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Podcast Transcript

Honoring Mothers

Marsha Clark  0:10  
Welcome to "Your Authentic Path to Powerful Leadership" with Marsha Clark, where we believe there's a better way to be a woman today, with research tools, books, and our own personal experiences. Join us on this journey because in every episode we're uncovering what it actually takes to be a powerful woman leader. And today's episode is a huge treat, because it's about to be Mother's Day. And so Marsha is leading this episode called "Honoring Mothers". Marsha, I'm gonna let you take it over.

Well,  thank you very much, Wendi, and welcome to all of our guests. And gosh, how could you be a supporter of women and not do something special for Mother's Day? I mean, that would just seem sacrilegious to me. So I have three guests today, because you know what, there's all different kinds of mothers and moms and grandmothers, and stepmothers, and godmothers and all of the above. So, this is a first for us to have four of us on the podcast at one time, and we're gonna see how this goes. We wanted to do something because I can't think of a better way to celebrate mothers and Mother's Day than to invite three of my favorite people. And I'm looking at all three of them and their beautiful faces, to really join me as we talk about our own experiences as mothers, the joys, the challenges, some lessons learned and to share that with our listeners. So ladies, welcome to the podcast.

Claire Clark  1:40  
Thank you.

Tracie Shipman  1:41  
Thank you.

Marsha Clark  1:45  
So I'd like to ask each of you to introduce yourself and then to briefly share how the two of us are connected. I know all four of us are connected and we'll talk about that. So Tracie, let me ask you to go first. We have first up, Tracie Shipman.

Tracie Shipman  2:01  
Thank you. So I am, as Marsha said, Tracie Shipman and I am connected to Marsha from a long, long time ago. We used to work at Electronic Data Systems together. And then when she and I left with this the same year 1999, I helped run the Power of Self Program. I helped write the Imposter Phenomenon chapter in the book and also help with the podcast. So that's how we know each other.

Marsha Clark  2:28  
We do know each other for a very long time. And you've heard me speak about people that we know, love and trust and Tracie certainly falls into that very wonderful circle of friends. All right, so Claire, Claire Clark. Tell me, how do we know each other?

Claire Clark  2:44  
Hey, Marsha. Yeah, I'm Claire Clark, and I am a business consultant with Southwest Airlines. I'm also a former employee of Marcia Clark and Associates, proudly, and Marsha's daughter-in-law.

Marsha Clark  2:57  
Ah, yeah, the best part. Thank you, Claire. And Amy, how about you? Amy Rojas.

Amy Rojas  3:06  
Yes, thank you. So, Marsha, you and I have known each other going on 10 years now though it feels like I've known you my whole life. So and I'm pleased to be able to say that. I worked with Marsha originally in a previous corporate job that I had, where she came in to do some great leadership development work for us and we kind of got to know each other. And then I left that environment to start another entrepreneurial coaching and leadership development consulting practice of my own. And I hired Marsha as my coach to help me through my transition and my plan and what I was going to do going forward and we just became fast friends and have worked together ever since. And I also worked for the Power of Self Program and am a proud graduate of said program. And now I am back in corporate America as a global head of HR for a multinational corporation. So back in corporate, that's part of my story we'll get to later.

Marsha Clark  3:59  
There you go. There you go. Well, thank you all for being here. And let's kick off our exploration of motherhood. We want to give everyone some context of your personal motherhood story. So not only are the three of you amongst my very best friends, and Claire, that includes you. You are one of my very best friends and colleagues. But each of you has your own unique motherhood experience to share. So let's do another quick round and give everyone a snapshot of your story. So this time, Amy, we'll start with you.

Amy Rojas  4:32  
Absolutely. I'm glad to start. So as I sort of alluded to a minute ago, I have spent many, many years in corporate world being an executive and working through, as they say, kind of grew up around, sideways, down, the corporate ladder on various different rungs, and spent a lot of time traveling the world. I've lived in Switzerland and lived in England, and in some ways you could say that I was somewhat married to my career having a fantastic time, really doing amazing things in great big, huge, interesting companies. And I reached a point where I kind of looked up and said, Gosh, I've been so busy working, I haven't really settled down. And the one thing I wanted more than anything was to become a mom. At the time, I wasn't in a relationship or in a situation where I would be married and have a child of my own. And so I made the decision to adopt a child on my own, and it was the most exciting thing I ever decided. Part of my mothering story is as I made that decision, and at the time, I was living in Switzerland which is a whole other story because they couldn't imagine a single woman adopting in Switzerland, so that was a little bit of the story. But I called my mother to tell her that I wanted to adopt a child and coming from the generation she did, the very first thing out of her mouth was "You'll have to quit your job". I found it so fascinating that she did not imagine a way that I could be a single mom and also be an executive, as I was sitting in some airline lounge in some airport somewhere in the world. It just didn't connect for her. So at that moment I decided well, I can be and I will be and I have been, and it's been fantastic. And there have been all sorts of roller coaster steps here, there and everywhere. But it is the best decision I ever made. And and I'm thrilled to have shown that you really can, you really can do it all if you want to.

