I am so excited about this series. I have rounded up some awe-inspiring mindful mama's who allowed me to interview them in an effort to dissect mindful parenting and how it flows and grows in their lives. I am reinventing #MCM with Mom Crush Mondays.
In speaking with these women I found myself having those "ah-ha, yup, me too" moments and these "yes, oh my goodness, that's it!" moments while furiously writing or typing what they were saying in a hope to not miss a single word. I laughed, cried and learned alongside these women through their stories and it really hit home for me. It felt welcoming, warm, loving and authentic. Mom to mom, talking about the best and worst of times.
While this blog is intended to open up a platform for a community of support, understanding and inspiration for each other (mindful parent to mindful parent), it ended up teaching me so much about the real value of women sharing with other women. The power in connecting, growing, learning and loving, alongside other women and showing each other not only support but gratitude and appreciation. That is when we begin to use our real power in a way that creates change.
In this round we meet 6 Mindful Mama's, all of which have played different but instrumental roles in my life by being distant or personal teachers, mentors and leaders of mine. We explored the snuggles and the struggles (as one mama so perfectly put it) and I really hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
*At the end of the series, I will post all 6 of the full length interviews for anyone interested in really dissecting mindful parenting from a few of the "professionals"!
Today's Mama: Hope Paterson
Hope is a well-known business woman and lover of all things food. She is the hard working, goal setting, community building, positivity radiating super mindful mama warrior of Toronto. I say that because if I meet someone in Toronto, they usually know Hope. With two magical children and a wonderful husband, Hope defines strength, determination and passion in everything she does. Hope 'pulled the ejector' from a traditional job three years ago. She now spends her time pursuing passion projects such as coaching small business owners and being a private chef.
A self-proclaimed multi-tasking queen, Hope thrives in being busy. She has found her groove in allowing her partnership with her husband and her role as a parent to ground and nourish her to be her best self in all her roles.
Hope has two children. Sophia, (8) is her empathetic soldier. Seemingly made of pure love and compassion, she is the first to feel the pain and suffering of others and she feels it deeply. For the first 5 years of Sophia's life she suffered under the crippling effect of having an empathy switch on full-blast. It took a while for the family to figure out the source of Sophia's pain, but they did so together. Now Sophia is picking up simple tools to cultivate the strength of her compassion and finds solace in creating art, spotting flowers or connecting with animals.
Alfie, (5) is sensitive to the core with a passion for comedy. While Alfie is often game for anything and will call it exactly how he sees it, Alfie is a lover of understanding how things work. While he is known to react in a way similar to a tornado, he is eagerly working alongside his sister to learn new ways to calm himself and reflect on the root cause of his big feelings. In his free time Alfie is learning the in's and out's of comic timing and easing into new situations with a good joke.
When I asked Hope what her proudest parenting win to date was, she explained the relationship that her children have with each other, and it was beautiful. She feels strongly that having close siblings gives her children a life-long support system, and I think an emphasis on sibling love and connection is something we can all benefit from adding to our 'parenting notebooks'.
The parts about Hope that really resonated with me was her answer to the questions around learning. I asked each mom what their greatest lesson from their kids was, and what their greatest lesson to their kids might be.
When talking about these lessons I could really sense the value in what she had learned from her kids. By being both teacher and student, Hope was able to see that in learning and teaching, she was always learning about herself and her kids, simultaneously. The two were intertwined.
Her greatest lesson from her kids was so simple, yet monumental to living happily. They had taught her how to embrace Hope. In "gently nudging" her kids to own their characters and dive into their personalities and interests, she learned about herself too. Her children, Sophia and Alfie, have an ability to tease her back to her "kidspace", which she finds both refreshing and essential. In the words of Hope, "They toggle my imagination, jostle my creativity and push me to say YES to more adventures."
The greatest lesson she and her husband want to teach their children comes in a perfectly placed 10 point list. The list was made by both of them about the life values they would have liked to have channelled earlier in their lives. Some of the list highlights:
-the power of inner voice when harnessing your gut feeling
-following a vision
-respecting and understanding the meaning of real beauty
Essentially they were looking to ask ALL of the questions and explore them together with their children as a unit. Their goal is to provoke thought and purposefulness and meaning in all that they do. They emphasized the value of carving your own path, for you and by you, while all the time owning your own character. Simple, yet so engaging for all members of their little family.
This value list struck me. Hope is onto something here. It made me think about what these core values meant to me and what they might mean to my partner (Shane). How our core values might be different or the same? How am I modelling them? Practicing them? Parenting is a big job, with big shoes to fill. Parenting with another person, with their own hopes, dreams and desires is another set of shoes. Finding balance, is everything.
I know I plan to open up this conversation with Shane and I put it out to my valuable readers -If you can, try to have this conversation with your partner. If you already have, maybe try spending some time reflecting on how you have been doing so far. It is in these short moments that we can really impact our parenting and make it a much deeper and more meaningful experience. Intentional parenting allows everyone to focus on what matters, rather than highlighting what might not be going so well.
With that being said, I will leave you with Hope's words of wisdom...
If I could tell my pre-parent self one thing it would be: "Relax. Be kind to yourself as a parent. You will have so much more to give your kids".
You can see more of Hope and her beautiful family in this fun photo story they made from the year that Hope "pulled the ejector". A great way to tell the story of your year and send a link to family and friends, rather than multiple individual pics!