It is an honor to have Jasmine from Happiest Mama as our guest today. Her site is uplifting, inspiring and beautiful. Once month she also interviews mothers but she is switching seats today!
1. Let’s start with the happiest topic. Please tell us about your children.
I have three children: Max is almost 5, Leo just turned 2, and Paloma is 10 months old. They are full of energy from dawn til dusk and bring us so much joy. My husband and I are Canadian, and our first son was born in Ontario, but our second two were born here in the US. Having three children under 5 is challenging, exhausting, fun, and amazing all at once!
2. Did you always want to be a writer? What inspired you to start the site Happiest Momma?
I have always wanted to write, actually! I have a degree in business and, prior to having children, I worked as a freelance writer. I enjoyed interviewing local business owners for our local city magazine when we lived in Kingston, Ontario, and also wrote many pieces for the city wedding magazine, interior design features, and more! I wanted to create a space of my own on the internet which I could use as a creative outlet. What makes me unique? What do I have to say that is different that anyone else? The answer came to me as a realization that my natural state of happiness is not entirely common. I want to share my positivity with other moms and have found a unique niche where I can express myself, enjoy the marketing and promotion that I love, write, and support other moms.
3. What are your favorite activities to do with your kids on a rainy day?
My natural goal is to go outside and play in the rain but with 3 kids under 5, that’s not usually the reality. Living in Minnesota, we try not to let the weather deter us so I do usually try to get out to an indoor activity like a library, indoor play area. If we’re staying in, I’ll set up an obstacle course in the playroom – if I don’t give the boys a good release for their energy, they’ll start acting up! I try to get them engaged in some sort of imaginative play, but I am not much of a planner so I need to work on having some more pinterest-activities set up for them! I like to keep things low-mainetance and low-pressue. I’m not above putting on some Curious George and letting them have some down time too.
4. Parenting can be hard. How do you manage to find your inner happiness?
Deep breaths! While I’m naturally a very happy person, my kids definitely drive me up the wall sometimes. I remind myself that their behaviour is usually developmentally correct for their age, I try to be the calm they need when they are having a storm, and I try to give them a happy childhood. I carve out time for myself, exercise, and stick to a schedule with the children – specifically, an early bedtime so they are well-rested and I get time with my husband and to myself. You cannot pour from an empty cup!
5. You’re a new addition to a crayons box. What color are you and why?
Oh, definitely turquoise! I’m in love with that color. It’s classic but unique; reminds me of the ocean, and always keeps me calm.
6. What was your biggest surprise when you become a mother. Is motherhood what you expected?
I think so much of our focus during our first pregnancy is on the pregnancy itself, the nursery, and the birth plan – it’s easy to forget that there’s a lifetime of parenting ahead. I suppose I expected parenting to be more linear that it is – in most things in life, we start off at one point and end up at another. We get better as time goes on and then we complete the task. While to an extent this is true in parenting, it’s more circular, deeper, and more robust than I could have ever imagined. I expected a straight line and I got a sphere – an entire planet of neverending, interwearving emotions and experiences that seem to have no beginning and no end.
Take sleep training, for instance. I remember thinking that once the baby slept through the night, that was it. The child would sleep through the night forevermore. I now realize that there are good nights, bad nights, periods of adjustment, change, and new normals. I look in the future and see that even when they are teenagers, I’ll be the one up half the night!
There is no “end” to being a mother. No finish line, and no easy answers. I am constantly evolving, changing, growing, realizing I don’t know as much as I though, starting over, questioning my choices, and just trying to be the best I can be.
7. Do you allow your children to use phones or tablets? Why or why not?
I don’t let them use my phone – I just don’t want that to be an option. I do let my oldest use the ipad within limits that I set. I believe limited screen time is healthy and a great way for kids to learn, but I definitely limit what they can do and for how long.
8. What is your favorite family tradition?
We are young and still growing our traditions. To me, it is the little things: the way we say I love you multiple times, early morning snuggles, trips to the local playground!
9. What is an essential baby item for a first time mother. Why that one?
I honestly believe that most baby items are not essential. Give me an open heart to love my child, arms to hold him, breasts to feed her, eyes to see and I’ve got what I need. I suppose that doesn’t answer the question though! I’ll go with versatility then, because as a mom of 3 I need everything to be as functional as possible. I love light muslin swaddling blankets because they have so many different uses – you can use it for sun protection, swaddling, light warm coverage, breastfeeding privacy, and who knows what else!
10. Let’s close with such a hard, fun question. Name one quality you love about each of your children. Only one!
Only one! Eek.
My Maximus: I love his amazing mind. I can see literally see the wheels turning as he grows and discovers the world around him with a curiousity that gives him wisdom beyond his years.
My Leonardo, I love his exuberance! He only just turned 2 and he’s always the first to jump in a swimming pool or hop on a new bike – he is fearless, and has a true zest for experiencing the world around him!
For Paloma, I love her peacefulness. Her name means “dove” and we call her peaceful Paloma and she is ethereal in her serenity.
Thank you, Jasmine!