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Listen in to hear Graeme and Andréa laugh, rant and discuss how they navigate building businesses and communities, showing up with integrity and staying in their lane. If this is your first time connecting with Graeme, the mom for mamas, you’re in for a treat and if you already know her, well… you know what’s up.
Graeme’s website: https://www.graemeseabrook.com/
More on The Mom Center: https://www.graemeseabrook.com/the-mom-center/
Graeme’s Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GraemeSeabrook
Graeme’s Insta: http://instagram.com/graemesea
Andréa: You’re listening to A Call To Serve. This is a podcast calling entrepreneurs, coaches, healers, creatives, and transformative leaders who want to make a difference in their communities to show up with integrity, use their power, and practice radical service. My name is Andréa Ranae. I’m a coach and facilitator focusing my work on holding space for leadership and liberation, especially when it comes to business. So glad that you’re here! Let’s get into this episode.
Andréa: Welcome to episode three!
Andréa: Today we’re talking with my friend Graeme Seabrook, who calls herself a mom for moms. This woman is revolutionizing the way that we understand motherhood and I do not use that word revolution lightly. If you want to know more about postpartum mental illness, recovering from recovery, the myth of work-life balance and motherhood that centers the Mama. Graeme is your go to person. I specifically wanted to have her on as our first guest because when I think of people who are doing this business thing with integrity, who are using their power and going to the root of what’s needed by the people that they want to serve. I immediately think of Graeme, but also because I love her and I think that you might to, we’re digging into so much in this episode, we talk about the difference between building a community and building a business. We talked about the choices that she’s making to support the sustainability of her work and her wellbeing and how she’s navigating being a visionary, you know, having a vision for a different way of being and doing work that’s counter to the dominant culture that we have around what it means to be a mother.
Andréa: We also talk about the power of being in the practice of centering, the experiences of marginalized people and we get into a little bit about staying in your lane, especially as black women and people of color and that’s not even it y’all. laughs I’m just going to stop there and let you get into it. Enjoy it.
Andréa: Alright, Hi Graeme.
Graeme: We are special. (laughter)
Andréa: So for context for anybody listening, Me and Graeme were just talking before I started recording and talking. I was just telling her about why I decided to start the show. And then she started.
Graeme: I went off on a rant because that’s what I do. My specialty.
Andréa:I want to share about what, what that means to her basically like right now. And so I was like, okay, let us just start recording.
Graeme: Maybe we should actually record the thing that we’re here to record. Hey, crazy idea. Maybe since we’re doing the podcast that instead of going off on the rant before we’re recording, so.
Andréa: Okay, let’s start with the first question and then we can jump into wherever we want to jump into.
Andréa: What are you cultivating right now as a business owner, as a human being, as a wife, as a mom?
Graeme: Honestly, in all of those ways right now, what I’m actually doing as a business because guess who went into business without ever thinking of herself as a business person? I mean, obviously not me, but somebody else. laughs Like I was telling you right before we started, I have a brand new website on Friday and there’s been a lot of changes behind the scenes in my life and in my business, that just started kind of like leaking out to the public this week. People on my email list got an email from me that said, Why I’m not writing emails to you anymore. pause So what I have been doing in my business is trying to cultivate community in my business, but my business is a business and communities are communities. Right? And those two things, unless you are really explicit about how you were going to hold those containers, you can’t call something one thing and have it actually be another.
Graeme: Like I can’t say I am inviting you to be in community with me and then try and throw in a charge on the side. Or say that this is a business and then invite you to be in community and be like, oh, don’t worry about the business part of it. Don’t even think about that. No, I needed to get clear on exactly what I was doing. So I was writing these emails that were these like super heartfelt, true emails from me to my list every Monday. And I would get, I don’t know, 10 to 25 to 30 replies, which is a lot. I didn’t realize that was a lot. But then you start talking to other people, it was a lot. And realized halfway through that none of these people really needed to be writing to me. They needed to hear it from each other, but there was no, I wasn’t setting up any way that they could do that. And then I’m sending out other emails that are, hey, you know, this is how you can work with me or buy my product or service or whatever. And those were falling flat because what people were expecting from me was soul bearing, not selling. So it was one of those things where I just had to get really clear on, okay, what am I trying to grow here? What am I trying to do here? What the heck am I doing? What is actually my business? What is actually my work in the world?
Andréa: That was a lot of questions.
Graeme: Right and none of this was fun.
Andréa: You just rolled your eyes so hard. laughs
Graeme: It sucked.
Andréa: I love that question there. I’m like, Ooh.
Graeme: Yeah, yeah, no. See you and the women I was working with, that was my business doula through all this, she had the same reaction you just did! And it was hard. It was painful. It was terrifying. What if I said to all these people No, I am a business person. I have to feed my family and pay my mortgage and pay my student loans. Thank you Nelnet and you know, and all of these other things. And they all ran away freaking scared. Oh my God. Oh Lord. I want to talk about like literal panic attacks, sleepless nights, snapping at my kids. Snapping at Adam, he usually deserved it though, like not being not being the being the me that I usually am.
