A few weeks ago we woke up nice and early and made our way down to High Park in Toronto to enjoy a quiet morning amongst the Cherry Blossoms.  J caused quiet the scene in this little bear hoodie, there was a crowd of people who stopped to take his photo smiling and laughing at him LOL he of course was such a ham smiling and laughing back. 
Keep on scrolling to read the 5 life lessons I’m so thankful my mama taught me
(and that I hope to teach my kids too)
no better feeling than making and seeing your baby smile!
I wanted to mark my first mothers day with sharing 5 life lessons that my mother taught me growing up.  My mom (or as we and everyone calls her “Mama T”) planted these lessons not only in words but through her actions.  She’s a woman who practices what she preaches.  The amount of gratitude I feel towards her has only quadrupled since becoming a mother myself.  That’s the thing about becoming a parent, it automatically makes you appreciate yours that much more.

1. Take the High Road, always

This one has been ingrained in my head since I was little (actually a lot of these were…note to self: start teaching my littles young).  I remember complaing to my mom about trivial things saying (ahem whining) its not fair! because of blah blah blah, or that’s not right (I can sometimes be too righteous) or they can’t get away with that because its not right or its rude – someone has to say something! blah blah blah.  My mom would always say you have two choices.  Stoop to their level or show them kindness and love (even if you don’t think they deserve it) – take the high road.  I will tell you one thing, in my life every time I’ve forced myself to take the high road I’ve never regretted it.  But every time I let myself “go there” with someone I always immediately wish I didn’t and just let it go.  Take the high road and always do what’s right! Show people kindness even if they may not deserve it and to always be kind to other no matter how your feeling.

2. How to be a good friend

My mom never taught us this – she showed me by example.  My mom is the person everyone calls when they need something or need to get something done.  Family, friends my mom always pulls through (somehow) for everyone.  I’ve watched her run around for others, be there for her friends in good times but especially through difficult times.  She showed me what it was to be a true good friend.  I’m so grateful for this because of it I have a close circle of incredible friends that I’ve had and kept for over two decades.  Once your in my inner circle, that’s it – I got you for life! And I can truly say – I got it from my mama!

3. With a smile, all things are possible

Part of being a good friend, daughter, mother, wife means a lot of go go go.  Spend one day with this woman and I guarantee you, you’ll be exhausted asking for a nap and somehow she’s still going, smiling and upbeat.  I’d always ask her (and still do) how are you still standing? Aren’t your legs tired? Can’t we sit down? Can we take a break? She’s the energizer bunny and has some hidden IV of energy flowing through her at all times – her reply is always the same:  We have things to do, so you have two choices get them done whining and dragging your feet or do it with a smile.  With a smile (and a prayer) all things are possible! So smile, be happy and lets keep moving! (You can imagine as a teenager how much I loved getting this reply *lots of eye rolling* haha but it’s really stuck!)  This was also her solution when I don’t want to do something that I can’t get out of…put on a smile and it will be fine and fun – it’s up to you! You can either to it with a frown or do it with a smile.  Also her solution when I felt insecure about being underdressed or not wearing the right make up: put on a smile and that’s all you need! Smile, Smile Smile…I’ve been told my whole life…maybe thats why I smile so much! LOL

4. How to be a mom

For those of you who know my mom you’ll know she’s the ultimate ‘mother’.  I know her purpose in life was to be a mom and she kinda rocks at it.  When we were younger I remember friends calling her when they forgot their lunch or homework at home! Talk about big shoes to fill?  I don’t think (ahem I know) I’ll never reach her level of domestication but I’m trying and learning more and more every day.  As J grows and as we hopefully one day introduce more bebes into our family I hope I can be half the mom she was and continues to be.  The mom you know is always a phone call away and who will move mountains to be there for you and lend a helping hand.  Now that I’m older I can see how having that kind of unwavering support shaped me and helped me get through life.

5.  Find what you love to do and figure out how to make a living doing it

I heard this growing up all the time (literally) I can still close my eyes and picture our old home where I was sitting at our kitchen table when she said to me for the first time.  She was standing behind the counter (obviously cooking something) and said those words “figure out what you love to do and fine a way to make a living doing it” – I was never the A student – school didn’t come naturally to me.  I studied really hard and busted my buns but even still would get by with a B+ (compared to my big bro who could flip through the text book the night before a test and get 95% – which made me hustle and study harder I might add *anything you can do I can do better*  that was us growing up but it worked because I graduated with an A average – him A+ haha).  When it came time for university and college, I went off to film school – then I found photography and all the pieces slowly but surely started to click.  On some level I always new I was going to have my own business and be my own boss (eventually) – even that didn’t come naturally at first – a lot of hustling and learning the hard way.  But if it wasn’t for her instilling “find a job you love to do” from so young I don’t know that I’d be where I am today because I always had that thought and concept in the back of my mind.  What do I enjoy? What do I like? What do I love to do? How can I make a career out of it? Were questions I always would ask myself.

Above: Mama T looking all chic at the Ralph Mansion in NYC
Below: My beautiful Mama in law pre-flights to Europe (me to London and her to Greece)

Mother figures come in all forms and relationships, I want to give a loving nod to my amazing mama in law and share one big thing I’ve learned from her over the years:

First, I love this woman.  She is after all my husbands mothers.  I don’t like that there is such a negative stigma with “mother in laws” because I’ve been lucky to be blessed with an incredible one.  I’ve also truly loved and respected her from the moment I met her (almost a decade ago).  She is the mother of my husband, she raised him into the man he is today.  Now that I have a son I’m so grateful she’s shown me how to be an amazing mother in law.  Even pre-baby our Sunday routines always included a visit up to Ko’s parents place, we’d cook, eat, talk and play games.  I love being around her. She has such a calming nature to her that is so refreshing.

She has softest and kindest heart with a wicked sense of humour.  I’ve never heard her utter one negative word about anyone.  She’s always the first to play along to our annoying games (she loves snapchat filters I have about 10 videos on my phone saved that Kosta and I watch daily to have a laugh) she’s such an incredible sport.  Her favourite movies include Bird Cage and Cool Runnings – which she can quote quick as a wink (awesome right?!)  When I first started my biz I was worried about what everyone would think about how long and hard I worked.  I’m not the most domestic and although it’s never bothered Kosta in the least its natural I worried what everyone else thought.  I remember once I shyly said that he had cleaned the kitchen every night that week b/c I was working till 1am to launch my shop and she right away without skipping a beat said so? that okay! you’re working – he should be helping! When I was feeling frustrated by so many ‘opinions’ being thrown at me in the first few months of being a mom she was always the first to say that’s okay! And make me feel better about whatever it was.  She is always the first person to make you feel better about anything.  When I was in labour she walked in and placed her hand on my forehead and I remember just feeling immediately calm.  She has such a calm nurturing loving nature about her.  That’s what I’m grateful she’s taught me.  How to slow down (be calm) and leave people feeling good about themselves.

Wishing you all a beautiful Sunday with the ones you love!

Lots of love,