Marsha Clark  6:24  
And I mean, just to be clear, so your beautiful daughter is now 11?

Amy Rojas  6:28  
11. 11 and a half in a week, she will tell you.

Marsha Clark  6:32  
11 and a half going on whatever they're going on -  21, 25, whatever that might be. What a beautiful story. And I love the contrast that you offered up about your mom, "Well, clearly you have to quit your job if you're going to be a mom."  And yet we know that that's a very different story for mothers in the world today. So thank you for that. Tracie, how about you? You've got another interesting twist on motherhood.

Tracie Shipman  6:57  
I do, I do. Well, so I had a practice marriage, as I like to describe my first marriage. And but from that I have two amazing sons, Cole and Zach. And so then gosh in 2004, I met somebody we were very involved in community stuff together. And we ended up getting married, he also had two sons. And so we blended that family. At that time, the blending was two nine year olds, basically an 11 year old and a 12 year old, all boys going basically through that timeframe together.

Marsha Clark  6:57  
And you're still living here to tell us about it.

Tracie Shipman  6:59  
I lived to tell the tale. Yes there, and it was I mean there was a lot of oh my gosh, driving around the neighborhood, you know, pounding fists on my steering wheel. There was a lot of frustration going on. So the blending, Spencer and I my youngest stepson, he and I have come a very long way. But he had ADHD and I had never dealt with a child with ADHD. And so Tyler, his older brother, was used to it right? He was the oldest, he was responsible, he knew the whole way of navigating Spencer. But my boys did not. And so my boys, I mean, they still had their own, you know, dynamic as brothers and all the boy tumbling that would go on. And you know, we had our own drama. And then we bring Spencer into the drama and poor Tyler, who's now no longer the oldest, he has this older quote unquote, "brother". I mean, it was just a hot mess. But, you know, Keith and I were united, we had a plan, most of the time it worked. And now fast forward, you know, 18 years and they are best friends. Three of the four live here in the area. And you know, they hang out together. So it's worked out really, really well. If you had asked me 15 years ago if it was going to look like this, I would have never predicted it. But you know, it's been amazing.

Marsha Clark  9:14  
Well, and you talk about your house is kind of like the UN right. You've got lots of different backgrounds that have continued to join your family.

Tracie Shipman  9:24  
Right. Yeah. So all the plus ones, I mean, now that they're all grown up, everybody has these amazing plus ones. So my oldest Cole, married a girl here from Frisco and she's Latina, from Nicaragua. But she grew up here and then they have a beautiful little girl who is just I mean, amazing, of course two year old. So that's fun. And then Tyler met and married a beautiful woman from basically from Mumbai. So she's lived in the States here a few years but they met in DC. So I have Nicaragua, I have Mumbai you know. I have then Hannah, who is is basically from Nederland, Texas. She's sometimes the most exotic one in the whole family. So she brings in just another whole set of amazing people into the mix. And then Zach, his boyfriend now fiance Dylan, is also from Texas. So he's born and raised Texan. So it's just, it's like a little mini UN and it's a blast to have them all together.

Claire Clark  10:32  
Love, love, love it. All right, Claire. I kind of know your story, but our listeners don't. So please share your story.

Yeah, absolutely. So I have three beautiful children. We are in the still early years of parenthood. Georgia is nine, Jackson is seven and Margaret is three, three and a half or half three as she calls it. And you know, it's funny, I was thinking back to when Brent and I, my husband and I got married, and I pictured being a stay-at-home mom, like my mom was. I'm one of four and watched a big family and I was gonna do everything like she did. And it was a couple years into parenthood, when I realized what if that's not for me and took a more corporate path for my career, and really for our family's life and parenthood, certainly impacts all around. So we are in the throes of all things young kids - sports, curriculars and report cards and all the joys.

