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Moms flock to "Opting In" event

Published on: December 30, 2013

Gazing at the mix of moms milling around the swanky Tom Douglas appies last night, I wondered about their stories. Some had that fresh-from-the-boardroom look (sleek hair, correctly-buttoned blouses, beeper at hip, etc); others were rocking that "I'm a mom - deal with it!" look that I so often favor (comfy shoes, rumpled layers). Which ones work full time? Who's just planning that first baby? Who's terrified to let go of a good job? Around me drifted a sea of moms (and a handful of dads), each presumably contemplating a major life change.

The least we could do was give them a cupcake.

Oh, and wine (from my new fave "O" winery) and a "resource fair" (which included shopping and swag) - pretty much a wonderful "moms' night out" before the program even started. I resisted the jewelry and shoes, caved on the wine, and headed up to the auditorium at Broadway Performance Hall to hear a few fascinating women discuss the weirdness that is a woman's life

There was not one dull moment as Mona Locke rolled out the topics: confusion, planning for a change, negotiating with your partner, your boss, dealing with emotional issues and the various excruciating conflicts many women who want more from life grapple with. Do we feel guilt when we choose to have a career? Do we fear diminished status if we stay home? What happens to our identity?

To a woman, the panelists - each on a different journey, with a different story to tell - offered insights and ideas that had many of the 200+ in the audience taking notes. The place was rocking! The night was so packed with humor, female support and comraderie, and useful ideas that I felt empowered to change - and I already have the best mom-job in the world! Heck, I could be wearing Santa pants right now, and you'd never know. I often edit ParentMap in my Superman cape and tiara, but I digress.

Anyway, at the risk of being cornered and severely beaten with ParentMap tote bags, I'll say it: We should have one of these every quarter. Keep the dialog rolling. The more women talk about options, the more women will demand options. I loved being in that room full of smart, motivated moms. Also, I will miss those amazing Amazons on the panel. I miss them already. They are the coolest bunch of women you'll ever want to meet, and, like the rest of us, they are finding their way. They have things to teach other women; we all do.

I believe panelist and uber-pediatrician Dr. Michelle Terry said it best: "If Mama ain't happy, ain't noboby happy!"

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