Being a mother and holding the space for others to be nurtured requires a powerful amount of focus. When we care about someone, we naturally want to make sure they are protected and loved and that all their needs are met. However, often this profound act of giving takes us to the extreme of forgetting to fill our own cup, which can bring us into a state of stress and imbalance disbalance. In states of depletion, we can only offer so much—but by first dedicating time to our own inner care, we can offer much more. And this is a dilemma of any parent: to find their inner balance to be fully present in the care of their children without giving up their own flow of wellbeing.
A mother is someone who loves their children unconditionally, regardless of giving birth to them or not. When I asked Eeka McLeod, a proud single mother who adopted three children with disabilities special needs, “How are you doing?”, she responded, “Oh, it’s been a really rough week.”
Eeka’s desire to express her gift of purest love inspired her to foster kids while she was still in graduate school. After welcoming and taking care of 18 children, Eeka made her dream come true by officially welcoming to the family three precious beings: Eli, who has Cerebral Palsy; and Evan and Ella, who are on the Autism Spectrum.
Everyone can imagine what it takes for a mother like Eeka to cater to all the needs of her three children every day. But she is the one who is living it; thus, only she can share her true experience. Eeka believes her identity as a mother is her core essence. When I asked her to describe who she is beyond her physical identities, on her soul level, Eeka responded, “I don’t know. I feel like all those things are very much what makes me, me. If all these things were taken away, I would just be a blob floating in the Universe. I’m just me. I’m everything and nothing all at the same time, I guess. That’s just me.”
Eeka’s decision to adopt Eli, Evan, and Ella speaks to her full commitment to include them unconditionally. She honors and embraces their individual expressions and sees them for who they really are—love.
“Inclusion means to me allowing people in. Whether you relate to them or not, understand them or not, or have been through the same walk of life or not—include them and make them feel as if they belong—all of us being equal as anybody else,” beautifully expresses Eeka.
We all want to be included. And when we truly look within, we find that our full resonance is the desire to include others. But perhaps inclusion starts with including ourselves, embracing ourselves, loving ourselves, so we can see others from the eyes of true love—unconditionally—from the place of our innate inclusiveness.
We have infinite tools and practices to help us get us back to inner steadiness and balance. When we become aware of them and learn to apply them in our daily lives, we experience lightheartedness and fun. Although many of us might stubbornly argue for our own limitations, we can shift our energy, moving towards more fun, more joy, and more love.
But it’s also ok to be overwhelmed and sense that everything today is upside down. These moments are set points for expansion and growth. And by recognizing that, we can deliberately choose what’s best to think, feel, and do next. Breathing or the process of meditation has been a technique for millennia that naturally relaxes us into receptivity and a clearer mind. By taking a minute to consciously, deeply breathe in and out a few times throughout the day, we can bring ourselves to great relief.
Eeka opens up about her difficult days, saying, “To be really honest, there’s no balance. I work seven days a week. I’m a mom, 24/7. I just try tried to look for moments in the day, when I structure my day, to figure out, if I have content to do, I gotta do this, or, maybe I can do something when one of my children is doing gymnastics, or cheerleading, or dance. And I’m sitting here, trying to squeeze something in or check my emails. I mean, I would definitely say I am probably the least balanced person. I am flying by the seat of my pants and hoping for the best. And I think that says a lot about us, me as a person and us as a family, we have a lot going on. And somehow, we’re still just able to make it work. I always wonder how I just feel like somehow things just fall into place. And at the end of the day, when I’m incredibly exhausted, and still thinking about the 300 things I need to do, somehow, the next day it’s done. Even at times at night, I do vlogs, I stay up, and I only get about five or six hours of sleep a night. It’s just a lot of sacrificing and kind of just pulling from different points in the day and trying to stay on top of things.”
During the pandemic, the McLeod family became a social media sensation sharing their authentic and real lives which has drawn in an audience of over 2 million followers on platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. The content that Eeka creates with her children is filled with the intention to bring awareness and advocate for acceptance for people with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community.
Eeka lovingly and beautifully describes her three children, “They’re three different human beings who are always going to be unique. Eli is just a joy. He’s a light. He’s typically laughing at something even if it’s something the rest of us don’t see. He’s funny and he can be very mischievous. I think a lot of people are very surprised Eli is severely disabled. And I think they think that he’s not aware, but Eli is absolutely aware, he knows what’s going on, there’s always a method to his madness and what he’s doing. He loves to mess with my babysitters. Eli is that middle ground between Evan and Ella, He’s just a bright light.
“And then there’s Evan. Evan is my high maintenance diva. Evan is six and a half. She’s queer non-binary. Evan is charismatic. I always tell people, ‘She’s got charisma baby.’ Evan is the most energetic individual I’ve ever met in my life. And what I love about Evan is that she knows who she is. She knows what she wants, and nothing’s going to stand in her way. Absolutely nothing. There is a beauty in how she lives her life because it is so free. She doesn’t have the same drive to conform to societal norms, or to please people, and she doesn’t worry about if somebody’s mad at her. She doesn’t worry about upsetting someone. And so like I said, on some level, I feel like she lives her life very freely. And it’s a beautiful thing to watch. Because I think most of us wish we could live like Evan.