Graeme: Until finally I hit the wall and I was like, I can’t do this anymore. I just can’t. I can’t do this any more. I offered a product that they had explicitly been asking for, that I had in my Facebook group and in my emails that people had said, I wish somebody would just help me figure out how to set these boundaries with my family for the holidays. Like, in multiple different ways, but those same words, boundaries, family, holidays, over and over and over again. I created a low dollar super easy one hour course. Come here, I will help you learn how to create boundaries with your family for the holidays. Boom. Zero people. And I was like, well, I’m done. I mean, I really at that point was just wanting to walk away and never….sighs just be done. Yeah. Like done. And that night I got an email from a mom who, had been going through her own g mail inbox, clearing it out because she was going to commit suicide in the morning and she didn’t want there to be anything embarrassing for her family.
Graeme: When you’re at that point, that’s like for real, for real. Okay. And she found one of my Monday morning emails and she was writing to me to tell me that she obviously was not dead, but that she read the first one, she did a search for my name, she pulled them all up and she just started reading all of the emails. And she read and then she started writing and then it was morning and then she took her kids to school, you know, she just kept living so I couldn’t quit.
Andréa: I know I’m tearing up
Graeme: I was pissed at her though. Like for real. I actually do love you. I’m sorry. Yeah, because now I can’t quit. Like I was going to quit and I was going to be, you know, flip the bird to all y’all, walk away and slam doors and have an epic temper tantrum and just quit. And then I couldn’t quit. But I also couldn’t keep going. It’s not sustainable.
Graeme: So I have to find a different way. So what came out of all of that was that the community is going to live on Patreon. Because It’s accessible. Right? But there is a pay wall. It’s a really low paywall, mine is a super short pay wall at the dollar a month pay wall. You can hop right on over that, right. But it exists. So energetically for me, it is not me bearing my soul over and over and over again without some type of return.
Graeme: Right. And for them it automatically sets up ienergetically, it’s the same thing. It’s the idea of like, oh no, this is a thing that I pay for you know? Yeah. Maybe I only pay a dollar a month, but it is a thing that I pay for. And as much as you know, capitalism makes me rage while we’re building whatever the heck it is we’re building next. We have to live in what we’re in now. Right? So that’s the email I sent out. So it was like hey, look, y’all two things are gonna happen. Well, things are going to happen, actually I am deleting all of the emails that are still on this list on November third, deleting that. They’re all gone. You literally will not get an email from me again. Here are your options. You can come and meet me over on patreon because that’s where the Monday emails are gonna go. Additionally, that’s where my podcast is starting soon and that’s where my podcast is going to go. Everything that I write anywhere, I’ll cross post it there. So if you want everything in one place, if you want it all in your email box whenever I do it, then it’s all right there and you can comment on things. So instead of sending me the email like everybody could see everybody. Right. Okay, cool. If you want product services, if you want to buy the things. Cool. Yay. I’m making a buyers list. I literally called it a buyer’s list and I didn’t just call it that on the back end, you know in the hidden back end of Kartra. I said to them, this is the buyer’s list. If you get on this list, I’m going to assume that you want to know about the things that I’m selling.
Andréa: Yeah. Make it clear.
Graeme: Just like straight up. Say if you’re not interested in buying things, that’s cool and I don’t hold that against you. Doesn’t make you a bad person, but then then this isn’t the place for you. This list is, is gonna get, “Hey, guess what, I have a new thing. Come buy the thing”, you know, there’s a new widget, there’s a new, you know, it’s 10 percent off. That’s the email they’re going to get. And then you know, if people want to find me for free places, there’s also free place. You know, Facebook is free and it, depending on how you look at it, the Internet is, you know what I’m saying?
Andréa: Right, they can follow you on social media
Andréa: Yeah, I’m not, I’m not running away, but I needed to figure out a way to like to sit all these things up so that it didn’t.
Graeme: Well I was going through it, but blue, I’ve been going through it knowing you for real, for real. Because the work that I do is, it’s not surface stuff.
Andréa: It’s counter cultural and like, and that doesn’t even feel like it’s really getting the full breadth of it.
Graeme: Yeah and it touches on a little bit of everything, right? When you’re working with a mom, you’re working with patriarchy, you’re working with capitalism, you’re working with white supremacy. This is to me, the intersections of all of these things. Sex and gender, the pay gap, healthcare. Like I mean all of it comes together all in this, this like, you know, shiny little first Sunday in May package.
Andréa: It’s a tough group to serve and to not just to serve because there are plenty of people that are working with moms but are playing into the current culture around like what we think moms should be.
Andréa: But you’re not doing that, which makes it even more difficult. And you have, yeah, like I’ve seen you, holding that, which is a step that a lot of people don’t take. Like holding the culture and the context with it like that the moms that you’re wanting to serve exist with them, but also being like, okay, but I need money to like feed my kids.
Graeme: But for real, food is not free magically in Denver. It’s not like, oh you come to Denver and all the food is free. And it’s really, it’s been really hard to get. sighs So here are a group of people that we say can only be virtuous, good and worthy, if they put literally everyone that they know ahead of themselves. And I am here saying you should join this group, you should buy this thing, you should whatever. You should exchange this money for my help. And it’s only for you. Okay. That was really good business idea. That’s super, super good business plan.
Andréa: And I’ve heard you in our conversation elsewhere, I’ve heard you kind of contending with the reality that what the woman, well not just women but like the moms, the parents that come to you, like what they’re wanting is to be a better mother for their children and you’re like, no, be a human.
