This month on Green Moms Collective, we’re focusing on ways we can bring self-care into our lives. This goes beyond a monthly manicure appointment but rather ways to care every day, modeling to our children the importance of showing up for ourselves. I’m honoured to be introducing you to Renee Kaiman, our first monthly guest contributor of 2016. She’s an inspiration on finding ways to be happy and care for oneself, and others, even in the face of adversity.
Renee is a blogger and mother of two young children who recently finished a year of breast cancer treatments. Later this month, Renee will open up more about her experiences and share her advice. I know we’ll all be able to take valuable lessons from her.
Coffee, Tea, Water, or Green Smoothie? How do you start your day?
When did you become interested in greener, more mindful living? Was there a defining moment?
It’s something, I’ve been interested since having kids. I have been making small changes but not any big ones.
Do you have a favourite eco-product?
It’s not really an eco-product but I love using vinegar!
Tell us what makes you weird/awesome. Tell us something your readers don’t already know about you. what makes me awesome?
Well, when I was 17 I was introduced to the musical RENT. I fell in love with it- the show, the music, the story. I became a RENThead and would sleep on the streets to get Rush (discounted front row tickets). I have seen the show close to 100 times! Crazy, right?
Tell us about yourself, and your work/blog.
I’ve been working as a behavioural therapist for children with autism since I graduated University. My blog, My So-Called Mommy Life, started when my daughter was an infant. I clearly had extra time on my hands and lots of info to share with others. I have now been blogging since May 2012 and it has been so amazing. My blogging community has been so supportive of me during my experience with breast cancer.
After going through a year of breast cancer treatments, would you tell the ‘you’ from when you first got diagnosed?
There are so many things I wish I could go back and tell myself on that fateful day when I was diagnosed. I would first tell myself, that even in the darkest moments of your life there is beauty. I would tell myself that those 2 weeks of tests determining where the cancer was or if it had spread will be the darkest days of my life. That it was ok to cry and be mad but that everything was going to be OK.
What advice would you give a mother newly diagnosed with breast cancer or facing a mastectomy?
A newly diagnosed mother, I would say focus on the here and now with your kids. It’s so easy to get caught up worrying about the future. Make memories and lots of them. Be open and honest in an age appropriate way with your children.
For a mother facing a mastectomy, I would say take a picture of your breasts to remember them. They will never, ever look the same again. Sounds crazy but in a way it’s comforting! After surgery get help! The healing process is way longer than they tell you and you don’t realize how much your use your arms for until you can’t move them!
Is there a quote you live by?
From the musical RENT “No Day But Today” has been so helpful to me especially during my treatments. I worry about the here and now. Get through a given day and then deal with the next one.
What’s currently on your nightstand?
Cookbooks! I need some new inspiration for meals.
What have your children taught you about life?
My favourite thing is watching my children explore and learn about the world through their eyes! It’s a great reminder to slow down and learn alongside them.