This Stage of Life - It’s Hard

This was sent to me, author unknown. If you happen to know who wrote it, please let me know so I can do the proper attribution/ credit. Otherwise, worth the read and so spot on for me, and so many in my community of Mamas.

"This stage of life. It’s hard, you guys.

I’m talking right now to you moms who are in your late 20's to mid 30’s. You have kids. Likely two, three, maybe four of them. They probably range in age from newborns to 7 or 8 year-olds. (Give or take a few, on all of the above mentioned stats).

In this stage of life, you are dealing with exhaustion. Mental, physical, and emotional.

In this stage of life, you are dealing with teething. With ear infections. With stomach viruses. You are juggling nap schedules, and feeding schedules and soccer, dance, or cheer schedules. A million balls you are juggling, and you probably feel like you are dropping most of them.

In this stage of life, you are dealing with guilt. Guilt over having a career, and not spending enough time with your kids, or guilt over staying home with your kids, and not doing enough to contribute financially. Guilt over being too harsh with your kids. Too lenient. Guilt that your house is clean, but your kids were ignored, or guilt that you enjoyed your children all day, and now your husband is coming home to filth. Guilt.

In this stage of life, you are bombarded daily with a whole host of decisions. Some of them life-changing, some of them not. None of them with clear cut answers. Do I vaccinate my kids? Do I not? Do I send them to public school? Homeschool? Charter school? Do I continue to breastfeed? Do I blow the budget so that I can buy all organic? Do I force my child to apologize, even though the apology will be insincere? You don’t know the answers to ANYTHING, but you feel constant pressure to figure out EVERYTHING.

This stage of life is less and less about watching your friends get married and have babies, and more and more about standing by and witnessing your friends struggle in their marriage, and even get divorced. It’s a stage where you’ve got to put in the time and the effort and the work and the energy to make sure your OWN marriage stays healthy. And that’s good, but it’s hard, too. At this point, you or someone you know has experienced infertility. Miscarriages. Loss of a child.

It’s a stage where you are buying houses, selling houses, remodeling houses, packing up houses. And then you do it all again a few years later.

It’s a stage where your hormones are all out of whack. I mean, you’ve basically been pregnant, postpartum, or breastfeeding for the last ten years, right?

It’s a stage where you are struggling with identity. Is my entire identity “mommy”? Is there anything even left of me that isn’t about mothering? Is there something more glamorous I could have/should have done with my life? I LOOK like a mom now, don’t I? I totally do.

It’s a stage where you are on a constant quest for balance, and can never find it.

It’s a stage of life where you are overloaded. Constantly. You are overloaded with questions. Your children never stop asking them. You are overloaded with touch. Someone is constantly wanting to be held, holding on to you, hanging on to you, touching you. You are overloaded with to-do’s. There is so much to do. It never ends. You are overloaded with worry. You are overloaded with THINGS. Your kids have way too many toys. You are overloaded with activities. You are overloaded with THOUGHTS (thoughts about how to not be so overloaded, perhaps?).

It’s hard.

So….what do you need to do to survive it all?

You need to ask for help.

You need to accept help when it’s given.

You need to not neglect your marriage. You need to put your kids down for bed early. Sit outside on the back porch with your husband, drink a glass of wine, and have a conversation.

You need girlfriends.

You need your mom.

You need older friends, who have been there and done that. Who can reassure you that you AREN’T screwing it all up as badly as you think you are.

You need to not feel bad about using your kids nap time every now and again to just do whatever the heck you want.

You need to lower your expectations….then probably lower them again.

You need to simplify. Simplify every single part of your life, as much as it can be simplified.

You need to learn how to say “no”.

You need to practice contentment

You need to be ok leaving your kids overnight, and going away somewhere. Anywhere.

You need to do something you enjoy, every day, even if it’s for no more than 15 minutes.

You need to pray. Girl, you need to pray.

You need a coffee you love, a wine you love, and a bubble bath that you love.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, you need to remember that…..

