“Recovering Perfectionist” Mom, Aspiring to be the “Best” Parent I Can Be
I’ve been writing about parenting for over 10 years.
I knew I wanted to parent my son differently, but despite reading many, many books when he was young, I was unsuccessful at creating the relationship I deeply desired. I could see in him the same lack of self-confidence that I had always struggled with. When he became unmotivated and began “checking out” at school and from family activities, and I tried to connect with and encourage him–he resisted, resulting in intense emotional conflicts. As I compared myself to other parents who seemed to be more successful, I felt despairing and inadequate, but couldn’t figure out what I was missing. My discouragement was the motivation to dig deeper.
I’ve worked as a nurse for over 20 years, and for a private home care company training and coaching the caregivers in their daily work. Through my varied experiences in 30+ years of supporting clients, caregivers and colleagues, I’ve honed my skills of listening with compassion, observing human behaviour, and recognizing where people slip into old behaviours that that keep them stuck in patterns they wish to change.
I now know that when we feel like we’re failing, it’s not because we’re inadequate or because we’re not trying hard enough. It’s because there’s something deeper—often at the level of the autonomic (automatic) nervous system—that’s running the show without us realizing it.
When I learned about Dr. Stephen Porges’ polyvagal theory, I finally realized that when we feel like we’re failing, there IS something physiological, beyond our control, that’s keeping us stuck. And, it doesn’t have to stay beyond our control. We can change it with the right kind of support. I was finally able to let go of my shame for being unable to parent the way I wanted to.
A Formerly Rebellious Teenager
My own painful teenage years are definitely part of what’s spurred me on to be a better parent and to write about parenting. I was a spirited teen, wanted to do things my own way, and became quite disconnected from myself and my family.
While it’s developmentally “normal” for teens to want to separate and become more independent, I just don’t buy that ongoing teen rebellion (with no periods of connection) is the norm, nor that it has to be chaotic and totally disconnected. That tendency arises from a deep disconnection from self and from a fractured parent-child relationship. It’s possible to have periods, even if brief sometimes, of connection amongst the tumult. I know now more than ever that while teens want independence, they also never want to be alone with some of the bigger challenges they face during that phase of life. They want to know we have their back. They want to feel understood. They want non-judgmental acceptance, not to be told what to do. They’re inherently wise, and if we can support them to stay connected to their inner voice, with the support of community around us, they can tap into their own knowing and grow as self-aware human beings capable of offering their gifts to the world.
I’ve kept my spiritedness and tendency to do things my way, and have gained the wisdom to let go of the aspects of rebelliousness that keep me disconnected from myself and others (including my teen son). This has enabled me to help others do the same.
I’m skilled at seeing links between disparate bodies of knowledge, so as I’ve researched, I’ve synthesized ideas from various disciplines including psychology, neuroscience, spirituality, consciousness, trauma, and the 8 shields model. I’ve drawn from these theories and practices, plus my observations and experience, to create fresh new perspectives. I identify the unseen habits that damage self-esteem and intrinsic motivation, because I’ve personally failed at most of them and discovered how to transform them. When parents started saying, “Can you repeat what you just said so I can write it down?”, I began sharing my writings more widely.
Teacher & Mentor
In addition to writing, I’m a speaker and have led independent parenting workshops, as well as at events such as the Making Tomorrow Conference at UVic, and GDay for Girls. I provide 1:1 mentoring for parents and share free parenting tips on my blog.
I have a Masters degree in Nursing and before becoming a writer and speaker, I practiced nursing for over 20 years–both bedside nursing in the hospital and teaching nursing at the University of Victoria and Camosun College. I’m also an alternative healer, with training in Specialized Kinesiology (Brain Integration for Learning Challenges), Reiki, EFT and Non-Violent Communication. After being immersed in a Western medical model for 20+ years, my surprise at the effectiveness of alternative healing to ease my pain led me to research the scientific basis for how alternative healing actually works. Thus, my writings and practices are rooted in having an understanding of both Eastern and Western philosophies and healing. I’m currently enrolled in education programs on nervous system regulation and the 8 shields program, and integrating those teachings to my work.