Ashley: On today’s episode of Filled Up Cup I am joined by Christine Coughlin. Christine’s a woman on a mission to find out exactly what and who she is outside of being a mom of three . In 2019, after several health issues. And as her 40th birthday approached, she came to the realization that she needed to make some drastic changes in her life. She began writing and sharing what she perceived as her shameful little secrets on Instagram as a creative outlet. In 2020, she was nominated as a Vancouver Mom, top 30 blogger. In 2021, she officially launched her blog: the in-between. The in-between as a platform designed to share perspectives and feature women standing up to self-doubt and creating lives that they don’t want to run away from. Christine dreams of creating a community of open-hearted creative women, who aren’t afraid to ask for what they want out of life and support each other’s goals. Thank you so much for joining me.
Christine: Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here
RECOVERING FROM PERFECTION
A: So I know that your blog kind of fits into the, the mom or parenting realm of things. What I really love about the in-between is that it focuses on real issues that I think a lot of women and a lot of people feel versus this really cookie cutter, my kids perfect, look at our, you know, clutter feet, free curated idea of what parenting should be.
C: Yeah, thank you. I was a perfectionist. I am a perfectionist. So I would say so it’s been a lot of work trying to get me to the point where. I can just be and just be okay with that and just have it evolve as it is. So I appreciate that feedback.
A: Being a recovering perfectionist must be very, very challenging because I feel like when we were growing up, it was sort of this idea of we have it all together and it’s going to look like this and you know, you do XYZ and perfection and that really isn’t the case.
C: It’s not sustainable. I mean, I did it for a long time. And then I kind of had like , an awakening, a breakdown or whatever it was. I just, I couldn’t do it anymore. My body said no so I decided to actually listen. That’s why I had a big outbreak of psoriasis in 2019. And I really took that as a sign that this is why you need to, you need to listen, you need to shift and your old habits, aren’t going to work anymore
A: That’s fantastic that you actually listened. I think too many of us sort of, we ended up gaslighting a lot of that and going, oh, it’s just this and it’ll be fine. And, and kind of go until we have sort of that burnout moment. Did the in-between start before everything had kind of happened back in 2019, or did it start after you kind of had your aha moment?
C: It came all together as I had my aha moment. So I have always been the person that’s documenting life for my friends, my family, but I was never a writer at all. And in 2019, we were having health issues with, one of my family members. And I had assigned this severe crash, like head to toe and. It was really that time that I had to just stop reset. In that moment is when I just kind of, I felt like I was hit by lightning that I just had to write. I was waking up in the middle of the night I was writing. I was like frantic about it. And for the first time stopped feeling crazy all the time, stopped feeling like I had to hide myself all the time. And it just helped with the overwhelm to just see things in black and white and be like, I’m not crazy. These are real thoughts and fears and worries. I was raised in a family that didn’t really, I’m just so opposite of my family. I married a man that’s just like my family. So I remember in that same summer, I came into my house when I had been in the garden, I came into the house and I said to my husband, I need more communication. Like. Was at my breaking point. Like I, even this man who I love and it’s amazing, I was trying to hide myself from him and like hide my crazy cause I had just judged myself so harshly for being me. It was in that moment that it all kind of unwrapped, and blew up. And I just, my, top popped off and I’ve been writing and connecting and doing that ever since.
A: Well, I’m sorry that it had to get to the point where you felt like you were going to explode, but it really is magical that when we do say, you know, this is my authentic self, this is what I need to do. Sort of the, the joy and the excitement and the just relief that can come of that. Even if it’s does feel like, oh my gosh, I’m not crazy. I can just imagine how many people, when they hear your story or hear different things that you’re writing about go, oh yeah, me too. I think society or just women in general, we think, oh my gosh, if we say that people are going to think are we’re crazy or nobody’s gonna like me because of this, or they’re going to think a certain thing. More often than not our voices in our head are so similar to each other that I think that that connection is so beneficial to us. It is something that we need and it is kind of like once you pop that balloon, it’s like, what was I worried about? You know what I mean? It takes that pin out of things and kind of lets us all decompress. So I think that while it’s not great that it had to happen the way that it did. I do think it’s fantastic that you were able to create a space where you can write and connect to other people.
C: Yeah. I think everything happens the way it’s meant to, and it wouldn’t have been as impactful if it had happened in another way. It took me until I was, I was approaching my 40th birthday and I had this, like, you know, the idea of women had, like, I thought when I was 35, for sure, I would be like this self-confident woman. And I wasn’t. And so I’m glad that it happened when it did. You know, I’m a late bloomer, I guess I could put it that way, but I think I just really need to. Just be happy that it’s happened the way that it is. I think there’s a lot of people that, that never get unstuck. So there’s no point labeling it and putting a negative spin on it.
