For this episode, I speak with mom and step-mom Jackie Gillard. Jackie is a writer with a great blog called “My Papaya Jambalaya: Random thoughts on life in a second marriage with a blended, transracial, adoptive family.” She and I chat about her unique journey to motherhood, first with becoming a step-mom and then, following unsuccessful fertility treatments, through international adoption. Jackie wrote a beautiful contribution to the 1,000 Families Project on our website, thenewfamily.com. And it’s actually one of the posts that helped us get nominated for best blog in the Canadian Online Publishing Awards. Jackie opens up about the triumphs and challenges of life in a trans-racial blended family, including how she handles some of the crazy comments from strangers. And you won’t want to miss the story of the first moment she met her daughter.
In this episode I’m joined by psychologist and parenting expert Susan Newman. Susan is the author of 15 books including The Case for the Only Child as well as Parenting an Only Child: the Joys and Challenges of Raising Your One and Only. She and I chat about the pressure on families to have more than one child, as well as the negative assumptions that singletons grow-up spoiled and selfish. Susan makes the argument that despite the fact that single-child families are on the rise, attitudes about only children remain stuck in the past. She points out some significant benefits to having just one, including increased financial resources, career advantages for moms, and close bonds between parent and child. In fact, she calls the single-child family, “The New Traditional Family."
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Sara Lanthier joins me in this episode to talk about her journey to become a mom without a partner. Sara is a mother to seven-year-old Will, and she blogs about single motherhood at urbanmoms.ca. We talk about how she came to decide to become a “choice mom”—and on how picking a sperm donor is a little like online dating only without all the awkward coffee dates. Sara speaks candidly about the good and bad parts of going it alone as a parent, the importance of having a great support network around you as a single parent, and on just how critical it is to remember that the sun will always come up in the morning.
In this episode I’m joined by psychiatrist and father of seven Dr. Stephen Camarata. He’s the author of The Intuitive Parent: Why the Best Thing for Your Child is You. The professor of psychiatry from Vanderbilt University encourages parents to take a collective deep breath and learn to trust our instincts again. He busts the myths that have sent parents into a panic over wiring our children’s brains in the early years, and created a massive industry of products, videos and apps that promise to help us turn our children into little geniuses. In reality, it’s the simple kind of every day interactions with our children that they need most, he says. Learn why Dr. Camarata is encouraging us to forget about one-size-fits-all parenting models and tune into our intuition and common sense instead.
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In this episode I’m joined by mom of three Daniela Kelloway, who was featured on the cover of Toronto Life magazine under the headline “Power Wives and their House Husbands.” Daniela is the founder and CEO of an arts and entertainment public relations firm called Clutch PR, and her husband, Tim, is a stay-at-home dad. She and I chat about the experiences and circumstances that led to Tim stepping in as primary caregiver, and the fact that society still doesn’t seem to be entirely comfortable with men looking after babies. Daniela speaks candidly about the way family and friends called their arrangement into question, and on how women in high-powered careers face far more scrutiny for their long hours and work travel then men. We also chat about how this isn’t the only way her family has broken the mold, given they used to spend half the year living in the West Indies. Daniela encourages other families to forget what anyone else says and design the lives they want.
In this episode I’m joined by mom of four Samantha Kemp-Jackson. Samantha works in corporate communications in Toronto, and she writes a great blog called Multiple Mayhem Mamma. The incredible thing about Samantha’s story is that her children are a whopping 24 years apart. Yes, her kids range in age from six to 30, and in this episode she tells us what that’s like, from having a baby at just 19 to having surprise identical twins at 43. Sam shares her unique viewpoint on how parenting has changed since she first became a mom in the 1980s. We talk about the way technology has not only shaped a culture of immediacy and constant monitoring in families, but become a default source of entertainment—both a blessing and a curse.
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In this episode I chat with the authors of The New ‘I Do’—Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels. Susan Pease Gadoua is a licensed therapist with an expertise in marriage and divorce, and she’s also the author of the best-selling book Contemplating Divorce. Vicki Larson is a longtime journalist, columnist and blogger whose work has appeared everywhere from The New York Times to The Huffington Post. We have a very interesting conversation about the groundbreaking territory explored in their book, including the much-needed alternatives to the one-size-fits-all “till death do us part” marriage that people are quietly refining for the 21st century. From the parenting marriage to the safety marriage and more, you won’t want to miss this thought-provoking interview.
In this episode I chat with Sean O’Donnell, a father of two from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, and the man behind the hilarious website Sean’s Big Gay Blog—Observations of a Gay Dad. Sean’s the author of a new book called Which One of You Is the Mother? The Absolutely Positively True Adoption Story of Two Gay Dads. Sean and I chat about the process he and his husband, Todd, went through to adopt two boys at ages seven and five, including the incredible moment when they met their first child. We talk about what’s involved in domestic adoption, helping the kids acclimate and some of the unusual things people say to gay adoptive fathers!