Graeme: Oh, I just, I mean that was something that I think and I don’t think it’s just me. I think like business people in general, especially those of us that have really strong ideals about where we can see so clearly where we want our people to be, that we try to market to where we want them to be instead of seeing where they actually are. And I used to think it was just me and then I started talking to some friends and I’m like, Oh, you do that too. Okay, cool. It’s not just me. And that made it feel weirdly better. I was pushing this message, which is 100 percent true, that your healing work is for you. But that’s not where they are right now. Once mothers have been working with me for a minute, that’s where they are. Then they get it, oh, it’s about me, and then they’re also saying, you know what, I’m such a better mom now. Like I am enjoying being a mom now. I am mothering in a way that feels nice. It feels my kids. Our House is different, our family is different. My partner is like, oh my God, you know? But I can’t talk to that mom, that mom’s already been working with me. Like that just felt so ridiculous once that became clear. I was like, wait a minute, why would I market to the people that are already okay?
Andréa: Yeah. I was just talking about this with somebody on a coaching as activism call. How like, I truly believe that one of the best ways to market is by having this vision and sharing this vision and saying this is a possibility. But at the same time you have to do the work because the distance between where the people are that you want to serve and the vision might be huge and you have to meet the people where they are and kind of hold both.
Graeme: Especially if you’re dealing with something where they can’t even see that and they don’t even believe that that’s possible
Andréa: Right? They’re like, you’re dreaming. This is made up
Graeme: And then you try and show them, well, no, these are other people I’ve worked with and I’ve done this for them. And they’re like, okay. Then what happens? Because okay, obviously they can do it, but I can’t do it. And you’re like, wait, what? So that was when I realized, I’m like, all right, every mother wants to be a better mother. The best mother in the world wants to be a better mother. That’s just the truth. The work that I do that is helping them to pick up the pieces of their lives that got dropped along along the way along this motherhood journey, right? As they heal that, as they focus more on themselves, as they focus on self care, as they focus on sovereignty and all of these things, boundaries, all of this work, right? They ended up also being a better mother. That is also true. So it is not a lie for me to say; because that’s what it felt like in the beginning. It felt manipulative and wrong and then I just needed to really just sit and stop and think how are their lives different after working with me? Right. Just tell that story.
Andréa: They are better moms.
Graeme: Yes, I’m a better mom from doing this work. Not only am I a better mom, but I am enjoying motherhood. And like when I hit on that, when I was like some of the pain, the pain comes from not just I’m a crappy mom, I’m not doing this right, everybody’s doing it better than I am and it sucks and I’m not having any fun doing it and it’s hard and it hurts every day. But wait, what if you could feel like a better mother and also just feel better? Like who doesn’t want to just feel better, you know, that was like a revelation to me. But that also had to be combined with coming clean to my audience and my people and explaining to them this is a business.
Andréa: Right, right.
Graeme: Like, you have to merge those two things. And I just never had before. So this whole like, rebirth thing that’s happening with the website and the email list and the Patreon and all of that is about my own boundaries and building my own containers. And all of this work that I did on myself as a person and as a mom and all of this work that I do with my clients, I had to do that same work for my business. I had to think of my business almost as a person, you know? Or at least as a separate entity from me. And do that same work. What does my business need? What boundaries does my business need, what boundaries do I need between me and my business?
Andréa: Well, and I want to get deeper because there’s this difference that you’ve mentioned a couple of times between building, cultivating a community and cultivating a business which can have community elements in it, but what are the differences for you?
Graeme: Really? It’s money honestly, right? Like if it’s a business first and then a community like Patreon is, will be as it grows. Like I have The Mom Center which is a private coaching platform. It is also a community. Yes. The moms that are in there have made amazing friendships. They have cultivated community. People have come out to us with different things. People have brought problems, it is community. But before you enter it, you pay and you know up front that you are paying for specific things and these are the things that you’re getting back out of it. Right. And that’s the same way with Patreon, you know, upfront like right up at the beginning, this is the amount of money. And that’s part of the issue that I have with people marketing in Facebook groups and part of why it feels strange to me and odd to me. I’ve never seen it done in a way that makes me comfortable.
Graeme: Because there’s no upfront when I’m walking into your Facebook group. Unless you say right up at the front, this is the group for my customers, my clients. And yeah, I have seen a couple like that. You know, you join a private coaching community or whatever, or you start working with a business coach or any type of coach. And we also have this group, it’s added on bonus. But there are some people who start their group and then try to sell in there later. And it’s like, this isn’t what we came for. And I’ve had coaches and other people were like, oh yeah, but everybody expects to be sold to in Facebook groups now. Well, yeah, that’s why people don’t like Facebook groups so much now. Like yes, they do expect that it’s why they’re leaving. I mean they’re very, they’re actually very similar and maybe that’s because I’m a community creator at heart, so that is why I focus on that, that’s how I entered the world.
Andréa: It sounds like there’s also like boundaries because when, when you were focusing on creating community, it was you giving a lot. Like you giving so much and not getting what you needed back. The community wasn’t for you.
Graeme: No it was me creating community for other people, not me being in community with other people and
Andréa: I feel like when it switches over to like business, these are the boundaries, this is what I need in order to be able to show up to this community.