A: Well, and I think your thirties are really when you really come into yourself and then I’m hoping by forties, it’s just kind of like, fuck it. I just don’t care about anything. And it’s like, it just kind of keeps getting better.
C: I thought it would happen naturally and you have to work at it. You have to put that stuff in, put the effort in if you want the payoff. And so now I’m 42 and I feel confident and I’m still working on it daily. Like I still have slip ups where I, all of a sudden I’m comparing myself to this uber cool mom on Instagram and feeling like, oh God, I’m such a dork. That’s all part of the process.
A: Instagram and social media is such a different beast because I think it’s so hard not to compare yourself and especially to, and it’s like, we forget sometimes we only see such a small snippet of that person’s life, but it’s like, oh, they look so cool. Or they have their stuff together. Their house is so great. And it’s like, you forget that. You know, maybe their toddler just finished having a temper tantrum or a massive blowout somewhere. Or that section of the room that they’re showing is the only clean part of their house. And maybe there’s a massive laundry pile or something. Me and Kaitlyn Lawson actually talked about this a couple of weeks ago where she also considers herself a recovering perfectionist. She has to kind of tell herself like what I’m seeing there isn’t real because it’s so hard to get sucked into the why them and why not me?
C: Yeah, definitely comparison. It gets ya.
THE BIRTH OF THE IN-BETWEEN
A: For anybody who’s unfamiliar with the in-between, can you kind of explain your website and the things that you write about?
C: I think it’s something that will continue to evolve as I do. Whereas where I’ve started is I have been writing for years on Instagram, so I have taken a lot of , those posts and put them in there just to kind of get me going. The other thing that I really hope for it to be is a place that we can share perspectives. So I have a panel and I’m interviewing other women on different topics. So I had like tips for traveling and tips for not getting burnt out over Christmas. And I have, I have more ideas than I have time right now. So my littlest is four and a half. And I just have pages of notes on what I want it to be, but I’m not there yet. So I’m slowly trying to roll it out. Pace myself, not stress myself out. I have features of other women. My goal is to uplift and highlight ladies that have, kind of conquered or are working on that self-doubt piece and found their passions and, and asking them how they did it, how they went from feeling unfulfilled to figuring out what their gifts are. Yeah, I just want it to be a place for connection and realness and. It’s all about the connection for me, really.
A: I love that. I love that it’s a women coming together. We think our struggles are so individual and more often than not, like we really can find somebody that is like oh, I went through that or I know somebody who suffered the way that you’re suffering and find that connection and remove the judgment and the shame. I think the idea that we all have it together is a myth and isn’t something that is sustainable, like you said, and that we can live up to that. We really have to be gentle with ourselves and let ourselves off the hook. I think it’s fantastic that your corner of the internet will allow people to find that.
C: Yeah, I think it’s, you know, when we think back of like our parents, when I, I think of my, like the ultimate adult ages, 35, and I remember when my mom was 35, that I was like, wow, she’s really got this all sorted out. And just being here, I’m like, wow. She really probably had no idea, but at that time it just wasn’t okay to be putting it all out there. so I’m grateful. That we are in this time, or we have these connections, we have the internet. I mean, there’s some drawbacks, but there’s some great benefits too,
A: For sure. Hopefully with our generation that we can make it easier for our kids. I think their generation has a lot more of the discussion with like the mental health piece or for them to say, things are not okay. My daughter is in ninth grade right now. I know sometimes she’ll be like, I need a mental health day, or, you know, this person said this or just different things that I don’t think our generation necessarily would have even recognized as being an issue versus just kind of it being regular day to day life.
C: I agree. Yeah. We were the children of the eighties. Right. We were just told to like, stop being a drama queen, suck it up. Like, why are you a space cadet? And you’re like, oh, well actually I might have undiagnosed ADHD and I have anxiety, pretty crippling social anxiety. I didn’t even understand any of this stuff. It wasn’t even on my radar so I am so grateful that we have the schools, they are overwhelmed, but they do their best to support. We have the dialogue and the language, so I’m grateful my kids are being raised while they’re.
A: I feel like for us, it was like, just be pretty. And like, maybe you’re a little bit smart too. And this, I think it was like the, you know, pretty, pretty princess version of things. It’s like, you’ll just finish school and you’ll get married and then you’ll buy a house and then everything will be fine. And sort of this like sitcom version of what adulthood is. I’m glad that our kids hoping to have permission to have different paths.
