So, you say to yourself, a blog about morphmoms. Sounds great, you say. Just one question: What is a morphmom?
Well, I'm one. But this blog isn't about me. It's about THEM. Maybe you're one of them. Maybe you're one and you don't know it yet. One of an unsung legion of amazing mothers whose members I'm meeting every day and are telling me their stories, some sad, some funny, but all universally inspiring. Stories of how they woke up one day and were called -- by choice, by circumstance, by good luck or bad, by a sudden, irresistible impulse -- to keep being mothers, but to become something MORE. And of how, unlike so many of us who remain poised at the diving board's edge, they DID it.
This blog is about them, about their stories and about how, through them, the question, "what is a morphmom?" answers itself.
I'll be your sherpa. At times, perhaps, more Lucille Ball than Tenzing Norgay. But I think I'm a qualified guide nonetheless. Because in deciding to chronicle these women's stories, I took a similar leap of faith myself. Hopefully, my journey documenting their journeys -- the ups and downs on the open road, the missed flights, the flat tires, the wardrobe catastrophes and the mayhem on the home front (where three kids were not waiting passively for my return) -- might lead one of you to conclude, "If she can do it, anyone can." But more importantly, my hope is that the stories I've heard will resonate with you as they did with me and -- whether you're raring to go with a fully-baked idea, but need a shot in the arm to make it a reality, or are just beginning to cast about for what that idea might be, or have suddenly been dealt an unexpected hand in life and are trying to figure out how to play it -- might actually give you the courage, the wherewithal and the guidance to do what you were always meant to do.
For me, the journey began when I sat up one morning and realized that I'd been home now for 14 years. Fourteen years I wouldn't trade for the entire world, but.... my youngest was now almost in double digits. I actually had some time to myself. I had a minute to breathe (and a second to think!). I realized that I was ready. But ready for what?
Following the old adage that you start with what you know, I set about to write a children's book, drawn from my real-life experiences. Finishing it was a wonderful, cathartic process. So now what? Well, let's get this masterpiece published! But how to begin? Let's face it; it is one thing to write a children's book during the odd hours you steal for yourself. But it's another thing entirely to wade into the world of publishing after being out of the workforce for 14 long years during which many things -- technology not least among them -- had passed me by.
Where to begin? Well, the Internet's omniscient, isn't it? There had to be a place where women like me could go for support, instruction, and guidance. Had to be. Right?
There wasn't. I searched and searched. In vain. Sure, there were generic how-to sites that laid out the dotted-line steps to getting your book published. But where was the site for MOMS who were trying to follow those steps (or take the plunge into any one of a thousand comparable new ventures) after years on the sidelines, and with kids still at home? It didn't exist. I was stunned. There had to be thousands -- no, tens, maybe even hundreds of thousands -- of us, right? And then the proverbial light bulb went off. I would create that site. Morphmom is born.
In about a nanosecond, I'd morphed from a mom and would-be author to a mom and would-be Internet startup founder. I knew nothing about starting a website, but I was on a mission. And in a few short months, I'd built it out, with grand designs. An online community allowing actual connection and communication. A blog. And videos. Yes! Inspirational videos from the pioneers-the moms who had DONE it! Who'd made it work! Sharing their war stories, their lessons learned, their WISDOM, with those of us just starting out. The very idea of morphmom itself began to morph.
The following day, I went to Best Buy, bought a cheap handheld video camera and tripod (the assembly of which contraption -- stay tuned, Dear Reader -- will one day fill an entire blog) and a one-way ticket to California (ok, so that first heady foray was actually a 24-hour round trip, in order get back in time for my sons' football games), and reached out to two amazing sisters, identical twins, to whom I'd not spoken in almost three decades.
Though we hadn't seen each other lately, I knew that they were still the same wonderful women I'd known and they were the very embodiment of the morphmom prototype: they were both moms, they were both doing something they had always wanted to do and, most importantly, they were both kindhearted women devoted to empowering others to achieve their goals. I knew they had to be my first interview(s). And, to my delight, they agreed.
Now, I'd never conducted an interview in front of, behind, or, frankly, anywhere near a camera before. But if there's one thing I can do, it's talk to people. And, honestly, the logistics of organizing three kids and a dog without any help were infinitely more daunting than the prospect of the interviews themselves. But I was determined.
And thus it was that I lifted off from Newark Airport, literally and figuratively on a wing and a prayer (I really don't like to fly) and, six hours later, bounded off the red-eye, obviously fresh as a daisy, straight into the car rental line at LAX and thence (well, actually, after almost two maddening hours cooling my heels in said line) into my future.
Have Camera (and contraption -allegedly convertible into a tripod), Will Travel.
I have to confess, I felt a little bit professional. Or maybe like a kid playing dress-up. Anyway, the creative juices began to flow and by the time I arrived I was ready-questions in hand!
And can you believe, I didn't just have the double interview for which I'd prepared -- I had TEN. Turns out, my friends were so taken with the morphmom concept that they told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on and so on and ALL of them had stories they wanted to tell. I was all ears!
Or thumbs, as the case may be. After I profusely thanked my friends for their proselytizing, we began to settle in for the interview proper. But no sooner had I commenced my epic struggle against the demonically possessed Tripod then I knocked my sorely needed latte all over my interview outline. Then, just as I was teetering on the verge of meltdown -I laughed. (Morphmom Lesson No. 1: Be ever-ready to laugh at yourself.) I turned on the camera, closed my eyes (wing and a prayer!) and, remembering why I was there, conducted the "interview" -- more of a conversation, really -- without a single note, written, mental or otherwise (or a tripod, for that matter). (Morphmom Lesson No. 2: Be ever-ready to scrap your plan; adapt and survive.)
And so it began.
The interviews were incredible. No, not the interviewer. I was incidental. It was these incredible women and their incredible stories.
Thanks to them -- to their belief in my idea, their willingness to open themselves up to me and my camera in its cause, and the inspiration I drew from their examples when they did -- I began to believe in myself and, far more importantly, to realize that I was onto something much, much bigger than myself.
By the time the 10pm red-eye home went wheels-up, I'd conducted eight more interviews. Eight more inspiring women, friends of friends who fit the morphmom mold and, upon hearing the concept, immediately lined up to share their stories, motivated by the chance to empower others by doing so. To paraphrase the immortal Sheriff Brody, I was going to need a bigger boat.
And, metaphorically, I went out and got one. One year and one month later, I've travelled all over the country and have conducted over 300 interviews . My editing skills aren't exactly top-notch (I warned you that I'm an anachronism (technologically illiterate website founder)), so only 60 are up so far. But what an incredible trove of entertaining, moving and motivational stories that 60 represent! And I am going to be adding a few more each week. Meanwhile, the generosity of the morphmom nation continues to astonish: my dance card is filled with upcoming interviews. That said, I'm always -- ALWAYS -- looking for more! So bear with me and come along on my journey. Each week in this space, I'll share with you some of my trials, tribulations, unexpected adventures and Morphmom Lessons from out on the interview trail, and preview for you one of the amazing stories of one of the amazing women featured in our videos.
For now, I'll leave you with a brief teaser for the inaugural morphmom videos described above. Lisanne, a former screenwriter turned award winning filmmaker for "Six Letter Word" about autism and "the multi-faceted ties that bind parent to child", and her twin sister, Colette, former attorney who followed her true passion and is now an award winning author. Come and watch their videos, "Screenwriter/Director "and "Professor/Author"...and enjoy the ride!