From age 9-16 I was a competitive swimmer for a small summer swim team in Jasper National Park ; the Jasper Red Fins. We were small but mighty and we called ourselves “RED HOT!” WE were very proud. I didn’t actually learn to swim until age 9 but my parents focused on it so much that within months, I had completed all the levels and joined the swim team. Swimming became my life. I wasn’t the fastest swimmer but my technique was good and I loved it! I enjoyed early morning practices and I would even go to the pool to “swim laps” on my own regularly. Our pool had a Kilometer Club and where the goal was to swim 100km in the specified time frame and we got prizes at different milestones. When I say swimming was my life, I’m not exaggerating!
After age 16, I started coaching the swim team. First I was an assistant coach then a year or so later, I was the head coach. The team was mine! I was a “take no crap” kind of coach. I was a 6am practice kind of coach. I was a “no junk food or unhealthy food the week before a competition” kind of coach. Like I said, swimming was my life. I did this until about age 21 when I stopped spending the summers in Jasper.
WAHM/D, SAHM/D, Work out of the home or other? WAHM
# of Kids? Ages? 2 Kids: I have two kids; Manessa (6 years) and Malik (3 years)
What movie makes you cry? My Sister’s Keeper. It just hit close to home. When it came out, I was struggling with some health issues. Most often, I tear up in movies that have to do with Parents and their children.
Tell us about a mom/dad who inspires you?
My own parents for sure! My parents made a very tough decision to leave home; Egypt; to seek a better future for themselves and their children. They learned the language, worked 7 days a week, built their life together one brick at a time. They were typical immigrants working for the dream. They raised my sister and I here in this amazing country trying to balance an Eastern culture and Faith in the Western world. They taught us to be proud of who we are, and to remain rooted. They taught us to work hard, be honest and to do what you can in life then leave the rest up to God.
How did I not know this little piece of camping paradise existed right in our own backyard?
The Mamas were very lucky recently. Arrkann RV set us up with some sweet trailers for Glamping right in Edmonton. You can read all about our take on the trailers here – but I digress.
Rainbow Valley Campground boasts 39 15 amp powered sites + 29 natural sites;
And a massive green space WITH a playground.
Each month, we play 10 questions with one of Alberta’s most interesting mamas. This month we hear from maternal support practitioner Sarah Wallace. Sarah is a mama to four kids between the ages of three and eight, and since battling postpartum depression, has become passionate about helping other moms navigate the fourth trimester. Currently, she serves the areas of Edmonton, Leduc, and surrounding communities. Connect with Sarah on instagram @sarahwallacedoula, or by visiting her website sarahwallacedoula.com
1. You’ve been very open about your own struggles with postpartum depression. What made you decide to share this experience with others?
When I was first going through postpartum depression, I felt so much shame about it. I didn’t actually realize that I had postpartum depression and just thought I was failing at being a mom. Hearing other’s stories led me to make an appointment where I got diagnosed and that was a game changer for me. I wasn’t failing as a mom – I just needed some help! I share my story in hopes that another parent who is suffering will see that they are not alone and will reach out for help. I also share it because I want to take some of that stigma away so that those struggling don’t feel so much shame for needing some help.
2. Why were you inspired to offer both birth doula support and postpartum doula support?
I have been supporting families for a long time now. Through my work with Momstown as well as my own personal experience, I saw how a positive postpartum experience can really set a family up to succeed. After I had my 2nd and 3rd sons, I found myself floundering and struggling through because I didn’t know how to ask for help and my support network wasn’t always able to help when I did. I knew that I wanted to help families get through the hard bits in the postpartum so that they could feel more confident. I love birth work and seeing folks birth their babies into this world, but there is something special about the relief a new parent feels when you come in and ease some of their burdens for a few hours.
It’s the words no parent wants to hear.
“Mom I am in the talent show!”
I mean I guess if you have a child prodigy that can sing and dance like Michael Jackson or play the piano like Beethoven or crush through wood planks like Chuck Norris – awesome. The talent show is for your child. But these words scared me. My kid isn’t talented.
And before you get all Sesame Street on me telling me every child has their own talents blah blah blah -hear me out. I know my kid is talented just not in a “I will be the next America’s Got Talent star” kind of way. And I remember how mean kids can be.
And then he drops this bomb on us…
It’s an original song. About Bulbasaur the least appreciated Pokemon.
In the summer of 2000, my boyfriend at the time, now my husband and I were living together and I convinced him (begrudgingly) to get a puppy. I had been on the Humane Societies website and saw that they had four American Eskimo puppies. I fell absolutely in love with a photo of one, then named Indy. I went to meet him all by myself. He was the runt of the litter. All ears and we named him Buddy.