Graeme: And I literally said that was part of the conversation that Jess and I had. I said, when we were working on the Patreon idea, I said the type of community I was creating before was not sustainable, not sustainable. I can’t. I’m getting nothing. And so then you’re drawing from all these other places in your life, you know, then I’m drawing from my own forms of self care, some of which costs money. I’m, drawing from energy from my family and my friends. I’m drawing from all of the rest of my life to pull and push into this community. Right? Wheras with the business, you know, right up front when I’m in community with like friends and family and stuff, there is no upfront rules and regulations. You know, I need $5 a month for you to perform a take your phone calls. You should totally do that. laughs Gosh, lucrative mommy. I will always answer the phone for 25 bucks a month,
Graeme: Actually….That’s not a bad idea. Everybody in my family is angry because I don’t pick up the phone. I never pick up. I don’t understand why people call when text is a thing. Like they know. Like you could just text me right? And I am the person who, don’t know if your phone does this, but my phone does this thing where you can decline the phone call with a text message. Oh yes. I have one that says, why are you not texting me? Your last name is Seabrook and you call me 99 percent of the time. What you get back is that message of this is why are you not? Why? Because for what? For why?
Graeme: I’m like, okay, but even that is because I spend so much of my time pouring out. I would like to not be exhausted. I think that’d be cool.
Andréa: That’d be great.
Graeme: I want to know what that feels like. That sounds fun. I don’t really remember.
Andréa: Well and also I’ve been really thinking a lot about the name of this podcast, it’s called A Call to Serve, but I think there is also something that is kind of what you’re getting at with with your moms, but also like in the cultural element of black women, women in general, just taking on so much more than we should and that isn’t sustainable to serve others
Graeme: And thats’ not our work. That’s not my work. I have felt many, many times like, screw it all. I’m going to go work in a bank, I’m going to go back to bartending. That was the best money I ever made. I’m gonna go back to bartending. I can bartend during the lunch rush while my kids are in school and make so much more money. I’m in a major city. I could do that, right? But. It’s not my work, it’s not my work. I was like three, two days ago. I don’t even know what day it is. I’m a mom. I don’t know what day it is. I was crying at my kitchen table looking over our budget, trying to figure out how to make all of this work. And I said to Adam, I should just like chuck it all and go bartend. And he was like, yeah, you wouldn’t be happy. And I looked at him, I was like, I’m not happy now, sir. And he said, he looked at me and he was like, but you have a plan to be. That’s what I see in this business model now. That I have a plan. That even if, and please don’t let this happen universe, but even if I’m making the same amount of money in three months that I’m making right now, that energetically what’s going out, it will be different. And so I will be happy and satisfied. But now universe, I’m not putting that out there. More money coming in. You got me. You hear me? Okay, cool. I’m not jinxing myself.
Graeme: And I’ve been seeing this a lot. I told you right before we started this podcast and all of a sudden, mostly women of color coaches who used to coach on a variety of things, right? Coach on business, coach on grief, coach on spirituality, coach on all these different things. Now all of a sudden are doing diversity coaching or diversity inclusion coaching or coaching for allies. And I’m like, I can understand the pull and the call because when this. I don’t even know what words to use that aren’t all four letter words when this mess in our world…
Andréa: Oh you can cuss
Graeme: Okay cool! So when this fuck shit goes down, because that’s really what I wanted to say, I’m on Facebook too writing the, you know, 1200 words. And people, because the world is the world and white guilt is thing, they all come flooding in. Teach me, show me, help me. Throwing dollars sometimes. Give me your paypal or whatever, you know, teach me and I’m like, but y’all know Andrea exists, right? Or “my company wants you to come talk.” But I coach moms! Desire Attaway is a person who has a business coaching businesses and if you googled corporate diversity inclusion, her name pops right up. She’s not hiding. You’re not hiding and you’re not the only two.
Andréa: Oh, I know I haven’t been. Especially this past year, I have seen so many women of color, black women saying yes just because a bunch of white people, white women come to you and they’re like, oh, I love how you’re saying this. I really want more. But does not mean you have to say yes back.
Graeme: Right? And it takes you away from your calling. Like if I had done that, then when there is something that I need to say that is burning inside me that I need to say to mom, none of those people will listen. Whether they’re moms or not because that’s not what they want to hear from me. When I need to talk about maternal or mental health, when I need to talk about black maternal mortality, when I need to talk about like all of these things that I am an advocate for because that’s my lane, (Whew I wish people could see how like I’m just rolling my eyes every two seconds.) then people aren’t going to listen. There is a thing inside of each of us that we’re supposed to be doing and when we stray off of that path for whatever reason, whether it’s white women throwing dollars or just our own anger and why are you people not listening or whatever, it makes me sad every time. Because every time that I’ve seen it, it has been because there is somebody that I was trying to refer to them. There is somebody who needed their help in the work that they were originally called to do and that person didn’t get their help.
Andréa: Yeah. Because they’re focused on something that’s not theirs to do.
Andréa: Infuriating. That’s white supremacy. White supremacy derails. And especially for people of color. Like when we say yes when we say, okay, yeah, I’m going to take on this inclusion client, I’m going to take on this diversity or going to show up in this group and share my experiences of being a black person. You are not doing what you are here to do, what you really enjoy.
Graeme: Right, right. And the stuff that fills you up. What is the work that you would do for five years for $0. But you know, it’s not sustainable. I think it just hurts us physically, for me at least. My physical stuff is so tied to my emotional stuff that it’s physically painful. Having those conversations, I don’t want to have those conversations, those are not my conversations. I would much rather stand in front of a room full of people and talk about PTSD and postpartum depression and anxiety and OCD and intrusive thoughts and suicide and all of that. And not be in pain. I may be crying at times because it’s some serious stuff. But put me in that exact same room of people on the exact same stage and you changed the topic to race explicitly and not race within my lane. And all of a sudden my stomach is knotting and I am sweating and I am physically symptomatic. Because it’s not mine. That’s not where my fire comes from.
