When I was little I knew I wanted to be a Mom. Really it was the only part of my life where I knew exactly what I was meant to do… unlike the million different career avenues I thought I’d pursue. I was that little girl that played with dolls for far too long and was obsessed with babysitting anyone’s kids that would let me. I’d always play the role of the mama when playing “house” as a kid because taking care of and teaching others is something I’ve always been passionate about. It really is at the core of who I am.
Fast forward to finding out I was pregnant at 20 years old while in the middle of my University education and in a fairly fresh relationship. Reading it on paper sort of sounds like a recipe for disaster, am I right? When we first told people the reactions were that of shock and doubt along with a few genuinely happy people. Was it weird that I was on top of the world and knew I’d be ok?
We heard everything from, “Are you going to keep it?” to “Well that relationship won’t last…”
Yes, people actually said this stuff out loud. Was I missing something? While I genuinely appreciated all of the love and concern, I knew I’d be successful. Sure having a family young with not much figured out sounds like most people’s version of a nightmare but for me, it was my fate. I am a firm believer in destiny, fate and building your own legacy. I am a believer that if you are undeniably passionate about something, you will make it work.
I’ve spent the past 10 years being the best Mom (this time in real life) that I could possibly be. I made sure I read all of the books on pregnancy, birth and childcare. I worked in childcare centres in the infant and toddler rooms before starting my own home daycare with my two boys in tow. I was committed to giving their early years everything I could and to not miss a thing. You can’t take back time and let me tell you, those first four years flew by faster than you could ever imagine.
Our boys are now 8 and 10 and I’m still brainstorming how I can be present more. How can I create magical memories for these two incredible little men? How can I be the best role model? What tools can I give them so their future is successful? I’m sure every parent thinks about this stuff but there truly is a difference between thinking and doing. Dreaming and creating a plan are two different things but more on that later.
When I look back on my own childhood I think of fishing trips, sleepovers, family trips, bike rides and fort building. It was full of laughter, strong friendships and opportunity. I was blessed with parents that worked incredibly hard to give both my sister and I everything we could have ever wanted. I watched my mom’s career skyrocket as she consistently worked hard and took every opportunity she could along the way. That’s sort of hard to top isn’t it? Every parent wants better for their kids than they had themselves. My parents set the bar pretty freakin’ high. Well instead of topping them, I thought to myself what do I value so that I can give the best pieces of my childhood to them?
I value rich experiences as a family. We don’t need more things. Things become clutter that’s often gifted or stored away. My children don’t remember what they got so many Christmases ago but they sure do remember cliff jumping in Mexico or trying their hand at surfing. I will never forget the screams of excitement heard through a snorkel as our children swam next to fish for the first time. Their world opens up with experiences and my heart as a mom explodes with gratitude. Is this real life? Is creating these magical memories for the children sustainable? Will they be let down if we can’t for some reason continue to do this? I needed to turn the doubt and fear off and plan so that it doesn’t need to stop. I need to remember to live in the now. Soak it all in because I remember how fast those first 4 years went and I can only imagine how quickly the next 4 will go.
I value education. I will always spend money on learning whether it’s for my boys or for myself. Self improvement is priceless. I always tell my kids that if you are a strong reader than you will be able to learn just about anything you want. Enrolling them in Kumon is an investment in their future, their confidence and another way to make new friendships along the way. Paying for books, workshops and classes will always be a priority. As they grow so do their interests and their ideas for self improvement. Our boys are big dreamers and I try to remind them that if you really want something, it is possible with a plan and consistent daily steps to get there.
I value time. Since becoming a mom I feel like the speed of time just accelerates each passing year. I used to be a people pleaser but with that means saying, “yes” to things that really should have been a definite “no”. I hated the idea of letting people down both in my personal life and business. Luckily that was rather short lived because every time I said “yes” to another job or something I didn’t really want to do, it was taking away from my family and that precious time with my boys. Family will always – repeat always – be my number one priority. If saying “yes” to something doesn’t fall in line with my plan or my values than unfortunately the answer is just no. It’s ok to say no my friends! It’s actually quite freeing. Say no to the crazy requests, to the projects off-brand or the nuts client. Say no to going out if you truly don’t feel like it. It’s fine to want to stay in for a movie night looking like you haven’t showered in days. Sometimes those days are the most relaxing and what your heart just needs in that moment of time. On the other hand, I will always make time for family and friends that I hold dear to my heart. After all, these relationships are what make life so great!
I don’t think I’ve ever shared my truth about being a young mom or the fears I have as I continue to try my best at raising these boys. When my boys look back on their childhood, I want them to remember how hard I worked for them to have these wonderful experiences so early in life. I want them to look back on the photographs I took and feel nostalgic about the amazing memories we made together. Nobody’s life is perfect but for the sake of getting to know each other just a little bit better, I thought I’d share some true vulnerability with you today. If you made it this far along, thank you. Thank you for being a part of my life and this journey we are on.