Wendi McGowan-Ellis 0:11
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path to Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark. Join us on this journey where we're uncovering what it takes to be a powerful woman leader. Well, Marsha, we're continuing our tribute to women and moms this week, which, with what's becoming really my favorite annual tradition, a Mother's Day panel.
Marsha Clark 0:37
Yes, Wendi, we have a packed house today, virtually, and with our focus on awesome moms. Last year, you know, our panel of moms talked about the joys and challenges of motherhood from a variety of different roles. And this year, we're shaking that up a little bit to actually talk about our moms and how they influenced and inspired us. And in fact, were often the first female leader we knew.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 0:37
Ah, very good. Okay. And I mean, yes, we do have a packed house today. I think when our content director, Tracie, advertised for daughters who wanted to brag on their awesome moms, she was flooded with volunteers. So everyone, welcome to this episode. And we want to kick everything off with just a quick round of introductions, sharing where you live and how you're connected to Marsha. So I'm gonna start with Jane.
Jane Cocking 1:31
Hi, everyone. I'm Jane Cocking and I live in the Atlanta area, and I was a coach with the Power of Self Program since its inception, and it went on for 20 years. So of that 20 years I coached for about 18 years of that. That's my connection to Marsha.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:47
Denise Kirkman 1:49
Good morning, everyone. I'm Denise Kirkman. And I was a Power of Self graduate as well as a Power of Self coach for about three years.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 1:59
Jeanne Patterson 2:03
I live in the Frisco area. And I've known Tracie probably about 30 years. And then I had the pleasure of meeting Marsha at her house. And we just really hit it off. And I'm just so happy to know both of these wonderful ladies.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 2:17
Excellent. Excellent. Ann.
Ann Anderson 2:19
Yes, Ann Anderson. I live in the Frisco area also. And I know Wendi and Tracie through a lot of the community activities we're involved in.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 2:26
Excellent. All right. And our final guest, Nibha.
Nibha Rastogi Shipman 2:30
Hi, I'm Nibha Rastogi Shipman. I live in McKinney, North Dallas, just moved from D.C. And I'm Tracie's daughter-in-law. And so she is looping me into all her stuff.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 2:41
That's awesome. That's awesome.
Marsha Clark 2:44
I love the stories and the ways that women connect. Your description was perfect. All of our stuff, right? So we've got all kinds of things going on in the Frisco area, the DFW area, the North Texas area, and really national and on a global basis. So I want to just welcome everybody here. And it's a real pleasure to think about all the stories we're going to share today. So we've got a few questions that we want to open up to the group. And before we hear that, we do want to hear from each of you about what it is that your mom represents for you that makes her so special, and why you consider her to be an awesome, mom. So, Denise, will you kick us off this time?
Denise Kirkman 3:27
Absolutely. I think the thing about my mom that made her so special and so awesome was that, for me, she exemplified two things. One was that with God, all things are possible. And two that love is a verb. She was the perfect balance of nurturing love, tough love and unconditional love. My mom wasn't raised by her mother, she was raised by her great aunt. And while she provided the necessities, I think my mom really missed out on that nurturing relationship with her mother. So she really set out to give my sister and I everything that she didn't get. Plus, she had a strong belief in the core Christian values of unconditional love, forgiveness and kindness. And she also balanced that with a healthy dose of spare the rod, spoil the child. You know, even though she wasn't raised by her parents, her dad died when she was 10, my mom made sure that my sister and I always knew that we were loved. She took us places, exposed us to things that many kids our age weren't exposed to - dinners at fancy restaurants, trips to Europe when we were, you know, sophomores in high school. And she knew that if we were going to be successful, we had to learn how to navigate in different environments. We learned about parental sacrifice from my mom in responsibility. When I was nine, she remarried my paranoid schizophrenic father. And after about two months, she knew that she had to make an escape plan. So she packed up, we moved out. And three months later, she had purchased her first home for us to live in and just in time for school to start. And my sister and I were completely oblivious to the stress that she had to be going through, running from an abusive relationship, financing the three months stay in a hotel on a teacher's salary, and basically trusting God that your children were going to be okay because you left them in that hotel every day so you could go to work in the summertime, and also getting a divorce and looking for a house. I can't imagine what that must have been like. And she also taught us that being a good parent extends beyond the grave. When she passed in 2020, she had an ironclad will and that protected us from some nefarious dealings that my stepfather was trying to put into place. But because of what she set up, selling her estate was a legal slam dunk. She was a teacher so education was paramount in our house. You could do a lot of things, but messing up in school was not an option. Matter of fact, she dropped me off for college, her last words to me were "See you in May of 1987. And I don't want no mess." It's not that we didn't have challenging times. Of course we did. But she always actively put her trust in God. And we saw things work out because she put Him first. I could go on and on about my mom, because she was just that kind of awesome. And I really feel so blessed that God gave her to me.
