This Mother’s Day: Choose Yourself and Reclaim Your E.P.I.C. Life

This Mother’s Day: Choose Yourself and Reclaim Your E.P.I.C. Life

This Mother’s Day: Choose Yourself and Reclaim Your E.P.I.C. Life

As this message reaches your inbox, it’s Mother’s Day… in the midst of a global pandemic. And if you’re anything like the vast majority of the mothers I’ve been talking with, you’ve been feeling disoriented and like you’ve lost yourself, during these last few months. You may even be wondering “how am I ever going to come back home to myself?”

I had been feeling this way too…overwhelmed with fear, moving through all the stages of grief, and juggling demands at home that now included supporting my children’s distance learning, on top of all the other things.

For the first time in the three years since I launched the podcast, I had stopped recording and releasing episodes. And I honestly wondered whether my work even mattered. All around me, life as I knew it was literally shut down while we physically sheltered in place. And inside, I also felt shut down.   

This is not the first time I felt this way or found my way out.

About a decade into motherhood, after navigating developmental delays with my oldest and five years of infertility to get pregnant with my youngest, I realized that in focusing so much on my own children and what they needed, I had lost parts of myself and sidelined my dreams. An experience I had one day, opening the door for two birds that got trapped in my home, and were crashing into the glass to get out, helped me realize that I felt trapped too and needed a door opened for me. 

But I also realized that no one else could help me, unless I opened the door for myself and took the first tentative steps toward what I now call my E.P.I.C. life. That day, in addition to motherhood, I also chose myself. And living my E.P.I.C. life became a manifesto, a simple but enduring framework.

In this special Mother’s Day episode, I share clips from my introductory episode with reflections on the E.P.I.C. Life framework itself and clips from episodes with past guests, whose words of wisdom have been lighting my way right now. I hope these stories and messages may spark a return to yourself if you need it.

Listen in for special clips lighting my way from episodes I’ll be re-releasing this week as part of a special series to light the way in the midst of challenge: 

Along with listening to these episodes, it was actually my son Ryan who really helped me. Telling him one night, while putting dishes in the dishwasher for what felt like the tenth time that day, that I was feeling depressed, he asked me “when was the last time you felt connected to your purpose, Mom? I notice you haven’t talked about Mother’s Quest in weeks.”

That question really sat with me. And then I remembered Graeme’s words from our interview again. Our stories matter. Our manifestos matter. And we need each other.

With that, and a few other sparks along the way, I got back to recording, I released an episode about the families seeking asylum at the border, a minisode about the creation of a “Pandemic Promise” to myself, and this Mother’s Day special episode that you’re listening to right now.

I also set in motion some epic plans for our third annual Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge, the one Graeme and I had created together. Taking place in the free Mother’s Quest Facebook Group, it’s  a 7-day journey, beginning tomorrow, May 11th, to reclaiming ourselves, a chance to reflect together, along a new process I’m naming “CHOOSE,” and to create or refine our own manifestos for living our lives the way that matters, yes even in the midst of a pandemic. 

As for me, I’ve learned on Mother’s Day, that in addition to spending time with my children, I need some time to myself. So, today I’ll be going on my favorite milestone hike, and when I reach the summit, I’ll sit down and listen to my favorite meditation, one called “Teshuvah” or “Return” in Hebrew, that brings new meaning to the idea of setting out on a journey and returning home. Of losing our center and finding it again. 

So, this Mother’s Day, I invite you to do something that may help you find your center again, in whatever way could be possible given the real constraints in your life. And to consider exploring some questions: In what ways have you been feeling trapped? When was the last time you felt connected to your purpose? And how might you open a door for yourself…to choose yourself…and to take even just one tentative step closer to your version of an E.P.I.C. life?

Give Yourself a Gift this Mother’s Day!
Join us for the Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge

The Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge is a 7-day experience that will move you through a series of reflective prompts to support you in creating or refining a “manifesto” of your own to become an anchor in your life in these years that you are raising your children.

