I had the great honor of giving the keynote address for the first Moms Meet “Wow Summit” hosted by KIWI magazine earlier this October. While I appreciated the chance to share my passion for Whole Child Medicine, the most amazing part of the experience for me was connecting with the courageous and dedicated moms who made the journey to Philadelphia from around the country. I was reminded of so many parents in my practice with whom I have the privilege of working to better their children’s health. This work has moved me previously, in one of my first posts for KIWI, to write about the courage I’ve witnessed as moms fight the fight, day in and day out, to green not only their families but their communities as well.
Here are a few examples:
One mom told me a story about how, when she politely declined a junk food snack for her toddler in a playgroup, she was not-so-politely requested to find a new playgroup. Mind you, she wasn’t trying to convert anyone to her way of life, just stating a preference for her child. Another parent has been working for years to introduce healthier hand sanitizer options in her local elementary school. Her main challenge? Not convincing the school administration to look at other options – they’re on board. It’s other parents who remain convinced that commercial alcohol- and chemical-based products are the only effective solution, regardless of safety concerns. A family considering non-pesticide lawn care was ambushed one weekend by neighbors, calling them “bad citizens” for possibly exposing their yards to weeds. Weeds?!? What about the exposure of the children and their pets to the toxic pesticides drifting into the family’s yard? Sometimes these battles take place within families. In one home, a mom is constantly fighting her own mother, forever scouring the medicine cabinets and tossing out the artificially-dyed and sweetened cold medicines that the grandmother insists her 8-month old grandson needs for his teething-related mild stuffy nose.
The Moms Meet WOW Summit brought me face-to-face with so many similarly strong women, and they told me their stories. I felt lucky to witness the interactions, too, as they connected with each other, finding support in one another’s struggles and success, despite their geographical, socioeconomic, and cultural differences. I salute all of you for your courage and have so much gratitude for the chance to partner with you to create a healthier world for and with our children. For you are the real champions, the everyday superheroes we should all admire and celebrate.
I’ve recently started asking some of the most passionate momma warriors I’ve met, “What advice would you give to others joining you on the path—those who may be struggling with self-doubt?” I wanted to leave you with their words of wisdom, with the hope that they will inspire others out there to follow their hearts.
“The trick is to be in touch with your inner voice and then, also, to act on it. It’s not enough to have a thought about what to do—you also need the courage, the support, and the confidence to act on it.” – Erica Danziger, Founder of Nature Girl Wellness
“Today I still have doubt, but today I can find my voice and use it. It has not been easy. To start, I have worked hard to surround myself with friends and professionals that are not only like-minded, but are people that I deeply trust. When times pop up that I cannot get out of the doubt I turn to those people. I not only turn to them, I now have the strength to be honest about the doubt I feel and that, like magic, helps it go away. I also work on my spiritual life through meditation, yoga, and spiritual discussion groups. For me a big part of that is feeling the difference in quality between truth—that is, what is real or my gut feeling and what is just fear or the noise in my head. Again, that is not always easy and it takes great courage to walk through.” – Toni Lynn DeFilippo, Education Management Professional
“’Follow your gut instinct’ is perhaps the most powerful and important advice you can every receive as a parent. You are the expert in your children and each child is unique. If something doesn’t feel right, go with that instinct.” – Nancy Massotto, Founder and Executive Director of the Holistic Moms Network
“For most moms, there is a world of doubt surrounding how to holistically care for our kids when our kids are sick or in pain. When we begin to slow down and trust ourselves, and do research and check with other like-minded moms who can share their experience, we gain perspective, and courage that our intuition is on point. To slow down, to trust ourselves, to have courage, to ASK FOR HELP from other moms… these are all practices, and are the privileges of being a conscious mom.” – Elena Brower, Founder and co-owner of VIRAYOGA, and co-author of Art of Attention