Real-mom interviews – Meet: Nicola

If you have a picky eater and have had more than your fair share of arguments about eating with your child, then follow Nicola (see her details below). Nicola has helped me keep myself in check when I was actually making matters worse for my son! She’s so generous with the education that it warms My heart. Thank you Nicola for all that you’ve done for me and all that you continue to do for parents. Your work is so important!

Let’s raise this mother!

Tell me about yourself

Hi, I’m Nicola. I became a Mom of Sydney in 2000 and Thomas in 2003. If you do the math, that means I’m the Mom of a 19 and 16-year-old. Yikes…how did that happen? I have worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist and Pediatric Feeding Therapist for over 20 years. I work with babies and children of all ages with feeding disorders.

I’m also a photographer and I love to ski, walk, bike, and travel. I’m a music addict…I listen all day long. Pink Floyd completes me. I love chips and dip, red wine, and Criminal Minds (oftenall at the same time).

Did you always want kids? If not, when did that change?

Yes. Always. I used to say I wanted 4 kids, then had 2, then I didn’t want 4 anymore. Lol.

I used to say I wanted 4 kids, then had 2, then I didn’t want 4 anymore.

Tell me about the birth or infancy stage of your child?

Both of my kids were constantly in motion. Bad sleepers, fussy, spitting-up, and busy, busy, busy

Both of my kids were constantly in motion. Bad sleepers, fussy, spitting-up, and busy, busy, busy. I could barely take a shower. I would tell myself it was a sign of high intelligence to self-soothe. Lol.

I would look at other people with babies that sat quietly and napped and wonder what that would be like?? The baby stage was exhausting. My son, Thomas was diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening autoimmune blood disease at 10-months of age and we spent countless hours in SickKids Hospital doing endlessblood tests and procedures. It was a very difficult time.

It was a very difficult time.

Funniest memory?

When Thomas was born and I would take the kids out for a walk, Sydney was almost 3 and she would stand directly in front of the stroller when anyone came over to say hello. She would purposely block their view of Thomas so they would talk to her and not see the baby. She would repeatedly shout “I’M SYDNEY!” when they tried to look at her baby brother.

She would repeatedly shout “I’M SYDNEY!” when they tried to look at her baby brother.

What’s something you wish people knew about your son/daughter?

My kids are very different souls.

My kids are very different souls: Thomas is very quiet and shy with people he doesn’t know, but he has a hilarious, witty sense of humour. No one makes me laugh as much as Thomas. Sydney is an open book. She wears her heart on her sleeve and gives all of herself to everyone.

What’s something you wish people knew about you?

I love being a Feeding Therapist and helping kids and families, but I also wish I could balance my career with doing more with my creative side and my passion for photography. I can’t seem to figure that one out.

What was the biggest sacrifice of motherhood to you? And how are you coping?

I don’t think I would call it a ‘sacrifice’

I don’t think I would call it a “sacrifice”, but I chose a career and work-schedule that would allow me to balance being with my kids and having income. My choice has somewhat limited my career development; however, the awesome humans that my kids have turned into is the greatest success of my life…so it wasn’t a sacrifice.

What do you love most about being a mom?

Name 3 things.1. Laughter and silliness in the house 2. Day trips (zoos, downtown Toronto, Niagara Falls, farms, museums, etc.) 3. They make me see things through their eyes, that I would have otherwise missed.

They make me see things through their eyes, that I would have otherwise missed.

Who does your tribe consist of? 9 (b) What’s something you wish they (your tribe) knew? –

My new husband, Seamus. He’s my best friend and rock. He loves my kids and they love him right back. He’s a gift to our family.- My parents and my brother. I talk to them almost every day to help me navigate life.- My peeps. I have a small group of awesome friends. Quality over quantity.

(b) My tribe knows most everything about me. Truly.

What’s your favorite book and why?

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini. It ripped at my heart as a mother. It’s gripping and excruciating to read but gave me perspective on the challenges faced by mothers in different parts of the world. I cried so much. It made me feel very fortunate to be raising my kids in Canada.

It made me feel very fortunate to be raising my kids in Canada.

What does self-care look like to you?

I’m trying to learn to meditate and be calm…trying. I listen to music when I need stress relief. Not sure that I’m very good at self-care. At 48, I’m learning to have boundaries and say “no” to things that mess with my peace…a work in progress.

Not sure that I’m very good at self-care.

What lessons and values do you hope to instill in your child?

At 16 and 19, I hope I’ve done so already: Honesty, hard-work, humility, compassion, kindness, resilience.

What’s the best advice you’ve received about motherhood so far?

As teenagers, I think both of my kids are very emotionally intelligent. They are not afraid to acknowledge and talk about their feelings and I think as parents we need to put them on this path from a very young age. As a Speech-Language Pathologist and a mother, I know that often kids don’t have the words to express their feelings, so we can help by giving them the words they lack. Lastly, we don’t always have to give them a solution…we can just listen and acknowledge their feelings. When my 16-year-old son is upset about something, I just listen and say, “You must feel frustrated.” Instead of saying, “You should do this, and you should do that.” As humans, often we just want to be heard.

When Thomas was aged 2-3, he was having wicked, off-the-charts tantrums and behaviours. I read a book called Raising AnEmotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman and it was a game-changer as far as parenting.  When Thomas was having atantrum, instead of trying to tell him to stop, I started naming and acknowledging his feelings. I would say “Thomas you are mad.” “Thomas you are frustrated.” At age 3, he would stop his tantrum and say, “Yeah. Mama. I’m mad”.  Kids are little humans with feelings just like us. I think some of the things we try to do to convince them to calm down makes matters worse. Once I started acknowledging his feelings vs trying to give consequences, he de-escalated…because he felt heard. 

What advice do you have for new moms?

Try to remember: “With kids the days are long, but the years are short.”

Can we follow you on social media? (Please include your IG handle here)

Yes. 

Feeding Tips and Resources: @feedingplus.com

Photography: @nicola.jane

My website is feedingplus.com, where people can sign-up for my weekly feeding blog and/or book an appointment.

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