Stefanie is a mom I went to Highschool with! Full-French highschool of course, we were both on the honor roll as well. I’ve always appreciated how much work she put into her class presentations, a natural born teacher that has truly found her calling! Cheers to raising bilingual children, may our paths cross again in the future. Thank you so very much for participating!Let’s Raise This Mother!
Tell me about yourself
I’m not gonna lie, I’m a pretty huge nerd who turned a love of literature into a career as a high school French and English teacher.
I became a mother 10 months ago to perhaps – now I may be slightly biased here – the most wonderful baby boy of all time. Although he may not be quite ready to form the words to show it just yet, he is being raised as a proud franco-ontarien just like his parents.
Did you always want kids? If not, when did that change?
I was always open to the idea of having kids, but I wasn’t married to it either.
I could see myself living a full and happy life either way and didn’t feel that it was an absolute need. However, when I met my husband and we began our life together, I couldn’t imagine not having a family with him.
Tell me about the birth or infancy stage of your child?
Overall, I actually had a pretty pleasant experience.
I was induced at 41 weeks, and spent most of the morning walking around, waiting for contractions to start. Once the nurse broke my water with what I was shocked to see was basically a giant crochet needle, the contractions started and were as intense as they were sudden. I was able to stay positive and joke around between contractions, but as they became unbearably painful and less than a minute apart, I asked for an epidural. The rest of the day was all popsicles and waiting with family until it was time to start to push and meet my beautiful baby boy for the first time. I’m so grateful to have been able to stay calm and positive so that I could greet him with laughter, happiness and so much love.
Although my little guy makes me laugh on a daily basis, the funniest moment that comes to mind is when we went to our first Parent and Tot swim class.
We were about 8 moms with our babies and had formed a circle around the instructor. All of a sudden, I felt my son play with the bow on the front of my bathing suit, which is apparently essential to its structural integrity, and felt, as if in slow motion, the entire front come undone. I was mortified! I obviously couldn’t put him down in the water, so I asked the mom next to me if she could hold him while I fixed my top. Of course, the instructor went to help her since she was now holding two babies, which attracted even more attention. Needless to say, I’ve been much more diligent about tying a double knot from that moment on.
What’s something you wish people knew about your son?
He’s only a little guy, so there is still much to discover about his ever-growing personality.
I think his most striking characteristic is that he is just such a happy baby. His beaming two-toothed smile always attracts passersby during our strolls, and he is just so lovely with everyone he meets.
What’s something you wish people knew about you?
Although I’m definitely not a performer by any means, I absolutely love playing music.
My husband and I like to jam together and basically end up putting on shows for our son before he goes to bed. We switch between guitar, piano, ukelele, mandolin, slap box… we’ve even whipped out the old recorder once or twice in true rockstar fashion. It’s all just for fun, but the little one seems to love it and hopefully he’ll get to join in soon enough!
What was the biggest sacrifice of motherhood to you? And how are you coping?
I think I underestimated how absolutely transformative motherhood really is.
The physical and emotional changes were a bit overwhelming at first, and I found that I felt like an entirely different person than I was before I was pregnant. I was so happy to be home with my son and to have the opportunity to spend every day with him, but once we got out of the newborn stage and into a routine, I realized that I needed to take some time to get reacquainted with who I am outside of motherhood. Whether it’s just by taking an hour to go to the gym, have a drink with a friend or have some quiet time to read a book, these small moments allow me to stay balanced and become a happier and ultimately better mother. I’m now stronger in more ways than I could have imagined, and have grown to love this new version of me even more than the old one, stretch marks and all.
What do you love most about being a mom? Name 3 things.
There are too many things that I love about being a mom! How can I narrow it down to three?!
But since I must choose, I think I’d have to say:
- Walking in his room to pick him up in the morning. His whole face lights up when I walk in and he bounces up and down with his arms stretched out, waiting for me to pick him up. I swear, I could live in that moment.
- That baby smell! I could sniff his head all day… and sometimes do.
- I love watching him grow and change on a daily basis, and catching either a glance that looks like my husband’s or a smile that looks like a picture of when I was a baby. I also love watching him study everything around him with his concentrated gaze, learning a bit more every day.
Who does your tribe consist of? (People helping you raise your kids)
To be honest, I have an incredibly hands-on husband; we’ve really been a team from day one.
My mother is also amazing, and I can’t begin to express how appreciative I am of everything she has done for me. Although we’ve always been very close, I don’t think I could have ever truly understood how strong our bond really is until I became a mother myself. Between her and my in-laws, who are basically the embodiment of my relationship goals, my son really has the best grandparents anyone could ask for. Finally, my sister-in-law and cousin have been so incredibly helpful, since they also have very young children. They’ve been so generous with hand-me-downs and patient with my millions of questions; I honestly would have been lost without them. I just hope they all know how much I appreciate and look up to them. It really does take a village and this little guy has a pretty great one.
What lessons and values do you hope to instill in your child?
If nothing else, I hope to raise a thoughtful, empathetic and kind human being.
So many conflicts are rooted in people blindly defending their beliefs without considering other perspectives. If my son can grow up to be an open minded and a genuinely caring adult, I will have done my job as a parent.
Do you have any advice out there for moms-to-be?
I’m very new to this whole parenting thing, but for what it’s worth, my advice for new moms is to take the time to be truly present in each moment.
It isn’t always easy because we get wrapped up in our routine, but it’s so important to put down our phones and savour those little moments. As cliché as it sounds, it really does go by so freaking fast. I’d also like to tell the new mamas out there to go easy on yourselves! Follow your instincts, embrace your new body and try not to get wrapped up in what the internet says is a good mother, because the best possible mom for your baby is you.