Seven Years

To my sweet Skeeter,

Seven is a big milestone. You’re in first grade. Reading chapter books, learning to ride a skateboard, and writing stories are your latest accomplishments.

I love your energy and enthusiasm. I know sometimes it seems like I am almost always reminding you to use your quiet voice. We are a house divided with personalities. You and I are the extroverts, and your daddy and older sister are the introverts. We all adore you. We simply cannot keep up with your energy. When I am semi well rested, I can. Learning how to navigate different personalities will help you later in life.

Thank you for reminding me to stop and smell the roses. Keep telling me all your stories and your jokes. I love to listen to your stories. I adore that you create plays and shows. Keep learning. I love how self aware you are with your schoolwork. You marked lower in your self assessment because you knew that you could do better. Your creativity continues to amaze me. I love you, my seeet girl.



P.S. I know your birthday was just over 9 weeks ago. Forgive me for the delay.

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I am blowing the dust off the blog today. I have been buried in an immense project at my day job that has been all consuming. I’m finally coming for air. I got to do writing new procedures and training as part of this project. A dear friend reminded me that I’m a storyteller. That is my calling, not the title on my business card. 

Today I had the privilege of talking to a former employee of mine who reminded me how telling him a story about what I saw in him made him change his mindset. I saw intelligence and leadership that needed to be developed and nurtured. Thank you A for reminding me of the importance of seeing yourself as others see you and not listening to the stories we tell ourselves that just aren’t true. As you reminded me of how I challenged you to grow as a leader, you gave me the insight that this current leader needed to hear. For that I’m grateful. 

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This is Ten

078My sweet munchkin,

I cannot believe you have been in my life for an entire decade. You inspire me with your intelligence, your creativity, your kindness, and your work ethic.  Your birthday month was a super stressful month for me professionally.  The grace that you extended me grew my heart three sizes.  Thank you for reminding me what grace in action looks like.

This was a year of firsts. You completed your first year of dance competitions.  You grew so much in your poise and confidence on stage.  This year you are doing two dances for competition. You thoughtfully considered how much you could take on which is wisdom that your mama did not have at your age. You dance three days a week now. Your stamina is amazing. Yes, I will continue to run after you with snacks and water. I know that you think I’m weird. Trust me, mama understands that your body needs the proper fuel to keep itself going.  I love to watch you dance.

I love your thirst for knowledge and insistence that I read the books that you love and you think I’ll love.  I adore that you want to broaden my YA book knowledge.  Now if you can work on taking some of mama’s suggestions like Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Brown Girl Dreaming, my book nerd self would squeal in joy.

You made serious progress in the kitchen this year.  You learned how to read recipes and attempt some on your own.  I have so much fun baking and cooking with you.  It was so amazing to have you make macaroni and cheese for you and your little sister one morning when I wasn’t feeling well.  It made me feel like my parenting has come full circle.  You learned how to do your own laundry too.  These are all small steps on your way to becoming an adult.  It is exciting and a little scary to relax the reins a little bit and let you take over.

As you enter the tween age, I want you to remember that I am always here for you whenever you need.  There is nothing that you could do that would cause me not to love you.  I love you always.  Thank you for making me a mom.




P.S. I know this birthday post is ridiculously late.  October was kind of a shit show for me, and you gave me so much grace.


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2017 Word: Nurture 

As I reflect on the past year as we start a new school year, I realized how much my one word of 2016 was my anchor: courage. Both my husband and I changed jobs this year. This also meant a change in our daughters’ childcare. I’m now picking the girls up from childcare after school. He is the one who drops them off in the mornings. After 8 years of the same schedule, this was a huge adjustment for all of us. I’m now the primary cook since he gets home later.

I have a team of employees who report to me which again was a huge adjustment. I had forgotten how mentally exhausting it can be when you are managing a team of very different personalities while initiating some major changes in processes and procedures.  I also struggled with impostor syndrome in a huge way.  I had to keep reminding myself that I was chosen for this job because of my unique skill set.  I made mistakes along the way as a new again manager.  I remind myself that I need to bring my authentic self to work everyday.  As a team we continue to grow, and I realize that we are stronger together.

I’ve had the honor and privilege to be in some amazing Facebook groups where we focus on living intentionally. This year I learned of the concept of the one word and anchors to help you remain focused on that one word. My word is nurture which means “to care for and encourage the growth or development of”. My anchor words are nourish, focus and foster. Nourish means “to provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition”. Focus means “an act of concentrating interest or activity on something.” Foster means “to encourage or promote the development of”.

