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Show Notes:

Imagine having 4 children, all with ADHD, one with depression, one on the autism spectrum, all while you are living with bipolar disorder. Then imagine writing 25 books, including “Happy Parents, Happy Kids” and “Parenting Through the Storm”. You have just imagined Ann Douglas, an amazing woman, and besides all of the above, a parenting expert and columnist on CBC Radio.

In this episode, Ann shares with us the key techniques a 2020 parent should use to not only cope with the times but thrive as a family.

Where to find Ann:

Ann’s books (mentioned in the podcast, 2 of about 25!):

Parenting Through the Storm

Happy Parents, Happy Kids


Connect with Elaine:






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Ann Douglas 00:00

Labels never capture sort of like, you know, the nuances and the gifts in a child. So I'd never pretend that just saying they had this diagnosis in any way defines them. But I think it gives people a sense of what dinner was like at the Douglas dinner table.

Announcer 00:15

Welcome to Elaine's Kitchen Table. This is where we share tips about business and parenting. Being a mom of three CEO of the award winning company Easy Daysies speaker and educator, you're going to learn the tips and secrets of successful and incredible people. Elaine wants you to be inspired, challenged and motivated and that person you want your kids to grow up to be - this is real talk for real life.

Elaine Tan Comeau 00:39

Hi, welcome to Elaine's Kitchen Table where we talk about the business of real life. And we talk about how to create better family, health, business and self and I am so honored and excited to share with you my guest today. When I was thinking of someone who would just be that person who would just be able to share her raw real self, and help us understand that we are not going through things alone, especially during this covid parenting time. Now, this is a woman who I cannot wait to share with you and I had the honor of meeting her at a friend's house over lunch. And I could not believe how incredibly humble and real this person was. And when I thought, you know what, this is a person I need to share with other moms and parents. Not just because she knows so much and is an expert on parenting but because she lives it and has gone through a parenting life of everything that we are going through now. And she's definitely a person who we can relate to. And I would just be honored to share her with you and so I had to invite her and her name is Ann Douglas. And Ann Douglas is the weekend parenting columnist for CBC Radio and the author of number of best selling books about parenting, including The Mother of All Pregnancy Books. Yes, that's actually the title, the mother of all pregnancy books. And her most recent books are Happy Parents, Happy Kids and Parenting Through the Storm. And I just want to ask you to help me welcome Ann Douglas. Hi, Ann.

Ann Douglas 02:19

Hi, Elaine. Nice to reconnect again.

Elaine Tan Comeau 02:22

Well, I am just like, blown away at who you are. And I'm very humbled and honored to have you join us here today and talk to me and to our listeners right here right now. And is there anything you want to fill in the gaps with that my brief intro of you can you do? Is there anything you want to share but yourself that

Ann Douglas 02:47

I can't remember if you mentioned that I have four kids who are now young adults because they're sort of my number one parenting and life accomplishment slash achievement. I don't even know how to frame that but I'm, you know, fiercely proud of my kids and they're between the ages of 22 and 32. Which kind of makes me feel ancient but also makes me feel a little bit wise. Depending on the day there's sort of like a barometer that goes back and forth.

Elaine Tan Comeau 03:13

No I fully understand, four children that I only have three but I'm gonna say each have your four children is like a degree that you just achieved so you have four degrees right there on parenting.

Ann Douglas 03:26

Feels like it some days, right?

Elaine Tan Comeau 03:28

And they're all separate different people. And that's why they're like four degrees. It's not one degree for parenting. It's you deserve one for each child, and he has a congratulations on your four degrees of parenting! So I know that you have written your most recent book is called Happy Parents, Happy Kids. And in this time, when families, we find ourselves Okay, we're in our home. We are with our children all the time. And there's things to, there's so many things now, parents are working from home, they are parenting, they are teaching their children, they are still having to cook and clean and do all of that. And there's gonna be a levels of anxiety in all areas. So how do we have happy family? Is there like three strategies that you say, okay, there's probably many strategies, but these are the top three that I would suggest. What do you think Ann?

