Women first at Nevada County event | TheUnion.com

Women first at Nevada County event

Wendy Taylor gives a talk about how to survive and thrive as an empty nester.
Sam Corey/scorey@theunion.com

“Where’s the joy?”

The question was asked by Lani Fierstein as she’s worked to become happier and more optimistic. The struggle to find happiness, the Colfax resident said, is not unique to her.

As they get older and their roles expand, she said it’s harder for some women to find joy.

“As a mom — I have an 8 year old — we get so wrapped up in taking care of the kids, the house, the pets that we lose our fun part of us,” she said. “We don’t take care of ourselves. We don’t do things for ourselves.”

Fierstein was at A Day for Women, hosted on Sierra College’s Nevada County campus Saturday. Originally, the mother and entrepreneur came to learn how to prevent her computer from being hacked again, but she found a lecture on making the most of life more important.

“You have to spend 10 minutes every day doing something for yourself,” said Fierstein, who wants to spend more time doing things she enjoys like collecting succulent plants.

A Day for Women was designed to engage women, young and old, on a variety of topics from health to entrepreneurship and personal development, said Judy East who has chaired the event since 2013.

“The event is meant to give women a chance to do something for themselves,” she said.

East has been active in women’s organizations like Soroptimist International, a sponsor for the event. The organization, meaning “best for women,” operates to advocate on behalf of low-income women and children, both internationally and domestically.

The Saturday event, however, strayed from the political or philosophical empowerment of women as it relates to the #MeToo Movement, said East. Rather, the space was meant to provide a moment of self-reflection and personal engagement for women to rediscover their inner joy and to make time for themselves.

“This allows women to be away from the kids, away from everything,” she said.


Of the 17 lectures on the Nevada County campus Saturday, one included a talk about empty nesting, the process of children moving out of the home. The talk was hosted by Wendy Taylor, who gave tips to navigate the complex emotions that arise during this period for women.

“Every year, millions of kids leave the home” to engage in a variety of activities, and leave their parents behind, said Taylor.

The positive and negative emotions associated with being an empty nester are not a product of some mythic disease, known to many as empty nester syndrome, said Taylor. Rather, the marriage and family therapist said, those emotions for women are a natural part of losing someone who once leaned on them more frequently for protection, care and companionship.

While these changes can be difficult, Taylor suggests women stay busy, productive and rediscover meaning within their marriage and friendships. The therapist also recommends reminding oneself that, although the role of a mother changes when their child leaves the home, that does not mean they aren’t still a mother.

As a single parent who raised a son, she knows this personally.

“I’m still his companion and still his mom,” she said.

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at scorey@theunion.com.

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