YMC Weekend at Clevelands House

My Vacation, Your Vacation

by: Erica Ehm

YMC Weekend at Clevelands House

My family and I just spent a week at Clevelands House, making it our eighth summer kicking off the summer at this Muskoka family resort. Here are a few family photos that capture the laid-back fun we had. 

Usually when we leave, all of us cry. But this year we wiped away our tears when we realized—WE'RE COMING BACK IN AUGUST FOR THE YMC CLEVELANDS HOUSE WEEKEND....WITH YOU! 

On August 23—yes that's a month away!!—a bunch of us from YMC, including Sharon Devellis, Sarah Gunn, Lisa Thornbury, Gav Martell and Ali Martell, will be waiting to hang out with you and your family (if you want to bring them).

Click here for all the details. Book your room now for this all-inclusive, feels-like-home weekend at Clevelands House (with or without your kids). Remember, you will receive a 20% discount when you book and tell them you're a member of YummyMummyClub.ca.

Still not convinced how fab Clevelands House is? Read what happened to Nadia from Child Mode when she recently visited Cleves with her kids.

So, are you coming???


Thank You, Mom at the London Olympics

Proudest Mom Moments

by: Erica Ehm

Thank You, Mom at the London Olympics

If you've seen this "Thank You, Mom" ad—produced by P&G—and haven't wept, your heart is made of stone. Watching these moms, from all around the world, sacrifice their time and energy to help their children excel and live their dreams to compete at the Olympics, resonates with any exhausted mother who has schlepped her kids to any number of programs, sports, dance recitals, auditions, etc. I just rewatched that ad and, once again, I got a big old lump in my throat witnessing that intense connection between a mom and her kids.

Of course, we do it for our children, because we love them and want them to succeed. And there's also a tiny piece that does it for us, on the extreme off chance that our little figure skater/rower/gymnast goes all the way. I can only imagine what it must feel like for a mom to be there at the Olympics, watching her child compete. Talk about the ultimate Proud Mom Moment. Did you know that for the moms of Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes, P&G has committed a total of $500,000 to help get them to the London 2012 Olympic Games?! What a fantastic initiative!

And this, my friend, is why I am exploding with excitement. I've been invited to attend the London Olympics in a couple of weeks, to meet, chat, and celebrate the moms behind the athletes! As the "Proud Sponsor of Moms," P&G has created the Thank You, Mom program to celebrate and thank moms all around the world. And I will be there, up close and personal, to witness these incredible emotions firsthand! I'm literally planning on carrying a box of tissues with me, because I just know I'm going to be bawling the entire week.

I'll be meeting women like Beata Bokrossydevoted mom to Olympic kayaker, Adam van Koeverdenwho will be at the Olympics to cheer on her son, thanks to P&G. According to this Globe and Mail article, Van Koeverden joined the Burloak Canoe Club in Oakville, Ont., when he was thirteen, after his mother saw an advertisement in the local newspaper that said, "Future Champions Wanted." I wonder if she ever dreamed that her son would be one of the golden ones. 
I hope she will share her stories with me of getting up before sunrise to take Adam to his practices, and eventually his competitions. I'll be thinking she's a better woman than II'd rather sleep in!
I love how P&G plans to pamper the moms while they're at the Olympic Village. They have access to the Wella Spa, the P&G Beauty and Grooming Lounge at the Canadian Olympic House, and, of course, tickets to watch their kids give the performances of a lifetime. 

As P&G says, "Behind every athlete is an even more amazing Mom." I couldn't agree more. I can't wait to share my stories every day on my blog, reporting backstage from Olympic Village. It's not as good as having a child competing, but this is certainly something to cross off my bucket list.

So, if you excuse me, I have to study the sports section of the newspaper to familiarize myself with all the athletes. Plus, I'm starting to read Chris Cleave's new novel, Gold, which is set at the London 2012 Olympics. I guess you can say I'm in training.

Visit Facebook.com/PGEverydayCanada for more information on the Thank You, Mom tour, and to stay up-to-date on Team Canada Athletes.