Andréa: It’s complex too because, you know, when specifically talking about women of color making this decision to go into something that is not their work. Of course it can be hard to like say no to people trying to hand you money that you’re knowledgeable about, like you have lived experience about your analysis. So it can be really easy to say, Oh yeah. Especially if times are hard. But I think so for you Graeme, like you can talk about race in the context of motherhood and the context of parenting and I think that’s what is missed. Because if your work is self love and then all these people are coming to you, “I want you to talk about race, I want to hear more about what you’ve got.”
Graeme: That’s what I’ve started doing. So what I’ve started doing is saying, would you like to sponsor a woman of color or a gender nonbinary person or a trans mother into the Mom Center? You want to support my work? Yeah, then pay a month for them. Pay for a year for them. Like cool. Because there is always a list. There are people in The Mom Center right now who are in the center for free because I know they need it. You want to pay me for one of them? I will not say no to you. I will take that money and spaces that I’m building, like the mom center, definitely 100 percent centers, and put mothers of color first That’s the way that I approach everything, from the community conversations that we have when we have like live calls, who gets to talk first, who talks the most, all the way down to the way that I word things and phrase things. It has been remarked upon by literally everybody that’s in here. Especially black moms that have come in there and been like, I’ve never been in a mixed race environment like this where I was so comfortable. Like, you know, you want to support, you want to talk about different issues. Then sponsor a speaker to come into the mom center because I only hire black speakers, black women, black mothers to speak.
Andréa: And that’s what’s powerful. Because what I see is when people do step out of their lane, like it’s a sign that there’s not a clear connection for them about the work that they’re actually here to do. And the larger cultural, societal reality. But for you , if a black mom comes to you like you gotta, take them to the breadth of everything that she might be experiencing because she’s a black mother and if you don’t have that that analysis of what your people are dealing with because of their identities because of who they were born into, then yeah, it’s going to be real easy to, to say like, okay, I’m going to completely shift.
Graeme: Right, and motherhood touches on everything. Everything. We have mothers in our group this week, just shellshocked over the attack at the synagogue in Pittsburgh, Jewish mothers. We have black mothers that are in the group that we’re talking about the shootings in Kentucky that were like, wait, so now I can’t let my kid go to the grocery store with my parents. That’s the only time that I get to take a nap, but I can’t do it because now I have another thing to have a panic attack about? Right? And it’s not even just when horrible things happen, but when I’m having a conversation about how do you learn to center yourself in your life. That conversation is going to be very different between an upper middle class white woman who is cis and straight and marrying and Protestant, right? And between a upper middle class black woman who maybe came out of like Jack and Jill and the church. And there’s a difference between a gender nonbinary, Latinx mom. That’s so many layers. How do I show up as fully all of myself? That conversation, you cannot have that conversation with a mother of how do I show up as fully all of myself in my family without taking into account race and gender and sexuality and patriarchy and capitalism and class and all of that. You can’t, can’t. But I think that’s the same as in business marketing, it’s the same in the spiritual realm. If I’m looking for somebody to work with me on just like accountability and my business, you have to be able to talk to me as a black woman, right.
Andréa: And some people would say like that doesn’t matter because accountability is accountability.
Graeme: But my relationship with that word is totally different. My relationship with that word. It’s totally different from your relationship with that word. You need, we all need this lens. We all have to have this lens and my learning edge right now is along gender. Trans moms, nonbinary moms and not just like language changes. I mean language changes. Yes. Like making sure that in my copy that I’m not using, she. That I’m using people who mother, that I’m using, they/us/we. Right. But beyond that, having conversations and doing as much work as I possibly can behind the scenes reading. Following, talking to people so that when I am faced with a client, faced with a mom, moms I have multiple moms and the moms center right now that are in different stages of figuring out what the hell is up with them. Right? And navigating all of these things. I don’t ever want to be a person who hurts them or holds them back out of my own ignorance. So if I am going to say that this is a space for mothers, for people who mother, then I got to be ready. I got to be ready for all the people who mother. And if I can’t be ready for all the people who mother, then I need to redefine this. Which I think is fine. I think it’s totally fine if you’re not there. If you’re not ready, if those aren’t your people, cool.
Andréa: But being honest, yeah
Graeme: But find out who your people are. I think it would be totally fine if I said this is a space for Jewish mothers. This is a space for Black mothers. I mean people would get pissed at you, but I would be okay if all of your branding and everything said and held up. This is a space for middle class moms. This is what we talk about. We’re going to talk about Lularoe all right, but I understand that the wider world would be pissed but I wouldn’t be okay with that because I need to know walking in. Is this for me or not?
Andréa: And for me that’s part of inclusion work. That may not look like being inclusive in what we think inclusive should look like, but if you’re being honest about what you have a capacity for in terms of creating a safe to the extent that you can because I don’t think that really exists but like so the extent that you can. Like that’s one of the best things that you can do is just be honest about who you can hold space for and if it’s not okay with you, then do something about it and
Graeme: Yeah and if you want to get get better. I mean, you hire Andrea, but just throwing that out there, just crazy idea. But yeah, just like there’s been tons of times I’ve had to just be real honest. Like I don’t know. I also think that I had a mindset shift between what I do. Not really being coaching but being mothering. Because to me, I don’t know, coaching is a very specific thing that involves more questioning than guidance. More questions. Then let’s find the answer together, which is more of what I liked to do. I like to do. Let’s find the answer together. And to me that’s motherhood. Motherhood is, let’s go on this journey and find this answer together. I’m not going to tell you that two plus two equals four, but I’m a help you count it out.
