Yo, Mama! is a monthly column, here at Momstown, featuring everyday Canadian moms just doing their thing…
Today, we meet Julia Bain, a 42-year-old, divorced mother of two fabulous girls. Paige is 13-years-old and Julia describes her as: “wise beyond her years, witty, fun, and smart.” Emilie, her youngest, is 10-years-old and is: “a laugh seeker/ truth speaker.”
Julia grew up in Milton, Ontario and after high school, she attended Queen’s University in Kingston. She works as a flight attendant and has lived in Victoria, Halifax, and Montreal. She and her girls now reside in Burlington, Ontario.
What do you find most surprising/interesting about this current (tween) stage of motherhood?
The intensity and unexpected nature of it. The big emotions that accompany it and the seemingly unforgiving learning curve.
Share with us a favourite piece of parenting advice or a quote that resonates with you. Who said it?
I often tell my girls: “You can’t snow a snowman.” I feel like it’s important to parent from a place of no BS. This means being really honest about my own experiences and missteps growing up as well as the fair understanding that they, too, will collect their own stories and cautionary tales. This isn’t a “don’t ask, don’t tell” administration.
If you could magically gift your daughters with one trait/quality to last a lifetime, what would it be? Explain.
Belief in self, love for self and compassion for both self and others. Just that they consider being their own best friend before anything else.
What would you say are some of your strengths as a mom?
My schedule, and general approach to life and its demands, is flexible. This ability and willingness to be present has served our family well.
What parts of motherhood, in this current stage, do you find most challenging?
The emotional rollercoaster. High highs and low lows. The feeling of not knowing how far sideways any given drama could go.
How do you stay connected to the person you are, outside of motherhood?
Friendship, humour, quiet time, creative and physical outlets (wine?).
How is the woman you are today different than the woman you were before kids?
A few extra wrinkles and a sleep deficit that could last a lifetime, my heart roaming around outside my body.
Is there a meal/food that your family loves?
Cookie pie. A true one-pan wonder. The batter tastes awful! The original recipe comes from a cookbook called, “Help! My Apartment Has a Kitchen!” A wedding shower gift from a friend at Queen’s over twenty years ago!
Text a friend right now and ask them to describe you in three sentences. What did he/she write?
Kids are the centre of her world. Will make you laugh until your stomach hurts. The best person to go on an adventure with.
What is a cause/charity that is close to your heart?
That’s a tough one as there are many.
Wind Dancer Pony Rescue. The story behind its creation – something beautiful from profound loss, and the fact that it’s all about the ponies. The girls and I had the opportunity to volunteer there a few years ago for about six months.
Pantene Beautiful Lengths is a charity that makes free wigs for cancer patients who have lost their hair. Paige once donated her braids and I have done so many times since Emilie was born.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Right now it’s making malas but, basically, it’s creating anything with my hands. When the girls were very small, I taught myself to sew.
What are your current personal goals?
I am not sure these are goals…
I just want to keep running our lives and our family in the best way I know how. Knowing that this changes for different reasons along the way. I want to be open and adaptable for myself and for my girls. I want to learn a little, work a little, play a little and grow a little everyday both as a mother and a human.
What’s your dream vacation to do solo or with girlfriends?
Solo, it’s anywhere in the mountains and since we are dreaming here, I want to be free of the nagging worry that my wanderlust could result in my kids becoming motherless.
With my girlfriends, it’s a cottage weekend full of laughs or an open-ended adventure out west.
What/where would be your dream family vacation?
Tofino. Something about this place calls to me and I don’t want to experience its magic without my girls at my side!
Also, for some reason, I imagine I would like very much to spend a summer living with my girls in the French countryside or in a small village. I did this as a fourteen-year-old on an exchange. It was magical, so I feel like it’s worthy of a do-over with my own children.
What do you do when you get time to yourself?
Try to put my phone down. Balance the constant push and pull of responsibilities vs. my inclination to drop everything and ski/bike/hike/paddle …play.
If you know a Canadian mom that you’d like to see featured on Yo, Mama! send a message to Shannon Day. We’re looking to chat with moms from all across the country!