{FAMILY} What Makes A Mom

This year I had the opportunity to work on the fourth annual Leading Moms event – a day full of inspiring talks from extraordinary moms. As always, the speaker lineup was filled with an array of  diverse women, all invited to share their stories and experiences with an engaged audience. Every year, whether I’ve attended as a guest or as a member of the event organizing team, I’ve always left the event feeling connected and inspired, and I’m sure this year’s event did not disappoint.

While I was unable to attend the actual event this year, there were some negative comments shared on the event’s site that left a bad taste in my mouth, so I wanted to share my thoughts.

One of this year’s speakers was Morgane Oger, a transgender activist, leader in social change, and mom of two young children. Some commenters questioned her validity as a “mom” and challenged the Leading Moms event team on the choice to include a trans mom on the panel of speakers. And everyone is entitled to their own opinion – if they don’t like the choice of speakers, they are not obliged to attend the event.

Haters gonna hate.

When the speaker lineup was first revealed, the thought that Morgane was a trans mom didn’t even cross my mind. My only thought was that I was excited to hear her story, to learn more about her perspective as a mom and the experiences, struggles and successes she had faced on her journey towards motherhood.

I can understand the fear of the unknown. I know that not everyone is inclusive, and that some people feel the need to express themselves when they are strongly opposed to another person’s opinions and perspectives. But what I will never understand, is the need to attack another person’s personal choices – choices that in no way affect their own lives – in a way that is so hurtful, and on a platform that is so public.

Many poisonous words were slung on the topic of trans moms, but what bothered me most about the backlash was the argument that the only thing that makes a person a mother is the ability to physically give birth to a child. As an adoptee, this comment hit me on a personal level.

In my eyes, it is not only the hours that it took to push a baby into the world that makes a person a mother, but the hours – days – years – lifetime – afterwards that earns the title of ‘mom’.

There are so many babies who are brought into this world by women who did not intend to become mothers. And if those children were as fortunate as I was, they were connected with people who devoted their lives – their hearts to those children. People who committed to nurturing those children, loving those children, and providing for those children unconditionally. And those people are equally as deserving of the title of ‘mom’, or ‘dad’, or ‘parent’.

Not everyone can have babies naturally. And not all people can love and care for a child naturally either.

A person can become a mom biologically, or emotionally – how that mom came to be is not what matters. What matters most is that the child who calls that person “mom” knows that they are loved.

A lifetime commitment to loving a child unconditionally – that is what truly makes a mom.




Why You Don’t Have To Be A Leader To Be A Leading Mom

When I went to my first Leading Moms event in 2012, I was a bit skeptical.

I was working in the corporate world, trying to climb the ranks to a senior leadership position. At the time, I didn’t consider myself a ‘leader’. I wasn’t supervising staff, and I wasn’t a key decision maker in the company.

I worried that not carrying the title of Director, VP, or CEO in my job, made me an imposter – a wannabe leading mom.

When I attended the event, my skepticism was immediately replaced with awe and inspiration. As I listened to the personal stories of the diverse lineup of speakers (ranging from Premier Christy Clark, to local clothing designer Nicole Bridger, to mom rapper Monica Morong), I didn’t feel like a wannabe at all, I felt like part of a community – all moms and leaders in their own way.

Every year since then, the speakers have been equally as diverse, inspiring, and extraordinary. The event has not only provided me with a venue to take in inspiring stories from leading women, it has given me a space to connect with like-minded moms, and to explore my own inner leader.

Each year, I walk away with inspiring quotes such as this one:

Leading Mom

You don’t have to be in a corporate leadership position to attend Leading Moms. You just have to have the desire to connect, to be inspired, to laugh, and to learn.

A leader can be defined as someone who “has great importance, influence, or success”, and as mothers, don’t we all fit this description in one way or another?

Leading Moms has become a highly-anticipated annual event, and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us this year.