Graeme: But I think a coach is just going to ask you the question and wait and hold space for you to stumble through it and maybe figure it out. I don’t have that kind of patience really real for real. I don’t have that kind of patience and I think moms don’t have that kind of time.
Graeme: So I mother them like, let’s figure this out together. This is what happened to me, this is what happened to a friend of mine. Let me tell you the story. Let’s game it out. Let’s. Okay. What is the worst that could happen? Like all of those things, right? Well it’s hard for me to do those things when it comes to something that is completely out of my realm of understanding. So that’s why I’ve just been doing work, man. I’ve just been doing work. I’m lucky enough that in my personal life I have a really wide and varied group of friends. So I have said to some of them just do you have capacity to have this conversation right now? I have a question, but I always, I try to treat it with this the same way that I want white people to come to me when they have a question about race. I have done my work first. My question is going to be, I googled these four things. I read this. This is the part that doesn’t make sense. My question is never going to be what book should I read . I already read the books.
Andréa: Google laughs
Graeme: I have 201 and 301 level questions because I have 201 and 301 level friends, man, I don’t know.
Andréa: Well, and I want to focus in more on something that you shared and that we’ve talked about before, like your decision to center the most marginalized people in your space or in our culture and our world within, especially within like the mom center, but within all of your work. Like that decision is, just yeah, I just like want to talk more about that.
Graeme: Okay. See, now I’m going to be pissed. How is that not the most obvious thing in the world? Yeah. IThis is the analogy I always use. When a native trans mom or trans man can give birth and have amazing prenatal care, have an amazing and supportive birth experience have an amazing postpartum experience. Then the rest of us, are you kidding me? We’re gonna slide through.
Andréa: We all win.
Graeme: By the time they will have literally figured out how to make birth pain free by the time that shit happens because there’s no way to make that happen without solving all of these other. If you find the person who is in the most pain and you start to systemically attack the things that are causing them that pain, it automatically fixes problems back down the line. It’s the same way that white women benefited most from affirmative action. That’s how it works. We all know that’s how it works, so if I want my life to be better, I help the person that’s in the most pain that I can find. Yeah. I don’t see how it’s not just. Well, I think the obvious. It eludes me how it’s not obvious.
Andréa: I think ideas that we have about whait should look like to be professional and to have a business is like everybody is equal and we serve everybody the same way.
Graeme: Every body has different levels of pain and okay, everybody’s pain is valid. If the worst thing you have ever felt is a paper cut and the worst thing that I have ever felt is a bomb, then your paper cut feels like a bomb. Okay, cool. I accept that. But you are not torn and bleeding from that paper cut, right? Yes, your pain is valid. Yes. You should be accepted and understood and supported. Cool. Yeah, and plus also [inaudible], there is other pain that is just more complicated at more intersections. And the only way to fix that, right? Like when you start thinking about these problems. So the only way in in my, in my, my original like thing of native, transgender and now pregnant. So how does this person have an amazing prenatal experience? Okay, well first we have to recognize this person as a full and total human being. We have to understand gender and humanity, not gender in place of humanity.
Graeme: Okay, well as soon as we do that, that helps every other person on the planet who has ever been pregnant or not pregnant. It just helps everybody. That helps transgender people who are never going to be pregnant, not interested, don’t wanna. It helps cispeople who are pregnant. It helps those cispeople who aren’t, like it literally helps everybody to have that change in our analysis. Okay, so we’re centering and now we’re making sure that this person who is native, has healthcare and has an amazing healthcare experience. Okay, well then that is going to help everybody of all race have an amazing…and no we’re not gonna do that and the only native people can have an amazing. Come on. Come on.
Andréa: But I think that’s what people really think though. I think that when we talk about who’s centered because there’s such a scarcity around like resources and like and also people in privilege, white folks tend to like not want to. And I’m not just saying only white folks have privilege. I have a lot.
Graeme: It’s not either or!
Graeme: But actually there are things that should be making us angry is that there is plenty of food in this world. There are plenty of homes in this world. There’s plenty of money in this world and yet we still have people who are hungry and homeless and in poverty that is what should be making us angry that there is plenty for everyone. We’re just not giving it to everyone. There is not actual scarcity. Yeah, there isn’t. Like, there isn’t. And we all know that the way that this country works is everything trickles down. Well. Nothing trickles anywhere. So if they really focus and center and like really truly centered these people, we know that it is going to blow up. It just doesn’t ever trickle down or else tax cuts wouldn’t be a thing.
Graeme: You know what I mean? Like, come on, I just went in.
Andréa: And there has to be like a, on the end of that, when you choose to center the most marginalized, the people that then are kind of on the outskirts and benefiting from that, but they also have to get used to existing in a different way.
Graeme: Yeah that’s true. That does change their perception.
Andréa: The possibility of, of losing something that you’re used to having. And just like, you shouldn’t have had it in the first place, so you’re just giving back.
