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Flying solo (for three days)

I was going to write a blog post about travelling with kids, and I probably still will, but I recently took a solo trip to New York City and remembered that it’s actually a lot more fun to travel without kids. Being a working mama, I get very little time to myself. Technically, it was a work trip, I went to help out with a trade show for Devon’s Drawer (the children’s clothing line I run with my mom and sister). But it was also a good excuse to get away for a couple days (I was gone for three nights and four days). 

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Meet Vanessa Norris!

Hi everyone! Kyla here…I’m happy to welcome a new contributor to the Peaks & Harbours team, my dear friend Vanessa Norris. Vanessa is an amazing mom to two girls, a kick-ass high school Science teacher and passionate environmentalist. So without further ado, please welcome Vanessa!

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What does it mean to spend a year at home with a baby and toddler?

I have finally accepted that I am clinging on to the last few threads of my second maternity leave with white knuckles and a raw heart.

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Diana Vreeland had it right: the value of history.

About four years ago, I sat in the boiling shade in Madhya Pradesh, India after furiously taking pictures of the Khajuraho temple sculptures before the sun got too high. I sat panting, watching the tourists mill around, fanning their sweating bodies. The locals went about their every day ritual of setting out lunch in the temple shade, seemingly unfazed by the scorching air. I came home from that trip earlier than planned; but, as we fast forward to 2016, I find myself deeply missing my research and writing on material and art history.

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Meet Meera! Lawyer, working mom, and owner of Devon’s Drawer.

It’s Wednesday! Are you all back into the swing of it yet? I know, me neither; but, we’re halfway through the week already and I know we can do it. Now let’s take a break from the lunch-making, the work blouse-ironing, the side-project hustling, and take a moment to meet Meera Bennett, one of our newest contributors to Peaks & Harbours. Meera is smart, kind, and has all the balls in the air as a full-time lawyer, owner of Devon’s Drawer (with her mama), mother of two, and everything in between.

Here’s Meera on her early experiences as a working mother – give her a sweet hello!

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My husband and I were the first of our friends to have a baby. If I’m going to be honest, our son was a baby of convenience. You may laugh when you read this, because, if you have kids, you know that babies are not convenient. However, my husband had a one year contract in Ottawa, and I wanted to go with him for that year AND have a job when we came back home to Vancouver AND we were thinking about having kids anyways. I figured that the best way to both go away for a year and have a job on my return was to have a baby. So we had a baby. It’s not like we were all that young – I was 29 when my son was born – but we are both lawyers and our colleagues and friends were not even thinking about having babies yet. It felt a little crazy and impulsive.

When my son was eight months old, and my the end of my maternity leave was looming, I started to get a lot of questions from family and friends about whether I was going to be returning to work. I was told that working with kids was hard, a baby needs its mom, and we could live on my husband’s salary. I suppose I can be a bit prickly, and these questions were well intentioned, but I was insulted. I spent almost eight years getting my post-secondary education, I love my job, and I really value the financial independence I get from working. Also, why wasn’t my husband getting these questions?

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So, I went back to work. It was hard, of course, but also joyful and wonderful and I was so glad that I was working again.

Being one of the first of my friends to have kids means that, now my friends are having their first kids, I get a lot of questions about returning to work. I always say the same thing. The first few months are hard (for the kids and parents), but working is wonderful as long as you like what you do for a living.

I now have an almost five year old son, and a 15 month old daughter. I’ve just gone back to work (for the second time) to my full time job working as an in house counsel for an administrative tribunal. In addition, I run a children’s clothing line with my Mom (Devon’s Drawer,www.devonsdrawer.com), and I am on the board of directors for the Salt Spring Centre of Yoga. I am intermittently involved with a number of feminist and poverty law organizations. I also somehow fit in an almost daily yoga practice. Although my life is busy, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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When Carina asked me to write a column on work/life balance for Peaks and Harbours I briefly hesitated; I don’t think I have all the answers. Sometimes I just work a lot and miss my kids. So, this blog is not going to be a “list of ten things you can do to lead a balanced life”. Rather I hope to document my attempt to keep it all together, and provide a joyful narrative about being a working mom.

If you want to meet me in person, my Mom and I are doing a Devon’s Drawer pop up shop at Chorus and Clouds on September 10, and I’d love to see you there! I’m also going to be leading a discussion at Chorus and Clouds on October 4 about work/life balance, please come!

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Culture Babes: Gallery Tours for you and your littles.

When Hilary’s email sailed into our inbox last week, I had to blink hard. Her ears must’ve been burning. Over the past couple of months, Bree and I have been eager to get back into focusing Peaks & Harbours on what we (and you!) love best – art & design excursions that thrill the grown-ups and excite the littles; promoting local businesswomen, artist, and creators; telling tales of our outdoor adventures; talking real about the world around us and our place in it; sharing tasty recipes that nourish you; and sharing our favourite hilarious moments – all from our amazing team of Peaks & Harbours contributors.

But I digress.

Hilary – Dr. Hilary Letwin to be exact – of Culture Babes, has been hosting events for five years that bring parents and kids to art exhibitions and performance events around the city, satisfying that deep craving to keep your intellect fed, with kids in tow. Now, without spoiling everything that Hilary has kindly written below, these are no regular gallery visits – they are more like, relaxed VIP tours for you and your littles. Got your attention? Read on readers, read on.

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