Five Minutes with a Mom: Catherine Wright-Dilbert

catherine-wright-dilbert-0907-1.jpgSons’ names and ages? My son, Devan, is 15 and my stepson, John, is 21.

Where were you born/raised? I was born in Queens, New York, and raised in Deer Park, New York (Long Island – just 45 miles east of New York City).

What brought you to Northwest Arkansas? My son! My ex-husband and I divorced when my son was three and decided that we would split custody based on his age.  We were living in Iowa at the time and did not place any geographic restrictions on each other.  Devan’s father moved back to New York and I followed him four years later. Just before my son was scheduled to move in with his dad, my ex moved to Arkansas.  I decided to wait and see if my son would want to stay.  Last summer he told me that he likes it here and did not want to move again.  I made my decision to move close to my son. We arrived on June 1st, 2009.

What’s your occupation? I’m Membership Development Director of the National Association of Mothers’ Centers (NAMC). I’m thrilled I now have the opportunity to provide support to mothers, families and employers interested in supporting their employees’ work/life needs in Northwest Arkansas.

How can local moms benefit from the National Association of Mothers’ Centers? NAMC has been helping mothers connect with other mothers in a non-judgmental environment where they can support each other since 1975.  Mothers have the opportunity to be heard and validated as they share their experiences, concerns and insights with one another.  Because of the model and training we provide, members learn from each other and develop a whole new level of communication and advocacy skills that serve them in every area of their lives – relationships, community and career.

You can learn more about the Mothers’ Centers by visiting

Mothers’ Centers partner with experts in parenting, maternal well being, early childhood care and education and overall child development to bring a wealth of resources to parents through articles, seminars, conferences and webinars. Our next webinar is Thursday, Aug. 6, from 7 to 8 p.m. (CST), “Creating a Parenting Roadmap to Success” for parents of children from birth to 18 who want to enhance their parent-child relationship while raising an empowered child. People can learn more or register by e-mailing me at

What has surprised you most about living in NWA? After living in Iowa for 9 years, I was ready for a slower pace and a difference in culture.  Although I figured that people in the south would be cordial, what has surprised me the most is just how friendly and ready to help people have been!  My husband and I are very outgoing people.  We left a huge network of wonderful friends behind.  While forging new friendships always takes time, I am encouraged by how quickly people are opening up to us and even inviting us to socialize with them.

Favorite place in NWA so far? Our favorite place so far is Devil’s Den.  It is really beautiful. And I know there is still so much more to see!

Favorite way to de-stress? Turn the lights down, light every candle in the house and put some soft jazz on the stereo.  Then curl up on the couch with a cup of tea or a glass of wine (depending on my mood) and my journal or a good book.

Your pet peeve? People who drive under the speed limit.  Hey, I’m from New York!

Where did you first meet your husband? We met over the phone.  Ron was calling organizations to offer his speaking and coaching services for single parents.  He called the National Association of Mothers’ Centers and I happened to answer the phone. As a single mother who is also committed to helping other single parents, I offered to network with him. We finally met in person two months later. We sat down at a Borders coffee shop at 10 a.m. for what we both planned to be a one hour meeting. When I got up to leave, I looked at my watch and it was 2!

How long have you been married? Seven months. We were married December 28, 2008 and had both our boys in the wedding party.

What has been one of your favorite parts of motherhood? It’s hard to say what has been my favorite. I have enjoyed every part (although not every moment) from pregnancy to nursing, the toddler years to the teen years. If I have to boil it down, my favorite part is the love my son shares with me, watching his gifts and talents develop and learning from him.  My favorite part of motherhood can be summed up in this story:

When Devan was about 3 years old, he loved going up the slide. Not down – UP. No matter how much I tried to convince him that slides were more fun when you go down, he wanted to climb up. One afternoon, after our usual debate about the slide, my son said, “Come on Mommy, do it.” To which I replied that of course I could not. He just calmly repeated, “Come on Mommy. Do it.” After repeating this several times, wouldn’t you know, Mommy gave in – and I DID IT!  My 3-year-old’s response – “Good job, Mommy!”  Sometimes my son teaches me to go beyond my self-imposed limitations.

How are you handling your son’s teenage years? My focus is to be as supportive as possible while also teaching him what will work for him as he becomes an adult. I remember well what it was like to be a teenager. Thanks to a seminar put on by the National Association of Mothers’ Centers, I learned some very helpful information about how adolescents are wired (read the article by clicking HERE). I work hard to show him love, to listen to him and guide him while allowing him to learn his own lessons within the boundaries of keeping him safe. And I do my best to not take his rough moments personally.

What’s the last book you read? The Book of Genesis.

What is your favorite thing about summer? I love being warm, enjoying the outdoors whether it is a hike in the park, an outdoor concert, playing miniature golf or sitting on the deck drinking my coffee.

A precious childhood memory? I am the oldest of five children. One very precious memory I have is when my Aunt Vivian, my mother’s sister, would come to visit and the five of us with my mom and dad would gather in the living room for one of her performances.  She would put on little skits that would have us all in stitches!

A project you can’t wait to tackle? I am working on a book about healing relationships and making marriage work called “I do?” and I can’t wait to finish it and get it published! In the meantime, I am writing a blog to get my thoughts flowing. You can read my musings at

One word to sum me up … Passionate