Growing Together with Co-Pilot Mom


Almost two years ago, I decided that I must not be the only one who sees growth through parenthood. That everyone must have these stories – stories of sweetness or struggle. Stories of starting out in one place, believing so very strongly one certain thing, and then having your world rocked by someone more than half your size.

So I began to search for fellow growers. And before I knew it, I had a series. A collection of stories of some of my favorite writers and bloggers and their sweet moments of growth.

growing together

This summer, I’m bringing the series back. From now through September, just about every Thursday will find another mama here sharing her story. I’m so excited to bring this series back. With every story I read and share with you here, I grow a little more too, my perspective changing as I peek through the window into someone else’s world. And it is always so lovely.

Today, I’m thrilled to kickoff Growing Together 2014 with the incredible Kim from Co-Pilot Mom. Every time I head over to Co-Pilot Mom, I walk away refreshed. Kim has the most beautiful way of capturing the sweet and beautiful moments of motherhood and reminding us all that even the time we spend in the trenches is fleeting and you’ve just got to hold on and enjoy every second.

I know you will enjoy her words today.


It was either random coincidence – or word had gotten out.

It was a warm spring day; school was nearly over for the year. I stood chatting with some friends and classmates in a circle outside one of the entrances to our junior high school.

I saw something flying towards me; something had been tossed from the other side of our group. I jumped when the weight of it hit my chest. I was stunned as it bounced off of me and hit the ground.

It was a snake. It laid there, unmoving.

A rubber snake, I thought. Very mature.

“Ha, ha..,” I said. “Very f….”

Before I could finish, the snake coiled up and, in a flurry of S-shaped squiggles, headed to the nearby woods.

If the boys had been hoping for a reaction, I would say that I provided one.

I panicked. I began to scream. I couldn’t catch my breath. I began to cry. I ran aimlessly – just away.

The same thing happened every time I saw a snake in my younger days. Even photos in text books would cause the fear to rise and I would quickly flip past images of exposed fangs and posing cobras. I knew it wasn’t rational, but I just couldn’t get past the fear. My friends and family were sympathetic, but I am not sure they understood.

It is only a little snake, right?

There was a time when there was nothing more terrifying to me. I would rather have spiders crawling on me or swim with great white sharks than be within sight of a snake.

Fight or flight? When snakes are concerned, it was flight all the way.

When I became a mother, my perception of fear changed. Suddenly snakes were not the scariest things I could imagine. Worries big and small filled the spaces of my mind, and I didn’t often think about my phobia – except that I did not want to ever show my children that I was afraid. I know that so much of how they see the world comes from watching my reaction to it.

I hoped that they would not walk in the woods and hear their heart beating in their ears as they scanned the trail and the surrounding area. I hoped they would hear the crunch of leaves under their feet, or the birdsong over their heads instead.

Three summers ago we went camping. David went to get some firewood from the edge of the woods when I heard him say, “Oh, hello there.”

There was no one else around so I knew he had found something.

“There is a little snake over here by our wood,” he called to the boys. “Do you want to come see it?” He looked at me, knowing.

I busied myself with cleaning up the dishes at the picnic table as they greeted our visitor.

When the boys came to tell me about it, I smiled and said, “So cool!”

This time, it did not occur to me to run away. I still didn’t really want to see it, but I smiled and took deep breaths. I showed interest and excitement for them and their discovery. And I loved that they were not afraid.

boys on a trail

I am not that little girl on the playground, running aimlessly away from perceived danger. That girl would have wanted to pack up the tent and hurry home to her suburban, snake-free neighbourhood and NEVER return to that snake-infested campground again.

I found strength I didn’t know I had. I think it was a strength born of motherhood – of wanting to give my children the gift of not being needlessly afraid. I realize now that helping them see the wonder in things trumps any fear.

After all, when it comes right down to it – it is just a little snake.


Kim Steele is an early childhood educator turned stay at home mom and writer. She blogs at Co-Pilot Mom about life with her family in Nova Scotia, Canada. A wannabe runner and home cook extraordinaire, Kim is an accomplished car singer – although she brakes for bread and chocolate. She has an affection for Jane Austen, sci-fi and all things geeky, and can lately be found watching too much British TV.   Connect with Kim on Twitter, Facebook, and Google +.


  1. Pingback: Growing Together - Guest Post at Raising Humans

  2. Tricia, I am so honoured to be visiting today. Thank you so much for inviting me to be part of your Growing Together series and for the lovely introduction!
    I don’t think I could have imagined how much growth parenting inspires, but it seems I am always learning something right along side my children. Thank you for letting me share one of those stories with you and your readers.
    Kim recently posted..Growing Together – Guest Post at Raising HumansMy Profile

  3. This one really hit a chord with me… it is so true how much our children’s view of the world is coloured by our response to it. I love a story that makes me think… and smile. Thank you!

