Case

Tamara Plant & MOM Magazine
Life as a MOM doesn't mean life as a WOMAN has to end


Introduction

 

In order to know who I am, you have to know how I got here. Growing up in the inner-city in Edmonton, AB., I was surrounded by people who's only ambition in life was to live on welfare, drink, deal and do drugs, play bingo and take out their frustrations of their pathetic existence on their kids. There aren't a lot of good memories of my childhood but I was strong enough to survive it without taking the easy way out.

 

Background

There was never any doubt in my mind that I was destined to be a great sports writer. Anything I did in school was geared towards achieving that goal - I was editor of the yearbook and school newspaper, played sports, took Advanced Placement English... I stayed on the right path and didn't let anything come between me and my goals. But I lived a double life that no one at school knew about. When I was home, I had to deal with an alcoholic, abusive mother and an even worse step dad, who molested me since the age of 11. I don't remember the first time it happened, but I sure as hell remember the last time I put up with it.

I knew that if I could just finish high school then I could get away from the environment I was in and I would be OK. So I put up with the physical, mental and emotional abuse, never once letting anyone know what was going on because that - in my mind - would only make it worse. I just needed to survive there until I was old enough to be on my own without the threat of any repercussion from my mom. I was terrified that if I let someone know what was happening, the abuse would be a thousands times worse and I wouldn't be strong enough to put up with it. So, I lived my double lives - in public I was smart, well-adjusted teenager with a passion for writing. At home, I was scared of saying the wrong thing or being left alone with my stepdad. At 16, the universe granted me a gift of escaping that environment by sending my family to a small town outside of Edmonton. I refused to move because I was in my last year of high school and was involved in the grad committee as well as the yearbook, plus I was a member of the senior girl's volleyball team. I just couldn't go! They relented and I had to live with his mom in a senior's living facility but I didn't care! At last, I could sleep without being afraid.

The night of my graduation ceremony was the final straw for being abused. That night, after dinner and introducing my parents to my high school sweetheart, we went back to the senior's lodge. I remember him sitting on the couch accusing me of being a slut and dating behind his back. I'd had enough. I was a good kid who followed the rules. I didn't "screw around" and I was tired of being called a slut with my mother just standing by and saying nothing. So I fought back, verbally defending myself and taking control of my life.

I remember him picking me up and literally throwing me across the room, swearing at me and threatening to make me live with them again. He kicked me and punched me in the head. I don't remember much else but I remember grabbing my stuff and leaving. I didn't care if he came after me. I had had enough.

I never went back home. That summer I couch surfed, working to pay for bus fare and food. I didn't even see my mom unless I knew he wasn't going to be there. When I told her of all the times he touched me, she slapped me across the face and said I was lying. I wasn't. She chose him over me and I have never forgiven her for that. It took me a long time to completely cut her out of my life but I finally did it because I need peace. Sadly, she will never experience peace because she has never had the strength to deal with her own demons.

Despite everything that happened, I never gave up on my dream of becoming a sports writer and vowed to find a way to become as great as I knew I could be. I got my dream job when I was only 22 years old at the Kelowna Daily Courier. I would never allow anyone to hurt me the way I had been hurt when I was a kid. I was too tough and too strong to allow anyone to control me again.

Professional issue

Publishing a magazine has been the toughest professional challenge I have ever faced but all of the experiences I have ever had - personally and professionally - have made me the woman I am today. Every time I feel like the magazine is going to fail or that I can't conquer any more challenges, I have to take a step back and look at where I've been. Every situation, every success, every failure has gotten me to where I am now. So when I see the very real possibility of failing with MOM Magazine, I focus on finding solutions because if I haven't let my past kill me, then I can't let a little thing like entrepreneurialism beat me!

Personal issue

 

One of the reasons I started MOM, was that I was seeing so many women whose lives completely revolved around their kids. I thought that MOMs need to have their own identity because I was not going to be the women who's kids grow up and leave, then look at my husband and say, "Soooo... what have you been up to for the last 18 years?" Balance is bullshit. Oprah was right, you CAN have it all, just not all at once. Now that I have been doing MOM Magazine for almost three years though, I see that everything I've been preaching about in the magazine about "taking time for YOU" and making "YOU a priority" has been completely theoretical because I have not practiced it at ALL since I started the magazine. I've gained 50 pounds (I'm not even kidding), I wear yoga pants all the time, I don't put myself first on my own list EVEN THOUGH that is the message I preach with the magazine. My house is always a mess, the mountain of laundry is never-ending, and everyone is taken care of except for ME!

I turned 35 in last November and I had a panic attack because I realized that if I live to be 70, my life is half over. I also realized that I am almost the same age my mom was when I was 18 years old.

But I forced myself to look back at the last 20 years of my life from when I was a scared, courageous, strong, vulnerable girl who only needed to make it through high school in order to start her life, and I see how far I've come as a woman. I intend on making the rest of my life fuller, happier, peaceful and exciting!

 

"Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever." - Lance Armstrong

 

Why would I give up on something that I know empowers and entertains so many women at a time when they truly need it? There are times when I wonder how I'm going to make it work if I can't get enough advertisers on board or if life happens and I am forced to revamp my editorial schedule to focus on my family. But I am resilient. What I am doing makes a difference to so many women that I know I am doing what I was destined to do. The road that got me here has been under construction and full of pot holes the size of the Grand Canyon but I made it this far and I'm damn well not going to quit now!

 

MOM makes a difference and I'm the woman who makes it happen.