Thursday, April 21, 2011

Power. Serious Power.

Power of Moms is a TON of work. But last weekend helped me see that all this work really IS worthwhile.

About 8 years ago, as I was chatting with my friend Neylan about how hard and important motherhood was, we brainstormed the idea of professional development Retreats for mothers. We'd seen the value of professional development opportunities in the careers we'd worked at before taking on the profession of motherhood and we agreed that there really ought to be “professional development” opportunities in the field of motherhood. So we put together a couple of very successful weekend Retreats involving learning and growing with some of our favorite mom-friends – and dreamed of the day when many more mothers would have this sort of opportunity.

Last weekend, I had the priviledge of seeing this concept come into full bloom. ONE HUNDRED mothers (including my dear friend Neylan who's since moved on to other exciting pursuits including the Mormon Women Project) gathered at my parents' house in Park City for a Power of Moms Retreat. The power and excitement and energy in that room was palpable. And it brought tears to my eyes to stand there in front of all those great mothers who wanted to lift each other, to learn, to grow, to become all that they are meant to be while embracing all the joy that motherhood can offer. 

We couldn't quite squeeze all 100 into this photo and it's a bit over-exposed - but you get the idea!
There were many photographers there so I'll be gathering in more great photos later.

Here are just a few of the kind things people wrote on their evaluation forms in answer to the question, “What would you tell a friend about this Retreat?” 
  • This Retreat gave me new perspective on what kind of mom I want to be. I felt so empowered and supported in my efforts. I loved being among like-minded women who want to make a difference in their families. I felt like I was given very useful tools to accomplish great things in my family. I feel energized and have a new focus on what is truly important and what I am trying to do and why.
  • Awesome! When women plan a retreat every detail is perfect! The venue, the structure, the schedule, the food, the speakers etc etc. I could go on! (After 1000 hours of logistics planning – this little comment sure made me feel good!)
  • It felt like being back in college attending a full day of back to back classes on the most important topic in my life. The notetaking and evaluating felt very invigorating--wow, I do still have a brain that works?! The format allowed a wealth of topics to be covered, and each one had value and application for me. It deepened my resolves, opened my mind to new ideas, and granted me the broader perspective to see how I want to use my todays to nurture and influence our family's tomorrows. Love it and so recommend it!
  • A wonderful professional development seminar where I learned practical tools based on strong principals. A room full of 100 equally intense and deliberate mothers who are taking their job seriously and are anxious to learn and share ideas.
  • One of the biggest "a-ha" moments for me at the Retreat was looking around the room and realizing that roughly 500 children's lives were going to be impacted by what was being said; that 100 mothers wanted desperately to create successful, strong families. As I sat in that room and realized that there are people all over the world just like these women who really care about the future and who want to raise responsible, caring, hard-working children. I was overcome with optimism for the future. 
  • This was the parenting class they forgot to give you in the hospital before you left with that brand new baby. I'm going to pay for my little sister to go to a Retreat because it is an experience I wish I had been able to have as a young mother. That way I could have implemented the ideas and practices I learned earlier in my "mothering career".
  • I would say that this Retreat gave mothers a chance to discuss things that we all worry about. A place to gather ideas that work and can be tweaked to fit our family. It's given me perspective and the last few days at home have truly been delightful. I love my imperfect kids and know that we are working together to make something special here - something that I don't feel I got as a child.
  • Well, I have told about a dozen friends about the Retreat and I guess the main words I've used are "Life Changing", "Inspiring" "Motivating" and "Full of true principles that I can implement" 
  • There truly is power in motherhood! It is so apparent when you gather together with other like-minded moms, even if at times we feel alone or lonely in our work in separate homes. 
  • This retreat obviously couldn't change my reality at home right now. It did, however, give me the mental tools to handle the things I cannot change and the practical tools to change the things I can change.
  • Life changing, I came away with a new view of myself and motherhood. The days since are full of excitement, contentment, and the kind of joy that comes from being present.
I guess all this hard, hard work for the past few years is really worth it! I'm so glad this new full-day Retreat model has proven to work so well and look forward to rolling out more Retreats now building on all the work that went into this one and the previous Retreats.

I'm SO grateful for all the amazing moms who “caught the vision” and signed up to come to this Retreat and those that preceded it.  And I'm extremely grateful for my amazing Power of Moms partner, April, and for all the great moms who've jumped in to help as volunteer members of our Power of Moms Board. They are amazing.  One of my favorite parts of the Retreat was meeting face-to-face with many of our Board members for the first time and actually having an in-person Board meeting. We can do a lot via email but it's so much more fun and effective to meet in person! Sadly, several of our Board members couldn't arrange their schedules or finances to join us as they live far away (Canada, Japan, the East Coast, etc.). But we'll get with them in person one of these days!

Here are our wonderful Board members who helped SO much with this Retreat (we just had to do a "power" pose). 

And here are my amazing sisters and parents. It was a dream come true to be able to present this Retreat with them. Often, I get to present with one of them – but somehow, this time, the stars were aligned for all of us to be able to be at the same Retreat.  Shawni, Saydi, my mom and I presented and Charity was the fabulous Retreat Manager who helped make the magic work from behind the scenes.

April did a fabulous job presenting her whole Mind Organization for Moms program on Friday. Even thought I've heard her present this program many times, I always enjoy her great presentation style and come away with new ideas that can help me be more effective with how I use my time.

And now Jared and I are celebrating a long long couple months of website re-launch work and Retreat preparation with a Spring Break trip with our kids to visit family in Washington state and California. We're driving through Oregon as I type this (lots of car time - but the kids are old enough to be really great in the car these days). I'll post updates on our fun trip when I get a chance!


andrea said...

The retreat was amazing and life-changing. I can't imagine the work that went into pulling it off. You and April are doing great things for a lot of moms.

Eyrealm said...

That was fun! We are so proud of your abilities to stick with this and pull it off with panache along with darling April. May 20/21 will be great too!

Hilary said...

Awh, I love that. I wish I was in a time in my life where this was possible. Maybe in a few months. I am loving what the Power of Moms is doing lately. I even posted on my blog about it. I need to get more involved. :)

Life's a Dance said...

So great! Thank you so much for putting in all the time and effort to make the retreat happen. It was a big success and really has made me think about what I really want for my family.

Rebecca said...

This makes me excited for the retreat next month! Did you get my Facebook message? I registered for both days, but I need to un-register for Friday since Emily reminded me about our cousins wedding festivities on Friday. I am, however, looking forward to hearing April's presentation at some point. I read GTD awhile back and have implemented some of it, but I always thought that it would be great it there was a version adapted for mothers.

I'm excited! And P.S. if you need any boots on the ground, i.e. local help prior to the retreat next month, I would be happy to come over and help with whatever. I don't have my kids on Mondays so that's always a good day for me to help. You should give Emily something to do while she is stuck in bed/in her chair by the window recovering:( Otherwise she might just go crazy! (she has mad editing and writing skills)


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