Lifting Others: Lisa Peña
Meet Dr. Lisa Peña the creator of The MOCHA Tribe Diaries, author of Waiting for the Lightbulb, wife, creator of the Ultimate MOCHA Session Retreat, and the mother of three wonderful children. She also loves chocolate chip cookie dough (who doesn’t) and using creative writing to help women share their personal stories so that others might better understand the world with a whole new “per-spectrum”, so to speak.
Tell us about your child with special needs.
My daughter, Isla, is 11 years old and was named after South Padre Island, our home. Her labels include autism, particularly Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), ADHD, speech delay, and others. Her legacy will be her kind spirit, heart of service, and impeccable sense of humor.
What are some adjustments you have made to make vacationing with your family successful?
When Isla was younger, “vacationing” was not a vacation, it was work, work, and more work. I learned that there is a difference in lowering my expectations as opposed to limiting my expectations. So, for each vacation, I set one goal, ONE. One expectation. For example, when my brother got married in Hawaii last year, I set one expectation; don’t let my kids ruin the wedding ceremony! Anything else, any other awesome experience, or memory, was a plus!
What are some things you do regularly to take care of yourself?
Exercise. It’s the only thing I do daily. Let me be transparent, I’m an emotional eater. The life of a coach’s wife, with a full-time job and three kiddos (one with special needs and one who is a toddler with a major testosterone problem), running a nonprofit and events, and wearing a bunch of hats is a roller coaster of highs and lows. Regardless of what I put in my body each day, I move my body 20-30 minutes each day. It is non-negotiable.
I also try to get one night a month without my children for a full, restful night’s sleep. This takes a village but is worth the work to make it happen.
What made you realize you needed to get away on your own, too?
Around the time I began telling my husband, “Hey, I am going to take a quick nappy poo” and around the time I began telling my coworkers, “I’m gonna go potty and grab a snacky”… yeah, around that time. I began to genuinely crave and enjoy conversations with adults, particularly mommas who could relate to any aspect of my life.
How did this lead to taking care of other moms?
I have a passion for creating spaces that don’t exist. When I searched for opportunities to connect with moms like me to share stories and build my tribe, I couldn’t find one that fit. So, what started as a blog sharing stories, evolved into a nonprofit and one-day retreat and then exploded into a weekend-long retreat for special needs mommas!
How can we connect with you?
You can read all about Isla in my book, “Waiting for the Light Bulb: The ramblings of a crazy, gritty mom” available on Amazon as ebook, paperback, and audiobook.
Social media platforms:
Facebook @LisaAPena or @mochatribediaries