On December 18th of 2021 Maturing Mama would have been shaking up the status quo of motherhood presented in the media for 3 years. I can’t believe it! Can you???
Truly Maturing Mama is more than I expected it to be. I am going back into how this magazine started, (as just a blog run by me), and how we started partnering with small businesses and employing stay-at-home moms.
I’ll start with why this magazine is called Maturing Mama. As a child I was the youngest of three girls by six years and five minutes. Five minutes because I’m a twin and my mom always said my older twin sister was more mature than me.
I often got told by family members that I needed to grow up and that I was so immature. Even after being the first of my sisters to get married and have kids, I was still labelled as immature.
I personally believe my family and even select friends saw me as immature because I’m not afraid to say, “I don’t get it”. I don’t act like I know what’s going on if I don’t. I’m not afraid of making myself look silly if it means making someone laugh. I hate acting proud and stuck up. I’d rather make others feel like they’re better than me. And most importantly, I’m not afraid of taking a risk in life even when all odds are against me. If this all makes me seem immature, then I’m ok with that!
So when I became a mom I had a lot of people in my life treating me like I had no idea what I was doing. Many were quick to tell me everything I did wrong. I got a lot of comments from my own family like, “If it weren’t for me your kids wouldn’t survive!” Very bold and blunt. Many seemed to label me a failure before giving me a chance to be a mom.
As I grew into motherhood and befriended other moms, I learned that moms all feel like failures at some point or another, (if not daily). It’s normal!
I then realized that if moms were given the opportunity to admit their failures, and not just to sit in their failures, but admit to their failures in a means to improve ourselves- we actually can become better moms.
It’s time to stop pretending we’re perfect moms that have it all figured out. We’re all growing into motherhood. Hence the name, Maturing Mama.
Now, there was a series of events that caused the start of Maturing Mama. First off I was diagnosed with postpartum depression. It put me in a deep feeling of fear of how I raised my kids. With postpartum depression there’s a lot of dark thoughts of suicide and killing your own kids. It’s terrifying. And of course no mom wants to admit to having thoughts of killing their own kids. The assumed initial response of authorities would be to lock a mom up in an insane asylum or take her kids away.
For me, I felt so scared three months postpartum from my youngest daughter Izabella, that I called this hotline for moms with depression. I talked to a worker and confessed all my dark thoughts. Her voice didn’t skip a beat in saying, “You’re normal!”
I was shocked. She told me most moms experience these thoughts when going through postpartum depression. After hearing this I wanted to find out from other moms on social media if they were infact struggling with this scary season.
I looked up social media profiles of mom bloggers and you can imagine what I found. A lot of Barbie look alikes with perfect bodies raising perfect little humans in perfect homes. Kids all wore matching clothes, (I can’t even get my kids’ socks to match). The moms’ hair were always done perfectly. They always wore makeup. One mom blogger had her hair and makeup done in a photo where (apparently) she had just given birth!
It was so frustrating and disheartening to see all this content that had to be fake. And in the comments of these posts were all the real moms, saying things like, “Wow! I wish I looked that good after giving birth”. Or, “If only I had your body!”
How horrifying to see that these accounts and posts were causing moms to put themselves down that much more. That was the moment I decided I had to do something… But I wasn’t sure it was the right time.
Back when I was a young mom in my early twenties to my oldest Esperanza, I started a blog of sorts. I called it “One Fit Mama”. It was an account on Instagram where I posted photos and videos of my self working out and flexing my muscles. I had all these moms going on about how great I looked. I had all these guys following my profile. Back then, I wanted to be one of those successful mom blogger accounts.
Now, I’m a follower of Jesus Christ and I live my life to follow His lead. So the moment I felt in my heart God was saying, “You’re done! Delete it!”, I did just that. I deleted my account. And I felt like God told me He would let me know when the time was right to try again.
I think the mistake I made with that account was showing my body off as the “perfect mom body”. I definitely let my pride take over in the way I posted on social media. I also wore very little clothes, (gulp).
So at the time I considered starting Maturing Mama, I put the reigns on and decided to wait for a sign… God gave me three.
The first sign was from a couple close mom friends of mine. My mom friends and I all had babies at the same time, (we planned it that way teehee). And as we were hanging out together with our new borns, my two friends offered the idea of us all starting our own blogs. I shut it down right away. I told them, been there, done that and God hasn’t clarified it’s time to go back to that yet.
Then a week later, I was at a church event called Mom’s Cafe at my local church. While there, they had a guest speaker who was a mom blogger. She spoke all about blogging- how to do it, how to make it profitable and how to honor God while doing so.
I thought that was so odd that I was considering starting a blog, my friends were encouraging me to start a blog and now this lady was telling me exactly how to do it. I thought I would go see the speaker after her talk and ask her more questions about how she keeps herself from going down the route I did when I first tried blogging. And at the end of our conversation she said, “I think it’s time for you to try blogging again”.
I told her I’d pray about it. Which, if you know Christians, that usually means, I’m putting it on the back burner.
As I was walking away this mom came up to me and said, “Hi Chanelle, do you have a blog? Because I’d love to follow you!”
I was dumb founded. I literally yelled out, “Ok God I’m listening!” And that evening Maturing Mama the blog, was up.
I wrote about stuff that wasn’t always easy to write about. I was honest about my depression. I was honest about considering going on medication for it. I was honest about every single struggle I’ve had as a mom. I was honest about struggles with in-laws. And I was even honest about the day a social worker knocked on my door.
And you know what, I got emails and messages from so many Mamas thanking me for being honest about issues they were terrified to even admit to themselves.
When I realized I needed to make this venture profitable in order to give it the attention it deserved, I started reaching out to mom owned small businesses. I asked if they would let Maturing Mama advertise their products for a fee. And that’s how we became profitable.
The moment that happened I realized there were lots of moms that were at home with their babies and toddlers who needed incomes. So I offered for them to write for Maturing Mama. And truly I wanted this so I could take the spotlight off myself and celebrate all of the unique and beautiful ways of being a mom. No mom is the standard- especially not me. We’re all just doing the best we can for our kids’ particular needs.
Running Maturing Mama has not been easy. Financially, we do struggle. But I’m blessed to have a very dedicated staff of moms that believe in Maturing Mama’s mission and work more hours than we can pay them for. So if you want to support Maturing Mama financially, buy our products! We design them ourselves and all profits go to our team.
As Maturing Mama continued to grow I realized that we needed to get this message of authentic motherhood to a bigger audience. I also really wanted to have a magazine alongside magazines like Cosmopolitan, Vogue, goodfood and Women’s Health. So literally all I did was reach out to Readly (a magazine subscription app). And I was relieved to see their eager response to get the magazine on their platform.
One day I would like to have the magazine at grocery stores and any where else there are magazines. But there are a ton of loop holes to jump through for that, (we’ll get there one day though). So if you love reading our magazines, be sure to subscribe to the Readly app!
These magazines are a ton of fun to work on. And while editing these magazines I am also still posting on maturingmama.com and on social media all while marketing small businesses… Yes, it is a lot. But it’s so worth it.
I’ve also started an acting career which has been great fun! It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid. The acting community here in Vancouver is amazing. I never expected to feel so fulfilled doing something that’s not tied to motherhood.
I do have days when I get overwhelmed and I’m like, “What am I even doing with my life?!” Then I get encouragement from the M.M. staff and you Mama’s out there and I realize it’s all worth it.
I love hearing from all of you Maturing Mamas out there. It’s so encouraging for me and the team. (Yes I share your emails and messages with the entire team). So please do keep sending us emails and messages.
Thank you so much for reading this and enjoy the rest of this month’s Christmas issue!