Hi World Moms! We run a series titled “Meet A World Mom” to showcase our contributors from different parts of the world to share about who they are and what’s happening in their lives. We thought of featuring Kirsten Doyle today for her 11th year anniversary of joining the original World Moms Blog! So here she is:
What country do you live in?
I’ve been living in Toronto, Canada for 21 years.
What country are you from?
I was born in South Africa and lived there for most of my life until I moved to Canada.
What language(s) do you speak?
My primary language is English, and I can kind of speak Afrikaans because I had to learn it in school.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
I have two boys. George just turned 18, and James will be 16 at the end of the year. George is autistic and mostly non-verbal. He is a Special Olympics athlete, and he raised the Special Olympics flag at the opening ceremony of the Youth Games in Toronto in 2019.
James is combining his dual passions of cars and the environment by building a hybrid-electric sports car. He is a motorsports journalist who at the age of 11 interviewed F1 Grand Prix legend Mario Andretti.
How did you connect with World Moms Network?
I came across one of the original World Moms Blog posts by chance many years ago and got in touch with our fearless leader, Jen. I signed on as a writer straight away, and the rest is history.
How long have you been a part of World Moms Network?
Almost since the beginning – 10 or 11 years.
How do you spend your days? (work, life, etc.)
I’m a self-employed mental health and addictions writer, and I run two YouTube channels. One focuses on family and autism content, and the other is connected to my writing business. All of my work is done from home, which means I never have to worry about traffic!
I am an active advocate for people with disabilities and special needs. I am on the board of directors of Citizens With Disabilities – Ontario (CWDO) and I am part of the Toronto District School Board’s Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC). I am also on the local Community Police Liaison Committee, where I advocate for an end to racism in policing and mental health education and training for police officers.
My recreational time is spent hanging out with my family, reading, working on my “fun” writing (novels and short stories), and putting in laps at the local pool.
What are the top 5 places on your travel wish list?
I love to travel, and I’m fortunate to have been able to see many parts of the world. But there’s still so much out there for me to see. I’d love to go to New Zealand, Norway, Antarctica, the Maritime provinces in Canada, and Ireland.
What is your best motherhood advice?
Try not to listen to people who judge your parenting choices. There is no magic formula for parenting – we’re all just muddling along doing the best we can, and learning as we go.
What is one random thing that most people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m on the autism spectrum! I always had a sense, growing up, that I was not the same as my peers. I had many delays and learning difficulties as a child, but very little was known about autism back then, and my family was not able to get the answers that we can get today. It was only after my own son was diagnosed with autism that I recognized the parallels between his childhood development and mine, and looked into it further.
How did you get through quarantine/lockdown (2020/21)?
With difficulty! I thought it would be easy – I’m an introvert, I’m socially awkward, I already work from home… I was social distancing way before social distancing became a thing. But I had a hard time, because all of a sudden 100% of my family was home 100% of the time. I love them all, but I need my alone time. So I got serious about YouTube – I revived one channel and started another. It gave me something to get lost in and learn about.
What’s your favorite social media platform, if any?
Facebook, because it helps me stay connected with friends and family members who are far away.
What brings you joy?
I always love spending time with my family. From time to time, we’ll take off on a drive and spend a night or two in a hotel – so much to see in Ontario! And I love spending time with my family in South Africa as well. Whenever I can (once a year or so in non-COVID times) I fly there to see my mom and my brother, and those trips are always amazing.
What UN sustainable development goal are you most passionate about?
I like them all! If pressed to pick one, I’d go with reducing inequality. I believe that most of the problems in the world are created by inequitable distribution of wealth and power, and discrimination on the basis of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. End inequality, give everyone fair access to opportunities and resources, and the world will be a much better place.