Make it Rain

I’m part of the Mommy Blogger Collective. Each month we’re given a one word prompt to roll with. This month’s prompt is rain.

Make it rain. I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about making intentions, passions and goals reality.

Looking back at my college days and early 20’s, I really had no idea what I wanted in life besides finishing my degrees and marrying my husband, who after returning from ARMY basic training a well-tanned combination of muscles and ambition, I knew I wouldn’t spend my days without. The rest of my early 20’s was a big swirl of decisions based on what I thought I had to do, what I needed to be, and how it all should look based on some blue print of suburban success. I was easily persuaded and influenced by the older adults in my life (read: family), but didn’t see it then. I thought I had it all together, was sure I had it all figured out. I followed the road map made for me: college, grad school, job, (a couple jobs)….fast forward to my late 20’s.

Enter motherhood.

Instantly, a 7 lb 6 oz little girl (followed by two more, significantly larger bundles of joy) carved out a new role me. Since becoming “Mommy,” I know who I am, what I want, what I don’t want, who to spend time with, and who to cut ties with and not look back. I have zero tolerance for negativity, pettiness, or anyone less than genuine. Time is more valuable than ever, and motherhood has given me a keen sense of how to cut through the garbage that gets in the way of the good stuff in life.

The last 5 ½ years have been a full immersion into mommy-hood, like the front seat of the roller coaster, hands up all the way. Three babies in under four years – and that’s how it goes. Bassinets, strollers, diapers, baby-wearing, crib bedding, countless lullabies, baby books, mushy food, decorating and redecorating nurseries, bubble baths, pictures, big kid beds, the first tooth fairy visit, the first day of school, birthday parties, play dates, endless park trips, sleigh rides, snowmen, bike rides and walks on sunny spring days.

Lately, there’s a subtle shift for me. The kiddos are getting big, fast. Really fast. Instead of holding their hands on the stairs at the park, hovering over to be sure of no spills off the slides, they’re ok on their own going down, even though I’m still waiting at the bottom, just in case. “I can do it Mommy. I’m big.” Truth. You are. (Though Hudson is still trying to eat mulch – *sigh.*) My pumpkins are becoming more independent, and in turn, so am I.

Erin700

Photo Credit: Katherine Hoos Photography

Photography is a growing career. I’m meeting more moms like me, trying their hand at growing their dreams. I’m watching them crop up like the flowers peeking out of the ground this early spring, and they’re blossoming. Florists, stylists, Etsy store owners, life coaches, small business owners, dedicated teachers earning advanced degrees, nutritionists, gourmet bakers, physical therapists branching out on their own, moms excelling in their chosen career, others as students pursuing a new field…you name it. There’s talent, passion and drive all around. It’s amazing, thrilling, inspiring. We’re making it rain.

PicMonkey Collage

The rainmakers, clockwise, from top left: Alee Bonagura McCarthy – Bright Blooms, Jenine Kinesella – Rodan & Fields, Katherine Hoos – Katherine Hoos PhotographyLeah Bustos Mazzola – Snug Agency, Corinne McKeever Bluteau – Teacher/Grad student, supermom of 4, Kimberly Miller-Volin – Maison KMV. 

Photo Credit of Leah Bustos Mazzola – Brandon Trull.

“Rain” is the April writing prompt of The Mommy Blogger Collective. In addition to a monthly writing prompt, the collective hosts a monthly blogger featurette. This month we are featuring Katie of Hello, Little Bean. A few words from Katie — Hi! I’m Katie and I write a blog called ‘Hello, Little Bean.’ It’s about life as a new mom to my cute daughter, Lark Story. I’m California born and raised, but currently live in Michigan with my soon-to-be husband, James and my soon-to-be stepson, Brennan, as well as our little Lark and two kitties. I’m a full-time graphic designer who loves all things artistic and creative. I’m overly sensitive and sentimental, sarcastic and foul-mouthed at times, a foodie and a reality tv junkie who’s completely and utterly in love with motherhood. You can also find me on instagram, facebook, pinterest and our little online boutique, Bold Threads.

/// The Mommy Blogger Collective /// Christina, Courteney, Dena, Erica, Erin, Gillian, Katie, Misty, Nicole, and Renée. ///

First up on my inspirational people list: Leah B. Mazzola


Coach

Photo courtesy of Leah B. Mazzola

Ever meet someone and just marvel at his or her accomplishments? I sure have, and I’ll be showcasing some of the amazing people that I encounter –individuals who are an inspiration, those who make a difference and give back using their unique set of gifts and talents.

