Sonderly | BC Parent, Parent Profile for 2022: Tara Jensen

Sonderly | BC Parent, Parent Profile for 2022: Tara Jensen

Parents
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Tell us about your hometown

It might be a surprise to some, but I’m not actually a British Columbia native. I was born in Ontario and my family moved to BC just in time for me to start kindergarten – it was really neat to move from a small town to Vancouver just in time for Expo ‘86. Since then, we’ve called this beautiful province home. I would say my hometown is definitely Vancouver, it’s where I spent most of my childhood growing up.

Sonderly | BC Parent, Parent Profile for 2022: Tara Jensen - BC Parent Newsmagazine

How would you describe your family?

Quirky? No seriously, we have such a fun family dynamic. I met my spouse when we were in grade 3 attending an elementary school in the community we still live in so we have a wonderful connection to our city and each other. We’re often the family that laughs so hard our sides hurt and often prank each other just for fun, you can even often find lightsaber battles happening at all hours! Our family also includes two furbabies that came to us during the pandemic and we really feel they completed our family.

What does your current job/career look like?

I joke that my “day” job is in Health Care and my “night” job is blogging, creating content and building a community through British Columbia Mom. This past year has also included being part of the Sonderly Parent & Community Panel, it’s been an incredible addition in a multitude of ways. It’s exceptionally rewarding to be able to help parents and caregivers access support and education to help navigate a new Autism diagnosis or waiting on the supports to access a diagnosis.

What’s the most challenging part of being a parent?

There are a multitude of challenges that come with being a parent, many of which it seems previous generations didn’t need to navigate. We are the first generation to parent with mobile screens, virtual games, and less access to the village that helped raise our generation.

Combining this with rising mental health diagnosis in children, it’s uncharted territory.  For our family personally, the most challenging part is definitely advocating for our child’s mental health. We’re incredibly lucky to be surrounded by a great team of support at her school, but it can take parents years to build that trusted group around them and their children. When I was much younger, we didn’t have access to programs like Sonderly to educate ourselves on challenges she or her peers may be encountering with over stimulation, hyper fixation and sensory overload and often felt incredibly lost ourselves. I’m beyond thankful that these resources are more readily available for parents now!

Sonderly | BC Parent, Parent Profile for 2022: Tara Jensen - BC Parent Newsmagazine

What do you love the most?

I love post-it notes, collecting Disney keys, and Netflix binging. I love supporting local businesses, discovering new activities for parents and advocating for mental health awareness. I love Spring cleaning binges and coffee in the sun. Really, I love finding joy in the little things.

While not without its challenges, at every age and stage, there are also so many things about being a mom that I love, and have loved, all throughout my eleven years as a parent. Watching kids find their personalities, interests and ultimately their sassy little selves is both rewarding and hilarious all at the same time. I love the laughs our daughter gives us each day and cherish the love she shares with us.

What are you most proud of?

It sounds cliche, but I’m most proud of having raised a tiny human. I knew when I got pregnant that it was important to me to break many of the cycles I encountered as a child with my own daughter and make mental health wellness and education a forefront of our parenting. With the help of my trusted circle, counselors and online resources like Sonderly, we’ve helped our daughter navigate life events that even as adults we were lost in. Our daughter is such a bright, funny and smart kid and I’m so proud to be her momma.

If I had to choose something that wasn’t related to what an amazing tiny human I’m raising, I’d have to say that I’m most proud of having built a community through British Columbia Mom that normalizes mental health discussions, helps parents navigate challenges through laughter and offers the chance to connect with one another.

Sonderly | BC Parent, Parent Profile for 2022: Tara Jensen - BC Parent Newsmagazine

What is the best advice you ever received as a parent?

Well, the advice really starts coming as soon as it’s known you’re pregnant and just doesn’t stop, doesn’t it?  Much of it is well meaning but it can be a challenge to sift through all the tidbits to find what resonates with you and your family according to your values, family dynamic, and then you start the trial and error process of elimination to see what actually works for your actual child. Each child is so unique that there is no universal solution, and no advice that is going to work for every single family.

I’d say the very best advice I ever received was to build a trusted circle of mom friends. Oftentimes, people see “mom groups” on social media that can cause anxiety, questioning your parenting decisions and unfortunately resulting in a lot of bullying. By having a trusted group around you, you can feel secure in asking for advice, support, and ultimately feel a lot less alone in your parenting journey. It can take time to build that circle, but once it’s in place, it really makes a lot of the parenting challenges a bit easier to manage.

Credits @ www.bcmom.ca

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