• Deirdre Maloney


I was out for lunch with a girlfriend of mine and oddly enough, it was while we were on separate vacations in California. I was there for a winter escape from Canada with the entire gang, including Chester, our King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. We rented a beautiful home just steps away from the beach, right in the middle of Venice. This is one of my favourite places to staycation as I find I can replicate my life the easiest here. Or is it possible that I’m really able to fall into the life I want to be living? There is a very Zen vibe to the place and it really brings out my inner yogi. I’m able to get in touch with the outdoors, yoga, and meditation so well there.

My girlfriend was in town for a week and we made a point to hook up, which is something I love because it’s easy to feel disconnected from home when away for months at a time, even with the power of social media.

Before lunch, we decided to meet up at the Stretch Lab: a place where you have an assisted stretch for an hour! It’s heaven and then some. I’d had this type of stretch through a personal trainer but it was only a small portion of a one-hour session. The full hour assisted stretch really goes deep and the poses are held for at least a minute each. I highly recommend this service and I think it would be a great business to start up in other major cities, as this is the first location I’ve seen. We went to a very Veg-friendly restaurant called True Food Kitchen. We had Jon and a friend of hers join us at this point. The conversation, along with a few martinis, was flowing. All of us are cyclists so, naturally, we spent quite a bit of time chatting

about cycling routes, trips, bikes, and suffering. Then the conversation gets a little deeper, more personal, which I love, and my daughter Monika comes up. Monika was just about to turn 20 and at the time her daughter was only 12 weeks old. I was saying how proud I was of her and that she is proving to be a great mom. My friend asks: what is she doing that shows you she’s a great mom? My response flew out of me with ease: She is so connected to her physically and spiritually. She has never left the baby alone with anyone, including me. My friend looked a little thrown back and responds with: you don’t need to be with your child ALL the time to be a good mom. I was a little hurt by her response but quickly realized that she missed the deeper meaning of what I was saying. The conversation continued to flow and we didn’t get a chance to clean it up.

It stayed with me afterward because I felt she had completely misunderstood what I had meant which was that she had just turned 20, is single, and only wants to spend time with her baby. The baby is bringing her so much joy, where normally before pregnancy, parties, shopping, and unsavoury friends were her go-to for fun and entertainment. For us, seeing her commit this level of care and selflessness was a testament to her as a mother; it’s been beautiful to watch this unfold. I believed that my girlfriend was possibly offended because she was hoping to be a mom but did not intend to spend every waking moment with her future children, her concluding that I would think she wasn’t the greatest mom. I do not believe this at all. I leave my kids, even as babies, all the time. In fact, the more I have, the more I need to leave. Alone time for myself, and for Jon and I, is crucial to my well-being and the happiness in our marriage.

This made me reflect on the type of mom I am, and I thought back to when Monika was a baby. I was exactly like her, I had just turned 19 and she and I were inseparable. In fact, I often say that having Monika saved my life, but that’s for another story…

I also realize that, because I’m a homeschooling mom, it may appear to some that I see this as the best way to raise children. It is the best way, for ME. I don’t think spending this much time with your kids is for everyone. God, I can barely stand it on some days, but it works for us. Kids need love, compassion, spirituality, and a connection to nature. We can offer this to them in many different time frames, it doesn’t have to be 24/7 to work or to be enough. Jon and I also want to be traveling… a lot. Pulling your kids out of school for half the year isn’t favourable on the teacher side of the equation.

I did follow up with my friend and funny enough, she didn’t remember that part of the conversation! I find this extremely interesting and such a great lesson: had I not brought it to her, I would have continued to think we had this issue between us. When you all see me living my best life, know that I’m doing what works best for me and that I have no judgement on what works best for you. Lately, I find myself really listening to the stories I’m telling myself and I realize that we all do this to some degree. Let’s check in with each other so we both get the correct one.

Be Well Friends!