morning!” And I’m like, “Yup! Anybody want some?” and They’re like, “No thanks!” So I fix them eggs. I like making breakfast. I love the mornings. Evenings are a little more challenging for me. My husband is better in the evenings, and holds it down. I wouldn’t say I’m a morning person in the sense that I just love getting up in the morning, but I enjoy the morning routine – I enjoy the breakfast, my tea, and that whole ritual.

Do you see any healers or therapists?

Oh yeah! You can’t be a healer if you don’t have a healer. A healer needs a healer, and I have more than one. Gosh, well, I have a beautiful therapist who’s so much more than a therapist. She’s in her late 60s and she’s a real mentor for me. She’s a magical woman and I love her dearly – I’ve been working with her for four years. She’s amazing. And then I have some really beautiful male healers in my life which I feel to be really appropriate because of all the women’s work that I do. They’re very balanced in their masculine and feminine. My acupuncturist, who’s actually downstairs, I see him every two weeks as well – he’s awesome and I just really love his presence. He’s really supportive. And I’ll also see who I call my “Mr. Miyagi”, my Japanese healer, and he’s amazing and works more in the way of chiropractic and craniosacral and kinesiology. And then I’m always dabbling into something extracurricular. So I’ll have my aerobatic moment, and then I’ll have my vegetarian moment – I love to learn. I have another woman I do body work with – it’s so much more than a massage, and she’s been such a huge support for me, especially in creating WMN Space and birthing WMN Space, and other issues that I’ve needed support with. She’s amazing, Baya – she’s a beautiful German woman. She’s like massage-meets-Reiki-meets-energy work. She’s amazing, and I highly recommend a session with her when you’re back in town. 

Breathe, and set an intention for the day. I really, truly believe that setting intentions, from doing circles around manifestation and just living an intentional life, is a huge opportunity to live a life in flow.

So, about that beauty routine – we want to hear about all of your favorite products.

Right now, I am truly obsessed with True Botanicals. I have struggled with acne since I was fifteen years old, which was always an issue growing up in the modeling and acting world. It has just been a huge part of my story, and why I went into health and wellness for myself first – and before it was on-trend, by the way. I felt like, “What nineteen year-old runs around and does all these things?” But I was that person, and I just always felt like I had never met a beauty product that really worked for my skin. I wanted it to work, and it would work on everyone else but me. True Botanicals had reached out and I gave it a go and I was blown away. They have a line specific for adult acne and my skin, I swear, has fully cleared up from using it. Of course I am addicted to the entire line from shampoo, conditioner, skin, you name it! I also love JuvaPower and holy sweetgrass oil. I just get excited to take a shower just to put it on. It’s so delicious and it makes me so happy.

What would you suggest that we do to change our energy when we wake up on the proverbial “wrong side of the bed”?

Breathe, and set an intention for the day. I really, truly believe that setting intentions, from doing circles around manifestation and just living an intentional life, is a huge opportunity to live a life in flow. Huge.

What kind of intentions do you set for the day?

So, to your example, if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, it can just be first acknowledging that you woke up on the wrong side of the bed and that’s okay, and not judging it or feeling like you have to fix it. Acknowledge your desire to feel better — so setting an intention of how you project forward into the day and to seeing yourself not maybe so cranky or angry or upset. I really feel like sometimes, especially as moms and moms in business, with everything we have on our plates, we need to give ourselves permission to have the feelings when we do and not try to bypass it, and not try to squash it down, and to really give ourselves permission to give it a voice. And then get into solution. I have another mentor that I work with, and she’s like, “You can only sit on the pot for 24 hours, and then you need to get up and get off.” For 24 hours, you can whine about some sort of upset that has come forward, but then it’s time to move on and say to yourself, “Okay, fine, I hear you. You’ve had your big feelings. Now what are you going to do about it?”

Paula Mallis WMN Space

You’re expecting another little one – congrats! Do you have any supplements or vitamins that you take to help nourish your body?

Right now, I am fully on prenatal vitamins, vitamin D, and a fish oil. So that’s what I’m on right now. But before getting pregnant, I did a lot of Moon Juice, so a lot of what is in the Moon pantry. When I was preparing to open WMN Space I was having a lot of anxiety. I was like, “What is this? This is so interesting” and it felt so visceral and physical. But anyway, Ashwagandha is great for that. So I was doing a lot of Ashwagandha in my Paula Special #1 Smoothie. I also like to mix it up and I’ll add Maca if I feel like I need it. Learning about adaptogens, and applying them and finding what works for me has really shifted how I feel on a regular basis. I used to take up to 20 vitamins a day, but now I don’t. I keep that part really simple, and I only take things that my blood work is showing that I need. I try to get everything else from food and adaptogens.

 

Paula Mallis WMN Space

We’re excited to be collaborating with Paula for one of our upcoming events, The Honesty Hour. We’ll be putting aside judgements, tapping into positivity, and mastering the art of self-care at Paula’s very own WMN Space. For more information on this event, e-mail events@heymama.co!

Photos by Lauren Moore 

 

 

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