Here is an interview with fellow Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood author Monique Les. Monique shares with joyful candour her journey of becoming a mom, and overcoming her insecurities about parenting as a person with hearing loss. I am so happy to share this with you today, and to have had the chance to get to know her better.
Please tell us a bit about yourself…
I’ll start by saying that I am the type of person that values spending time with people, learning new things, new ideas, and drawing inspiration from the simple things in life. My parents -immigrants from Hong Kong, brought me up to be Catholic, but it wasn’t until my University years when I became involved with Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO) that I really started to fall in love with the Catholic Faith. Since then, I’ve never looked back
In addition, I have a profound hearing loss and affectionately call myself a HoH (Hard of Hearing)! Combined with a good sense of humour, a passion for travel and a positive attitude, I can say that I truly have an awesome life.
Why do you love to write? How does it help you be more yourself?
Shortly after becoming a mom, I felt trapped in the four walls of my house. It was a particularly alienating experience for me, given that I like to socialize quite a bit! Prior to becoming a mom, I worked on high level research and writing projects, and when that phase of my life was over, boredom set in. With that boredom, came a sense of loss of personhood (in my case anyway!). Writing has become a cathartic exercise for me to channel all the frustrations, joys, challenges and whatever comes to mind. I chose to share all these stories with the public because there is always someone who might be going through the same experiences – whether it’s being a mom, hard of hearing, or both. In truth, my goal was to create a community of understanding, support and a diary of sorts for my daughter (and future children) to read when she’s older.
What made you want to be part of this project? Why do you think it’s important?
I’ll be honest with you, being the last person to be invited to this project – I felt overwhelmed! Initially, I took it as another awesome opportunity to get into writing again, as my blog started only a few months prior. During my time in developing articles and reading the other articles, I realized that motherhood itself is a community that needs to be nurtured, supported, and encouraged. In all the jobs that I’ve held, motherhood has to be the most challenging one – and to be a part of a book that goes against conventional society’s idea of motherhood fit with my Catholic values. So… in a nutshell, moms rock this world and this book affirms it!
What benefits do you think people will gain from this book? Could it be used in a mom’s discussion group or book club?
I can’t speak for other people, but I have gained so much from this book already! As a first-time mom, I felt a sense of camaraderie from other moms – even though I’m only reading their stories. That kinship gave me the assurance that I was doing everything “right”, and that my heart was in the right place where frustrations are concerned. To be honest, I feel my pieces are mediocre compared to the other stories provided! Being a hard of hearing mom meant that I had to overlook some of my personal shortcomings (i.e. feeling guilty for not being able to hear my baby), and that could be a good topic for moms or book clubs to discuss how their shortcomings aren’t actually shortcomings at all. They’re just little puddles to muck through. To date, I’ve learned that focusing on my faith and positivity makes me a stronger mom.
Why is friendship with other moms so important? Is there a friend who has made a big difference in your journey as a mom?
In the beginning, when my daughter was first born I went through periods of mummy tummy. I didn’t know if I was doing anything right or wrong, or both! Having friendships with other moms helps to reassure me that I’m not about to ‘mess’ up my child. In fact, they’ve told me that as long as my daughter is happy, then I’m doing something right. Simple, and yet much needed advice to hear in the early days! My mom is the one friend who has made a difference in my journey. She’s supported me through the thick and thin, the times when I was absolutely sleep deprived, or when I didn’t know what to do. I no longer think of my mom as just “mom”, but someone that I can go to for counsel. She was there when I had my meltdowns, the moments when I had sheer awe that I had a baby, and even the mundane times.
Tell is a bit about your pieces in the book…what is your main message, or best piece of advice for moms?
Never give up hope. My message is that obstacles can be overcome, no matter how insignificant they may seem to others (or to yourself) or how big they are. I had to get over the obstacle of insecurity. Having a hearing loss tends to test my self esteem often, and that was a hurdle I had to get over in order to be the best mom for my daughter. The best piece of advice I can give at this point is to have a great sense of humour! Poop happens, and if we take it seriously all the time, then life becomes less fulfilling.
Who was your favourite author growing up? Was there someone in literature who modelled for you how to be a woman or mother?
That’s a loaded question ha! Wow. I seriously don’t know where to start. The most obvious answer would be Our Lady and my mom! I would also say that Kimberly Hahn is a great example. I’m currently reading her book, Graced and Gifted: Biblical Wisdom for the Homemaker’s Heart; she has helped me embrace the extraordinary within the ordinary confines of daily life. I no longer see my chores as ‘chores’, but rather a gift of self-service through God’s calling. This is all very recent, mind you!
Can you tell us a little about your blog?
Oh, it has a bit of everything! From parenting, to humorous stories about what it’s like to be a hard of hearing mommy, to my plain frustrations laid out for the rest of the world to read. I do focus on the hard of hearing things, because that’s the stuff that makes the blog unique. There are moments when I wonder if parents with hard of hearing children wonder if their children will ever grow up to have families of their own, or if hard of hearing people wonder what it’s like to be a parent. It covers hearing loss from a social perspective. Our world is so social, and hearing loss really cuts off that experience. My husband knows this all too well, and our daughter is (thankfully) not going to have to experience that same isolation. I get emails from friends of friends who have recently found out that their children have been diagnosed with a hearing loss, and it’s a devastating time for them. Through faith and support, the blog gives them some encouragement that it’s not the end of the world!
A big thank you to Monique for sharing her experience with us all! Visit Monique and read more of her humorous and encouraging posts at:
The Hard of Hearing Mommy