Interview with Kathy Stowell, a coach who teaches mums how to become coaches and reach “Mama Bliss.” She’s here to talk about raising a shy daughter as well as her own journey through shyness.
The Beginnings of Mama Bliss
“My eldest daughter was the catalyst to my own “Mama Bliss.” My work all began when I began blogging, when I was a young mum and documenting what it was like to step into the parenting journey while also stepping into the hobby farming adventure that my husband and I barked upon almost 15 years ago and pretty much decided I loved connecting with other moms all over the world and I was trying to figure out ways I can connect with them on a deeper level.
I discovered the secret sauce to what I call my mama bliss, which is essentially just nurturing myself before I can nurture my kids so that I can really find a peaceful centre within and create the space and energy to go for my own goals and dreams outside of being a mum. And that’s what I’ve been doing since, coaching moms, and then it turned into teaching them how to coach other moms. You know, Moms need to look after themselves as well as their kids. It seems to be something that we struggle with often and then it’s easy to maybe put your own dreams and plans to one side. But, then you’re like, what about my life? what happened?
How environment can affect how we interact with other people
Before we moved here in British Columbia, we lived 45 minutes, so we lived in an even smaller town, like maybe 300 people from here. And that was definitely the case, especially to the locals. So, there was a lot of “hermity” types. People who really kept to themselves and if they did branch out to socialize, it was very cliquey. It’s also the pot growing capital of Canada. So, it was a lot of paranoia and it was really hard to kind of get in there.
So, I felt shy trying to get in with some of these circles because you know, it took a long time for people to warm up and trust you and to kind of get in there. So, my son was actually born out there in the sticks and I did not leave the house for 40 days!
40 days after he was born, my friend was having a Christmas party and I’m like, you know, this will be as big coming out party and stepped outside with him on day 40 and it was big snow storm and these really big fat snowflakes hitting a sweet little pure face and I’m like “nope, too much snow” so I went back inside for another 10 days. My next-door neighbour was saying to my husband “that just ain’t right” so that was just being too reclusive.
I wonder if I had a bit of post-partum depression, or something because I really embraced the comfort of our home. We had a straw bale house that was uber hot. I had wood-fire burning 24/7 and I was like I heavy nesting or regressing back into the womb!
Now after we moved here to Nelson, British Columbia, I think I’m in a different season of my motherhood. I’m a lot more sociable and outgoing now. I do work from home, and I don’t really leave here unless I’m going to the grocery store or to a yoga class or something. But just saying that when I do leave, it’s still small enough that I see people I know. It’s almost an unspoken rule here that they kind of do the nod thing cause they’re like “Oh, I’m sure I’ll see you in a couple more days”.
On navigating the online world and how it affected my work
In my work, I coach a lot of moms who are newly established. I tell them that more than half of your time is going to be spent putting the word out there that this is what you do. So, you have to get comfortable with putting yourself out there as a coach.
There are times that I lean on my background as a yoga teacher. So just breathing through the discomfort and knowing that each time I push my comfort zone a little bit, it’s just going to get that much easier the next time. But you know, it’s not always easy if I’m feeling a little wobbly.
If I’m feeling off a little tired or under the weather or just having a poopy day, I noticed that the shyness factor crops back up. I second guess myself and the discomfort is that much more amplified. But, remembering that there is a reason for me doing this; there are moms out there who need to be inspired to go for their dreams. I need to let them know that this training is available for them. Then that kind of gets me a little bit over myself.
Sometimes I’ll see someone posting a lot on social media, perhaps talking about their MLM business, like all the time, and it riles me. I’m only human! But I try to see the beauty in everything. And reframe it. Isn’t it beautiful that they are so passionate about this product that they want to share it with their friends and spread the word. That’s a good reframe for me too. When I need to spread the word about my business, I focus on the greater good and the fact that my intention is coming from a good, well-intentioned place. So that usually helps me get over the hump.