Marsha Clark  10:56  
Yes, well, and I just think about, you know, since Claire's husband is my son, I have told him many times, I was a better mother as a working mother because when I'm all in, I'm all in and I would have totally smothered him with all things motherhood. So it's probably good that I kind of had a way to, you know, spread my all things again. And you know, I'd like to just share with our listeners today, you know I've moved on to the place of being a mother-in-law and being a grandmother. And I know when Dale and I talked about what it meant to be in-laws, and this goes back some ways it was gonna be, we really thought we wanted to be intentional about all of that, you know, thinking about they're not our kids anymore. How do we, you know, build the relationship on an adult level, adult to adult not parent to child, and that sort of thing, and not putting our nose in their business and not telling them what to do. And, you know, all of those kinds of things. And so the thought there was about being intentional. And the other one thing I want to say about being a grandmother is, you know, people always say, "Oh, it's so great to be a grandparent. You get to give them back at the end of the day." And I just look at that and I never related to that. And now I go no, that has nothing to do with it. I'd keep them all the time if I could, you know kind of thing. But then here's what I see is the difference. When you're a parent, and Claire you're smack dab in the middle of it and Amy you are too with an 11 year old, you're trying to shape and nudge and form and influence and make sure that they're doing all the things right and doing well in school and, you know, being kind people to their friends and you know, being good sports and...

Tracie Shipman  13:41  
Yeah. When it's four boys, you're just trying to keep them alive.

Marsha Clark  13:45  
Well, that's true. That part's true too. When you're a grandparent, it's kind of the get behind them and whatever they want to be. I mean if you want to be the grocery store checker, if you want to be you know, an artist, if you want to be a doctor, a teacher, a pro sport, just yay be whatever it is you're gonna be. Be the very best that you can be. And to me, that's one of the biggest differences, and I don't diminish the sense of responsibility that we have as parents by any stretch of the imagination. It's huge. I just want to say when you're a grandparent, there's less of that pressure and stress on you because you want to teach values and you want to model good parenting and grandparenting and all of that adulting, as you would. And yet I don't know, there's just something that says, I don't care. Just come give me a hug, sit on my lap. You know, let's have some fun. And I did intentionally choose to be the rowdy grandma and Claire can tell you I probably starred in that role pretty well. So as we dig into this topic a little bit deeper on honoring mothers let's go back in time, and I'd love to hear from each of you to share one of your favorite lessons learned from a mother in your life and maybe it was a mother or a grandmother just a wise woman you might have known. So, Claire, let's let you go first on this one.

Claire Clark  15:07  
Yeah, absolutely. So I've had I mean, my mother has been incredibly influential in my life. And I've had a handful of other really incredible and strong examples of women and mothers. I think back to one of the most influential moments or lessons, it's kind of in relation to my mother and the stepmother I had as a young child. Both my mom and Jo, my stepmom at the time, were and are avid readers. And, you know, they led by example there in a time early on, where I couldn't care less about reading. I wanted to watch cartoons, and you know, I'm not like my daughter. But, anytime my mom had a free moment, which wasn't much with a family of four kids, she was reading and she read next to me and read to me. And you know, Jo read with me and to me and around me, and it was just always books. And I didn't know at the time, and really not until recently in watching our oldest Georgia start to dive into books, how impactful that behavior was for me.  I eventually picked up books with them and started to read and love and devour books, too. And I'm watching that with our nine year old Georgia. And  she's at any moment reading three books at a time. I mean, she just can't get enough of it. And hearing her tell back stories and the topics she's exposed to, and the lessons that she's learning in the culture as she's learning about. It's incredible. And I'm getting like a whole new appreciation for one, what you can learn from reading books, and then two, what I learned from watching my mom and stepmom be that strong example of taking in information and getting to know outside perspectives and all that good stuff. So I love that about them and I super appreciate that about them.

Marsha Clark  17:21  
Well, I love that too. You know I do and I think about the vocabulary, the context that they begin to understand. And I too was a reader. I was one of those that was like underneath the covers with a flashlight after I was supposed to be asleep. And I mean, I just think that opens up so many worlds that you know, you can't get any other way. So I love that story. Claire, thank you for that. Tracie, how about you?

Tracie Shipman  17:49  
Well, first of all the love of books, I did know that with my mom especially and she really embedded that in me as well, the whole going to the library, all of that. I would say so  my mom's mother was this kind of anti-grandma in that way. So not so much a rebel, but she was very outdoorsy, you know, she was a fisherwoman, she hunted, she was the wife of a Representative. I mean, she was just this really unique character in a lot of ways and ended up literally saving a man's life. He was drowning while she's fishing. She sees this guy almost drown, so she jumps into this river and saved his life. And, I mean, so she was this like, just literally bigger-than-life kind of character. And that influenced me in the sense that not all grandmas come in the same size, same kind of package. But I would also say the influence my mom had on me about being resourceful because we didn't have a lot of money growing up. And that woman, I mean, she truly was the woman who would go upstairs in the attic and pull down, you know, like the most ridiculous outfits and then within three hours have three homemade Halloween costumes that looked like nothing anybody else had which, you know, when you're nine was a little mortifying because I wanted the little you know, plastic cape and plastic mask from  the T Way or whatever store it was that they sold that kind of crap. But you know, I would go to school for Halloween with this elaborate costume handmade because my mother had gone upstairs to scrap and scavenge. And so the resourcefulness, the creativity, that's the kind of stuff that really inspired me with my mom. And she was also very inclusive. She was the person who if somebody new came to the school, it was like she collected unique people. And so she was there instant, she was the welcoming committee. When nobody else wanted to talk to them, she was the first one over there to make them feel warm and welcome. So that's another thing I got from my mom.