By Victoria Smith
Stress is on the rise, particularly with women. But, I don’t need to tell you that, do I? Intuitively, we feel overwhelmed. From acting as a perpetual chauffeur to coordinating play dates, or from healthy meal planning to juggling sick days and attempting to work from home, motherhood is stressful. Here’s the deal, though, it can be less stressful when you have the right tools, strategies and mindset in place.
Before we get into five strategies that you can implement immediately, we need to start with mindset. If you think your day is going to be stressful, it will, because that’s how you’ve primed your brain. You’ve given it the signal to find evidence of stress wherever you look. To counter this, what I want you to do is start every day by setting an intention. Believe me, I know that if you wake with the kids, it can be hard to find a moment for that, so a fall back can be to write out your intention and set it next to your alarm clock. What should that intention be? I put it back to you – how would you like your day to go? For example, my daily intention is to show up as an engaged parent, wife and friend, and a Rockstar entrepreneur. Yours could be to a search for gratitude. Or to be mindful. The intention is personal to your needs and desires, but set one and start each day reminding yourself of it. Only then will the following strategies take real effect.
1. Stop comparing yourself to other moms
It is so easy to get into a shame-spiral of how you are performing as a mother when your friends or Insta-community are throwing Pinterest-perfect parties for a two year-old. Or maybe you pick
up your child from daycare only to find out that they’ve bitten another child – of course it would be the most well-behaved child of the seemingly put together momma. We are all on our own motherhood journeys. We all have our own past, our own challenges, and our own beliefs to grapple with. Just because you do things differently doesn’t mean you’re doing them worse. First step if you find yourself in this comparison black hole? Take a social media break. If the comparison is coming from in-person interactions, before each encounter remind yourself that you are doing the best with what you have, and your kids are well-loved. Because at the end of the day, your child won’t care about the perfect party or baked goods or that they were potty trained a year before all the other kids. They’ll remember time spent one-on-one with you, the cuddles and bedtime stories. Presence and love matter most.
Each month, we play 10 questions with one of the Alberta’s most interesting mamas. This month we hear from Dr. Stephanie Liu who completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary and subsequently completed a Masters of Science in Clinical Nutrition at Columbia University in New York City. Her medical school and residency in Family Medicine were completed at the University of Alberta. Currently, she practices community family medicine and acute care at the University of Alberta Hospital.
Five months ago, she started Lifeofdrmom.com, a website providing families with medically credible parenting and health advice. Dr. Liu is wife to Graeme, an ENT surgeon and mommy to Madi, her sweet and spunky toddler.
1. What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job at the University of Alberta Hospital?
I practice inpatient family medicine at the University of Alberta Hospital and have a community family medicine practice in south west Edmonton. I love both inpatient and community medicine and find them both very rewarding for different reasons. In my community family practice, I am fortunate to develop a long term relationship with my patients over months and years. The physician-patient relationship is so important to ensure that patients can meet their long term health related goals. In inpatient family medicine, it is extremely rewarding to help a patient return home to their friends and family after a critical illness. In both settings, I work with an amazing interdisciplinary team of healthcare professionals
Is traveling with a baby hard?
If you’re a new parent, thinking about traveling with a newborn or infant is probably the furthest thing from your mind. Many new parents assume their days of travel will be put on hold when the baby arrives. Obviously, there are many reasons for this, with the major ones being the amount of care and attention a baby needs! Any parent can attest that the sleepless nights, endless diapers and mammoth amount of gear that a baby requires are enough to make taking a holiday to seem like an unattainable dream.
Of course, there are many other reasons why new parents will put travel on hold, and not everyone is in the position to take their baby and fly off to an exotic destination! But for those of you who believe that taking a baby on a trip is too hard, there is hope!
If you are thinking about going on a vacation with your baby, you are likely wondering what the easiest age to travel is. After all, babies change so quickly! Every day, week and month bring many developmental milestones, so to pinpoint the perfect time to travel can make your trip much more relaxed!
So, what is the best age to travel with an infant?
This is not an easy post for me to write, but in light of recent events, I feel compelled to share a part of my story and some of my coping mechanisms…. So here goes. I’ve been described by some people, as a person who has a lot on her plate. They’re not wrong, it is a lot to juggle.Taking care of two young boys, caring for a mother who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and early onset dementia,managing the household and having 2 bigger dogs to contend with, holding down a job ( or sometimes 2 jobs) and having a husband that works in and out of town does have me mentally and physically exhausted at times. My emotions get the best of me.