Archive for Women
I attended the Women’s PowerStrategy conference this weekend. The founder and organizer Patricia V. Davis invited me to speak on a panel. I am grateful for the opportunity to get to share my story but what I really enjoyed about the conference was all the wonderful people I met.
Patricia coordinated an amazing group of women and men presenters. I was inspired by so many of the workshops I attended.
I met some great people doing wonderful things in the world. People like Siobhan Neilland, founder of OneMama, turns out we have a lot of friends in common. My fellow panelist Vincent Zappacosta and Douglass Christensen the guys behind Dementia-Mama-Drama. And, Laura Berg, founder of My Smart Hands, Inc.
Also, discovered a wonderful women-owned sparkling wine company called Breathless.
Tip # 17: Network when attending conferences and workshops.
Sometimes the conversations that happen behind the scenes, in the hallways or even the restrooms are priceless. If you are shy and not sure how to approach people look around for someone who is alone and looking a bit awkward. Go up to that person, introduce yourself and ask them how they heard about the conference, why they are there or if they are enjoying the conference. Very likely this person will be grateful someone is talking to them. You never know… they could be your next client or know your next client.
Tip #15: D.I.N.G. – Do It Now, Girl (or Guy)!
I learned this one from the Flylady (a.k.a. Marla Cilley).
When you catch yourself procrastinating on something you really do not want to do but have to do, stop procrastinating, grab a timer, set it for 15 minutes and Do It Now! Marla Cilley’s acronym DING is related to her theory of setting the timer for 15 minutes and just doing it now, stop procrastinating.
DING represents the sound the timer makes and is a reminder to Do It Now, Girl (or Guy)!
“You can do anything for 15 minutes”. – Flylady
PS. The FLY in Flylady stands for Finally Loving Yourself.
It is not just mommies who have big hearts, we all have big hearts. Sometimes when parents have their first baby they wonder if they could ever love anything more than they love that little bundle of joy. Then when baby number 2 comes a long they discover their heart grows and makes room to love 2 beings with the same amount of enthusiasm. You could have 10 kids and love them all. The human heart and our capability to love is amazing.
I think we don’t always realize this kind of love is not reserved just for parents loving children. It goes both ways. If you are in a blended family your child or children are capable of loving more than just 1 or 2 parents. If a stepmom has entered the scene in to your child’s life, your child is capable of opening her heart and adding another mommy, just like you are capable of opening your heart and adding another child to the mix of people you love and call family.
This idea can be very threatening and is often what makes mother’s day a challenging day for children of blended families. Kids may feel that in order to prove their love for their mommy they have to not acknowledge their stepmom. This is hurtful to the stepmom and to the child.
Unfortunately, I have learned this lesson in hindsight. My kids grew up with 3 mothers, their biological mom (my partner), me and their stepom. The kid’s love all of us, just like we love all of them. I don’t love one kid more than an other. Maybe they don’t love one mom more than the other, maybe they do. But who are we to decide who the kids love most? Is it really a competition? I’ve got news for you, there is no prize at the end of parenting for being the best mom or stepmom.
Just because you adore your 15 year old does not mean you do not adore your 4 year old. It works the same with kids and stepparents vs. parents.
After much research for my book I’m beginning to believe that the relationship between a bio (or original) mom and a stepmom may be the hardest relationship out there to navigate. The silly thing is those 2 women love and care about the same exact people.
If you come from a blended family I challenge you this mother’s day to take a step back and try to make room for your kids to express their love to whoever has been blessed enough to find a space in their little (big) hearts.
We’ve all heard of vision boards thanks to the movie The Secret. I always liked the idea of a vision board to help me get more visually focused on my goals but what I did not like was the blatant display of what I wanted in life. It made me feel a bit vulnerable. I didn’t want my family and guests in my home to give their opinions of my visions. I wanted my visions to be MY visions and was not interested in other people’s criticism or opinion of them.
What I used to do was make mini vision boards on construction paper. This worked well for me because I could tuck them away in a folder of my desk and look at them in private without the peanut gallery having a say in my “woowoo” stuff.
However, I have recently discovered something even BETTER and more FUN than my mini vision boards and they are called Vision Books! The vision book idea came from my friend Marilyn LoRusso who runs the Vision Book Art Workshops out of her home in Marin County, California. She leads us through creating vision books re-using old, hard cover novels, that we alter.