C: Yeah, for sure. The fact that they can question their sexuality, their career choices, everything they even want to go to university. My goal is for my kids to live lives that are aligned to their souls and exactly just even asking them those questions is. They’re lucky.
IT’S OKAY TO CHANGE YOUR MIND
A: Yes they are. Although you couldn’t pay me money to go back to high school, even with their own enlightened aspect of it. But for you prior to doing the in-between, did you own a catering company or you were just baking for parties?
C: I was baking from home. So like catering style for events, so birthday parties and that kind of thing. It was called the sweet petite and I started that when my oldest was a year old, I went to pastry school and I’ve always been a baker. So I thought, okay, this is my thing that I’m supposed to do so off I went to pastry school. I ran my home-based bakery for two years and then I stopped once my son was born, I went on maternity leave and I thought I would maybe go back, but we had a third, we moved and I just realized it really wasn’t, it wasn’t the right fit for us.
A: How did you let yourself off the hook with that.? I find a lot of people, the majority of people, feel like they don’t even know what they want to be when they grow up. Even though there’s sort of this myth that as soon as high school is over, it’s like, oh, I’m going to be whatever you’re going to be. How did you find it was pivoting from not doing it anymore to doing something else?
C: It was hard. It took me a long time because my son was born in 2014. So for awhile it wasn’t an issue I was on maternity leave and all of that. It got to the point where I was ready, but because I had invested the money into pastry school, there was that like, what are people gonna think of this? How can I just pivot over here? It feels really flaky. It feels kind of yucky. I just had to ask myself those questions and put it out there. I learned education is never wasted. I feel like I can still take what I know from pastry school and put it into my blogging. I love sharing recipes. I still love baking. Who knows? I might even teach baking classes. You know, I don’t, really know where I’m going, but I know that education is never wasted. And it’s part of who I am. So I also really learned that I love the digital marketing side of that. I was always on social media. I’m still getting emails about orders, so I’m good at that part of it. I loved connecting really why I started it is because I just needed a connection to the outside world. I thought I was going to be a stay at home mom and I realized pretty quickly. I couldn’t be a stay at home mom entirely. I needed that outside connection. So I learned a lot from the experience and I just had to focus on that and tell myself, you know, it’s not flaky. It’s fine. That’s that’s the personal evolution. That’s what it’s all about is exploring this stuff.
A: Too many times we lock ourselves into the, oh, I went to school or, oh, this pays, well, I should maintain this or do it. And it’s like, life is really short. If you’re not super happy or fulfilled by what you’re doing, try to find something else out there. It is never too late to switch and try something new. My grandmother went to college when she was in her mid forties.
C: That’s my dream like that is my, if I won the lottery tomorrow, I would go back to university
A: What do you think you would take?
C: I love psychology. Just human behavior. I just eat it up. So I would for sure take that and I would just be a professional student. I was talking to my daughter the other night. And she said to me, you know, like the pretty princess thing, like if you make a wish, you have to like wish on a star or you have to blow out your candles. Don’t tell anybody your wishes. They won’t come true. I’m like, that’s BS. You need to tell people because you never know, you have to have the courage to speak life into what you want. You then never know who’s going to be able to connect you to what you want. Like if, and especially if we’re trying to create this women, supporting women, like tell us what you want and let’s try and help each other achieve.
SHAME AND GUILT CYCLE
A: Yes. I love that. And I agree with that so fully, and it’s not shameful us wanting things or wishing on things or trying to make things better for ourselves. Like that’s awesome.
C: I think if we can get to the root of that shame and realize like, if it’s in you, it’s in you, like it’s part of you. Why are you trying to squash that and tell yourself this is a shameful that’s not okay. It’s there for a reason and you should explore it
A: Well, and the things that we hold on to turn into guilt, and I feel like. It just grows into this big thing until it consumes us. Whether you’re telling somebody, whether you’re writing about it, I went to this workshop called the peace of mind workshop a couple of years ago now with Marion Baker. She had this exercise where you had to sit in front of a stranger, look at them in their eyes, or like somebody who was at the retreat, but just somebody that you didn’t necessarily know before going to the retreat and you had to not react to whatever they were telling you and you had to come up with for like four minutes straight and we did it back and forth a couple times. All of the things that you feel guilty for, and it could be like, I gained weight or I did some horrible thing, or it could be like simple, but you basically had to just unleash on anything that you could potentially feel like. There was guilt in your body for it. And I left feeling 30 pounds later. When you actually speak it or write it or remove it from your body, it actually does become something that you don’t hold onto and carry in the same way anymore.