Ann Douglas 04:32

Yeah, I think a big thing is to know that you aren't the only person who's feeling anxious, guilty and overwhelmed. I've been hosting a number of different town halls in recent weeks for different organizations across the country. And I don't think I've ever been involved in so many calls with parents where people started crying, like people are just feeling completely maxed out, overloaded, and wondering like how are we supposed to tread water and get through this time. So anybody who's thinking it's just them, it is not just you. So I thought maybe I might share a couple of the strategies I've been talking about during some of these sessions.

Ann Douglas 05:10

And a big one is to recognize that calm is your parenting superpower. And don't get me wrong, I am not a naturally calm person, I'm never going to graduate like sort of, you know, gravitate to a place of calm by default, I have to work super hard every single day of my life, to try to be even just a little bit calmer a little more often. So that's sort of like, you know, the standard, I would encourage you to set for yourself just like whatever is possible. Because when you get to a place of calm, you do your best thinking as a parent and a lot of us have been raised with the idea that you know, if you want to have energy be stressed draw upon all that stress as a parent, but really, it makes parenting harder and more exhausting, because instead of doing your best thinking where you can make conscious and deliberate choices, you're parenting on auto pilot. You're saying and doing things that you wish you hadn't. And then you're having to backtrack and apologize and fix things or you're meandering back and forth in your decisions. It just, it is exhausting. So try to be a little calmer, reflect on all the things that are going really well and give yourself credit for that. Because we know our brains have a tendency to sort of zero in on the one thing that didn't go well today, as opposed to think about the 10 things that did. So give yourself credit for all the good stuff, and practice self compassion. Self compassion just means treating yourself with at least as much kindness as you would extend to a friend who's struggling. And I often think like, if a friend phoned me and said, You know, I'm having a terrible day, you're gonna think I'm the worst parent in the world, I wouldn't be very much of a friend if I agreed with that friend and said, you know, well, you kind of are and yet we will be that hard on ourselves. So we have to like stop that really critical voice in our head and reframe it. And what I often say to myself is I'm doing the best that I can in a really difficult situation. And just sitting with that. So I think a lot of what we can control right now in this moment is the thinking part of parenting. We can't magically wave a magic wand and make the pandemic go away, and make everything go back to you know what it used to be like. Right now, we're in a very strange and uncertain time, but we can, to a certain degree control what happens in our own heads. And, I mean, I don't think that there's any recipe for being a happy parent right now, I think you maybe just want to try to be happier a little more often. And just to notice those moments where you feel that sense of connection with your child, because if there's one thing we can do for our kids in this time, and probably the most important thing is just to make them feel loved and supported and reassured during a strange time. They're going to learn so much. As a result of this, you know, this experience. This is going to be a formative moment in their childhood that they're going to take with them through the rest of their lives. So we as the parents who are guiding them have the opportunity to ensure that in addition to yes, those moments of stress and anxiety, that we also bundle in some joy, some fun and those moments of connection. So that's what I would say on that.

Ann Douglas 05:10

I love those points that you just mentioned and to you know, draw on calmness to stay calm and to tell ourselves that it's okay. And because, you know, I believe that when you are calm, it's contagious to your children. When you're anxious. It's contagious to your children, when you're happy, it's contagious to your children. And so that's why often when I talk to parents and do parent talks, I often say you know, make yourself wake up an hour before your kids so that you aren't feeling rushed and stressed when you're waking them up because you're also trying to get yourself ready. But get yourself ready. Enjoy that one hot cup of coffee that you never get to have, so that you're excited to wake them up and happy to wake them up. And it's hard, right? You're thinking, Oh, now I have to wake up an extra hour. But you know what you will enjoy that time. And, and I would love to know, like, what is a strategy to help a parent feel calm, so that we can say, you know, like I'm angry or I'm so frustrated right now or my kids are always on me like, I'm hungry. I want this. She's looking at me. She's touching me. How do you get that quick calmness? What's the startegy?

