Description about yourself?
My name is Renée Jordan. To Anderson (5) and Frances (2), I am mum. I am also the co-founder of Earlybird, the free-to-download parenting app that empowers parents to get their kids to learn all their important foundational skills while they play.
Where is your hometown?
Describe your family
Jameson, my husband, and I have known each other since I was in grade 2 and he was in grade 4. Our brothers played on the same volleyball team. We didn’t start dating until undergrad but will be celebrating 14 years of marriage this year. We are the parents of our son, Anderson (5), and daughter, Frances (2) both of whom are our little fertility, rainbow babies.
What’s the most challenging part of being a parent?
I have spent years working with kids. I have been supporting families for years in figuring out what works for their kids, and what doesn’t. But even my multiple degrees and years of professional experience didn’t prepare me for as a parent I would constantly be second guessing myself. There is so much to know as a parent and there is so much noise out there telling you the “right” way to parent. Nothing prepared me for overthinking even the small decisions from breastfeeding to what school to send my kids to.
What do you love most about being a parent?
I love seeing the world through my kids’ eyes. As they are learning about the world and the people in it, I am relearning. They force me to slow down, find wonder in the small moments, and get outside to explore a whole lot more than before I had kids. They ask the most interesting questions that I don’t always have the answers to, so it is super fun finding the answers together.
What is the best advice you ever received as a parent?
That there isn’t one right way to parent. I know my kids best, and I know myself as a parent best. There are a bunch of ways to do this parenting thing, and I need to be kind to myself as I figure out what is right for me and my family.
What is something about you we would find surprising?
The reason I went to grad school at Columbia University to learn more about how kids learn was that I was hit by a drunk driver in 2009 and sustained a traumatic brain injury. I was told I would never finish my undergraduate degree in teaching or work. However, I worked hard with all sorts of incredible professionals who helped me regain what I lost and relearn so many of my foundational skills. I wanted to do the same for others, so I went to graduate school and began working in inclusive education in a variety of capacities.
Then when I was on mat leave with Anderson (5), I started sharing some of the early learning activities I was doing with him, that I used to do with my students, on Instagram. While on mat leave with Frances (2), Sarah approached me about turning that space into what is now Earlybird. So an awful moment in life, and an injury I would wish on no one, has shaped me to my core and turned into something really, really beautiful.
What is your go-to family-friendly Lower Mainland activity?
Anderson (5) is super into all things science. He is incredibly curious. So no stop in the lower mainland is complete for our family without a day spent at Science World. But we are for sure stopping at Small Victory ahead of time for coffee and a treat.
What is your favourite sunny/hot day activity?
This spring, I set up a nature play area in our backyard for my kids. We have a mud kitchen, an outdoor chalkboard, a dino habitat in some planters, and a construction site with diggers, logs, and rocks. Spending time back there, with the neighbourhood kids, is quickly becoming of favourite sunny day activity.
What do you do for self-care?
So full disclosure, I am terrible at self-care. I tend to put myself last, which I am sure a lot of parents relate to. So currently, I build the Earlybird app. It is my time to myself to use my brain in a creative way that feels good to me. But I acknowledge that it is also “work”. So my goal for 2023, is to fit in more time to exercise. Fitness was a huge part of my pre-kid identity, and it is something I want to prioritize more because my mind and body feel better when I get a little movement into my weeks.
What’s your favourite recipe and why?
This stage of life with two kids under 5 is all about simplicity in our household. So a roast supper with a bunch of different veggies, some salmon or another fish, and some fresh bread is what my weeknight meal dreams are made of. Bonus points if we have some green sauce from the Root Cellar (any island readers know what I am talking about!).