The Mothers & More Power of a Purse writing contest inspired so many writers to share their thoughts in essays, but one writer put her words in poem form and the judges loved it.
This week we present the Purse poem by Alysia Reiner, a top entry in the writing contest.
In my purse is….
A band aid
A Kind bar
A pen & scrap paper ( okay old receipts)
In my purse is…
Share the power of your purse
Alysia is a novice purse poet who also happens to be an award-winning actress, producer, humanitarian, outspoken environmentalist and mother, and sure, why not throw in a degree in Advanced Bio-Psychology from Vassar (her husband thinks she is a seriously smart AND hot chick). As a writer she’s a regular contributor to The Huffington Post and Maria Shriver’s website, and has been featured on Celebrity Baby Scoop, Stroller Traffic, Healthy Child Healthy World, Family Focus Blog, Today I ate a Rainbow, Your Green Baby, and others. Her work in “Listen To Your Mother”, with her writing partner Abby Sher, was recently performed to sold out crowds in New York City and there was apparently a riot afterward to get a signed copy but no one was seriously hurt thank God. As an actress, Alysia’s appeared on stages across the country and all over the world, in many TV shows (currently “Orange Is The New Black” recurring as “Fig”) and many films (SAG Award for “Sideways,” “Vicious Kind,” “Arranged,” “Kissing Jessica Stein,” etc.) so she’s kinda busy but makes time to write. Coffee helps. Alysia is a champion of all things eco-friendly, green, light green, or even that lime green that most people hate. Her brownstone renovation in Harlem was featured on television’s “World’s Greenest Homes” and “Renovation Nation” and in various magazines like Dwell, Gotham, and The Nest. She was recently recognized as one of the country’s “Intelligent Optimists” by ODE Magazine, and profiled by New York Women in Film and Television as a “Woman to Watch.” Alysia is involved with many charities including The Cancer Support Community, Healthy Child Healthy World, Amnesty International, Our Time Theatre Company, Actors for Autism, and the Joyful Heart Foundation, but she still feels perpetually guilty that she is not doing enough to save the world. For more fancy credits, sparkly pictures and words she has said go to www.alysiareiner.com become a fan at http://www.facebook.com/AlysiaReiner and follow her @alysiareiner
It’s said that knowledge is power, and in this week’s Power of a Purse essay, the writer shares how lessons she learned from her mother helped her to know how to save and appreciate the value of a dollar (as well as nickels and dimes.)
This week we present the fifth-runner up in the Power of a Purse writing contest. The winning entry comes from Lisa Jorgensen, a mother, a writer and more.
Here is her winning entry: Nickels and Dimes
As a child I remember Mom often said we were middle class. As middle class we hoped to fit in with the rich while still feeling the never-ending burden of money. But money did not determine our happiness.
Every month Mom would sit at her desk and balance the check book. I knew not to bother her during this ritual as she sat with the calculator and stack of bills. I knew it was money time. If times were good, her mood was peaceful. If times were bad, we would have Ramen again for dinner.
Mom planned monthly budgets and menus. She was a devoted stay-at-home mom. She stretched Dad’s meager salary to provide for her six children. The lack of lucrative income did not determine our lives. With a budget we could live comfortably, happily, and without debt. Even still, we knew the end of the month was never the time to ask for new shoes.
It was then that I learned to hold onto every nickel and dime.
Mom taught me to take of our smallest earnings. She gave us daily jobs and paid .05 per job. I saved every nickel.
My first real job at the neighborhood fruit stand paid me $4.00/hr for stacking fruit, cashiering, and cleaning. I carefully cashed each crisp paycheck and budgeted out every precious nickel and dime just as Mom did.
Without realizing it, learning to budget my nickels and dimes helped me to later support myself and my husband through college and beyond.
I’m still middle class, but I’m happy here. I know how to deal with it. And I smile every time I see my own children carefully cradle their nickels and dimes in their little hands, and silently thank Mom for balancing her checkbook every month.
Lisa runs an inspiring blog called Pebbles and Piggytails It’s all about the positive power of moms. Her blog will lift you during your downhearted mommy moments and also help us all remember why we love being moms. Lisa is passionate about finding joy in the journey. She believes there is no perfect mother, but that motherhood is a continual journey of ups and downs. She tries to focus on the ups instead of the downs. She writes about fun with kids, crafts, recipes, and other thoughtful musings.
Lisa just moved to the Utah recently after living 10 years in the South. Lisa is a stay-home mom of 3 energetic children and wife to a wonderful husband who supports her through thick and thin. She treasures family time especially after she was hit by an intoxicated driver when she was pregnant with her 3rd child in 2007. After this experience she truly believes in miracles and that our lives are not to be wasted. She loves chocolate, sunsets, and watching movies on rainy afternoons.
As a winner in the Mothers & More Power of a Purse writing contest, Lisa won a set of 4 handcrafted cards donated by Nancy Hoetker, Owner, Nancy’s Nifty
Notes, member of East Valley, AZ Chapter 110 and McDowell Mountain Ranch, AZ Chapter 300; and the book Life, Motherhood & the Pursuit of the Perfect Handbag by Emily Roberson and the book The Pregnant Entrepreneur by Darla DeMorrow. She also received a free membership to Mothers & More.
On a cool evening in September, twelve members of Mothers & More come together at a local independent living residence for senior citizens that also has an assisted living component. The meeting is taking place in a small dining area, with lots of snacks on the table. As the members enjoy their food, the older residents walk by and sometimes stick their heads in the room to find out exactly what is happening. After ten minutes, the guest speaker—an expert in the field of childhood development—introduces herself, with members listening attentively. She begins to explore a potentially volatile topic: being nervous about one’s own parenting techniques and, perhaps at the same time, being judgmental of others’ methods. Of course, these issues can be even more hotly debated when the subject of a mother’s paid working status is added to the mix.
Guest Speaker : I am a specialist in family studies. I am also a mother, wife, and grandmother. I used to be a professor of family studies and now I am a life coach as well. Being a parent is the hardest and most important job on the planet. I am here tonight as a resource. There is not a right or wrong way to parent. But there are effective and ineffective ways to parent. There are also legal and illegal ways to parent. I want to give you permission to be human. There is too much stress over parenting. I want you to let up on yourself and let up on your kids where possible. Take a deep breath. Let’s go around and say who you are.
Mothers & More Member 1: I have a four-year-old boy. He is not an easy kid.
Mothers & More Member 2: I have three kids. They are eleven, nine, and four. They are at different stages and I need help.
Mothers & More Member 3: I have a three-year-old girl and twin boys who are two. I want to get out of the house. I want to get through this difficult time and also deal with their sibling rivalry.
Mothers & More Member 4: I have three kids, ages five, three, and one. They are good kids. But I have found that after I had the baby, I am snapping at the older girls. I have tried to be more positive. My husband is not around much [and I am a stay-at-home mom]. I have been trying to be happier. This group helps me feel not alone. I did do something bad lately—I screamed at my kids. But part of me felt good that I screamed at them . . .
Mothers & More Member 5: [As a working mom], I have a three-year- old boy and I want information on how to handle him. . . . My kid bit someone today in day care.
What does it mean to be the perfect mother in American society today? Is there such a thing as a perfect mother? Did these Mothers & More members seem to have the answers? Why is it that most mothers want to achieve this goal of parenting without errors? How do they believe they should best organize their lives to maximize their potential as mothers? What is the role of paid work in being the “perfect” mother? Does it help mothers achieve their goals or thwart them? (This book helps answer these important questions.)
Copyright 2013 by Cornell University Press. Used by permission of the publisher, all rights reserved.
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