The first person on my “inspirational people” list is Leah B. Mazzola. In her LinkedIn summary, Leah writes: “I’m passionate about using my powers for good.” She’s living up to her words. Owner of the Snug Agency: The Coaching Boutique for Her, based in the Dallas/Fort Worth Texas area, Leah is committed to coaching teens and young women in the areas of social and emotional intelligence, academic, career, recovery, negotiation/mediation, and conflict resolution.

Oh, did I mention that Leah and her husband are raising 4 children? How about that Leah overcame huge obstacles early in her life, and is earning her Ph.D in juvenile forensic psychology while successfully balancing life as an entrepreneur, student, wife and mother? To get to know Leah better and understand what motivates her, I asked a few questions:

What are your top 3 goals, personal or professional?

First, three is hard. I have a lot of goals! These are my top.

  • To finish my dissertation in under a year, six months preferably. That means ringing in Dr. Leah in 2015!
  • To build our dream home in the next year and focus on family travels while the kids are still young enough to want to spend time with us.
  • To grow my coaching practice and coach training program to the go-to places for restorative, science-based high-risk youth/young adult interventions.
  • To grow my non-profit into a low-key scholarship/grant giving program for high-risk youth and young adults demonstrating persistent progress toward positive transformation.
  • To be a leading expert in juvenile forensic psychology.

What drives you? 

Meaning and purpose. I draw happiness from tailoring my pursuits to make a positive difference. I need my children to understand that we are not here to live a life unto ourselves. Whether we know it or not, our lives affect those around us. It’s up to us to decide if that impact is positive or negative, empowering or defeating.

I also need them to know they are only limited by their own doubt. They can accomplish anything they want to if they’re willing to suffer for it. We’re here to learn and grow. Growth means greater capacity to help. Growth requires always pushing beyond our current limits. It requires adaptability, flexibility, and humility; willingness to accept the things we can’t control and accountability for what we can. Growth and pain are synonymous. It will get hard. It will hurt. You will fall short. You will fail. You will question yourself. You will need to pick yourself up, apply the lessons, and keep moving forward. It will often be lonely, lonely isn’t so bad, it will be worth it.

Recently, my son came in to talk to me while I was wrapping up a day full of writing papers. He said, “Mom, I think you’re the reason I’m so smart, because you motivate me to get all my work done. Since I always see you sitting at your computer doing all of your work before anything else, you motivate me to get all my homework done at school before anything else, even when other kids are doing other things.” That’s what drives me. Knowing they’re always watching and my example carries weight.

What are you most proud of? 

  • That I made a decision at 17 to stop using my past as an excuse to screw up my life.
  • That I refused to allow my son to grow up in a detrimental environment and did what I had to protect him and raise him happy and healthy. Even when that meant working three jobs while pursuing a degree full-time as a single mom to push us through to a comfortable living.
  • That my children live every day in a safe, healthy home environment with two parents who love and support them.
  • That the possibility of going to college never entered my mind as a teen and I’m now a PhD student. I’ll hold four degrees upon completion in 2015 (Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD). I’ll take a break for a bit to focus on family and go back for a J.D. when the older kids are off to college.
  • That I found a way to do what I love for a living.
  • That I get to apply my experience, strengths, and passion to helping other young people and women understand that no past must define your future, to challenge them to be more and do more.
  • That I get to train other professionals to do the same.

What do you want people to know about you?

I’m a worker bee and a happy extreme introvert. I actually don’t talk much without someone coming to me to initiate a conversation. I listen and analyze. I’m a complex thinker. That’s kind of why I make a pretty awesome coach! I was born to listen and offer deep insights. I thrive on productivity. I rarely come up to breathe, but I function best that way. I’m also a helper. I will help anyone in any way I can. I’m wired for helping professions.

Who or what inspires you?

    • My family.
    • My children.
    • People who defy the odds and thrive regardless of suffering.
    • People who consistently push themselves to the next level.
    • People who are grateful for what they have.
    • People who are not afraid of hard work.
    • People who remain humble despite ridiculous success.

What “ah-ha” moments or life lessons do you want to share?

We live by the stories we tell ourselves. My greatest ah-ha moment was checking what I believed about myself, and then challenging it; stripping the helpful from the unhelpful and leaving the unhelpful behind. We define self. We are either our greatest support or our own worst enemy. I propelled forward when I chose to rethink my self-concept and build a healthy, helpful view of me for me, no one else. I live to evolve, to learn, and grow. It’s the only way to be. Approaching life from that vantage point means no good or bad experience is ever just good or bad. Both are a learning and growth opportunity. Both make me wiser than I was yesterday. “Experience is the teacher of all things.” – Julius Caesar

Despite her own “ridiculous success,” Leah remains humble, and an inspiration!