Marsha Clark 6:38
Denise, I think when I hear that description of your mom, I mean, smart, strong, clear, intentional, you know many of the things that we talk about that each of us want to want to represent and be in our own lives. What an amazing story. So thank you very much for that. Thank you. Ann, how about you going next for us?
Ann Anderson 6:59
Yeah, absolutely. So my mother was a military spouse. And if you know, the divorce rate among military spouses is extremely high. And she followed my dad for 20 plus years in his military career and many times he was in other countries without his family. And so one of the things that stands out, I always say she was resilient. I was very young, second grade, we were all packed up going to Crete. The military was moving us to Crete and all of our household goods were on a ship being sent across the ocean, we had all had shots, she packed it all up into the Ford station wagon, with the panels on the side, the wood panels. Were going to travel across country to Indiana and then Texas, and then we're going to fly to Crete. And somewhere on that trip with our one week supply of clothing for each of her four children in herself and her husband, the military decided we should stay in America. And you just imagine a mom with four kids, now she has to shift and pivot which we've all learned. And this is the late 70s. Things didn't operate the way they do now. And I don't think that we ever realized all that she did. She had to put together a whole house of furniture, every single thing we owned was on a ship and it was sitting in a port somewhere else. So talk about resilience. She just, and she always did it gracefully and graciously. We never saw the stress that it caused her. I know that she had to go and get secondhand furniture and she had to, I don't even know how she clothed us for school and got us registered and we found a place to live and just just those things. But she was also a professional woman. She worked almost my entire childhood. I remember her working outside the home. She usually worked in hospitals and she worked shift work so that there was always a parent at home with us. So she would work at night and she would come in in the mornings and get us off to school and sleep. And then she get up, put us to bed in the evening and go to work. And so she just was sacrificial in her love and her care for us. But she also was very open. I don't remember a holiday growing up that we did not have military, single and even married military families that were at our home because she knew how lonely it is to be away from family. So she would always every holiday whether it would even be the weekends she would just open the home. She'd have meals so again, I mean I just think about it myself because I just don't have that gift of of hostessing and hospitality but she would just open the home and she would have meals for them. She would invite them over on weekends. And I know that there are so many that called her mom and called my dad dad and all over the country. We have friends that dad will go and visit now. My mother passed away a few years ago and and just as she got older she, when I said she was professional, and so when I was in high school, she had a, she was working for a company, just she didn't have a big position, but she saw an opportunity for them. And she, it was a staffing agency, and she was able to gain a contract with a big army hospital in Washington state, for the company, just so I always saw that, you know, from her example, that you can just do anything, right, just set your mind to it, and don't give up. So that was on the professional, really. And then at home, obviously, she was resilient, and just this gracious parent, but she also made sure that we had a strong foundation and faith. So we all have a faith based worldview from her example. But the really interesting part is that she really didn't have a strong faith until I was probably in kindergarten. So she had been raising all of us and taking us to church, because of my dad, and because she knew it was right. But she herself didn't have that, that faith herself until I was a little bit older. But she just knew it was so important. And finally, you know, when she was older, she one day said, Oh, I have to go to jail. And I was like, why are you going to jail? Like, why is my mom going to jail. And she was there was a minimum security prison near where they lived. And she and a group of ladies decided that they needed to take hygiene products and just minister to the women in that prison. And so in her later years before dementia set in, and her Alzheimer's, she was, as long as she possibly could, she was going to the prison and and ministering to these ladies, because she just felt this compassion to this compelled to this compassion that she felt. And that is the epitome of what she was to us just this beautiful example of graciousness, resilience, strength, and just caring and openness to for others.
Marsha Clark 11:58
Ann, that's beautiful. And I also think about just the service, the service to her family, the service to the military family, service to the women in the prisons, I mean that, that wanting and willing and making it happen with all things that were going on with, you know, life. So amazing. Amazing. All right, Nibha, tell us about your mom.