….this stage of life is beautiful, too. Like, really really beautiful. This is the stage of life where every single older person you ever meet tells you, “you’re going to miss this”. And you already know it’s true. It’s the stage where your kids love you more than they are EVER going to love you again, for the whole rest of your life. It’s the stage where they can fit their entire selves into your lap to snuggle…and they want to. It’s the stage where their biggest problems ARE ear infections and teething and stomach viruses, and you’re not having to deal yet with things like broken hearts or addiction or bullying. It’s the stage where you are learning to love your spouse in an entirely different….harder…..better…. way. The stage where you are learning together, being stretched together, shedding your selfishness together, and TRULY being made into “one”. It’s the stage where you get to see Christmas, Halloween through your kids eyes, and it’s so much more fun and magical than it would be just through your own eyes. It’s the stage where you get to watch your parents be grandparents…and they’re really good at it. It’s the stage of life filled with field trips, class parties, costumes, swim lessons, bubble baths, dance parties, loose teeth, and first steps. And those things are so fun. It’s the stage where you are young enough to have fun, and old enough to have obtained at least SOME wisdom. It’s SUCH a great stage.

But, man it’s hard."

-author unknown

I Challenged Myself to 70 days of Self Care & This Is What I Learned

As a Life Coach to mamas, I’ve seen a lot of burnout, including my own.

When new clients come to me, one of the first things I ask them to do is to compare their energy level to a cell phone battery. Unsurprisingly, most mamas are functioning in the “red zone”, which is 20% and under. Many have been functioning on so little for so long that they almost don’t even notice. They’ve adapted to being tired, rundown, resentful, and exhausted most of the time, and I have too.

We care so much, and put enormous pressure on ourselves to succeed at the most important job in the world, while also juggling careers, friends, partners, and aging parents—not to mention the turbulent state of the world.

In the age of technology, we always know when our devices need recharging and make every effort not to let them get too low, yet we seldom do the same for ourselves.

It’s leading us down the road to burnout, and the strongest antidote is self care. My favourite definition of self care is simply: choices you make to take care of yourself. It means being your own nurturer.

Because of this trend towards burnout and martyrdom I’ve been witnessing, I wanted to dig deeper into the idea of self care. It often gets sold to us as manicures, spas, girls’ trips, wine and chocolate. Those things are great, but they’re only a few pieces of the puzzle. They are certainly not sustainable, nor a daily ritual for 99.9% of mamas out there. I think of self care as the consistent practice and a culmination of small steps made to reinvest in yourself.

And since as a Life Coach I don’t ask my clients to do things I haven’t done myself, I decided to put myself to the test.

So I committed myself to 70 consecutive days of self care, and I decided to use social media to keep me motivated and chart my progress. I would post what I did for myself, every day. If I didn’t my Instagram community would hold me accountable.

Why 70 days? My mom, Mimi, who was a self care guru, died last summer. I scheduled my challenge to begin just after the one-year anniversary of her death and end just before what would have been her 70th birthday. In this way, I would not only learn to care for myself better, but also honour my mom’s legacy.

My mom didn't find self care until later in life, when my brother and I had left the nest. She found it again even more poignantly after her cancer diagnosis. One of her big life lessons to me was not to wait: taking care of yourself can't wait. It means saying no, it means maintaining boundaries, it means letting go, it means moving, stretching, reflecting, and sitting in solitude while your battery charges.

I knew it would be hard work. I knew I’d have days I would want to hide and quit. However I was surprised by how many people contacted me that they were “following along” on my Instagram journey. It felt like not only a tribute to my mom, but to all the mamas in my community, cobbling together their own self care and reinvesting in themselves.

Here are my 7 lessons I learned, after dedicating time to ME, for 70 days straight:

Lesson 1: Alcohol + Food Does NOT Equal Self Care

I learned quite early in my 70 days that chocolate, wine, and chips were an easy “out”. I quickly took them off the list as a dedicated self care activity. I needed to push myself to get more creative. A glass of wine, connecting with girlfriends, or having a bath sure with a glass was fine; but wine in and of itself didn’t count. I found myself reaching for alcohol and food to fill a void, to deal with a hard emotion or to curb boredom. According to my personal definition, this wasn’t showing up as my own nurturer. There’s been so much interesting research around motherhood and alcohol, which I won’t recount here, but it gave me pause. Food (specifically treats) was also the same: fine to be enjoyed while doing self care, but not self care in and of themselves.

