Q: Tell us about the important people in your life.
My daughter is 26 and my granddaughter just turned 4. My husband and I have been together for 9 years. He's my second husband. My first husband was a police officer and unfortunately extremely abusive - physically, mentally, and emotionally. All of that, which probably pushed me in the direction of counseling, honestly. My daughter and granddaughter are moving in with us next month, as she doesn’t have a lot of family support there. You know, “it takes a village”.
Q: Where are you from and where do you live now?
I grew up in lower, Southern Wisconsin, in a very small rural community and left as soon as I graduated from high school. I returned to Wisconsin around 2005.
Q: What does community mean to you?
Personally, I think about the community where I live and how I can give back or contribute, which has been even more important given recent political discord. In my community, I am in the minority, as far as political affiliation. Within my professional community, I have colleagues who support one another in many ways. As a therapist, I am always looking for new ways to use my skills to help others. I have facilitated support groups for veterans and groups for family members and children of narcotics users because there are no such supports like that in this area. I’m happy to be part of the MWP Community because I also hope to offer my skills to support women, mothers.
Q: What’s something you’re most proud of?
Beyond being a mother and being proud of my daughter and granddaughter, if it’s really more about me, I’m most proud of the idea that the person that you meet in a counseling session, as your counselor, is the same person. Being a therapist for me isn’t about putting on some mask to engage with clients. And I think I'm the most proud of that because people need to be able to feel comfortable and not judged, and not looked down upon. I think the best compliment I get and I'm grateful that I hear often is, “this was such an easy first appointment.” And so, I think for me, I'm the most proud of the practice of staying genuine to who I am without apology.
Q: Where do you find inspiration, motivation, and encouragement?
First of all, I see my own counselor and she's amazing. Also, my husband is my best friend on the face of the planet. He is my rock. He is my safe place. I also have a small, but amazing tribe of women. And although I’m not religious, I am spiritual. I do believe everything in life happens the way it's supposed to. And finally, I swear by working out. I don’t care if I lose weight, it just makes my day go better. It reduces my anxiety and I sleep better. Self-care is top notch on my radar. If I don’t focus on self-care, I can’t do my job.
Q: What’s one thing about motherhood that has surprised you?
Mothering an adult child was the hardest transition and the biggest struggle. We always hear about the terrible twos and the middle school years, but once they’re an adult, you really do lose all your parental power, so you have to learn to parent differently. I had to learn patience and grace. Sometimes, I had to learn to keep my mouth shut. It’s not easy to let your adult child fail because they won’t listen or they want to prove you wrong. Parenting an adult child can feel like we’ve lost value as mothers because they’re not as dependent on us, but in reality they do still need us. They just need us differently.
Q: What’s one thing you want to accomplish over the next year?
At 45 years old and where I'm at right now, this might be the first time I would ever answer this question this way - nothing. I just want to be present in my life. Sometimes I feel our American culture is always about striving for the next goal or the accomplishment, and we rarely just say we've made it. I want to enjoy that I’m exactly where I need to be.
Q: What are you looking forward to gaining from a community of peers?
My hope is this community will be a safe space where women are “lifting up each other’s crown”. Through our stories and experiences, by being real, honest, sometimes vulnerable, we are normalizing the struggles. Social media platforms are not safe spaces to engage authentically. Personally, I don’t feel social media is a safe space where I will not be judged. I’m looking forward to connecting with other women and supporting mothers no matter what stage of motherhood. Community is so important for mamas, and I remember times I didn’t have a solid community or even family to run to for support.