Real Mama: Tanja Hall

I am proud to say that Tanja is my sister-in-law. Not only do we live around the corner from one another, but we were bridesmaids in each other’s weddings less than one year apart, we experienced our first pregnancies together, and now we are raising our children together (Cassidy and Connor are about two and a half months apart in age).

She is an amazing mama who is so incredibly hard-working and dedicated to her family. Not only is she my sister-in-law, but she is a wonderful friend!

Image by Sweet Pair Photography

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a 31-year-old mother of an 11-month-old son. I was born and raised in the city and moved to the country after high school. I always loved being around kids, and was babysitting whenever I could. I imagined myself with a big family like the one I grew up in — I have two older sisters and a younger brother.

Where is home?

I live in the small town of New Hamburg in Ontario, Canada. It’s a quiet little town with everything you could ever want and need in and around it.

What are your secrets to balancing your life as a stay-at-home mama?

I’m currently a stay-at-home mama with plans to return to work in about a month. When Connor is awake, I am spending time with him — either feeding him, playing with his toys or reading and singing. I’ve been lucky with Connor in the sense that he’s a good sleeper. He goes to bed at 7 p.m. and sleeps until at least 7:30 a.m., and has two long naps during the day. Those are my ‘me’ times, my time to read my e-mail, do the dishes, prepare a meal or do a little work from home.

The key is a good schedule. It took us a while to figure out what that schedule was, but once we did, it’s really hard to break it, and if we do, we’re in for a rough ride.

Image by Country Barn Photography

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My parents are my inspiration. They raised four kids on one income and, sometimes, no income. It was rough at times and we didn’t have very much. Yet we grew up appreciatiating everything we have. My parents have been together for almost 40 years and their children are their biggest accomplishment.

What has been the best advice you’ve received as a mama? What do you feel is the best advice, if any, that you’ve given as a mama?

You receive so much advice as a new mama and even while still pregnant. The best advice given to me— well the piece that stands out the most— is to sleep when they sleep. And it sure does work well at first when you are just so exhausted. I could sleep anywhere and anytime of day. But as he got older, I found that hard to do while the dishes were piled high and the dust accumulated.

The best advice I could ever give anyone – do what feels right for you and your baby. Everyone feels as if their way is right, and things should be done just as so, but it doesn’t always work for you. I had so many nurses tell me so many different ways to do one thing, I was just so frustrated and confused. When I got home, I did it my way and it worked great!

Are you the kind of mama you thought you’d be?

Yes and no. I knew I’d be a good mama, but I surprised myself how much patience I really do have. During those tough nights where I was up every two hours and Connor was screaming and wouldn’t settle, I stepped back, took a breath and kept at it. It definitely is hard, and I’ve shed a few tears, but it’s amazing the strength one finds when they have to.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Raising my two or three children, doing the everyday routine with a whole lot of fun and adventure. I can’t wait to be able to take them to water parks, kick the ball around the back yard, play hide-and-go-seek etc.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

My superpower would be a twinkle of my nose and the house would be clean and food would be prepared. A cleaning lady or a nanny would be a wonderful addition to our household.

Was your birth experience all that you hoped it would be? If you could go back and change anything, what would it be?

My birth experience was wonderful. I was three weeks and two days early, which was a surprise to all of us. It was Easter weekend and my water broke at 5:30 a.m., so off to the hospital we went. I’m so glad I didn’t have big plans for my birth, as they would have been out the door so fast. I went to the hospital, and soon after was transferred to another hospital by ambulance due to the lab closure and Connor being premature. They were sending everyone elsewhere.

I was given an epidural but it never fully worked properly, so I did feel pain in half of my body. They were speaking about transferring me to the OR and getting the forceps out – I wasn’t going to allow that, so I pushed and didn’t stop pushing until he finally arrived. It took one and a half hours of pushing to finally get the baby out (and we didn’t know the sex). Everything was a surprise from beginning to baby, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

If I could change anything, I would have liked more pictures from the first moment Connor was born, but we enjoyed the moment and took some time to ourselves to realize what just happened.

Image by Sweet Pair Photography

How has your mothering evolved since those early newborn days? Is there anything, thus far, in your approach to mothering that you swore “I’d never do…” and you are?

My mothering has evolved in such a way that I am able to have more fun with Connor. As he gets older, we are able to spend more fun times together and not concentrate so hard on cleaning the house and making sure everything is perfect. I’m allowing him to learn by falling down and not being so paranoid about the germs or dirt he may come across.

Do you have a mama mantra? Or something you find yourself repeating over and over when times are tough?

One thing people told me and I believe in: It does get easier.

It gets way easier, and I am sure it will get harder at different stages of their lives, but you look back at what you went through and it seems like a distant memory, if one at all.

Image by Country Barn Photography


One Response to Real Mama: Tanja Hall

  1. Nice to meet you Tanja. You have a beautiful family and I couldn’t agree more about it getting easier. One day at a time!

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