Thank you for joining me in celebrating Millennial Mama Monday.

If there is one thing I’ve come to learn in motherhood, it’s how necessary it is to cultivate a community or tribe of support.  Our styles and choices are a varied as we and our babes are and yet we all share the joy, the grief, the struggle, the guilt, the doubt, the challenging milestones.

It is with this in mind that I begin my own twist of the social media hashtag #momcrushmonday that I would like to call #millennialmamamonday.  On Mondays, I will celebrate mamas and all that these women find time for in the midst of motherhood.

This Monday, I’m showcasing Christina Hunter.  I recently joined Christina and her sweet daughters Ava and Capri at the Little Sprouts Eco Club meeting (which Christina founded and leads).

 

Millennial Mama Monday Christina Hunter Little Sprouts Eco Club www.millennialmamablog.com

 

Christina Hunter

 

I’ve always admired the way that Christina has been able to bring her ideas and dreams to fruition, but motherhood seems to have inspired her to take action with urgency.  Christina has been productive in her years as a mother.  She has published a book of birth stories, revamped her life by making sustainable lifestyle choices, helped to welcome a family of Syrian refugees, and brought awareness and hope to her community by establishing and operating the Little Sprouts Eco Club.

Moved by her first birth experience, Christina wanted to share her own story and was drawn to the retelling of others’ accounts of birth.  From her home in Gravenhurst, Christina explains that the “book idea was ‘born’ (pardon the pun) from this desire and the process flowed with ease albeit it took a while! 5 years, and two birth stories of my own later…”  Writing has always been a passion of hers, and as she moves through such a transformational stage in her life, Christina felt compelled to document it and share her experiences.

Becoming a parent caused Christina to look outside herself to the world her children stood to inherit.

I instantly felt a great responsibility to act now to ensure they have opportunities and not burdens growing up. I can’t image my children dealing with complex issues into adulthood like water scarcity, air and soil pollutants, toxins in the food supply etc. without at least giving them the tools and knowledge to help mitigate these issues and together we can come up with sustainable solutions. It means changing some of our own habits, but as kids they have no habits yet, so it’s a perfect time to guide them to do the right thing.

When Canada began to admit Syrian Refugees, Christina worked to set an example for her daughters in how we can affect change around the world even when those problems seem far away.  Being a part of the committee who welcomed the new family to her town, Christina hoped to fulfill her wish as a parent to expose her daughters to other parts of the world.  As a parent, she values opportunities to “expose our children to as many different cultures, foods, rituals, etc. so they get a broader sense of our world that goes far beyond their ‘backyard’.”  This experience taught her lessons about her own compassion and strengthened her daughter’s understanding of empathy, kindness and acceptance.

Christina so beautifully described her journey in a few major efforts she seems to effortlessly tend to.  She spoke to me of publishing her book, All Out of Womb, in 2015, her ongoing efforts to limit toxins in her life and home, leadership training with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project and creation of the Little Sprouts Eco Club that resulted from her training.  She also answered a few fun questions that give us a little more insight into the woman behind all this productivity!  Enjoy, mamas.

 

What is All Out of Womb about and how did you bring it to fruition?

Millennial Mama Monday Christina Hunter Little Sprouts Eco Club All Out of Womb Birth Stories www.millennialmamablog.comWhen this project first began, I hadn’t initially pictured it to become the book that it is today. It was at first a series of a few stories that I would email to my friends that were soon to give birth in the hopes that it would inspire them to have their own experience without fear of the unknown. Those women would be so inspired that they too would add their stories, and so the project grew quickly to a document too large to continue emailing to women. It was also gaining popularity and I would have women emailing me asking me if I had anything they could read to prepare themselves. I knew then that the end result had to be a book available for anyone to read. It’s been such an incredible journey, and I’ve met so many women (and men) that openly share their stories with me. I love especially when I’m selling the book at a craft sale or Farmer’s Market, because the people I connect with, I don’t imagine they thought they’d come and share such a personal story to a complete stranger, but I think the cover (of the book) offers a certain acceptance for vulnerability, and as we get chatting the stories seem to come out and sometimes they even tear up at the memory. It’s a beautiful thing to be a part of this bigger conversation about birth and I hope it inspires others to not feel ashamed but rather empowered to share their stories in common conversation.  (All Out of Womb can be purchased here.)

