On Wednesday night, I made myself a cozy seat in front of the computer and sat down with a glass of red to join the Leading Moms Twitter party. Going into it, I thought I’d connect with some mamas and have a fun chat session, but the very first question got me reflecting on what this all means. The question:
Twitter parties always seems to speed by and there isn’t much time to think too deeply before tweeting my answer. After that hour passed, I started to think about that first question. It made me realize that I whizzed through the first 30 years of my life, doing what was expected of me, in other words, what my parents wanted me to accomplish. Granted, things like finishing university, getting a good job and having a family aren’t bad things, but I just never prioritized my own personal goals. I never felt it was something could do.
It was always ‘you should be pursuing this kind of career” or “when will you get married and have kids?”
Their wants for me were from a good place. My mom came to a small town in Canada in her 20’s, with nothing but her family. My dad arrived a year later with a few thousand dollars in his pocket, half of which was used in a small wedding ceremony with my mom. They lived with my grandma while they worked their butts off in restaurant jobs and saved up enough to buy their first house shortly after. Being the cautious couple that they are, they paid off 90% of their house before even considering having children. I was born 4 years into their marriage, and my brother was born 5 years after that.
Things that I wish I could have changed
The expectation was that I would find a white collar position when I graduated from university. Like most students, I struggled to find something I was interested in that was something that I could build a career on. I settled on English and Communication due to my love of writing. I contemplated between journalism and teaching English/ESL but did not end up choosing either of those because journalism “was hard to get into” and teaching wasn’t what I truly wanted. I chose an administrative position simply because it was safe. (Thinking back, I don’t even remember what my job title was because over the years, it has become so meaningless to me.) I am grateful I had the opportunity to experience a position my parents wanted but I knew that the office life was not for me. I continued on for the sake of making my parents happy but this eventually took a toll on all of us.
My relationship with food became disordered. I was making poor decisions and actively seeking out more.
I started to struggle about 5 months into this position. I did not recognize my own frustrations at this point but it was clear I was lost. My relationship with food became disordered. I found comfort in hanging out with people that weren’t supportive. I was making poor decisions and actively seeking out more. My parents lost their trust in me and our relationship dwindled into almost nothing. My only saviour was including movement in my life. It made me feel good. On a whim, I took a weekend course on Fitness Theory and loved it. But I did not know how to explain it to my parents. How can I tell them that the degree that I assured them would land me a great career is now meaningless to me? How do I face the two people who worked their butts off so their children could have a better life?
I work I quit my administration job after 9 months (which my parents were very unhappy about) and started working at Just Ladies Fitness…in reception, another administrative role. It wasn’t ideal but it was all I could get until I got more education under my belt. My parents kept asking what my plan was with this change but I had no definitive answers for them. Though I had a cloudy idea of where I wanted to be, I wasn’t sure if I was brave enough to peel away from the ‘dream life’ my parents wanted for me.
I did it.
The first time I had ever seen my mom cry was the day I told her I wanted to go back to school to study kinesiology. It was one of the most difficult things I had to do because I knew it would disappoint her. She said she did not know what was going on but she would support whatever made me happy. So at 23 and a half, I went back to sitting in lecture halls full of fresh high school grads.
This was the first time I was brave enough to be true to who I was.
I wish I had someone to turn to during this delicate time of discovering who I was and the grief I felt when I unintentionally hurt people I loved. I wanted someone tell me that it was okay to be me even if it meant disappointing others along the way. I had to be okay with it if I wanted my life to change.
What Leading Moms Means to Me
My answer to the Twitter Party question above was: “I realized I had goals.”
Motherhood has made me be proud of my passions – I don’t like using that word but it seems to fit well here. It made me realize I have goals and that I shouldn’t feel bad about chasing them. Being a mama made me brave.
I started blogging when Kaitlyn was 7 months old. My goal was to blog about the bootcamps I led while on maternity leave but it turned into so much more. Nine years later, this platform has uninhibitedly allowed me to release my thoughts and wonders. And it feels so good.
And that’s what Leading Moms is all about. This year’s theme is CHANGE. The speakers will leave you inspired to make that change you’ve been thinking about and empowered to balance those goals with all of life’s curveballs. There will be engaging talks about handling change and don’t forget about the extraordinary performances! The laughter and support shared between a room full of mamas will be amazing. Looking forward to more fuzzy feelings October 27, 2017. Click here to get your ticket. Use code ‘LMRegLok’ for 10% off and also receive $20 Tsawwassen Mills Gift Card with your ticket purchase.
The speaker line up for this year includes:
Keynote: Andrew Reimer – City of Vancouver Councillor
Keynote: Lotte Davice – CEO and Founder of One Girl Can Society
Ginalina: Storyteller, singer, songwriter, producer and educator
Dr. Laura Boyd: Neuroscientist and UBC Professor
Emelia Symington Fedy: Theatre creator, storyteller, radio producer and writer
Shauna Elton and Artists: Contemporary Dance Performance
Dr. Deborah Bell: Psychologist and Founder, Sand Story Psychology Services
Tess Sloane: Director of Talent at Earls Resstaurants and Co-Founder Talent Lab
Have you attended Leading Moms event in the past? What was your take away from it?
Hope to see you there this year!