She Taught Me the Meaning of Beautiful

My Nomination for the Dove Celebrate Mom Contest

by: Erica Ehm

She Taught Me the Meaning of Beautiful

Promoting self-esteem is incredibly important to me. It's the foundation we base our self-worth on. And it's what we, as mothers, ultimately pass on to our daughters and sons.

That's why I jumped at the chance be an ambassador of the Celebrate Mom Contest just launched by Dove. Piggy-backing on their very important Self-Esteem Fund programs, Dove reminds us that positive female role models play a powerful role in nurturing self-esteem (more so than friends or the media). The Dove Celebrate Mom Contest is our chance to nominate a mom role model who inspires women and girls. Four inspiring women will win $2,500 for herself and $2,500 to be donated to the charity of her choice.

Of course, I thought about who I would nominate. What mom has instilled a strong sense of self, of empowerment and morality into their daughters? The first person to jump to mind is my mother, Evelyn Hannon, the person most responsible for giving me my fierce sense of self.

I come from a family of matriarchs. My grandmother, aka Bubby Bea, chose to take over her late husband's clothing business when she was 50, growing it despite no prior business experience. I remember my grandmother sitting behind her big wooden desk at her small storefront, meeting with clients (mostly men), loving her job and then coming home to be our beloved bubby. Sure, my grandmother always was "put together nicely," but she was never a victim of fashion. Nor did she change personalities when she spoke to men. She was just herself—smart, loyal and hard working.

Clearly my mom was cut from the same cloth. While my mother reinvented herself every seven years in her career and constantly redefined her next dream to conquer, she was consistently there for my sister and me. Watching my mother create her life based on her passions is obviously the reason I have achieved so many of my own dreams.

But there is something deeper than loving your career that my mom has instilled in me. She has taught me to trust my instinct, and when necessary, to stand up to authority. She reminds me to this day that my voice and opinion is important. Her confidence in me gave me confidence. She modeled it. I copied it.

Erica Ehm and Evelyn Hannon

Beauty for my mom was never skin deep. She always pointed out the difference between being superficially pretty and deeply beautiful. In our family, we continue to strive for inner beauty; to be helpful, to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, to be honest and dependable. Wearing the "right" name-brand clothing was so unimportant when I was growing up. Instead, my mom encouraged us to create our own unique sense of style which stays with me today. I was also taught to be an independent thinker and not depend on looks for success.

According to research done by Dove, only 9% of Canadian girls between the ages of 10-17 are most comfortable using the term "beautiful" to describe their looks. However, a positive role model can make a world of difference by helping a girl develop a positive relationship with beauty and encourage her to achieve her full potential. When girls feel they have a role model, they are less likely to let anxiety about looks hold them back. This continues to be true for me.

One incident which really sticks out for me happened in my twenties while working at MuchMusic. While I received a ton of fan mail from admirers, there were also a contingent of "Erica Haters" who pummeled me with angry letters about how ugly I was, especially my big nose. On several occasions I was told to "get a nose job" from my adoring audience. I actually considered it. I checked in with my mom who simply said, "Do you want to look like you or someone else? As soon as you change your nose, you'll look like everyone else." BOOM. This resonates with me even today. I cherish my individuality and celebrate all that makes me unique, both the good and even the bad.

Because of my mom's inspiration, I don't waste my time striving for the illusion of perfection. I love myself for being good enough. And this is what I'm passing on to my daughter. And it's what my mom continues to pass on to her granddaughters.

And this is why I'm nominating my mom for the Dove Celebrate Mom Contest.

Know an amazing mom who’s an inspiration to women and girls? Celebrate her!

Visit www.CelebrateMom.ca by September 4th to nominate her for the Dove Celebrate Mom Contest.

She could win $2,500 for herself and $2,500 to be donated to the charity of her choice. But more importantly, you’ll be introducing young girls to real role models who inspire them to reach their full potential! Nominate her now!

Check out more stories about inspiring role model moms.