This month’s special Mother’s Day Thriving Campus feature is Kelly Eaton, Program Lead for Occupational and Preventive Health in Human Resources.
Thriving Campus features, testimonials, contributions and personal experiences linked to health and wellbeing from UBC staff.
When I was 25, a psychic told me I would have twins – a boy and a girl – which caused me to question her authenticity since I had never planned on having children. So on a recent trip to visit my sister in New York, when a shifty palm-reader told me the exact same thing, I chuckled and explained to her that I didn’t plan on having any more children. My husband and I are guardians to two children, a boy and a girl, who came to live with us five years ago when their mother was struggling to care for them on her own. The palm-reader looked at me with certainty and explained in her (fake?) accent, “Exactly, you got two at once, just like twins. It is fate.”
Our family is unconventional. The kids call me Auntie, not Mom. We share custody with their biological mother. We skipped the baby and toddler stages of parenthood and became insta-parents overnight of a four-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy. Five years later, I can say with confidence that moms – in all forms – have no idea what the heck we are doing most of the time.
Parenting Lessons Learned:
- Do not nap unless children are supervised. Waking up to black permanent sharpie all over white kitchen cabinets and upholstered furniture because your four-year-old wanted to “make art” is avoidable. Use rigorous A Clockwork Orange-style eyelid propping.
- When children are supervised, nap. Sometimes sleep is the most exciting part of my day.
- Kids like to say “I know” a lot. Do not be fooled by this – they don’t know. When Elijah was seven, he told me he already knew where babies came from. Luckily I asked him to confirm his knowledge and was able to correct him when he whispered with quiet confidence, “from the bum”.
- Just when you think you have this parenting thing figured out, they will change their ways and pretend they’ve always liked broccoli or they never liked the colour pink, or that you never told them that shampoo was for hair washing and shaving cream was for adults (not for hair washing).
- Refer to #2.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a mother Auntie?
- When they make me laugh.
- When I witness them experiencing new things for the first time, like exploring a new city during our travels or eating a spoonful of wasabi on a dare.
- When I get letters like this for Mother’s Day: