Thursday, February 19, 2009

Got Cracks?

As in, spaces one might fall through?

Sometimes really suddenly, so that your life completely changes?

Do me a favor, and head on over to some websites for me:

Start by clicking on the photo of the cute baby on the upper right side of my blog.

You'll meet Ike, a 10-lb baby who is doing time in the pediatric intensive care unit at Dell Children's Hospital. He was born something like 15 weeks premature last fall. Lately, he's been making a strange wheezy sound when he breathes, and then, more recently, he caught a virus that made it almost impossible for him to breathe.

His mom is a wonderful writer who also has two other kids. Check out her blog, too, especially if you like witnessing someone who can go through a pretty horrific set of events and remain funny, tender, smart, and tough. After you check out her blog, go buy her book, Haiku Mama, from Amazon. Makes a great baby shower gift!

Ike's dad's whole department was laid off last week. Very unexpectedly. They have COBRA coverage, but it's expensive.

Everyone knows that the "current economy" is not in the best of shape. You may be hearing about people losing their jobs, homes, etc. This particular family is caught in the midst of that. Their community is stepping up in a major and very inspiring way, and I invite you to step up, too. Ike's website lists some upcoming fundraising events. Please attend, and give generously. And regardless of whether you attend, or whether you give, please keep this family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Personal Renewal Group for Mothers

Do you want to feel more connected—to yourself and others?

Are you craving community with like-minded women?

Would you like to learn how to nurture your physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being--so you can be at your best for your family?

Are you interested in new ideas for self-renewal and life balance?

You are invited to join a Personal Renewal Group (PRG)—a life coaching group for women at all life stages, based on the award-winning new release The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate, and Re-Balance Your Life, by nationally recognized career/life balance coach Renee Trudeau.

Facilitated by good old me, Tricia Mitchell.

Topics for the 2009 Personal Renewal Group may include:
“The Transformative Power of Self-Care” (on a physical, mental, spiritual and emotional level)
“Motherhood and Identity: Reconnecting with Who You Are”
“Good Is Good Enough: A Mother’s Mantra”
“Motherhood as a Spiritual Journey”
“Outrageous Living: Reclaiming Adventure in Your Life”
“Strategies for Life Balance”
“Managing Your Energy: Setting Priorities, Saying No and Asking for Help”

Feedback from 2003-06 Personal Renewal Group Participants:
“I love the powerful, deep nature of this work, it has made a huge difference in my life.” -Susan
“I was concerned about spending $ because our budget is really tight. Wow, am I glad I decided to do PRG. This has been a truly meaningful and life-changing experience for me.” -Kristan
“The open, safe environment for sharing was amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. I felt comfortable to say anything.” -Maria
“The exercises on saying “no” (boundaries), setting intentions and managing our energy were profound.” -Janet

For info or to register, e-mail Tricia at
Cost: $200 for 12-month program (includes 12 morning workshops, e-mail support/reminders between meetings and a copy of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal). Meetings will take place at my house in East Austin, on the fourth Monday of each month beginning MARCH 23rd*, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis; group size is limited to ten participants.

(*this is a revised start date, as of 2/17/09)

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Amazing, Invisible Mama!

She was having a hard time. She was the mom of a 5 month old baby, and for the first time in a very long time, she wasn't sure that her work, her life, was valuable enough. This mama, who I will call Mama (actually, it is her real name!), posted on one of my favorite listservs, and I immediately knew I had to respond.

Here's part of her post:

"I have been struggling with the idea of my identity now that I am not working and letting my husband support me...I have always had female role models that worked and worked hard outside of the home. I don't really want that for myself (I think)...I know that I am working hard as a mom, but it just seems unfair for him that he has to be gone and at work so that we have the
luxury of having a family. Is this just the way it works and I need to get used to it? Seems so
domestic role-ish, which is not how I pictured my life being going into my thirties."

Here's what I told her. Some folks said they liked my response a lot, and the truth is, I liked it! So here you go, faithful blog readers:

Dear Mama,

I can totally relate to your struggle.I have a 5 y/o son and a 2 y/o daughter. I have been working for $ since I was a teenager and I really miss bringing home a paycheck for my work. I have been a full-time working mom and a part-timer work-at-home mom, and my
feeling is that, if you have kids, you always feel like a giant piece of taffy somehow.

The one thing I wanted to tell you is to be kind to yourself. Becoming a mom is a huge journey. Those tensions will keep...they're not going anywhere and you will both have time to reflect upon them and also relax into them as time goes on. Some days you will feel like a freeloader, other days like a complete badass who makes the world turn! I have a feeling that when it's time to go back to work, you will know it, and you will know what the right next step is.

You should know about about Marilyn Waring, who in the 1970s was elected to the New Zealand Parliament at the age of 22. She went on to work on a budgetary committee, in which capacity she learned all about the ways that countries calculate metrics like GDP and GNP. She
discovered that, all across the planet Earth, women's work is invisible, in an economic sense. She wrote some books, including one called, "If Women Counted," and she's now a public policy professor.

I bring this up because sometimes I feel like my work doesn't count, like I've fallen off the map of life somehow, because I don't go to a "job," and because my "customers" ignore and/or scream at me a lot. Because my work involves being patient and often, sitting on the floor, one could imagine that I eat bon bons all day. Though in reality, I work my tail off.

If you feel this way too, you have good reasons! A woman can work hard, producing goods, i.e., children who will become productive members of society, and performing services, like taking care of family members, helping neighbors, running the PTA, etc., and yet at the end of her life, she may be seen as a drain on the system because all of that work doesn't "count." I had a friend who had to go work at her husband's store so she could rack up some $ toward her Social
Security, because "all" she had done before that was raise three kids!

It's a crazy planet, this Earth! Our society is a giant funny mirror! We're all mixed up!

I loved reading the book "Parenting for a Peaceful World," by Dr. Robin Grille. Grille argues that, throughout history, every advancement in democracy, social justice, and better treatment of the
environment has been preceded by an improvement in the treatment of children. Reading this book reassured me, beyond doubt, that the work we do as parents is the most important work of all in the grand scheme.

I recommend that you spend some time thinking and maybe journaling about what would make you feel that your days are productive enough to "count." Especially since it doesn't seem like it's your DH who is complaining. You get to decide what "enough" looks like! You are the one who gets to find a million bucks in the smile of your little cutie-booty.