Thursday, January 30, 2014

Living Rooms--Mothers In The Hood Part Three

"Thank you for coming along on the ride that is my mid-life crisis," I said as everyone found a seat in my living room.

"Some people may call it a mid-life crisis, I like to call it growth," my friend (and professional counselor) Joelle thoughtfully explained to all of us.

This was the scene at my third Mothers In The Hood party the other night.  A party where we talked a lot about growth and breaking and bending and grace and authenticity and identity.  And how motherhood effects all of it.

Last year, I started having these parties to get a group of mothers of all ages and backgrounds and political affiliations and situations together to connect.  I wanted to talk about more than managing our kids, and worrying and loving them.  I dreamed of conversations about issues in our neighborhoods, projects that we could get involved with to make a difference and also, my mid-life crisis.  Or I mean growth.

I dreamed of conversations that would challenge, support, inspire, encourage and affirm.  I dreamed of a living room full of mothers laughing together and caring about each other.  The other night, it happened.

For Mothers In The Hood Part Three I wanted to focus on all my "who am I" issues that I'm feeling as my children get older.  I wanted the vibe to be sort of like Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide," you know the whole "the children get older, I'm getting older too." So, I asked my good friend Joelle, the professional therapist I mentioned earlier, to come and run the show.  She told me she would "facilitate and validate" and I asked her if she could come over everyday.  

I asked my other good pal, Liane, to display her pictures, her artwork.  She is an amazing storyteller with her pictures.  Her selfies aren't what you typically think of when you hear the word selfie...they truly tell a story.

She was reluctant.  But I am so glad she decided to share her art and her self.

The party was also the perfect place to share copies of my favorite magazine, mamalode.  Especially because the magazine and the web site started as a group of moms in Montana sharing stories and connecting, just like my living room dream.  

The magazine is full of stories about the journey of motherhood and identity and love and support and creativity.  Inside the issue we looked at, Space, is a story about a woman, Amy Turn Sharp, who loves poetry, who writes poetry, but never told anyone she was a poet.  Then she started writing a poem a day for a year, she started to share and tell people that she was in deed a poet.  She writes "I never realized that you could just announce to yourself one fine day, what it is you want to be, and then become it.  It's been liberating, really."

This was the perfect message for the party.

The women in my living room were friends from all over--the gym, my street, my kids' school, church, volunteer projects--mothers in my hood.  Many of them had never met.  I invited  a mix of mamas and wasn't sure what was going to happen. What happened was, all of them showed up, I mean they SHOWED UP.  Some of them shared stories that were personal and raw.  Other women listened with compassion and heart.  We talked careers, climbing ladders, change, giving up, giving in, evolving, breaking, bending, losing ourselves, finding ourselves.

Joelle and I thought up questions before the party to get everyone thinking.  Questions like:
Who did I think I was when I was 20?
Who did I think I was after my first child was born?
Who am I now?

"Life forces us to look at ourselves differently all the time," Joelle explained to the group.  "It's the evolution of ourselves, it's growth."

Then she asked all of us what we would do/be if a magic wand waved away all limitations.  

"Travel the world, making headbands out of flowers, singing and making crafts," was my answer.  And I'm wasn't kidding.

One mother said "to be a writer." Another mother said "to find a job that I love." Another said "I'm so happy with who I am right now, I hope I stay me."

We talked about appreciation of where we are now in our lives, finding purpose and how learning new things makes people happy.  Joelle asked us what we wanted to learn in the next couple weeks.  The answers varied from how to knit to how to share more, to be a good grandmother to how to reupholster a chair.

Everyone brought a book to donate to the nonprofit organization Charlotte's Wings (CW). CW is dedicated to supporting ailing children through donations of books to the children and their families in hospital and hospice care.  And it was started by a group of passionate mother friends in my neighborhood. 

The discussion ended with ideas and inspiration about learning and growing and accepting ourselves.

My hope is that the women in my living room realize that they can just announce to themselves one fine day, what it is they want to be, and then become it. Whether it is an activist, a writer, a photographer, a poet, an attorney, a chemist, a grandmother, a therapist or some badass combination of all of it.  I hope the women find value in themselves and the other women in the room no matter how different they are.  

I hope my mom friends write, share, take pictures, learn to knit, reupholster and find passion and purpose in their every day. And maybe someday I will indeed travel the world making headbands out of flowers.

Got a living room?  You should totally invite your mama friends over to have discussions that challenge, support, inspire, encourage and affirm. Seriously, it's kind of amazing. 

For more information about mamalode, click here.

For more information about Charlotte's Wings, click here. Or watch this:

Charlottes Wings 2013 from Jumping With My Fingers Crossed on Vimeo.

And because I mentioned it above, I have to link to it, duh.  Here it is, Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide."


  1. What a great celebration of motherhood. This gives me some great ideas for our Mamalode Magazine club starting in February! xoxo

    1. It really was a celebration of motherhood and dreams and life. So glad you are doing a mamalode magazine club. I can't wait to hear about it!

  2. It was an evening that will stay with me for a long time. I loved the vibe and being included in such an inspiring "hood" of mamas!

    1. Thank you so much for coming and sharing! I can't stop smiling when I think about everyone connecting and inspiring each other.

  3. Replies
    1. I love it too! :) It was so much fun to see everyone sharing and hanging and inspiring each other. It was all I am Woman Hear Me Roar combined with a peaceful it takes a village kind of song. It was awesome.

  4. This was such a great night! I loved being surrounded with women who were asking the same kinds of questions I am. Thanks for organizing this!

  5. I WANT TO COME. Sigh. Sounds amazing. And it sounds like maybe, just maybe? You've got some potential LTYMers in the group?

    That photography is stunning.