Mommy Blogger Rebecca Hawkes from “Love is Not a Pie”
Can you tell us a little bit about your family and your blog?
I’m an adoptive mom in an open adoption and my blog is largely about that experience. I also feature posts that are simply about parenting in general and others about being an adopted person myself.
My immediate family consists of myself, my husband Paul, and our two tween daughters, Mackenzie and Ashley. Mackenzie is my biological daughter and was adopted by Paul shortly after our marriage. Ashley was adopted by both Paul and I by way of foster care. Two members of our broader family group who are featured frequently on my blog are Erica and Tyler, Ashley’s biological mother and brother.
I call my blog “Love Is Not a Pie” to capture the idea of love being something that is unlimited. The more of it we give away, the more of it we have at our disposal.
What’s the main message that you hope people will take away from your blog?
I hope people will take away a message of hope and inspiration, as well as an increased understanding of open adoption and foster-care adoption. I want people to know that birth parents and adoptive parents are all “real” parents, and they don’t have to be in conflict with each other.
What are your top 10 tips for moms?
1) Be a good listener. Learn to listen to what’s on your kids’ minds in an empathetic and nonjudgmental way. Start this habit when your children are young and keep it up. Remember: if your child can’t talk to you when she’s 7, she’s not going to do so when she’s 17!
2) Learn about trauma and how to help children heal when traumatic events occur. A great resource is Peter Levine’s Trauma-Proofing Your Kids: A Parents’ Guide for Instilling Confidence, Joy and Resilience.
3) If you have more than one child, try to spend some one-on-one time with each child every day. You may think you don’t have time for this, but it will actually free up more time in the long run because your children will get along better and you’ll spend less time being a referee.
4) Find small ways of pampering yourself and work them into your regular routine. (For me, a little time with a book and a nice warm bath can work wonders.)
5) Read aloud to your children. Start young and keep it up long after they can read by themselves.
6) Trust your instincts. When my oldest daughter was 3-months-old, I let a more “experienced” mom convince me, against my better judgement, that my baby was sufficiently protected from the sun. (We were sitting in the shade, but there was reflected light from a nearby body of water.) Guess what? She got her first and only sunburn that day!
7) If you have a child who is experiencing anxiety or having trouble sleeping, try massage. Mary Atkinson’s book Healing Touch for Children can get you started.
8) You don’t have to be perfect, but you do need to make repairs when you blow it. Be honest and vulnerable when necessary. If your children deserve and apology, give it to them. You will be modelling an important behavior for them.
9) Audio books make laundry folding bearable, almost enjoyable.
10) Find your village.There can never be too many people in a child’s life who love them!
What are your favorite brands and where do you buy them?
One of the few brands I’m personally loyal to is LL Bean. I grew up in Maine, where the company is based, and I have a somewhat sentimental attachment to the company. They have an excellent customer service policy. Their products are good quality to begin with, but if you aren’t completely satisfied they’ll make things right, no questions asked. My husband and I are both wearing wrinkle-resistant shirts from LL Bean in our family photo. (Who has time to iron?!) The girls, however, are wearing tees from Justice. That’s a favorite brand with them.
My daughters also love Dove brand shampoo and conditioner. They practically refuse to use anything else, and it is a sad, sad day in our house if we ever run out. We buy it in bulk from BJ’s wholesale club.
Are there any other bloggers you would recommend?
I can’t pass up this opportunity to plug my adopted daughter’s other mother’s blog: I’m Still a Good Mother: A Birth Mother’s Journey Through Open Adoption (http://ericaljohnson.blogspot.com). Erica’s voice is an important one because she represents a group (women who have lost children to foster-care adoption) that is often stereotyped and seldom heard from directly. Her story is inspiring because she not only turned her own life around but now helps others to do the same.
Blog: Love Is Not a Pie http://rebecca-hawkes.blogspot.com/