In addition to reflective prompts that I’ll share live in the group each morning, I’ve invited a different mother to also go live, to share their journey and manifestos and also to offer a tool or practice that would support the prompt we’re reflecting on. 

This year, I’ll be exploring a new acronym mnemonic and framework “CHOOSE” that captures the process I went through when I claimed my manifesto…a process I realized has been with me in all the other times of my life when I shifted a perspective and moved myself forward in a powerful way. 

Here is what’s in store for you in the next 7 days.

5/10 Mother’s Day with Graeme Seabrook – Both Graeme and I will be live in the group at some point to wish everyone a Happy Mother’s Day, welcome new members, share about why we co-created the challenge two years ago, and set the frame for the week. 

5/11 Day 1: C with Lindsay Pera  – “Claim” the experience or opportunity in front of you that calls you to something different; sometimes these are even painful moments you would not choose for yourself. Sometimes these feel like a “sign” that calls to you in mysterious ways. What is the “spark” for you?

5/12 Day 2: H with Jadah Sellner – “Hold space for reflection” give yourself an opportunity to pause and make meaning of what is happening so you can learn from it and consciously move forward in a different way

5/13 Day 3: O with Nic Strack – “Own the perspective” that is NOT serving you. What story are you telling yourself that feels outdated? Or what way of looking at something is feeling out of alignment or holding you back? Before you can move forward, it’s important to really look at where you are now. 

5/14 Day 4: O with Jamie Greenwood –  “Own a more empowering perspective” explore a new way of looking at something that resonates for you and that returns a sense of power to you

5/15 Day 5: S with Amy Walsh and Elsie Escobar – “Stake in the ground” put your stake in the ground and claim this new perspective by expressing it clearly (and sharing when/if you feel comfortable). This is the day when the manifesto itself comes into form. I’ve invited several key guests this day who will each offer a different creation method that you can utilize to help express yourself. 

5/16 Day 6: E with Jessica Stong – “Explore one next step” begin to close the gap between where you are now and where you want to be by taking setting intention for one action. 

5/17 Day 7: Reflection and Celebration Circle An opportunity to come together via zoom after the challenge is over to reflect on the process, lessons learned and to share our manifestos with one another.

Sign up here to get daily reminders and to download the FREE Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge Reflection Journal.

If you’d rather listen than read, you can also go straight to the episode post here.

Minisode 2: Bite-Sized Reflection from my E.P.I.C. Life – A Pandemic Poem

Minisode 2: Bite-Sized Reflection from my E.P.I.C. Life – A Pandemic Poem

Minisode #2: Bite-Sized Reflection from my E.P.I.C. Life – A “Pandemic Poem”

After a podcast pause, I’m back with a bite-sized reflection from living my own E.P.I.C. life. If in the midst of this global pandemic, you’re someone like me, with the privilege of sheltering in place, and find yourself swinging from gratitude and inspiration to exasperation, this reflection is for you!

In this minisode, I share some of the things I’ve been reading and listening to that have supported me, and how they all weaved together one night when I sat down to write some aspirations for myself, something I’m referring to now as my “Pandemic Promise.”

I hope you’ll give yourself some pause so you can listen in, hear about some of the practices and ideas that are grounding me right now, and consider writing a promise to yourself. 

In this minisode you’ll hear me talk about:


If you’d rather read than listen, you can also go straight to the blog post here.

And please mark your calendar for the 3rd Annual Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge, starting on May 11th in the Facebook Group. Join here

Follow all the conversations at

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

A Pandemic Promise

A Pandemic Promise

A Pandemic Promise

After a podcast pause, I’m back with a bite-sized reflection from living my own E.P.I.C. life, that I hope may support you right where you are right now.

If in the midst of this global pandemic, you’re someone who has the privilege of sheltering in place like I do, and find yourself swinging from gratitude and inspiration to exasperation…I want you to know you are not alone.