Nibha Rastogi Shipman 12:20
So I think the one word that comes to mind when I think of mom is independence. And I think that's just because of the way she lives her life. And the way that she has always encouraged my sister and I to do that. And one of my most favorite stories because I wasn't born then when mom and dad got married, dad was in Liverpool finishing his studies. And mom was still in India, and they met through the traditional arranged marriage. And so mom joined dad in Liverpool, and they continued to live there for 10 years after. And mom is a professional in music and dance. And so she did that in India when she was living here. And she was starting off her career. And so even when she moved to Liverpool, she found a group where they wanted someone to come teach classical Indian dance. And my sister was maybe a year old at that point. And she would, she would have her little carrier, she would get me and my sister and then travel two hours by train to go teach and then come back. And she just never lost sight of passion and independence and just what that meant to her. And so that's one of my most favorite, like when we look at pictures of her on the on the train in like a completely new like continent. And she because we've heard that so often she's always used that as a you know, don't lose sight of what's important to you, like you will be a sister and a friend and a mother and all these other relationships, but you have to take care of yourself first. And also just be independent, whether you're in any in any situation and like you should feel that strength within yourself. And so I think those are two or three memories that are always super special to me. And I remind myself of those, especially as I moved from India to Chicago. And now I'm in Dallas, and I have my house and I'm married and all of those things, but it's just that one theme of my life that I have kept consistent. And so I think that would be my thoughts.
Marsha Clark 14:30
Yes. Thank you. I hear the independence for sure but I also hear a lot of courage to strap babies on and go to places you've never been before. Whether you, the combination of courage and faith associated with that, what a great model she was for all of us. So thank you very much for that. So Jeanne, introduced the listeners to your mom.
Jeanne Patterson 14:53
You know, it's probably difficult for some of this generation to understand how much American life has changed in just the past sixty years. Our country was mostly rural, particularly in the south, and farming was your main way of making a living. My mother would grew up in rural Northeast Mississippi. With the seven children, a sharecropper, my granddad raised cotton and each of his children were expected to help with the crop along with the garden. She actually picked cotton. Those who would come to know my mom were always surprised by her humble beginnings. And after high school, she had an opportunity to go to Mississippi and that's where she met my dad. It was a whirlwind romance. They married three months after meeting. My father had one year left of service there, and then they moved back to his home in West Virginia so he could finish his college degree. I'm sure it helped that my mother knew her best hope for a better life was to move away from the home she had known to be with a man in the process of bettering himself by getting his college degree. But can you imagine moving so far away from all your family and friends, where you only knew my dad, and with an infant? Very gutsy. And yet remember, this was, you know, in the 50s and telephone long distance was expensive and you just didn't work, didn't have a phone in your pocket where you call anybody. I'm still amazed how she navigated raising a child without an extended family around to help. My mom was a kind and generous woman and she made friends easily. They always seem to want to give her a hand if she needed it. While in college, my dad had a terrible automobile accident and expected to be hospitalized for three months. My mom, I really marvel at how she dealt with it. He didn't drive yet. And here she was alone. That must have been extremely frightening. After dad's graduation, he accepted a job in Ohio. So here we go, moved to a new town where we didn't know anyone. But then dad decided he needed this master's after being accepted to Texas. Up we go to Austin. Master's in hand, he accepted a job at Hispanic College. We made our last move as a family. And this is where my mom really began. So in just seven years of her married life she relocated five times. In Texarkana, she finally learned to drive and she got her first full time job. That job was a turning point in my mom's life. It was in the title office, and she recognized real estate makes a great profession. So with the support of my dad, she thought her real estate license, was offered a job at a mortgage company. This proved to be a real call. It soon became mortgage loan officer at one of the big banks there. This was in the early '70s and at that time, you know, women if they were married, they couldn't buy a house. They couldn't buy a car unless their husband signed off. Crazy. Anyway, she thrived with this profession recruited by the competition numerous times. Actually, one of those times is what caused her to move to Tyler near Texarkana where she lived the rest of her life. I'm just so proud of her for managing money. So definitely, definitely a role model.
Marsha Clark 18:23
Oh, no, I can relate to that. I graduated high school in '70 and got my first credit card in '72 because my college roommate's uncle worked at the oil company and was willing to, you know, give me one. So I do remember when women couldn't get things in their names. And it was a much harder time and with a great appreciation for how far we've come and how hard we have to work to hold on to it. So a great story, Jeanne. Thank you very much. And Jane, you're gonna close out on this particular question. And I love your story. It's a part of what was the inspiration for us, how we designed this particular podcast. So share with our listeners about your mom.