Ann Douglas 09:17

I think it's always so simple. But it's also so hard to remember to do in the moment, which is just to almost like hit the pause button. Because we all know when things are going off the rails, you just have this sense that oh, this is not headed in a good direction. You know, I can feel my own anger rate rising and my child is flipping out. So somebody has to put the brakes on this. So just take a breath. I actually had a social worker tell me once that it could be something as simple as changing your position. So let's say you're sitting down, stand up if you're standing up, sit down because that will sort of cue your body that we're shaking things up. And it shakes up your thinking patterns as well. And then saying to yourself, like, what do I want to happen in this moment? And what does my child really need from me right now? Just focus on those things, and let go of all the emotion because otherwise you're sitting there going, I'm feeling frustrated. And you know, the neighbors are staring across the fence into our backyard wondering like what the heck is going on in your family's backyard. I feel embarrassed, I you feel like I'm the worst parent on the block. Let go of all that emotion and just try to solve the problem, which is what do I need and what does my child need in this moment and you're both allowed to have needs. It can't be 100% about anybody's needs or the other person is, you know, completely going to feel flattened and exhausted and invisible.

Elaine Tan Comeau 10:48

I so appreciate that simple strategy of just changing your position like okay because I I know that as a mom of three I am have to remember that change my position, stand up or sit down or

Ann Douglas 11:01

You could stand on your head if you're really coordinated but I don't know cartwheel - no that I'd be going to the hospital next. So no. I won't try that.

Elaine Tan Comeau 11:10

And I love that you said to ask that question of what does my child need right now? What is that real need? Because the arguments not about the broccoli they don't want to eat there's something deeper if we're making an argument. So just just change that position. And I really appreciate that. And I like that you said, reflect on all that is going well. You are so right, we often focus on the one bad thing that's driving us crazy and forget about the 18 things that we did well that the child did, well, that is going fine and to like, focus on that and it does, it takes it takes some, it takes a lot of energy to realize and make that shift in mindset to think. Okay, put that aside and my husband will always say you know, because my husband sleeps like a log and like, a rock. And I'm just like, when I say I'm going to bed, it'll take me an hour to get there because I'm the one turning off all the lights, washing all the dishes, making sure things are put away, are the doors locked all these things right? And then he just goes straight to the bed. And then and then if I wake up to think about things, he'll remind me, you know, Why be concerned about things that haven't happened? You know, like use the energy when it happens to solve it, not what if or, and so it is a mindset shift.

Ann Douglas 12:33

Yeah. And that's such a good point right now, Elaine, because I think that a lot of us are thinking like, What's going to happen? You know, in the summer as we try to go through many more months of parenting and you know, what's going to happen when school starts in the fall, I realize that some parents have kids in school right now or are about have kids in school, but we don't know how any of this is going to play out. Right? It's going to be a lot of experimenting. And so I think that it can be really helpful and reassuring to us to sort of recognize and accept that we don't have all the information and recognize and accept that things can shift in a good way. So maybe the the threat of the pandemic will ease, maybe we will learn more coping strategies within ourselves and within our families, maybe there will be more supports for parents available, so it won't feel quite so overwhelming. So we don't want to borrow September's worries now, and just think that it's going to be as hard as it is right now. Because things could be very different. And I say this as somebody who back in grade five, signed out the book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie and read that as a grade five. So I'm very good at worrying. But I've also learned It's exhausting because you're just basically having this thing and it's like you're using processing power in your brain for something that you don't need to be processing right this second.

Elaine Tan Comeau 13:56

Yes, so true. And I want to say that I loved your point on practicing self compassion and being a friend to yourself, I loved your analogy, right? You wouldn't tell your friend who called you like agree with them like you're a horrible parent, but you would say no, you are doing the best you can. And don't worry about it like mistakes happen we say things we do not mean but make sure we apologize and explain it to our children and and I think that is very important. Communicating that to our children that we make mistakes and clarify and apologized for things that should not have been said, because our voices do become their inside voice and that's a whole different podcast. But it's so true. And I also think like what we say to ourselves because I think we're our worst critics to ourselves. And I think that we have to remember we wouldn't say that, we wouldn't talk like that to our children, why would we tell ourselves that. And so learning to say, you know, it's okay. Forgive yourself and ask for forgiveness and learn from it and move forward. And when you said, you know, it's a responsibility for us as parents to just love and support, help our children feel loved, supported and reassured. And I think, especially during COVID-19 times, I think that anxiety levels are higher. And I think that if we as adults don't really even know how to fully communicate that. I can't imagine what our children are going through. We're so excited that you're here with us listening to Ann and I chat and I wish Ann was sitting at my kitchen table with me now because I would make her tea and cheesecake. [laughter] I don't even know. Do you like cheese cake Ann?