Lesson 2: Slivers of Time are Precious

One of the most surprising aspects of my challenge is that I committed to two rituals which I’ve resisted for many years. I’ve never been a journal writer, but I found the 5 Minute Journal. It’s something you fill out as soon as you wake up and before bed. I’ve been able to consistently journal, something I never thought possible. Similarly, I’ve learned about micro-meditations, which can be as simple as taking 3 deep breaths, observing the noises around you or feeling your feet on the ground. Simple, quick, effective ways to orient to the present moment, which can be done in the few precious minute between dropping kids off at school and starting my work day.

Lesson 3 : Being Humble Means Asking for Help

The only way this challenge was possible was for me to lean into my community. In laws, babysitters, community programs, my partner, the works. I scheduled one night a week (calendar invites from here until eternity) so that I knew once a week my partner was on duty. I needed to accept that I can’t do it all, nor is anyone actually asking me to, and accept help. That took a lot of just saying yes, and working out the details later.

Lesson 4 : Don’t Knock It Till You’ve Tried It

I tried a lot of things I really usually steer away from: kundalini yoga, a new form of therapy for me called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing), crystal meditations, head massages, and the list goes on. Some of them resonated, and some I probably won’t ever do again. But that’s the gift: trying something, expanding your horizons gives you more information into what does and does not fill your tank.

Lesson 5 : Every Day is New Year’s Day

One of my great friends taught me this when it comes to fitness: every day is a chance to start again. When a few days passed, especially being on vacation with my whole family, and self care fell by the wayside, instead of abandoning ship. I started again. I also learned the value of “rupture & repair” in my relationship with others and with myself. There’s always a chance to build resilience and strength when you make a mistake, by admitting it, apologizing and moving forward.

Lesson 6 : Simplify and Say No

During this challenge I realized just how often I say “yes” with a pit in my stomach or knowing I might renege or cancel. Instead I practiced saying no, and honouring that a simple, smaller life feels more in line with my current situation. As an extroverted introvert, I’ve also come to terms and made peace with enjoying my own company.

Lesson 7: Self Care is the New Normal

Now that I’ve gone down this path, I can’t go back. If I have a day where I haven’t been able to carve out any moment for myself, I feel old anger and resentment building. I find slivers of time to nurture myself by listening to loud music, stretching on my yoga mat, drinking a hot tea, or reading 2 pages of a book in peace. I am clear that this is an investment in my mental health and well-being. And that it is non-negotiable, everyday. The consistency of 70 days allowed me to flex and build the muscle to prioritize myself, over everyone and anyone else, and to actually feel zero guilt about it.  

At the end of the day, what I learned is that practicing self care is demonstrating to my twin daughters that I matter too. I will always be here for them, but I need to take my own space to be a happier, more fulfilled person so that I can be a happier, more fulfilled parent.

Giving everything at the expense of my own health and well-being is not the message nor the modelling I want to do for my children. We are raising the next generation of parents, after all.

I thank my mom Mimi for her legacy, for her tsunami of love that keeps rippling, and for giving me the guidance to set a self care example for my children, so that they learn to regulate, recharge and nurture themselves as they face the inevitable vicissitudes of life that come their way.

Check out my journey for some inspiration and ideas of how to practice self care in your life: daily, weekly or aspirationally:


Mothering Through Grief

I’ve been really struggling to put these words down, as the act itself feels so permanent. To really own that I am in grief, and have been for arguably three plus years, makes me want to turn away from my computer, turn on Netflix and get a massive glass of wine.

Her name was Mimi, she was my Mom and she was my Great Love. I lost her in July.