By night, I’ll find myself writing a poem

And the next morning I’m tearing my hair out at Google Classroom and yelling at my children.

Many afternoons, when I’ve given up on any hope of providing “education” or “enrichment” to my 7-year-old, I’ll pass him the Ipad, and sink into reading posts and essays and listening to live videos or past episodes from my own podcast, that are slowly helping me to make meaning of this time.

I thought I’d offer some of these things I’ve been absorbing, with links so you can check them out for yourself. And then, I wanted to share with you a promise I wrote to myself, and invite you to make a promise of your own, if that feels right to you.

The first thing I want to encourage you to go and read is an essay by an Indian author Arundhati Roy in which she writes about how the coronavirus is an epic tragedy for her country and the world. But she also suggests that we not rush to a return to normalcy. In a powerful closing that had me catch my breath, she suggests that the virus is a “portal,” a gateway between one world and the next, and an opportunity to “break free from our current world and imagine it anew.”

Shortly after reading the essay, I watched a live video from my coach and mentor Lindsay Pera, herself trying to recover as she and her family have been sick with COVID-19 for over a month now. Lindsay referenced the idea that in this time of pause, for many of us, we are transforming, much like a caterpillar transforms inside its cocoon. She cautions against trying to break free from the cocoon too soon, before we have reformed, and invites us to create stillness and reflection in our pause.

And I read something from an anonymous writer who crafted a powerful metaphor about the virus as the storm we all find ourselves in, but the important reminder that we are not all in the same boat. We have very different circumstances, based on whether we are healthy, our profession, our family make-up, and our economic circumstances, among so many other factors,  that make our experience of this storm unique.

I’ve also found comfort in past podcast episodes.

From Avanti Kumar Singh’s episode, I’m reminded of the power of ancient traditions, like Ayurveda, that remind us to create daily rituals, and that we have so much power to heal within. My conversation with Avanti a year ago inspired me to start pausing in the middle of the day, to lay on my back, and look up at the sky from my bedroom deck. And so, several afternoons, when things feel like they are spinning, II find myself there, grounding myself literally.

My conversation with Jonathan Fields of the Good Life Project has had me thinking about my “sparktype,” that unique blueprint that can help me root into and reconnect to my purpose. Jonathan also asked me to slow down in our conversation, giving me a challenge to spend some time when I first wake up, with my hand on my heart, to ask myself “what do I most want today?”

And when I feel a sense of despair and fear amid the uncertainty for our future, I think about my conversation with Nikka Smith, about the power of connecting to the wisdom of our ancestors, and how they are always with us. I think particularly about my grandmothers on both sides, and the stories I’ve heard about their challenges and their resilience. And I commit to make time with my children to talk with my parents about their own stories.

And my episode with mindfulness expert Michelle Gale, reminded me of her powerful three breath practice, and how we can try to find our own calm amid the storm.

When I sat down to write, I found the threads of meaning and reflection from all these sources weaving together into something I’m calling a “Pandemic Promise.” Here it is: 

//A Pandemic Promise//

If the Pandemic is a Portal 

Then I commit to breathe more deeply while I wait inside this pause

When I wake, hand on my heart, I’ll ask myself the questions that matter.

I’ll find moments to lay flat on my back and look to the sky.

I’ll consciously create routines that will feed me and my family, all the while reaching for equanimity, a grounded calm to anchor me from the storm.

And I’ll remember I have a unique blueprint,

to spark and express my purpose in service of others.

When I feel most afraid, I’ll gather stories of resilience from my parents, mentors and guides.

This time in-between time is fleeting faster than I realize.

And though we cannot pretend that we are all in the same boat, *a storm of the same name rages around each of us and calls us to something bigger than ourselves.

So my wish is not to hurry it along so I can come through the other side of the portal unchanged.

But, instead to slow myself down within it and emerge transformed, even a little…

Less attached to material items and attuned to consume and more committed to equity

And to seeing the humanity in each of us.

This moment in time won’t come again this way I tell myself.