Graeme: Looook.That’s the thing I think. I think for a lot of us, we know that yeah, even when it comes to our, you know, my own privileges, you know, that’s unearned, you know, and it makes you not want to give it up more in some weird way. That’s got to be a funky human thing. The knowing that we did not earn the thing makes us cling on to it more. So….don’t know why we are like this, you know, I’ve seen it in so many different areas that it’s going to be a funky human being, but we just have to accept it.
Andréa: Usually it’s like the things that give us a sense of safety or a sense of superiority, a sense of belonging or feeling like people like us or whatever. Like usually it’s those things and we lose it. Then maybe we won’t have the people anymore. Maybe we won’t have the safety of the resources that we have in a certain way. Yeah. Damn.
Graeme: It’s a lot. I saw a conversation on a friend’s Facebook page where they were talking about voter disenfranchisement and Georgia and this woman just hopped in and was like, this makes me want to drive to a black church with voter registration cards. “I probably wouldn’t be…” what did she say? “I probably wouldn’t be welcomed.” It doesn’t make you want to like google Black Get Out the Vote efforts that are happening in your town.
Andréa: No. It’s the idea that I have the answer. I can do something for these people. Nobody else has thought of this before.
Graeme: What is it that these people that “these people” aren’t already trying to save ourselves. There is no community that isn’t suffering, that doesn’t already have something where they are trying to save themselves. All of us at whatever intersections where at.
Graeme: There is a group of somebody somewhere that is already trying to save themselves. Why don’t you just go find them and throw money at them or call them and say, look, I’m good at doing this and this and this. I’m good at making spreadsheets. I have two hours to go drag stuff around or like go do that. And part of staying in your lane, you know, part of like staying in my lane as a, you know, then I keep my business going the way my business is going and I keep my life going the way my life is going. But I also care about this thing and I say to them like, Hey, I’m really good at making Facebook groups. Do you need somebody to set yours up? Like these are the skills that I have. Can you use any of them? And they’re like, Nah, just give me $5. And I say cool. Or they say yes, we need x, y, z. and I say cool. Like there’s a million different ways to help. It does not require you throwing away your entire business or your life and putting on a cape and flying into anything.
Andréa: Well, and I like want to like reiterate some of the things that you just said because I think it’s so important when you talk about like serving people especially like changing the world and we think about the communities that are suffering the most a lot of the times, especially those of us that are in the US and Canada and Australia, like we have the superior and contemptuous way of looking at these people like, oh they, they don’t have the capacity to help themselves, but I think what you just pointed out.
Graeme:Right they totally do!
Andréa: they have been surviving this long for a reason and that’s because they gather their resources and their power to be able to sustain themselves this long. If you’re going to help out, like, yeah, bring something that you can offer and ask if they need it.
Graeme: People, I think the problem is that when, when people ask, how can I help? They’re asking the mirror instead of asking the person.
Andréa: Go to the people.
Graeme: They’re like, how can I help the homeless? They’re sitting in their houses going, how can I help the homeless? I could do this, I could do that. Instead of going to a homeless person on the street and saying like, dude, what do you need?
Andréa: And just believing that person.
Graeme: If they just want a bottle of whiskey, get the bottle of whiskey. You can help a homeless person buy them a house. That’s literally what they need.
Graeme: The number of times that I have yelled at the TV they’ll be doing, they’ll be doing like this. Like some, you know, it’s usually local news. We are highlighting this local group that is helping the homeless by helping them get jobs and I’m like, they’re not jobless their homeless. Literally a lot of the people that you’re hoping are not jobless, they’re homeless. You helped the jobless get jobs. You help the homeless get homes. We’re helping the homeless by solving the addiction problem or you could help them get homes like it’s in the name the of problem. I just get so frustrated with the whole entire universe. Andrej,ea, I need to be in charge. Just put me in charge of.
Andréa: Y’all can’t see my face, but I was just like, like the home alone kid.
Graeme: Tthis is not that hard, and thenyou’ll hear every once in a while and they’d be like, so here in this town, this group got together and raise this money and gave these 15 people homes and these people have now been in their homes for years now. They have jobs now. They were able to get addiction counseling and it worked. Now they were able to do it. This is amazing. No, it’s not. They were homeless. You still have to address the problem and then these adult people were able to access the other services that they need because you solve the actual problem. This isn’t complicated.
Andréa: It’s not, oh my gosh. Okay.
Graeme: I’m sorry. I know that was totally a rant. That would just get angry about everything and
Andréa: I think that’s important too. Like getting angry about everything. Like this is, this warrants rage
Graeme: This is why I can completely understand the people that I’ve seen who have run away from it, not run away from but gotten. I think it’s distraction. Gotten distracted from their actual core purpose and wandered off into some side thing, right? Because obviously I am passionate about that. I could very easily be like, oh, I’m going over here. I have to remind myself over and over and over again that this is my lane. And so when I do get super passionate and I do start to trip over my feet and run headlong into something else, I recenter and we do things like clear out the toys and crap that my kids have and those that goes to the women and children’s shelter so that when mothers have to bring their children there, there is a something clean and nice and not broken their kids to play with. And when I do see organizations that are raising money to give homeless people homes because that solves the actual problem. Duh. And that’s where my money goes. You know, instead of me running off and saying I’m going to start a nonprofit that does nothing. Like that’s not my work. I got to keep reminding myself.
