Over the last sixteen years that I have been a mother, I have found the adventure of being a parent thrilling, exhausting, heartbreaking, heart-expanding, and humbling.
Mine began with enrolling in parent education classes in a local parent participation preschool when my opposite-from-me-in-so-many-ways child, whom I will call J, was two years old. J’s classroom teacher was also my parent educator, and she became one of my greatest lifelines in those early years, during what I’ve loved to hear called “the longest shortest time.” She helped me discover my parenting blind spots and my strengths. She guided me toward a deeper understanding of my child and helped me reframe some of J’s behaviors in ways that allowed me to access greater compassion for, and acceptance of, the inherent differences between us. I learned how to communicate more clearly, listen more attentively, and how to lighten up – on both myself and J. I began to feel more confident in my parenting and started having more fun.
In the past fourteen years, since that time, I have trained to become an early childhood education teacher, found myself a really good therapist, became a single mother, read countless parenting books, started teaching preschool and parent education classes, withdrew J from public school and began homeschooling, attended and then ran parenting workshops, and became the co-director of the beloved parent participation preschool that J had attended years before.
Over these years, my parenting philosophy and skill set have evolved, and I’ve supported plenty of others in recognizing, developing, and following their own. I continue to grow and be challenged and inspired by parenting, and am honored to be in a position to share all that I have learned and continue to learn with others.
My most valuable learning in all these years, and the place I always start in my own parenting practice, is that I can only parent my child as well as I parent myself. And when I tune in to myself, when I really pay attention to and notice everything that comes up for me in my role as a parent, there are endless opportunities to practice greater presence and more compassion. From there, everything I want to cultivate in my relationship with my own child can begin to blossom…including more connection, joy, ease, communication, cooperation, respect, and playfulness.
This is when I feel confident in my parenting again, and a little less in over my head.
I’m so grateful that none of us has to go on this adventure alone. What a gift to know that we can explore the terrain and find our way together, no matter how lost we might feel in the moment. Again and again, we can find our way home.