C: A hundred percent. I feel like I can fly when I post one of my things on the internet. I’m usually like super sweaty and clammy, but I also feel like I can take flight
A: I’m sure it must get easier.
C: I think it depends because I’m really into digging, stuff up. So I feel like I, like my very first post was about being a PAC mom. Like I felt shame about being a PAC mom, because a lot of moms are like, ugh, the PAC mom. She’s so annoying. She makes me feel bad about myself. So for the first time that felt like a safe place to start. I posted that and, that was something that was really scary for me at the time. And then I post it, you know, like I keep kind of going through my list of like digging up all my shameful little secrets. So I’m still getting clammy and strange about them. But that to me tells me I am on the right track and I’m pushing my comfort zone and I’ve really started trusting myself that if it’s coming up in me then there’s somebody else that needs to hear. That’s part of my confidence growing because I couldn’t have done that three years ago at all.
A: I do think the best things happen outside of our comfort zone. And for anybody listening PACS in Canada are similar, like to a PTA it’s so controversial in schools and it does become like this divide. And I feel like women, especially, we need to look for things that bond us versus divide us and try to wonder why that bitterness or cattiness is coming up. Is it because we feel like society has told us, we have to think of do it a certain way, or whether it’s something where we feel guilt and shame about something. So then we’re going to project it on somebody else.
C: Yeah. There’s a lot of people being triggered by other people and not even really knowing it. So every time your triggered that’s something that you need to look at,
A: It’s an individual issue for ourselves. And I know, especially in the day and age of cancel culture and . Every single time we point the finger at somebody else, we have to really wonder why and how many fingers are pointing back at us.
C: Yeah. A hundred percent.
PSORIASIS AND COMPASSION
A: You had touched on the fact that you had psoriasis. Was that something that you had before 2019? Or is that something that you discovered that you had back then?
C: So I had it when I was a teenager and it was pretty severe and I thought it went away after, I can’t remember how long it was. It felt like forever as a teenager, it was very traumatizing. It went away for 20 years and then that summer of 2019, I got strep throat, which can be a trigger for it. And I planned like, I dunno, five parties and went to LA and like, just packed my schedule. So I was completely run down and got strep throat and then it triggered this severe reaction in me.
A: For anybody who’s not aware, can you explain what psoriasis is?
C: It’s an auto-immune disease. It’s just inflammation, like just itchy, burning rash, and it can be patches like big patches, little patches, but mine was like my entire body and it is so uncomfortable. And they say like that the way to get rid of it is, you know, reduce your stress and sunlight and hydrate reduce alcohol. And I remember I told somebody, I told another mother I had to reduce my stress and she literally laughed in my face. Like, well, that’s impossible. You’re a mother of three. No, I have to reduce my stress. Like I can’t live like, this is terrible. I really cut everything out. Like all the busy work. I remember having to tell a girlfriend, like she wanted me to go visit her. I wanted to go visit her, but I had to drive an hour each way to do that. I was like, I can’t have any stress because it would just get so itchy and I could just feel it. So it really was just protecting my energy in that moment and just hunkering down in my family and working on my wellness and my energy and my wellbeing. So I consider it a gift. I really do. Even when I was a teenager, it did not feel like a gift then, but I look back on it and I think it instilled a sense of compassion in me because like I worked at a grocery store and I had it on the back of my hands. So I would, I would wear like, you know, Never wear like sheer tights. It was like always covering my body, but it was all my hands. So I just felt awful about myself, but it also made me just think like, yeah you just can’t judge people from the outside. And it just, like I said, instilled that compassion into me and to look deeper into some who somebody is,
A: Which is a really important lesson for teenagers as a teenager to learn because teenagers can just be mean and selfish without really being mean and selfish. I can just imagine it must’ve just felt like you had a big target on your head as a teenager
C: I felt pretty awful
A: Did you find that people were mean, or were there like any jerks about it or for the most part, it was more in your head?
C: I think it was totally in my head. I don’t even know if people really knew besides my family. Like I was pretty, I kept it very covered
A: Sometimes things like that if they’re in our head, it becomes like this massive elephant in the room versus it really being what it is.
RE-EVALUATING THE IMPORTANCE OF TIME
A: It’s almost kind of like the last few years in the pandemic where everything stopped and now that things are opening up again or we’re expanding our circles or whatever the case may be, then it’s really deciding oh, do I want to go back to having a schedule like that? Do I want to go back to, you know, making contact with that friend that I’ve lost contact with or were they an energy drain and kind of deciding what our happiness is going to look like going forward and what really serves us.
