I've been in the trenches too, and wade through them still
In late 2006, my husband Garrett and I found out we would soon be welcoming our first child. A week or so later we were told we would be welcoming our second child too--twins! Ten days later you could have knocked us over with a feather when we found out we would in fact be welcoming our third child as well. Suffice it to say we were a little nervous about heading back for any more doctor visits given the current trend! In July 2007 we welcomed our three newest family members, Amelia, Abigail and Gabriel, into the world. For a few months we had the help of family and friends to keep us afloat, but in September we began the adventure of living in our Manhattan apartment with three babies and just the two of us at the helm: me staying home with the babies and Garrett going to school full-time.
Now, I have an eclectic professional background that includes publishing, administration, animal training, and e-commerce. I wasn't quite sure where my career life was headed, but when I became a parent I finally found the perfect fit for my passions and my gifts. The early months of caring for my kids full-time were exhilirating. The schedule was demanding and the sleep deprivation was unreal, but I was the happiest I had ever been. I felt fulfilled and joyful, grateful that this sense of purpose encouraged me in moments of fatigue, frustration, or overwhelm. The days were exhausting and sometimes the nights felt lonely and long, but I enjoyed parenthood immensely.
As my babies grew into toddlers and leaving the house became more manageable, I started to get out in the community and meet other mothers with young kids. I was eager to connect with new friends and share our common bond of motherhood and I met many wonderful mothers and fathers who doted on their children. But I also noticed a troubling amount of dissatisfaction. Many of the parents I encountered seemed uncertain, discontent or insecure. They lacked peace in their parenting role. This realization led me to begin considering how I might help struggling parents grasp some of the same satisfaction in parenting that I had been fortunate enough to experience with my own children.
Several years into this parenting journey, after many milestones and a couple geographical moves, I had my own taste of some of the uncertainty and fear I had seen in many of my new mom friends. My kids were four years old and the challenges of three babies were long gone. I was getting some sleep at night and leaving the house wasn't quite the ordeal it had once been. But things got hard in a new way. Really hard. Now I had three preschoolers who were mobile and made real messes and were curious about everything but helpful with nothing. They asked so many questions and required so much physical energy I began to buckle a little under the weight of it. I felt frazzled and overwhelmed and I called Garrett one day in a state. "I can't do this anymore," I confessed, "I'm going to ruin them. I can't handle the noise and the mess. I'm going to lose whatever sanity I have left and maybe I was cut out for babies but I'm not cut out for this!"
And Garrett's priceless response came back quietly and calmly through the phone line: "I'm so glad you finally feel this way. Now you know how so many of us felt from the beginning. Carrington, how do you expect to help parents in distress if you've never known what it feels like to be a parent in distress? Remember this feeling, know that you are not going to ruin our kids, and use this to help other people."
Sometimes you just have to listen to the voice of reason in the midst of the storm.
I listened to Garrett's perspective. I took a deep breath and told myself that I wouldn't ruin our kids, nor would I let parenting them ruin me, and we moved forward one day at a time. I became more active as a volunteer at my local MOPS group, I got connected with a local non-profit called Project HELP that provides mentoring and parent education classes through local school districts and I looked for practical ways to reach out to other parents, even as I daily walked through the challenges of parenting in my own family. A few years later when my kids started full-day school, I found the Parent Coaching Institute and began my journey into parent coaching. Because even on the hard days, I know I have what it takes to parent well, and I know you do too. I choose to coach parents because I am convinced that parents are privileged to be the most powerful and influential people in their kids lives, and that privilege is not only a responsibility, it is a joy. We all can use someone to step alongside us in the rough moments to help us stay focused on who we are and how we can succeed. I am honored to coach parents to become who they want to be for their kids, and to watch families transform in the process.