I have been asked many times in my career, “where is the handbook on parenting?”
My response, after I quit laughing, was to say I do believe there isn’t one which would incorporate every experience we have as parents and give us fitting answers for each diverse child. As a mom, stepmom, and “nana” myself, I have learned something in each role and with each child. I have grown as a parent, a resource, and a person. My relationships make me a better person for others. Some of our lessons are tough and we may not feel we will make it through them, while others are filled with such love, joy, and memories you wouldn’t trade them for anything.
When I began investigating how to use my gifts of insight and passion, I found working with children, youth, and families was where I could create the most impact and influence. I have always chosen opportunities which encompassed educational and therapeutic services in many different settings from classrooms, hospitals, universities, and boardrooms. Some of you have asked, what degree or training do you have?” I am almost a full PhD in learning and behavior (special education/therapeutic) with an emphasis in early childhood birth-6 and Neuroscience (medical school).
Using my knowledge and experience, I wanted to dynamically support others, so I have had some very unique roles which extend from teacher, therapist, case manager, principal, professor, speaker, facilitator, and coach. After providing these direct services, sharing my knowledge and experience with others seemed natural and I became a national facilitator and speaker in numerous fields and systems. My favorite role, though, has always been one of coach.
In my individual and group sessions today, I focus on growth, transition, and transformation as women re-envision their lives one step at a time. Our workshops, retreats, women’s circles, and online courses continue to expand my own dreams and desires even further. This is what I provide for my clients as well, the focus on setting intention and manifesting the visions we all carry. It is my hope as I have shared my background, you can see some of my clients call me, “not your normal coach.” If you can’t tell, I love what I do, especially when it is working with women and families. As wives, significant others, sisters, moms, aunts, and grandmas, we have very important responsibilities in our homes and communities. Sometimes making all of the “have to’s” in life occur, we forget the amazing “get to’s.” For example, have to’s are dishes…get to’s are reading a book and cuddle with my grandson. I know you so understand!
As you know, many of the “housewives” of the Real Housewives of Dallas (RHOD) this year are moms and balance their life and work with children. Observing and interacting with at least two of these moms in my coaching practice has been a powerful experience to support them as they juggle their own life and work dilemmas and responsibilities.
If I did write the book requested, Parenting 101, and RHOD was the guideline example, here would be the key chapters we have learned so far:
1. Being a parent is a process and everyone learns about their child in each experience
they have. Stephanie (Hollman) and I truly discussed Cruz’s learning challenges and how she felt guilty for not being aware of his needs sooner. Every parent misses something about their child they wish they hadn’t. All children also experience challenges as they are growing up whether it is a learning, behavioral, physical, social, health, or even in their choices in all of these areas as they mature. We can only remain observant and proactive on the concerns we may have and seek out resources or professionals to assist us. For instance, once Stephanie realized Cruz was not progressing in his learning the way her older son was, she sought out a new school which conducted the necessary observations and diagnostics to give a better profile of how he learns. They prescriptively designed a learning program to meet his needs for the new school year. The best decision Stephanie made was to seek out support and listen to their insights once it occurred. If you are experiencing challenges with your child or youth, I stress how important it is to get support as you trust and follow their lead. If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me and I can suggest some avenues for you and your child to pursue. Otherwise, these professionals are readily available. Be proactive, not reactive, in the situation. Way to go, Stephanie!
Photo Credit: StephanieHollman.com
2. Yes, as Cary (Deuber) stated in this episode, mom guilt is real and for you to know, we all experience it! Knowing what you can and cannot do each day, whether you are a working or stay at home parent, is crucial. Realizing you will never know everything you should about your child is for certain. Having a powerful support “team” of friends or family is imperative to maintaining perspective on life. All of these components ensure you remember to be a mom and still be who you are. Our children learn just as much from us in our successes as our mistakes and even failures.
Photo Credit: CaryDeuber.com
3. Balance, balance, and more balance! Cary and Mark show us the reality of being increasingly busy parents with real struggles in their lives and work. As Cary practices with how to be a nurse, where her passion lies, with being a mom, where her joy lies, we watch her struggle both in words and in actions. Do you really believe Cary wants to choose either? I know better! She is just looking for balance. Sometimes in our journey we say or do things which don’t really match how we truly feel. Do you really believe Mark can’t run a practice without Cary or that he is not a fabulous Dad? I know better! Have you ever struggled with how to balance the life changes without even knowing what’s on the horizon next? I know my own husband and I discuss loudly sometimes our challenges with finding time to just be together during our fast and furious week. We are so passionate about being together it many times is heard and seen in our difficult conversations as we learn, yet again, how to balance our ever-changing lives. Is it worth the struggles and fierce conversations? You BET! Cary and Mark continue to amaze me as they move through their “hiccups” and bring their growing love of family, work, and each other with them all the way. Cary and Mark, you have SO got this! Just keep it going…hand in hand!
4. D’Andra has shared in her previous episodes how challenging it is to be a stepmom. I, too, am a stepmom and so are my two stepchildren. We call them “families in love.” Even though D’Andra struggled in how to share her feelings of care and support with her stepson, Keaton, she did show her deep love and desire for him to live life without regret and to be happy. I do hear, Keaton, as he shared, “everyone has a different version of what happiness means to them.” He is correct. What I learned in my training and experience along with being a stepparent myself is how to show my level of care in a way that aligns with what my kids need from me in the moment. It does take reserve, listening, observing, and being willing to sacrifice what I think they need with what they feel they need. We all continue to grow together when these insights are realized.
Thanks, moms of RHOD, for the Parenting 101 lessons you were all willing to share this week! Can’t wait until next week! Stay tuned!
Even though I would like to only share with you my insights on parenting this week, I must make one statement about the other storylines. I wouldn’t be a professional and passionate about my career in the past, present, and future, if I felt the behavior on this episode has been acceptable. I will make one direct statement…choosing violence, threats, and anger is NEVER the answer in any relationship. Enough said.
Walking with you…