C: I agree.
A: I think it was a big thing with employers, expecting that people that maybe have been working off site that will want to go back into an office and do the Monday to Friday 9 to 5 thing. I think it was something like 68% of people were like, I never want to go back to the office. And so many people have changed careers because they were like, this, this isn’t worth my time.
C: Yeah, I agree. I think there’s, there’s always signs, right? There’s always, if you look around in any situation, you can really figure out where you should be investing your time and what you can learn from every single situation.
WORKING WITH A PERSONAL STYLIST
A: I saw on your page the other day that you hired a stylist.
C: It was actually a collaboration. It’s very exciting. So I’ve been dreaming about working with the stylists for years. And Tatum is somebody who you, I just, I randomly met. We had like maybe a common friend. She posts pictures of her family that look like photo shoots. And I’m like, my family never looks like that. Like, what is going on here? How did you do this? And she’s like, oh, that was me. I just, I love fashion. I I’d love to do this. And so I’d sound like I’ve been looking for a stylist and the conversation just evolved that way. And she’s like, well, you know, I’ve been kind of considering maybe being a stylist. And I was like, we should work together. Let’s figure something out here. One of my, one of my dreams, my goals is that I just want to help encourage other women to just get into it and explore these things. So the fact that we got to do this, it was so fun. I feel like I’ve made a friend for life. Like she is so funny and confident and I just instantly loved her.
A: And it’s so funny because it’s like, as, as many negative things as Instagram can bring, there is these fantastic connections out there. I saw the meme where it was like the Instagram besties are like the 19 year old version of the drunk girls in the bathroom that would just send to support each other.
C: The fact that that was amazing to be nominated for top Vancouver Mom’s Top 30. I know you as well. And just that community of ladies, I don’t think I would be where I am if it wasn’t for those internet besties, I have, I’ve met like one of them in real life, but yeah, we are each other’s cheerleaders and it’s basically we’re coworkers. Right?
A: And I love the people that have the attitude about it, like that, that are like, let’s work together. What can we do together? Oh, I definitely support that person and shout them out and do all of those things. Vancouver Mom did create a really good group of women every single year. And I guess people because they know his name is escaping me, but they had a gentleman named…
C: James. He was my year.
A: I do think that it’s finding your people out there and Vancouver Mom, shout out to them for being able to create such a, a long-term group. I can’t remember. It’s been like 15 years that they’ve done the top blogger.
A: Have you always been into fashion or was it something that you were like, oh, I don’t know where I fit into this and I want to start dabbling now.
C: I used to work in fashion. So before I had kids, I was the director of operations for a retail company. So I got to go to all the sample sales. I got, you know, I got to order wholesale and it was lovely. I worked in an office, so I dressed up. And then I became a mom and I just stopped all of that. And then I moved to Maple Ridge and it’s so casual here, shockingly casual to me. So yeah, it’s almost easier to not dress up. I did my shopping with Tatum on last Friday and I talked to her yesterday, I’m like I actually haven’t worn any of this stuff yet. Cause I have to like switch my habit now from just grabbing the leggings and whatever it is.
THE ANXIETY OF SHOPPING FOR CLOTHES
A: I think a lot of people it’s like, we’ve pretty much just lived in like pajamas and sweat pants, because we’re not going anywhere anyways, that it’s almost like I even find that, that it’s like, I forget how to dress like a grownup to be out in the world where other people can see me.
C: A hundred percent. I also like just can’t stand being uncomfortable anymore. Like I really can’t have tight pants and they all feel tight.
A: Well, an understanding too, that if they all are sort of feeling tighter, that style, that to not get obsessed with maybe the size of things and to sort of let yourself find what works for your body and what your new style feels like because even if something was how we presented or how we wanted to dress two or three years ago we may feel completely different and the styles have changed to wanting to do it now.
C: Yeah. I follow Charlie Goss she’s a stylist on Instagram or in Ontario. The styles have completely changed in the last three years and we’ve all been locked down. One of the things that surprised me is just how many people are like, yeah. I feel well lost too, I have no idea how to do this anymore. And it’s scary to go into the stores and try on high-waisted pants.
A: Well, and even that, being able to go into a store and try on, because I find a lot of the times you can go into the store and you can purchase, but it’s very rare that you, although it is changing a little bit now, That you haven’t really been able to try stuff on, you kind of have to take it home and, hope that it fits and then try to take it back or ship it back. I don’t know about you, but like my brain, I can never remember to ship things back. So I essentially buy it just to donate.