In this episode I to talk to author Karma Brown about her remarkable journey to motherhood. Diagnosed with cancer when she was still in journalism school, Karma and her brand-new boyfriend were confronted with the decision to freeze embryos before her chemotherapy and radiation began. We discuss the incredible role her sister played in helping Karma and Adam, now her husband, to become parents. We chat about what it was like to be expecting but not pregnancy, and the nosy things people say to you when you’re a mother of one.
In this episode I chat with Katherine Woodward Thomas, the marriage and family therapist who coined the phrase “Conscious Uncoupling.” (No, in fact, it wasn’t Gwyneth Paltrow!) She’s been helping people find a peaceful way forward through divorce in a popular online course by the same name since 2011. Katherine’s highly anticipated book Conscious Uncoupling: 5 Steps to Living Happily Even After just hit bookstores recently, and it’s already a New York Times bestseller. Katherine offers a road map for getting through the tough transitions of separation and divorce, which allows us to move forward in a healthy way, both for our own emotional health and the well-being of our kids. This is a must listen for anyone who has ever been affected by divorce or had a friend or family member going through the same.
In this episode I to talk to Natasha Chiam, a writer, speaker and activist from Edmonton, Alberta. She’s a mom of two and author of the blog The Stay At Home Feminist. Are “feminist” and “stay-at-home mother” contradictory terms? No way! Natasha and I have a candid chat about the complicated feelings parents wrestle with when making decisions about whether or not to work outside the home, and we talk about what it takes to bring up politically-aware kids who hold feminist ideals.
In this episode I chat with Julie Cole, who’s not only a mom of SIX children, but vice-president and co-founder of Mabel’s Labels, the market leader in durable personalized labels for all the stuff kids lose. Julie and I chat about how a busy household like hers works, the weird things people say when they find out you have six kids, and the stuff we can ALL learn from the way big families operate. Julie’s got great advice on cultivating self-sufficiency in our children, about tailoring parenting to kids’ individual needs, and about nurturing a community you can count on.
In this episode I talk to Kari Svenneby, a mom born and raised in Norway, who’s passionate about encouraging families to spend time together outdoors. She’s the founder and CEO of ActiveKidsClub.com, a grass roots community and website that helps connect children and adults to the outdoors. She’s also a classically-trained chef and library scientist! Kari brings a Nordic sensibility—and hardiness—to family life. On the weekends her family can be found hiking, biking or swimming in Lake Ontario. In the winter, they’re avid cross-country skiers. We talk about the different ways Scandinavian and North American cultures approach physical risk for children. And Kari shares her advice for keeping your family active all year round, even if you're not a huge fan of winter.
In this episode I talk to Joel Bower, host of the Self Employed Parent Podcast, about how changes in the way we work have impacted family life. Joel’s a serial entrepreneur who doesn’t buy into the old-school model of devoting endless hours to an employer all in pursuit of free time in retirement. We talk about the upsides of being able to design your own work hours, but we also confront the romantic notions people may hold about being able to work from home. In a world where so many of us now employ ourselves—and where our kids are more likely to become entrepreneurs, solo-preneurs and makers—we’re creating new career models for generations to come. Whether you’re employing yourself or just contemplating the future for you and your kids, this episode gets us thinking about having the best of both worlds.
This episode I chat with Dr. Shimi Kang, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and best-selling author of “The Dolphin Parent: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy and Motivated Kids.” She suggests ways to resist our generation’s helicopter-parenting ways by considering the life skills and attributes that will REALLY make a difference to how our kids fare in life. (Hint: It’s not about getting the top mark in science class or a place on a rep hockey team.) Dr. Kang also shares the “ah ha” moment that led her to make changes to her own parenting style.
In this episode, Amanda Jette Knox shares what it was like to find out that the child she knew as a son was actually a daughter. In this candid discussion of a very important revelation that Amanda and her husband just couldn’t have been prepared for, we learn about the loving way these parents are embracing their child Alexis through transition, the way her siblings have reacted, how things have gone at school and more.
In this episode I talk with journalist and dad Mike Wallberg about his experience taking a year off work to look after his daughter, and his research on the barriers dads face as primary caregivers. Mike delves into the weird reactions dads get when they try to join playgroups, the pioneering they’ve got to do in the workplace, and what it would take to level the playing field so more men can be the dads they want to be.
In this episode I talk to gay dad Frank Emanuele and dear friend Angela Pickering-Peeters, who not only acted as the gestational carrier for Luca, Frank’s two-year-old son with husband Norm, but who’s now expecting Frank and Norm’s second baby. We talk about their unique relationship, how Angela’s four kids have reacted to all this “baby growing” business, and the nosy questions people ask when you’re carrying someone else’s child.
In this short introductory episode, I explain what you can expect from The New Family Podcast, the show that explores what families like yours and mine really look like and the issues that matter to us most. I also share a little about how my own unique family situation inspired me to launch thenewfamily.com and now a year later, The New Family Podcast.