Take It from Us: Two Mom Authors on Finding Meaning, Perseverance, and Friendship

by Erica Curtis & Risa Williams

Hi. We are Erica Curtis and Risa Williams. We are both moms, therapists, educators, podcasters, and authors. We met at a park in Los Angeles thirteen years ago with our (then) young toddlers, fell out of touch (life gets busy and we moved apart), and reconnected again during the pandemic only to discover that we were on parallel paths, both writing self-help books while working as therapists. And now, we currently both have books available through Jessica Kingsley: Working with Anger Creatively by Erica, and The Ultimate Self-Esteem Toolkit by Risa, whose newest book, The Procrastination Playbook, will also be published by JKP in Fall 2024.

Casual text conversations and work-related collaborations keep us connected now. But not only that. Our mutual support and frequent brainstorms energize us to inspire others, like you.

In honor of Mother’s Day, we have scrolled through our personal text thread and pulled out just a few messages that illustrate three general themes that are sprinkled throughout our text exchanges: finding meaning, perseverance, and encouraging support. Here are a few tips for reconnecting with your own meaning, perseverance, and encouragement – both inside and out.

Finding Meaning. Text: “Let’s celebrate.”

Celebrate small successes. We both actively acknowledge each other’s small and big wins in a positive way. Whether it’s writing a single page of a new book or congratulating each other on a kid’s accomplishment, we send each other a quick high five or enthusiastic smiley emoji. Acknowledging each others’ small successes not only strengthens bonds. It connects us both to the underlying significance of the accomplishment. It’s like saying, “I know this is meaningful to you.”

Celebrating your own small successes is important, too. Remind yourself that you’ve taken many steps forward, even when you’re having a hard week. Connect with the meaning, or value of the steps you’ve accomplished and why that’s important to you. This will build confidence and motivation to keep going forward.

Perseverance. Text: “Hang in there.”

Keep perspective. We both use a variety of tools to keep moving forward, and when one of us feels overwhelmed or stuck, we remind each other to step back and get some perspective. Sometimes we use humor to see the lighter side of a tough situation. Other times we marvel at how universal our challenges are as a parent, or writer, for example. These help us to not take passing struggles too seriously and keep us putting one foot in front of the other.

We also both use the strategy of “zooming out” to avoid getting too focused on problems and roadblocks. “Zooming out” might mean imagining ourselves in the future, past the stuck point we’re currently in. Or, it may mean literally walking away from a project to appreciate the rest of life for a while, before returning to the challenging task. Try one of these for yourself. It may help you see that, in the grand scheme of things, you will figure things out, hurdles will pass, and you will be okay.

Encouraging Support. Text: “You are a powerhouse.”

Connect with cheerleaders. Set boundaries with your time and energy and invest in those who are there for you as much as you are there for them. Try this creative activity to take stock. Write down the resources you value most like time, energy, money, creativity, health, family, friends, etc. Consider how well you currently protect these resources. Draw a line around each to illustrate the protective boundary you create around each resource. Is the line thick and jagged or barely visible and dashed? Once finished, reflect on your words and images. Are there any boundaries you would like to strengthen? Are there any boundaries that don’t need to be as strong? Now consider, who or what more you want to let in.

Remember to also be your own cheerleader. While it’s important to have friends to rely on for a boost, it’s just as important to develop your own internal cheerleader, through consistent, encouraging self-talk. In other words, be your first best friend. Start by imagining what encouraging words you’d give to a friend, then turn those words toward yourself. As your self-talk becomes healthier, you will find it easier to attract others with similar positive self-talk, creating a back and forth cycle of support and encouragement that is meaningful, inspiring, and motivating.

We wish you a Happy Mother’s Day full of personal meaning, perseverance when challenges come your way, and kind connections with yourself and others.

For more creative tips and tools, grounded in decades of experience as working mothers and experts in the field of emotional and relationship health, check out our books:


The Ultimate Toolkit Book Series and The Procrastination Playbook by Risa Williams, risawilliams.com, IG @risawilliamstherapy.

Working with Anger Creatively, Art Therapy Activities for Kids,, and The Innovative Parent by Erica Curtis, IG @ericakcurtis

Also, check out: The Motivation Mindset Podcast hosted by Risa and Erica (Apple/Spotify)

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