Have you ever found yourself alone in your motherhood journey? Maybe you’ve wondered where your community was, and if there are other mamas out there going through what you’re going through?

Meet Shannon Christensen, my guest this week. Shannon was born and raised in Kelowna, BC and lives there with her husband of 9 years and 2 boys. Shannon is passionate about her friends, family and her community. 

With a BA in Psychology and Master’s of Counselling Psychology, she has a passion for working with marginalized populations and used this drive to start Mamas for Mamas; a registered non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the negative impact of poverty on low income mothers and their families. Shannon has been recognized as a top 40 under 40 recipient, A Woman to Watch, and was a top 3 finalist for Woman of the Year through The City of Kelowna Civic and Community Awards.

Listen in as we talk about:
  • Kindness as an inspiration for the Mamas for Mamas movement. Shannon’s late father reminded her that she exudes kindness and she wanted to do something special in his memory.
  • Building a community. How Shannon’s vision to serve and show up for every community spans farther than online presence and physical locations. We also touch on how to get involved with Mamas for Mamas.
  • The power of a motherhood community. For Shannon, having a motherhood community is everything, as she didn’t have one and wasn’t welcomed into different motherhood communities in the past. 
  • You are not alone. The motherhood journey can be lonely, but you are not alone. Shannon suggests finding like-minded mamas to offer you support and understanding, in both the hard and easy times. 
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KINDNESS IS OUR CURRENCY

“A sense of belonging is the strongest predictor of mental health. Connecting versus transactions allows that to flourish.”

Should kindness feel like a transaction or a donation? When Shannon was brainstorming how kindness would become a currency within the Mamas for Mamas community, the goal was to have money taken away from the equation. Not necessarily because of individuals struggling with poverty, but because we’re all experiencing isolation based poverty as mothers. And when we take money off the table, the only currency we can use is kindness and connection, which Shannon believes is the missing link for moms. So in saying ‘kindness is our currency’, it means you will get anything you need for free from Mamas for Mamas. Showing kindness makes more of a difference in a mama’s life than anybody could possibly imagine. 

Shannon Christensen, of Mamas for Mamas, says that "A sense of belonging is the strongest predictor of mental health. Connecting versus transactions allows that to flourish."

MOTHERHOOD TAKES A COMMUNITY

Motherhood is the most rewarding yet can be the most isolating and challenging experience we can go through. For Shannon, she recalls how she didn’t have a community of moms to lean on and support her, which fueled her desire even more to create an organization like Mamas for Mamas. She says to not be afraid to ask for what you’re looking for in terms of support, find people who have the same interests as you, and gently reminds us that it’s okay to be a different kind of mom.

FINDING YOUR COMMUNITY

Finding your village, as a mom, can be tough. Shannon says “Just don’t be afraid to be vulnerable“.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask for the support you are looking for.
  • Remember that there are many different types of moms and this is more than okay.
  • Find a mom that suits your style of parenting.
  • Find people who share common interests with you.
  • Go on the Mamas for Mamas Facebook page and post who you are and what you like.
  • Be patient with yourself, be kind to yourself, and take it one small step at a time.

Shannon Christensen, of Mamas for Mamas, says that "It takes one to have an idea. It takes a village to create a movement."

THE POWER OF COMMUNITY

“It takes one to have an idea. It takes a village to create a movement.”

Shannon takes a microcosm of credit for building something small that was representative of the rest of the world. However, she credits every single mom who chooses to be a part of Mamas for Mamas. This includes the people who allow that vulnerability to come through and who ask for help as well as those who offer their support. These people put aside the need to build higher fences and really engage in building longer tables.

BEG, BORROW, & STEAL FROM SHANNON

  • Go-to meal on a busy night: Chicken thighs with green beans and rice.
  • Favourite family games: Charades and Scrabble. 
  • One mom to sit down for a conversation with: Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
  • If I knew then what I know now: It doesn’t get easier and be kind to yourself.

 

GIVING A HAND UP

The Part-Time Jungle Podcast is proudly supporting the Calgary branch of the national charitable organization Mamas for Mamas with this “Buy Me a Coffee” initiative. All funds raised will go directly to Mamas for Mamas – Calgary: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/thePTJpodcast

Mamas for Mamas supports mothers and caregivers in crisis by providing ongoing support to individuals and families facing various poverty-related struggles. Their mission is to change the landscape of poverty through innovative approaches to financial barriers faced by struggling families.

Thank you for listening, for being a part of The Part-Time Jungle community, and for your support of Mamas for Mamas.

Wishing you all the best with your motherhood and work juggle!

~Tiana