Ann Douglas 16:04

Does anybody not?

Elaine Tan Comeau 16:06

I don't know. But I will have their piece if they don't like it.

Ann Douglas 16:10

Yes, yeah, well, yeah, it's always good to be that friend who offers to eat the piece if the other person can't or doesn't.

Elaine Tan Comeau 16:16

Right, we all have to be helpful and we don't want to waste food.

Ann Douglas 16:20

Cheesecake's a very valuable resource.

Elaine Tan Comeau 16:23

Ann before, before we continue, I would love to hear more about your family. How did you do it, four children over 10 years? And can you give us a summary of like, what was that like? Like when they were young? Yes. What was that like?

Ann Douglas 16:42

It was intense. It seemed like a good plan at the time to have babies in rapid succession because at one point, we had a three year old, a one and a half year old and a newborn and it seemed very efficient. And then I realized why a lot of families don't do that because it's also a recipe for parental exhaustion. So, you know, a lot of hands-on parenting all at once, and then we thought our family was done. And then we had a baby who we lost through stillbirth. She had an umbilical cord knot and so she died unfortunately at 29 weeks of gestation. And so then after losing Laura, we made a conscious decision that we didn't want our family to end on such a sad note. So we made the decision to have another baby and that's how we ended up with Ian in our family as well.

Ann Douglas 17:29

So it was a roller coaster of a time for so many reasons. There was coping with the grief of the stillbirth. There was working through the the kids sort of, you know, various challenges along the way. I mean, as they grew older, some of the challenges intensified and my daughter had some mental health struggles, all four of them had ADHD. One of them or two of them were gifted one of them had a learning disability. One guy was on the autism spectrum. So we were dealing with a lot of things and labels never capture sort of like, you know, the nuances and the gifts in a child. So I'd never pretend that, you know, just saying they had this diagnosis in any way defines them. But I think it gives people a sense of what dinner was like at the Douglas dinner table for you know, a long time where it was just almost utter chaos. So it was really hard and I ended up getting really depleted. Like I, you know, for about a decade, I felt like I was treading water, I was having my own mental health struggles. I live with bipolar disorder. So I have to work really hard to manage my moods at the best of times. So let me tell you, COVID-19, you are giving me a workout in the emotional regulation and coping skills department. Thank you very much. And also I have a balance and dizziness disorder that has come on in recent years. So I have to work really hard to manage stress for that. And I know when I'm getting out of balance in terms of, you know, self care and just processing all that emotion, if I have a day where I start to feel a little bit queasy and off. So I have a real vested, you know, incentive now to manage my health because if not, I can end up spending hours and hours throwing up and that is my least favorite thing. So I think that a lot of us are grappling with all the added stress and I think it's you know, it's important to learn strategies and I guess the underlying message I wanted to say and that incredibly long run on sentence is just that you can learn strategies so if you're feeling overwhelmed in this moment, it doesn't have to always be this hard. You can figure out ways to process that emotion and get support and just generally make it feel a little less awful.

Elaine Tan Comeau 18:28

So Ann I had no idea how full and incredible your answer was going to be on Tell us about your family. And if you're listening, this is why I adore this woman and admire Ann so much. This is a woman who just shared that she has four children who lost a child and stillbirth. A daughter that went through a depression. A child diagnosed with autism. A mom who was diagnosed with by being bipolar and so on and so on. And, then is able to write a book called Happy Parents Happy Kids and Parenting Through the Storm which I fully understand how you can call it that. And, Ann this is why I admire you so much. You aren't just someone who read about it and is sharing about it, you lived it and and you're living it because things don't just vanish and it takes work every day to to make each day a wonderful and happy wonderful day. And when days don't have to be wonderful or happy but that you go through it that's what makes it wonderful.

