Darlene~Bio

Greetings to the moms…from the other side of 50.  My name is Darlene.  I have been married for 33 years (yes, to the same man!), and am proud mom of a daughter and a son, aged 30 and 28 respectively.  Both children are married to wonderful partners, and I have a granddaughter and another grandchild on the way.  You know that as soon as you tell people the age of your oldest child they start doing math, so I’ll save you the trouble…I’m 52.  I still think I’m 30.

Juanita asked if I would share my parenting “style”, but mine is a never-ending work in progress.  I am a much different grandmother than I was a mom, just ask my children!  As I go through life, I’ve picked up tidbits from friends, from books, from experience and even from just people-watching.  Those things get filtered through my internal compass before I add what I believe in to my actions as a mom.  For the most part, my parenting mentors are my mom and dad – strong, hardworking, determined people who raised 3 boys and 2 girls while simultaneously running their own business, fighting off cancer and other assorted illnesses, and being relentlessly involved in church activities and boards.

My parents were proponents of all those pithy little sayings that make you crazy.   “You’d better be nice to her; someday your sister will be your best friend.”  (That one is true!)  “Pull up your socks….” or its companion statement, “Well I guess you’re just going to have to try harder.”   (Universal statements used when failing math, spelling, life, whatever…).   Depending on the situation, there was another one, “It doesn’t matter how terrible you feel today, the sun always comes up tomorrow”.  The most frightening one:  “Do you want something to cry about?”  (Seriously?  Isn’t that a threat?)  The good advice ones: “Be respectful, show up on time.”  and “Be kind, you never know what someone else is going through.” And another somewhat frightening one but one that made me think twice a lot of times, “Remember whose family you belong to” (a biggie for us, my dad was a well-known and respected businessman, and a lot of people knew him…and us kids!).

But as children, we always knew who loved us.  We always knew who our cheerleaders were.  We went on family camping vacations, worked together at the family cabin, and planned amazing mega-events like anniversaries and special birthdays.  My family knew, and still does, how to work, and how to have fun.  We learned that from our parents.

So I guess I just want to encourage moms of little ones – what kind of family do you admire, what do you want to build into your children that is important to you?  You’re not alone in this, it’s OK if you pattern after someone else – remembering that there is no family quite uniquely like yours.

Make your family yours.  Make the memories you want your children to have – those memories cement you together as a family, and believe me, your children will be talking about them for a long, long time.  Be present in their lives, tell them stories at bedtime, let them know you can always put down your iPhone, your dish towel, your book, your remote, and listen.  And I know you’ll hear this over and over again….but no one cares if your floor is sticky and you have wet towels in the bathroom.  You love those babies with all your heart, keep them safe, pray and play every day, and say “I love you” over and over and over again.

Last favourite parental saying?  “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  Really.  My parents truly said that even before Kelly Clarkson sang the song!

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Kara ~ Bio

As one of the youngest members, I find myself a bit nervous (and excited!) to have been asked by Juanita to contribute here. Hopefully I can bring some joy and support (and a bit of hilarity) to this page as I give you a glimpse into my crazy life!

I have been happily married to a great man for 5 years. We live in a small, southern Manitoba town where I stay at home and raise our 2 boys. Isaiah is our New Years Baby – and he’s 4. Nothing like having the local news come interview you in the hospital room 3 hours after you’ve given birth to your first child. Right? Didn’t freak me out at all. 😉   Conner is our little miracle who came along almost 3 and a half years later. He spent the first 16 days of his little life in the NICU, and he’ll be 1 in March!

How do I raise my family? I fly by the seat of my pants. Everything is crazy in my house. There’s almost always unfolded laundry on the couch, crumbs on the floor, and (gasp) the beds are almost never made! I’m a sick mom – I have Multiple Sclerosis. Being a mother with a chronic health condition, ‘One day at a time’ is a phrase I use often (even though I actually hate that phrase).

"If you smile nice, we can go to McDonald's."
“If you smile nice, we can go to McDonald’s.”

I’m a big lover of social media: Facebook, Pinterest… Truth be told, I’m actually a huge nerd and love all things computer. I’m one of ‘those’ wives – where when my husband comes home from work and sees that the house has been tidied, and I actually have makeup on my face, he asks me if the internet was down. Yep.

Being a mom is hard work; that’s something I know that we can all relate to. I’m excited about the opportunity I have to share, laugh, cry, and learn, with YOU!

