Your Momoir | Braede Harris
Braede (pronounced Brady) and I share a lovely mutual friend. About a month ago, our friend invited us both to a moms group play date. When Braede responded to the invite by writing, “I’m not usually into mom groups, but I can bring pizza,” I knew I needed to interview her. She arrived at Little Brick moments after I finished my interview with Justine Ma. We introduced ourselves, and decided to sit outside in the shade so that we could enjoy the beautiful summer afternoon. I love the ample, available outdoor space at Little Brick; you get the picnic experience, but with much less work!
Braede had just arrived after leaving her popular new restaurant, LOVEPIZZA. She made a comment about her hair, which was done up in a perfect bun; “My pizza hair” she laughed. One of the first things I noticed about Braede was how poised she was. It is so refreshing to be around a woman who is steady within herself. While I nervously fiddled with the recorder on my phone (I am so OCD, always afraid I’ll leave one of these amazing conversations to find that not a word was captured), I told her not to worry, the interview will be easy. As she looked back at me in a self-assured way, it dawned on me that I was only reassuring myself.
Braede began to tell me about herself. “I’m a mom and a business owner. My husband and I own LOVEPIZZA which has been open for just over 6 months. I have one son named Branson and he is one year old.” Even I, with my terrible math skills, quickly figured that she somehow managed to open a restaurant with a brand new baby. I jokingly commented on her insanity. She laughed; “It has been a very busy year. My husband and I reasoned that we are going to have a kid and it’s going to be really busy, we are going to be really tired; so we might as well open a business and be extra busy and extra tired. Branson was there for us with everything. I remember when we had our test kitchen set up in Spruce Grove; he would take naps next to a pile of prosciutto while we worked on our menu.”
Might as well indeed. I inwardly ponder how my postpartum goals were to watch all 10 seasons of Friends. It’s easy in moments like these to compare yourself, and feel like a lazy failure. One of the main reasons why I started the ‘Your Momoir’ segment was to create a community of women who uplift each other. This can only be accomplished once we let go of our judgments and insecurities to create space for recognizing each other. I believe it is extremely important to hear stories that resonate and inspire us; and, talking to Braede was no exception.
When I asked Braede about her journey to opening LOVEPIZZA she told me that she had been a scheduler in the oil and gas sector. “A very important job” she said. “One that required a lot of time in front of a computer, and a lot of spreadsheets. While I was very thankful for having a good career, I felt like I was in a rut. Every day it seemed as though my creativity was getting sucked out of me. You spend so many hours a day working. I think it’s really important to be surrounded by people who inspire you or that you're doing something that inspires you and makes you a better version of yourself. The business that my husband and I created, it is so rewarding. It is a ton of work and I’m really tired, but it’s worth it.”
I note that whenever I meet someone who seems to be living their best life, or working their dream job, they are never able to say that it came easy. There is always a certain amount of risk, and a ton of hard work that leads them to where they are. I take comfort in this; knowing that anything is available to you if you really try.
I asked Braede how she felt others would describe her. Dedicated and hardworking already came to my mind, and I’ve only known her for 15 minutes. “My husband says that I’m thoughtful. I love writing thank you cards and making people feel special. I’m kinda funny; funny and sarcastic. That part of me comes from my dad and grandmother. Um, I think a lot of people would say that I’m hardworking and caring.” When she started to describe herself she said “I like to keep busy. I think as a mom, you just are busy. That is how life takes you.”
I shifted the conversation to ask her how becoming a mother changed her. “The biggest transformation I saw in myself was that I became patient” she said. “I’ve always been the most impatient person. When Branson was born, I dug really deep and I found this new sense of tolerance; for my son especially, but it’s also translated into other aspects of my life. As a mom you have to be patient, your child depends on you for everything. If you’re not patient you are just going to be upset all the time.” I shake my whole body in agreement. I had just recently learned this very valuable lesson. Sometimes it feels as though I go through weeks of impatience and generally the only person who pays the ultimate price is me.
We started talking about the hard parts of mothering. What unsettles us; keeps us awake at night. “Raising a child in this world is kinda freaky. Every time you turn on the news there is something else to worry about. I really want to make sure that Branson is confident enough and willing to express himself and be happy. I had a great childhood and have a wonderful relationship with my parents. The fact that I was able to be open with my parents helped me a lot through adolescence and into adulthood. I want him to be able to talk to us and be real about what he’s feeling. Especially for boys, there is still that mentality in the world that they don’t show their feelings as much. I want it to be different for him.”
It is scary raising children in today's world. There is so much to think about, so much information constantly being thrown at us. I love being able to sit down with women like Braede who have the kindest, biggest hearts. It gives me hope that all of our children will turn out just fine. My backup plan is to start a commune; but that is for another post. I asked Braede what words she lives by. "See it, Live it, Love it" she replied. "I wrote a blog for the longest time. It was mainly a way to keep in touch with family. That was what I had as the headline of my blog. To me it means appreciating the little things in life and enjoying what is in front of you; not wanting what you can’t have or what someone else has. It’s the little things, seeing the world through my sons eyes and really being in the moment."
When your son is an adult, how do you hope he describes you? I asked. "I hope that he says I am passionate about things; that I'm my own person. I hope he sees me as caring and thoughtful and kind." I nodded in agreement. I think it’s so important for your children to grow up recognizing that you are a whole person; a real person, a flawed person. I think it's especially important for mothers to recognize this about themselves. We are dynamic. We are lovers, daughters, sisters and friends. Finally, I asked Braede what advice she would give to a new mother. "Just do you" she replied. "Through the whole process. Everyone loves to give opinions and advice; but do what works for you and you will be doing it right."
HUGE thank you to Sara Brown for the amazing photographs! This project is what it is, because of you.
Braede is amazing and giving away a $40 gift card to LOVEPIZZA for you to enjoy, share with a friend or a loved one. Maybe even get some time away from your littles! Head on over to Instagram to enter!
**Thank you Tara Newman for your amazing editing**