Elaine Tan Comeau 19:52

And I would love to talk about, you know, how to create better health and better self right now. Because as a parent, if we aren't taking care of ourselves and our health it will jeopardize our family life and our world around us. And you know, I've recently listened to different speakers sharing how, you know, everybody thought their world was peachy keen, they're successful. They have all these children, and then they find themselves curled up in the corner in the closet, rocking back and forth. And, and it's, if you're listening, you are not alone. Like, this is a reality and we all will have these moments where we need to learn how to take care of ourself and mental health issues is a real, real thing. I think every person has mental health issues that we need to address and take care of, or they take, they take over us. So Ann I'd love to ask, how did you how did you recognize that you needed to address something in your health and perhaps a strategy to recognize it and deal with it so it doesn't grow.

Ann Douglas 22:26

I think what I had noticed was, and this is back, probably about 15 years ago now. I went to the family doctor one day, and I said to him, I really think I'm gonna burn myself out. I feel like I have to keep on like, I'm on a treadmill. And it's going faster and faster and faster, and I can't get off. Like it was like my mind was just, you know, racing. I mean, I think I wrote five or six books one year, like in one year I've written about, I think I've written about 25 books or something like that in total, but in the sort of like the peak times of the hypomania, which is a kind of mania that doesn't have hallucinations, but it's just characterized by periods of intense energy. I felt driven and I felt like I just couldn't put the brakes on in my own life. And I recognized that that was not sustainable. That you know, I would crash and burn eventually if I didn't get help. So I went to the family doctor, and he listened to me and he heard me and we talked about medication and for a time I was on medication. Along the way, I developed some kind of liver enzyme problem that made me have to go off the medication. But I think it was life saving in that moment because of the you know, the feeling of being driven and also feeling really exhausted and hopeless. Like I remember feeling like I had fallen down a well, and I didn't have a way of clawing myself back up the sides of the well. So it was like a really visceral feeling.

Ann Douglas 23:52

And it hit me one day I was at a, like a trade conference and it was at a baby show. And, you know, I was there I was one of the featured speakers. And I just felt like incredibly sad. And I thought there's something wrong because normally, I love being an author. I love talking to people about my work. And yet, it was almost like all the joy had been had faded to gray right? So that told me that something had to change. And it took a number of years to sort of come back from that, like, sometimes there is a lot of work involved. And so for about three years, I had a clinical depression that was pretty much debilitating. I couldn't really write anything more complicated than a grocery list. But as I regained my energy, my strength, my focus, and so on. When I came out the other side of that, I decided that it was time to start working on some strategies to make the you know, the health changes stick. So first of all, I worked on my mental health, and then I worked on my physical health after that, because along the way during that sort of 10 year cycle of, I guess when I think of it, I was like the most poster child for self neglect getting really, really depleted. I had gained over 100 pounds during that time. And then I had to sort of like, look at that coming into midlife with some family history of you know, heart disease and stuff and diabetes that I didn't want to carry that wild card with me later into life.

Ann Douglas 25:17

And so becoming physically active for the very first time in my life, I embarked on that journey thinking I have to do something about this unhealthy amount of extra weight. But really, what I discovered was that in terms of managing my mental health, my twice daily walks are actually the thing I needed my entire life to help me regulate my emotions and my energy and give me a coping tool. So my gym teacher from public school would be shocked to hear this because I hated gym class more than any other kid in the entire school. And now physical activity is one of the pillars that keeps me well because if I don't get my walks in, I don't sleep well at night. I start to feel really weepy and awful the next day and if it goes on for too many days, then I started feeling queasy. And we're in a bad place. So there you go. I've learned a lot about this. And I guess to somebody starting on this journey, who thinks that sounds great to you, but I could never make those changes. I thought it was hopeless when I was starting out, and then you get little wee tiny victories, like when I first started walking, I couldn't walk for more than 15 minutes or I'd get debilitating foot pain. And now, no problem I can walk for like an hour or so if I have to, you know, so build it up over time.

