Who am I and how did I get here?
I'm always perplexed when I'm asked who am I? It took me far longer to answer that question that I originally thought. In some ways, embarrassingly long. That's because for a long time I tied in what I am with what I was doing, with what I'd accomplished. In my 30 plus year career working with parents and the last fifteen years as a parent coach, I've done lots of things. I've trained for three years in early childhood education, raised three children of my own, adopted and discarded a number of ideologies, worked with hundreds of parents on all kinds of issues and watched and listened as they've told me their stories.
And what's struck me as I've looked back is most of those stories in some way represented a struggle. A struggle to be if not a perfect parent, then certainly a 'great' one, to give our children the best start in life. But what is 'great' and who defines what that is and what kind of life do we really want for our children?
I ask that question because I believe trying to be a 'great parent' is a judgement that comes from within us. It is a competition with ourselves and others, to be better, happier, and a more successful parent than our peers and have happier and more successful children. It isolates us making us see ourselves as separate and unique while others deal with 'their' problems. It makes us step up to an endless treadmill that is hard to get off, a treadmill that is filled with unrealistic expectations that make us think we need to buy things and follow the latest trends to be a good parent. That path brings with it anxiety because it makes us forever try to 'keep up' where frequently our best is not good enough.
After 30 long years filled with the adventures of navigating my own life and coaching parents along the way, I see our lives as a convergence of interdependencies. We are not alone. It's the journey that makes us who we are, not simply our arrival at the destination.