What Kind of Parent Will I Be? What Kind of Parent Do I Want To Be?

This past week I had the privilege of speaking at Kingston’s Go Green Baby, to a small group of mostly parents- to-be. Well, I would consider that they are already parents, and that their lives are already marked for good by the presence of their unborn little one. I admire their wisdom in seeking wisdom in advance – before sleep deprivation sets in and the dial is set to “function at any cost!”

Do you know that there is so much planning and preparing that a new parent can do in advance, just by taking time to thinks things through, by observing the world of parents and little ones and pondering what their response might be?

Sometimes we laugh at the pre-parents that we were, remembering things such as, “my kid will never ______________” and fill in the blank. Some of these “my kid will never” we have control over and some we don’t. One of my “I will never do!” was allowing a little kid to run around with a snotty nose.

And then we got one of those little ones for our very own; a sweet, loving little person with chronic upper and lower respiratory problems which included, yep, a thick, grungy, output, right in the middle of an unbelievably cute little face.

We were visiting my mom and step-dad in California, and of course, even though it was winter and freezing, we all wanted to go to the beach. This same little cutie-pie climbed up the little sand dune where my mom and I were sitting, with a thick stream of gunk hanging from nose to chin, and for some reason, I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t have a single Kleenex; neither did my mom – and we normally needed at least three.  Deep breath. I reached over, squeezed from the top of that cute little nose down, and removed all that stuff in a single swipe with my bare fingers, smearing them in the sand to get them clean. My mom and I sat in silence for a minute, before she quietly said, “I’m so proud of you.”

I never thought I would do such a gross thing, and not even really mind too much. Another of those, “I will never do that” moments occurred when I already had two little ones.

We were invited to dinner at a home where there were two teen/pre-teen sisters who were so viciously unkind to each other that I felt in shock, just being present, just by having to listen to them. The mom kind of shrugged her shoulders and said, “Teenagers! What can you do??”

“Anything! Everything!” was what ran loudly through my mind.

I looked at my little toddler son and his infant baby sister and thought to myself, “you will never treat each other like that”.

Just like that.

A decision made and held onto through the years to come. It was a rock-solid goal to be reached any way possible, at any cost, with no obstacles deemed to be too large. This was one matter in which the end clearly defined the journey.

A few years later, I heard someone say about their family of four kiddos, “you will love each other. “

Just like that. The same thing in reverse. It was hard work, but so worth it.

What about you?

What things stand out as “never!” or “always!” or maybe there isn’t an extreme, but a simple desire to do “this” and maybe not “that”. May I encourage you to think about it? You don’t have to solve everything and have solid plan in place before the baby is born or before they can talk, but just thinking about it, with gentleness and/or determination, will put you miles ahead and help you to achieve that overall goal.

 

Finally! The “coming soon” is over and the MESSY PART is here!

 

Welcome to INTENTIONAL PARENTING!

 After the challenges of birth and postpartum adjustments comes the even MESSIER part: the day-to-day challenge of guiding this little person from infancy to adulthood.

No matter what the age of your child, if you are here looking for

help or reassurance, I truly believe you will find just that;

I believe that you will be encouraged, and

that a flame of hope and joy in this,

pretty much your most important task in life, will be either ignited or reignited.

Let’s get going!

 Parenting is a difficult task (did I just open with a dire understatement??). Most of us jump onto this path with little or no preparation and with an expectation that we can just

figure it out as we go.

Generally, figuring it out as we go works to a degree, but it’s not uncommon for us to often feel

unprepared,

over-stretched, and

overwhelmed with the minutia of day-to-day details.

Many of our relational interactions are ones that we might prefer to have done differently – usually with greater

patience, wisdom, and kindness.

There are many factors that contribute to these feelings and these are things that can definitely be identified and understood, both by themselves and within the context of who you are as a parent. I would love to show you how to look at yourself as a parent from a different perspective.

Being the parent that you want to be is so very much within your reach,

so do-able, and

I believe that right from the start,

you can make a significant difference almost immediately.

First, however, I want to encourage you with the news that not only do you not have to parent “on the fly” but you can develop amazing parenting skills, with competencies that are

 carefully considered,

step-by-step,

on a day-to-day basis and,

in ways that are satisfying, enjoyable, and rewarding, for everyone.

I think and understand best in pictures, so for those of you who are similar here are two stories from my life.

I like all aspects of parenting: I am also a birth and postpartum doula supporting parents from the very start right through to learning how to best relate to these tiny, growing, and constantly changing little humans.

However, for a long time, I had little success in sharing my passion and here is why: my hue and cry was that I’m not very business-y, and so business development became my “weak link.” This weak link prevented me from jumping in to develop a business making a living doing what I love.

I tried several times, but the need to earn an income kept getting in the way, until, I began certifying with an organization that also provided business development information and support (Thanks bebo mia!), and I almost became as excited about the business aspect as working with parents. Almost. But, I still needed more so, I hired a business coach to lend her wisdom and hold my hand through the hard parts (Thanks Lianne Kim!!)

How does this apply to you?

I had tried to just doula and let the business fall into place by figuring things out “on the fly” – and it was not working. I even felt like a failure in the part that I like – journeying with parents into life with a new human being.

Now, with good coaching and pertinent information, I feel confident, strong, capable, and EXCITED!

With Intentional Parenting, you can identify your personal challenges and sticky points and learn how to manage them well:

YOU can feel confident, strong, capable, and EXCITED about how you parent!

Here is the second story.

I love to garden. I love it so much, that I often use gardening stories to simplify things that can feel murky.  You don’t have to love gardening to understand the analogies, but the hard science of biology gives strength to the images and explanations of social and relational matters.

For example: If you want to grow daisies, plant daisy seeds, not corn. How simple is that?

If you want your child to listen to you, guess what? You have to listen to him. He learns more by observation and interaction than by instruction. Plant, or demonstrate, what you want to see your child doing; don’t assume that you can plant corn and still get daisies.

Here is another garden story: when I’ve planted new seeds, it FEELS so successful and I keep wanting to run outside to have another look. And guess what, it always looks just the same as 5 minutes ago. Surprise.

But that doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.

This is where patience and consistent care comes in.

Those hidden seeds need water and soil-warming sunshine to germinate and grow. Eventually, little green sprouts will poke up through the soil, and you will see that something amazing is taking place.

As humans, we are constantly (hopefully!) changing and growing, and the new good parenting practices that you will put into place may not feel immediately evident, but they will quietly take root and become a permanent of your life.

I am looking forward to sharing so much with you!

May Courage and Confidence be yours!

Laura