I am in the middle of a certification course to become a parent coach.
What is a “parent coach”?
Well, it’s someone so passionate about supporting moms and dads through the inevitable struggles and challenges of raising kids (even after being a parent herself for almost thirty years); she spends months studying to become educated in the many aspects of parenting, and then spends her days helping families become healthier, better connected units.
Upon certification, my parent coaching business will be called, Real Life Parent Coaching.
I am putting my energy into this niche because in today’s culture, the quality of family life for many is suffering. And, I believe, everything…the good, the bad, and the ugly, starts at home.
There are a lot of reasons why family life is a greater challenge today than say, a generation or two ago. For one, the volume of information each of us receives and tries to process every day is overwhelming, which translates to energy sap. Don’t believe me? See what happens when you spend a few hours on a nature hike with your kids sans electronics, listening to the sounds of birds, the breeze rushing through the trees, and the crunch of the Earth underneath your feet. Your kids will actually open up during this time as well. They may start out quiet (or complaining), but have patience, because once they know they have your undivided attention, you become their captive audience.
And they become yours.
The second reason family life is more challenging today is we, as a society, are busier. Two parents working, or single parent homes, kids have the opportunity to become involved in more activities now than we ever imagined as kids. All of this contributes to polluted schedules and no time for quality connection. Don’t believe me? Declare one night a week sit-down family dinner for all, no electronics (of course). Initially this might feel foreign and “weird” …it’s okay. If you feel really uncomfortable during the meal, bring some good questions along to ask all of your family members! Like, what was your favorite Christmas gift? What would you like to learn more about? If we could go on a dream vacation, where would that be? Watch the imagination and competition for best answer spring to life!
The third, and possibly most important reason it is more challenging to raise kids today than it was when we grew up, is not because of electronics, or chaotic schedules, but because in the constant negative, anxious energy this life brings to us we have forgotten what, and who, really matters.
And we can’t give what we don’t have. So, in order to find the energy, desire, and patience to connect with our family, we have to first fill ourselves.
One of the commitments I made during this parent coaching course was to practice one additional act of self-care a day. I decide, for me, this meant spending the first 10 minutes of the morning sitting outside in my backyard, instead of checking emails and Facebook to see what happened since 10 p.m. the night before.
I’ll admit the first few mornings I really didn’t want to go outside. I thought it was a waste of time. Some mornings it was raining, or the air and chair hung with dew, or the sound of airplanes taking off from DFW International was anything but soothing.
But I stuck with it.
And now, several weeks into this practice, I actually feel the backyard calling to me when I get up. Not in some coo-coo-for-coco puffs way…but, by the time I walk out onto the patio I enjoy the familiar sounds of the birds chirping…and as I close my eyes for ten-ish minutes and repeat my mantra (exhale anxiety, inhale courage), by the end of that time I am ready to say good morning to my husband and kids, and greet whatever the day brings me.
Nothing I said in this article is rocket science, or new information to you, but maybe you have forgotten that life brings us choices every moment about how to respond to each day.
It’s more than time to remember how families work well.
And that is, of course, by being together.
Kimberly Muench is a Flower Mound mother of five and author of “My Mothers Footprints: A story of Faith, Calm, Courage, Patience and Grace.” To see more of her work or to contact her, visit www.realifemom.com.