Jane Cocking 19:07
I love sharing about my mom. So I'm gonna start at the end and work backwards in her life because of how this came about, this being here today for me. So when my mother was 80, and she passed away when she was 82, when she was 80 she had her first heart attack. And I was with her in the hospital when she had it. And the day after she sat up in bed and she said, Jane, I have to write my book. Will you help me? And I thought, well, I've never written a book either. This is before computers, before all of the technology that we have now. So I said yeah, you know, yes, I will help you. So her book is called "Don't Bother Me Now. I'm Fighting a War" and it is about the journey of a little girl in World War I because she was was born in 1910 so she was four when World War I broke out, and her journey as a young wife and mother in World War II and the story came from when she went to visit my dad at the beginning of World War II and he was digging trenches somewhere outside London. And she said, Well, what am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to evacuate two children? (Not me by then.) Am I supposed to evacuate? Am I supposed to stay here and work? How am I going to feed everybody? And he said, "Don't bother me now. I'm fighting a war" as he was digging his trenches. So that was the title. And the book has just been typed up by someone that you know, Marsha, Nancy Long. So shout out to her. So I now have an electronic version of that book which I'm thrilled about. (That's wonderful.) So the quality that I want to shine a light on with my mother is adventurous and a pioneer. So as I said, she was born in 1910. And she was born in the middle of England in a brewery town and her dad worked for the railway and her mom was a stay at home mom. My mom decided quite early on that she wanted to go to college, which for her age group was virtually impossible, you know, and the class system in England at that time. So she went to Teachers Training College, became a teacher. And then she moved from this small brewery town to the big city of London, to become the teacher that she always wanted to be. She met my dad, got married, they had my sister. And my mother after staying home, this is the pioneer part, decided that staying home really was not working for her. She was not using her qualifications. So my grandparents kept my sister and my mom went back to work, which was very against the times, as I said, so the patent in her life, she always did things before they became the norm.
So other things that I can think of that my mother did that showed this adventurous and pioneer spirit, when I was about eight, this would have been in like '54, '55, she took the Trans Siberian Railway from England to Moscow all by herself because she just wanted to do that it was a goal of hers. And so she set off by rail, had all kinds of adventures along the way. And not only did she do the trip, but she met with a reporter afterward. And the story was written up in a national British magazine. I still have that article about her trip. She also took me when I was 11. So that would have been like '58. We sailed from England to Canada, which was about a week, which you know, cruising wasn't a thing then, to stay with family in Canada. And then we, because she was only allowed to take 100 pounds out because of the currency rules at that time, she wrapped up extra money in something like a Lifesavers candy tube. It was called Polos at the time, so that she had a little bit of extra money above that 100 pounds. We took the Greyhound bus to Canada, from Canada, excuse me to New York where we stayed with her friend. And nobody else I knew was doing things like that or having trips like that. She, other places she went down the Amazon before it was a thing, she went to China with a group of Australian teachers, she went to Outer Mongolia and stayed in a yurt, no first class hotels for my mom. She went to India on third class railway, which was quite an unusual trip for a British lady. She emigrated to Australia from the UK at her age of 60 because she didn't like the way England was going. And then she moved from England to the United States to be near us. So she spent the last 17 years of her life here. She joined Toastmasters in Australia and here and she came second in the world in her in the speech contest, and the speech was called the Americanization of Monica. And it was hysterical. It was just really, really funny. And then again, you know, she wrote the book at age 80. So when I was a little girl, I always thought I wanted a mom who stayed home who bake cakes and you know cookies or biscuits in England as we call them, and was like this always nurturing, always available mom. And that wasn't the man that God chose to give me. I got this adventurous, pioneering woman who was very loving in her own way, and especially with experiences, and I really grew to appreciate who she was and not who I wanted, thought I wanted her to be. In actuality, I would not have traded her for anything for she was absolutely an amazing woman.
Marsha Clark 25:18
So yes, Jane, I remember reading that book many, many years ago, when we first became introduced and getting to know each other. And it is a wonderful book. And I just think about all the things that are running through the stories, everything from teachers to dancers to business women to farmers to, you know, stay at home moms for a while, and then, and yet, the one thing that I see running through all of that is, if something needed to happen, they made it happen. They were clear about who they were, not who their kids wanted them to be thinking about your story, but who they were. And they stood in that with such strength and resolve. And, again, I go back to the word courageous, and the independence and the result, the resilience. So what an amazing stories, Wendi, anything that you want to add?
