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Are you a stressed-out, overwhelmed, overworked, tired and under-nurtured mother of a child with ADHD, ADD, OCD, SPD, PBD, FASD, Autism, PDD, or any number of other brain-based differences that lead people to judge your parenting, make you second-guess yourself, challenge your relationships, and keep you up at night worrying incessantly about your child?

If so, look no further for a soft place to land — the Happy Mama Retreat has been created especially for you!

“It was really good for my soul. There aren’t words to describe the sense of comfort that comes from moms who ‘get it’ on every level.”

 “This weekend I went on a life-changing adventure. Friday we were strangers, and by Sunday we were family. I walked away with some new sisters, amazing tools to help me manage this beautiful life, and guidance on how to push through when it seems impossible. I absolutely can’t wait for next year.” — Katie B.

“The validation that I’m not alone was amazing!”

“Such an amazing weekend! The chance to meet other special needs moms and make new friends was incredible. I took a lot away from these few days, but the biggest is knowing I have these women to lean on who ‘get it.'” — Molly


Mamas get very little time for themselves. They’re always on alert and never seem to get a chance to relax. Plenty of time for relaxation and respite is set aside during the Happy Mama Retreat, ensuring that you’ll get time to yourself to relax and recharge.

Learn Self-Care

You must take care of yourself in order to do your best for family. Our speakers educate you on the importance of self-care and how to fit it in your busy life, and motivate and inspire you to take care of mama.

Feel Less Alone

Raising a child with invisible behavioral disorders is isolating. At the Retreat, you’ll meet dozens of mamas on a similar parenting journey, who ‘”get” what it’s like to raise a child with developmental and behavioral challenges. You’ll be part of our Tribe.

You deserve to be happy, mama!

The Happy Mama Retreat is a weekend away for moms of children with special needs, created by moms of children with special needs. Not just a relaxing weekend, not just an educational conference, not just a moms-only weekend away — it’s all three rolled into one.

I want to help you gain community with other mothers who share your questions, concerns, worries, and fears. I want to provide education to help you advocate for your child and yourself, and to give you the tools to re-discover your own happiness. I want to nurture you with a beautiful setting and fun, relaxing activities. 

REGISTRation CLOSED for 2021

 “Connecting with other special needs mamas who truly ‘get it’ was uplifting, empowering and exactly what I needed at this point in my parenting journey. Now I have a tribe across the country that will uplift me through the days ahead.” — Deb

 “An amazing group of strong, intelligent, loving, caring, and just plain fun women. A much-needed respite and lesson to help me be the best mom I can be. Thank you ladies for an amazing weekend!” — Shannon F.

 “I’m so grateful for my new tribe and the opportunity to be surrounded by such beauty and love.” — Shannon S.

“I felt like part of a community here. I’ll be back!”

“I’ve been looking forward to this weekend for almost a whole year. I can’t wait to be back with this mama tribe to replenish, connect, and learn.” — Melissa H.

Our Venue

Our Speakers

Alysia Gilliam

Board-Certified Behavior Analyst. Mom Empowerment Coach.

Sarah Wayland

Special Needs Care Navigator. Founder Guiding Exceptional Parents.

Penny Williams

Retreat Co-Founder. Parenting Coach. Award-Winning Author.

Our Agenda


3:00 PM Arrival and Relaxation
5:30 PM Dinner
7:30 PM Wine Social


8:00 AM Breakfast
9:00 AM Conference Check-In
9:30 AM Welcome, Penny Williams
10:00 AM Alysia Gilliam, Managing the Everyday with Less Stress
11:00 AM BREAK
11:15 AM Sarah Wayland & Penny Williams, Calming Strategies for Moms
12:15 PM LUNCH
1:15 PM Breakout Groups
2:30 PM BREAK: Relax, Unwind, Enjoy Activities
5:30 PM Dinner
7:00 PM Group Activities


8:30 AM Breakfast
10:15 AM Conference
10:30 PM Breakout Groups
12:00 PM Wrap-Up
12:30 PM Lunch

Our Sponsors


What is the address of the retreat location?

Montreat Assembly Inn, 401 Assembly Dr, Montreat, NC 28757. The closest airport is Asheville, NC, which is a 40 minute drive from the retreat location.

Can the caterer handle food allergies or food preferences, like being a vegetarian?

Yes, within reason. The menus are carefully crafted to hopefully meet the needs of all our mamas. The caterer will accommodate all food allergies and requests. If in doubt, please contact us. We want you to have something delicious to eat!

Can I get a registration refund if I cannot attend?

I wish I could say yes to this, but we cannot provide refunds after July 1, 2021. If you request a refund before July 1, 2021, you will receive a refund of the price paid minus paypal fees. After that point, attendance is being guaranteed at the venue and materials and supplies are being ordered.

Do you offer scholarships to the event?

We offer the Tanji D. Dewberry Happy Mama Scholarship each year, which is funded by public donations and the raffle we hold during each retreat.

Is alcohol allowed?

If you’re staying onsite, you are welcome to bring adult beverages to drink in your rooms, and our reserved areas. We hold a wine social each year as well. Of course, you’re expected to drink responsibly and not ruin the enjoyment of other guests, both in our group and at our venue.

How do I sponsor the Happy Mama Conference and Retreat?

Contact us. We are actively looking for sponsors for the conference at many different levels.

Can you do a Happy Mama Retreat where I live?

That would be wonderful, wouldn’t it? Our goal is to keep building these retreats, see how it goes, and take it from there.

Don't miss out. Grab your spot now!

Want more parenting tools & strategies to reduce challenging behavior?


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In this masterclass, you'll learn the key elements you're missing to decode and address challenging behavior effectively, while honoring your child's neurodiversity.

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