when i moved to edmonton almost six (!!!) years ago, i arrived with high hopes for a bright future. i had taken one semester of university courses in regina after i graduated from high school, after which i decided to apply for the journalism program at grant macewan in edmonton. i opted out of a second semester at the u of r (because none of the courses would count towards my journalism diploma) and spent the next eight months working several jobs, saving money, playing with my friends and brushing up on my writing skills. i applied and was accepted to the journalism program in edmonton. i was thrilled. i felt that i finally had a set direction; i was going to move to edmonton, complete two years of schooling plus an internship and become a successful writer. i had dreams of marrying and becoming a mother too, don't get me wrong, but i longed to write and be read.

school was different than i thought it would be. i struggled with some of my courses more than i thought i would, realizing that journalism was a lot different than i thought it was. i wanted to write the stories about people, the feature stories, but i had to get through dry police stories, traffic write ups and political editorials first. when i went home to work for the summer between my first and second year, i seriously considered dropping out. my mother urged me to complete the program (thanks, mom!) so i did. second year was a whole lot better than first. when i graduated i got an internship with a local magazine where i would write feature stories about the 20 most successful edmontonians under the age of 30. musicians, business owners, entrepreneurs, designers and olympians, just to name a few. i was brushing shoulders with the elite and it felt good. upon completing my internship, i set out to look for jobs.

nothing happened. i had one interview in a tiny town outside of edmonton. i didn't get the job, nor any other journalism/public relations job. so i did what i could. i worked at a grocery store, at curves and at the optometrists office where i could continue to work for almost two years. it was a good job and i liked the people i worked with, but i would be lying if i said i didn't yearn almost daily for a job where i could put to use the skills i had acquired when i was in school.

fast forward to now. i checked facebook last week, ollie crawled around on the kitchen floor, pushing a car along and making whirring sounds with his mouth. an old friend of mine from journalism school had posted a few pictures. she was leaving her job at ctv to take a job as a social media/communications worker for NAIT, a trade school here in edmonton. i was blown away. i felt a little jealous, but was also so amazed by her success. i looked back at the years since she & i parted ways and felt that she had accomplished so much more than me. i commented on her photos, congratulating her on her success and on her new & exciting job. she responded quickly and this is what she said;

thanks lauren! it's great to see your success too. your boy is beautiful!

wow. i cried when i read her response. here i was, standing in my kitchen (barefoot, at that), in my stretchy pants and my baby still in his pj's. i hadn't yet been successful in washing the breakfast dishes. i read her comment a couple more times and even went back to it later. my success. my boy is beautiful. it felt so good to read those words and to realize that yes, my life has been successful too. it has not been the success i thought i would achieve, the success that she has achieved, but my life is good. i am blessed. i love my baby boy and he is beautiful and wonderful. her words stayed in my mind for days.

at church on sunday, our teacher in relief society began her lesson by writing the word "success" on the board, with two sub headings; in the world and to the Lord. immediately my experience earlier in the week popped into my mind and i was later able to share it and bear my testimony of the beautiful success that i have experienced in my life, despite it being different than what i imagined it might be. i expressed my thankfulness for this friend of mine who so sweetly reminded me of the greatness of my life. it was so unexpected but so needed.

i am in no way intending to offend or hurt those who have chosen schooling or career over family, nor those who feel the pain that is yearning for, but not yet having, a family of their own. i am so glad i was given the opportunity to go to school, to work hard and to gain an education. i learned so much and would not give those years up for anything. however, i know that where i am now is where i am supposed to be. i work a job that is 24 hours a day. i've been thrown up on more times than i can count and i just keep coming back for more. i cook. i clean. i scrub poopy diapers. yes, there are mundane tasks that must be done, but i also get to snuggle this sweet baby boy of mine. i get to kiss his face whenever i want to and tickle his little body. we go for walks and bike rides. we have adventures together and he helps me cook dinner. i love seeing him pick up a book, open it and babble to himself. i've said it before and i know i'll say it again; being a mother is the most rewarding job i have ever had. i'm so grateful to be called "mama."


  1. I really loved your comment in Relief Society on Sunday! (and this post)
    I feel like I struggle daily trying to find my "identity" when everyone else seems like they've got a handle on theirs. I love this post for reminding me that the identity of "mama" is beyond amazing. - even if it includes throw up rag ...and cleaner of poop in the tub.
    and you, Lauren, are one awesome Mama bear! (and cooker of quinoa guru)

  2. What a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing! It's so hard to feel like you matter or you're successful when some days you wonder how you'll get through the day or the giant mess, etc! But it's true, we matter way more than we give ourselves credit for and stay-at-moms truly are a virtue. There are many wonderful moms, even if they choose not to or are unable to be in that position, but there's nothing more unrewarding and rewarding at the same time than being with your kids all day and being the ones to teach them everything! :) Keep on trucking! I'm not there to see you, but I can tell you are a wonderful mother! Congratulations on your success and always remember, you are special, important and worth so much! :)

  3. Well, I think you've found success in both worlds. You're an awesome mama AND an awesome writer (I think your blog is one of the most well-written blogs around). Maybe some day you'll be paid for your writing, but until then, please feel free to keep us entertained with all sorts of good stuff. Maybe you could interview some fascinating people and tell us all about them! You could even interview some less than fascinating people, and it would still be fun to read! There. My two cents.

  4. Lauren -- I don't know if you remember me -- we were EFY counsellors together in Calgary during 2009.

    Thank you so much for writing this post, it's absolutely beautiful. And I agree with what's been said above - you're a beautiful writer. What can be better to write about than documenting the life of your wonderful family and beautiful son? Hope life is treating you well!!

  5. Just what I needed to read! Beautiful post.

  6. Lauren, great post. I'm so glad I found your blog. I'm reading a book right now called "Hold On To Your Kids" - it's about how important involved parenting is. Also, "The Price of Motherhood" is one of the best books I've ever read. You're involved in a hugely important work. It's good to be reminded of it - thanks!

  7. Beautiful post! I'm so glad Ollie has such a wonderful mom and that you can stay home and take care of him.