Andréa: Well, and if you, because we’re friends, like if you started, if you were like, I’m going to create….laughs
Graeme: I’m lucky though. You’d be like, what are you doing? I need to have it. Yeah. That would be a phone call that I get a text. It’s like I’m about to call you.
Graeme: Um, I’d be in trouble. I have multiple friends who would snatch me up. But not all of us have communities like that where our friends are that honest. Or we may be in community with people who are doing that same thing, who are like, you know, if, if only we could get the women to understand that they would fix everything. Yeah. Okay.
Andréa: Yeah. Okay. Well we can talk forever. Let me ask you these last few questions. So what are you being challenged by right now? You already mentioned a bunch of today.
Graeme: Like for real, for real also. Okay, my daughter is turning three on Friday. I promise you that every parent and your audience just went. Oh shit. laughs So what happens is that there is a number of cognitive leaps that happened. They call them cognitive leaps. But what it really is, is that your child gets possessed by rolling committee of Demons. That is, that is what actually happens. We just call it cognitive leaps. It’s not, it’s not. like all the little emotions all turned to anger. Like literally they’re tiny little mini Satan’s. They’re running around with glee. There was one where it was all anger. It was all just versions of anger at the very, very end. That’s who your kid is three year as they are developing better verbal skills because that’s really what you want to have happened at the same time all the time and be able to tell you about yourself. Yeah. So that’s challenging
Andréa: Where are you finding support?
Graeme: Other mothers! I have a Facebook group. It’s free. We don’t sell things in there. And we actually started a tag, you know, as you can do that in Facebook groups. Now you can start a tag and the tag just says three years old, but no, so that Facebook group, actually the communities that I’ve created, I’m really lucky that the mom’s that are in there don’t expect me to be perfect and I’m allowed to go in and cry to know and know my friend, my friend. My friends are amazing and you were a part of that, you know, it took that trip to New Orleans and what are there? There’s like six of us on a text message thread that a month later it’s still going strong. There are some bad ass black women in my life that are not going to let me fall through the cracks. They’re not gonna let me break. They’re amazing and I, I am so grateful. So grateful not for you. Stop smiling. I am grateful for other ones.
Andréa: I am grateful for you!
Graeme: Other ones that aren’t prettier than me. Yeah. Yeah. That’s my new goal for 2019. I’m gonna stop being friends with people who are prettier than me. That’s my new thing that’s like super healthy. laughs
Andréa: How can people connect with you?
Graeme: If they still want to after all of this?! laughs
Andréa: Yes they absolutely do!
Graeme: If you still want to after all this, then you are my people and you should come. It’s GraemeSeabrook.com and it’s a brand new website. and that is how you can find me all over the Internet. Like Patreon/GraemeSeabrook. Twitter, Graeme Seabrook Facebook crap. Like it’s really easy I’m not hiding anymore. I used to. But anymore. So yeah, come, come, hang out. It gets a little strange.
Andréa: Tell us more about the mom center.
Graeme: It’s a virtual village. You know, everybody says it takes a village to raise a child and that’s crap. It takes a village to keep a mom sane while they’re raising a child.
Graeme: It’s not the kid that needs the village, it’s the mom. And the dad, but they can find their own group. So that’s literally what it is. We have weekly prompts in there which is like me doing a three minute version of this talk and once a month we get together as a community on zoom and everybody brings their coffee or tea or whatever. And it’s amazing. Really amazing.
Andréa: That reminds me, so y’all should definitely check out The Mom Center, but also if you’re in Denver.
Graeme: Yeah, if you’re in Denver, you should come and hang out in person at Empty Cup club. You can find it on the website too. Everything’s on the website because I finally have a website that’s you know, professional. But yeah, Empty Cup Club is Saturday mornings. And the next one is going to be December 1st. So Saturday mornings for an hour and a half in Aurora. You will finish your entire cup of coffee. You will not have to share your pastry with anybody. You will not have to wipe anyone’s butt except for maybe your own, maybe like, look, you do you mom. You can have an adult conversation with other mothers that also just want to finish their freaking coffee in peace. It’s kind of amazing. When moms get together and you can remove the insecurity and the judgment. Removing the insecurity, removes the judgment. We’re pretty awesome. People are pretty cool and we actually like each other. It’s good times. It’s good stuff.
Andréa: Thank you. Thank you so much for coming on.
Graeme: I can’t believe you just let me run my mouth for an hour and half though.
Andréa: I love you so much. It’s so great and I really appreciate you being the first interview…
Andréa: Wow. I hope you gathered at least a few things for yourself from this conversation. I’m not a mother, but getting to know Graeme and watching her parent, her children and embody what she teaches and preaches gives me so much joy and hope for the possibility of a dominant culture that actually gives mothers space to be fully human and I want to do everything possible that I can to get her voice and her work into people’s lives, so definitely connect with her. Tell your friends about her, invite her to speak at your event. If you’re in Denver or go to that Empty Cup Club, whatever you can do makes a huge difference.
Thank you so much for listening. I would love to know what you’re taking away from this episode, what’s resonating, what feels challenging, what questions you have, so connect with me on social media or leave a review. I am really excited to hear from you.
Graeme: I couldn’t do the podcast voice though.
Andréa: Oh, do it. Do it.
Graeme: Okay. This is the podcast voice. This is Graeme doing a podcast for moms. That’s my podcast voice. I had threatened her that I was going to do the podcast voice for the whole interview and I totally forgot.
Andréa: It’s a great way to end it though laughs okay I’ll stop recording.