Feel free to check out my personal blog, where I share my journey with MS and other random tidbits: http://livinganewjourney.wordpress.com

Jenna ~ Bio

When Juanita started talking about what to name her shiny new blog for moms, I jokingly told her that if it were me, I’d call it “not mothering crappily” because for reals ladies, mothering is no joke. Some days not failing is as close to succeeding as we come. Am I right? Juanita didn’t actually ask me to contribute to this amazing project. Nope. She signed me up and told me to start writing. So here I am. A little bit about me:

My husband Glenn and I were married on a rainy day in August, 2004. I was 12. Just kidding. I turned 21 on my honeymoon, and was way too young to be getting married, but it’s too late now. I’m 29, he’s 34 and we have 4 young children. Mateo was born July 2005, and he’s in grade 2. Andreas was born September 2007, and he’s in kindergarten. Olivier was born February 2010, and he’s a glorious handful. Rosalie is our only girl, born February 2012 and she’s going to be very well protected by all those big brothers. My husband is brown, I am pasty white, and our kids are somewhat racially confused. One thinks he’s brown, one thinks he’s white, one says he’s curly and the baby doesn’t know what’s going on. We live in Calgary and I hope we stay here forever.

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My husband used to be a pastor, but now roofing pays the bills and I’m just waiting for him to realize he’s still a pastor too. I’m a stay at home mom who is always planning on going back to school but keeps getting pregnant instead. My parenting style is a cross between “who let the dogs out” and um…no, it’s mostly all “who let the dogs out” – fast paced, mildly obscene, and always entertaining. What that means is that we listen to a lot of music and I apologize for swearing a lot.

I am very much looking forward to laughing and crying and making connections with whoever comes out to play here at The Mothering Well. Mothering is always a better journey when we’re not in it alone.

Please check out my personal mommy blog, http://www.troublefacemom.com.

I am also a contributing writer for Young Women Of Power’s blog – http://www.ywopblog.tumblr.com. Young Women of Power (YWOP) aims to inspire greatness in teen girls and it’s an honor to be part of their vision.

Melissa ~ Bio

I am excited (and just a wee bit nervous) that Juanita has invited me to join her on this adventure (who can say no to an adventure?!).  My hope is for you to feel welcomed, encouraged, supported and free to speak from your heart.  Laugh, cry and share your strories with us.  We are all in this together.  So without further adieu, a little about me…

My husband and I have been married for nearly 6 whirlwind years.  In these 6 short years we have become parents to a tripod of amazing little girls (ages 1, 3 and almost 5), built our home, established three businesses and grown in our faith more than we ever thought possible.

I am a Northern Alberta “patch” wife, meaning my hard-working husband is employed in the oil field (or oil patch) and his hours are basically all day, every day.  This presents so many blessing as well as challenges for our little family.

I am also a work-at-home mom trying to maintain grace, love and sanity while juggling the demands of motherhood and business.

I strive to be a natural mama when I can but realize sometimes they just need Tylenol and Froot Loops.  I am less the baker-crafter-gourmet chef and more the computer nerd-farm girl-LEGO builder.  I adore campfires, dancing trees, natural health, sandy beaches, furry creatures, taking pictures, reading and writing, though I have not particularly mastered skills in any of these areas.  I would love to be a doula when I grow up.

I believe in mothering with your heart over a textbook and that no one should ever feel alone in this incredible journey.

I want to really be in this broken world.  I want to be the example our children need.  And I want to be an encouragement to you.  Welcome here, dear friends, to The Mothering Well.

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Juanita ~Bio

First things first~this blog is not about me but ya, I’m the instigator and perpetrator of crimes against my fellow moms for arm-twisting them into this little experiment in online mentoring community. I have big dreams and so much that I’m hoping and praying comes out of this! But first, a little about me:

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I’m a married mom of 4 teenagers.  My husband and I are coming up to 21 years married. We have a son who graduated high school last year, a daughter graduating this year , a 14 year old and a very soon-to-be 13 year old.  Hormones run this ship and some days I’d like to start a mutiny but I’m still here, paddling upstream with my well used oar.

I blog and I love social media. I thrive on other peoples’ stories and I love to learn , share and be challenged.

My parenting style would be…umm….let’s just say…..bare feet, kind of wild and absolutely willy-nilly.  I believe a mother knows her children better than any doctor, public health nurse or well-intentioned friend. However, I think we all can learn from each other and apply appropriately to our own parenting situations.

I live smack dab in the middle of the cold Canadian prairie in the winter and dead center of the grain belt in the summer(it’s the same place in case you didn’t get that).  I’m a country girl at heart but for now, the city is my home while the kids are growing up.

We have 2 dogs and 2 cats and there’s always a pile full of laundry on every bedroom floor, dishes in the sink and crumbs on the table.

This is how I roll, people.  Welcome to the Mothering Well!

Check out my primary blog at  Little Juan on the Prairie where I discuss politics, my faith, recipes, family and so much more.