How I built the community that I need and so many others do too
'Be careful' they said, 'one slip and you'll be pregnant'. This is what ringed in my ears as a teenager, making me believe that getting pregnant would be easy, most likely an accident. It was anything but. 4 years, two rounds of IVF and a miscarriage later, I was finally pregnant and well into my second trimester. I was happy, hesitant but excited. I was one of those annoying pregnant women who was glowing and feeling the best in my life with that big belly growing and apart from nausea every time I smelt anything, I felt well. I was taking life very carefully, worried that doing anything other then a simple short walk would risk the baby, but I was happy and willing to do it.
And then it hit me. I'm going to have a baby....who will turn into a child. I had spent so much time trying to get pregnant that I hadn't thought much about the next bit. Self preservation I suppose.
I was clearly starting to panic, so, in an effort to calm myself and prove that I can still be and do all of those things, I started searching...searching for parents and families who were doing incredible things. Parents who were still saying yes to lives that made them come alive. Some were off travelling the world, some were in one place in a house they owned but off adventuring in holidays or weekends or on a daily basis. Some parents worked for themselves while also looking after their children. Parents who were both parents AND people. I searched and collected and the more I talked to people the more I saw that they too were looking for what I was. Inspiration, yes, but also connection....connection with people who 'get it'. And so Ordinary Superparents was born - a community of parents who say yes to things that make them come alive.
We started small, I was having my first child at the same time after all. Most of my adventuring at that point was travelling back to see family in Canada and small everyday adventures near home...like, to the grocery store. Slowly my desire to try more grew, and so did the Ordinary Superparents community. Then, when my daughter was 1.5 a link to Yestival somehow entered my facebook feed. Run by the incredible Say Yes More team, it invited me to bring my family to a festival and camp at the end of October down in West Sussex. That one page convinced me there would be others there like me, talked about saying yes to the things that both excite and scare me and convinced me to say yes more. A seemingly crazy decision really, with my baby still young, we had yet to camp with the baby even in the summer and this was October, and to top it off my husband had to fly for work on the Sunday, so couldn't be there for all of it. But I was too excited, and scared, that I had to say yes.
It turns out that was one of the best decisions I have made in a very, very long time. I went along, I heard stories of adventures, I met amazing people who choose to say yes to the seemingly crazy ideas they get. At times, I felt frustrated that I couldn't do many of the ideas I was getting from listening to these incredible stories of solo adventures. I had a child, I couldn't go climb everest or kayak the Atlantic. However, there was still a little spark deep inside of me saying that there must be so many things that I could do with a soon to be toddler. And so, on the Sunday after dropping my husband off to fly away, I drove back to Yestival for the open mic, stood up in front of many, and declared my commitment to connecting parents so we could figure out this saying yes thing together. From then on, I had momentum again, the Ordinary Superparents community grew slowly but surely, and more and more people joined us in figuring out this crazy thing that is both parenting and living with intention...saying yes to feeling alive.
I am now a mother of 2, depending on the Ordinary Superparents community to be my inspiration and connection as much as it is that for 200+ others. I love hearing stories of parents off for their first ukelele lesson, trying kayaking for the first time, or taking time for themselves. I am inspired by the stories of families adventuring in the puddle down the street, the forest at the end of the village, camping for the first time, or finding a new beach on the other side of the world. I feel more connected every time I get the privilege of chatting to another parent on the phone or meeting at one of our events. I built the community that I needed and I am so so happy that it is what others have needed too.