Our last Mummy Plus interview was back in May with communications expert Amy Beeson, who had at the time just released a book she co-wrote with her mum, baby expert Sarah Beeson MBE, which shared Sarah’s experiences as a trainee nurse in 1970s London. Amy and her mum are now just about to release their first parenting book, ‘Happy Baby, Happy family: Learning to trust yourself and enjoy your baby,’ which will be released on 7 May! Head over to Amy’s interview to find out more about her.
Today’s interview is with Dr.Karen Osburn from Mom at 41. Karen is the adoptive Mum of two boys, Tyson (aged 4) and Kai (aged 16 months). Motherhood was a long journey for Karen and although she couldn’t be happier about it, there was an expectation that it would be a blissful time of ongoing joy and happiness. Of course it’s not. It’s so much more than this. And yet… The ‘Mommy shaming’ Karen witnessed made her wonder why others mums didn’t talk more honestly and openly about the messier side of motherhood. So she created the Mom at 41 community to address this. It’s an inclusive space for mums to really be themselves. In Karen’s own words, it’s about “Embracing the Imperfect Momma that is you.”
Being a proudly imperfect parent myself, of course I love Karen’s openness about the challenges of motherhood and her engaging podcasts with other imperfect mothers who happily share their daily challenges. So I was honoured when Karen invited me to be a guest on one of these podcasts! Having got to know Karen a little since then, I wanted to find out even more about her so invited her back here, to share her story with you.
Your journey to motherhood wasn’t an easy one, could you tell us a bit about that, and how it felt when you finally became a Mum?
Love to. Becoming a Mum was something I never thought would be difficult. I always loved kids and at the age of 34 when my husband and I decided we were ready, we thought we would get pregnant right away. After two years of failed pregnancy test after failed pregnancy test, ovulation kits, acupuncture, avoiding alcohol and caffeine… We just stopped talking about it. It was too painful.
And for any Mom who has experienced infertility this will resonate: You see babies and pregnant women EVERYWHERE when you’re trying to get pregnant. As much as I was happy to see friends and patients in my Chiropractic office having babies, it was like a little stab in my soul each time it would happen.
We then went through fertility tests, procedures, and were poked and prodded for a few years. The next step would have been IVF but at that point I was emotionally done. That was it. I just couldn’t do it anymore.
In the meantime, we had started the process of getting approved and then on the waiting list to adopt. In the back of my mind, I still thought I could get pregnant. But it never happened. And although it gets better over time, it’s a loss that will probably always be with me.
However, adoption made me a mummy for the first time at 41 (hence the name of my podcast, blog and Community, Mom at 41), and then again at 44. And I am so very thankful for that. The gratitude I feel for our sons’ birthmoms for choosing us to be their parents is something that will always be in my heart, and I don’t forget for a single day. Even those incredibly tough ones as a Mum.
When I finally became a Mum for the first time… My husband and I were outside the hospital room when our first son Tyson was born. Even as I type this, four years after it happened, I still well up with tears. When I heard Tyson cry for the first time, I literally dropped to my knees and sobbed. It was such a release of all the pain, shame and frustration of seven years of struggling to become a Mum mixed with such incredible gratitude in that moment. So how did it feel? Pure joy. The purest I’ve ever felt.
What surprised you most about the reality of motherhood?
That’s an easy one. How hard it was. And how other Moms didn’t talk about it. How hard sleep deprivation is on trying to function (although this got easier for me over time and once our second son joined our family).
But mostly, the mommy meltdowns from exhaustion, frustration and feeling like you’re the worst Mum, and yet no other Mums talked about this. That was the most difficult thing and what was most disturbing. This feeling that you shouldn’t think or say certain things for fear of being judged by other Mums. And this was one of the biggest motivating factors behind creating Mom at 41.
You’ve been working as a Chiropractor for 13 years and since becoming a Mum, you’ve also created this Mom at 41 community to inspire and support other Mums via weekly podcasts, a blog and a Facebook group. You also recently hosted your first webinar and have started an exciting new project this year. Just how do you manage to fit it all in?