 

What have you been doing to curb toxins from your life and what prompted this journey?

A few years after I had Ava, I began learning about nutrition and the toxins in our broken food system. It’s hard not to feel guilty about the mistakes I had made in her early years of life, but I don’t beat myself up about it. As Maya Angelou says ‘when you know better, you do better.” And so I’m trying to focus on the present and the future. The kids and I discuss food a lot in our house. We look at stickers on fruits and vegetables and discuss how long it would take to travel to us. We discuss packaging, read labels and look for companies that practice sustainability. We also grow our own vegetable gardens, and so as a family we are working together and learning together on what works for our area, what it means to eat seasonally and what the term ‘organic’ means. I myself am a pesco-vegetarian meaning I eat fish and have dairy, but no other meat. Again we have many conversations about this, and while the kids and my husband eat meat, we talk about sustainably raising animals and treating them with kindness. They have yet to say they want to be vegetarian, and I would never push it on them. It’s their decision, I just give them the opportunity to ask questions and we learn together about each topic as it comes up. I’m not sure if I would be as passionate about this topic had I not had kids. Once again you feel this great responsibility to feed your children to keep them healthy and also realizing that they need to have some ‘treats’ too! Capri’s dietary restrictions have also forced us to look at what we eat more closely too. In a good way it’s eliminated any fast food options and forced us to learn to cook from scratch as often as we can. When you have a gluten, dairy, egg and many other intolerances, you can’t just stop in a drive-thru and pick something up. Her idea of a treat food is gluten free dairy free pizza or maybe some fries. {chuckles}

 

How did you come to establish the Little Sprouts Eco Club?

little-sprouts-logoComing back from my training with Al Gore last July, I was inspired to bring back the knowledge to my community. There was a woman from Huntsville that took the course with me and I felt that she wanted to focus on taking action with Governments etc. and so I decided to focus on children. It was a perfect fit for me as my kids are at that curious age where they want to be involved and are excited to participate in just about anything. I put the idea out there on Facebook, and had some great initial responses. Our first meeting there were 11 children if I remember correctly. It was a productive meeting and we all agreed that the kids should be rewarded with stickers for completing these tasks. Here we are almost a year later and I’m so impressed with how much these kids want to learn and tackle each task. There are currently 150 parents / grandparents following along on our Facebook group page, and approx. 25 – 30 children participating in the monthly meetings and outings. Most recently I’ve been presenting to the public schools and the response has been huge! I’ve really noticed that no matter the age kids just want to be involved and be heard. As the group continues to grow, I will be splitting the group into two – One based in Bracebridge and I will continue with the one for Gravenhurst, so that’s what’s coming down the pipe for the Little Sprouts.

 

 

1. What songs have you been playing on repeat?

I saw this unlikely rendition of Tracy Chapman’s ‘Fast Car’ which made me re-love that song again, so I’ve been listening to a lot of her stuff again lately.

 

2. What is the most interesting thing you’ve read lately?

I belong to a mindfulness group that gets together on Mondays and we recently read The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron. It’s a soul-searching book that allows you to take a closer look at your behaviors and thoughts and how to be accepting and even (gasp) welcoming to those tumultuous situations in your life. When we see these as opportunities for growth we can move to a more accepting attitude towards them letting go of the ego. A great read, but heavy subject.

 

3. Name some of your favourite Instagram handles and explain why you can’t get enough of them.

I don’t do Instagram, but I follow a lot of inspirational people on Facebook. I try to fill my Facebook feed with positive news and even positive friend’s posts. Some of my favourites are Kris Karr; she’s a stage 4 cancer thriver for years, and shows her fans how to make healthier changes to stave off cancer in your own life. I also love following Mastin Kipp and Humans of New York. Both of those pages instantly uplift me if I’m experiencing a bad day. There’s something to be said about opening up to vulnerability, and they both capture that perfectly. It makes us all feel a little more human and grounded again.