Marsha Clark  20:17  
What a lovely story. I see you,Tracie, as one of the most creative people I know. And so when I hear that story about your mom being resourceful, the creative part stands out for me as I think of what I see of her in you. So lovely, lovely. Yes. Amy, how about you?

Amy Rojas  20:37  
No, I have to play off of Tracie for just a second because I think the whole notion of resourcefulness has come through to me in a million different ways. I've just been surrounded by very accomplished and smart women. My aunt was a studio executive in Hollywood, and my grandmother had six children, who she had three of her own and then lost her husband and got remarried. So she had her own version of Brady Bunch at a very young age and had to figure that out and was a member of her community. So I think just a big lesson is around resourcefulness. But the other story I was going to tell is a former colleague of mine, when I was getting my LPC Licensed Professional Counselor degree, was also a mother and I would watch her with these mothers that she would counsel. And one of the things that she would say on a regular basis that has stuck with me is "Don't happy them up". And I would always think, gosh, you know, as moms, we just want to protect our kids, we want to keep them from having the pain and those hard feelings, and we want to make it better, and we want to take care of them. And the kid at school is bullying them, you know, we want to go take them out. And we want to do everything we can to keep our kids from hurting. And her advice was to me and these other moms is you got to let them hurt because that's the only way they learn coping skills. And so you got to let them have those experiences. And you also have to allow / encourage / make them make some hard choices. And so we want to make choices for them too. My daughter was looking at considering changing schools last year and was completely anxiety ridden about it she was so afraid to make a change. And I so desperately wanted her to change. And I had to every single ounce of my being I had to say if this is your decision, I'm here to support whatever you end up doing, inside going please do it, please do it, please do it. Maybe she read a tiny bit of that into it. But it was really important because as she makes that decision, it has to be her decision. If she ended up hating the school, she couldn't be mad at me for it, she had to know that with decisions, you deal with the good or the bad consequences that comes from that decision. And so I have forever kept in my head the notion of don't happy them up. And when my daughter comes home with some school drama, because guess what, we have a good share of it as an 11 year old girl, I have to listen and not try to fix it and, and let her be sad if she's sad and let her be anxious if she's anxious, and try to deal with what the coping skills are instead of trying to make it better for her. So that's one that stuck with me.

Marsha Clark  23:09  
What great parenting to teach them to be responsible adults, right, good citizens, I mean and responsible, accountable to themselves citizens and knowing that there's going to be hard stuff. Absolutely. What a great story, Amy!

Well, I want to offer a couple of stories of my own in regards to this. And I'm going to go back to my grandmother and you know, for the older people that are listening to this podcast, my other grandmother I'm going to speak about was born in 1896. So get a load of that. But in the 40s during World War II, following you know, the Depression and all that the the world was going through or this country in particular was going through, my mother as a 21 year old, went to Washington, D.C., and worked for the FBI. And I had an aunt who went to Baltimore, Maryland, and worked in the shipyard. So she was a true Rosie the Riveter. And so when you think about you know how all of these stories that we've heard along the way and so my grandmother's name was Miss Sharp, and so she would have all of her neighbors come and say Miss sharp, I can't believe you're letting your young daughters you know, go away so far away from home because they were living in Knoxville, Tennessee, at the time, Powell, Tennessee, right outside of Knoxville. And, you know, my grandmother loved telling this story. And she would say, you know what, I'm just proud I have two daughters that I can trust to go that far away from home and to contribute to this country. And so, you know, I just think about the strength of that going against the grain in such a time when it just seemed like that was so, so rebellious. I guess that's the way to think about it.