“Ella is my little motivation. She’s just like a little tank. That child. She’s going places. Ella is very smart. They’re all very social, very loving. But Ella has something about her. She’s the strongest of the three of my kids. When I’m talking about emotional and mental strength, Ella is the one I think about. I always look at her and I say to myself, you know, she’s going to do something great. She is the youngest. She’s the smallest. But she’s a Spitfire. That girl is fierce. And I love that about her. So they’re pretty cool humans.”
As we grow from being children to becoming adults, we tend to shut down our innocence by pretending that it’s not there. We play the game of so much seriousness that we forget that life is supposed to and can be fun as grown-ups too.
“Everything for my children in life is just about having fun. And there’s an innocence, obviously, in the way most kids live their lives. And I just told my friends, I wish I could bottle that and hold on to it for them. Because you go through a lot of hardships in life. And right now, for them things are good things in their world. I guess it seems perfect for them. They’re just happy. And I wish as a parent so badly that they would feel that way every day for the rest of their lives. I can’t say if Evan will lose her innocence, Eli certainly won’t. Based on her developmental challenges and delays, Ella I see probably being the one who will want to conform. And I just hope that as she gets older and goes into the world, she remembers something that I promote with all my kids: how valuable they are. I tell them, ‘You are one of a kind. You are absolutely irreplaceable. And know your worth. Don’t ever let somebody tell you any different. You’re worth your whole life, no matter what life is throwing at you,’” says Eeka.
We are all worthy of living a fulfilled, happy life. The worth is not something we earn; it’s our birthright. It’s what we come to express through our uniqueness, and there is nothing more worthy than being alive and living it the way feels best to us. When we are unhappy, we are denying ourselves our divinity; when we are loving, we are enhancing who we truly are. Children innately know that they, like every adult once, follow their inner intuition and lightheartedness. We all can bring that innocent essence to our entire life, and perhaps that is the best lesson children can teach us.
Eeka says, “They’re always teaching me something. I think what I’ve learned from my kids is that I don’t have to take myself seriously. I’m under a lot of pressure. I have so much going on. It’s just me as a single parent. I face a ton of ridicule, criticism, and judgment online, and my children kind of just bring me back and ground me. And they’ve taught me, especially Evan with the way she lives her life, to ask myself, what would happen if I just let go of all this? Nothing would fall apart; nothing will be different other than my stress levels. And it’s a lot easier said than done. That’s for sure. But I would definitely say that learning how to parent three kids with three very different sets of needs has taught me really how to multitask on a whole other level.”
Through all the social media platforms that Eeka and her family present themselves, she wants to “open a few minds and a few hearts. But I’m focusing a little more on trying to come from an educational aspect. So people understand what it’s like for families like ours, on various levels, because we represent many different communities. And I kind of really hope that by sharing our story and documenting our lives, that we help someone. For example, two days ago, I got a call from Eli’s school. He is a high-risk medical child, he had his first seizure at school, and it was five minutes long. Doctors have been very clear that Eli has a shorter life expectancy, he has less than a 40% chance of living past the age of 20. He’s eight and a half, and there are many things that could end his life but most likely it would be a seizure. I got the call from the school; 911 had to be called and paramedics were there— it’s just there’s so much that goes on in our world. And I don’t think people truly understand. So I asked them to talk about it. I show what I can. Because there are a lot of families or a lot of parents out there like me, there are a lot of kids out there like my kids, a lot of families out there just like us. And they feel lonely and isolated. And I’m hoping that we bring awareness to so many things, not just obviously disabilities, and medical individuals, but the LGBTQ+ community and youth, adoptive families, single parent families, queer families—all these things that if we can bring awareness to them, maybe it makes somebody’s life better and it helps someone.”
And for every single mother in the world like Eeka, Liz Hays, aka Ms. Magic, who is an energy intuitive and advocate for the inner child, offers the following rampage of love,
I see you
I honor you
I value you
I see the work you are doing mothering
I see the life you are giving to these beautiful children
I see the love
I see the fun
I see the fantasy
I also see the demand
I see your desire for their safety
I see you strong desire for their safety and comfort and joy
You want them to feel good
You want them to be good
You want them to be understood and attended too
I see your desire
I honor your desire
You are a brilliant caregiver
You are a beautiful mother
Thank you for your service
Thank you for your love
Thank you for your compassion
Thank you for answering this calling
In all moments humans get the final say of yes or no
You said yes
Now let us say yes
Let your Devine team say yes
We can help you
We can organize things for you
We can summon answers to the things that you need
Let us in
We can help you
You cannot ask too much
We are never offended
Nothing is off limits
Help with bedtime
A day off
A night off
A good night sleep
Ask and it is given
Just like the book by Abraham-Hicks
You are heard
You are acknowledged
You are brilliant
Your children are brilliant
Thank you for being you
Photography // Ashly Nicole @ashlynicolephoto | Makeup // Erik Torppe @theglamjew | Hair // Bijan Kazemzadeh @paleopaque | Eeka’s Green Set // Rebdolls @rebdolls // Michele Marie PR @michelemariepr | Kids’ Fashion // Joyfolie @joyfolie // Michele Marie PR @michelemariepr