My Vegan Mommy Manifesto.

So, as many of you know, I'm pregnant. Like halfway there, almost 5 months pregnant. 

It's been a wild ride, folks. I've known I wanted to be a mommy ever since I was like five years old, holding a baby doll in my arms with someone asking me, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I looked down at that baby doll, and I just knew. Sure, I also said I wanted to be an actress, an artist, and a teacher as well (in that order, too). And thankfully, I have managed to be all three of those things in the decade of grownup life I've experienced. But something has always been missing - not in a dramatic, loud, painful way or anything - just a little lingering something that I knew I needed to encounter on this life's journey that just hadn't happened yet. In the past several years or so, I would waver back and forth on the timing of this occurrence, but deep down in my heart I knew I wanted kids. And I wanted them soon. And I wanted it to feel easy and fun and exciting and to have a truly openhearted experience raising them and continuing to live out my own personal dreams in the process.

And now, I'm here. Pregnant at a time that surprised me to a degree, but that I also think deep in the heart of my wanting, I found to be perfect. I always thought I needed to be THIS far along in my career or with THIS much money in the bank account, my life ducks lined up neatly, with exact timing set for a baby. I had the planning down to a science, friends. And that's never how it ends up working out, I've learned. The most beautiful, interesting, life-altering, heart-opening moments and chapters happen when you least expect them to, when they may feel at first inconvenient even. I remember sitting in a grocery store parking lot, waiting for my partner Matt to meet me, so we could talk about the news - that I had just discovered we were pregnant. I remember feeling nervous and worried and so terrified at the thought of actually enjoying this news, especially since my acting career was not in the place I thought it needed to be for this moment. And then Matt came to the car. And got inside. And held my hand. And he listened. And after an initial conversation about it, he mentioned that, while he totally got my worrisome reaction to this news, he thought the best next step would be getting a cake to celebrate (vegan-friendly, of course).  And that is why I love this man. 

Okay - to the "Vegan Mommy Manifesto" part. That's the title of the blog, right?

With my nearly ten year old rescued kitty, Vicki. 
Well, after living vegan for over six years, I knew from the moment I settled into this lifestyle that I would want to share it with my kiddos. What a beautiful idea, I thought, to bring a child up, from birth, to experience fully realized compassion, generosity of spirit, and love through a life-long vegan lifestyle. I knew I had, and still have, a ways to go in preparing for this little gal or guy to pop out. I've read a half dozen vegan pregnancy books and a few books about what to expect when the baby arrives. And I know I definitely want to be prepared for the moments of questions as that little baby grows older and becomes very curious about why we live the way we do. 

But for now, I want to keep it simple. I want to create for myself a parenting mission statement, of sorts. I just want a list, or some paragraphs, something, anything, to lay out the kind of life lessons I'd like to impart on my kiddo. Now, I know that a GINORMOUS part of this want stems from the planner in me. And from my 14-year long side career of caring for and teaching children of all ages, I also know that a GINORMOUS part of this parenting thing will be "off the cuff, makin' it up, goin' with the flow, just happy to be showin' up" parenting. I guess I'm looking for a little something grounded for me to refer back to in the moments when I need the extra guidance. So, I'm gonna start making an ever-growing, ever-shifting Vegan Mommy Manifesto.  

Now, I've heard from various sources that a child's personality and general belief system is established and basically set for life by the age of six. So, I figure I have at least six years worth of lessons to impart upon my kiddo - at least at the start. A big chunk of them will involve the act of living  as a compassionate vegan. I will certainly splash them with vulnerability, openness, loving big, and being there for others. I will add a dash of playfulness and spontaneity. And I know for sure I will have at least a few focus on  the acts of self-love and self-belief, which can lead to the greatest kind of growth and joy. 

As I begin and continue to add to this list, I will definitely share my experience on here. And who knows - maybe a mommy or daddy reading this post today will help a gal out by sharing some of THEIR lessons. Seriously, go for it! Share away!  

Now readers, a manifesto doesn't need to be made upon learning you're gonna pop a kid out. You can make one anytime for your life. Why not write it in fancy wording, put it on fancy paper, and hang that fancy reminder on a wall to see everyday.  Or just scrawl it down in a notebook you love and refer back to it when needed. On my end, I wonder what will happen when I set into motion a list like that. When I essentially put into effect agreements I am making with myself and the little human I'm going to get to know over the years. How cool will it be to see it change and shift and get added to BY the kiddo? My Matt? By my family and friends and the other awesome life teachers around me? 

How wonderful.

How exciting.  

To be continued, of course...