I just returned from a whirlwind trip to MN with my daughter for the book release. As we flew into MN late that first night, we counted down the seconds to Kate’s birthday at midnight and we touched down in MN at exactly the moment she turned 9! She was so excited! In so many ways, it was definitely the right trip for me to make first since I got to stay with my family and meet up with so many people who knew me.
I want to send out thank you’s to the Rochester Mothers & More chapter (especially Emily!), the Minneapolis Mothers & More chapter (especially Joyce!), and the Twin Cities East Mothers & More chapter (especially Margaret, Dee and Mary!) for being such great hosts and doing so much outreach to get people out for the events. And a thank you to my mom and dad. I couldn’t have survived the trip without them. Mom took care of Kate, ironed my shirts, and took care of me too and Dad drove me up and back to the Twin Cities and schmoozed everyone at the events he attended!
So rather than a long drawn out post. Let me share some of the highlights of the trip in bullets and some pictures. I will say that the trip confirmed for me that these issues are universal for mothers – and fathers – didn’t matter if I was in my small hometown or in metropolitan Twin Cities, different income levels, different jobs – mothers and fathers everywhere are struggling to make things work in a world that is out of sync with what they want and need.
- I had the opportunity to do three TV interviews while I was in Minnesota. Here’s a link to the last one on Showcase Minnesota on KARE 11 in the Twin Cities. They also talked about the book during the opening of the show and the male host talked about how he takes care of his toddler in the afternoons and how he’s still trying to figure it all out and feels he doesn’t have the “maternal instincts” to which his female host said, “You don’t think mothers have self-doubt all the time too?”
- At one event, a mother who is not currently employed shared that recently her young daughter came home after a career day at school and mom asked her what she wants to do when she grows up. The daughter said, “Nothing mom, just like you.” And mother went in the next room and cried, concerned about the messages she was sending her daughter and the assumptions that family work is “nothing.”
- In Roseville, my grandma (dad’s mom) came out and at 94 dove right into the discussion describing how she went back to teaching when her youngest kids were school age and how she got her college degree at 62. Talk about an example of “sequencing.”
Themes I Heard
- The one question I got at all four book reading/signing events I did in MN was “What does David (your husband) think about the book? What does he tell people about it? I had anticipated this question and had asked David in advance for an answer to use, but David and I plan to write a blog post with his answer very soon!
- The other theme I heard was that mothers wanted to use the book to talk with fathers and give them sections to read. I told them that’s why I insisted on a gender neutral cover – so that fathers could read the book too, and that one of my hopes was that it would open up conversations between mothers and fathers. I had confirmation of that hope at one event where a woman shared with the group that she and her husband had been in marriage counseling before, but that reading the book shone a light on it all for her and that just the last week it had allowed them to have a breakthrough conversation and really begin to understand each other’s perspective.
- I also had several experiences where women told me how much the book matched their feelings and experience, “Have you been spying on me?” or vigorous nodding as I read or “That was my life you were reading.”
- Woke on my own birthday in MN and came up from the basement to have my sisters hand me the article in the Mankato Free Press which no kidding had a 4″ x 5″ picture of me on the front of the Life section. Gotta love the hometown paper!
- I was on a local Mankato radio station one morning, and people actually called in to win a copy of my book!
- Before the book event in Mankato started in the evening, a woman found me in Barnes & Noble and told me her daughter in law in Corpus Cristi Texas had sent her out that night to get a signed copy. Apparently her daughter in law has been following the book and said it’s all over Facebook. When she checked my website she saw no events in Texas but was surprised to see Mankato on the list so she told her mother in law she had to go get a signed copy. How cool! If you are reading this in Texas, I hope you’ll contact me here or through my website!
- The mother of a high school guy friend of mine came to get a signed copy for him and his wife and said that the wife had said to her recently, “You know I think the baby has been a minor inconvenience for him, but life-altering for me!” Yup, that sums up the experience of so many mothers.
- The book event in Mankato was so much fun, 50 people were there and what a great mix! I had my 1st, 2nd, 3rd grade teachers there. Plus my 7th, 8th and high school English teachers, geometry teacher, and chemistry teacher! I had high school classmates, young women who work for my dad’s law firm, friends of my mother, parents of high school classmates, and our Congressman Tim Walz and his wife Gwen sitting in the front row – they had their youngest child on the campaign trail two years ago. I was so moved by the support I got in Mankato and how many people came out to see me, more than at any other event in MN. In fact, we ran out of books so I had to send signed bookplates to the bookstore for their next order!