C: Yeah. I buy things and I’m like, this is not wonderful, but it’s, it’s going to stay here. And then you’re like, one day you’re like, oh, I’ll just throw this on. And then you just walk around your life, not feeling great. So I’m excited to invest some energy into feeling good when I live my life, whether that’s just momming around or networking or whatever it is, I want to feel like I’ve put some effort in.
A: Unless you’re a celebrity. It wouldn’t have even occurred to me to find a stylist or to reach out, or I do think it’s fantastic. It’s like you can have all of these outfits and have fantastic clothes, but not necessarily have the ability anymore to be like, oh, this top in this sweater. And all of those things and actually put them together. So I think that that would be a massive benefit to being able to work with a stylist or somebody who actually knows how to put stuff together like a grownup.
C: Yeah. I had bought a jacket and I bought it and I was like, there’s no way in hell I could ever wear this jacket and inside of my closet. And then Tatum came and was like, this is amazing. You should be wearing this. And now it’s like my favorite jacket, but she just gives me that little confidence. Cause I love fashion. I love exploring and playing with it. So I have some fun pieces, but like you said, not knowing how to actually incorporate those into my life. She’s giving me those ideas and the confidence to actually go for it
SMALL TOWN VS BIG CITY FASHION
A: Sometimes that’s all we need is somebody to just kind of agree with us, for us to feel like we can do it. I think sometimes without that we do get in our head too much. And then it becomes a, oh, I could never, and it is hard because I know I’m in Abbotsford. Abbotsford, Mission, Maple Ridge are very, not necessarily small, but small town mentality for things. So then if you do get really dressed up, unless you’re coming home from the office there, people are like, where are you coming from? What are you doing? That it’s hard to get fancy at the grocery store.
C: It is, but I really want to try, I’m going to try. I want, you know, what’s the saying like don’t let the place change. You changed the place or something. I don’t know. Whatever that saying is I really want to try.
A: Maple Ridge in Pitt Meadows is growing so much. So maybe that shift, especially with more people from the city, moving out there, that it wouldn’t be so like unheard of to be in heels at Walmart.
C: That’s the thing I miss the most about living in Vancouver is that even if I go to science world, everybody is dressed so differently and you can tell they put effort into what they’re doing. Yeah. I love that. I want that. So I’m going to try and keep working on the confidence to do that.
BODY ISSUES IN THE PANTS AISLE
A: Was there anything that surprised you with working with the stylist that you didn’t think that you would feel that way or think a certain way about it?
C: What surprised me, definitely the body issues, like just, you know, always kind of comparing to my 20 year old body pants are crucial. I am so terrible at buying pants. And so she’s helped me get a few pairs of pants. I typically go to the store, try to buy some pants, can’t do it. So I buy some random shirt that goes with nothing. So just even coming home with like three new pairs of pants, like I bought the shirt like years ago, I’ve never worn it because I don’t have pants to wear it with. So that was good but the other thing is how many lies I have told myself. So I heard myself thinking the other day, almost this belief that like women that do look put together are selfish or they’re unapproachable. Like, why am I thinking that like, that’s something that I aspire to do and be, and I still have that little programming in my head that’s telling me that like, oh, she’s, selfish because she spends time on herself. That’s not cool so I’d like to deprogram that.
A: That’s a hard one and I think a lot of women we’re taught and it’s so ingrained in us to, take care of everybody else first. So it does, it feels really wrong and really selfish when we take care of ourselves. And that’s so silly because we really should be taking care of ourselves first so that we can fully take care of other people, but I definitely would feel the same about that. It does feel hard to take time for yourself and then just even clothes in general, whether it’s pants, whether it’s finding a sweater, sometimes it can be so hard to find like even length wise if. basically taller than I would say 5’5″ finding the right inseam for things, or if you’re shorter, everything is always super long so then you end up having to tailor it, which turns the cut a completely different way. Even say you were a size five buying from multiple different brands that size five can fit completely different. So if you’re somebody that gets hung up on the size of things, which I personally did when I was younger. If it was above a certain size, I wouldn’t even try it. That it’s getting over just that, piece of it, that all of the clothes can fit differently. They can be extra stretchy, extra long, extra whatever. And it also doesn’t mean anything about us. If you’re a size three in one store and a size eight in the other. And that eight could fit smaller than the size three to begin with.