This stage in my life involves lots of nurturing.  I am focusing on nurturing myself, my husband, my daughters, my extended family, my team and my friends.  I am choosing self-care that reflects my priorities in life – physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.  All four facets of my being require care and nurturing.  I am trying to model this for my girls.  They are my greatest teachers, and I am their biggest student.  change ahead

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Five Years of Stories 

A week from today Milwaukee will have its finale Listen To Your Mother show at 3 p.m. in the same venue that housed both our inaugural and second shows. It is a bittersweet feeling like watching my youngest skip off to kindergarten. Three weeks after our show she has her graduation ceremony. 

To our current cast, thank you for bringing your stories and energy to Alexandra, Rochelle and I.  We needed to see how much our community still hungers for connection and storytelling. To our alumni of the past four years, thank you for continuing to share your stories and champion storytelling. My life has been enriched by all these different perspectives. 

To Rochelle, thank you for making Milwaukee a trio. I’m always inspired by your words and your actions. As a mom raising daughters, your counsel and wisdom has helped me through so much. To Alexandra, what can I possibly say? You took a chance on me when I was still struggling from postpartum depression and anxiety. You saw a spark in me that I didn’t recognize in myself. Your faith and belief in me gave me the courage and confidence to go after my goals. To my husband, my parents and my girls, thank you for being the help behind the scenes. I appreciate it so much. This project gave me back my passion for theatre. Thank you for honoring and nurturing that gift even when you all worried that I bit off more than I could chew. 

Ann, thank you for creating this movement. I have been transformed by the amazing women and men I have met or watched from the sister cities. The love, energy and enthusiasm for using stories to bring our communities together is what fueled me. Come see the magic of Listen To Your Mother Milwaukee for our final show – get your tickets

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Community Divided

I have been processing these past two weeks as an organization I volunteered for shut its doors. The changes I had seen were mainly surface and not of lasting significance. A pattern of repeated micro aggressions led to the departure of women of color. This pattern began over two years ago. I was part of the editorial team who wrote blog posts. We never discussed this first issue in depth. Those of us who remained discussed these issues with each other. When we attempted to discuss it as a group, we were dismissed. The women of color who were harmed at that time were asked to explain why certain comments were racist.  The tone deafness to hurting moms was appalling.  I stewed, and I ended up resigning from the editorial team.

I felt hope after seeing the differences made after the first conference.  There was an advisory board of women of color to ensure that we were representing all moms.  A women of color was hired to be the project manager for the Climb, and I was inspired to continue to lead a climb in my community.  I was actively engaged with the community, and I was getting ideas for outreach in different places I hadn’t previously considered.

When I read this, my first reaction was of sadness and hurt for my friend. Then I got angry. The latest in a string of issues led to her departure and the departure of our previous Climb project manager who had been positioned to help us build partnerships with local organizations. As I kept hearing even more stories than the ones I was aware of, I became even more angry. Why hadn’t the organization learned? Why were the same mistakes being repeated? I promised to tell those stories so that the community would see how shaky the foundation had been. This latest incident was the final crack in an already fractured foundation.  Say their names: A’Driane, Alexandra, Jenni, Divya, Jenna, Graeme and Jasmine.  Honor their contributions.  Honor their stories and listen to them.

I decided to resign from my volunteer duties. I notified the staff. I stayed on to help moderate a Facebook peer support group. That is the amazing part of the community of survivors. I liken it to the Marines. We do not leave a suffering mama behind. Postpartum Support International has stepped up to support our grieving community. Grief is a part of this process.

Anger being directed at those who came forward publicly to discuss the micro aggressions is NOT okay. I am calling out and calling in my white warrior moms. The statistics are 1 in 7 women will experience a perinatal mood or anxiety disorder. We repeat that statistic ad nauseaum. For women of color it is 1 in 4. How can we be for all moms if we don’t get uncomfortable and talk about race? How does race and culture affect how mental illness is perceived? If we aren’t actively learning cultural competency, how can we truly be for all moms?

