This season brings us a time of reflection & a much-needed repose to focus on what is important. An organization that is near & dear to our hearts here at Pattern is Moms are Cool, an organization that helps provide moms the tools they need to improve their financial literacy & empower them to bounce back from tough times. Specifically catering to moms who had suffered loss during the pandemic, the initiative covered topics such as debt reduction, rebuilding credit, planning for retirement & saving emergency funds. The moms also treated the moms to monthly wellness sessions with NYC leaders from the food, mental health, and home organising industries. “Financial health is mental health,” says Jennings. “By investing in the financial wellbeing of these moms, we’re supporting a more mentally secure future for their children.” Today we celebrate & honor these 5 mothers: Sabrina Smith Melissa Martinez, Rina Rios, Stacy Hall & Raven Jordan. We've been fortunate to sit at their feet as they share their experiences & wisdom during a season that is about family, meditation… & even resilience for some.
On the Moms are Cool Program
“What have you learned from the Moms are Cool program?"
“The main thing that I’ve learned is not to be too hard on myself about my finances. Mothers tend to be hard on themselves about finances & not share what’s going on with their finances. So the first thing is not to be hard on myself. The second most important thing was to plan & have an emergency fund. - SABRINA SMITH
“From the Moms are Cool program I have learned lots of practical financial things like how I can start a Solo K account & how I might find colleges that will match my children’s educational & financial needs. There has been very useful information shared, but the most important thing I have learned is that I don’t need to always do everything myself. In my work, I teach about the importance of having support systems, but it has always been very hard for me to have those systems in place for myself. My advisor through the program has been extremely generous & has made me feel supported in various ways.”
“I learned to examine the reasons behind my relationship with money. I would definitely say it has been eye opening, sometimes scary...even anxiety inducing but my financial Coach Blair DuQuesnay has been wonderful at easing my worry & keeping me focused on taking small steps & being kinder to myself.”
“The Moms Are Cool program has helped me to gain a better understanding of money, credit, home buying as well as retirement. It's also given me the confidence I need to apply this education to real life situations.”
“My goals for the program was to gain greater familiarity with financial planning & learn from women driven financial experts. I would say these two goals were accomplished. I am now eager to continue learning & passing on resources & support to other women seeking greater financial knowledge.”
- MELISSA MARTINEZ
“I would suggest to any mother, to any parent, to really practice self care. It can really take a toll if you don’t. You don’t give your mind, your body that dedication - if you’re not good, how are the kids gonna be good? You have to make sure that you really mentally take care of yourself. Treat yourself kind & treat yourself nice. Your body goes through a lot & then afterwards, to take care of a child, is a lot. Women need to be more kind to ourselves. we’re very harsh on ourselves. We’re expected to be supermom & superhuman, & that we are most of the time but… we gotta be more kind to ourselves.”
- SABRINA SMITH
“I think motherhood has strongly changed me for the better. It's made me more empathetic and loving. It has also encouraged me to be more honest about my own personal needs/desires as an individual soul and woman.”
- MELISSA MARTINEZ
“Being a mother has definitely proven to be far more tedious than I would have ever expected. Yet it's also super rewarding. Many consider it a thankless job but I don't agree. Those little smiles, random hugs & kisses accompanied with those sticky hands holding your face are the most precious form of thanks. As far as maintaining my personhood throughout motherhood I'd say I am forever the student. In my experience I've kind of had to completely destroy & rebuild. Not saying that to any offense of my own. Having a child with special needs has given me an entirely different view of the world & my place in it. I'm not saying that I've completely lost myself in motherhood. I just believe that it has altered my personhood to my enhancement.”
"Being a mom is one of the best jobs you could get hired to do. However it's difficult at times to feel like anyone other than "Mom." There's lots of guilt involved with maintaining personhood. Actually I would say that maintaining is the wrong word for me. It's more like personhood comes out to play every few days, months, weeks, but Mommyhood is the main show. She runs me. However when personhood is on the schedule it comes in the form of a night out with friends, doing a new natural hairstyle I haven't had time for, crafting, getting my nails done. Things that are treats for me.”
I don’t know that motherhood differs from my expectations, though my children have surprised me by being so much better than I imagined. For me, being a mother was always my top dream & so it has been a huge part of my personhood. Years ago, before my divorce, I became the breadwinner in my family. That unexpected shift led me to realize that it was necessary for me to take time for myself & the things that I enjoy. I think this is important for everyone.”
On Loss, Struggle & Pain
“.. Be open & vulnerable with their loss/struggle/pain. These moments are usually breakthroughs for realizing one's inherent inner power, strengths, & core resilience. I would also look for ways to reaffirm courage & hope from external support - family, friends, community.” - MELISSA MARTINEZ
“I think that it’s important for us to acknowledge & sit with our loss or challenge, that we shouldn’t always rush to get out of it immediately. Contemplation can lead us to grow & learn. Of course, we need to be careful not to sit too long & to instead meld the growth & lessons with optimism & a plan. I’m a very optimistic person and I’m happy to just dream about a better future, but an actual plan is empowering and more realistic.”-RINA RIOS
“It goes back to the psychology of our relationship with money. Sometimes when I am stressed, or dealing with an issue that brings out strong emotions I will overdo it in some part of my life. I may spend more during that time period, maybe I'm eating way more than usual. All of these things are created when we don't deal with the real issues. It's not fun & it's hard work. To solve the issue, you have to do the work. In the end I would tell the person to not avoid it...whatever the "IT" is, pain, loss...allow yourself to feel & deal with it so that other parts of your life don't pay (sometimes literally) the price.”
