Today, we have a guest Q & A

I’ve posted a few times recently on another blog that I am quite partial to. I have never had another blogger write a guest post before, and I thought that it might be fun to try something a little different, something that’s not just a guest blog post.

So who better to coerce invite to share their words than a family member/fellow blogger, because a family member would never have the audacity to say no. Here we go. Welcome to our Q & A with Mama Dazz.

Most readers to this blog know that you are my daughter, but for newcomers, tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Cara, also known as Mama Dazz. I turned thirty years old last August. I’ve been married to Chris for five years, and I am a mama to two sweet girls, ages 3-and-a-half and 3 months. I work as a Registered Nurse in an Urgent Care Clinic but I’m still not one hundred percent sure what I want to be when I grow up. I dabble in blogging, and I’ve had some sort of online journal since high school. I love song lyrics, quotes, and modern poetry. I am interested in learning more about holistic health practices and alternative, natural medicine, meditation, and the body positive movement. I’m a birth junkie. I feel my best when I am outside in nature but I also spend a lot of time cuddled up with my family in our cozy home.

You’ve written journal type blogs before, as well as health and wellness pages. What makes Mama Dazz different?

Mama Dazz does not limit my writing to specific topics. I think previous blogging attempts have failed because I’ve tried so hard to place my creativity inside of a small box. I need a space where I can write about anything and everything that feels right at the moment. As an introvert and internal processer, I like to practice conversations before they occur. Mama Dazz allows me to “talk through” some topics that I will discuss with my girls as they grow… body image, relationships, career decisions, etc. I’m no longer limited or stuck inside of a box.

You are a working mom. What is the hardest thing about being a mom who works outside the home? 

I work 12 hours shifts right now, so being away from my daughters during the hours that they are awake for multiple days in a row is difficult. I’m scared I’m going to miss something, or that they will resent me not being there.

On the opposite side of that question, what is the most fulfilling aspect of being a mom who also works outside the home?

The time I get to myself, with other adults. The ability to utilize my (expensive) degree in a field that I have worked in for over ten years now. The opportunity to admire and care for other peoples children (which often makes me appreciate my girls more). I also like to think that I am modeling how to balance the demands of life by showing my girls that I can manage working outside of the home with being present and involved with them, with their dad, and still making time for my own self-care needs.

Share with us your parenting style, and what has been the biggest influence in helping you establish your beliefs on parenting two girls?

I don’t think that I could categorize myself into one specific parenting style. I think that I’ve chosen aspects from different types and adapted my own style. I have adopted a lot of the aspects of attachment parenting, including babywearing and co-sleeping. I just do what feels good for our family, and sometimes that changes from day to day. My biggest influence in establishing these beliefs has come from the way I was raised. I look to you for a lot of guidance, and I also sometimes say “I won’t ever do that like my mom did,” and then I still do it anyway because it works. I also get a lot of ideas about parenting from talking with my friends. Sometimes I learn what not to do! But that is not because my friends are doing it wrong, but because it just doesn’t work for my family. Parenting comes with a steep learning curve, one that I am sure I will continue trying to conquer until my kids are grown. Luckily, my husband and I share a similar, (mostly) relaxed and adapting attitude.

In 2016, would Mama Dazz parent two boys differently than she plans to parent her two girls? 

I want to say no, but in reality I think there would be things I might do differently. This questions has sort of stumped me! I will be the first to admit that I think mom’s of boys are incredible women! I’m kind of glad that I won’t need to figure this out, two girls will be hard enough to raise. 

Your blog is about sharing yourself with your girls as they grow. If you could only give them one piece of advice, what would that be and why? 

Above all else, always love yourself. Why? Because there is no reason why my girls should spend thirty years wishing they were thinner, had curlier hair, a straighter smile, more charisma, less pimples, etc, like I did. I hope they are so proud of their uniqueness. I hope they can see what a waste it is to believe that they are anything less than exceptional human beings. I think that if they can always feel a sense of love for themselves, they will then be able to love others compassionately and kindly, and we need more of that in this world.

Where do you see your girls 20 years from now? 

Gisella will be in graduate school… studying something like biochemistry or social justice. She’ll be outgoing and open-minded. She will be well liked by all of her peers, and her professors will respect her character and opinions. She may be a little wild at times, and she’ll have grand, romantic ideas about her future. She will still be loved wholeheartedly by her mama.

Cecelia will be in college, maybe attending a trade school. She will posess a quiet confidence, knowing when it is appropriate to stand up for herself and when to keep her opinions to herself. She will have a few close friends that she has known since junior high or elementary school that she still interacts with regularly. She will be practical and generally mild-mannered, and unlike her older sister, she will have a more realistic outlook on her future endeavours. She will still be loved wholeheartedly by her mama.

You have an interesting feature associated with your blog. It’s called I Am Mama Stories. How and why did you decide to incorporate this idea into your blog?