And then I also want to tell a story about my mother. And this is another amazing story in my mind, and one that was passed on very early on. Some of you know that I had a special needs sister and she was six years younger than me. And so born when I was in the first grade, and she began having epileptic seizures when she was about six months old. She would run a high fever, go into these seizures. So I learned very early on what it meant to take on responsibility. So my dad worked away from home, my mother did not drive. So it was a call to the doctor for if anything happening, the doctor made a house call. And when we found out about my sister, this was going to be a lifelong situation as a special needs child, everyone told my parents put her in a home, put her in a home, put her in a home, and my mother was very adamant about she was not going to do that. And the lessons that I took from that were, we're all God's children, and God makes us all in different ways. And I learned a tremendous amount of patience. I still struggle with having a lot of patience today, especially with poor treatment of people. And I also learned you know, unconditional love. I mean, Erin couldn't give back in traditional or typical kinds of ways in that regard. And I just think about the compassion that that taught. We got asked to leave restaurants because Erin was making other people uncomfortable. And you know, I don't know. But all of those were very impressionable moments in my childhood life and to see my mother make that very hard decision because she, Erin died when she was 18 years old, weighed 38 pounds, still wearing diapers, still being bottle fed. So it was not, you know, it was not an easy choice to make to have a baby for that many years. And so, those are indelible images and feelings and lessons learned in that regard.

Let's now shift a little bit on our motherhood experiences. And I think anyone who has been a mom or played that role can appreciate the rollercoaster of emotions that come with that, the highs and the lows. So let's start on the high end of that rollercoaster, and what are some of the more joyful moments that you can think about in being a mom, and Tracie, we're going to start with you.

Tracie Shipman  27:32  
I think anytime they get to shine, that's a joyful moment, or has been a joyful moment for me. And all of my guys found different ways to shine. And so just being able to kind of, you know, love them through as they explore. And then once the light bulb goes off, and you're like, "Yes, that's it", that's a huge, joyful moment. And I will say them as adults getting along and enjoying each other, like everybody wants everybody to be in their wedding, and they wanted, you know, our vacations are all together. And that's also incredibly joyful.

Marsha Clark  28:11  
I love the fact that they like each other as adults. You know, when you think about some of the families that I know, and, you know, I've lived through and around it all, that kind of stuff. Just the fact that they still want to be together as adults is awesome. That's awesome. Amy, how about you?

Amy Rojas  28:27  
A couple of things come to mind for me. Certainly, the pride of confidence is a big one for me. So my sweet girl has some insecurities and gets nervous about, as a lot of kids do (I mean, a lot of adults do, frankly), what people think of her. What are they going to think? Should I dress up for the dress-up day, will everybody laugh at me, those types of things. So when there are those moments of her confidence just shining as to use Tracie's word, it's just... one example I'll give is she has chosen to sing, she loves to sing. And she had an opportunity in her previous school. She started in second grade, so quite young, to sing solo in her chapel in front of the entire lower school by herself not being part of a program, literally just being about her, singing. And she tells me all the time that the only way she got through it was that she could stare at me in the front row. So frankly, staring at me in the front row there were massive, huge, ugly tears. It was so overwhelming. I just couldn't even believe that this child that has this insecurity and anxiety could actually stand up and do that. So that was amazing. The second thing I'll say is we, several weeks ago, we were going to bed one night and we often tell stories and talk about our day and I was telling something that had happened in the day and she said, how did you learn how to be such a good mommy? And I thought oh my gosh, first of all, can I please have you say that again and put it on video because in four or five years we'll forget that you could have ever thought that. But I said, you know, first of all, thank you. But I said, What? What makes you say that? What, what prompted that? And she said, you know, a lot of kids' parents give them everything they want. And when they're unhappy, they buy them something or they give them something or when they ask for something, they just say okay and give it to them. And she said that, you don't do that so you make things that I get more special. And then she said right on the heels of it, true to form because she's also very funny, right after that she said, you're also just the perfect amount of annoying.

Tracie Shipman  30:33  
So the fact that she actually thinks you should be a little bit annoying as a mom is probably good?

Amy Rojas  30:38  
I am a firm believer and you shouldn't be your child's best friend but you should be their parent and also enjoy them and we enjoy the heck out of each other. There's nothing about this kid... we travel together, we read together, we shop together. I just hit the lottery definitely in terms of her and who she is. So there are joyful moments all the time with her. But those two around the competence piece and the really stopping to think what it means to to be a mom and to appreciate the fact that some of the things about my job as a mom is not always the best part for her. Because it's what's good for her, but not what she thinks is best for her. So those are two things that stand out.

Marsha Clark  31:17  
You know, Amy, I've seen the videos of Bella singing. And I too cried. I mean, it was an amazing performance and just her sweet, precious, clear voice was amazing. It was. I got the goose bumps even right now. All right, well, Claire, how about you? The joys of motherhood...