C: That was one of the funny, when I went with Tatum, I had been working on one pair of jeans for ages cause she came and she did a purge with me. And that was basically the only pair that made it out of the purge. So I’ve been wearing them over and over. My goal was I have to get jeans and I swear I tried on 30 pairs of jeans and. They fit so differently and like one size up because all of a sudden was gaping everywhere. One size. I couldn’t get it on my thighs. And I’m like, and I kept hearing myself say like, maybe I’m just not meant for jeans. And she’s like, no, do not let these jeans make you think that way. This is not true. We will find. That’s fine. It’s whatever, it’s a process.
A: It’s awesome that she was there to sort of cheerlead you through it because I probably would have given up and I own probably like 10 pairs of black leggings for that entire reason, because it was I don’t know how to make my body fit the jeans instead of finding a pair of jeans that fit my body.
C: Yeah. I agree.
FINDING YOUR INNER DAD
A: Do you have any other collaboration’s plans for coming up that you’d like us to know about?
C: Not at this time. I’m actually about to head off for, at a mom’s weekend with one of my girlfriends, she has a cabin outside of Kamloops. So we’re going to go up there. And honestly, I’m just looking forward to unplugging. I haven’t been away since summer, so.
A: That’s amazing and good for you for taking the time to unplug and saying, you know, the family is going to be fine without me. I am going to get away and do my own thing. I think that even though the mom guilt can feel super overwhelming and selfish, it really does them a service for when we’re like, okay bye I’m going to go. So that they can see that they’re safe with everybody else. And it really gives you the chance just to like kick your feet up, have a glass of wine. If that’s something that you do and just completely decompress. Our girlfriends are so important or are our friends in general that it’s so nice to have that connection and that time away. And especially, even if it sorta feels like a staycation staying in BC, I don’t know about you, but I am so sick of my house to stay in one place, but I just, I want to travel everywhere and anywhere, but here.
C: Yeah. I want to miss my family too. There’s been no missing each other lately, which is on top of each other. So it’ll be good. It’s that guilt of wanting to go. We’ve been planning this for months and for some reason I didn’t even put it in my calendar. And then the weekend filled up and I was like, oh my goodness, like, I’ve got to cancel this. They can’t survive without me. You know, there’s a birthday party and there’s this and this can’t happen anymore. I tried to reschedule and it’s not happening. We’re going, my husband’s amazing. He’s just making it all work. My parents are stepping up now. They will be fine without me. But that guilt definitely tried to tell me that I should not be going
A: It’s a loud voice that sort of creates this, a mom guilt and it’s. And not that dads don’t have it to some degree, but generally speaking, we always hear about mom guilt. We never hear about dad guilt. So it’s like, we just need to sort of take in our, inner dad and be like, it’s all good. You can do it
C: Yeah, definitely. I remember my husband has played hockey twice a week, the entire time we’ve known each other. So through newborns, through all of that. I remember when my second was a baby just crying in the kitchen and I was like, how come you can still do hockey twice a week and I can only shave one leg at, you know, in a shower. And the other one is still prickly, just the kitchen breakdown. We have to make ourselves a priority. Nobody’s going to do it for us. My husband is amazing, but it didn’t really even cross his mind until I brought it up. Like, yeah, this is not equal. And now we need to shift and make, find ways to me. Work for both of us.
A: I think women, we are really bad at assuming that because we can read different cues or we think about things in a different perspective that we assume everybody around us is going to be mind readers. So it’s also remembering to say, if you’re going to do this these two days a week, then I need to go for coffee two days a week, or I need to be able to shower without having babies on my shower floor. Like I just have to do that, but I think it’s one of those things until we kind of say, hey, this is what I need, this is what’s going to fulfill me, this is what I’m going to need to have like an equal partner. I think that we just expect people to know when they just don’t know.
MOM ROLES VS DAD ROLES
C: Totally. I mean, and also this is kind of stereotypical, but our partners, our partners didn’t see it 30 years ago. Right. So I know for my husband, I consider him a very progressive husband, but he didn’t see his dad doing equal partnership so it’s not that he’s a bad guy. He just, it’s not ingrained in him. He didn’t see it as a kid so I’m really grateful my son is seeing what an equal partner looks like. I think it’ll be great for our daughters, right? Like if you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your daughters. You know, our partners should just because we have, I don’t know why I feel like this is a bad thing. I was going to say just because we have vaginas doesn’t mean we are responsible for the entire mental load and the dinners and the absolutely everything in life. I was talking to Laura, she’s a therapist. She was one of the Vancouver Moms the year that I was and she said that in, in homosexual relationships, they have those conversations about like, who’s doing what, and in our relationship, it’s just assumed. We just went with like the traditional gender roles of, you know, you do the garbage, I do the dinner. And so yeah, you need to get clear on that stuff and communicate on it.
