Confessions of a Parenting Expert

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Yesterday my doula friend was over with her kids.  We were chatting over coffee about the newest parenting course I had been certified in… and then, blood curdling screams.  It was my older son, having an epic meltdown, which evolved into the biggest freak out of his entire life.   This was the kind of tantrum that pushes all your buttons and triggers you so deeply that you need to devote a therapy session to unpackage it all.  The kind that leaves both you and your child utterly exhausted, physically and emotionally.

All these thoughts and worries ran through my head after my friend showed herself out.  The irony of the timing, with me showing her my new parenting workshop notes.  What right do I have giving advice to parents, when things are so far from perfect in my home?  Will my friend let her kids still play with mine?  Does she think I’ve created a monster?  Is this a reflection of my parenting?  Logically I know, that I am parenting from my heart, with empathy and a lot of patience, and that I would not, could not do it any differently.  But these doubts sometimes creep in (EGO)! 

When I share inspirational thoughts, stories and memes on social media, the last thing I want to do as an educator is to make parents feel less-than, but it happens, just like it happens to me.  Many parents appreciate the information or anecdotes, but some may feel like they are failing when their life doesn’t match up to what they see through Facebook coloured glasses.  And that is the last thing I want to do. My goal is always to empower families. Then one day it dawned on me, I was in Psychotherapy residency,  future therapists were participating and sharing their personal stories, issues and challenges, and I realized –we help others because we too needed help, and maybe still do. This post has been percolating for a couple years now, and I feel I owe it to parents to keep it real and share some truths. 

I don’t always take my own advice.

And I am tired because of it. I know how to recover when I have reached burn out status.  Go to bed earlier, lay off electronics 1-2 hours before bed, drink smoothies and reduce processed foods.  But it has taken years to get to the point of knowing my signals of burn out and remedy accordingly.  I am still working on the proactive part of the equation, I still require help in this area, and that is ok!

My house is a mess.

I try! And I find having a clean and organized home pretty key in my personal quest for balance. I’m not so good at letting the mess go, as many a poignant meme would suggest.  Alas, sometimes it is more pressing to get down on the floor and get dirty with the kids.  So for sanity’s sake, I go outside with them so I can be present and not annoyed by the cluttered kitchen and messy beds. When guests come over and my house is clean, I am secretly quite excited by my luck!  But just so ya know, if I go to your house and it is messy, I am also excited and it kinda makes me like you more ☺

I fight with my husband.

We have been together for over 15 years and are the best of friends.  I can teach couples how to resolve conflict respectfully, but that doesn’t mean I don’t get tired sometimes, hurt sometimes, and veer off the most healthy of scripting when I bring up an issue with my own husband.  Marriage can be tough.  Marriage with children, tougher!  But I love him beyond words, and know in my soul that there is no one else on the planet I could imagine growing old with, so we work at it. Moment to moment, one day at a time.

I love wine and coffee…

Sometimes we eat fast food…

I raise my voice…

I cry…

I get anxiety…

I use the ipad too much…

I still have so much to learn…

And I feel isolated in my choices.

+The isolation when my first son was born was so heavy. All the dreams I had of mommy play-dates when I was pregnant were shattered when the intensity of caring for a little human came to be. The polarizing philosophies to muddle through with all the cattiness and politics just made a hard situation nearly unbearable some days.  I wanted desperately to be validated for doing what was so instinctual yet in some ways counter-culture.  So I sought out some like minded parents via the interweb, I ate up all I could about developmental psychology, took parenting class after class and began studying psychotherapy.  My mission is to empower parents.  To eliminate all the shaming around not just the kids, but people of all ages/races/backgrounds.  This is the essence behind what I do.

As it turns out, my sweet friend Julie had no expectations that my house and family always look like my Instagram account.  Her being present during a moment of realness actually helped facilitate us growing closer.  That’s what we all need.  To be freed from the pressure to live up to some façade of perfection.  Even us parenting experts know –the struggle is real, and you are so far from alone.  Let’s vow to raise one and other up from here on out, get out from under our clouds of shame and be ok with wherever we happen to be in our own journeys!

One thought on “Confessions of a Parenting Expert

  1. I love you so much! You are so real, so genuine. And you love your family so much. Your writing is epic. What’s crazy about our thoughts and perceptions is that they are ours and usually very far from what the other person actually thinks. I remember feeling deep love and respect for you that day. What you were going through was so tough yet you remained calm, focused and in control while loving your son through this very emotional time. I gained more respect for you that day. We all do the best that we can with the tools that we have. I agree that we all need more love and respect for each other. And thanks for calling me your doula friend! You knew I’d love that! You’re very encouraging! Xx

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