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.
We’ve all heard the expression of “wearing many hats”.
As a parent, our “hats” grow exponentially – teacher, disciplinarian, many meal maker, friend, therapist, taxi driver, launderer, the OMG It’s Lost Forever Finder Hat 😉 etc.
In order to take on all these new “hats” we often have to hang up some old ones. Sometimes it’s our Career hat. Sometimes it’s hobbies. Like, did you know I have my motorcycle licence? Probably not because I hung up my helmet once the babies came. Sometimes parents manage to juggle all the “hats” they had before – I’m not sure how they magically do that but that’s pretty amazing.
My kids are getting old enough now that a few of the “Mom Hats” don’t come out as often. It has me eyeing a few of the ones I hung up and thinking to myself that perhaps, I could take them off the hangers soon. I could maybe even try on some new ones and see what fits. It’s both freeing and daunting. Like, they won’t need me as much soon. And eventually not at all. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not in mom mode ALL the time, but I always know if I’m not there someone else is taking care of them. There will be a point where they will be their own people completely, and in turn, well, so will I.
I might need to start looking at Kijiji and get myself some wheels. 😉
Did you hang up any of your “hats” when you became a parent?
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.
If your kids are like mine and just want to be free outside all day then the brand new KIDZSTOCK Children’s Festival at Putting Horse Ranch is for you!
Putting Horse Ranch is hosting their first annual KIDZSTOCK Children’s Festival on June 1st and 2nd.
Families can start the day with a free pancake breakfast, then lay out a blanket on the grass and take in a full day of family friendly entertainment at the KIDZSTOCK stage!
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.
Some might not put the disgusting childhood illness known as hand foot and mouth disease and mini vacation in the same sentence, but here I am. We live somewhere in between being minimalist and slow living, yet a busy season of life really picked up this past year and I feel like from the beginning of school to now has gone by in a flash. We are busier than we have been over the past year and trying to take things slow has gotten so much harder, not just with the extra activities, but feeling the outside “do it all” pressure from the outside world creeping in as well.
I do often get caught up in the mundaneness of the stay at home mom life. The kids play with the same toys each day, the schedule doesn’t vary too much except for adding random outings here and there in between appointments and preschool, and I find myself checking my Facebook News feed to have nothing change every hour (or 5 times an hour) which is more often than I’d like.