1. Tell us about your family. What are your children’s names and how old are they?
I am a single mom and have one awesome 16-year-old son, Jakob.
2. Complete this sentence: When I’m not spending time with my family, you can find me working at Athleta, volunteering as the manager of my sons soccer team, enjoying time with my friends, attending a community event, or hiking and spending time in nature.
3. What is challenging about this season of motherhood? What are you learning? What are you cherishing?
Letting go is really hard. Jakob is at the age where he is truly becoming his own person, a young adult, and my guidance and support is not needed for his survival. Of course, guidance is still helpful and he has much to learn, but he could take it or leave it and he would still be ok. The transition from childhood to adulthood is as swift and dramatic a change as from infant to child. We all go through it, and we each have our own journey, but I do wish I could make it easier for him somehow. The challenges are the same as the treasured moments at this point. I am honored to watch him grow into the kind, smart and courageous young man that he is, and I look forward to sharing in his journey as he continues to grow and learn.
4. What causes are close to you heart? Tell us about your community involvement.
I have a hard time dedicating time to one organization because I know that there are so many causes that need support and I want to offer my skills in any way I can to make my community (local and global) healthier, more sustainable, kinder and stronger. I am most passionate about human rights, women's rights (because we are still in need of isolating and highlighting rights for women), social justice, education, and community improvement. I have been volunteering and/or teaching since I was a Girl Scout. From food banks to demonstrations, I try to pitch in and offer my support where I can. When possible, I get my coworkers and friends involved, and always give Jakob the option to participate (which he usually is happy to do).
5. You recently had the opportunity to visit the Dominican Republic with Una Vida and The Madres Collective. Tell us about a memory or story that stuck with you from this experience.
Every person and every place I met is special to me. I was there for only one week and I know that I have new friendships that will last a lifetime. My favorite moment: we walked to the Toma and some kids walked a few of us further down the creek bed. I thought we were just exploring, but they had made a giant mud slide and were taking turns sliding down! Jakob jumped right in line and took a turn down the slide, no hesitation at all. The smiles and laughter, cheers and excitement were contagious and stayed with me. Even now in typing this, I can't help but wear a giant grin. The extension of the invitation to Jakob and others to join in the fun, and the acceptance of strangers is not something that comes easily here at home. It was refreshing and reminded me of what it was like when I was a child, back before we behaved out of fear and instead were much more in touch with how to live out of love.
6. What important lesson are you imparting to Jakob these days?
The preferential option for the poor. At 16, Jakob is learning not just how he will make a difference in the world, but how to identify what roadblocks "we" have put in place and how to be a social justice advocate. Asking the questions: How do our actions and policies impact those with the least in terms of services and access? How do we question what our leaders and authors are telling us to do while still respecting their position of authority? How can I/we make this policy better for all? That and remembering to take out the trash and recycling without being asked :-)
7. Tell us about a woman who inspires you.
I am fortunate to know so many inspiring women! I would say that I am currently most inspired by the women I met in the Dominican Republic: the women of the Madres Collective. I balance work, family and community every day, but the women in Los Pinos and La Descubierta balance work, family, community, natural elements and limited resources every day (se fue la luz). They showed me just how resourceful and resilient women can be, all while remaining compassionate, loving, kind and optimistic. I am most inspired by people who make the ordinary extraordinary with their attitude of gratitude, their willingness to work hard for others, and their capacity to push through barriers (of all types) to provide a better life for those around them, and the madres I met exemplify those values.
Know a mom who inspires you? We'd love to hear her story! Tell us about her in the comments below.