Thursday, April 29, 2010

I Flew the Coop and Went to MOMcation

I spent the past weekend with a group of extraordinary moms at MOMcation held at Heifer Ranch in Arkansas. After frantically cleaning my house, making sure all the laundry was done and food was prepped in the fridge for the Buckaroos (it was not in this shape when I returned), I set out under a weather advisory to drive 2 ½ hours to Heifer Ranch. I like to think I am adventurous but storm chasing is not my thing. Well, and I don’t think I would like to bungee jump, skydive, or climb Everest. O.k. maybe I am not the adventurous type.

Oh wait, I am a mom to two little boys, yea, that is an adventure all its own. Sorry, I get a little sidetracked, be thankful you are not in my head all the time, whiplash honey. ANYWAY…I love a big storm as long as I am wrapped in a comfy blanket on my couch, driving in it is a different story. My knuckles were white most of the time in anticipation of this huge storm that was supposed to hit. But, I was fortunate to not run into any bad weather until Murphy showed up. As I drove up and was getting my bag out to go inside the lodge, oh mercy, the sky opened up. I freaked for a minute because I had dressed cute and fixed my hair because all you women know that we are each others biggest critics. So, I opened the door looking like a drowned rat but the warmth and laughter radiated from the room.

Of the 18 women attending, I only knew Fawn (Instead of the Dishes) that I met through blogging. MOMcation was Fawn’s brainchild and she worked tirelessly to make it the wonderfully successful event it was. By the end of the weekend, I had made some wonderful new friends. We had cooking demonstrations, yoga class, a tour of Heifer Ranch, jewelry making, a bonfire, and so many more wonderful activities. Let’s not even talk about the karaoke, some things that happen at MOMcation need to stay at MOMcation, got it girls?! My favorite part was just sitting on the couch talking to the other women, hearing their stories, learning from them, commiserating with them, and enjoying getting to know them.

Before the weekend, all the attendees were listed on a webpage with a short bio. The women ranged from a grandmother, a cooking student (hey Fancy Pants Foodie), a librarian, Arkansas site manager (go check it out), there were stay at home moms, working moms, moms from all different ages and backgrounds.

And there was Queene. I read her bio that said “Capricorn Mother Goddess that is currently in the second round of graduate school, teaching 7th grade science; creating art, poetry and life. Thankful for each sunrise and with 145 kids, thankful for each sunset as well. Living freely with gusto and lovingkindness...” I must say, I was the most nervous about meeting her. Come on, I am a homeschooling, Jesus loving, Southern Belle Farm Chic. If you were matching people up, Queene with her awesome dread locks and I would probably not be the obvious Laverne and Shirley type. But, she and I hit it off immediately and had a blast together.

Judging others, we all do it - a mom who does not mother like you do, wear the “right” clothes, drive the “right” vehicle, live in the “right” neighborhood and let’s not leave out go to the “right” church.

Women have a history of being hard on one another. And, moms, good grief, we are especially hard on each other at times. “Oh, you aren’t breastfeeding?” “You gave your baby cookies for dinner?” “You let your baby watch 2 hours of Baby Einstein videos?” “You are homeschooling?” Each of us has our own style and attitudes about how we raise our children. Instead of forcing them on others and expecting others to fit into “our” mold of parenting, we need to support each other as moms and not judge each other. That was one of the wonderful outcomes of MOMcation for me. Thank you Queene for reminding me of this and thank you for blessing my life with your friendship.

Now ladies, take the time to meet other moms in your area, step out of your comfort zone, you will meet some wonderful women who just like you are doing the best they can to be the best moms they can be. And, that my friend is a bond that you have to be a mom to understand.

Make the choice not to judge and then celebrate and encourage one another. Oh, and go have a MOMcation! We all need it every once in a while!

A thankful mom,
The Park Wife


Lisa said...

Stephanie, here is your It's a Small World story of the day. Queene and I went to college together. I ended up in research, she went to teach. She has the much harder job. I am looking right now at a picture of a much smaller McKenna on the deck of Queene's grandmother's house on the lake in Shirley. Queene is Awesome. I am glad you had the experience of meeting and spending time with her. She is...unforgettable.

Amanda said...

What a great time! Every mom needs a MOMcation. I recently had an opportunity to go on a Mommy Retreat (would have called it a momcation if I was witty like you!) with 4 old friends. It was the best weekend ever! (wrote about it on my blog if you're interested)

Meeting new moms would be a lot of fun..thanks for the reminder to not be judgmental - I think moms are the worst (myself included)!

Sheila (Strawberry CAKE) said...

AAAhhh yes, a womens retreat. They are the best. So glad you were able to take off and refresh yourself. I love hearing other moms stories too, just taking in how we are all different and appreciating that and encouraging that in each other. Great post!

Liz said...

This post is a perfect description of the weekend we all spent together. Fawn did do a great job of putting it all together. We all enjoyed meeting you and appreciated the firewood and great giveaways you provided.Hope to see you at a future Momcation!

Tammy Felder said...

It was so nice meeting you at MOMcation! I'm the one who did the shrimp bisque's been a whole week ago...
It was so great meeting you and getting to hear your story and learn about your farm. Thanks for sending home the arugula, it was delicious! I enjoyed every bite! I didn't even share it with my hubby. Good luck with the farm. I hope to see you sometime again. I also can't wait to shop at Farmers Market and Argenta Market. Thanks for being such a cool mom and a fabulous woman. It's so refreshing to meet and enjoy one another as women for who we are instead of feeling like we're in competition with one another. Take care! Tammy J. Felder

Gina said...

Oh, sounds wonderful!!!! And I especially like that it sounds *small* - small is good for getting to know people. And I love that you connected with someone unlike you.

Lucy said...

Stephanie, I was so happy to meet you! You seemed so grounded and kind and that is the sort of mother I want to be. I've started at the beginning of your blog to read how you and your husband met. I'm loving it!! It was such a pleasure to meet you and I'm looking forward to reading more of your blog. :)

Miss Jody said...

I'm so happy you had such a great time and met such wonderful Ladies:)

I know what you ean about the Storm Chasers fun weekend scrapbooking was cut short b/c of the storm. boo storms!