Elaine Tan Comeau 26:37

I like that you broke it down into you know, you worked first on your mental health, and then your physical health. And I loved even before that you walked in, made an appointment with a doctor to say, I'm running on empty and I'm running faster and faster and I need help. So when I look at this, and I think, okay, so the mom who's listening right now who feels like she is hanging on by a thread, who just, I'm going to get emotional because I've been there. And thinking, Well, what do I do? Right? And that mom who's thinking, you know, they either are embarrassed that they're going through that because everybody thinks they're superhuman because they are running a business. And they have their family but they also feel and I have said this before in my own life, like I feel like I'm juggling 20 balls, and my arms are tied behind my back. Now, I remember saying that to someone. And I don't even know if I said it to say help me or to, because I have problems saying no to people. And I don't know if that became my go to of, you know, I just am juggling with any arms. But what, when you say, you know you first worked on your mental health, so that meant going to the doctor or to anyone like does that mean like going to a friend does that mean telling your spouse?

Ann Douglas 28:18

You have to find your trusted person like a lot of women struggle with postpartum depression. So it could be, you know, midwife, doula, doctor, another person, you know, that maybe has had some mental health struggles and just opening up to somebody and saying or your partner and saying, this is how I'm really feeling. Because at first, it's hard to even admit it to yourself that you're feeling as awful as you're feeling. But once you start saying the words out loud, it's such a relief. It's like, I don't have to carry this on my shoulders anymore. I can share this with another person, which is what we're wired to do as humans. It's the whole reason humans are social beings, so that they can help one another in times of struggle. I mean, we don't just, you know, go off in the woods by ourselves and wander around forever, we hang out in flocks with other humans for good reason.

Elaine Tan Comeau 29:07

I was gonna ask you when you took care of the physical and you go on these walks, do you go by yourself? Or do you go with someone that you talk to?

Ann Douglas 29:14

It's a mix, like, my husband is my walking buddy. So most of the time we go for our walks together. But if he's not available, sometimes I'll use it as time to listen to podcasts or music. Or sometimes I'll just say to myself, what I think I really need most is just quiet. So nope, nothing in my ears. I know it's a terrible thing to say on a podcast, but like not listening to anything. And just like listening to nature and thinking and letting my brain almost like do mental housekeeping. You know, let's sort all those thoughts out and scramble them around and file them away. That kind of thing that happens like when you're sleeping. You can also do some of that thinking and reflecting while you're walking and even just like listening to the crunch of the sand underneath my running shoes and like, you know, the birds singing, I find that incredibly relaxing.

Elaine Tan Comeau 30:05

Absolutely. And there's so many studies that show correlation between physical activity and mental clarity and just thinking better. And I remember when I was a school teacher, with my grade two class on the ground floor, we'd see the grade five class running around doing laps around the school before they had math so that they could think a little bit better. And you know, I so appreciate your strategies and, and your tips and your story and so thank you Ann. And if you could, if you could leave sharing to my listener right now to our listener right now. That parent who's saying, You know what, I need help, because I am so stressed and I'm anxious I'm not eating or I'm just yelling at my children all the time. And I just, I just want out, I just want to escape. What is three things you could just say to her or him right now?

Ann Douglas 31:11

I think a really big thing is sometimes when people are in that really dark place, they think that the family would be better off without them and that they're just a burden and a drag on the family. Talk yourself out of that and get help from somebody to talk you out of that message, because it's a dangerous thought to allow into your head. And it's totally untrue. You know, you have a unique reason to be on the planet, and you're uniquely valuable to the people who love you and you are one of a kind and irreplaceable. So I think that is the number one thing. And the second thing is recognize that things can always get better. There are times when you feel like it's always going to be this hard. I don't have what it, you know what it takes to keep pushing this giant ball or boulder up a hill day after day. The good news is that you know, things can and do change and shift and you will learn how to be stronger, you'll build the muscles to push that boulder not only up the hill, but kick it down the other side. So I would just say, you know, really recognize that things are hard. Don't run from those feelings, ask for help and hold on to hope because hope is the lifejacket that helps to carry you through really stormy times and stormy seas. And we want you to come out the other side okay.

Elaine Tan Comeau 32:26

Thank you and thank you and thank you, I love that I love that you said talk yourself out of it. Because you are here for a reason you have a unique purpose that only you can fulfill. There's only that you are the only mom that only parent for that child like that only mom or dad and to talk yourself out of it that there is hope that it will get better and that you're not alone and you're not the first person to feel this way and that it's okay and it's going to be awesome and incredible. And I'm gonna say on a more positive note, I'm going to ask you some rapid speed questions that I'm actually making up on the spot as well.

