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Family Matters

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner

November 5th, 2014

By Aleaha Manchester

Remember that line? Of course you do because its awesome! "Dirty Dancing" is hands down my favourite movie of all time! Now don't even pretend like you don't love it too: Patrick Swayze, great music, bad hair, the coming of age from girl to woman! 

Now why am I talking about this much loved classic? Well I can kind of relate to it in small way, but I will get to that in just a minute. First a few other little tid bits, mostly about me if I may be so selfish as to talk about myself.

My name is Aleaha. I have lived in Fort McMurray for 10 years and my whole life is here! I love being here, even in the freezing winters, usually! What else? These days I would say I am many, many things as we all are. Today, I happen to be a 33 year old woman. I am a born and raised Alberta girl. I am a daughter, a sister, a runner, a backyard bbq lover, a hard worker, a horrible cook, a good friend and I happen to have the best playlist on my iPod to rip you out of any funk and into the best hip hop kitchen dancer you and the world has ever seen! Its true, come over. I won't cook for you but we will rock out top 40 style and put Beyonce to shame.

However all that said there was a time when I kind of forgot about all these things that I was or am... or maybe lost sight of it? I was stuck in a corner for a while like poor Baby in my favourite movie. It was one I made for myself and was quite happy to be in for a season of my life but then one day I wasn't so happy, but again, I'll get to that!

Of course I have to say I also happen to be the lucky wife of almost 10 years to the MOST amazing and super cute husband ever. Believe it or not  to this day he even still likes me! My Jedi mind tricks must be working because when they told me the way to a mans heart was through his stomach I figured I was in BIG trouble.

All that aside, the thing that has seemed to define me the most lately is being a MOM. Eight whole years ago I became a mom. Biggest life change to date. It was awesome, mostly.  (If you're a mom you know what I mean) Then 15 months after the first time, I became a mom again! Perfection!  Then (deep sigh) 13 months after that I became a mom AGAIN of twins, (Yes it was unplanned and yes it was shocking.) THEN because my husband is too cute and I was in a severe state of sleep deprivation, I somehow became a mom AGAIN, to a fifth and beautiful child!  Phew, there you have it, my little literal handful. I went from zero to 5 kids in 4 years. I went from daily showers and dinners out with friends to greasy pony tails and eating discarded crusts for lunch all in the blink of an eye.

These years have been about sleep training, potty training, meal planning, house cleaning, birthday parties, play dates and OH THE LAUNDRY. This business of  running a family is no joke! Trying to mold little people into great tiny humans, trying to maintain one's sanity while maintaining your marriage and your friendships well it was a bit tricky at times. Forget trying to maintain your own identity which is where my problem began.  One day I realized I wasn't very happy, I should have been but I wasn't.

Now, If we aren’t happy with who we are as a woman, how are we supposed to help our families find happiness? How are we supposed to raise our kids to be successful, happy, content, thriving adults? Children really do learn from what they see, and I didn't want them them to see a sad lost mommy. I decided as a mom I must first take care of myself, and find out who I was again – then we can share that joy with our family, friends and even with the world! How do we do that? Well I can tell you how I started to do it and hope you take a little bit of something useful from it all?

Being mindful to keep a balance of course I decided to try to remember and honour and DO all the things that made me who I was before I was "mm". What were those things that made me feel passionate and alive?

I started going to the gym. Look good feel good? Ugh. Trust me, this one wasn't that easy and it still isn't but going to the gym and learning to run made me focus and realize that I was capable of so much more than I thought! I even lost 35 pounds?! ( My husband and I completed two Tough Mudders and a Spartan, talk about out of the comfort zone and into the ice water *shudder* but thats another story! )

Feeling good again led me to going back to dance. I LOVE dance. I am not overly great at it but thats the good thing about passion, talent or not if you love it, I say DO IT!  Dancing as an adult led to meeting new people, this lead to having new conversations and these conversations led to opportunities I didn't even realize existed! I started to keep a journal again and started to feel like I was coming back to life!

Now to be clear I am nothing special nor do I have large notable talents, aside from giving birth to twins in 6 minutes, I'm pretty regular. HOWEVER I was feeling so good about myself that when I heard Keyano College was having open auditions for the upcoming play Cabaret, I thought why not? Its out of my comfort zone FOR SURE but someone smart once told me (or maybe it was a pinterest quote?) that life begins outside our comfort zone! I was like Baby in Dirty dancing, I just jumped in and didn't look back!  I shed my mom guilt (uh and my clothes later...eek!) I shed insecurities and had a " coming of age" moment all over again! I went and auditioned. I sang (oh and trust me I am NO singer, haha) and I danced and did whatever they asked, even when that was stripping off my mom tshirt and dancing in a sports bra...(hello I have had 5 kids are you KIDDING me. Yeah they weren't came the shirt...that was a tough one to do) BUT I tried my best and my husband cheered me on (from home of course as someone has to watch the kids!)

In the end I was so proud that I even went and tried out, I didn't even care what happened after that. I was singing and dancing with a room full of young and old beautiful souls and that made me feel better than I can even explain, it made me feel free and alive.

Then the greatest thing happened. They called me a few days ago and offered me a part. WHAT?! A dancing, singing, shake that momma of 5 body on stage, real life part!  Guess what...I said YES! So now a new journey begins this winter when we start rehearsals and I KNOW that they are going to ask me to do things I never thought I would or could do and I am going to do them because even if It feels out of my comfort zone it feels GOOD!

So, here’s to getting out of that corner, whatever form that takes for you. Here's to taking a leap and seeing what happens and you know what? How will we ever learn what we are good at if we don't try new things? Maybe we will be awful and fail or maybe we will be AMAZING! Either way, we only have one life and to quote the legend Lucille Ball " I'd rather regret the things I've done than the things I haven't done"

Aleaha is a 33-year-old mommy blogger, kitchen dancer and coffee lover. Writing is her passion, however making school lunches and keeping her five small children alive is her day to day joy. She currently lives in Fort McMurray with her small army, and  her loving and very patient husband of 10 years.  You can find her on Facebook and read more on her blog

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