To My Mom Mary Kay: Thank You & Happy Mother’s Day

Greetings yogis,

I have received a few messages commending me for my responses to this crisis, or complimenting me on actions I’ve taken as the studio owner.

First of all, thank you.

Some days I feel capable and pulled together.

And to be frank, other days I’m dejected and helpless. 

Oh! You can relate?

But the truth is this: anything I’m doing of value, anything that is working, really anything you’re complimenting me on at ALL is because of the love and guidance from my mom Mary Kay Agnew. 

So, on Mother’s Day, I want to gush about her to all of you. I was supposed to be visiting her in St. Louis this weekend, but of course we are all sheltering in place instead. 

My mom was one of fourteen children born to her parents Ellen DeClue Agnew and John Agnew of Old Mines, Missouri. She is the bottom left girl in this photo with her parents and siblings.

She was a smart kid (super smart!), bookish and quiet. Growing up in this huge Catholic family, resources were tight and money practically nonexistent. 

My parents got divorced when I was nine, and although Mary Kay loved her job teaching elementary school, she couldn’t make ends meet. While teaching school full time, she went back to graduate school to get her MBA, taking night classes. I babysat my younger brothers. I remember going with her some nights and working on our homework in the hallways while she was in class. 

She seemed so old to me at the time but she was about ten years younger than I am now! (And I am obviously NOT OLD, for the record!)

She also worked part time on weekends and over the summer checking groceries. Now that I’m thinking about it, the only person I’m related to who I’ve seen work harder than my mom was her mom. 

Just to reiterate here, she was a single mom with THREE young children and she worked a full time job, a part time job, and went to graduate school to get her Masters degree.

While I was engrossed in my childhood pursuits (I was also a bookish and smart kid), my mom finished her degree and transitioned to corporate America. She’s been there for nearly 30 years now, and has worked in middle management for a number of companies. 

My family was broke when I was growing up. But my mom gave us everything. She prioritized education and she HUSTLED to give us access to the trappings of the middle class. She worked and worked to keep our heads above water. 

She never stopped working. 

And as you likely know, my mom was on my yoga retreat with me in Mexico on March 15th when we shut the studio down. She was there as I worked on my ‘down’ time on retreat, Face-timing with Maha’s staff to get the virtual studio running. She edited my emails to all of you, and we practiced every morning and every evening. 

I was stressed then and I still am today, but things have stabilized a bit. This is (apparently) our new normal. 

And now with the shutdown, I’m working more than ever. I’ve applied to over ten grants and loans. I’m at my computer every day (trying to take one day off a week but often I just don’t). 

I’m working and working to keep Maha afloat. It’s intense.

But it’s nothing that women like me haven’t done before. And I don’t even have to homeschool children! So many of my friends are balancing that as well. Hats off to each of you, by the way. I’m in awe.

When we need to work nonstop to make our dreams a reality, we do it.

When our family is in crisis, we show up.

When the future is uncertain and resources are scarce, we keep going.
Day by day. One foot in front of the other. 

I know how lucky I am to have Mary Kay as my mom. I’m endlessly grateful for her love, her support, and her unflinching determination to go after what she knew her family deserved. 

I stand on her shoulders right now. It is through being nurtured by her that I know how to nurture the team at Maha and our larger community at this time.

And you have been nurturing us right back! We are closing in on our GoFundMe goal. To each of you who has donated, thank you! I know many of you are working more than ever just like I am. 

I know that it’s challenging to work from home. This whole damn mess is just So. Challenging.

If your hustle can support Maha’s hustle, here is the link to donate.

I am here, living the fullest life I can, in gratitude to all the hard working women who came before me.

May our work bring what we most value forward in the world.

Happy Mother’s Day! Here’s to all the hardworking women in our lives who gave everything for us to live these lives. May they truly receive and know our gratitude.