After writing out Cecelia’s birth story and sharing it on my personal blog, I got such great feedback about my willingness to share such an intimate moment, my authenticity, and the homebirth experience itself. The support I got from everyone (even men!) was incredible, but it felt especially great coming from other women. In a culture full of mommy-wars, judgement, and comparisons, I had received the opposite from my little tribe. Like my birth experience itself, this outpouring of support was empowering.

When I spoke out about my breastfeeding struggles on both social media and on my blog, I received so much support and a lot of mama friends said, “hey, me too!” almost as if no one else had ever dared to admit that they had struggled before, too, and that it was okay. It was cathartic and healing to write out my feelings on these sensitive subjects and get back so much love and support from fellow mamas.

I also realized that while many of my friends had transitioned to motherhood, I had never heard their stories about deciding to become pregnant, complications during pregnancy, different birth experiences, or the ever-elusive postpartum period. I understand that not everyone has a venue to share (i.e. a personal blog) but that even if they did, they deserve to be heard. My hope for I Am Mama Stories is to create a safe, sacred space where women can share their stories, and where women can come to read the stories of others. I believe that self discovery occurs when we take the time to process and examine our experiences and the way that they influence our lives. We also create community and commonality when we discover that others have similar experiences and that we are not alone in our joy, struggles, grief, or love.

I’ve gotten such great feedback that I’ve given I Am Mama Stories it’s own space entirely: www.IAmMamaStories.com I look forward to continuing to collect and share stories here.

What has been the response to I Am Mama Stories so far?

It has been wonderfully encouraging! I’ve received notes from women who tell me that they love the idea of IAMS and hope to share their own story. Plus, and most importantly, the moms who have shared so far have gotten to experience the caring, supportive words from others. I really think that this could help a mom with a difficult story find true healing. I hope that these mama’s feel validated, heard, supported, and loved.

Can anyone submit a story?

At this point, while I highly encourage male readers, I would ask that dad’s hold onto their stories or find another venue to share them. Other than that, I would love to receive stories from any woman who feels compelled to share! This could include the woman who is a mother in spirit, the woman who has decided to never have children of her own, or the woman who has now added the title of grandma to her credentials. I would love to read a story about the very special, and sometimes inherently difficult, mother-daughter relationship.

Why do you feel that it is so important for women to share stories and experiences of pregnancy, birth, and motherhood?

Throughout history, the preservation of culture has relied on storytelling. People share stories as a means of education, entertainment, and inspiration. The act of sharing a story encourages and challenges both the storyteller and the reader to explore their own unique perceptions and awareness. This ancient art is in a vulnerable state right now, with the prevalence of social media and 140 character limit sharing platforms. I am hoping to revive and modernize the art of storytelling by curating and sharing this collection of unique experiences.

Writing can serve as a therapeutic tool for expressing emotions. My birth and motherhood experiences have been incredibly emotional, trying, and require processing. Sifting through memories, configuring details, and carefully choosing words to describe all of these experiences has been empowering and healing. In a world so saturated with information, it is nice to read the personal experiences of other women and discover that either you are not alone, or that you have options. We can educate and empower others by sharing our stories.

You are a mama of two, what is the most important advice you could give to someone becoming a mama for the first time?

My advice would be to take all advice with a grain of salt. Ha! Trust your intuition and experiences to make the right decisions for you and your child, despite what others might say or do. The choices and actions you take for your family may look drastically different from your friends or even own parents, but that is okay. With that being said, I think it is wonderful to openly listen to others (or read incredible stories on a blog collection!) about other peoples experiences to help you find your path and your voice as a mama.

My other advice would be to have a secret stash of chocolate hidden somewhere and a good excuse to leave the room to go sneak some without having to share (mine is “I am going to go let the dog out, I’ll be right back!”)

Last question – If either of your daughters came to you in the future and asked you what was the best part about being a mom, what would you tell them?

The best part of being a mom is getting to experience the unique love that can only be known between a mother and her child. It’s an undescribable feeling. But truly the best in the world. I’m so lucky and thankful that my girls have given me this gift.

This was such a fun post to put together. I learned some things about Mama Dazz that I didn’t know, and I love her advice on hidden chocolate stashes set aside for strategic ‘me’ time. Also, I can hardly wait to see if her vision for her girls is close to what reality will be. Just for the fun of it, I thought that we would end this Q & A with some either/or questions, because I think that sometimes you can get interesting insight into what makes a person unique when they supply answers to rather silly questions.

  1. Steak or Salad: Salad
  2. Summer or Winter: Summer
  3. HGTV or The Cooking Chanel: HGTV
  4. Mani or Pedi: Pedi
  5. Tequila or Whiskey: Bourbon 🙂
  6. Car or Truck: Car
  7. Real Book or Kindle: Real Book
  8. Tea or Coffee: Coffee
  9. Comedy or Drama: Drama
  10. Red or Beige: Red

Thanks again to Mama Dazz for sharing herself and her views. She would love to welcome you to her blog so I encourage you to stop by.

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