A: And I think that the shift has definitely come in. And even if we just highlight, say the last two years, while maybe both parents were home more, I think traditionally because more men in the sense of looking at our parents’ generation would work outside the home. And our mothers would have worked inside the home that it was just sort of more assumed that they would do household things, being that they were in the house. I think with our generation, partnerships, both people work. So then the idea that, you know, moms are going to go work a 40 hour week and then come home and still try to balance it all. There’s just not enough hours in the day, even if you’re , a stay-at-home mom. With one kid or multiple kids there still isn’t enough hours in the day to be able to keep your kid alive and do all of the things like some happy homemaker did potentially in the forties. Like I just think it’s such a myth that women can do it all and balance it all all at one time. And that I do love that our kids are getting to see us outsource more. Maybe the grandparents are helping more. The idea that dads are babysitters. I just don’t think are the thing anymore.
C: That really makes me sick to my stomach.
A: I hate it so much. And you always they’ll see that, oh, he babysat. It’s like, no, co-parented like, he’s a parent. This is just as much his responsibility. And again, I would say I would let them off the hook maybe the first year, if you breastfeed, but then the rest of the time, it’s like, you can do everything that I can do.
C: And that was one of the things I felt shame around. Because I have been a stay-at-home parent and I, want it to be the perfect stay-at-home parent. I felt like I had to like have the healthy meals and I had to work out this many times a week and I had to do all of these things. I hate meal planning. Like I don’t care. I am so occupied on so many other things that I really don’t want to think about it. And I had to have that conversation and be like, just because I’m the female doesn’t mean that that is my job. So we’ve outsourced it. And we used, you know Hello Fresh or whatever it is. Now he comes in and he does one or two meals a week. I’m not interested in being the sole provider of everybody’s meals constantly.
A: It’s my biggest pet peeve in my daily life that it’s like, my grandmother lives with us. So it’s like my grandmother and my daughter will be like, oh, what’s for dinner. It’s like, can I get a suggestion? Oh, I don’t care. I don’t want to be responsible for choosing all the meals for all of the people for all of my life. Like I just don’t want to do it. I feel like my idea of being a grownup is almost like the Jetsons that I was like, we’re going to have all this technology and be able to do all these things and we do, but it’s like, I want to be able to push that button and have our food.
C: Right. I joke, I always joke with my husband. I wish there was just a pill that we could take that would like give you all the nutrition and all that. The planning, the getting the cooking, the cleaning. That’s so much of your life. I think this is a common issue with people with ADHD, right? Where like feeding yourself as an issue. It is not efficient.
A: I had to see a nutritionist because I was realizing that I was basically having coffee for breakfast because that’s how much I would give myself enough time and convinced myself that I couldn’t stop for 15 minutes. And then I would skip lunch because I was busy doing work stuff and then all of a sudden at 3:30pm, I was like starving because I had essentially skipped 12 hours worth of eating and then like bingeing and it would become a whole cycle. So I ended up having a nutritionist suggest and granted it’s not a cost-effective suggestion, but she suggested getting those party tray fruit platters, and then it’s already pre-cut I don’t have to think about it. I just have to remember to scoop it out of the thing. So we’ve been doing that for like the last year for breakfast because it’s nice and easy and it doesn’t take a lot of time and effort. We were doing. The meal delivery for salads and stuff. So again, a quick grab and go, but at least it was a little bit healthier than a grab and go of chips because that also wasn’t really beneficial for like my brain to maintain energy or anything else. But it’s so hard with that kind of stuff, to be able to rationalize taking the time to just do basic tasks.
C: Yeah, I agree. And that’s where, that’s where my partner can step up. If that’s not a strength of mine, then he can step up and he can help out in that area. And I have other strengths and I can decode every word that our kids say and understand, you know, like we all have our strengths, right? Like I know my babies. I know when they’re off, I know what they need. I can’t do meal planning. I have no desire,
A: I don’t know about you, but I don’t necessarily remember how many meals a week my mom cooked. I know I was always fed. I know that like, I didn’t have issues with that, but I don’t have the, oh yeah she cooked seven days a week and everything was perfect. And I think for our children, the core memories that they’re going to have are really the fact that they were loved and that we did create open space to have communication with them. Not necessarily like I served you fruit for breakfast, you know what I mean?
C: So kids will all be okay. Yes. Just keep repeating that mantra in my head.
A: Well, and if not there’s therapy. Where can people find you online?