This is a new category on my blog that I hope will become recurring content. I wanted to make my blog about more than just my own thoughts so I decided to start a “Moms Only” interview section. I hope that these interviews allow us to find the common threads that bind us together instead of those that pull us apart. We are more alike than we are different. If I can highlight this through interviews with moms that inspire me, maybe I can help to bridge the gaps that so often hinder progress. Most of these women are average moms made extraordinary because of what they do day-in and day-out.
I decided to kick this off by interviewing the mom that inspires me most - my own mother. She has taught me so may things; everything from how to write the perfect reminder post-it note to the importance of being of service to others. She has always been there to support me and has seen me through the highest highs and the lowest lows. This woman has guided me to be the mother I am today. Everything my children are is a direct reflection of who I am which, in turn, is a direct reflection of her. Note - the following interview is not verbatim. I had to do a lot of digging and ask a number of follow up questions to get the answers you see below.
Tell me a quote that speaks to your heart.
Always treat others as you wish to be treated yourself.
How many kids do you have?
What is your job?
I am an Educational Assistant. I work in a classroom, assisting children who have special needs. It is my role to work in conjunction with a team of individuals to provide programming to children who need specialized tools, extra guidance, and support in a variety of different areas of development. It was a natural progression for me to become an Educational Assistant as I was formerly a teacher but took many years off to be a stay at home mom and raise my own children.
How old are your children and give me a brief description of who they are and what their personalities are like.
My first child is 31 years old. She is determined and exceptionally smart. When she sets her mind to something she is bound to accomplish it. She is a planner and likes to have a schedule for everything on her to-do list. She loves to travel, trains for marathons and half marathons, and loves her niece and nephew. Sometimes she likes to put up a strong facade but, in reality, she is emotional and soft.
My second child is 30 years old. She is a wonderful mother to my two grandchildren. She is a nurturer by nature and loves being with her family above all. She is fiercely independent, leaving our home before her older sister, moving across the country, and blazing a path for herself in her own special way. She is motivated and determined, which are characteristics that helped her excel in sports, in school, and in life now.
What are you passionate about?
I love working with children. It brings me great joy to see them grow and develop. I have always found myself gravitating towards jobs that involved shaping the lives of kids. There is something so rewarding about being part of something bigger than yourself and about finding success through the success of others.
What is your biggest fear as a mom?
That my children will get hurt or are not safe. I think that all moms worry about this but I think this fear is magnified when you become an empty-nester. When your children are young and living in your house, you are able to tuck them in at night and know that you have done everything in your power to keep them safe. You set the doctors appointments and the dentist appointments and you decide when an illness becomes something that requires more care. But, once your children leave, you have no control over what will be. Could they be driving tired and accidentally make a mistake behind the wheel? Could they be sick in bed with a fever they can’t break? Could they be in a dangerous situation and not even know it? All of these thoughts cross your mind but there isn’t much you can do about it. I am thankful for new technology which has helped keep me connected and ease some of these fears.
What is your greatest success as a mom?
Seeing them as successful adults and doing jobs that they enjoy. When you have older children you aren’t as worried about the details of their lives. The simple fact that both my children are successful and most importantly happy is truly my greatest success.
Tell me about your most memorable mom fail.
Letting my baby roll off the bed. I can remember my husband coming home and trying to ask him about it without telling him what actually happened. I said something to the effect of “do you think it would be okay if a baby fell from a meter high?”. Of course, he caught on quickly and thankfully no long term damage was done. Back then, you couldn’t just pull out your phone and google what to do which is probably both a blessing and a downfall of the time.
Now tell me about your most memorable mom win.
Raising two thoughtful, intelligent, and independent women. Toilet training was pretty good too.
What was labour and delivery like for you?
The first was long, slow, and steady. The second was long, then induced, then fast and furious. Getting an epidural was highly frowned upon so I had both my kids naturally. There was nothing more painful than labour. When my daughter was in labour I watched her get an epidural and saw the relief that it brought. If I could go back, I would ask for the damn epidural.
What has been your favourite stage/age of parenting thus far?
My favourite stage is now. The hard part is over and I get to enjoy my grandkids. Of course, I still worry about my kids but not in the same way you do when they are finding their own way as toddlers, kids, teens, and young adults. I know that everything within my children’s control is taken care of so I don’t have to stress about those details. Instead, I get to have fun with my grandkids. I get to assist and sometimes laugh as I watch my own daughter figure out the finer details of motherhood. While she worries and stresses I get to play and spoil!
What do you believe is the biggest misconception about motherhood?
The biggest misconception is that you have to have it all and do it all. Moms put so much pressure on themselves to do too much. I was no exception. In the end, none of that matters. All of the gear and all of the “extras” will never be more important than the memories and the time you spend with your children.
If you could change one thing about the way you parent what would it be?
I wish I could have stressed less about the little things. When my kids were younger I was worried about meeting milestones and making sure they were hitting certain goals on time or ahead of the curve. In the end, that doesn’t matter because it all comes with time, everyone catches up, and eventually, it all equals out. I would have much rather spent my energy enjoying the time I had with them as children because it went by faster than I’d like to admit.
What would you consider to be your approach to parenting?
I was a hands-on mom. I was involved in everything and still am. I wanted to make sure that they found success in whatever they did. Maybe sometimes to a detriment. I can remember asking my daughter if she wanted me to call her to make sure she woke up for a final exam at University. She lived in Ontario and I lived in BC. Her exam was at 9:00am and she planned on waking up at 7:30am which meant I would have had to call her at 4:30am Vancouver time. Crazy, but if she said yes, I would have done it.
Share with me your greatest piece of advice that you would give to new moms.
Don’t worry. There is always tomorrow. It’s going to be all right. I think new moms overstress in the early stages of their children’s lives probably because not knowing when a phase will end makes it seem like it may continue forever. But whether it’s having potty training accidents, waking in the middle of the night, or refusing to eat, the little issues always come to a close and then one day you will be facing bigger worries like passing driving tests, overcoming their first failures, or navigating new relationships. In the end, you will wish you could go back to those early stresses and tell yourself to soak it in instead of wishing for the end.