In the two weeks since we have been focusing on telling other women about the Strong Mother movement, we have come across countless mothers whose stories we want to share...and women who we would love to represent us and Strong as a Mother in their own circles, spheres of influence and communities, both in person and online. But it was obvious who we wanted to ask when it came to naming our very first brand ambassador.
The very embodiment of our expression Strong as a Mother, our first brand ambassador is a devoted mother, astute businesswoman, supportive friend and inspiration for healthy living.
Mother of one (Abby), 38 years old
Lives in: Squamish, British Columbia, Canada
Photo by Jannicke Kitchen.
Where in life were you when you had Abby?
I was in a very busy...almost the height of my former career. I was the operations manager for a national catering company that primarily serviced remote service sites. So locations like Nunavut, Alert Bay, all throughout B.C. in the middle of nowhere. And usually high need, high number, lots of logistical challenges, lots of logistical planning. I was overseeing anywhere from 100 to 300 staff over the duration of my position there. And so I found out that I was having a baby in the midst of that!
It was unexpected, but it was just a thing. I was 28, I had met Abby’s dad and we worked together at the time. I thought "You know what, I’m 28 and I have so much going for me right now and I have wanted a child, maybe this isn’t exactly how I envisioned it, but here it is."
I had Abby at home with a midwife, I had a natural home birth. I had Abby and then life just kind of evolved from there.
My work kind of evolved from there as well. You have no idea what you’re doing. You’re kind of just muddling your way through I think, and that’s just what I did. I think I evolved and worked and adapted, and made plans that worked around both my job and my daughter.
At some point before Abby started going to school I realized that I wanted more of a home base and I wanted to stay put. So, we moved to Squamish in 2009, to put down some roots. My position was continually pulling me away, and I wanted a little more time with my daughter, so I ended up leaving that position in 2011. That's when I started my first company, which is called Grassroots Consulting.
What do you do at Grassroots?
Grassroots Consulting basically provides training to First Nations youth to gain employment in the remote service sector. I provide training for them to gain entry level positions in the remote service sector. So they’ll serve in camps as housekeeping or entry level kitchen positions. I created a curriculum and I teach and help with the transition into employment. It might be their first job, so I kind of aid in that transition and support the remote service sector as well.
What is your second business all about?
It is called Bungalow 968, and I am a purveyor and supplier of rustic and vintage décor for events and weddings. I also refinish some of the pieces that I have in my vintage collection, and I use a particular kind of paint. I have kind of branched out and started teaching workshops that show people how to use that paint.
We also have other do-it-yourself workshops such as a barnboard headboard workshop and I'm partnering with other local creatives for classes like tapestry weaving, wreath-making workshops (I've partnered with Billies Flower House) and terrarium workshops, lots of do-it-yourself.
Within my warehouse I have my rental space, I hold the workshops, and I have a little retail space where I retail the paint that I use to refinish furniture, and some decor items, brushes, wax and handles and drawer pulls.
You are a single mom - do you mind talking about that a little bit?
Abby’s dad and I were never really together, we just had an unexpected pregnancy. We definitely had some challenges between the two of us as we worked through trying to co-parent and struggled a bit with our relationship. We did end up going through Provincial Family Court for almost seven years and that was certainly trying.
Being on the other side of it now – honestly, I wouldn’t take it back. I wouldn’t because it definitely made me who I am today and it’s part of who I am, it’s brought some surprising things into my life and definitely made me stronger.
I now can say that we have definitely reconciled and things are going incredibly well, and we are almost to the point where we are very friendly again.
It’s absolutely incredible and it’s what I wished for with my whole heart with this process. When you’re first entering into say a separation or a child custody situation, the light at the end of the tunnel is very dim. But if I can get from where I was seven years ago to where I’m standing right now, anybody can do it. It’s a challenge but you can do it.
I’m so grateful to be where I am now.
What is your day-to-day like?
Right now we’re in a shared parenting agreement so Abby is with me for one week on and one week off. I still see her throughout those weeks – often there’s activities so there’s definitely flexibility there, it’s not an all or nothing scenario. So it’s a week on, a week off, and summer holidays are kind of scheduled out as well. I can schedule my life and my business life around that.
How is it for you when she's not around?
My best answer to that is of course I miss her. Of course I do. I miss the cuddles and the snuggles. But you kind of have to pull yourself out of the equation and ask, what’s really best for my child.
I have heard of other situations where there’s one night here, one night there, one night back here, two days here, alternating weekends there, a kind of constant back and forth schedule where I almost feel like the child’s head is kind of spinning.
In a lot of separations or divorce it definitely becomes this emotional power struggle and unfortunately the children become pawns in it. The court of law will always reference the best interests of the child, they always will come back to it. It is a simple statement but it’s very hard to wrap your head around that.
In my opinion it’s to children’s benefit to see each parent, but if you’re putting a 24-hour window on that, they don’t have that time to decompress and kind of relax in to it. So for us, we take that time to get in the groove with each parent and re-attach when she comes back to the other parent.
Meg, you are in amazing physical condition. What role does fitness play in your life and health?
The gym is definitely a constant. I don’t know what I’d do without it. It’s brought me so many things – so many things that I didn’t expect. Certainly there’s the physical element – I’m stronger, my pants fit better, that kind of thing. But there’s also the mental aspect. That kind of thing is for me the bigger piece and the bigger attraction. Going there and having that hour of time just to myself. Being physical certainly works some things out - it lowers my anxiety level and makes things more manageable.
And just being able to achieve things that I never thought were possible. On my Instagram there is a video of me doing a three-foot box jump. If you would have told me that I would be able to do that a year and a half ago I would have laughed in your face.
And that translates into life. It’s brought me so much strength, in every sense of the word. If I can do those things there, I can push myself to do more elsewhere. I translate that into my life, my work, my mothering, and it’s just brought me so much.
Not to mention the community there as well, the empowerment and the people that I’m surrounded by. It brought a whole other wonderful unexpected layer to my life that I really, really enjoy.
What is the hardest part about being a mom?
I think it’s probably the self-doubt. That whole guilty mom mind. It’s that constant, I don’t want to say second-guessing yourself but maybe self-doubt. Like is this it, am I doing it right, should I do this, or should I do this. It’s that constant kind of internal dialogue that I find most challenging.
I think with everything in life, like business, life, relationships, everything, you have to take everything with a grain of salt. You’re not going to hit it out of the park every single time, you just have to try your best to just do what you can and be satisfied that you’re actually putting in an effort.
Doing good isn’t even the right terminology – doing what you can. There’s so many of us who are in the same boat and we are just doing the best that we can.
Photo by Jannicke Kitchen.
What is your favourite part about being a mom?
I think it’s definitely the little surprises and seeing the person that she’s becoming. Some of the things that come out of her mouth, I’m just like, “Wow. Wow!! Where did you learn that?!” and I’m not talking about swears! I mean a really intelligent thing coming out of this strong little being that’s eight years old that I was a part of creating. Just that is the biggest reward for me.
Seeing that little smile on her face, hearing her laugh or seeing enjoying something, those little pieces. If you put those together it’s like a puzzle.
Photo by Jannicke Kitchen.
Megan has been recognized as a Woman on the Rise and is one of two recipients of the Accelerate Scholarship for the WNORTH Conference, happening in Whistler this Wednesday through Friday, April 20-22nd.
We are thrilled that she will be representing Strong as a Mother when she meets many other active, intelligent, hardworking and well-rounded women at this event. Stay tuned for more from our first brand ambassador very soon.