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Announcing a new scholarship opportunity!

tanjiAt the Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, Tanji Dewberry holds a special place in our hearts. She attended Happy Mama every year and shared a bright energy that touched us all. Sadly, in 2014 a house fire claimed the lives of Tanji, and her sweet son, Evan.

Tanji’s friend, Dr. Marilyn Griffin, attended the 2014 Happy Mama Retreat in Tanji’s honor. She brought some of that same positive energy to the group. Moved by the support our happy mamas give and receive at our annual event, Marilyn has decided to graciously offer one deserving mama a scholarship to attend the Happy Mama Conference & Retreat each year.

The scholarship will be awarded based on two things: (1) financial need, i.e., mamas who wouldn’t have the means to attend otherwise; and (2) how a mama will pay it forward. The scholarship will pay the registration (includes conference, lodging and all meals) for a single occupancy room. Travel expenses are the responsibility of the scholarship recipient.

The deadline for scholarship application submission is February 1, 2015. A winner will be chosen and notified February 27, 2015.

 

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New! Vendor fair for 2015 retreat

In realizing the varied talents of our mamas and wanting to help our mamas succeed, we’ve decided to hold a small vendor fair during the 2015 retreat. This is open to all mamas to sell their wares. You can sell handmade items or direct sales products (like thirty-one gifts or Mary Kay).

For $20 cash or $10 cash plus a $10 product donation (for raffle or giveaway), you will receive a draped table in the vendor fair room to set up shop. We will open the vendor fair at least two hours during the Saturday afternoon break, and possibly the end of the retreat on Sunday.

Fellow Happy Mama, Julia Dearing, has volunteered to facilitate the vendor fair. If you are interested in participating, please email happymamaretreat@gmail.com. In that email, send a description and price range of what you will be selling and your full contact information. You will receive a paypal invoice in early April for the vendor fee.

Please reach out if you have questions. Email us or call Julia directly at 828.301.5374.

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December 4, 2014Penny Williamsnews
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Early bird rates expire soon! Only 5 days left!

Early bird rates for the 2015 Happy Mama Retreat (Asheville, NC, May 22-24, 2015) expire on November 30, 2014, just 5 days from now! 

Registration Details

Early bird rates are good through November 30, 2014 and are as follows: $350 for all-inclusive package in a double room shared with another mama, or in a lakeside cottage shared with 4-6 other mamas. $395 to have a room to yourself. Or, if you’d rather stay in a hotel off-site (there are several within the immediate vicinity), you can pay the commuter rate for the conference of $165, which includes everything except lodging.

On December 1st, rates change to $375 for double, $420 for single, and $190 for commuter. After February 1, 2015, rates go up to $400 for double, $445 for single, and $215 for commuter.

REGISTRATION WILL CLOSE ON APRIL 21, 2015!

More About the 2015 Happy Mama Retreat

The 2015 Happy Mama Conference & Retreat will take place May 22-24, 2015, at Lutheridge in Asheville, NC. This is a beautiful, natural setting that affords many opportunities for relaxing and bonding with other mamas who have a similarly challenging parenting experience. Lutheridge has a lake, walking/running trails through wooded areas, and an overall serenity perfect for mama respite. It is also just two miles from the Asheville airport.

The retreat is all-inclusive this year, and includes:

  • lodging (double room with another mom, lakeside cabin with 4-6 moms, or single occupancy room) Friday and Saturday night
  • all meals, buffet-style, from dinner Friday through lunch Sunday
  • Social and cash bar by the lake Saturday evening
  • 3-4 speakers on mama self-care, emotional regulation and sensory strategies, mom guilt, and behavior intervention (including at school)
  • s’mores and burn your worries away around the campfire
  • yoga class
  • zentangle class
  • canoeing on lake
  • and more…

Take a look at the weekend agenda for the upcoming retreat.

Register Now!

What are you waiting for? Register before the end of November to save as much as $50. With a 3-installment payment plan, registration can work for virtually everyone.

I hope to see you in May!