Here are two of my vision books:
Tucked inside those pages are my visions and dreams wrapped up in a pretty package. Marilyn’s workshops have been so successful she is now offering an online version of her workshops, it’s actually an 8 week vision book rainbow journey, as she calls it.
Oh and you don’t have to be “woowoo” to benefit from Marilyn’s workshops. Our local newspaper, the MarinIJ recently wrote a piece about the workshops. When I started taking the workshops I had no idea where I was going with my vision or what my vision even was. I just new I was ready for a change. A lot of wonderful things have changed in my life in the last year.
If you are feeling overwhelmed and unhappy with your life, it is time to give yourself a break and take care of yourself. Creating a vision book is one way of doing this.
Click here for information about the Online Vision Book Rainbow Journey.
When is it going to stop being news that someone is gay?
How come you never see a headline that reads “MITT ROMNEY IS STRAIGHT” or “OBAMA IS IN AN OPPOSITE SEX RELATIONSHIP”. Even now in 2012 when it seems “Hip to Be Gay Friendly”, it is still news. Look what happened a few weeks ago when Anderson Cooper came out of the closet, it was considered news. Sally K. Ride died and what do we all remember about her now? She was a LESBIAN and an astronaut, and a scientist, and…
Here is what Anderson said on why he took so long to formally come out. ‘I want to report the news. I don’t want to be the news.’
Apparently being gay friendly is now the IN thing. 2012 is the year capitalism decided it is hip to be gay friendly (more realistically it is profitable to be gay friendly). While I appreciate all the rainbow colored love coming from the corporations jumping on the big gay band wagon, we all know it is about what sells and if supporting gay marriage will sell more Oreo’s then by golly make rainbow Oreos!*
So what is my point of this rainbow rant or ramble?
Hmmm I am not sure. It just bothers me that Sally K. Ride felt the need to be “private” and stay in the closet. America looked up to her as a hero and she couldn’t even introduce the love of her life to the world. I’m guessing if she had had a husband of 27 years she might not have felt the need to be so private. By the way, her partner of 27 years will not be receiving the survivor benefits to which she is entitled. You can thank Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Nobody really knows why Sally stayed in the closet or kept her life “private”. Maybe it was fear. Maybe she wouldn’t have been the first woman in space if she had been out, look what happened to Ellen the first few years after she came out publicly.
As a lesbian myself, I totally understand their feelings. I always prefer for people to get to know me a little before they know I am a lesbian. Otherwise they usually don’t hear anything I say for the first 20 minutes while they process the broken stereotype in their head that I don’t look like a lesbian (at least, that is the most common response I hear). Sally K. Ride probably wanted to be known as an astronaut, be a role model for women and girls and not just be known for being a lesbian. Imagine if she had come out. The headlines would have read “Lesbian goes to Space”. Every interview she did would have had questions about her sexuality. It would have just been annoying.
I understand Sally and Anderson. I admire Ellen! Did you know Ellen did not get work for years and Laura Dern did not get another job for a year and half just because she was on Ellen’s Coming Out show?
Ellen’s coming out interview with Oprah in 1997.
Updated 1/16/13 to add a great post in response to Jodie Foster “coming out” at the Golden Globe Awards: Silence of the Gays – why celebrities should come out and speak up! by Josef Church-Woods
*disclaimer: I LOVE OREOS! However, I do my best to keep them out of my house because if there is a package here I will most likely eat the whole thing.
Are you an other mother?
If so, I want to hear your story!
I’m currently in the process of writing a book about other mothers. Title is still yet to be determined but the subject is other mothers. Wondering what an other mother is? Read my past blog post here.
I am learning there are all sorts of women who feel like other mothers.
I am interested in hearing and writing about your stories. Your story can be kept completely confidential or I can give you credit, whatever you are most comfortable with.
If you have a story to share or know someone who does please send them my way.
