Interview for Member Spotlight
Member Spotlight – (name and brief background)
Leta Hamilton, author, radion show host, motivational speaker
The Way of the Toddler: The Craziness of Modern Motherhood and the Spiritual Lessons I Learned from My Zen Masters in Diapers
1. Tell us about your business and the service that you provide:
Through the platform of radio, I provide real maintenance tools for real moms. I am a mom to 3 little boys who are currently 1, 3 and 5 years old. I went from being an Executive Assistant of a CEO in Private Equity to downsizing my life to a part time job after the birth of my first child. Then I became a full-time mom after the birth of my second child. I truly went from the business suit to comfy sweat pants and I completely had to reevaluate how I measured my self-esteem now that I was no longer bringing in any income. I started reading every self-help/personal empowerment book I could check out from the library or listen to on tape (I would go through the used books on tape in the thrift stores to save money). Holf wever, these books were by and large written by men and none of them with a 1 and 3 year old child to whom to attend. I thought, “There has to be a better way.” I made the conscious decision to start paying more attention to my kids from a spiritual perspective to see what lessons they could be teaching me for the keys to inner peace and greater fulfillment. After all, I was spending so much time with them anyway. It seemed like a great way to enrich my spiritual quest and be mentally “present” with my kids while we carried out the daily tasks of living. I put the laptop up on the kitchen counter and, literally, with baby attached to breast, started writing down everything they were teaching me. After a move and a new baby, I began the process of looking for a publisher. Once the book was published, I began marketing myself as a public speaker. I also started doing many local radio show interviews. I was offered the position of host on one of the shows on which I was interviewed and accepted. Now I network, market and promote my book, speak at events and host my radio show. I help moms write their own Mission Statement for Motherhood and have a D-I-A-P-E-R for Life Strategy I teach. My radio show goes out to 1.3 million listeners and is called “The Way of the Toddler Hour.” I am privileged to be a part of the I’m Thankful Network, which sponsors my show. I blog about the spiritual lessons I am learning all the time from my kids. It really is the ultimate in work/life balance because my kids provide me with the material for my career as author, radio show host and motivational speaker.
2. How did you decide to get started?
An insatiable drive for fulfilling my potential on this earth, a desire to know and then to teach authentic JOY and the value of authentic power.
3. What kind of background of expertise do you have in your field?
Graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Oregon with degrees in Italian and International Relations. I then went to Italy to do post-grad work, followed by 2 years in Japan to teach English. It was there that I met my (now) husband, who is from England (and, coincidentally, has the same last name as me). Before we had kids we were DINKIES (Dual Income No Kids). That was a lot of fun, but we also wanted children. After kids, we became a STINKY family (Single Takehome Income with New Kids). That required a whole new level of inward searching for peace and contentment with life because the financial freedom that we had known before was no longer so financially free, so to speak. As the daughter of a Navy Chaplain, church and spiritual inquiry was a natural part of my upbringing. Turning to the best-selling personal empowerment/spiritual growth authors such as Dr. Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Deepak Chopra, etc, was the next obvious step in my exploration of more enlightened ways to deal with poopy diapers and piles of laundry. Now, I have 1, 3 and 5 year old boys that provide me with infinite material about which to write. They are always teaching me the keys to inner peace and happiness. They challenge me to find stores of patience within myself I didn’t know I had. They also show me what it means to truly be authentic, how to live in the moment and to worry less about what other people think and just have fun.
4. What trends do you see in your current industry?
The best selling self-help books sweeping the globe are a clear indication that people in general are looking for a better way to live their lives that includes more attention to what is going on internally within one’s own psyche. People long to live lives filled with goodness and love and to be the best men and women they can be. There is an incredible trend towards taking responsiblity for one’s happiness in life. Across the board, we are seeking a better way to fulfill our potential as human beings. There is a palpable longing to redefine what it means to be successful mothers raising successful children. We want our children to grow up with an inner sense of satisfaction with life. However, there is still a great deal of pressure to compare ourselves against what other parents are doing. The whole arena of parenting (and I would posit especially motherhood) is rife with opportunities for external comparisons, judgement, guilt and criticism of both self and others. Plus, there are so many parenting books and methods from which to garner advice and ideas, that it is as if we have almost stopped trusting our own inner sense of what is right for our child. We look to experts and we seek answers to our questions, but often the knowing what to do resides within our hearts all along and what is required is enough stillness and self-inquiry for that knowing to reveal itself. On the one hand, we want to trust ourselves more and do what intuitively feels right, but, on the other hand, no one wants to be the first one to reject what have in many cases become entrenched societal norms.
5. What things do you find to be most demanding about your job?
The irony is not lost on me that I hire more babysitters now than ever before as I travel about meeting with other moms, preparing my radio show and keeping up with correspondence. All the demands of motherhood are still there. However, with the conscious awareness that my children are always offering up opportunities for me to learn, grow and become more of the person I desire to be on this planet, allows me to see the gift of each and every moment – even when it comes in the form of a tantrum or peas all over the floor.
6. What do you find to be the most rewarding about your job and your day to day routine?
The fact that me children are the inspiration for all that I do in my career.
7. What advice would you give to someone else who is interested in starting a business like yours?
Patience is required. Things happen in baby steps, just like they do for our children. Where ever I go and to whom ever I speak about what our children can teach us, I am always greeted with a “That is so true.” We instinctively know that our children can be our greatest teachers, but we often forget to look for the lessons when we are so grossed out by what they are producing in their diapers or just too plain exhausted to care. I would welcome anyone to join me on this mission to change how we define successful parenting and to be more consciously aware of the gifts and lessons our children bring to the table. It is not about what we need to be “doing” to or for our kids. It’s about all that they do for us without us even realizing or appreciating it. My real advice for anyone interested in starting a business like mine is to call me and let’s collaborate.
8. What are you most proud of as a parent-preneur?
I am most proud of the fact that what I do requires me to constantly search out how my children are enriching my life, even if I don’t always understand how in the middle of an unpleasant situation (like a tantrum). What I do as a “job” requires me to go within daily, pray and honestly ask how I can do better to teach authentic JOY and love ever more unconditionally.
9. How have you been able to manage your time between work and your family?
It is an ebb and flow. Some weeks are better than others. I always make time to write every day no matter what. When I am with my kids I stop thinking about everything that needs to be done and stay focused on being in the present with them. I pray ceaselessly, giving all my worries and concerns over to a higher power. I practice humility. I strive for patience. I remind myself constantly that life is a journey, not an end goal. I am grateful for each and every thing that happens, even the “bad” or frustrating stuff, because everything is an opportunity to learn and to face, ultimately conquering, my fears. Also, trust is key. Without it, I am lost before I even start.
10. What has been the most effective way for you to promote yourself?
Networking is a HUGE part of what I do. The more I network, the easier promoting myself becomes.
Finally: What does your “Milk Money” provide for you and your family?
My “Milk Money” provides self-esteem, a sense of accomplishment and a feeling that I am fulfilling my potential and purpose as a human being on this planet. For my children, they see me loving my life, loving what I do, living in joy and embracing and valueing authentic power. Likewise for my husband. As a newly established business entity what I earn is quickly reinvested into the growth and expansion of this message to which I am deeply committed for my sake, my children’s sake and the sake of mothers and their children all across the world.
“Thank you for supporting self-employed moms and dads. Together we are changing the world!”