I am so excited to introduce you to my "person". The person who I can call in my darkest hours, who I can call and vent when life is too heavy or my kids are driving me crazy. She handles life gracefully + cares deeply about people. As a mama to 4 + homeschooling she is the face of what an empowering mama is! My Sister (in law, thanks Darren for marrying her!) and friend, Laura Roberts....
Hey there! I'm Laura, woman of many interests and expert at none, a few of which include writing, laughing really hard, and day-dreaming. I have my Education Degree (minor in Special Education) and I met my husband while we were working at the same summer job in Baltimore selling pest control door-to-door. We went from met to married in a little over 5 months(!) and have been married for 9.5 years. We currently have four kids, ages 8g, 7b, 4g, and 2b...and a hairy dog-baby, a Bernese Mountain Dog named Skye. My husband is a super-talented professional photographer (I'm not biased) and while I've tutored, taught piano, and tried my hand at family photography over the years, my current all-absorbing occupation is homeschooling my kids...where they learn in spite of my best, but flawed, efforts (thank goodness!). We currently live in the Calgary, Alberta area with the Rocky Mountains close by for impromptu adventures and love it!
1. Whats the one thing that surprised you the most about motherhood + marriage?
I think I was most surprised at how hard it is! I like to think I knew this intellectually, but the reality of the "hardness" of it all still knocks the breath out of me somedays. I think it's to be expected as we try to live harmoniously with other struggling humans, bumping up against each other and gradually rubbing off our rough edges; we need each other for that! But it can sure cause some deep growing pains.
2. How do you and Darren make time for you guys, with the busy-ness of being parents, running his own business + homeschooling?
Surprisingly, we actually see a lot of each other because I homeschool the kids and he works from home, but it definitely takes effort to be intentional about really seeing each other amidst the craziness and actually reconnecting. We try and do date nights out a couple times a month and usually have a "documentary night" together on Sunday nights after the kids are in bed where we sit and chat and watch an intriguing Netflix documentary together. We've also been known to occasionally force ourselves to put all electronics away and sit awkwardly looking at each other and making weird conversation until we eventually can't stop talking...
3. If you could give pre-mom Laura advice on motherhood, what would it be?
It would be to stop focusing on doing everything "right" and to just focus on nurturing a deep, emotional connection to your kids. There's just something about letting go of the stress of trying to impress everyone else with your parenting knowledge and really, truly being in tune with who your kids are and with your intuition of what they need from you. It's so empowering! And the relationships with my kids are so much sweeter! I wish I would have learned it earlier.
4. What is something you wish people were more understanding or sensitive about when it comes to homeschooling?
This is going to be tough to explain, but I'll try.
People often see homeschooling as something that you need super powers to carry out well. I know what people mean when they compliment me for having super-human patience or something along those lines, I know they're just trying to be nice! But I'm always left wishing I could explain that I'm just your typically imperfect, tired, and grumpy mom who has the super-human-mom ability of fighting for what she believes is best for her kids right now, just like every other mom out there! And even if it means fighting against staying my own comfort zone. I think when we write off what other moms are sacrificing for something they feel called to do as them having something we don't, we minimize ours and every other mom's true super-power: to love our kids right through all our flaws and imperfections and to endure really difficult things for their well-being.
5. Whats a moment in your life, where you knew it shaped who you are today?
I know this is probably going back way too far, and it's going to sound so juvenile...but one such moment was after a breakup when I was 15! I had been dating a guy a couple years older than me and it just devastated me when he was really unkind after our breakup, even though I had tried so hard to be what he wanted. Something just snapped in me after that. It was like I suddenly shed any kind of facade and desire to impress anyone anymore. At first it manifested itself in being grouchy and wearing pyjamas to school with no make-up because "I just didn't care," but it finally wore down into something more mature and gentle. I came up from it more confident in who I was and what I wanted...and had the most amazing friends in high school over those next two years, the kind that make you want to be the best, most honest version of yourself. I felt so real and so loved! I knew that kind of connection was the juice of life. It's laid the foundation for my feelings about myself, my friendships, and relationships from that point on. Although staying "real" is a life-long battle, it's one I'm willing to stay in because I just know it's worth it to have relationships like that...and to feel true to who I am.
6. What are three things in life you feel deeply passionate about?
1) Lifelong learning, 2) the value of human connection, 3) and good, real food. I could go on for days about any one of those things!
7. Whats something you do to empower you, something that fills your bucket before you can fill others' buckets?
Quiet, reflective time alone...which usually spills into writing or reading time alone, but definitely quiet time to deeply consider life's mysteries and process my thoughts and questions. If I can make time for that, I have a full bucket to share. However, laughing really hard with friends often gives it a good spill-over, too.
8. What do you feel most proud of in motherhood?
That I'm good at let my kids see my unrestrained delight with them. I can't get a lot of other things right, but I know that at least they can see how happy I am when they walk in a room or when I get them after a nap. I refuse to hold back my mama heart-eyed glow, yo, and it's one thing I'm glad I can give them.
9. Whats the most defining moment in your life? (or three, one's kind of hard to pick!)
I'm picking three! Marrying my husband, becoming a mom, and my younger sister Jocelyn passing away four years ago after a battle with cancer. Each of those rocked my world and required me to stop and examine who I was all over again. All of them changed me, refined me, and defined me a little more than before.
10. If you could have a dinner party with anyone, who would you invite? (max of 5 people)
I would just really want to have a dinner party with my just closest family and friends, to be honest! Ha! Is that weird? But if we're going for famous people, dead or alive, I'd love to have dinner with Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Hellen Keller, William Wordsworth, and maybe even Brene Brown. They are all particularly fascinating people to me; they seem so brave and wise! I'd love to just sit and soak up everything they have to say.
Want to follow Laura's blog + life journey of a homeschooling mama?