  4. Children truly transform is for the better, don’t they? Lovely one, Kim.
    Alison recently posted..Through The Lens Thursday #22: HomeMy Profile

  5. I understand your first reaction, Kim, and your second! Motherhood definitely does something to your fears….some become so much smaller while others becoming overwhelming.

  6. Oh I love this, Kim! I really don’t love spiders. Yesterday Eddie said in a panic, ‘MOM! THERE IS A SPIDER ON YOUR SHIRT!” and there was a tiny one. Without even breaking an anxiety sweat, I picked him off and flicked him away. I didn’t even say “eek!” I did it as if it was lint.

    Who am I?
    Katie recently posted..Through the Lens {May}My Profile

  7. First of all, Tricia, I am so glad you are bringing this series back. And how nice to see Kim here today – with such an important message. Kim, I’m tearing up a little bit at this one. Because yes! YES! Our fears our all perceived and as parents, we have the beautiful opportunity to nudge ourselves into growth so not to pass those fears onto our children. I love this story and I love this message. Bravo!

  8. This is essentially my story with slugs. After travelling out west one year as a child and coming in contact with a giant slug that I thought was a tree branch, I have never been the same. But, since becoming a mother, I simply step over them when I see them on the pavement instead of freaking out after every rain. Motherhood makes us stronger, somehow.
    Laura recently posted..That Time I Talked with John GreenMy Profile

  9. I absolutely agree. Changes in perception or beliefs I previously held I can attribute to motherhood easily. I’m glad you were comfortable enough not to run. My husband caught a huge spider in the basement and the kids oohed and aahed about it. I detest spiders. I’m itching now, glancing out the corners of my eyes for the spider I suspect is going to jump out any minute now from somewhere. But I smiled and nodded and looked OVER the container rather than directly at it. I’m proud of us both.
    Arnebya recently posted..ReprogrammingMy Profile

  10. I have a friend who has a very serious snake phobia for strange reasons I can’t even tarnish these comment section to speak of, but I doubt she’ll ever outgrow it.
    Unless, maybe, she became a parent. And surprised herself.

    I have a legit phobia of vomit. Legit, doctor-defined, phobia. You know what happens with and around kids? Vomit. Not even my kids, really. It’s funny what I’ve gone through in the last five years..

    Also, seeing you here is AWESOME!
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  11. I’m starting to notice this transformation with blood. I am not a blood person at all; I could never be a nurse or doctor or anything else medical! And yet these days my rambunctious little boy is tumbling over all the place, which of course results in lots of scraped knees and elbows and blood! The sight of it no longer causes me to freak out because how can I? I need to remain calm for him, to take care of him. It’s fascinating how my reactions have changed.
    Katie @ Pick Any Two recently posted..A Poem for HannahMy Profile

  12. I love Kim and this series sounds great! I have had a similar experience with water. I never learned to swim growing up because my parents didn’t swim and were afraid as well. However, I married a man who loves the water and grew up with a pool in his backyard – a backyard that is now ours. My three daughters are part fish, I think. I terrifies me every time they jump in, but I am also very, very glad they will grow up comfortable and, hopefully, safe in the water.
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted..Summer Bucket List 2014 {Tuesday Ten Linkup}My Profile

  13. 1. McDonald’s could bring the McRib back again, and it wouldn’t be half as cool as you starting this series again, T.

    2. Kim has a way with words. Love to see what she writes. You can almost feel the fight against the fear going on inside her. Nothing’s strong as a mama.

    3. Parenthood instills a few fears in us (aging, our own mortality, the cost of emergency room visits and tuition), but it gives us the fortitude to take on any challenge. And I do mean any. Vomit, rollercoasters, spiders, snakes, grizzlies, dumb boys with floppy hair … let me at them.
    Eli@coachdaddy recently posted..Go Ask Daddy About Ad Wars, Skis That Soar and Felony LoreMy Profile

  14. I’ve never thought about this before, Kim, but after reading this I realized that I’ve outgrown some of my younger fears because I am now a mother. Being responsible for another life makes some of these mundane fears seem much less scary. Some are from necessity, and some are just because I’m stronger.
    Dana recently posted..Do I really want More?My Profile

  15. I love this Kim and Tricia – love that you are bringing back this series! One of my favs. It is amazing how kids transform us and make us stronger in so many ways. There are so many things that we do in spite of our fears because you’re right – they are our fears, not our kids. Love seeing you here Kim!

  16. Being a parent does change a person. The old saying – ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ – it’s so true. Having kids certainly fits the bill. Love this, Kim!
    Andrea recently posted..Spam Loves My BlogMy Profile

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