On raising and protecting a shy child
I feel that because of her shyness, it can be hard for people to see what I see in her and it’s so funny and weird, but when I talk about her, I often get very emotional because I just love her so much and I think, she’s so neat and I tell her that like 10 times a day! Like you are so cool. You’re so fun to hang out with.
So, it was almost like from the moment she was born, she rarely cried as a baby. She was just the easiest kid ever. She just observed, she just had these big green eyes and she just was like this little Buddha.
Then, my son came along and he’s just the complete opposite. Really outgoing and not shy at all. It’s so funny cause when people meet my husband, we’re kind of two ends of the scale in that regards as well. Like I’m way more outgoing and my husband too is a little bit more reserved and quieter so our daughter has his dad’s personality and our son was more like me.
As my daughter was growing up, it was difficult, because we were in a tiny town with just 300 people. And the challenging part for me was protecting her from people’s expectations on how she should be.
And a couple of times, oh my God, my mama bear got poked cause I felt very protective of her in terms of, I didn’t want to rush her in any regards. She was also not delayed by any means, but she took her time. She’s an observer, she’s careful and she didn’t start walking until her first birthday.
And I remembered that my in-laws would say stuff like “oh maybe she should go see a physical therapist”. And I was just like a teenager, like yeah maybe. But no, I’m not too concerned about this. But thanks for bringing that up. And then, I would have locals like when we would go to the grocery store in that teeny tiny town, I took her everywhere, she was like my little sidekick, and in this teeny tiny little grocery store, people would be like trying to crack a smile at her. Once she smiled and there was like a huge party! I think confetti came from the ceiling of the grocery store and I’m like, yeah, she’s a really tough nut to crack.
After a while I’m like, don’t even bother. It’s, you know, she’s just shy.
And then one time, this hippy guy was really into making flower essences and we’re at the restaurant in that little town and he came up, he’s like, “Oh, Hey, um, I was meditating on your daughter and I came up with a remedy for her condition”. Her condition?! I was really just so annoyed.
And then there this really interesting instance is this woman who I thought was a wise elder in our community and I was really a big fan of hers until she said she really took it personal that my daughter wouldn’t engage with her in a way she expected. You know, she’s like, does she not like me?
I think I said something, like “she’s not here for your entertainment!”. I just was really surprised that I kind of had to talk to this woman I really admire. I was really surprised that she would say something like that. Like I thought you were more advanced than that dude. You know, it’s unbelievable!
I think the fact that I was her advocate I think that was helpful. I tapped into different options, like for my daughter, I went with the attached parenting style. I just kind of sensed with her that I needed to keep her close to me, even though it was hard to basically shake her off my leg! I wrote a blog post once and there was literally a picture of her sitting under my skirt. You just see her feet, stuff like that was her, when we went to party.
A Blossoming and an unfurling
As Edie has grown into her own person, there’s been an unfolding that has been so beautiful to witness.
We moved into town and she goes to a Waldorf school, so they get the same teacher through the whole journey. And it was really just such a beautiful thing to almost have a co-parent in that regards who knew her intimately.
She constantly surprised me in this journey. For example, the kids did a show in front of like 300 people. I was worried, I was all like, “Oh my God, I don’t know if she’d be into it”. And I said to her, “You know, you don’t have to, if this is outside of your comfort zone”. She hears that word again. And she’s like, “I’m not afraid”. I just love that so many times since then. She has gone on stage and blown everyone out of the water with her performance.
She performed in a Midsummer’s night dream performance with her class and she had the role of Helena. We watched it twice and they performed it twice and everyone, wherever they’re receding or looking towards me and if I caught eyes with someone, they just would mouth “oh my God!”. Because the students were all basically just regurgitating their scripts but she got into character. She was talking loud, she had the facial expressions, she had the hand gesture. It was just like I told people after that I was so proud! I thought I was going to pass out. And then this lady behind me said “Oh my God, who’s that little girl? She’s amazing!”. She’s like an amazing, amazing actress. It’s just really cool to have people who knew her over the years to see that.”