1,000 Families Project: Amela, Robert, Gallagher and Avaia

The co-founder of a new organizational app reflects on the unexpected twists and turns life takes and the importance of hanging on to your dreams.


People say that “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” but that wasn’t the case for me. When I went away with my girl friends eight years ago, I never imaged that I would meet my future husband and father to our two beautiful children. He spoke in an English accent and at the time I could barely understand him; I was a little scared to continue conversing with him knowing the type of crowd that accompanied him. You see, my husband’s cousin played for a professional soccer team and is very well known. Knowing the “footballers” lifestyle, I was very skeptical and not at all naive about men who live in that world. A world of fancy cars, hotels, fine dining, vacationing in places that I could only dream of and being surrounded by girls who should be on the cover of a magazine. Then there was me, who lived in a one-bedroom apartment with my dog and my mother who was quite ill at the time, struggling to buy food and pay our bills. How our two worlds were so different. I thought “What would he see in me?” Little did I know at the time that he saw the world in me and fell in love with me as much as I did with him.

The company I worked for at the time we met downsized, so I took the opportunity to leave and work for myself which is something I always wanted to do. I was always too scared to go out on my own because of so many uncertainties, but this situation gave me that extra push that I needed. I got to explore the benefits of being my own boss and I have been ever since. I was able to visit England to see the man who is now my husband as many times as i could for the next year and a half—eight times to be exact. Being a web designer and only needing a laptop to work definitely had its perks, but it was never something I was truly passionate about. I always wanted a change. We did the long distance relationship for the next year and a half until finally we got married and he moved to Canada to live with me, my mother and our dog.

My whole world was about him and only him and little did I know at the time I was slowly losing myself, my goals and my ambitions to become a successful entrepreneur—to find something I am good at and be the “better me.” I have always been a very strong individual knowing exactly what I wanted out of life: career first, then marriage and two kids. If only we could control the things that happen in life! Of course pleasant surprises can change the course of your life at any given moment, and case in point, my career objectives had to take a back seat yet again when I realized I was pregnant with our first.

Becoming a mother so soon after we got married was a little scary for me. I really wanted to get back to finding myself and to pursue a career where I could stand on my own two feet—not depend on anyone else and truly have something of my own. From the time I was 16 years old, I saw my mother struggle for so many years as a single parent. She had two jobs and worked herself sick and I promised myself that I would be the one to finally take care of her as she did for me for so many years. I did my best to help her, tend to my husband and child. For months I found myself catching up on work in the middle of the night while my son slept on a pillow on my lap. I was frightened to leave him by himself in his crib because he had trouble keeping things down. Terrified, really, that he would choke and stop breathing as I had when I was a baby. I found myself sleeping on chairs or on a couch sitting upright with my son on my lap every night, so you can imagine how exhausting that was for me. Thankfully my mother was doing much better at this time and was able to relieve me at times so that I could get some rest and catch up on my work. I stayed positive and pushed forward everyday to do my best to manage family life and work. We were blessed two years later with a baby girl.

I put my ambitions aside to raise our children, and was so happy to do so. Being a mother is a blessing and is the most fulfilling role any person could have in life. I’ve worked part-time for years so that I can enjoy my days with my kids and watch them grow. Moments like these in life I never wanted to miss. My kids bring me true happiness and for a while I made myself believe that my past dreams were just that—dreams. Now with my four-year-old son in JK and my daughter in preschool, I find myself wondering what will I do for the rest of my life?

I strongly believe that our paths in life can take us on some amazing journeys that lead us to where we need to be. A busy household with a husband who works 80 hours a week, kids in soccer, swimming, school, plus play dates, doctor appointments and nontraditional work hours can be chaotic and hard to manage. Never mind finding time for yourself and your life partner. I struggled for years to find a balance between being a mother, a wife and a mompreneur without neglecting my family. How does one manage it all and still succeed? Well, that question led me, at last, to the path I am to follow. After using various organizational apps that didn’t quite help me manage family, work and social life, I decided to take on another challenge and design my own family calendar to help organize my chaotic lifestyle. COOSHA Calendar lets users coordinate and share with the important people in their lives in a unique way that is practical. Although I am still in the early stages of development, I am excited to finally have a career path that I am truly passionate about. I have my amazing supportive husband to thank who works so hard each week to support our family and my new adventure. I cannot forget to thank my beautiful mother who has always been an inspiration to me and a wonderful grandmother my children love and adore so much.

I want my children to grow up knowing that they can be whoever they want to be, no matter how long it takes. To enjoy their journey in life and to never give up on their dreams. Be happy, be thankful and always remember that families working together can help you achieve anything.

This is #1000families post number 201. Do you have a family story of your own to contribute to the 1,000 Families Project? Or do you know a family that might want to do so? Learn more about how the series got started and how to get involved here. You can find all of the #1000families posts here.
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Amela Unsworth

About

Amela Unsworth is the co-founder and creative director of COOSHACAL Inc. COOSHA is a free family calendar that offers a unique way to share, organize and manage important moments with family and friends. With flexible sharing and unique privacy control, you can hide what you want and share what you want. COOSHA launches in iTunes and Google Play this coming Fall 2016. Subscribe on her website for release dates, news and updates.


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  1. March 6, 2017 @ 8:53 am The New Family / Bonus Episode: Top 5 Time Management Tips for Families - The New Family

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