Briana grew up in New Jersey and moved to Vancouver ten years ago with her partner who was opening up a tattoo and piercing shop in the city. She spent a few years at home caring for her children before opening Radicle Juice in the summer of 2014.
Kids are usually going to do what they want to do, and they have no social standards of what’s proper and not. That’s totally acceptable most of the time, because they’re spontaneous and we can grow as adults from looking at our kids sometimes. I’m in a rush to get somewhere and I’m walking too fast and my daughter is like “Look mom! A worm!” And she’ll go and pick up the worm. It’s a big reminder that there are these little things that we don’t want to miss out on and they should transcend into our adult lives. I won’t be stopping to pick up worms anytime soon, but [we should appreciate] little things like the smell after a huge rainstorm. I didn’t expect to learn so much from being a mother. I just expected lots of diapers, not as many heartfelt situations that have happened.
You see [families] on the outside and think everything’s fun and great, and everyone’s happy and laughing and playing. The reality is that that’s all there, but there’s also a little bit of turmoil and chaos. I struggled with a lot of postpartum depression after [my first kid] Ocyrus: I didn’t really want to leave the house, I didn’t want to go see anyone, I just wanted to be with my son. I started taking him to play groups and being more social with him. It was like two different people, I broke through my shell.
Meeting other moms really helped. I found a group of mom friends that were real and we could say, “Oh, I didn’t shower for two days!” and “Oh, my ass is really seriously still fat, and I feel awful about it, but let’s go get donuts!” Really, super supportive and just fun to be around. A lot of the moms that I met when I first had Ocyrus, we’re still friends and the kids are still friends. You need a little adult talk, rather than just singing ABCs and wheels on the bus and reading the kids storybooks.
[The kids love] eating pizza and we wanted to try and find balance, so I would make them smoothies or juice that I felt good about giving them. I felt like I was doing my motherly duty. [My husband] Dave and I started juicing a lot more at home too, reading more books and diving into it. We started thinking that in this area there’s a lot of really great places to eat, but not too many grab-and-go healthy places. There were a couple months of lots of trial and error, juice play in my kitchen at home, and then we just got down to more detail. We wanted to open a juice bar.
Dave and I worked really well together, because I took care of the menu and helping with the creative, and he dealt with the city and the contracts with our tradesmen. We would all meet and it flowed really, really well. Once the end of April came around, it was crunch time. Everything got put in, there was a big “Aha!” moment, the “Aha! Oh shit, this is really happening,” moment. The first summer was a bit messy, but now we all know what needs doing. It’s time to move and grow. Not necessarily open another one, but grow our products and knowledge and what we have to offer.
In that first summer after opening Radicle, I was working close to 80 hours a week. The kids were with Dave all the time. I did what I had to do, but it hurt my heart at some points. The kids would want to be with him. Mommy would come home and try to lovingly give them hugs and stuff, but I was at a point of total utter exhaustion. Dad would be the one who is still playing, and Mommy just kind of looks like a zombie. During the next six to eight months or so when my kids gravitated towards my husband, it was kind of upsetting. I had to see the positive of it too: how lucky I am to have a partner that my kids wanted to be with, and felt comfortable enough that they didn’t just need their mommy, they needed their parent.
[Stepping away from being the main caregiver], that’s been rough, that’s been a huge transition for me. I was with Ocyrus until he was six, I didn’t have to go back to work at all, that was a big step for me in letting go. I really cherish that feeling of being needed by my kids. I was with Olivia for the first year of her life, which was great but I also had that sort of itch. I love being a mom, but I also hate being a mom some days. It’s a lot of work and no one gives you the credit for what they do. I was ready to just do something where I wasn’t just someone’s mom, or wife—it’s nice to be called by my name.
One thing that I just want [my kids] to know is that they are capable of endless possibilities. I want them to be individuals, but I also want them to constantly strive, and continue to have that thing for life that kids do, that passion of wonder and excitement. I feel like I’ve lost that at some points, and I’m just getting that back. Knowing the person I was ten years ago, when I was a bit more timid, I never thought I would have such a variety of people that I deal with on a daily basis. Sometimes I’m proud of my capacity, when I used to be that person who was “I don’t want to deal with it, just put it on the back burner” and now I’m more “Ok let’s just do it!” At this point in my life, I think that I’m the happiest that I’ve been.