Sage Wisdom From Our Saje Team on Their Moms and on Motherhood
Our very own Saje Team Members share their personal stories.
The role that a mom plays in the family unit cannot be overstated. So often, these are the people we’ve looked to for guidance, assurance and friendship as we’ve grown. The old saying goes, “a mother’s work is never done”, and the long days and nights, compromise and sacrifice that so many moms make every year is testament to that. As we prepare to celebrate our moms and mother figures this year, we’ve asked some of our Team Members to reflect on their own personal journeys to motherhood and the relationships they’ve built with their moms. We’re not crying, you’re crying.
Kathy Zito, our Director of Regulatory Affairs, on her journey in motherhood
Being a mother has enabled me to acquire unique skills and life knowledge that I otherwise may not have had the opportunity to experience on my own. It is the most fulfilling hat that I wear. You learn as much from the lessons your child teaches you, as the lessons you think you impart on your child.
You will not always be perfect and at times you will wish you handled situations differently. Forgive yourself for those moments when you fail to show up as your best self, and apply those lessons to other parts of your life, as they are instrumental in your own evolution as a human being.
My daughter and I continue to share so many emotional experiences – joyful, painful, peaceful, adventurous, comical, stressful; this is what I love the most. The joint history and life experiences between my daughter and myself have created a unique connection between us. We were once on a flight that went into distress mid-air. As the small plane started to go down, we held hands and turned to each other. I said, “ I think we’re going down”. My daughter quietly said, “uh-huh”. We looked at each other and held tight; with no fear, we were both calm. The pilot managed a safe emergency landing and we laughed hysterically when our feet finally touched the ground. I remember thinking though, that it was going to be alright either way… because we were together.
Alycia Gillis, our Marketing Campaigns Specialist, on her relationship with mom
Belonging and connection are two of my strongest core values and when I look back now, it’s easy to see where those came from. Growing up, my mum was always welcoming strays into our house when they had nowhere else to go. This was awesome when it was a flock of ducklings she found on the side of the highway, litters of kittens, or the boa constrictor that lived with us for a few months when I was a toddler. It was less exciting for us when it was inviting strangers she met at the grocery store on Christmas eve to Christmas dinner, but that never stopped her.
My mum is deeply driven by the desire to ensure everyone she comes across has somewhere they feel safe, loved and fed. Currently, she owns and operates a small restaurant in rural Nova Scotia that has pivoted during COVID to providing fresh, warm meals to families that need a hand. This Mother’s Day (and every day) I am so proud that she passed her values, her sarcastic sense of humor, and her great hair on to me.
Sarah Dohm, our Senior Creative Services Manager & mother of 2
Becoming a mother gave me vivid memories of my own childhood. In particular, there are moments with my children when I have flashbacks to a similar scenario with my own mum; the love I feel is at times overwhelming. My first child was around 4 weeks old when the “love wave” finally hit me. It was at this moment I first understood how boundless and all encompassing my mum’s love is for me, as I recognized this phenomenon with my own child.
My best advice for new moms? Learn to delegate immediately. When you are able to share responsibility, you will strengthen your relationships with other adults around you. Ask for help and figure out what will make you feel secure and reassured that the new baby will be fine, even if you sleep.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from becoming a mother is how far you can push yourself. It’s challenging, because working in extremes and pushing yourself to your limits can become a dangerous normal. This is a common thread in motherhood, and it’s our responsibility to keep our minds open and conversations going on how we can be the ones that will change the norm.
Alex Burrows, our PR & Influencer Specialist, expecting her first child in summer 2020
Being a mom-to-be feels surreal. I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by incredible women and mothers throughout my life and somehow it seems strange to think of myself as one of them. Will I measure up? Will I be able to give my child everything I’ve been given? I’m filled with questions about the future, because expecting my first child comes with both uncertainty and gratitude. Gratitude for the ability to grow a new life, for all the love my little one has already received and for the village of support he and I have.
My body has surprised me in how well it has coped with growing a human! I have been fortunate to feel much like my regular self throughout my pregnancy; while my body is changing every day, it seems to know just what to do. My favourite part about being an expectant mom has been bonding with other soon-to-be and new mamas. From getting excited about feeling those first kicks, to connecting about our fears and our hopes, the sense of community has been a welcome comfort.
Cristina Fernandez, our Director of Retail Operations & mom of 2
I became a mom at a young-ish age (in my early twenties), when I was still figuring out who I was. My identity became all about being a mother, and my life was all about my family. Fast-forward to a few years later: my marriage had ended and that little family I had centered my life around now looked a whole lot different. So, I had a choice - to fall apart, or to rebuild. I chose to rebuild, mainly because I had to, for my two daughters.