I do not have all the answers. I am one voice who is using her white privilege to amplify the voices of so many women of color whose contributions went unappreciated. I am still learning about race and immigration. When a woman of color says that they have been wronged, believe them. Full stop. Prejudice and racism are built into the fabric of our society. This country was built on the genocide of Native Americans, and it was created by the unpaid labor of African slaves. That trauma and history is NOT something we can ignore. When we ignore it, we invalidate how another is feeling. As women who have struggled with mental illness, we know the power of validation and me too. I am my sister’s keeper. When she shares a painful experience, I need to listen and validate. How can we do this? We can use these phrases. I hear you. I see you. I see your pain. How you were treated was unacceptable.

See my last post for all the women who have helped that organization and in return had their concerns dismissed.  This was due to a lack of accountability from the board and the CEO.  The community is hurting, but it can heal by listening to our moms of color.  We can fuel this hurt, disappointment, and anger into something positive.  Mental health is a fundamental human right.  We can appreciate Katherine for creating the blog and the nonprofit in the first place, and we can also be angry with her for perpetuating white supremacy.  These two concepts seem to be diametrically opposed, but there is room for both and, not either or.

We need to be an inclusive community for all parents.  It is not just moms who struggle with postpartum depression.  It impacts fathers and their partners and trans women.  Learning does not stop.  We need to be life long learners to continue to help all those who struggle with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.  I am still learning on how to be more inclusive of my trans sisters.

“Careful the things you do.  Children will listen.  Careful the things you say.  Children will see and learn.” As Into the Woods teaches us, our children are watching us mamas.  Let’s sit and process our grief.  Then we rise.  “When we know better, we do better” – Maya Angelou.  Listen to me, my white warrior moms.  We know better.  WE MUST DO BETTER.





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Hi friends and loyal readers, how are you?  I am reflecting on a tumultuous weekend.  The current climate we are in is filled with anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, and transphobia.  White supremacy has reared its ugly head.  Whenever I start to feel discouraged, I remind myself to look for the helpers. I know these amazing women who had to leave a cause that they believed in to save themselves and their own mental health due to micro aggressions.  I want today to be a day filled with a #lovebomb for each of these women.

Alexandra Rosas, also known as the Empress, was my first Warrior Mom that I met in real life. We discovered that we lived close to each other.  She inspired me to keep writing and to share my story.  She helped me understand how stories connect us to each other and how someone’s story can save a life.

A’Driane Nieves first caught my eye with her beautiful spirit, her fierce writing, and her Dance Party Fridays.  Her creativity is out of this world.  She has moved from writing to visual arts.  Her talent inspires me to look inside myself and keep learning.

Jenni Chiu was on the editorial team of Postpartum Progress with me.  I didn’t know Jenni that well initially.  Then I started following her blog, and her sense of humor and her vlogs are like sunshine. She uses humor as satire to get you to think about why things might be problematic.

Divya Kumar and I met sitting in the back row seats of the first Warrior Mom Conference.  She was so kind, and her presentation on expanding our outreach into underserved communities touched me.  I saw so many opportunities that I had to do more outreach in my community.  When I was feeling really emotional at one point during that weekend, Divya was there to hold my hand and hold space for me.

Jenna Hatfield came into my life after several transitions of blog editors.  She is an SEO queen.  I watched the Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram come to life and thrive under her influence.  She did a bulk of the writing during her tenure due to burnout among the editorial staff and the loss of writers like Jenni and Alexandra. Jenna navigated an editorial staff of really hurt women with kindness, empathy and respect.

I met Jasmine Banks at BlogHer 2013.  I remember a sweet soul who was struggling with the loss of a dear friend. Later Jasmine became the program manager for Postpartum Progress’s Climb Out of the Darkness fundraiser.  In that position, she continued to challenge our group and help us remain focused on our mission of continued outreach into our communities, particularly marginalized communities.  Jasmine brought cultural competency and her counseling background to the climb which helped the climb leaders take care of their own mental health while being able to hold space for others. Jasmine taught me so much and gave me so many ideas and immediate actions that I could take to help moms in my local community.

Graeme Seabrook and I met for the first time in person at the Warrior Mom Conference. I didn’t connect her twitter handle with her until nearly the last day of the conference.  She looked shocked when I said.  “Graeme, you’re honestly Mama G?” I love your blog and your tweets.  Graeme was working on the education piece for mental health first aid training.  She also runs this amazing group called the Self Care Squad, and she’s a life coach.

I invite you to join me today to give each of these women a #lovebomb in recognition for all the work and support that they have given to help mamas struggling from mental illness.  They deserve love and recognition for all their work. As Alexandra reminded me, hope is what we need to hang on to. Never give up hope. Our sisters need our love and support. We don’t leave a mama behind.

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