Claire Clark  31:41  
Oh, yeah. Oh my gosh, so many so many. And so many in yes such big and also small ways. The first thing that came to mind, I feel like Bella and Georgia might be friends one day, smart and zesty and you know, all those things. But I had this experience with all the kids in the car some time ago, a couple of months ago, where I think we're in a drive thru somewhere and the person handing the drinks out the window or something had great nails that you know, some kind of fun pattern or color and, and I made the comment to the person handing out drinks like "Your nails are so cool". And you know, she lit up of course, like anybody does when they get a kind compliment or sentiment. And as we were pulling away, Georgia, always ready with some questions or critiques or something like why did you say that to her, like she was so embarrassed that I talked to this person I didn't know. And I explained that you know, everybody likes to be recognized and noticed and doesn't it feel nice when somebody says something nice to you? And all three kids in the car, and Jackson in the middle also made some comment about how embarrassing it was that I had said this. And so we had a little a little bit more of a chat, not too much more, just generally about you know, number one role in our family is to be kind and how it's nice to pay compliments to those around us even if we don't know them, maybe even more so you know, to brighten someone's day. And anyway, so time passed on and we were at a restaurant one night and the server comes over to our table for the first time and she looks super fun. I mean she had like pink hair and these big great earrings on, her nails were on point, I mean just like all the fun things. And before she could even introduce herself, all three kids chimed in with a different comment. It was like I like your hair, your nails are really cool, the earrings are so pretty, I like your earrings, you know like all of us. And she was so taken aback by this, you know, bombardments of sweet childhood compliments and you know she lit up and the kids were so happy about it. And it was just one of those fun moments where you get to see that one, they're listening sometimes, and two, you know cool slices of who they're becoming and gosh, all the joy for all the joy they've got to spread. It was neat.

Marsha Clark  34:14  
I love it!

Amy Rojas  34:15  
Ditto everything you just said. Bella is mortified by me talking to people. Why are you talking to that person? They might appreciate the fact that I tell them they look nice.

Tracie Shipman  34:26  
Yeah. My 20 year old is still mortified. But I am like practically ugly crying with that story, Claire.

Marsha Clark  34:36  
I will just tell you again from on the other side of your children growing up, my proudest mother moment is seeing my son as a husband and a father. There is no doubt about that. I mean, to see the care, the attention, the focus, the patience... I mean, my favorite pictures are of him reading a book, you know, and the child looking up at him with the most adoring eyes or, you know, seeing him and Claire together talking about something that they want to do as parents and getting clear about it and on the same page and you know, him being that what do you call him Claire, the the driveway coach for Jackson's basketball, down the driveway playing basketball all the time. And then you know, he has Margo, the three year old every Friday and they do their dad, you know, daughter things and the joy that they show when they're with him. And it's because of who he is. And so who he has become as a husband and a father is certainly  the joyful moments for me.

So now let's talk about spending enough time celebrating the joys. But if we're in the middle of challenges, it's easy to forget some things. But if you could give someone advice, you know, because we're all going to be in those challenging moments, on how to appreciate the joyful moments and build on those. You know, what advice would you give? What would you share as to what you've learned, as you reflect on those moments. So Amy, let's start with you.

Amy Rojas  36:20  
You know, I think it's so important to do that. I think, you know, it also by the way, transcends into the workplace. We don't do enough to celebrate the good times, you know. We often spend our time, especially today with what's going on in the world and the media, and every message that's being sent to us is negative, and so we try very hard to celebrate those moments. And I think there are a couple different ways, you know, for me, a way to keep them alive, not keep the kids alive, but that's important too, a way to keep the joyful moments alive. So even just the story that I that I just told about her solo that she sang, or when she was very little I taught her a song, a poem song about how badly I wanted to be a mom and I looked everywhere for her and finally, she found me.  And she recited it back to me one day, and I thought, oh, I'm gonna get emotional just thinking about it, but I have her as like a three year old saying that story back to me and her voice was... hysterical. But we continue to talk about that, we continue to talk about moments when she's done something with confidence, and we spend a ton of time at the dinner table. So we sit down to dinner every night and we talk about our day. And we talk about the good times, and we talk about, we talk about the bad times, and we talked about what we could do differently. So I think it's continuing to talk about them. The other thing I do is I have a private email account for her. And I write her emails all the time. And so when something happens, good, bad, indifferent, when there's a learning moment, something I feel that I wish I could tell her but as a parent I feel like she's not old enough to understand it, I write her an email. And so someday I will open that account to her and she'll be able to be completely overwhelmed by all the emails that are sitting there. And I'll go through quickly and say, should I really have sent her that one? I'm really not sure. But I think just keeping those moments alive, I think is my theme. Just really journaling them, telling stories about them, telling other people about them. Telling other people about them in front of her I think is really important so she hears me celebrate them with other people.

Marsha Clark  38:24  
I love that. I love that. And this idea of where we can record and keep forever and always some of the messages. I know the first child always gets the great baby book, the second child gets the book maybe half filled out, the third child, oh, did we get her a baby book? But I mean, that's just the reality of it. I remember having, you know, the mumps when I was, I don't know, 25 years old and I called my mother and I said, "Didn't I have the mumps when I was little?" And my mother had five children. She's like Marsha, I'm just going to say I don't remember. That's just the way it works. What've you got? What've you got? As life goes on. Alright. So Claire, how about you? How are you remembering and keeping a hold on those joyful moments?

