A Really Big Blog-iversary Giveaway!

You've given me so much support in my years of blogging at ADDitude. Now it's your turn to feel the love, with this chance to be my guest at a special weekend retreat.
ADHD Parenting Blog | posted by Kay Marner

I've learned a lot from the experience of writing about my child, and about ADHD, for the ADDitudeMag.com audience, but one lesson in particular stands out: the importance of finding support from other parents of kids with similar issues.

Kay Marner, author and blogger

March 30, 2012 marked 4 years since I started writing this blog for ADDitudeMag.com. When I first started, I worried that I'd run out of things to write about. As it turns out, my concern was unnecessary. My daughter, Natalie, generates plenty of ADHD-inspired material for me, bless her heart. I have no doubt she'll continue to challenge, entertain, and inspire me well into the future.

I've learned a lot from the experience of writing about my child, and about ADHD, for the ADDitudeMag.com audience, but one lesson in particular stands out: the importance of finding support from other parents of kids with similar issues. The sense of community I feel -- each time a reader shares, via a comment, a useful tip, a mistake made, a feeling felt, or a wish for the future -- is unmatched, and so appreciated. I don't respond to every comment, but I do read them. They mean a lot to me (recently, the responses to this post, in particular really touched me), and I'm sure, to other readers. So, to celebrate the 4th anniversary of this blog, and in honor of the support and community we parents of kids with ADHD and other special needs offer to each other, I will sponsor one lucky mom's registration, travel and lodging expenses (not to exceed $1000, some meals included, but activities, and miscellaneous costs at winner's expense) to attend the summer 2012 Happy Mama Conference & Retreat, which will take place Saturday, July 28 – Sunday, July 29, 2012, at the Rock Barn Golf & Spa, in Conover, North Carolina.

Here's what the retreat is all about, as described on the Happy Mama website:

What: A CONFERENCE that focuses on your needs as the mom to a child with a very real, but invisible, brain-based disability, like ADHD, ADD, OCD, ODD, FASD, PBD, SPD, PDD, or one of the many other overlapping conditions that make parenting your child an extra-challenging situation, and a RETREAT, where we’ll provide you with wonderful food, spa opportunities, fun activities, and camaraderie with other moms who know exactly where you’re coming from.

Why: Because parenting children with invisible disabilities is an extremely stressful, isolating, and emotional job, and one which can impact your health and well-being in a negative way. But if mama ain’t happy, ain't nobody happy!

The retreat, hosted by DRT Press, publisher of the book I co-edited, Easy to Love but Hard to Raise, and the website {a mom's view of ADHD} owned by Penny Williams, and supported by a growing list of sponsors, will offer the perfect blend of education, support and pampering.

On Saturday morning, July 28, Adrienne Ehlert Bashista, co-editor of Easy to Love but Hard to Raise: Real Parents, Challenging Kids, True Stories, and publisher, DRT Press, will start things off with a "Welcome" talk. Later that morning, Dr. Daphne Timmons, experienced clinician for children and adults and certified parent trainer through CHADD, will present "Parenthood, Stress, Health, and Resiliency." After lunch Jill Critchfield, nationally board-certified exceptional children's teacher and educational advocate, will talk about "Advocating for Your Child in School," with a Q & A to follow. The last presentation of the day will feature Kristin McClure, MSW, LCSW, family and child therapist, on the topic: "How to Be Happy: Calming Techniques for You and Your Child."

Sunday will be devoted to fun and pampering, which may include spa treatments, relaxing by the pool, gem mining, hiking, yoga, horseback riding, or kayaking. (Some of these activities will be at the individual's expense.)

Doesn't that sound fabulous? I’ve already registered, and I can hardly wait!

To enter for a chance to win, leave a comment to this blog by 5:00 pm EST on May 30, 2012 answering this question: What have you done lately to keep "mama" — yourself — happy?

Sorry, the retreat, and therefore this giveaway, is limited to moms only. Dads, grandparents, teachers and others are welcome to enter on behalf of a mom they love.

If you are interested in attending at your own expense, whether you win this contest or not, please don't hesitate to register now. The early bird rate of $104 ends May 1. If you are "in the business" of ADHD and wish to become a retreat sponsor, please email happymamaretreat@gmail.com.

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