#realmothersdiversevoices : Carley Mendes
I am thrilled to be sharing a new interview series with you each and every week: #realmothersdiversevoices. In this series my intention is to reveal the endless ways our family values can inform our Daily Rhythm. The mothers I have interviewed lead diverse lives but they each have a huge sense of clarity about what their Family Values are (even if they change over time) and consciously and creatively strive to create a Daily Rhythm in alignment with those values.
It is my hope that through these stories more Mothers feel inspired to explore what their own family values are, to question them and bring them to life in their everyday experience. I know that seeing the world through another Mother’s lens will develop more empathy, understanding and compassion between us.
Today I welcome Carley Mendes the founder of Oh Baby Nutrition and mother of two. She is a Canadian holistic nutritionist who shares her journey through motherhood and delightful, holistic recipes for mothers and children on her IG account @ohbabynutrition.
Who are you? Can you introduce yourself, your work and your family?
I’m Carley Mendes, a Holistic Nutritionist. I founded Oh Baby Nutrition, to help women thrive during their childbearing years with confidence. My husband, Jeremy, is a Creative Director at the National Film Board of Canada. We have a 3-year-old boy named Jones Wilder, and a 10-month-old baby girl named Stevie Holland. Our family splits our time between two places: a house in the city (Vancouver, Canada), and an off-the-grid place in the remote wilderness, a few hours north of Whistler.
What is one of the greatest joys you experience as a Mother?
We’ve all heard about the love a mother feels for her child, but something so deep and all consuming can only be experienced, not described. And it’s been my greatest joy to experience this myself. Becoming a mother has helped me understand what’s important and what isn’t. What to fight for and what to let go of. It’s a valuable life lesson that I desperately needed to learn, and I’m not sure anything but motherhood could have truly taught me this.
What is one of the biggest challenges you face daily as a Mother?
Motherhood is a constant balancing act of pre-planning and going with the flow. Being prepared but rolling with the punches. The challenges I face in motherhood always prove to bring me great personal growth though. As I witness my children grow, I’m continually surprised to find myself learning and growing as well. We closely watch and celebrate each time our babies pass a developmental milestone, but as mothers we also have to acknowledge the changes in ourselves too. In my children’s short lives so far, I’ve become less selfish, more patient and more nurturing.
What does having “Rhythm in your Home” mean to you?
Our rhythm is found when we achieve the ability to remain engaged and connected to one another. Sometimes this happens naturally, sometimes it’s a concerted effort.
Can you give an example of some of your most cherished ‘Family Values’?
So many modern conversations are spent with ears listening, but eyes fixed on a screen and it’s hard to fully engage that way. Our intention is to spend quality time together in a way that aligns us and lights us up.
How do you hope to pass these values on to your children? Or in other words, how do you manifest these family values into your daily rhythm?
Our home in the mountains is so serene and peaceful. It overlooks a lake and is surrounded by big pine trees. It’s run on solar power and out of cell range. We don’t have a television, and the internet connection is unreliable at best. I’m always amazed by what surfaces during these times, when the distractions are gone. I learn new things about my family and hear stories I’ve never heard before.
Can you outline a typical ‘Weekday Rhythm’ for you and your children. Specifically when/where/how do you and your little ones eat, sleep/rest, play inside/outside, work/learn and make time for selfcare?
7:30 a.m. – Kids wake up, we shower & change.
8:00 a.m. – We make breakfast, usually a green smoothie, or eggs & avo on greens.
8:30 a.m. – My husband, Jeremy, heads to work, I tidy up breakfast, then the kids and I head outside. I usually try to incorporate a run with our double stroller and some self-directed free-play.
10:30 a.m. – We arrive back for Stevie’s first nap, my sister-in-law & niece arrive for art time with Jones while I work.
1:00 p.m. – Stevie awakens (yes I usually get a solid 2-3 hours out of her first nap!) then we have lunch.
2:00 p.m. – We head out again, lately it’s been to a local play-based science center that we just got a membership to. Stevie has her second nap along the way.
5:00 p.m. – We’re home and I start dinner prep.
5:30 p.m. – Jeremy arrives home from work and plays with the kids while I finish dinner.
6:00 p.m. – We eat a shared family meal (meaning we all eat the same meals, nothing made separately for baby, toddler, or adults), then spend a final hour together as a family. This time of year we get the kids involved in tending to our large garden and harvesting fruit from our trees (we have figs, apples, pears, cherry, plums & apricots).
7:20 p.m. – Jeremy bathes the kids while I tidy up from dinner.
7:40 p.m. – We read to the kids and get them into bed.
8:00 p.m. – In the evenings, we rotate between catching up with each other, or I’ll continue working while Jeremy reads or makes music in his studio, a hobby he’s recently revisited.
When does your family rhythm get thrown off kilter?
Although we love going out and being with friends in the city, life can get pretty hectic with meetings and appointments. Sometimes we’re lucky to share a rushed meal together at the end of a busy day. It can be easy to get wrapped up in life’s obligations.
Do you consciously re-evaluate and change your family rhythm with the seasons and ages and stages of your kids?
I think our shifting rhythms happen more unconsciously, although we do consciously make an effort to continue incorporating outdoor activities in the fall & winter. Jeremy and I share a love for nature and hiking. We weren’t sure how having children would change that, but we’ve been able to include them and share that meaningful part of our lives year round.
When you’re feeling stuck, tired, frustrated with your role as Mother, what do you need most to shift your energy and perception?
Jeremy has a fantastic sense of humour and it really drew me to him when we first met. He keeps me laughing all the time and reminds me not to spend too much of my energy on the things that don’t truly matter in a more significant sense. Now I get to watch our children laugh at him too and I hope they remember laughter and lightness from their childhood. If laughter fails, I always find a mug of turmeric milk tea very grounding.
If you could recommend one book to ALL Mothers out there what would it be?
Would it be too cheeky to say one of mine? I created a series of eBooks to support and empower women on their journey through motherhood. In The Glow is a guide to a healthy pregnancy, Baby Knows Best is a guide for starting solids, and Hello Motherhood is my guide to a nourished postpartum, which will be out later this summer.