Cyma Shapiro Chats with Children’s Author Pam Brooks-Crump
Q: As a midlife mother, yourself, the conception of your new children’s book, “Mia Inspired,” came to you during a recent inspirational moment. Explain what that moment was and why Mia is represented as a Monarch Butterfly.
A: It was two years ago when I began in earnest to ask within, “What am I wanting to do with the little bit of extra time that I have, now that my children are 9, 13 and 16?” I heard a laser sharp message within me, “Illustrate the book.” Funny thing(s) about this message – I had heard the exact same message with the same clarity five years prior, and this message seemed to be directed at the wrong person. I have an M.B.A. in International Business and I am a “MOM,” not an illustrator or an artist. However, with both trepidation and excitement, I accepted the 2nd call to illustrate the book. As the idea for the book unfolded over the next six months, it became very clear that this book was really my story. I was in the cocoon when I got the first message; I was not ready yet to become a new being with wings to fly. I was scared and my wings were not strong enough to fly. It took five more years of cocooning to be ready with strength, courage, excitement and ‘knowing’ to become the butterfly!
Q: What is the connection between your midlife, your children, and this symbolic creature?
A: I could not have done this book any earlier. For me, the years proceeding this career change were filled with not only my children growing and developing, but my own growth and development. I finally felt comfortable enough in my own skin to listen to an inner guidance, no matter how crazy it sounded.
Q: Does Mia represent you as you are or as you aspire to be?
A: Mia is me! She is all of us! I know now that I will go thru new stages of development and growth where it will be vital to cocoon, nurture, strengthen, summon courage and again stretch and ache to burst out of the cocoon again. This is the incredible, amazing reality of life.
Q: As the mother of children nearly 10 years apart, what has this personal experience brought you?
A: It has taught me to listen to my own guidance and heart. When I had my first child, I was 32 and had a loud “you should” voice. By the time I had my last child, I was 39 and I began to quiet that “you should.” It took more life experience, an intention to grow, and supportive women friends to bring me to this place where I followed my own heart rather than just my mind, what society said or the seemingly easier way.
Q: What has been your greatest midlife mother joy?
A: My greatest joy as a midlife mother is to ‘walk the walk’ and not just ‘talk the talk’ of Mia’s message: follow inner guidance, be patient, summon courage, connect with others, and most of all live your dreams.
Q: What have been your greatest sorrows or the negatives you might feel about mothering at this stage in your life?
A: I am just grateful to be where I am at this point; I would not have done it differently because everything has brought me to where I am now. I know that life is a continual process of growing and learning and discovering new joys and passions.
Q: What do you think about the increasingly popular trend of older or new midlife motherhood?
A: It just makes sense for many women to wait until later, because many of us have goals that we want to obtain before we become moms. For me, these were finishing a Master’s Degree, buying a home, getting some work experience, and traveling with my husband.
Q: What is your next goal?
A: I would like to nurture and grow “Mia Inspired!” in order to help people of all ages embrace the wisdom and guidance that is within us and all that it brings with joy.
Q: As you approach the half-century mark, how do you feel both as a woman and as a midlife mother?
A: I feel awesome! I have a line in the book when Mia sees herself for the first time as a butterfly. She says, “I am lovely and quite amazing!” This is how I feel. I actually say this to myself in my bathroom mirror in the morning before I start my day. Try it, it works wonders for me!
Q: What advice would you give to older mothers who are struggling with issues involving either their personal and/or professional lives.
A: First of all, know that “All is well.” Make an intention like I did for clarity; I wanted to know what it was that I really wanted to be doing. If you ask, it will come; be patient. Also, get support. For me, this happened to be with women in both personal and professional groups. Remember that life is good and that you are precious – quite lovely and amazing!
Pam Brooks-Crump, BS, MIM, and “MOM,” wrote and illustrated “Mia Inspired! A Caterpillar at a Crossroad.” Having graduated from the University of Georgia, in 1983, with a B.A. in French, she subsequently pursued a M.A. in International Management from Thunderbird, The Garbon School of International Management, where she completed three study-abroad programs: two in Paris and one in Mexico. It was there that she experienced the migration of the Monarch butterfly – the journey of her main character in “Mia Inspired!” In 2008, she was led to pursue writing and illustrating children’s picture books, paying tribute to her inner and outer experience and knowledge. “Mia Inspired!” is her first published book. She can be found @ www.miainspired.com.