What I learned in the process of starting over was probably the best lesson I've learned to date about motherhood: I am the best version of myself, and therefore the best mom to my kids, when I allow myself to be more than just a mom. I've found that I'm also a leader who loves to work, an adventurer who loves to travel, and an introvert who sometimes likes to sneak away for a bath and some me-time. Now that my kids are a bit older, I love that I get to share all the pieces of me with them, so they know that it is possible to have it all, and be it all.
Jenna Quaglia, our Senior People Manager, on what being a mother means to her
Becoming a mother taught me many things about myself, as well as about true responsibility, more patience and endless love. What I thought I knew, and what I heard others say, was this inexplicable, endless love you will feel for this new being you’ve created. And yet here we are, and my love for her is so much deeper and greater than I ever could have imagined.
Every parent has a unique experience and it’s important to not compare your experience to others or let other’s experience shape yours. My favourite part about motherhood is watching her learn new things, see things for the first time or her noticing the everyday nuances of life and seeing them as exciting and interesting.
As a mum who works full-time outside the home, I’m challenged to manage the guilt I experience, in association with not only working but in taking time for myself. Sometimes it makes me feel like I’m not doing enough and when that happens, I lean on my personal mantra: I am a great mum and I’m doing the best I can!
Fanny Lau, our Social Content Specialist, on the role her mom has played in her life
My mom and her family immigrated to Canada with limited resources and essentially started their lives over, including the language they knew. I’m inspired by her resilience to uproot not only her life, but to also create new experiences for herself. I remember her sharing stories about travelling with her sisters to California, and it became a place I had always wanted to explore because of that.
I can’t imagine it was easy for my mom to raise a second generation Canadian daughter who didn’t always finish her homework and insisted on going to her first concert downtown at the age of 13. When I look back, I appreciate more than ever all of the effort that went into raising my brother and I. Even though we don’t always see eye to eye on things (then and now), I feel loved looking back at childhood photos of all of the matching sets of clothes she made me and to this day, she still makes my favourite meals.
Kellie Sawkins, our Senior Director of Digital & mother of twin girls
This might be a super cheesy and analytical response, but becoming a mom taught me that there really is no capacity to love. Before I had my twin daughters, Mae and Aubrey, I thought love was kind of like a pie chart. If the love I felt for my husband, family and friends equalled 100%, then I would need to make room for Mae and Aubrey by pulling away from others in my life. Not the case! I got two more whole pies.
I’ve received awesome advice as a mother that I will happily re-share. The first is to go outside every day. Even on the days when it feels impossible to get out of the house, do it – it feels so good and can completely reset a hard day or add to a really good day.Secondly, have a shower every day; before noon! It’s amazing how quickly a shower can transform you into feeling human again. The third piece of advice is to ask for help. If a friend or family member comes over and asks if they can do something for you, take them up on it. It might be throwing in a load of laundry, picking up lunch on the way to your house or watching your baby while you lie down for a nap. It helps. Lastly, listen to your intuition. There are so many opinions out there on every aspect of parenthood, and you have to do what feels right for you and your family. There really is no ‘right’ way to be a mom.
Trevor Ellestad, our Education and Communications Manager, on the special bond he shares with his mom
Growing up, I had enormous privilege earned from my parent’s hard work. My mother was the daughter of immigrants in a large hard-working farm family that rose before the sun to milk the cows, always singing. I grew up surrounded by strong women. My grandmother, my aunties, my cousins, my mother – these are the people who shaped me, my love of music and my love of the dirt under my fingernails.
It was the women around me that inspired me to pick up a guitar and sing, just to see what my fingers and vocal chords could create because I wanted so badly to keep up with all the strong female voices singing around the campfires and the kitchen sinks. It was the women around me that brought me to the soil, teaching me what green things to eat, what green things to pull and what green things to leave to grow. It is each of them that I think of when I plant a seed or look out over a garden bed of wildflowers.
For all the amazing women around me, there are things that only my mother could teach me. That’s because she is a metaphorical acrobat, a truly flexible human defined by her ability to be strong and resilient when times get tough. When I needed it, she taught me how to cultivate some of her courage. Her greatest gift to me was the ability to stay with myself and those I love through any pain that crossed my path, through any sickness or any struggle. It is because of her that I will never feel alone.
To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power.
— Maya Angelou