As a parent coach one of the first things I do with a client is help them assess their strengths. What are you good at? What comes naturally to you? What do you inherently enjoy? What activities, pursuits, or practices bring you life and joy? When we approach our challenges with a conscious appreciation for the skills and strengths we bring to the situation, we are better prepared to meet those challenges successfully.
Starting a private practice in parent coaching has been hard work for me. Over the past eighteen months I have stumbled and struggled my way into the realm of business owner and the going is sometimes rough. Many of the skills required of me as a business owner are different than the skills required of me as a coach. I’m being stretched and challenged in many ways.
But I was chatting with a friend yesterday, pondering some of the obstacles I’ve come across that have given me pause or caused me frustration, and I began to reflect again on what it is that brought me to coaching to begin with. Why do I want to do this? What is it about helping other parents that keeps me chasing after this coaching pursuit, even as I am forced to confront so many of my weaknesses in the process?
Relationships are my fuel, which, when you think about it, means that it all gets back to people. People matter. Connecting with people matters. That’s why I love to parent. That’s why I want to see other parents love it too.
That’s also why, by the way, I could be a stay at home mom for so many years but still struggle to keep a tidy house or develop an efficient meal plan system. I’m no poster woman for managing a home or keeping my family’s life organized. I manage to keep our heads above water, but after ten years at the helm it is clear to me that my bookshelves may collect dust on a regular basis, but my kids have no doubt how much I love them.
My son is brutally honest about his own failings and we have engaging conversations where he shares his fears and his frustrations and he thanks me for loving him enough to discipline him even though he hates it. We have a strong relationship.
My daughter and I had a recent conversation about friendship. We talked about how her relationship with a close friend at school is both similar to and different than her relationship with her sister. She shared in an intimate way that showed me she is growing up and enjoying the new discoveries she’s making as she matures. Later, she told me how much she loved our conversation, and for the following days she was especially affectionate with me. We have a strong relationship.
My other daughter has emotions that take her all over the roller coaster ride. When she’s up, she brings the whole world up with her. When she’s down, we’re all still learning how to best help her. She’s learning too, and sometimes now I speak to her quietly and with strength and she doesn’t like it at first but then she changes her mind and asks for a hug, and I see she’s learning how to live in her own skin with grace even when it’s uncomfortable. I feel so blessed she invites me into the struggle with her. We have a strong relationship.
Parenting always comes back to relationship. People always come back to relationship. There’s nothing without it. People need people; kids need their parents; parents need their kids.
I struggle with business building. My learning curve is steep and my living room floor could use a pass with the vacuum while I move through this transition. But my kids—I look at my kids and I still just melt. I look at them and and I listen to them and I think I do have some strengths. I am doing something right. I’m fostering some pretty awesome relationships with some pretty awesome kids. When I stop and think about it, that’s pretty much the best possible place to be.