Leading Mom

Check out the 2016 Speaker Lineup

Want to join me? Use the code LMBITSOFBEE for $10 off your ticket. Buy your tickets by August 31st at an early bird rate, and enjoy $50 off a facial from Skoah.


Event Details:

Leading Moms
Friday, September 23, 2016
9:30am – 2:30pm
Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour St. Vancouver BC)

Leading Moms: The Importance of Play

Leading Moms is an annual, all-day event featuring inspiring talks from extraordinary women, and this year, I was not only an attendee, but part of the incredible team who planned the day’s festivities.

When I went to last year’s event, I didn’t know what to expect. I left feeling inspired, connected to a community of women who understood my perspective. So many women who, like me, were trying to solve the busy mom jigsaw puzzle of life. Who were striving to find a balance between career and family.

The theme of this year’s event was the importance of play – and the speakers tackled the theme with precision, each adding their own dash of spice to the perfect recipe for success.

We laughed through anecdotes that we, as moms, could all relate to. We danced, connecting through movement and song. We cried as our hearts burst, touched by song lyrics and inspiring stories. We sang, our voices loud and proud, and we learned about the importance of play, both for children, and for ourselves.

Leading Moms

(Left to Right) Anna Rice, Badminton Olympian; Me, strutting my stuff
on the runway; Monica Morong, Mom Rapper; the Vancouver Mom team

Because I’m a quote-lover, I thought I would share with you my 3 favourite quotes from the day’s event:

“You can uncover more about a person  in an hour of play, than you can in a year of conversations.”  – Dr. Deborah MacNamara, Counsellor and Educator

“It’s time for us to get back to the ‘being’ and not the ‘doing’ part of life.” – Kelsey Ramsden, ProfitW100 Winner

“Be the person you want your children to see in the world.” – Kelsey Ramsden, ProfitW100 Winner

The biggest takeaway for me was learning about “how to play”. Dr. Deborah MacNamara explained that it wasn’t only important for us to know that play is an integral part of a child’s neurological development, but that it was also important for us to understand how to encourage children to play authentically.

She explained that in order to properly play, there must not be an expected outcome. Colouring within the lines of a pre-drawn image doesn’t let their creative juices flow – instead, give your child a blank piece of paper. And don’t overschedule your children – make room for free time so they can learn how to play on their own.

To summarize, Dr. MacNamara shared with us –

6 Steps To Creating The Conditions For Play:

6 steps to creating the conditions for play

I’m sure I’m not the only mama who left the event feeling emotionally-drained, filled to the tip with inspiration, and excited to head home and play with my children.

If you missed this year’s event, be sure to catch it next year!

Leading Moms – Inspiring Talks By Extraordinary Moms

As a career mom I’m always looking for inspiration and advice on how to juggle a busy career with my family life, so I was thrilled when asked to attend the upcoming Leading Moms event as an Event Ambassador.
Who better to lead the discussion than the busiest career mom of them all, Premier Christy Clark. Joining Christy is a diverse and expert panel of moms who are making a difference in their industries.
A day filled with personal stories, performance pieces, and a fashion show of local designer Nicole Bridger’s Fall 2012 collection (featuring mom models – how great is that?) – I’m confident this event will not disappoint!
Because they know their audience well, Leading Moms will have complimentary child care (courtesy of Nannies on Call), and shuttle services for mamas coming from the Tricities (courtesy of Chevrolet Canada).
There will also be a FREE Leadership Breakfast provided by Nature’s Path to kick off the event. Mingle with the keynote speakers and fill your bellies before the festivities begin!
The event is brought to you by these fabulous experts on everything mom: Modern Mama, Vancouver Mom, and Entrepreneur Mom Now.
Here are the event deets:
What: Leading Moms – Inspiring Talks By Extraordinary Moms
When: Wednesday, October 3 8:30am – 2:30pm
Where: HR McMillan Space Centre (at the Planetarium)
Let me know if you’re coming, I’d love to connect in person!