Yo, Mama! is a monthly column, here at Momstown, featuring everyday Canadian moms just doing their thing. This month we’re heading to the Quinte area to meet Karla Brennen!
With her down-to-earth personality, memorable laugh, and positive outlook on life, Karla is a powerful force bound to put a smile on your face. This hard working, ambitious mom of three is the General Manager of The Drake Devonshire, a quirky and trendy boutique hotel and restaurant in Prince Edward County. Karla feels ‘proud’ to call The Drake her second home.
Karla’s husband Pete, a hands-on dad and part-time security guard at a men’s addiction centre, has always had his wife’s back. Pete’s part-time hours mean he is available to the boys and at home and his dedication to Karla and their three sons has been an immense support over the years. Karla told Momstown: “Pete has things covered on the home front which enables me to focus more on my career. Having the kids cared for, and dinners covered have allowed me to balance my two worlds more easily than some of my peers. I am grateful for the support he provides in several ways.”
We caught up with Karla and asked her some Momstown questions:
How does it feel to be working at a place as fabulous as The Drake Devonshire?
I am extremely proud to be the General Manager of this popular, cultural landmark. It is the first time in my career where I feel at home and feel like my accomplishments are recognized and my hard work has truly paid off.
What’s a quote that resonates with you? Why is it meaningful to you?
Esse Quam Vederi – To Be Rather Than Seem To Be – I believe in being genuine and present and real.
How do you stay connected to the person you are, outside of motherhood?
I find this part has highs and lows depending on where I am at, in my life. I strongly identify with my work persona. I actively seek out private time whether it’s listening to music while driving home, going for a walk after work or meeting a friend for coffee. I carve out an hour or so each day to connect with my husband. We chat and decompress at the end of the day. We make plans for the future and try to enjoy a quiet moment without the kids. To be honest, I can’t release myself from motherhood or work, though. They are who I am. But I do try to limit the crossover between the two women inside me, whenever I can.
What parts of motherhood have you found the most challenging and/or the most amazing?
Motherhood has been my most challenging role, because it comes with so much guilt; the balance and rewards don’t always go the way I’d like. The most amazing part for me is seeing the impact my commitment to my family has when the boys do a good deed or accomplish something by working hard for it.
How is the woman you are today different than the woman you were twenty years ago?
The woman I am today is different because she is patient, forgiving, inclusive, and proud. In my twenties, I didn’t have any patience; motherhood has taught me patience. I was not as forgiving when I was younger; maturity has taught me the importance of forgiveness. Back then, I was not as inclusive as I am now. Life experience has taught me the value of inclusiveness. Years ago, I was never proud of myself. Confidence and the changing times have allowed me to feel proud of my accomplishments and to own my successes.
Is there a meal/food that your family loves? Share the recipe (is it Pete’s?) /or place where you buy it?
My family loves a spicy chicken pasta dish – YES it’s Pete’s recipe! He stole it from East Side Mario’s. The funny thing is…every one of us eat it and love it. It’s difficult to serve all 5 of us something that everyone likes! It’s basically: pasta with homemade spicy tomato sauce (the secret ingredient is tarragon) and the chicken is covered in melted cheese and served over pasta. Even my picky littles love it!
Text a friend right now and ask her to describe you in three words. What were the three words?
Megan said: outgoing, confident, intelligent. She’s known me for thirty years.
Alyssa said: caring, infectious -passion, vivacious. She’s known me since my thirties.
My sister said: determined, loyal, and fun.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Hot Stone Massages, shopping for pillows, and eating Squish candy and pizza—love love love all of these!
What are your current personal goals?
My current personal goals are to travel more, take care of myself and tell people how I feel about them more often.
If you could go on a vacation with friends, where would it be?
My dream vacation would be visiting a warm location with a view of the water; lots of laughing and reminiscing and dreaming together about the past, the future, and everything in between while celebrating our successes as women!