Amy Sorensen | A is for Amy’s Choice – Full-Time Mothering

After reading my post about Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series, Amy Sorensen and I exchanged several e-mails in which Amy shared that her dream right now is to do precisely what she's chosen to do: be a full-time mother. She shares her story below:

Almost a month ago Whitney asked me to guest blog and in the midst of the holidays I put it off and then after the big holiday push my grandfather died and I flew to Boise to celebrate his passing with my parents, aunts and uncles and cousins I haven'€™t seen in forever. It truly was a beautiful celebration, my grandfather was 95 years old and ready to die. We laughed over stories about his garden and the menacing squirrels and it was nice to be with family.

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Amy's twin Chris, photo courtesy of Amy Sorensen

It has taken me several weeks to figure out what to say here and how to say it. Whitney asked if I would tell a little about myself and my dream journey. I grew up in Las Vegas, NV, finished my degree in communication studies from UNLV and met my husband, an officer in the Air Force, by the time I was twenty-five. We both wanted a family so shortly after we were married I found out I was pregnant. I was excited and scared and nervous. I was a journalist and publicist for a small publishing company in Vegas and I was worried about what I knew I would do next. I knew that I would leave the professional world behind and become a mom. I knew it would be hard, and it is. I am a dirty and tired mommy most days; I'€™m a taxi driver and a librarian and a teacher. I was a military wife and now I am a student wife with my husband working on his masters. I play and have played so many roles.

When I started reading Whitney's blog I thought what is my big dream? Was my big dream to be a journalist and did I let that slip by? I am a dreamer by nature, I like to think of all the things I could do, all the avenues I could take. I could do so many things. And as I have thought about this precious gift of life I have been given I realized that I am already living my big dream. For me the big dream is to have children who are mostly well adjusted, happy and successful. I want a relationship with my husband that will last and that we will enjoy being together even after 50 years of marriage. For me the best way to achieve these goals is to be at home. I can do whatever I want. I choose this dream; this is the most important thing for me right now.

I could be that writer and I do photography as a paid hobby, Thanks Whitney for encouraging me to have multiple dreams and to follow them. I started a blog and I have started a small business taking family pictures and shooting special events. But even in working with my photography I am still the mom, and the most important thing to me is to be the mom.

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Amy's children, photo courtesy of Amy Sorensen

With the military we have moved from Las Vegas to Southern Georgia to Central Massachusetts and back west to Utah to attend school. And I am the constant in my children'€™s life and I enjoy being that. I figure someday I'll get the opportunity to go to New York and work at a magazine and someday I'll get to go on photo shoots to remote locations and spend hours just taking pictures. But right now I am living my first dream to be the mother of my children.

Please do take a moment to re-read the Pew Research Center post which I've flagged below. Why do you think we don't do a better job of acknowledging and affirming our own decisions as well as those of others?

Do you see in Amy's decision a hero's journey as outlined by Psyche? Especially Psyche's first task — the sorting of the seeds?

Have you noticed how Amy is already harnessing her passion for photography in service of her feminine impulse to connect and collaborate?

Related posts:
Pew Research Center's “Fewer Mothers Prefer Full-Time Work”
Mothering Matters
Psyche's 1st Task – Sort the Seeds
It Takes Courage to Tell Our Stories
Lily Liang: iPhone iNeed?

Doorsteps, Doors and Dreams

“You're leaving again Mom. You're never here,” said my 11 year-old David, as I was walking out the door to the March of Dimes benefit that my friend Jane was emceeing.

My hair was done, make-up on, clothing donned, but I asked anyway:

“Do you want me to stay David?”

“You won't Mom, so I won't ask.”

“Are you sure?”

“Go mom.”

I got in the car, immediately called my husband who supplied characteristically good advice, “Trust your gut”, I turned the car around.

Walking in the door, changing into my pajamas, watching TV together, having David know that I'd put him first, and MY knowing that I'd put him first….

Lovely Jane understood.

***

Several weeks later, one of my mentors encouraged me to bring my children along as I ‘dare to dream' and ‘know my neighbor', or as my children call it ‘dare to know your neighbor.' Because he gave me several pieces of advice, many of which I quite preferred, ‘bring your children along', was noted, and forgotten.

Until one of my girlfriends gave me the same advice.

Three times in three weeks. Three different people.

Hmmm.

Is it possible that even as I attend to my children's emotional well-being at a basic level (probably better than basic), I'm excluding them from a large piece of myself, and in effect, leaving them on the doorstep of my dreams?

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Courtesy of Tomaz Levstek via iStockphoto

Were I to include them more — what would happen?

