Meet Super Mama Ariane Paquette. She is a 26 year old wife and mother living in Cornwall, ON (Canada). She and her husband Matt will be celebrating their 5th wedding anniversary this year. Together they have a beautiful daughter, Margo, who will be turning 3 in May. She enjoys thrifting, cooking and spending time with my family.
"I think motherhood has changed how I view life now. The little things that used to bother me don’t anymore. My priorities have also changed. There is nothing more important to me than my family. For the first 6 months after I had Margo, I struggled with postpartum anxiety (which I didn’t even know existed until then). For me, this was the most challenging part of motherhood. Once things started to get better, I began to feel like myself again but a more compassionate and selfless version.
Honestly, [the most rewarding part of motherhood] for me it's when Margo runs up to me to hug me and to tell me she loves me. It doesn't get better than that! Being able to teach Margo something new is also very rewarding. Whether it's saying please and thank you, sharing her toys or reciting the alphabet. Knowing that I was able to teach my child something she will use for the rest of her life is incredibly rewarding and makes me feel proud.
I wish I knew not to worry so much. I thought pregnancy was going to be really hard on my body, but I was blessed to have a really easy pregnancy. I felt healthier and more confident than before. As the months progressed, I became terrified of giving birth. I had a lot of anxiety about how painful it was going to be. It amazes me what our bodies are capable of doing. When I went into labor, I was surprised at how well I was able to tolerate the pain. The adrenaline kicked in and my attitude about giving birth changed completely. I was very proud of myself for bringing my beautiful daughter into the world.
The best piece of advice I ever received was "listen to your gut". When you become a new mom you get tons of advice and it can be overwhelming. I think it's important to do what feels right for you and your baby. Another good one was to "ask for help when you need it". Some days I felt like I just couldn't deal with anything anymore and I never realized how hard it was to ask for help. Having to admit you can't do it all on your own can be humbling. It’s something I had to work on, for my sake and the sake of my baby. As far as bad advice goes, I honestly don’t think I’ve ever received any!
As fun as it is to plan your baby registry for the first time, the most basic items are the only things that ended up being necessary. A good stroller is always important. We really enjoyed the Lifefactory glass bottles for Margo. She used them as a baby and still uses them today with the sippy caps.
ON THE WORK LIFE JUGGLE
"It was a huge adjustment. My world completely changed in a day. My needs no longer came first and even though it was done out of love, it was difficult to accept. One thing I noticed was that we lost the spontaneity we had before Margo came along. Everything had to be carefully planned out now. But in a way it forced me to become more selfless. After a while I found my groove and just like everything else, I adapted to all those changes. Now I can't even remember what life was like before Margo but I know for a fact I've never been happier!
I feel very lucky because from the moment Margo was born, my husband Matt was a very involved parent. He got up during the night, changed diapers, gave baths etc. We both have our designated chores around the house and we take turns doing the rest. Of course, there are days where we nag each other when it comes to responsibilities but for the most part we both pitch in and work together to get things done. Matt is a very patient father and husband. I have been struggling with an auto-immune disease which leaves me with very little energy on most days. He often does more than his share around the house when he knows I am having a bad day. I'm lucky to have him, that's for sure!
I love the app Any List to help with meal planning and grocery shopping. Another one I often refer to is Think Dirty. It allows you to scan or search beauty and personal products and it gives you a rating based on how many toxic chemical ingredients they contain. This way you can compare products and make informed decisions.
I recently got a part-time job after being a stay-at-home mom or 2.5 years. I'm lucky to have my mom care for Margo while I'm at work. But it's been hard to adjust for me. I have so much respect for women who work full time jobs and come home to take care of their children and their homes. I think for me, the challenge is balancing work life and home life while trying to manage my auto-immune disease. It can be difficult because not a lot of people understand just how challenging that can be. But as I am becoming older, I am learning to do what's best for my family and for myself. I'm learning to say "no" when I have to and to stop worrying about what people think. I'm also working on accepting that most days the house won't be tidy and the laundry will pile up and that's ok. I know I am doing the best that I can. I think we need to remind each other of that more often."
ON SELF CARE
"Self-care for me means taking the time to treat myself. I do that by making myself a gin martini on Friday nights. It's the perfect way to wind down after a busy week and kick off the weekend!
When I'm feeling overwhelmed I like to sit down and write in my bullet journal. It helps me to stay organized and focused. I get everything down on paper so I don't have to think about it anymore. It's a simple and quick practice.
I like to make myself a cup of tea (Traditional Medicines Daily Detox is my current favorite) and look through Instagram. It helps me relax and get inspired.
I live in denim. I love the Levi's high-waisted skinny jeans. During the winter I'll pair those with knit sweaters and during the summer I'll wear them with button-down shirts. It's simple but classic."
TOP 5 ITEMS IN ARIANE'S BEAUTY ROUTINE
-Castor oil. I use it every night on my face for about 10 mins. It helps with my hormonal acne.
-Avalon Organics face scrub. I use this after cleansing. It has done wonders to smooth out my skin and even out my complexion.
-Crawford Street Rose Geranium Toner. I love that it's all-natural. I use it as a toner and I'll also spray it on once I am done applying my makeup. It hydrates my skin and makes my makeup look more lived-in.
-Clinique acne solutions liquid makeup. It provides the right amount of coverage while still making my skin look natural. I rarely have to touch it up during the day.
-Elizabeth and James Nirvana Bourbon is my current favorite scent.
ON FAMILY TIME
"Other than for our honeymoon (which was at the Magdalene Islands here in Canada), we haven't had the chance to travel much. We'd love to travel along the West Coast of Canada and the US one day. The Magdalene Islands were beautiful. We took an overnight train and a 3 hour-long ferry ride to get to there. We felt like we were in a completely different country. The scenery inspired us to travel and explore more of our beautiful country one day.
Our little tradition of getting scones for breakfast from our local coffee shop every Saturday morning is my favorite. We've been doing that for a few years now and we look forward to it every week. Nothing beats those lazy weekend mornings!
[On Saturdays, we love] sleeping in a bit, then having scones and coffee for breakfast. We like to go thrifting in the afternoons if the weather isn’t great. During the summer we love spending time outside as a family by going for long walks or visiting the park. We love ending the day by going to the 5 o'clock mass. Then once Margo is in bed, Matt and I enjoy making supper together at home and watching a movie."