Momspiration - Monarch Mag's Alison Heden

Momspiration - Monarch Mag's Alison Heden

What is the most rewarding thing about being a mother? Biggest joys? Biggest challenges?

I will never forget the moment 6 years ago that I became a mother. The first time I got to touch, feel and hold my daughter Hudson was earth shattering.  It changed my life forever and has been the most incredible thing that has ever or will ever happen to me. I was instantly a different person.  I think of my children as soon as I wake up in the morning and just before I drift off to sleep.  I worry about them, I get frustrated with them, I feel a deep sense of pride when they hit milestones or accomplish something and I simply always want the very best for them. I wish I could shield them from all of life's challenges and heartaches but I am now learning that my job as their mother is to teach, guide, support and love.  I want them to be equipped for what life delivers.  You can never be sure what is around the corner so the more tools the better.  At the moment, I am working on communication, empathy and mindfulness.  When I say "working on" I do indeed mean with myself AND them.  It's amazing to me how they are responding to practicing these simple concepts.  When you explain these things to them in their language or in a way they can relate to they instantly want to show you that they get it.  These two tiny humans are my sun, moon and stars and I have dedicated my life to being the best mother I can be. For all the fun that's been had for the first 6 years, the biggest truth that is unfolding is how tough a job it truly is.  To all the mamas out there, I salute you.

You launched the Monarch Mag last year - what have you learned about balancing motherhood with your career? 

The biggest lesson I am learning as I balance my job as a mother and relaunching a career is that the balance is constantly shifting.  Perhaps the term "balance" is over rated when it comes to women, motherhood and careers.  Learning to say no, setting realistic goals and realizing that you do not have to be a hero can all be helpful.  For all of the fantastic things that have happened for women over the last few decades there are other problems cropping up for us.  I feel as though women want it all and I firmly believe that you truly can't have "it all".  You have to make sacrifices.  You have to listen to your inner voice, take time to reflect and constantly make shifts.

Do you find that your personal style has changed since you’ve become a mom?

My style hasn't truly changed that much.  In saying that, I can attest to the fact that I have adopted a casual, comfortable, stylish look that includes great denim, an awesome white tee, flat comfortable shoes and pretty jewelry. I try not to run around in my sweats or workout gear all day long but I'm realistic that I need something that I can dash to pick ups, drop offs, play dates and meetings.

What’s your secret to traveling with young kids? Fave vacation spot?

I have travelled a lot with my children.  My 6 year old has a passport full of stamps. I have even taken them in-flight on my own.  Our most notable adventure was when we climbed on board a flight from New York to Singapore with our 18 month old daughter (that's 17 hours straight on an airplane).  I could write a big ol' long list of tips but my few favourites are: make sure you are well rested before your journey, stay hydrated, bring a bag of snacks and toys that are new to the little ones, get on the plane last (even though they want to usher us families on first), load up your iPad with new games and shows and dress everyone in dark colours so you at least appear clean when you arrive at your destination.

Kids names? Where did you find inspiration?

Hudson came from a huge sign that I saw on Mount Pleasant when driving back from an ultrasound. I was at the stage where every word and name were being considered.  It sounded strong and I love that her middle name "Sophia" is so ultra feminine and sweet.  My sons name is Owen Thomas and his middle name is from my late grandad who only lived a few weeks past Owen's birth.  Owen missed out on the joy of meeting Grandad but I know they would have loved one another and I believe they are connected.

Current fave kids books?

The Day The Crayons Quit, Goodnight Moon, Matilda and The Giving Tree.

Quote the worst/funniest thing your kid(s) have ever said.

We listen to a lot of indie music at home and my favourite thing is to listen to their version of the lyrics.  It always cracks me up.

Sunday night tradition?

I am currently bringing back the classic roast beef dinner. It's now served up all organic and grass fed but we are still rocking those British Yorkshire puddings that I grew up on.  

Go-to family restaurant in Toronto?

I would have to say Terroni.  Hands down I'm a sucker for Italian and the food and vibe there is simply perfect.  

With the power and influence of social media such as Instagram, how do you draw the line about what you think is appropriate to post of your kids? As a mother do you enjoy and/or find it beneficial to share photos and videos your family on social media platforms? 

This new world of social media can be confusing and there should be lines drawn.  Sometimes I try to imagine my kids looking back on my posts.  I would not want to say or post anything that might embarrass them or feel too personal.  It's impossible for me to know how they will interpret or feel about things later but if I keep a thought like that in mind I feel it helps me to screen my own posts.

Any last words of wisdom for our fellow new moms?

My new mantra is: Put your phone down and live in the moment.  Don't worry, you WILL have enough pictures to look back on and those texts and emails...they can wait.