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 26:14
Yes, as everyone was telling their story, I wrote down a list. So I'm going to read the list of the themes that came out from all these ladies: safe, unconditional love, navigating different environments, shifting pivoting skills, resilience, grace, sacrificial service, hospitable and welcoming, the theme that you can do anything, but don't lose sight of what's important, take care of yourself first, be independent, have courage, bravery, adventurous and pioneering. Those words came out in all of your stories. And I think that's beautiful. I think those are beautiful themes for Mother's Day.
Marsha Clark 27:03
You know, I say a great thank you for capturing that. And let's make that a part of the description.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 27:13
Absolutely, absolutely. So my next question is, for each of you, how has your mom influenced your choices and shaped the woman you are today? And I'm gonna start with Nibha.
Nibha Rastogi Shipman 27:25
I think so I'm kind of funny only from because my mom was always in front of an audience, given her background and music and dance and how she always performed, she was so, it was so specific. She always needed to look a certain way and carry yourself a certain way because she was used to people watching her. And so even though she never forced my sister or me into just a certain way, or, you know, present a certain way, she was, she always was like, you should feel good about yourself. So make sure you're not in your pajamas all day. Because she kept saying that over and over again. I think. I mean, when we were kids, we were just like, Mom, you don't even know everyone always hangs out in pajamas. Like that's the cool thing to do. And she would be like, Absolutely not. While we tried to fight it when we were younger, as we've grown into adults now both of us purposes, and I will be very particular about you know, if whether we're expecting someone at home, or we may have to run out even the grocery store, whatever it is, but what we're just a little bit presentable, even if not all the way. And so I think that is one thing that's been a theme that I think I've picked up from my mom and has shaped me as the person I am. And sometimes I pass it on to my husband. And if he's wearing a sweatshirt that just looks unwashed, I'll just be like, Kyle, you can't go out in that. And he's like, I'm literally going to fill gas. And I was like, no one cares. Please put on a better shirt. And so I try. I try to pass it down to my family. They resist me. So I understand what my mom went through. But my sister and I listened to her. But I think that's a little bit of my mom that I've got with me.
Marsha Clark 29:15
Nibha, I just have to tell you this. So someone sent me a little cartoon the other day and it said, "Yes, men think they wear the pants in the family but it's the wife that told them what pants to wear." When you tell them story that cartoon comes back into my head, that's lovely. Thank you very much.
Jeanne Patterson 29:33
What my mother did was show me the importance of finding your tribe. She was single last 40 years of her life and she was a master at having a circle of friends she could depend on and that also depended on her. as they got older, they learned to check on each other. If one of them hadn't heard from that one of them, they would immediately investigate. She lived two hours from me and my brother. We really appreciated this and this was an actual real lifesaver for my mom. She had a massive stroke. Like getting up one morning, several of her friends had been chatting and commented I hadn't heard from Klein, that's my mom's name, immediately went to her home and found her laying beside her bed. They immediately called 911 and she survived, quick action. And as women, it's so easy to get caught up in the lives of our families, or stresses of our work, our aging parents. We often overlook the importance of having a strong social network of friends, building new friendships and keeping close friendships does take time. I really think it's important that we make an effort to, you know, schedule that, making that time, you know, because after all, laundry can always wait.
Marsha Clark 30:55
That's right. Jeanne, I think that's wonderful. You know, there's lots of research being done that says the key to long life, the key to good health, the key to happiness, all of those things, is strong relationships and having people around you that you care about, and they care about you. And you're right. When you look at what's really going to matter in the long run, it's not whether you got laundry down on Tuesday versus Wednesday. So good for your mom. And what a great lesson to learn from her.
Denise Kirkman 31:22
The thing about my mom that I carry with me was that she always encouraged us to try. She wanted us to be able to move past the doubt and the fear and just do it. She was saying things like nothing beats a failure but a trial or, you know, encourage us to never let anyone tell you what you can't do. The biggest thing for me was that she told us that we could'nt go to school in New Jersey where we grew up. And I can't even tell you how that shaped me as a young adult. She encouraged me not to be afraid of what I didn't know, but to embrace new beginnings, and not expecting things to be perfect, but to always learn along the way so that we could make things better. I think that's what encouraged my sister to decide that she wanted to go to graduate school, even though she had an undergrad GPA of 2.1. But she tried, she killed her GMAT. And she got into Carnegie Mellon, and got her master's degree from Carnegie Mellon. And now she's got a PhD from Rutgers. And she's an associate professor at University of Houston because she didn't give up. And she didn't allow those things in her life that were less than perfect to keep her from going. My mother was a big cheerleader, and a champion for us. I think also that she had that unshakable faith in God that I mentioned earlier. And it's helped me through many times when I just couldn't see how things were going to happen. And parenting is one of those things that will absolutely cause you to throw your hands up and be like, I have no idea. But it's also made me happy to know that there's a place I can go and lay my burdens down. And so those are the two biggest things really, that I carry with me.
