Mama Says is a monthly series where I catch up with cool women to talk work, play, life and (you guessed it) motherhood. Here I connect with Tracey Ho Lung, co-founder of Love, Mom , a mom-based lifestyle blog that profiles career moms and takes a peek into how they live and work. An accomplished career mum herself, Tracey previously held editorial posts at Canadian fashion and beauty mags like FASHION, Glow and Chatelaine. She tells us why it’s time to ditch the mom-guilt, how she encouraged her kids to learn to play independently and how being a parent is an extension of herself, but doesn’t define who she is.
– Lindsay, Tenth Moon founder
Tell us about yourself?
I’m a freelance writer/content creator/blogger and co-founder of the site Love-Emoem.com, a mom-based lifestyle blog that not only profiles career moms, but takes a peek into how they live and work. In my spare time, I also write lifestyle content for various magazines and online sites, as well as develop original content for other blogs and businesses. I belong to a family of four: myself, my husband and two daughters, Zoë (8) and Lena (3).
If you could travel back in time, what three pieces of advice would you give yourself in those first days and weeks after becoming a mother?
On my time-travel checklist would be:
- Enjoy every minute, even the crying, because they get big SO fast!
- Accept all the help you can get. Don’t be afraid to take up people on their offers to make you lunch, dinner, or a coffee. A little goes a long way.
- Although your kids came from you and will forever be a part of you, they don’t make you who you are. You make you who you are. So enough with #momguilt already.
What have been your biggest challenges in motherhood so far? And how did you overcome (or come to live with) them?
Patience and compassion. I’m still learning. I maybe score a C+/B-. But seriously, I’ve had to remind myself that they are kids, and that they don’t focus and listen the way adults can, so I need to just be chill. But as you know, kids can push our buttons.
What are your favourite parent hacks/tips for making life easier with kids?
I was all about putting those plastic, turny-knob things on inside doors so our toddler couldn’t leave her room and crawl into bed with us at 3 am. (Of course if something was wrong, they’d make enough noise that we’d go and check on them.) This meant that they stayed in their room and if they woke up early, had to amuse themselves until we got up to get them. Some people may think that this is wrong, but I consider it a win-win. My husband and I got in our winks so we could have the patience and brain-power to be good parents, and the girls learned patience, how to play by themselves, and that mommy and daddy’s space is to be respected.
“You have to learn to let some things go and understand that there’s no such thing as the perfect parent.”
How do you decompress?
Oh god, I’m good if I can fit in a shower. But for those times when I need it, I get a massage about once a month and do a spin class once a week.
What’s your favourite knock-knock joke?
There’s a lot talk about losing ourselves, or parts of ourselves, in motherhood. What do you think about that?
How can I answer this truthfully but without being judged? To be honest, I think you lose yourself if you allow it. Sure, as babies they dictate certain things, like their nap time and feeding, and they need you almost all the time, but you have to learn to let some things go and understand that there’s no such thing as the perfect parent. Thankfully I had (and have) help. My husband is able to share some of the parenting so we’re each able to have our own ‘me’ time. I think having children is an extension of oneself, but they shouldn’t determine who you are and take over your life (although I swear their toys sometimes do). Of course, I’m busier and I do a lot of kid-related things, but I don’t see it as losing a part of myself to motherhood. It’s just something that becomes a part of my life — kind of something else that I put on my ‘to-do’ list and roll with it.
What is your greatest hope for your children?
That they continue to stay healthy and happy, and with grace.
What’s the best part of being a mama?
I’m not gonna lie. All the snuggles.
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