It had crossed my mind to take David to the March of Dimes benefit. Too young. He won't want to go. Too much work for me. And 11 is probably too young. But next year?

When I asked him if he would come to something like this, his answer was yes.

By taking David, we'd spend time together, I'd get to see him in a tuxedo AND we could support both Jane and The March of Dimes.

Opening the door to our children's dreams, even as we open the door to ours.

An elegant, both/and solution; Psyche would no doubt be approve.

***

As we involve and engage our children in the dreaming process, they will definitely learn from us (some good, some bad), but what can we learn from them? How do their strengths help us?

When have you involved your children in your dream, whether planning or executing, or both?

How did you feel? How did they?

Related posts:
Children and the Call to Adventure
Parenting and the Hero's Journey
Psyche's 4th Task: Learn to Say No
Enough

 

Belle Liang | Making Meaning in Malawi

Belle_charcoal3_2It is time to make space for another voice — a lovely voice.

Belle Liang (who I met through my friend Jane — go systergy!) is a professor at Boston College, and an expert on youth mentoring. In 2006, Belle's students launched an outreach website Generation Pulse, a place where high school and college-age students can come to discover their pulse, their who they are, by telling their stories.

Belle and her husband David, an adult internist and pediatric physician, have for several years been involved in relief work, work that has shaped her “faith, vision and sense of purpose”. In the below essay poem, Belle tells of her encounter with two Malawian newborns, one who dies, one who lives.

May you be as moved as I was.


beauty and death

Our minds spin with the contrasting images of Malawi.
The dirt roads, goats and dogs wandering, huts with thatched roofs,
the faces, sweet faces, some laughing, and watching us
others crying, looking away, quietly dying.
Most of all, I remember the singing voices of youth praising God
just like angels from heaven.

Two babies are born, perfect and pure.
Disease attacks and now they are dying,
the first one in the arms of her grandmother
who has very recently buried her daughter.

As we witness this mystery of suffering
we try to revive her AIDS stricken body.
We watch her chest rise and fall so deliberately
gasping her last breaths, at four in the morning,
she dies.

We are sick with despair as she fades away in this dark hospital
and her grandmother is all alone and cannot cry.

God, why?

And just as hope is fading,
the other baby arrives gasping her last breaths
but she lives.

Not only lives, God has special plans for her
to bring a doctor thousands of miles
to save her.

Oh what mercy and grace
that one tiny life counts.

And so we have no answers
just a veiled sense
that despair and hope live side by side.

There is a link between death and beauty
for it is the splendor of living that so ignites our mind's eye
that makes us more conscious of death.

It is despair in this place,
that causes us to long for,
and rejoice at Hope's arrival.


Just beautiful.

Thank you Belle.

What part of your life have you yet to make meaning of? What story is waiting to be told? Through word, music, painting, drawing?

Belle's story seems to be a metaphor for moving to a both/and mindset? What are your thoughts?

About Belle Liang
Belle Liang, an education professor at Boston College and a national expert on youth mentoring, is the author of numerous papers and several new measures for the study of qualities underlying growth-fostering peer, community and mentor relationships. In an upcoming book, First Do No Harm: A Call for Ethical Guidelines in Youth Mentoring (Harvard University Press), she and her colleagues synthesize the research on youth mentoring in ways that are accessible to practitioners not in academia.

Liang and her students also recently launched an award-winning Web outreach project created for and by young people called GenerationPulse that has received hundreds of submissions in its first year.

Dare to Dreamgirl: Dana King

I almost missed this.

Dana King is my co-blogger at Know Your Neighbor; we talk (virtually) virtually every day.

She'd been toying with the idea of blogging for months; Dana has something to say AND she wants to find her voice.

Danas_blog

Having launched her blog in late August, Dana is now blogging several times a week, and I almost — almost — zoomed right past her accomplishment.

Until I remembered what I learned from rock climbing:  look both up, and down, forward — and back.

Dana has many, many wonderful, grand plans, which makes looking back difficult to do.

It's so easy to wonder – next, next — what's next?

But, I need to, I want to, celebrate the launch of her blog, to celebrate the fact that this delightful, engaging, tremendously competent woman (just take a look at her Habitat for Humanity project) is both finding and sharing her voice.

Congratulations Dana — like Jane , you are now an official, bona fide, dare to dreamgirl!

Any of your recent accomplishments — along the way, if you will – that we need to celebrate?

What about with our children — are we giving them Atta Girls and Atta Boys — for their accomplishments?

What about our spouses, friends?


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