Seize it.


And contribute to a better day.

What about you? What’s been grounding you during these times? What might you write in your own “Pandemic Promise?” Comment here or in our Mother’s Quest Facebook Group. I’d love to hear.

If you’d rather listen than read, you can also go straight to the podcast episode here.

Mark your calendar for the 3rd Annual Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge, starting on May 11th in the Facebook Group. Join here

Follow all the conversations at

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.

Ep 71: Talking about Boys and Sex with Peggy Orenstein

Ep 71: Talking about Boys and Sex with Peggy Orenstein

Have you ever had a “pinch me” moment when you can’t believe how things come together?

With two boys in my home, and one a teen already, I’ve wanted to interview New York Times bestselling author Peggy Orenstein for the Mother’s Quest Podcast since the moment I first heard about her new book, Boys & Sex.

So, when Jill Daniel of Happy Women Dinners asked me if I’d like to co-produce a dinner and conversation with Peggy in the SF Bay Area, I said “yes” practically before she finished her sentence.

That I would have the opportunity to interview Peggy for the debut episode of the Mother’s Quest Podcast Season Five ahead of our in-person dinner was just the most incredible bonus.

Because Peggy’s work is truly transformational.

Peggy is the New York Times bestselling author of Girls & Sex, Cinderella Ate My Daughter, Waiting for Daisy, Flux, and Schoolgirls, an award-winning journalist, and internationally recognized speaker on gender issues, especially those related to teens, sex and relationships. She’s a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine and has also been published in The Washington Post, Slate, The Atlantic, and The New Yorker. She’s been featured on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, The Today Show, Morning Joe, NPR’s Fresh Air and The PBS News Hour. Her TED Talk, “What Young Women Believe About Their Own Sexual Pleasure,” has been viewed over 4.6 million times. 

The need to engage in conversations with our children about sex, even when they make us feel uncomfortable, was one of the biggest take-aways I had from my interview with Peggy. In this episode, we explore the insights she uncovered through her interviews with 100 teen boys and young men about their conceptions of masculinity and sexuality, including the early and pervasive experiences they have with porn, their understanding of consent, and the ways in which they feel unable to fully express themselves as emotional human beings. 

Where Peggy’s prior research revealed that girls are systematically disconnected from their bodies, boys she found are disconnected from their hearts.

As you listen, I invite you to think about how you could use something you learn in this episode to connect with your child. Be aware that while we don’t have explicit conversations about sex, we do mention topics such as porn. Please use your discretion in whether you want to play this episode around children. With older boys, you may purposefully choose, as Peggy jokingly suggests, to play this episode in their vicinity as a conversation starter.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity to share this interview with you. I appreciated Peggy’s openness to sharing about her own E.P.I.C. life, to her bravery in her work, her inclusion of the perspectives of transgender and gay boys and to the impact of race in our conceptions of sexuality, and her challenge to us to have conversations with our children about sex. It’s not just “one talk,” she says, but a series of ongoing ones that our times call for today. And we have to start somewhere.

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.


This Episode is Dedicated by:
Casey O’Roarty of Joyful Courage to Amy Lang of Birds & Bees & Kids

Casey O’Roarty, Med, is a facilitator of personal growth and development.  Her work encourages parents to discover the purpose of their journey, while also providing them with tools and a shift of mindset that allows them to deepen their relationships with themselves and their families. 

As a Positive Discipline Trainer since 2007 and certified coach, Casey has led countless groups through workshops and classes that have left them feeling empowered and excited about parenting. She also offers an engaging podcast, live and online classes, and individual coaching at

Her first book, Joyful Courage: Calming the Drama and Taking Control of YOUR Parenting Journey launched May 20th, 2019. Casey lives in the Pacific Northwest with greatest teachers – her husband, and two teenage kids.