“I was one taught that if you could feel pain then it means you are alive. Keep moving. By keep moving I mean work to resolve the issue. It may be difficult or even hurtful, however that pain must be transformed into a source of motivation.” - RAVEN JORDAN
“I'm currently experiencing a loss. That ties into your finances, because I had a family pass away recently & I had to fly out of the country in order to go to the funeral. It was extremely hard but I keep the almighty first, & it guides me through everything. It showed me that financially I wasn’t really well equipped. So if I did have an emergency fund, I wouldn't have been so stressed out & looked for different ways to get to the funeral.” - SABRINA SMITH
“We often think about the importance of a caregiver’s self-care using the oxygen mask analogy–we need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others. Beyond that,I think that practicing self-care as a mother is a great thing to role model. It’s important to model a regular care practice & it’s particularly helpful for our children to see us care for ourselves during & after a challenge. They’re going to have challenges too. They should see us go through them, handle them, & end up whole or possibly better. For me, self-care includes spending time alone, either in a park or walking in Manhattan, getting massages & acupuncture, & good food. Sometimes the good food is quinoa & sometimes it’s chocolate truffles. Keeping myself healthy & looking good is very important. My hair gets me lots of attention, so if I don’t think it looks good, it’s going to affect me.”-RINA RIOS
“Before motherhood self-care was an essential. I had routines that were more like rituals lol. But once I became a mom I began to struggle with putting myself first. That went on for years to be honest. Thankfully I've gotten to a place where I now understand that my self care is not only mandatory it is also a priority. (Sidebar: Special shoutout to PATTERN products. The newest staple in my self care process.)”-RAVEN JORDAN
“Self-care is giving space for more love and care in your life. For me, it takes various forms & rituals including prayer, meditation, reading, journaling, exploring art, traveling, caring for my health & caring for my beauty. Hair care is definitely a part of it. Hair is a dimension of my physical self. It is essentially my crown. Given mine is full and textured, there's always a lot of love and care to embrace.”-MELISSA MARTINEZ
“Self-Care to me is having my mind, physical, spirit & immediate surroundings in order. Sure things won't always be in complete harmony but as long as you're working towards that you are practicing self care. Hair care is a major part of that. My hair is my power! If my hair isn't in order I can not be in order. It is the remote control of my energy.” -RAVEN JORDAN
“I've been thinking more & more about my body & how I need to do more to create better habits for myself as well as my son. He is my motivation because I want to be able to keep up. He is so energetic & fun & I want to be here for him, set good examples & show him that it's a good thing to practice caring for yourself.”-STACEY HALL
“I love them, I own almost all of the styling line with the exception of the strong hold gel & the treatment products. But I'm working on that. lol. The products are nothing short of amazing. They are ideal for all of the textures in my home. My hair type is 3A & 3B with a patch of 2C in the front (crazy right). Then my daughter is a 4A & 4B mixture & the man of our home has dreads. These products meet the needs of all of our textures. Thanks to the Moms Are Cool program for bringing them into my life.”-RAVEN JORDAN
“My daughter & I both love the conditioner & the curl gel. Her hair is very curly & we’ve already recommended the products to people who have asked about our beautiful hair.”-RINA RIOS “I was so happy with the PATTERN products because I mostly take care of my hair myself, as opposed to going to a beauty parlour or whatever. I LOVE their conditioner, & I love their gel. The gel doesn’t make your hair hard or anything, but if you put your gel in & tie your hair down, it stays in place. So I really, really like the Pattern Beauty products. Especially their brush & everything, your hair is manageable while using it.” - SABRINA SMITH
I really liked the PATTERN conditioner for light curls, the PATTERN Curl Gel & the PATTERN Shower Brush. The products are very smooth, high conditioning which helps to lock in moisture & definition. The brush is small & sturdy, which easily glides through strands to untangle but not break locks.” -MELISSA MARTINEZ
About the Moms
Sabrina Smith was born in Tacoma, Washington & lives in Queens, New York. She’s a single mom, entrepreneur & founder of her own company dealing with mind & body wellness . She also works as an administrator for Tulson Enterprise Corporation. She is determined to create a generational wealth for her children.
Melissa is a 39 year old from Queens, New York, the daughter of working class Colombian & Dominican immigrants. With over fifteen years experience in non-profit program administration & management, she leads program initiatives that support behavioral health initiatives for at risk NYC communities. She is proudly raising a beautiful bi-lingual, nine year old daughter named Sara. Together, she hopes to inspire & support more community sponsored opportunities for mothers & daughters.
Rina is a lifelong New Yorker raising two amazing teenage children. She is a writer of short form non-fiction stories & has worked as a birth doula trainer & life coach for fifteen years. She loves creating good food & art as well as enjoying both. Rina loves to travel but feels like NYC will always be her home.
Stacey Hall was born in Guyana, South America & came to America with her mom leaving her dad behind just after my 5th birthday. Tough times, new country, new food, new weather, new everything. Total culture shock. Of course missing my dad, family, neighbors & house.NY apartment living was not what she was used to. At this point, she calls herself a "native New yorker." & “a proud Harlemite.” She is an Event Planner of events focused on immigration, specifically citizenship.
To learn more about the Moms Are Cool program & how to support it contact Sophia Jennings at firstname.lastname@example.org.