Oh Mamas! Little Fish, Big Pond

This past weekend was a whirlwind of activity in White Plains, NY as I left my little kidlets for the longest time I've ever been away from them to attend the Positive Parenting symposium held by Pepperidge Farms in conjunction with their Fishful Thinking program. I must admit, that in addition to being apprehensive about my time away from my kids, I was also a ball of excited nervousness to meet the other nine Faculty Moms who have been chosen from around the country to help other moms actively engage in positive parenting skills. I mean, I'm not a famous blogger, by any means (I almost peed my pants the one time I got more than 40 comments on this blog - oh the joy!). I own a couple of businesses, run a review site mainly for fun with fellow book lovers, write a few other blogs, and just happen to be addicted to social media because it helps me run my businesses and, well, ok, I'm pretty chatty.

The other nine Faculty Moms? AMAZING. Each one, a stellar mama in her own right. They write blogs, run blog communities, camps, businesses, and are rockstar mamas to twins, one, two, or three kids. At dinner Saturday night, I learned we represent such a wide spectrum of values and beliefs, economic, educational and cultural backgrounds. Most importantly, I learned the other moms are all super sweet, fun, friendly, authentic and downright hilarious. I am astounded and still somewhat bewildered to be among their ranks. I feel like the little fish in a big pond, but hey, I'm stoked to be here.

Dr. Reivich, the brains behind the Fishful Thinking program and facilitator of this past weekend's symposium, has four children. And not only is she intelligent, a fantastic, engaging speaker, compassionate and kind, but damn does she looks incredibly well-rested for someone with four kids! I'm a mess with two! I like to attribute her healthy glow to the fact that it is so obvious she is doing something she loves, based on the happiness of people whom she loves (we saw slides of her kids during the presentation - adorable!), and s helping thousands of parents all over the country gain confidence in positive parenting skills.

Which brings me to the heart of the matter: the program. I have a lot to write about my take-aways from the symposium, so I'm not going to write it all in this post, but I will start with the fact that I sat there suddenly being asked questions that I hadn't thought to ask of myself as a parent. Sure, I try to be aware, conscious of my words, thoughts, actions, but I don't think I had ever felt challenged like this -- and I mean challenged in the best possible way. Every exercise hit home with me, to the point of where I was almost in tears thinking about my son, 3,000 miles away, and my memories with him during moments of challenging parenting. I started this blog when my son was just four months old; he is now 4.5 years old. I started writing because I was lost in this new mamahood, alone with so many questions and not enough answers, with so many fears and too many judgments, with unrealistic expectations and not enough support.

Since starting this blog, since starting my businesses, since making hundreds of new mama friends around the country over the years, I've felt supported, understood...and yet, the Fishful Thinking program, for me, takes that support and understanding a step further and offers proven effective tools, research-driven guidance to help me and my family truly understand one another and work together to become a stronger, more resilient family unit.

I did not anticipate the strong reaction I had to the symposium & my introduction to the Fishful Thinking program. I am still allowing it to sit with me, absorb it, wrap my head around it and sort it out. I'm excited to share what I've learned. But that will come in posts to follow. For now, I sleep (or attempt to. damn insomnia). Tons of work to do before heading to SXSW Interactive this weekend (longest trip ever away from my babies!!! BOO! But first trip away with the huz since baby was born - YAY!). More to come!

(PS-lest you think I got a little too serious & shit in this post for you, I'll have you know I had three huge glasses of red wine plus a Plum Collins last Sat night and ended up trying to find a show to go to in White Plains, NY by myself at 2 am, yo. PPS-there are no cool bands playing in White Plains, NY at 2am)


Tiffany said...

Fabulous post.

I am so excited to represent such a thoughtful, research based program that has already improved my own parenting!

Meeting you and the other moms was an absolute pleasure... I am still in awe of you!

I look forward to learning a lot and bringing optimism and resiliency to the forefront of the discussion about today's kids.

Now I want some wine.

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MomItForward said...

You crack me up, Marlynn. Fun to see you on #gno tonight too! This is going to be such a fun next few months getting to know all of you gals :) (she says, typing loudly). LOL!

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kateypie35 said...

Can't wait to hear more - and am so pleased and refreshed to hear someone say POSITIVE things about this symposium. You da bomb!

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Trenches of Mommyhood said...

Great recap of our whirlwind weekend together! Loved sitting next to you at dinner and attempting to devour that "Great Wall of Chocolate".

We really need to get the positive message out there. Fishful Thinking is a great program, bottom line.

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Cheryl Lage said...

Completely started implementing some of the positive parenting techniques IN THE CAR ON THE WAY HOME FROM THE AIRPORT!

So happy to have met you, Marlynn...and I so regaled my kids on the magnitude of that chocolate cake. Yeeeee ha! Looking forward to helping spread the word about Fishful Thinking right alongside you! :)

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The Daily Blonde said...

The story of my life--always late to a party. I've been catching up on my blog reading. That's what Monday-Holidays are for, right?

Did I mention it was sooo nice meeting you...wow...two months ago?
Your spirit was incredible! :)

Hope all is well!

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