👉 Registration for Joyful Courage: Parenting Teens Academy


Joyful Courage Podcast

Join the Joyful Courage Parents of Teens Facebook Group

Live and Love with Joyful Courage

Casey’s Social Media:


About Amy Lang:

Amy Lang is a sexual health educator for over 20 years, she helps parents of all beliefs talk with kids of any age about the birds and the bees. She’s the author of the award-winning book Birds + Bees + YOUR Kids – A Guide to Sharing Your Beliefs About Sexuality, Love, and Relationships.

She started Birds & Bees & Kids with the mission to help every kid grow up to become healthy adults by helping their parents learn how they can engage and talk to their kids about their sex and sexuality.

You can learn more about Amy and her work here 👉 Amy Lang’s Birds & Bees & Kids


**Special thanks to  Jill Daniel of Happy Women Dinners for co-producing and hosting the event with Peggy Orenstein**

Happy Women Dinners is the brainchild of food writer, gourmet cook, and publicist Jill Daniel.  As a food writer, Jill wrote about food from one coast of the country to the other. She is the owner of Dinner-Licious, she serves up delicious organic dinners to families around the San Francisco Bay Area. 

With Happy Women Dinners, Jill has brought together fantastic food and speakers with a focus on women.  Happy Women Dinners events are held in intimate settings and limited to small groups of women.

Jill Daniel – LinkedIn
Happy Women Dinners

Instagram @jillconnection
Happy Women Dinners Facebook Page


In This Episode We Talk About:

  • How our conversation coincided with the four year anniversary of Peggy’s mother’s death, the impact her mother had on her, and how we carry our ancestors with us
  • The high school journalism assignment that set Peggy on her life purpose path of telling stories. 
  • The importance of being in ongoing conversations with our kids about sex
  • What Peggy believes sex is really about and her ultimate end-game in all of her work
  • What one transgender boy illuminated for Peggy about constructing masculinity
  • Ways that sex and gender are mediated by race and ethnicity
  • What has changed today about pornography and the ways that pornography today shapes our boys’ experience of sex 
  • How to know when to talk to our kids about sex and porn
  • The ways in which boys feel disconnected from their emotions
  • Talking to our boys about consent
  • What supports Peggy in staying grounded while doing this work
  • The importance of finding community among other parents as we navigate conversations about sex with our kids


This Week’s Challenge:

For this episode’s challenge, Peggy encourages us to start having conversations with our children about sex, beginning with just one. With your older boys, consider listening to this episode together. You can also visit her website for a list of resources that can support you in having conversations with children at any developmental stage. 


Learn More About Peggy Orenstein:

Peggy Orenstein is the author of the New York Times best-sellers Boys & Sex, Girls & SexCinderella Ate My Daughter and Waiting for Daisy as well as Don’t Call Me Princess, Flux, and the classic SchoolGirls:.

A contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and AFAR, Peggy has also written for such publications as The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, New York , The Atlantic and The New Yorker, and has contributed commentaries to NPR’s All Things Considered . She has been featured on, among other programs, Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, The Today Show, Morning Joe, NPR’s Fresh Air and The PBS News Hour. Her TED Talk, “What Young Women Believe About Their Own Sexual Pleasure,” has been viewed over 4.6 million times.

The Columbia Journalism Review named Peggy one of its “40 women who changed the media business in the past 40 years.” She has been recognized for her “Outstanding Coverage of Family Diversity,” by the Council on Contemporary Families and received Books For A Better Life Awards for both Girls & Sex and Waiting for Daisy. Her work has also been honored by the Commonwealth Club of California, the National Women’s Political Caucus of California and Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Additionally, she has been awarded fellowships from the United States-Japan Foundation and the Asian Cultural Council and been a grateful resident at Mesa Refuge and the UCross Foundation.

