My day starts early, usually at 6 a.m, because my son is an early riser. The door will fly open and he’ll come and jump on me and my husband, Penn [Badgley]. If he’s not with us, he’s with his dad, so I’ll sleep in a little more on those mornings, but I don’t think I’ve slept past 7:30 a.m. in years.
I meditate every morning. There’s a lot of prayer as well. I’ll say specific prayers for my family and my son and Penn, for everyone. I say prayers for every child in my family. It depends how I’m feeling that day, but I say prayers every day, in some order. Penn is Bahá’í, which is this really beautiful religion; I grew up reading Rumi and I’m pretty into Sufism, so I read prayers from many faiths — Jewish prayers, Christian prayers, etc. — that hold meaning for me. Starting with prayer and meditation helps me be a little bit more forgiving toward myself and everyone else throughout the day, but one thing meditation has taught me is that if you can’t get it in when you’ve purposefully carved out or allotted that time, just try to fit it in at some point later.
I also do this thing called Arvigo. It’s an ancient Mayan abdominal technique where you massage your stomach. A lot of people who have intense periods, infertility issues, women who’ve had hysterectomies or cesareans will do it. If you’re constipated…it’s a good way to really heal. It’s a very ancient method. I normally do this at night before I go to bed, but if I forget, I’ll do it in the morning.
After the prayer and meditation and lemon water, I’ll brush my teeth and shower. I really believe in wetting my head twice a day. I mean, I know you don’t want to wash your hair too much — and I have really thin hair, so if I wash it too much it’s not a good look — but I feel like my days are different when I wet my head twice a day. Water’s an attitude-changer, but it’s not just a body shower; I need to fully submerge. It puts me in a better mood. I sleep better when I do it right before bed, too. It’s kind of a dunk most mornings, but then twice a week I’ll try to have a long one.
I like to dry brush in the morning. I don’t do it every morning but I notice a very big difference when I do. You really don’t need to spend much. The most I’ve ever spent on one has been 20 bucks. They’re at every Whole Foods store. You’re supposed to brush upward toward your heart, even if you’re doing your legs. Everything toward the heart. It stimulates your nervous system so you’ll feel a lot more alert after, and it’s great for the lymphatic system. Because I wake up in the middle of the night a lot to go to a birth, my adrenals need all the help they can get.
After the shower, hopefully I can exercise. I’m lucky: I bought this apartment 10 years ago, the building’s amazing, but nothing was around it when I bought it. I moved out four years ago, but Penn and I just moved back in, and now there’s SoulCycle down the street.
If I have my son and it’s an extra slow morning, I’ll make his lunch. Otherwise I’ll pack it the night before. I learned that from friends who have more than one child. At first I was like, “It’s a treat to be able to ask him what he wants.” They’d be like, “Why do you ask him what he wants? You just pack what you pack!” Now I pack the night before. I used to walk him to school in the mornings but now he’s going to be on a bus, so that’s going to be the weekday thing.
He’s with his Dad on Mondays and Tuesdays and me Wednesdays through Fridays, which means my day will probably start after nine once the school year begins, and this includes meditation. (When he’s with us on weekends or holidays, he knows to give me my time in the mornings to meditate, and he has his time.) The bus is new for me. I love my time in the morning with my son, walking him to school, so I’ll probably only do the bus sometimes, because otherwise I’m going to miss that morning check-in.
Since I recently got diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid, I have to make these crazy protein berry smoothies in the morning with lots of spinach because I need all these things that I kind of can’t get out of some foods. Then, about three hours later, I’m pretty hungry. I’ll usually eat a brunch-y lunch, and I try to always have that meal with my Carriage House partners, Sam Huggins and Lindsey Bliss. I live above a really amazing breakfast place, so I like to go there and get scrambled eggs with kale and tomatoes and a biscuit. It’s really delicious. I get oatmeal from another place that makes it with steel cut oats, cream and jam. The Hashimoto’s diagnosis came this spring, so it’s been a journey as to how to reconfigure my diet to accommodate what I can’t eat now.
I don’t wash my face much because I have really dry skin, which is also connected to my thyroid problem. I felt lucky as a kid that I never really got breakouts. Now I splash my face with water and put oil on it. I use Meow Meow oil. When it comes to “makeup,” I like to dye my eyelashes, so I don’t need to put mascara on them — and that’s it. We get a lot of our products from Package Free, which just opened down the street. The founder’s whole movement is about waste-free living. It’s brilliant. You go in with jars and fill them with the products you need — no packaging.
I’m still working on getting other products out of the house. Penn has a lot of products right now because he’s working again, so suddenly my bathroom cabinet is fuller than I ever remember it being. Kerastase shampoo is my one thing. When I saw the difference between that and the eight-dollar natural health store shampoo that’s like, lavender and geranium, which dries my hair out and smells okay, I was suddenly like, you know what? I have to do it. Because it’s so good!
My hair and makeup routine changes when I’m writing and recording music. Because I write at home or with friends in their spaces, I don’t care as much about how I look — I just wake up and go. (All the same self-care happens, though, to start my day.) I write better at night, so when I meet people during the day, it’s usually to review and rehearse songs I’ve already worked through myself.
When it comes to getting dressed, if the thing wears me, I kind of shut down. It’s how I feel when I put lipstick on or wear a turtleneck: inauthentic. I need a certain amount of freedom when I dress. I have a ton of clothes and I’ve never worn them — all these hand-me-downs from my sisters and my mom, but I like wearing old T-shirts. I have to feel like I can have a very busy day in my outfit, like I can move through the day easily in what I’m wearing. I usually wear kind of dumpy, comfy clothes if I’m going to work from Carriage House. If I go to a birth it’s sweat pants; I’ve got to be ready to be up all night at least.
I definitely try to make a little bit more of an effort as I’ve gotten older. My grandmother’s voice has definitely seeped into my brain in recent years. She was very done up all the time, and my mom is sort of like her but a little bit more rebellious. When I was younger, I used to think I needed to be in a certain shape and then the outfits would just be secondary. I figured I’d be in such great shape it wouldn’t matter what I was wearing. Now it’s the other way around. The outfit has to feel like me, always, and then it doesn’t matter if I haven’t worked out in a week, you know?
Domino Kirke is a songwriter, mother and the co-founder of Carriage House Birth, one of the most prominent doula collectives in the United States. She released her debut record, Beyond Waves, on August 25th, which can be found on Spotify and iTunes, plus on her website: dominokirkemusic.com. She currently lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.