Claire Clark  39:07  
Yeah, I love that. Amy, you and I are in the same boat again. I started an email address for our kids when I was pregnant with Georgia. We have sonogram videos and videos of their first steps going to that email address and all the funny moments because, as the youngest of four kids myself, I've had similar conversations where I say, Mom, when did that happen? Or what did I do then? And she doesn't remember. It was years ago and she was four kids deep. I mean, I can't remember what happened with some of our kids just a couple years ago. So I can appreciate capturing those moments, documenting those definitely. And I also think when I thought about, you know what advice I might have through the challenges. One of the things that was pointed out to me early on in parenthood that I've really tried to remember in parenthood, in marriage, and in adulthood is, you know, recognizing and apologizing for your mistakes, which is somewhat common sense hopefully to most of us in adulthood and our careers and marriage even. But I don't know, it was like a whole new idea to apologize to my kids when I handled something wrong or I could have done better or missed an opportunity to just continually kind of remind them that I'm human, I'm human just like they are. And, you know, a lot of our focus as parents is on helping them see their mistakes. But, you know, I've really started to embrace the opportunity to acknowledge what it means to be human and that we make mistakes and that we're all trying our best. I think it's gone a long way with our kids. They've, you know, it softens them in that part of the conversation in a different way.

Marsha Clark  41:00  
I've seen you do that, and it is a beautiful modeling of what you want in them. Yeah. All right, Tracie, how about you?

Tracie Shipman  41:07  
I mean, Claire, so just what you just said even about the whole, you know, we're doing the best kind of thing. And so for me capturing the joy, Dr. Kestenbaum, so Marsha, you might appreciate when my boys were little, I was hanging out with Dr. K a lot. And he was always getting on me because I was trying to take pictures of everything. And he was saying, you know, you're missing the event because you're experiencing it from behind the screen. And that was even just with my camera, not my phone. And so there, but then I also just like put my camera away, which was easy then because it was just a camera, you know, your life in a tiny box. And so the balance between still staying so fully present to appreciate the moments as they're happening, and then remembering, oh, it would have been nice to capture this in some way, right? Because there was a whole gap of my children's growing up where I have no pictures because, and I dedicate that time to Dr. Peter Kestenbaum because I didn't take them, because he was like, you're living your life behind a camera. So you know, find a balance, that would be one piece of advice about the joy because you can spend so much time trying to capture it, that you're not in it. So there's that. So then the other thing about the challenges would just be that extending extraordinary grace to yourself, like today's the first day of my life that I've ever been the mother of the four boys and granddaughter and the plus ones and all. I've never experienced this day before. And so I am going to make a mistake. And I am going to say something that is going to come across and there's going to be a little kerfuffle, that's going to happen. And you know what, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I'm going to ask for grace, and extend grace, because you know, what they've also never been today years old, either. Right. And, and so just to continue to try to live in that space of, we are truly doing the best we can with what we have, given everything going on. And in that space of grace, we're going to be able to, you know, kind of love each other through whatever goof ups and kerfuffles we create.

Marsha Clark  43:30  
Because we're gonna have them. That is the part of life that's going to help them get through that. I just want to again say I love everything that each of you has said. I would also offer, create those joyful moments. You know, enjoy them when you're when you might accidentally fall into them or they surprise you, you know, with the bombardment of the compliments to the waitress. You don't expect those that come at you and yet there are ways in times that you can create those by being very present, get out from behind the camera, put the phone away, take your head out of, you know, all of that. And you know, I just love the conversations, asking all the questions and whatever age appropriate conversations and just the the cute things that come out of your mouth. And, and you know, I do love the pictures because you get to tell the stories over and over and over and over and over again. And that's why I love the photos and want to, and even if you don't want to be behind the camera, if I'm there, I'm gonna take it because I want you know, I know the value of being able to look back and really just savor those moments, appreciate them and know that gosh, they go so dang fast. That part.

Well, so we're gonna come up to our last question here. So, when you think about one word to sum up motherhood, when you think about whether it's a lesson that you've learned, I've written some things down like "Don't happy them up" and "Love them through' and you know, all of those kinds of things. I just love that. So are there any closing comments that you would like to make to capture the essence of your motherhood and to, you know, just be your kerfuffled, graceful, not perfect motherhood self. So who would like to go first?