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November 25, 2014Penny Williamsnews
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Save the Date! Happy Mama 2015

About the Happy Mama Retreat in 2015

The 2015 Happy Mama Conference & Retreat will take place May 22-24, 2015, at Lutheridge in Asheville, NC. This is a beautiful, natural setting that affords many opportunities for relaxing and bonding with other mamas who have a similarly challenging parenting experience. Lutheridge has a lake, walking/running trails through wooded areas, and an overall serenity perfect for mama respite. It is also just two miles from the Asheville airport.

The retreat is all-inclusive this year, and includes:

  • lodging (double room with another mom, lakeside cabin with 4-6 moms, or single occupancy room) Friday and Saturday night
  • all meals, buffet-style, from dinner Friday through lunch Sunday
  • Social and cash bar by the lake Saturday evening
  • 3-4 speakers on mama self-care, emotional regulation and sensory strategies, mom guilt, and behavior intervention (including at school)
  • s’mores and burn your worries away around the campfire
  • yoga class
  • zentangle class
  • canoeing on lake
  • and more…

Early bird rates are good through November 30, 2014 and are as follows: $350 for all-inclusive package in a double room shared with another mama, or in a lakeside cottage shared with 4-6 other mamas. $395 to have a room to yourself. Or, if you’d rather stay in a hotel off-site (there are several within the immediate vicinity), you can pay the commuter rate for the conference of $165, which includes everything except lodging.

On December 1st, rates change to $375 for double, $420 for single, and $190 for commuter. After February 1, 2015, rates go up to $400 for double, $445 for single, and $215 for commuter.

REGISTRATION WILL CLOSE ON APRIL 21, 2015!

Register Now! There’s a limited number of rooms.

p.s. — If you live in North Carolina, you may be eligible for a scholarship — email happymamaretreat@gmail.com to inquire.

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October 1, 2014Penny Williamsnews
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Letting go of Mama Guilt

contributed by Dr. Susan Orenstein, of Orenstein Solutions, P. A.

Earlier this year Rehtom, Inc. posted a “Director of Operations” position online that required 135+ hours a week (increased hours on the holidays) with no pay or vacation. Qualified applicants were also expected to stand most of the time, eat on the “associate’s” schedule, successfully manage 10-15 projects at once, and hold degrees in Psychology, medicine and the culinary arts. Of the 2.7 million people that saw the ad, only 24 applied for what was deemed the “world’s toughest job.”

As it turns out, the ad was part of a rather brilliant marketing campaign for a greeting card company gearing up for Mother’s Day (Rehtom, by the way, is “mother” spelled backwards). Over 20 million people have tuned in to watch the recorded Skype job interviews and the emotional reactions of the applicants when they realize their own mothers already fill the position. Although the campaign’s ultimate intention was to sell more greeting cards, it very frankly and effectively brought to light how demanding and unrelenting motherhood can be at times.

Our culture certainly expresses deep respect for motherhood but can simultaneously expect moms to not only take care of their kids, but also maintain a career or role in the community, a home, and healthy personal and romantic relationships (oh, and to stay physically fit all the while!). These societal pressures have added up to a pretty common modern plague of “mommy guilt” in which today’s mothers tend to feel shame if they aren’t doing something for their children, family, partner, employer, friend, etc. As a result many women today take little to no time for themselves, leaving them overworked and under nurtured.

Mothers of children with special needs, including emotional, behavioral, learning, social and health difficulties, are especially prone to exhaustion. Your child’s challenges naturally become your own and you may be struggling to relax, focus, sleep and stay strong during setbacks. Your patience and peace of mind may be on the brink of collapse. Special needs moms are most in need of a break, but even more acutely experience “Mommy Guilt.” The comments on Happy Mama’s Facebook page epitomize the paradox; most moms agree that the retreat sounds like an “amazing” and “wonderful” opportunity, but many are reluctant to come with several asking, “can I leave home for this long?”

The decision to step away from your children for a few days is not an easy one, but keep in mind that you are an anchor in your family’s emotional stability and “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” While your time away may be a challenge, your family will benefit from a more rested and empowered “you.” The weekend retreat may be just the refresher you need to to nip the nagging that has gotten out of control and perhaps laugh a little longer next time with your kids.

I look forward to speaking on the topic of “Mommy Guilt,” helping you understand the psychology behind it and working to break down mental and emotional barriers that have prevented you from investing in yourself in the past. I’ll share advice on how you can advocate for yourself and feel comfortable and confident knowing that you and your family can thrive.