When I think about it, I have been in anticipatory grief since my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. I have been processing, thinking about, crying, reliving, memorializing and grieving since the day she received the news. It happened to be mere days after I announced my twin pregnancy.

And so began our intertwined journeys. While she lost her reproductive system, the one that had birthed me, I used mine to bring two beautiful girls into the world. The power of that connection certainly wasn’t lost on me.

As I began to process and go through my own stages of grief, I also had to show up and be present during the most intense times of mothering. Breastfeeding x2, sleep training x2, temper tantrums x2 and on it went.

Needless to say my babies, and now preschoolers, are incredibly sensitive little beings and can sense when things are amiss or shifting in their lives. So how does one show up for their kids, and mother, through grief? This has been on of the most challenging and yet profound parts of the journey for me so far.

These are the 3 things I know for sure: 

1.     Taking responsibility for the Emotional Tone

Parents, and lets face it MOMS, set the emotional tone for the house. And that doesn’t mean being Patty Perfect. It means being real. Naming my emotions and being honest about them really helped me move through the immensity of the feelings I had around my mom’s diagnosis and subsequent decline. My girls will often ask “you happy or sad?” I am totally down to name my sadness. And when they try to “help” via kissing and hugging, I always acknowledge “that helps me feel better”. That being said, kids also pick up on the vibes and it’s not surprising these are the times they most need my attention, when my battery is low and I’m not my best self. I have had to call in my village to assist with school pick up, to have play dates and to make sure I’m not stretched beyond my limits. I’ve acknowledged that when I’m in the midst of my own grief, this is a good time to be gentle around parenting practices. As my mom would say, “it’s time to employ good enough parenting” . For me this means being open to more TV time, to letting them explore parks while watching from a bench, and not needing to add the pressure of a perfect end of day meal to the mix. I figure the more I take care of my emotional self, the more I can show up for the girls as they navigate the rocky terrain of 3 year old emotions.

2.     Legacy lives on

I have been relying heavily on my mom’s wisdom (late next texts, old emails, her little mantras she created for our family). I have a little notebook I’ve used to collect these little reminders. It keeps me grounded to know that the legacy she leaves and the imprint she’s already had in the 3 short years she had in my daughter’s life. Phrases like “love is a verb” and “feelings are facts” will live on forever. No matter if someone’s physical presence ends, the impact they have on your kids is permanent. I also created an iBook called The Story of GranMimi which depicts her interactions with my twins since day one. It’s a story book we can read whenever they miss her, and whenever I need a reminder.

I recently realized that there is never enough time. Whether I got five minutes or fifty years with my mom, I would always feel cheated out of time. I also celebrate the fact that I got the time I did, and quality time it was.


3.     Kids grieve in puddles (and so do adults)

As I write this, my mom has been gone for a few months however she is a daily topic of conversation with my 3 year olds, ranging from sentiments like “mummy, if you want to see your mummy you have to die too”, to the sadness of “I miss her”, to the beautiful moments of “mummy, Mimi lives now in our hearts”.

I saw an amazing grief counselor who talked about how kids grieve in puddles. In one moment, it’s sadness, and a few seconds later they are onto a new puzzle, singing the lyrics to O’Canada, and asking for a croissant. When I told them my mom died (and yes I was advised to always use the real words “died from cancer” “her body stopped working” “the doctor couldn’t fix her” “she was so brave” etc), I expected an outpouring of sadness. In fact they really just listened, hugged me, asked if Geoff (their grandfather) had cancer, then went about their day.

Grief hits at unexpected moments for me too, and I think I’m grieving in puddles just like my kidlets. I can swing from smiling and laughing to despair pretty quickly; and as time goes on I am becoming more comfortable in recognizing that the depth of my grief is proportional the depth of my love. Bring on the puddles.

And so...

One of my biggest takeaways has been that we never “get over” grief; we just come up with strategizes to manage it.

I find there’s a parallel with motherhood – we never “get over” the tiredness, the anxiousness, the overwhelmingness of it all; we learn to manage it, we come up with strategies, we test, we recalibrate, we start every day fresh.