Here are some suggestions of other mothers I’m interested in interviewing but I’m also open to ones I may not have mentioned below:
- chose not to have children
- were not able to have children
- were surrogate moms
- had abortions or miscarriages
- adopted children
- fostered children
- were/are teen moms
- are moms of teen moms
- divorced moms
- single moms
- lesbian/bi moms
- immigrant moms
- are disabled moms
- are moms of disabled children
- have children with mental illness
- seem like typical moms but don’t feel like they fit in
- are aunts, grandmas & others raising children who are not their own
- are in the military
- have husbands in the military or prison
- feel too young, old, poor, fat, ugly, etc
- are other mothers
- YOU – I want to hear your story
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story or share your story with all of us in a comment below.
What is a Marin Mom?
A mom who lives in Marin.
What is the first thing you think of when you hear/read the words “Marin Mom”?
I asked myself this question and here was my honest answer:
Marin Mom is an unofficial term used in the Bay Area to describe a stay at home, hip, good looking, often blonde, fit, yoga going, organic eating, SUV driving, volunteering, soccer mom usually married to a wealthy guy. At least that is the stereotype that conjures in my mind when I hear “Marin Mom”
In researching stereotypes for my book I asked this same question on Facebook and Twitter and got some interesting responses confirming I am not the only one forming stereotypes. Here is what others had to say about Marin Moms:
- Ladies who lunch
- Lululemon and big black SUVs
- Money and multiple yoga classes each day
- SUVs (heard this one multiple times)
- Frequently distracted drivers
- Competition – being a mom seems like a competitive sport around here
- driving too much for their kids, not teaching them manners
- Sitting around drinking coffee in yoga gear, bit intense, while either their kids are bouncing around or sitting quietly to attention while she explains how to spell croissant in yiddish and mandarin.
- I think about me walking into La Boulange with friends and having a “Marin Mom” stop me and ask if I would bring an addition Latte to her table because a friend was joining her. When I told her I didn’t work there, no apologies.
- athletic, non-working, rich, svu driver, usually blonde mom
- Marin Moms: full time moms whose partners bring home the bacon. Totally dedicated to kid’s health and happiness.
- Run around in lululemon yoga outfits and shop at Whole Foods about 5 x a week. Like wine.
- A mom that lives in Marin.
- Marin Mom…SUV
- A fine bunch of women!
- Crazy suv’s trying to kill you, over protective and ruled by their kids, well off
- First thought was Brooks Bro. shirts, shimmering blondey-silver hair, capable, then jumped to Boho. Flower Show came to mind
- I think of amazing women who make me want to cry when I see how cool and interesting their kids turned out to be and firmly hope I can do as good a job as they did. Of course, I only know two Marin Moms, so I’m probably a statistical outlier.
- Aware, intelligent, active, loving, creative
As we all know, there is a grain of truth in stereotypes so yes these answers probably will give you a good idea of what your first impression of Marin Moms might be if you were to drop in on Marin from somewhere else knowing nothing about Marin. But the longer I live here in Marin the more I love the people of Marin. As you get to know each person on an individual level the stereotypes seem to fade away and Marin is full of some wonderful, caring people.
By the way, if you are a Marin Mom or happen to be visiting Marin, here is a great Website with TONS of fun things to do in Marin County… Marin Mommies!
What is the first thing you think of when you hear the words “Marin Mom”?
Mother’s Day is coming up. This is a tough one for me. Not as a daughter but as a mother. It is a day that I am reminded of how society often disregards the other mothers of the world. I am one of those other mothers.
The number 1 question every woman is asked is, “Do you have children?” You might think this is a simple yes or no answer; it is not. Many women “have” children but did not actually “have” them. It is a complicated question to answer. Some women struggle with how much of an answer to give, I know I did.
I raised 3 children. I changed their diapers, wiped their snotty noses, made their lunches, consoled their hurt feelings, drove the carpool, gave up my own dream of going to graduate school, stayed home from work with sick kids, lost my hair during their teenage years and many nights of sleep. I laughed, cried, enjoyed, loved and hated parenting. But, when someone asks me if I have children and I say yes, I feel like I am not telling the whole truth. I do have children, I have 3 but I did not birth these children, my partner did and we have raised them together with her ex-husband and his wife. If I tell people the whole story their response is often “oh, you are not the real mom.” Being labeled “not the real mom” made it so I was not allowed to ever complain about parenting or my kids because if I did other mothers would say, “it’s different when it is your kid, or you wouldn’t understand since they are not actually your kids”.