Ann Douglas 33:10

That's rapid.

Elaine Tan Comeau 33:12

Ann so it's gonna be like off the top of your head okay? I'm gonna ask you five questions and they're kind of strange and unique, maybe like not even related to health. Okay, here we go. Number one, your favorite book?

Ann Douglas 33:25

Oh my God, that's impossible, because there's thousands but the favorite one I've heard recently is called One Long River of Song. It's by an author named Brian Doyle. And it's kind of a spiritual but not religious, but spiritual, spiritual and really full of life wisdom. I love that book so much

Elaine Tan Comeau 33:43

Excellent. Your favorite pastime?

Ann Douglas 33:48

Definitely reading which is pathetic. It's like all you know, all you have to do is ask me which flavor of books do you want to talk about reading or writing? Let's flip a coin. Those are my hobbies.

Elaine Tan Comeau 33:58

Love it. Love it. Love it. Love it.

Ann Douglas 33:59

And kayaking.

Elaine Tan Comeau 34:00

Oh yes. Well, I wonder if you could bring a book on your kay- I don't even want to know.

Ann Douglas 34:06

I don't think I have the coordination to do that it would be cruel to the book.

Elaine Tan Comeau 34:10

Okay, excellent. Number three - favorite day of the week.

Ann Douglas 34:18

Nowadays, I don't even know if we have days of the week. So it's an abstract concept, but I kind of like the energy of Saturday morning because I feel like you know, you have Saturday and Sunday before you're officially supposed to be back at your desk. So sometimes I can just, you know, cut myself a lot more slack. Whereas, if it's Monday morning, I kind of feel like I should at least look at my to do list or answer my phone if it rings.

Elaine Tan Comeau 34:43

Excellent. Number four, I'm going to ask if you could meet any person on the face of the planet, famous or non famous, historic, no longer lives on the planet. Who would that be?

Ann Douglas 34:57

I would sit down again with my two grandmas and I would tell them how much I love and miss them, and what an influence they had on my life. And I would thank them for helping me understand the value of family and believing in me and seeing me as a writer, when a lot of other people didn't necessarily think that, you know, writer was a career path, they believed in me early and enthusiastically. So I would invite them to the table, and I'd never let them go again.

Elaine Tan Comeau 35:24

That is awesome. And number five, let's make it a good one. Number five. Huh, I have so many questions I'm trying to pick one, but I'm gonna go with your favorite quote.

Ann Douglas 35:40

Okay. It's always darkest before the dawn.

Elaine Tan Comeau 35:45


Ann Douglas 35:46

I remember seeing that on a grief card after my baby was stillborn and just realizing and trying to drink in those words that yes, it is incredibly painful and I feel like the world has ended, but that just means that another morning is coming.

Elaine Tan Comeau 36:02

That is beautiful. And I love that we're going to end on that and Ann I just want to say thank you with all my heart for sharing you and your story and your strategies to me and to our listener right now who is taking it all in because I know that you have shared so many nuggets that I know that I need in my own life and I'm just really, really blessed to have you join us today. So thank you Ann with all my heart for being here.

Ann Douglas 36:34

Thank you for a lovely conversation Elaine and it's a good thing I was wearing my reading glasses because there were times that my eyes were getting pretty misty but at least on your show, obviously, everybody has an invitation to cry. It's just that kind of show right?

Elaine Tan Comeau 36:47

That's okay, I cried. And Ann if people wanted to find you where can they go to find you?

Ann Douglas 36:53

Probably my website which is and I'm on all the social media things that you're supposed to be on I even shockingly have some YouTube videos now. I'm still getting used to the video thing. So be kind people but feel free to check it out.

Elaine Tan Comeau 37:10

Ann you're awesome awesome awesome and thank you to our listener for coming in and joining us today and I just wish you all so much wonderful things and I hope that you grabbed several nuggets to create better family, health, business and self and Ann you are a rock star and I'm a huge fan and thank you for joining us today. Everybody have a fabulous day and you could say bye too.

Ann Douglas 37:37

Bye, everybody.

Elaine Tan Comeau 37:39

Thank you. Thank you so much.