Meet Abigail Mary Taugwalder.
Q: Please introduce yourself, where you’re from, and what you do.
Hi, I’m Abigail Mary Taugwalder. I go by the name Abi. I am a European mix, Swiss and British, and the mother of Elizabeth & James who are also French. Talking about time flying by, they are teenagers already (18 &16yrs old). We recently moved back to Paris, France where I host wellness classes after many years of living in Tokyo, Japan.
Q: Wow, Tokyo –– incredible. How was it raising your kids in Japan?
My daughter was born in Paris. After spending her first year on Earth as a single parent, I decided to join her dad living in Tokyo for a couple of years. 15 years later, I was still there and ready to move back, closer to my family. Family life was very important to me and I was very present in my grandparents life. Tokyo was not really on my agenda. Not when I was modeling and not at all when I became Mum. I saw myself in Paris, between my two native countries, living a French life with a flat in Paris and a weekend house somewhere near the sea. (very cliché)
Q: How did you make the most of your experience in Japan? Did it shift a lot for you?
Living in Japan shifted everything. It also opened a lot of doors to new experiences. I set up a kids online shop there because there was nothing as stylish in fashion and décor for kids as there was in Paris at the time. This led me to host workshops to introduce the brands that were unknown in the market and I ended up working for companies to create pop-up shops and a family festival in the middle of Shibuya. ELLE magazine hired me to create their Kids online journal and shop and fashion shops wanted to have family events at their places. The concept of combining life in a society where everything has its place was new and exciting for everyone.
Q: How was it doing all of that amazing and exciting stuff and then raising your kids there on top of it?
Raising my kids there was like a very steep learning curve. I feel sometimes when we become Mums there is a time where we do what we experienced –– if the memories are positive that is. A bit of copying of the traditions like a mini ‘regression’ until we figure out what works for us, what is important, and taking it from there. All along while the baby and kid are changing daily just for us to turn to the next chapter. I tried to fit in with the Japanese Mums, I tried to fit in with the expats who would leave now and then, move countries. I stopped trying and went along with my life. Thank God for the battery bikes, the ‘mamachari’. My son sitting in front of the bike and my girl in the back. We zoomed across town from pre-school to park to playdates and often caught the plane to visit family, #abiandthekids always on the go. It was fun raising them in Japan, living a little bit in a bubble.
Q: I am inspired by the grounding work that you do –– what made you
get into mindfulness, meditation, yoga, etc. and how has it changed your life?
Thank you. I am a wellness coach, specialized in energy work through Yin Yoga, Breathwork, meditation, reiki, and coaching. What brought me to this current place in life was a total surrender experience where I went with the flow, followed my heart. I had to lose myself before I could find my true self again through methods that I now share in my classes. I know how it feels to feel lost, dependent, stressed and I know it doesn’t have to feel that way. Through my coaching, I like to hand my clients a fast track to self-empowerment. Reconnecting to their inner self, building confidence in a relaxed state with a breath of fresh air following. My clients are Mums, entrepreneurs, managers, or women who like to improve their quality of life. I am incredibly grateful to create a safe space for them through my aroma yoga, PJ Yoga, and wellness kits.
Q: Knowing that you have been a mama for quite some time –– your
kids are now all grown up –– how do you feel like they have shaped you?
I literally took a deep breath in when reading this. Just to mark the pause to reflect.
Have you heard of the book “how to talk to kids so they listen and listen so they talk”? Well, I probably should have read that when my kids were small. Haha. Motherhood is the only job that comes without a manual so dropping that Mama guilt was a big one for me. What a journey motherhood is. I love it. It is challenging, even now at times. We say ‘small kids, small problems, big kids, big problems.’ Not that everything’s a problem, just hurdles to master and navigate especially when school starts. My daughter is a Taurus and I am Taurus (need I say more?). Sometimes I forget who the Mum is in the house. My son is a Libra, everything has to be fair and negotiated (he usually wins!). I have learnt so much through my kids. We share an unconditional love and I believe that this job for life teaches us compassion & forgiveness.
Q: How old were you when you had your first born? And your second?
What is your birth story –– any complications?
I was 26 when I had Liz and 29 when I had James. I was so ready to have her. I had this amazing shaman in Paris who taught me breathwork and meditation. She was incredible. Unfortunately, the midwife was less gentle and pushed so hard I almost bled to death. They also wouldn’t let me breastfeed her or keep her with me at night so I would sneak up to get a glimpse of her in the middle of the night. Liz was three weeks early, I didn’t even have a stroller or anything in which I could take her home in. We managed and never lost sight of each other after that. James was born in my hometown in Switzerland. I think he smiled at birth. It was very smooth for me which I was so grateful for. The hardest part was being away from my daughter, even just for a few nights. I missed her so much and there beside me was this little smiley chap I was just getting to know. It was nice to get some sleep though. Managing two young kids mostly alone and one who didn’t sleep through the night for the first few years definitely led me in getting my priorities right.
Q: What has been the most challenging parts of motherhood and the most
Hmmm I think the most challenging is the pressure I put on myself to try to be the perfect Mum and wife and then, schools. I have a thing with rules and regulations. Both of my kids started at a Montessori school until we felt we had to fit in and they joined the French system for primary then the more international English system. Every friend had multiple different nationalities. It was wonderful.
Q: Do you feel like motherhood has transformed you in any way?
In every way. Starting with self-care. That realization of what we put in our body and onto our skin while that little thing is feeding off everything was a huge shift. My entire product selection switched to clean beauty. When my daughter started taking an interest in makeup I would talk her through the do’s and don’t so that she would see through the marketing hacks. It is the journey of growing together that transformed me a lot as well – the senses of time have become more clear – when I was excited for them to master a new skill when they were small, I am seeing the university applications … Happy to see them grow and aspire to their dreams, with a little pinch in my heart.
Q: Do you have any advice for moms to be, current mamas, or women
No advice really because our stories are all unique. Maybe just a gentle reminder that what you do is amazing. Try not to be hard on yourself and always keep that moment of pause before you react (or after, and apologize). Listen to your gut and hug and kiss them to bits as often as you can. Oh and yes, take them into nature, plant things. It’s the best!
Q: Do you have a specific routine that you want to share that makes
time for YOU and truly grounds you?
Oh yes, I love that you asked me this. Now that my kids don’t need me so much anymore, I really like to stick to my morning routine. I wake up before everyone else, diffuse some lovely fresh scents, and practice meditation while my teas brewing before I hop onto the mat to share Yin Yoga practice via zoom. I like to call it ‘PJ Yoga’ just to add a bit of fun. I also take some time to journal before or after. I start by writing down 3 things I’m grateful for. It sets me up in a positive mood right away, which can be tricky, especially with so much uncertainty in the world these days. This routine helps me reconnect and stay grounded. It’s my #selfcare #metime.
all the babies.