Marsha Clark 33:23
I think about we all are ready at different stages. And even that GPA as an undergrad is not going to keep us from coming into our own when our time is right. That's amazing. That's amazing. Jane, how about you next and then, of course, Ann.
Jane Cocking 33:40
I think it goes along with the pioneering and adventurous, her encouraging that in me as well. She didn't do the same with my sister and brother, which is interesting, but they were very much a different generation than me. But so you know, things that mom encouraged me to do, when I was 13, I spoke a little bit of French and the school had a trip to France where you lived with a family for three weeks by yourself. And I went to France by myself on the train and the boat and stayed with a French family for three weeks, which now I think about it, it's like oh my gosh, I was only 13 and I did that, but I did. And she encouraged it. And I went every summer to France to stay with that same family, you know, by myself. When I left high school, I had the opportunity to go to France again as an au pair and live with a family. So I was 17 and again, branching out not by going to university at that time, but by going to live with this family. And at 19 this is the really big one that my mother didn't blink an eye at, at least to me, was I met my husband and he got the offer to come to the United States because we were obviously both English to start professional soccer in Atlanta, and so we got married at 19 and 22 and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, which was a huge adventure. And I think of myself, you know, having grown children now, but how would I have been at 19? You know, they did go off to college, but it was only a few hours away. But she really encouraged me to spread my wings and take risks, and, you know, was always supportive of the choices that I made as a woman, you know, to go back to work, and she, she actually kept my kids at that time, so I could go back to work and go back to school. So she was, you know, very supportive. And that, you know, I go back to what I said at the beginning about, you know, I rather wanted a mom that stayed home and make cakes. When, when my son graduated from high school, my oldest son, John, I said to him, I was carrying some guilt around and I said, you know, I'm so sorry that I wasn't always there. And he said, Well, what do you think you should have been doing? I said, Well, baking cakes or something. And, and he said, Just get rid of that, okay?
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 36:08
Just get rid of it.
Marsha Clark 36:12
Yeah, no, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt.
Jane Cocking 36:17
So yeah, that adventurousness, you know, was really passed down to me.
Marsha Clark 36:23
That's what I was gonna say. I, you know, we carry guilt because we're not at every single thing. And I think about, you know, mothers that work at night so when the dads are home, while the dads work in the day, while the mom said, I mean, all the things, the choices that we make in support of our parenting, or our mothering or, you know, whatever you want to call that, and the guilt we carry around and it's our stuff, it's how we feel about it more so than how it's really impacting, you know, our children. And I do see that pioneering and adventuring that your mom passed on to you. It was clear from your stories and what I know about your life. So, Ann?
Ann Anderson 37:04
My mother, so with everything she did, I think the one thing that comes out, there's two things, but the first is independence. So she encouraged independence in all three of her daughters, and very strong willed much to the chagrin of our spouses, probably. If they say it can't be done, we're like, no, we'll just figure it out. We'll make that happen. But I will never forget when I was in my early 20s and I called her with a kind of a professional question. I really needed some advice. And she listened. And at the end, I said, Well, Mom, what should I do? And she said, You know, I can't make that decision for you. You need to make that for yourself. And she was like, but I'm gonna pray for you and hope you make the right decision. And that was kind of the end of the conversation. And I hung up the phone just appalled. I was like, well, I called my sister. Mom was supposed to tell me what to do. And she was like, No, she wasn't. But it was just encouraging that independence. And I know that it was probably a pivotal point in my life. And she was just letting me spread my wings and push me along in the right direction. One of her favorite Bible verses says, Whatever state I am, I have learned to be content. And she kind of was really, you know, she kind of said, tongue in cheek, like whether I'm in Texas or Washington I'll be content. But she always told us that she says whether you're in that was really where it came back to, you know, she said, you know, doesn't matter what you're doing professionally, whether you're the if you're a trash collector, be the best trash collector, if you're a VP of a company, be the best VP, treat your people right. But it was just that learning contentment in all states and all facets of your life, but also the independence and I think that is something that I've really kind of pushed on to my children. They jokingly say, you're not the nurturer, mom, when we're sick, you're not Florence Nightingale, you're not like warming my blanket or whatever, you know, you make sure we have what we need. But I feel like that's our job too. Right? My job is to make sure my children are independent, and they can be all they are meant to be. So yeah, that was the big thing, independence and contentment. They're beautiful together.