Tracie Shipman  45:25  
Oh, I will. If I could remember this, I mean, I should have a tattoo! It is "Comparison is the root of all suffering." As soon as I start comparing myself. And you know, Confucius or so, it's been attributed to a lot of people, but certainly not me. When I start comparing myself as a mom, as a working mom, as a wife, as a, any, you know, I am bound to make myself miserable. So, that's mine.

Marsha Clark  45:55  
I love that. I love that Tracie, who else? Who'd like to go?

Amy Rojas  46:00  
I definitely cannot summarize it in one word. So sorry, Marsha. But you know, for me, I think there again, there's always two or three or four things, but I think one of the key ones is about managing expectations. So the whole notion of expectations of yourself because they mirror you, and they look at you, and they model you, and so for those of us who want to always deliver the best and who were raised in a world where delivering good things is what you equated with being loved. And so doing that, so well gives them the idea that that's that's what they're supposed to do to get recognition. And there's so much more to being loved than than delivering good things. So, and setting expectations for them. So we hear these stories all the time about kids whose parents really want them to get the best grades, and really want them to be you know, the starter on the on the basketball team, and really want them to do all these things. But all these things we want for them puts pressure on them that we expect it of them. And then all they can feel is like they've disappointed somebody. So it is a huge, huge, huge thing for me to continue to learn as kind of Tracie talks about hers, which by the way, love that one also, Tracie, to really think about what sense of expectation am I putting on her by the way I act around her, by the way to talk around her, and by what I say too, even encouragement. Encourgement turns into expectation. And it's really hard for them to live up to. So it's a very hard one for me, but I'm super conscious of it.

Marsha Clark  47:27  
Ah, thank you for that. Claire, how about you?

Claire Clark  47:30  
Love, love, love both of those sentiments, taking lots of mental notes, experienced wise mothers. You know, also not one word, but just really appreciating the evolution that is parenthood. And, and being that child to a parent that's now a grandparent, you know, experiencing the growth through parenthood as it happens alongside our kids, learning with them. And then watching you know, my mom, become a grandmother, my dad become a grandparent, and it's just, it's all so wonderful and it's constantly changing. Everyone's, you know, relationship dynamic, and their closeness, and interest, it's just always changing and really coming to appreciate that evolution.

Marsha Clark  48:24  
I love that. I love that. I'll leave our listeners with this. The research shows us that a woman's brain has an overdeveloped guilt center. We feel guilty about everything. So I just want to share this story. So I worked for a company, EDS, where Tracie and I were, that really encouraged us and allowed us to go to a lot of parenting events. We worked hard, and we got to take time off and had a lot of discretion about that. And so I remember Brent's fifth grade Christmas program. And we worked on this song that was not a traditional Christmas carol. I'd never heard it, they were going to dress up like cowboys and cowgirls. And it was "Tall in the saddle, we spend Christmas Day". I can still sing it today. And he's 44 years old! And I was in Washington, D.C., traveling on business and I couldn't get home for the program. And I carried that guilt with me. I mean, it was a snowstorm, it was I mean, there was nothing I could do about it. And I just remember going, oh my god, I missed his program. Look, Dale videoed it and I saw it and we talked about it and all that good stuff. But it wasn't the same because it was first program and the only program I ever missed. And I just remember carrying that guilt around. And I mean at 25, 26,  27 years old I was telling him that story and he goes, really ? You missed my program? He didn't even remember that I'd missed his program. So I'm sitting here and I just tell that to mothers because I know how much guilt I experienced, how much I still experience when I want to do something that's not you know, totally in support of my family. And yet, here we are, you know, they live to tell about it and everything's good. And so carrying that around may be more about us than it is about anybody else. So I leave our listeners with that.

Well, ladies, I, again, thank you so much for sharing your stories and taking time out from your day to really look at and celebrate yourselves as mothers, and also share some of that wisdom. You know, Claire, I'm imagining that many of us are taking mental notes about what we're hearing today that can help us because we're not alone. There have been many who have come before us. And you know, we as women are the only ones who can give birth to children. I think that's another really good reason to celebrate mothers, that we play a very unique role in the world in that way. And so I want to wish all of our listeners a Happy Mother's Day and again, thank our guests as panelists today.

And we hope that you will continue to listen to our podcast, and you know we're going to find all kinds of ways to celebrate women. So, thank you. And, you know, if there's anything that we can answer, provide, share, let us know what you're thinking, let us know what your questions are, let us know. Yeah, and I always close my podcasts with "Here's to women supporting women!" and goodness knows mothers need a support system because especially for working mothers, and I certainly leave you with that sentiment. But a special sentiment today is that I wish everyone a very, very, very happy Mother's Day. Celebrate yourselves, enjoy your day. Take it all in and savor those moments and get somebody to take some pictures. All right, so Happy Mother's Day and we will see you soon. Bye bye.

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