COLLEEN CHRISTOPHERSON-COTE

AGE   39

HOMETOWN   Coronach, Saskatchewan, Canada

@TWITTER   @CTAPinSK

* We love CCC’s bio: “Living in rural SK, 2 girls, 1 husband, 2 pets, school trustee, reader and draws her cows with 5 legs – deal with it.

ON THE WEB   n/a

NUMBER OF CHILDREN   Two girls

FAVORITE CHILDREN’S BOOK

We have so many books that are fav’s and they change as we grow and learn more about how great reading is. These are the select few that we cherish, give as gifts and will pass on to the next generation.
1. Where the Wild Things Are: a classic from my childhood too, love it for the illustrations and the message, not to mention it is a blast to read out loud!
2. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – so much fun to read, have given it many times as a gift to new parents.
3. GoodNight Opus: found this at a huge book sale, we LOVE the message in it. I have read it numerous times at school.
4. Sometimes I Like to Curl Up in a Ball – board book, still brings tears to my eyes….it was a gift from my best friend when my 1st daughter was born.
5. “Don’t let the pigeon” books – the BEST for reading out loud!

I moved a lot as a child, and really didn’t keep any of my books for my kids, but recently, my mother sent an original, hard cover, Nancy Drew to my 9 yo – who is so excited to read “grandma’s book”.

DAY JOB

Not sure where to start….I have a small consulting firm (I work from home) that works in the area of community economic development. I spend most of my hours working on community driven projects. My kids would say I am a professional “meeting-goer-toer” because I sit on 13 local, regional and provincial boards. I am an elected member of municipal government, I am an elected school trustee and I am the founder of a literacy organization that focuses on equitable access to family literacy and workplace essential skill in a small, isolated rural community.

RELATIONSHIP STATUS   Married – for 7 years.

HOW DO YOU COMBINE WORK AND FAMILY?

The joy of being self-employed and having a husband with a generous employer (re: vacation and time off) is that we marry our work and family quite well. There are times when it feels like we are caught in the hurricane of life, but always know that there is a glimmer of light that is our “next family vacation”.

Living in a very small, very isolated rural community – we have committed to making travel part of our lifestyle. It is essential to us that our children are exposed to diversity, culture and the global environment as much as possible. Travel can be as small as a trip to the city (200km) for a “fancy supper” or a watersliding trip, to driving across the country, or flying to NYC. Our kids love to see new things, eat foods from different cultures and just hang out as a family. Our “normal” day-to-day schedules are so hectic at times that we cherish the travel, down times, immensely.

Now that our kids are school-aged, the “work-day” is much easier. Many of my commitments are in the evening, when my husband is around. Yet, when there is a school function, I am flexible enough to be able to participate in all these functions. We believe that our family should have an active role in their education. We generally do not work on weekends, and try to schedule our lives around the school timetable so that we can enjoy those days as a family. We are very lucky.

HOW HAS PARENTING CHANGED YOU AS AN INDIVIDUAL? For instance are you now careful, when pre-children you led bungee jumping and sky diving expeditions?

Yes, I am much more of a “what if” person than I used to be. I sometimes believe that I have irrational fears….they don’t control my life, so I’m not worried about it, but there are times when my “what-if” scenarios would make a fantastic movie plot!

I also find that I spend less time with people that don’t understand “my normal” which means including my family, so we don’t have many friends without children. I find myself longing for the next Harry Potter Movie, or getting library materials that are for pre-teens! I am also not concerned with my “fashion” – not that I was ever a “fashionista” but I would rather provide cool things for my family/children than have a $130 pair of jeans.

HOW HAS PARENTING AFFECTED YOUR RELATIONSHIP? How often do you have sex?  Is it enough?  How do you communicate differently (if at all)?

I just want to sleep. LOL! Seriously though, I am not sure what is “enough” – I think when our schedules and drives cross over, we are great – other times exhaustion, work and such, creates an environment that is only conducive to sleep!

Sometimes we text/FB each other from across the room!

We always have family meals, where we can debrief and just have family time. I think eating together is an integral part of our communication strategy.

WHAT ARE YOUR STRENGTHS AS A PARENT AND WHAT ARE YOUR WEAKNESSES?

Strengths: ability to be consistent, supportive, good communication, ability to pick good disciplinary tactics, understand that sometimes it is ok to just ask for help

Weaknesses: overindulgence, overprotective, I like to worry (that is a product of having grown up with a police officer dad!), I am a bit of a perfectionist (but I am working on it!)

As I was typing this my kids came home from school – so I asked my 7 yo “what makes me a good mom” and she said (yelling from her room), “Cuz u make us great breakfasts……..long pause……..hey I found my toy monkey!” She has some issues staying on task!

WHAT ARE YOUR PARTNER’S STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES?

Strengths: level headed, calm and loving. He would go to the end of the earth for our family, no questions asked. Mechanically inclined (although this can be a weakness b/c he wants to fix everything, when all I want to do is throw it away!),

Weaknesses: the ability to deflect ownership of his mistakes/errors, he is not such a great cook, and really not a great multi-tasker – so I know to assign duties in order of priority – when necessary ☺

WHO ELSE PROVIDES CHILDCARE FOR YOUR CHILDREN?

When our children were young it was a mix of stay-at-home, small day-homes and eventually an integrated childcare facility in our public school. I think our kids got the best of all of those experiences.

Currently, we employ a high school student to babysit during the times that we cannot make our schedules work. She will come before school, so that my children are not off their schedules, and stay afterschool (or take them to extracurricular) until one of us is around to take over. My kids love this arrangement because they get to hang-out with a “cool big kid” and stay in their environment, keeping their schedules.

 WHAT IS YOUR WORST PARENTING MOMENT?

Parenting is a constant game of emotions, wit, trial & error and uncertainty! As my kids grow older I realize the things that I would have done differently, and that the most important thing is to simply learn as you go.

If I had to pick a few crazy images that come to mind they would be:

  1. Allowing my young (I mean <2) daughter watch (use that term loosely) music videos – b/c when she was very young she was “dancing” to “It’s getting’ Hot in Here” in the grocery store – uh, inappropriately, LOL
  2. Once during a meeting I kept thinking, man, I am forgetting something….yes, my kids (age 6 & 8) got home from school to an empty house….I remembered and bolted from my meeting, found them at the neighbours (youngest said “You forgot us – you don’t love me!”) – but we had practiced the “emergency response” and they executed it perfectly (so part of this should be a “best parenting moment”!!)
  3. The last one would be getting caught up in “adult” issues, with my kids present.  There are so many things, that kids just don’t need to know.

WHAT IS YOUR BEST PARENTING MOMENT?

Not really a “moment” but – many of my friends with younger children seek my advice and opinion about situations. I am flattered that they think that I actually have any idea what I am doing!!

I also had a proud moment when my (now) 9yo, (then) 7yo articulated an issue with a classmate. The long and short of it was, that her mother did not “like” me and was using our daughters to get to me. But my daughter recognized it, and said to me – it is not fair that I don’t include her in my birthday invitations, just because she is mean to me. She can choose if she wants to come or not, I am still going to invite her. (Despite the fact that the month prior, all the kids in the class, other than my daughter were invited to the other house for a party).

I had no input with this issue – she did it all on her own. That being said, I did have a conversation with the teacher after I learned what was going on.

Lisa D

Lisa Duggan is the founder of The Modern Village, and publisher of TheParentduJour.com and TheMotherHoodBlog.com.

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