Read more about the importance of demonstrating healthy self-care to your children, and discover other essential parenting principles, in our free report “5 Virtues of Great Parents.”

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Breaking the fear trance

by Traci Philips, CHHC

When I was 6 years old, I became a competitive swimmer.  I had been swimming for awhile, at that point, and I was good.  In fact, I was so good, even at 6, that I quickly became the team’s #1 breast stroker.

child swimmingThe thing is, I did love the sport.  I loved it very much – even the 2 hour practices two times a day.  I was good at what I did because I had a true passion for it.

What I didn’t have was a drive for winning.  Winning is just what I did.  It was the natural outcome of the marriage between passion and skill.  I never questioned or glorified what I could do.  I just did it, joyfully.

I know it was a bit confusing and annoying for my coach, team and parents that on days when we had meets, I could never be found when I was needed.  A heat would approach that I was in, and someone, usually my mother, would have to go off and find me.  I could, most often, be found in a field near the various club pools where our competitions were held.  I would be chasing grasshoppers or making necklaces out of clover – totally oblivious that I was supposed to be preparing to compete.  My mother would dust me off, snap my swim cap on and off we would go – usually arriving just shy of me getting disqualified for not showing up on time.

The horn would sound.  I would dive in, and the moment I hit the water, I was “on.”  I would win, time and time again, I would win.

When it came to passing out the awards, I would also need to be found.  I just didn’t stick around.  I came, I conquered, and I moved on to something else that brought me joy.

No matter what my coach, parents or others threatened me with, I didn’t seem to care.  In my mind, I was doing what I needed to do.  I was swimming and I was happy.  Why did I need to sit around between heats with others waiting for the next opportunity for joy?  Why not just go out there and find it?

It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I began to question who I was.  I began, like most of us who are enculturated to compare ourselves to others, to lose faith and sight of what I knew to be true about myself.  I begin to judge my own actions.  I began to choke.

The fear trance is that place we are in, like a dream that we believe to be true.  It is what we have been told we are or that we are to believe.  It is not our authentic knowledge that we listen to, but a culmination of what we see, hear and think others want from us.  What it means to be a “good” kid, a “responsible” teenager, an “accomplished” adult.  What it means to be worthy.  We must begin to remember who we really are.

In my work with others, we journey to the places where we can tap into the authentic self.  We witness what this part of us has to say, and we honor its needs.  We begin to step back into that place of self trust, self honor, self worth.  We go from living an accidental life to living one of intention.

Recently, my daughter brought home a Mother’s Day gift she had made for me at school.  It was a flower – about 2 feet tall, made of construction paper.  The stem was a tube, and inside was a note to me, written by her.

“I love you, Momma.  Thank you for being kind.  Thank you for listening to me.  Thank you for loving me.”

On the flower’s petals, there were words.  The children were instructed to pick 6 words out of a long list that best described their mom.  On the petals of my flower, in my daughter’s 6 year old writing, were Helpful, Beautiful, Adventurous, Sweet, Caring and Talented.

I believe others are our sacred mirrors.  They reflect for us what is within us.

When I was 6, I didn’t question that I was helpful, beautiful, adventurous, sweet, caring and talented.  I have spent a lot of my life questioning it since.  It’s wonderful to realize that those things I knew when I was 6 years old, ARE me.  I thank my daughter for showing me that they have been here all along.  She can see them.  It’s important to be aware that I do, as well.

 

traciPhilipsTraci Philips is the owner of That Certain Way To Wellness, offering Holistic Health & Lifestyle Coaching that assists individuals to find the wellness within by GOAL setting, ACTION planning & aligning their CORE VALUES with the daily CHOICES they make.  Traci specializes in nutrition & empowerment training and is also the founder of Wellness of Chatham, a group that meets to discuss topics concerning health and well-being. A native of Denver, Colorado, Traci is focused on supporting people to live passionately, vitally and authentically.  You can follow Traci at www.facebook.com/ThatCertainWayToWellness and visit her website at www.certainwaytowellness.com.

 

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June 18, 2014Penny Williamsnews