Marsha Clark 39:19
You know, I love that, you know, this idea of she's supposed to give you the answer. You know, one of the things I teach in leadership is that somebody comes to you and wants to know what they should do you say, Well, what would you do? And they might say something like Well, I don't know. If I knew I wouldn't have come and asked you about it. And so then my follow up question which people and it sounds crazy the first time I hear it, but I've used it now for years and it works. If you didn't know what would you do, and they always, there's always something there, right? I mean, but it's like we need that affirmation versus, I got this, which is where the independence that you're talking about comes from and I agree with you it is our job to create self sufficient, self reliant adults. So way to go, Ann! All right. Well, Wendi, I think you've got the last question for us.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 40:09
Yes. We've saved the best one for last. It's a fun one. Very quickly. What is one thing your mom did or does where you very deliberately have chosen not to follow in her footsteps, and why? So, Jeanne, would you like to share?
Jeanne Patterson 40:28
Sure. I'll go first. No, this is a tough question. Off the top of my head, I have to say that my mother and I spent time together as adults. She had a habit of saying, Jeannie, remind me to do so and so. And I just roll my eyes and cringe. Not sure why, but for some reason, I found this really annoying... I'm sure most of you will agree that sometimes our parents could be annoying. But anyway, a few years back, my husband and I were out running errands. And I turned to him and said, "Remind me to water the plants when we get home." I immediately froze. And he laughed and said, Okay, fine. I'm thinking, Oh, my God, it's my mother. Anyway, since that time, I freeze when I start to say that statement. But isn't it amazing how we pick up the strangest habits from parents. But now that she's gone, I'd love to hear her say it today. And I just probably would say, "Sure."
Marsha Clark 41:29
That's precious. That's really precious.
Jane Cocking 41:31
So the one characteristic that I'm very intentional about but find myself wanting to do is when my mom got really angry, she did not talk. She did not talk to me, my dad, my brother, sister, friends, nobody. She just went silent, silent. And as a kid, it was absolutely terrifying. And even as a young adult, she could not find the words to express how she was feeling. Part of it is the generation or the generation that she was on the culture. So I very intentionally have learned how to deal with conflict in my own life. That doesn't mean that sometimes I don't go silent, but it's usually intentional, I have to walk away and figure myself out. But hers extended to she would write, write people off, you know, a couple of people friends that she just would have nothing to do with anymore. She went silent, you know, forever. And I did not like that trait about her. And as I was able, before she died have a wonderful conversation with a minister and my mom about that trait, and about what goes on with her. So I feel like I got an, you know, an ending that that I needed on that characteristic. So I work really hard on that, on not going radio silent.
Marsha Clark 42:53
The coping mechanisms that I think they do shift from generation to generation in what's available to us, or what's accepted or what is the willingness of others in the kinds of support that we need. That's, I appreciate that, Jane. Thank you very much.
Denise Kirkman 43:11
The thing that I have definitely not followed my mom down the path on was her devotion to maintaining deference to her spouse as the head of household. I don't fix plates. I don't wait on you hand and foot. Dinner is served on the table. You can take, you can fix your own plate. And my sister is the same way. My mom didn't pick men who cherished her in that relationship the way she did. So I'm always on high alert for somebody having a need for a woman to be self subservient. And that's probably why I'm single after two marriages, but I just haven't learned the skill of the ego stroke. And so my mom was great at it. I think because I saw it wasn't an even relationship, it really has impacted me at a really deep level. But that was something that I was like, Fix your plate? You couldn't possibly be talking to me. You are talking to the wrong one, baby, on that.
Marsha Clark 44:26
You know, I will tell you anecdotally, Denise, that the women that I work with in so much of the programs and coaching that I do, they either marry their dads because their dads were good husbands, or they marry the opposite of their dads because of some of the things that you're describing, and it seems like it goes into and that's just anecdotally, but it seems like it goes in those two extreme directions and it's fascinating to hear. And you know, it's where do young boys learn how to be good husbands and fathers? It's from the major male in their lives, which is often the father and sometimes an uncle or a grandfather or something along those lines. But it's big. That's important.
