It’s not every day you find yourself in your parents’ backyard in Florida, filming a Hootsuite product demo video in a kiddie pool. But, in April, there I was: just a social media manager doing what we do best—doing whatever it takes to make something dazzling for our social channels.
After an hour of getting ready and organizing my set, I tragically realized my camera wasn’t working properly, that the wind was interfering with my audio, and the script I was reading off of was significantly longer than I thought it was.
“MOM?” I yelled.
My mom poked her head out the back door. “Can I help now?” she replied with a goofy grin.
“Yes. Please come help me.” I said, only slightly defeated that I couldn’t do this alone.
“Show me what to do,” she said, eagerly standing over my tripod.
We spent the next hour rearranging my inflatable pool, two flamingos, and camera until we found the perfect spot. We angled an umbrella over me, and my mom had a great idea to set up a teleprompter on her laptop. We flew through the video only to realize at the end that my mom forgot to check if the camera had been in focus. It was not. We spent the next half-hour redoing it.
Now, most retirees in Florida would probably rather have been playing golf or pickleball than helping their daughter film a strange video for work. But not my mom. She knew how important this video was to me, how passionate I was about making videos, and how badly I wanted to impress my organization. So she stuck by me until it was done.
And then she went to play golf.
The next day, I warned my team that some of the clips from the shoot might include me sassing my mom, my mom bringing her laptop over to me because she didn’t know how to use it, and me having to re-explain to her what the video was actually about.
Surprisingly, the team thought this was hilarious. Picture my mom trying to navigate a bunch of technology she didn’t understand while directing her diva of a daughter who was stuck in a kiddie pool. The idea that, no matter how ridiculous the task might have been, she was right there, ready to help.
Their biggest takeaway was that everyone needs someone like my mom in their corner. Everyone needs a Wende.
The idea for this Mother’s Day video then came from our big ideas guy (and Senior Director of Brand Marketing), Billy Jones. “Let’s make a video that highlights the mothers of Hootsuite employees,” he said. “The moms who don’t care what our titles are, or what we do, but are proud of us and our accomplishments.”
The idea? To shine a light on the moms who are proud to step in and lend a hand when we need one. The moms who are cheering us on from the sidelines and, occasionally, in our Instagram comments.
My mom was thrilled when I told her she had inspired a video. She was even more thrilled to discover she could help me once again by being interviewed for it.
This was certainly not the first time (and won’t be the last time) she helped me with a project. In the 10th grade, when I needed a 1920s flapper dress for school, she sewed one for me. When I needed to create a video about illumination for my university application, Wende lit and blew out hundreds of candles, multiple times, for me. When I needed to film a commercial for work, she let me kick her out of her own home for a few hours. And I owe her a world of thanks for taking hundreds of photos of me on our trip to Australia when I wanted to be a travel blogger.
Regardless of what I’m doing, she’s always eager to help. She doesn’t always understand exactly what I’m doing or what’s going on in my brain, but regardless, she wants to help whenever she can and be a part of whatever I’m passionate about.
Which is why, last year when I told her I wanted to move to Vancouver for my job, I thought I had broken her heart.
After years of being a close part of my life, supporting me through the highs and lows of my career, and navigating a pandemic together, I was leaving. It was hard to hear that I wanted to move across the country for a job I’d been successfully doing out of my family’s home office.
But there we were. Me, nearly a year into my job at Hootsuite, realizing I wasn’t hitting my full potential working from my home in Newmarket, Ontario. And, my mom, having to come to terms with the fact I was not only moving out, but across the country. It took some time, but when the big day came to pack up my stuff, my mom was ready with bubble wrap and boxes.
Five months later, I’m only one week out from my mom’s first visit to my new home in Vancouver.
I want to say that I recognize that Mother’s Day can be a difficult day for some people. So to those, I encourage you to find yourself a Wende. A Wende can come in many shapes and sizes. They may come as a mentor, a friend, or as a coach. They might be a sibling, a guardian, or a grandparent. They might be related by blood, or they might not.
Whatever form they take, a Wende is a person who champions you. They’re always ready to assist you with the most bizarre projects. They’re happy to support you when you need it and take a step back when you don’t. They’ll listen attentively when you need to vent or just when you want to talk. And when you need someone to fall back on, you know they’ll be there to catch you.
If you’re lucky enough to have a Wende in your life, I hope you’re patient with them when they ask you for the 100th time what it is that you do. That when they say something that wasn’t entirely helpful, you remind yourself that it was likely coming from a good place. That when they forget to check if the camera is in focus, you take a deep breath and forgive them. And when they question a career path in social media, you dispel their worry and say, “I know what I’m doing”.
So to my Wende, I’m sending you lots of love from Vancouver to Newmarket. Thank you for all the love and support you’ve given me over the years, especially in the last eight months. Thank you for inspiring this idea and many others. I may have dad’s brain, but I got your creativity. I love you very much. Happy Mother’s Day.
P.S. I’ll make sure this gets posted to Instagram so you see it.