Peggy’s Books:

Follow Peggy on Social Media:

Resources from Peggy:

Other Resources Mentioned:



Spark Your E.P.I.C. Year Workshop

Join me on one of my favorite things to facilitate, the Spark Your E.P.I.C. Year Workshop, where I will take you via zoom on a “virtual milestone hike” an opportunity for reflection and intention-setting as we officially close one chapter and begin another. At Mother’s Quest, we’ve decided that February is the new January, and truthfully it is always a good time to begin again with intention. Click the link in the show notes to join this experience live tomorrow or to request the replay and come along when the time is right for you. Hope to see you there! 

Join the Spark Your Epic Year Workshop by signing up here.

Want More Reflection in Your Life?
Book A Discovery Call

Some key themes that emerge from all my conversations, is the power of reflection and the power of being seen. These are elements that I bring, not only to every podcast interview, but to my one-one-one coaching and Mother’s Quest Circle facilitation. If you’re seeking more space for pause and reflection in your life, I encourage you to reach out to me for a discovery call to learn how we might work together.  Visit to schedule a time to talk.

Click here to book a discovery call


A big THANK YOU to our “patrons” for helping to bring these conversations to myself and other mothers through financial and/or in-kind support:

Casey O’Roarty of Joyful Courage
Kathie Moehlig or TransFamily Support Services
Anne Ferguson of MamaFuel

On the Move and etsuko Kubo
Kate Amoo-Gottfried
Nicole Lee
Olivia Parr-Rud
“Vince” of the While Black Podcast
Sara Brannin-Mooser
Lindsay Pera
Julie Castro Abrams
Alexia Vernon
Brooke Markevicius
Democracy Clothing
Michael Skolnik
Helgi Maki
Kari Azuma
Tamara Sobomehin
Katie Krimitsos
Carrie Caulfield Arick
Rachel Rosen
Chandra Brooks
Jen Simon
Monisha Vasa
Celia Ward-Wallace
Vanessa Couto
Desiree Adaway
Rachel Steinman
Katie Hanus
Denise Barreto 
Sage B. Hobbs 
Samantha Nolan-Smith
Jody Smith
Emily Cretella
Collette Flanagan
Titilayo Tinubu Ali 
Carly Magnus Hurt
Lizzy Russinko 
Suzanne Brown
Mara Berns Langer
Mallory Schlabach 
Katharine Earhart
Jessica Kupferman
Jen Jenkins Dohner
Genese Harris
Tonya Rineer
Liane Louie-Badua
Cristin Downs 
Erin Kendall 
Niko Osoteo 
Erik Newton 
Claire Fry
Divya Silbermann
Rachel Winter
Caren and Debbie Lieberman
Cameron Miranda
Fran and David Lieberman
Debbie and Alan Goore
The Sustainable Living Podcast

Support the Podcast

If you’d like to make a contribution to Mother’s Quest to support Season Four of the Podcast and/or help provide coaching scholarships for mothers, follow this link to make a contribution.

If you would like to “dedicate” an upcoming episode to a special mother in your life, email me at

Mother’s Quest is a podcast for moms who are ready to live a truly E.P.I.C. life.

Join in for intimate conversations with a diverse group of inspiring mothers as they share how they are living an E.P.I.C. lifeEngaging mindfully with their children (E), Passionately and Purposefully making a difference beyond their family (P), Investing in themselves (I), and Connecting to a strong support network (C).

Join our community of mothers to light the way and sustain you on your quest at

MINISODE: Bite-Sized Reflection from my E.P.I.C. Life

MINISODE: Bite-Sized Reflection from my E.P.I.C. Life

Struggle and Success in the Start of my New Year

In this pre-season MINISODE, a bite-sized reflection from my E.P.I.C. Life, I shared how my start to 2020 has been filled with both struggle and success, what it’s like to share the full range of our experiences online in today’s Instagramable world, and three things that have supported me on the threshold of a reset.

Also, a little about what to expect in my Spark Your E.P.I.C. Year Workshop, a chance for us to begin 2020 again, because February is the new January.

Three Things That Helped Me:

Join the Spark Your Epic Year Workshop by signing up here.

Season 5 of the Mother’s Quest Podcast will begin tomorrow. Join the conversation at

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.