Nibha Rastogi Shipman 45:08
Jane, I want to say your mom and my mom in another life are probably friends. Because your mom sounds so much like mine, she can be so passive aggressive. I love her to pieces. But if something doesn't go my mom's way, she will just stop talking to you. And she will not apologize. Like she will apologize in her actions, or she'll just start talking to you. But she'll never say sorry. And it's our most and least favorite thing about her because she will, we'll talk about something, we'll disagree. She knows she's wrong. She won't say sorry. I'll keep waiting for it. I'll keep being like mom, mom, mom. And she's like, Yeah, so then how was your day? And how are y'all settling in a bit like the hard left and she won't say sorry. So that is one of the things that I try not to do. But the one because she always needed to know what was happening and like if we had guests over, who didn't like hearing her and be like, We'll be there in an hour. And she wanted to make sure that the pillows were okay, the cushions were okay that everything was in its place. And so she would get really rattled if someone just walked in. And I see myself sometimes like that, where I'm just like, don't just walk into my house and give me at least 10 minutes. And I was very much the opposite my husband who loves to just like invite people over whenever. And so it does force us to keep our surroundings and a house cleaner all time and be presentable. But there are times when I'm just lounging and like a heads up would be nice. And so I'm trying to be more nimble with like having people over or just entertaining.
Marsha Clark 46:52
Yeah, our homes represent us, right. I mean, that's the I think that's the way many women think. And so we want it to represent us well. And those impromptu moments don't always lend themselves to that. So thank you, Nibha. And, Ann, again, you are up.
Ann Anderson 47:09
Alright. Well, thank you. And I love listening to all of you ladies. I have to say you're making me laugh and enjoy this morning. My mom, though she and I, I'm the youngest of four, and we became great friends after everyone else got married and left home, which was my pleasure. So it's, it's I hate saying there's not like a character trait that I don't intentionally want to do. But I will tell you, she did a thing. Her mother made afghans for everybody when they graduated from high school and college. And then when her mother no longer could, my mom started doing that. And she made beautiful afghans and she was always knitting these afghans. There's no way I'm picking up and doing the afghans, not going to sit and I mean, she made she always had her little knitting bag because she was constantly making these afghans because people were always graduating from college and high school. There's so many kids. And so it's something there's no way I was going to do it. I tried. I really did. I thought someone has to carry on the tradition. No, we just don't. I mean, we all love our afghans, but I mean, no one uses them any more. That's it. It's the knitting. I won't do it.
Marsha Clark 48:26
Well, I you know what this is where I have, I have friends who have church groups who knit, you know, the blankets for babies and all that kind of stuff and give it out to the new baby. So you can outsource it to one of those. That's the business woman in me talking and allows the tradition to continue in some form. Well, I just want to say that this has been amazing. And, you know, I know we've got so many stories that we can continue on this for several hours. But I just want to thank each and every one of you. And, you know, we know that women learn oftentimes through stories, the sharing of stories, being in relationship, knowing that you have experiences. I loved your comment, Nibha, to Jane about I think your mother and my mother would be friends somewhere because we can connect in those ways. And you know, having mothers, being mothers is a part of who we are, who we are, our identity in some shape, form or fashion. And sharing our stories is a way to keep memories alive, to keep love alive, to keep traditions alive (or not, Ann, in your case) and those are gifts that we can give to our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. I'm in the age category where my high school friends are now starting to become great grandmothers. It's precious. So I just want to thank each and every one of you for sharing your stories, not only with us and each other today but with our listeners. So thank you very much.
Wendi McGowan-Ellis 50:02
Absolutely. I totally agree, Marsha. This has been a fun and very uplifting episode. And I thank you all for being on the show today. We so appreciate hearing about you and all of your awesome moms. So thank you, listeners, for also joining us today on our journey of authentic, powerful leadership. Please continue to download, subscribe and share this podcast from wherever you like to listen. Visit Marsha's website at marshaclarkandassociates.com, check out her book "Embracing Your Power". Several of our guests today talked about the Power of Self Program and the book. And Marsha, I'll let you close this out.
Marsha Clark 50:46
Yeah, yeah, I do. One of you in your stories talked about you have a tribe. I think Jane, you were talking about the power of friendships and people that you can rely on. And I do think that as mothers we can support one another as mothers, we can support each other as business women, we can support each other as teachers and nurses and you know, wives and stay at home moms and whatever choice that women are able to make in today's world. And today is no exception with the importance of how we often close our podcasts, which is "Here's to women supporting women!"
Transcribed by https://otter.ai