These comments from others often shut me down, hurt me and made me wonder if it was okay to say yes I have kids. These comments also isolated me from the “Mom’s club” I wanted and needed so badly to be in. The Mom’s club is any group of moms that becomes friends because of their kids, moms at the park, moms who have kids in the same class, etc. They hang out together while their kids are doing activities and provide support to each other, share their trials and tribulations of raising kids and learn from each other. I felt so alone as a mother. I felt ashamed wondering what the other mothers thought of me. I was young, I was a lesbian and I was the cause for my partner’s (the real mother) divorce. Looking back now that my kids are young adults I realize those worries of what the other mothers thought of me were all created in my own head. I never even gave a chance to those other mothers to get to know me. The few that I did allow in throughout the parenting years are some of my best friends now.
I wish I wouldn’t have wasted so much of my mommy years wondering if I was good enough and realized that the fact that I was raising someone else’s kids was BETTER than good enough. I was sacrificing and doing things for those little snotty nosed people that usually only a “real” mother would do. I should NOT have been ashamed, I should have been celebrated. But a mother’s job doesn’t usually come with a lot of praise, I understand this.
The more I have talked with women, the more I have learned that this feeling like an ”other mother” is a common feeling. Even the traditional type of mom often feels like she doesn’t fit in; she’s too young, too old, too fat, too poor, not cool enough, works, doesn’t work, whatever it is, she feels she doesn’t fit in and she isolates herself from the other mothers.
Being in my position, the other mom, not the “REAL” mom and not even the step-mom pretty much makes me the invisible mom when it comes to acknowledgement from society and community support.
I have an idea for a book I want to write about other mothers. I want to interview all the other mothers out there and share their stories. I imagine there are all sorts of women who could identify with being an other mother: lesbian moms, step-moms, adoptive moms, foster moms, divorced moms, single moms, teen moms, immigrant moms, aunts, grandmas and other relatives raising children that are not their own, moms whose husbands are in prison or the military, women who chose not to be moms or were not able to be and fathers who have taken on the more traditional mommy role are all people whom I’d like to interview and hear their stories. I’m sure there other ‘other mother’s who I have failed to mention here as well. I’ve been tossing this book idea around in my head for a while but now I’ve decided I am going to do it. If you are interested in sharing your story with me and being a part of this book please contact me to arrange for an interview.
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For the last year, I have been on the hunt for vintage prints to decorate my San Francisco office. Turns out, this whole time the exact type of store I was looking for, was right under my nose, in the financial district. The more time I spend in San Francisco, the more I love it. There is a whole sub-culture of local, independent, women owned businesses co-existing in the fast paced, downtown, financial district area.
I recently happened upon the charming neighborhood of Jackson Square, located in the shadow of the Transamerica Pyramid where I discovered a tiny little store front with a sign reading Prints, Etc. This store just happens to be located in the second oldest commercial building in San Francisco.
I had no idea I was walking in to a piece of San Francisco history.
The small store was filled with vintage prints, historical photos of old San Francisco, concert posters, antique stock certificates, maps, curiosities, collectibles, beautiful frames, mirrors and so much more, hence the Etc… part of the name.
I was immediately greeted by a very friendly woman named Kathleen who took the time to show me around and teach me how the store worked. She even helped me find some cool prints for the office that my boss liked!
You know how sometimes you meet someone and you instantly click? That is how I felt about Kathleen. I felt like we had been best friends forever and I found her stories about the shop fascinating. So yesterday I spent my lunch break inside Prints, Etc chatting with Kathleen about the history of this adorable little store.
Prints, Etc has been here since 1957. Kathleen DiGrande and her sister Elizabeth Cologne are the 4th owners of Prints, Etc and have owned it for the last 6 years. The store has kept the same integrity since the beginning. Kathleen and Elizabeth have one employee, Adriane Brown who is an artist and is currently getting her Masters of Fine Art.
Elizabeth makes these unique and colorful pressed flower framed designs.
Adriane painted this beautiful painting that was hanging up high which explains the angle of the photo. Reminds me of the days working in my parent’s flower shop.
According to Kathleen, Prints, Etc has the largest selection of custom frames in the city, such as ‘closed corner’ frames made in the US, and ‘mitered’ corner frames. Many frame shops outsource their framing, not Prints, Etc! The 3 women do the framing themselves right here in the store and take special care of the art.
494 Jackson Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
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