I hope readers walk away feeling seen, understood, and empathetic towards other moms. I hope it makes them feel more confident in their parenting when they realize we’re all just doing the best we can, and their best is probably more than enough.
What inspired you to write Send Me Into the Woods Alone?
I’ve always been a nonfiction writer so when I had kids, it seemed natural that a lot of my perspective, critical thinking, and creative energy shifted towards motherhood. My personal narrative evolved a lot in those early years as a parent because I was seeing everything through a new lens, and it felt like a lot of what I saw and felt wasn’t being talked about. I wanted to write something really honest and heartfelt that validated mothers and normalized their experiences. Motherhood isn’t the only thing I write about, but it’s been a huge part of my life and identity for the past eleven years. The book definitely grew from that.
How has motherhood changed you?
I think it heightened a lot of big emotions that already existed in me. I’ve always been pretty highly charged emotionally, but I definitely feel deeper love, stronger empathy, more patience than I knew I had, more joy. I’m also more angry, though. It’s hard to witness so many injustices here in Canada and around the world and not be. Start a political conversation with me and you’ll see exactly what I mean, ha.
When you have kids, your world shifts from being something you navigate as an individual or as part of a community to something you view as the parent of your children. Everything comes back to my kids. I’m never not thinking about them on some level, from their happiness and well-being to where they are at any given moment and if they’ve eaten enough vegetables today to how climate change is going to impact their futures and whether or not my daughter is going to grow up with bodily autonomy. I don’t think I was a selfish person before kids but since having them, I’ve never been at the top of my own priority list. It’s them first, forever.
What are your favourite and least favourite things about being a mother?
My favourite part is getting to experience life with my kids. They’re really awesome people. My least favourite part is the constant worrying, mom guilt, and lack of sleep (though the sleep part does get better as your kids get older).
Do you have any survival tips for “Good Moms” struggling with mom guilt?
Lower your standards—they’re probably a lot higher than they need to be. Parenting doesn’t always look like what you see on Instagram or Pinterest, and it’s important not to fall into that comparison trap. If your kids are safe and well loved, you really don’t need to beat yourself up about screen time or giving your kids a meal from the drive thru. Like, did you put on a movie instead of taking your kids to the park on a sunny day because you were tired? You’ve probably taken your kids to the park 500 times and you’ll take them 500 other times in the future. Have the movie day. Don’t be so hard on yourself. There are completely unrealistic societal expectations on moms and we need to let some of that go.
Can you share the best response you’ve received to the book so far?
There have been so many and I’m grateful for every single one. I get a lot of messages from moms saying something I wrote made them feel less alone. A few people have said that I helped them articulate and better understand an element of motherhood they’d been struggling with. Some women have asked their husbands to read an essay or the whole book because they feel like it helps explain their own thoughts and feelings. A lot of people said they laughed and cried and then bought a copy of the book for a friend. That’s always a huge compliment because it’s like, not only did the book mean something to you, but you’re also sharing it with someone else because you think it will mean something to them. I can’t ask for more than that.
What do you hope readers will take away from the book?
That validation element really is the big thing. I hope readers walk away feeling seen, understood, and empathetic towards other moms. I hope it makes them feel more confident in their parenting when they realize we’re all just doing the best we can, and their best is probably more than enough. And I hope it makes them laugh, because there’s a lot of humour in motherhood and it feels good to lean into that.