I get asked this question a lot, more in the form of: How do you do it all so well? And my honest answer is: I don’t! Right now, I’m struggling to find some semblance of balance and keep telling myself it’s just for a short period of time that I’m not getting much sleep, not at the gym as often and stopped having time for me to read or journal each day. I work every night when my boys are in bed, and each morning before they wake. It’s crazy right now.
My passion and drive is both a blessing and a curse and I am starting to learn that I simply cannot do all the things that I want to do, and how to focus on what will really have the most impact in my message and with my vision for Mom at 41.
You’ve just become a Desire Map Licensee. Can you tell us a bit about that and how it fits with what you’ve been doing?
Yes, I’m so excited about this! The Desire Map is a book by the divine Danielle LaPorte that is really a heart-centred approach to goal setting, and discovering your Core Desired Feelings. The goal then becomes about how you want to FEEL.
I first heard about Danielle LaPorte on a podcast about a year ago, read The Desire Map earlier this year, and resonated and connected with everything she wrote. I then heard her speak in October, flew to Santa Monica, California for a seminar she taught with two other writers called Open Books and then became a Desire Map Facilitator.
As a Facilitator, I start teaching my first Desire Map Workshops (both In-Person and Virtual) from this month to help women through this process and in creating their Goals with Soul. I truly believe in this work, and know that Desire Mapping is an absolutely life-changing experience, as it’s impacted my life on so many levels.
What do you feel your biggest challenges are now and how have these changed in recent years?
My biggest challenge is juggling my Chiropractic Practice with podcasting, blogging, creating and caring for my two young boys, while still investing time in my marriage, with friends and caring for me. It’s the challenge we all often have as Mums which is time, or feeling like we don’t have enough of it. However, I’ve been making some big life decisions to move in a healthier direction with all this, in addition to learning to say no to a lot more than I do right now. Learning how to dial down and better focus my passion is a big lesson for me right now.
Who or what inspires and/or motivates you?
The amazing people (a lot of ‘mompreneurs’!) I’ve met in the online and podcasting world. They are truly some of the hardest working people I’ve ever met. My online colleagues are so incredibly giving, helpful and have really helped guide me through the massive learning process from the start of this journey with Mom at 41 and still continue to help me to this day. What a gift it is to be able to connect online with so many amazing people from around the world, and meeting new people all the time who are wanting to work together to help more people in our collaborative work.
How do you manage childcare when you’re working?
Both of our boys are in full-time daycare. There is no way I could do all I do without it. I used to feel badly about this. But my work aspirations are a big part of who I am, and I need to fulfill that part of me to be the best me, and the best Mum to my two boys.
How do you ‘switch off’ when you’re not working?
Again, not the best with this one, since I try to do so much in my downtime. I’m probably the most ‘switched off’ when I’m spending time with my boys, but still guilty at times for checking my phone when I’m with them.
If money was no object, what would you do with your time?
Probably a lot of what I’m doing now but with more help. VAs in place to help with a lot of the admin stuff, creative copy and website work. And I’d get back to writing more. I miss it. Since I started the podcast, it’s taken center stage and is a medium of expression and creativity I love. But writing is still a big part of me and I would love to have more time to just sit and write for at least an hour a day.
If you had to describe your boys in just three words (that’s three words each!), what would you say?
Tyson – funny, smart and ENERGY
Kai – happy, crazy and fierce
Complete the sentence: ‘I’m a Mummy Plus…’ in no more than 40 words.
….an imperfect creative woman who is striving to do her best to serve other Mums. I have such a driving force inside of me to connect with Moms, and my work with Mom at 41 feels most like Me.
You can find Karen online at Mom at 41 and on twitter @DrKarenOsburn. If you’d like to be part of the community, head over to her Facebook page where you can meet other imperfect mums from around the world and share your own stories, challenges and joys! If you’re interested in the Desire Map workshops, Karen is running her first workshops (both in person and online) this month. Find out more and sign up now!
If you would like to take part in a Mummy/Daddy Plus interview, either leave a comment below, email me or DM me on twitter. If you’re a bit shy but know of someone else you feel is a Mummy/Daddy Plus, let me know why you think they should be interviewed and pass on their contact details so that I can get in touch.