Mothering through grief, for me at least, is about surrendering to the humanness of the experience of it all. It’s messy, it’s sad, it’s beautiful, it’s life. And the more I can model the healthy processing of emotions, and talk to my kids about the legacy of their incredible indomitable GranMimi, the better we all will be at getting through the puddles


PS: If this resonates with you, if you are in this space, if you want extra support please contact me here for one-on-one coaching. I'm also thinking about starting an online "Motherless Mothers" group, depending on interest. Lots of things brewing as I walk gently through my own puddles. 

All Mamas Deserve a Dream Team

Before I became a mother, I was a social worker supporting other people’s kids. I was a traveller using my savings exclusively to see the world, and a self care advocate always jumping from boxing to yoga class, sometimes back-to-back. As much as I loved this freedom, I knew deep down I wanted a family. 

From the moment I found out I was entering motherhood, I was rocked.  I found out that I was pregnant with twins. As a mother-to-be of two at once, my expectations of “how things would go” went out the window; from my birth plan to my career plan, everything changed the moment I heard two heartbeats.

Once I held those two tiny humans in my arms, I felt myself giving every ounce of love and energy and space possible to these two new beings. The love was, and still is, indescribable. But I was challenged beyond belief to remain zen and grounded in the face of so much change (including the logistics of handling two babies at once, building a home from the ground up, moving, sleep training, dealing with my mom’s cancer diagnosis, my husband's career ramping up etc).

Motherhood created huge new depths of my heart and of my emotional range – reaching new highs and lows sometimes within minutes of each other. I viscerally felt the vulnerability created by loving someone (or two) so deeply, and yet had no control over the outcome of their lives, nor mine. I worried about my mortality in new ways. Old patterns and habits of self-criticism reared their heads with nights spent wondering “Am I doing a good enough job? Am I being the mother I want to be? Am I making mistakes that will impact these perfect little beings? “

In this new turbulent time I felt myself enter the phase of “mama martyr” – I fed the girls pureed nutritious food and forgot to nourish myself. I tried to start a business but was too tired from nights not sleeping/ worrying/ researching/ dealing with illness to invest in myself. I felt myself giving over my body and my spirit to these new beings in my life, but didn’t know how else to survive.

 After much back and forth, decisions about child care, obsessing about the “grass is always greener” thought pattern between stay at home mom and working full time, I made the decision to do SOMETHING. I needed to get out of limbo and force my ambivalent soul to commit. I signed up for a coaching program that would hold me accountable, with the goal to reclaim a part of myself beyond the role of mother and also to remember my VALUES (what keeps me alive, what I can’t live without, what sparks me and fuels my drive).

I have a craving for other mothers to (re)find alignment in their lives to be happy, trust themselves and be free of the “chatter” that comes along with motherhood.  I want women to trust their inner voices and intuition in new motherhood and in their changing role. I want them to discover the new version of themselves: what is let go and what grows in its place. I want to hold conversations that move away from old narratives and stories of what motherhood is/ looks like (from our mothers, from society, from our partners) and I want to support women in reclaiming themselves in the process.

 When I look back at all I’ve survived, and thrived through, I really see the need for women to have their own Dream Team – a network of support to help mamas ride the waves of being a new parent. In the digital world, and with so many of our friends dispersed throughout the world, I wish I would’ve had a collection of sage women to answer all those questions that Google could never provide. Luckily my good friend Rachel Schipper has done the research for new mamas and has put together an amazing online program to do just that. I am super proud to be a faculty member of The New Mom Dream Team ( and boy do I wish it existed in my first year of being rocked! The curated approach to having professional, insightful information at your fingertips is deeply appealing to me as a coach, and as a mama who constantly craves the balance between information, trusting my gut and finding connection with other women who can listen, laugh, cry and just be there, as we navigate the murky waters of parenthood together. Here's a small taste of the New Mom Dream Team, hope you enjoy!

Intro to the survive and thrive guide for new moms! Come check us out at, we can't wait to meet you. We guarantee this online video library will make your postpartum period the best it can be.