 

4. What do you wish you devoted more time to in your daily routine?

Definitely exercise! I have dreams of doing step-classes but it’s just not fitting in to my schedule right now. Working at the Sportsplex in Bracebridge I’m surrounded by people who are making exercise a commitment in their lives. I applaud them and envy them. I definitely squeeze a walk in every day, and try for yoga or running around with my girls throughout the week but I’m hoping I can find some time in the coming months to make it more of a priority again.

 

5. What have you eaten lately that had your taste buds dancing?

I bought this chili and cinnamon dark chocolate bar, and oh is it ever spicy but in a good way! It’s delicious but you can’t eat too much of it. It’s called zazubean hottie and you can get it in the organics section of the grocery store. A few squares and your body starts heating up immediately… it’s the perfect amount of spice. Not overwhelming.

 

6. What have you watched lately that captivated your attention entirely?

I signed up for the Truth About Cancer daily docu-series. It was really interesting, but they only give you 24 hours to watch each of the 9 episodes, so for the last week that’s all I’ve been doing with my downtime. I may need to purchase the series as I’d like to go back and take notes. What a great documentary! So much info on how we can cure our own diseases and take steps to healing even if we aren’t undergoing major surgery, but just trying to live a more holistic lifestyle.

 

7. What creative pursuits do you spend your time on?

When I have time I like to write, even journaling just to keep the practice going. The girls and I dance all the time though it’s just a living-room freestyle nothing structured.

 

8. Describe a place or memory in which you felt your best or happiest.

10 years ago my sister and I opened a clothing store and because it was a part of a bigger grand opening the Town had a big event planned with fireworks and face-painting etc. I had just moved back to town and so many friends and family had come out to support us with the opening of the store. The store was named after my Grandmother and so that day she cut the ribbon. I remember tearing up when I looked around at this beautiful place we get to call home, and having all my friends and family in one safe place was such a surreal feeling. I truly felt like I was dreaming. The perfect sunny day, the boardwalk packed with people and all these familiar smiling faces with so much love and support for both my sister and I.

Of course I didn’t have children then, wasn’t married yet, and have since felt that emotion magnified at other huge life events; but it was the first time I really felt a sense of peace that I had made the right choice to move home and start a life here.

 

9. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

I would love to take my whole extended family to Italy to the village our Dad grew up in. As kids we spent a month there, and even though I was only 5 years old I remember it so vividly. I went back when I was 18 for a month but I’d love to show my husband and children where their Nonu grew up, and have him come along and teach us the language and meet some of his family there. That fresh mountain air, delicious homemade (hopefully gluten free) pasta and a community of relatives that are eager to show you their way of life just sounds magical to me.

 

10. What are some challenges you face as a mother. woman, and creative trying to balance each?

Mother guilt itself is a struggle when trying to balance work hours with after-school activities for the kids and time for my own projects too. Work-life balance is something that is important where I work so that’s a huge help. They’re very understanding about family coming first, and even breaks for yourself in the day to just get out and walk in the fresh air. The biggest challenge I have is prioritizing my own free time. Once the kids are in bed and I have a few hours to myself, I can think of a thousand things I could or should do. Usually I pick from the should list, and need to work more on the ‘could’ one.

 

 

Millennial Mama Monday Christina Hunter Little Sprouts Eco Club www.millennialmamablog.com

Millennial Mama Monday Christina Hunter Little Sprouts Eco Club www.millennialmamablog.com

Millennial Mama Monday Christina Hunter Little Sprouts Eco Club www.millennialmamablog.com

Millennial Mama Monday Christina Hunter Little Sprouts Eco Club www.millennialmamablog.com

Millennial Mama Monday Christina Hunter Little Sprouts Eco Club www.millennialmamablog.com

Millennial Mama Monday Christina Hunter Little Sprouts Eco Club www.millennialmamablog.com

Millennial Mama Monday Christina Hunter Little Sprouts Eco Club www.millennialmamablog.com

Millennial Mama Monday Christina Hunter Little Sprouts Eco Club www.millennialmamablog.com

Millennial Mama Monday Christina Hunter Little Sprouts Eco Club www.millennialmamablog.com

Millennial Mama Monday Christina Hunter Little Sprouts Eco Club www.millennialmamablog.com