No Guarantees

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I’m not a great marketer and so I’ve been reading and following some expert-types to learn how to do it. One of the things they say is that you have to make promises to people about how whatever you’re offering is going to CHANGE THEIR LIFE and then give specifics. In the parenting sphere that means saying things like, “No more tantrums!” “Imagine your child sweetly going to sleep as soon as you put them down!” “Stress-free mornings EVERY morning!”

I think that’s ridiculous. I can’t make you those kinds of promises. No one else can either.

One problem with promises like this is that it puts the automatic blame on you. If your kid is still having tantrums, if your child still won’t go to bed without a fuss, if your mornings are still stressful then you must be doing it wrong. Right? No, of course not.

I’m not saying that there aren’t things you can do to lessen those specific challenges but sometimes those things don’t work because sometimes the challenges of parenthood are ones just to be GOT through. You do what you can to improve things but also sometimes we just have to tolerate them until they stop. Some children simply tantrum more — and for longer, and more intensely — than others and you can do all the no-tantrum tips but they will still fall to the floor kicking and screaming until one day their brains mature enough that they can handle Big Feelings in more appropriate ways. Sometimes what a parent needs is NOT more no-tantrum tips; sometimes they need more “how to tolerate having a child who tantrums” tips. They need more encouragement, more understanding, and more perspective. Sometimes they don’t need to know how to “stop tantrums in their tracks;” they need to know “how to not tantrum myself in response to tantrums.”

Children are people and having relationships with people is complicated. Having relationships with people for whom you are wholly responsible — who literally cannot keep themselves alive and functioning without you — is especially complicated. And then those people for whom you are wholly responsible are also changing all of the time. Their brains and their functioning are literally changing every day! Which means as soon as you get a handle on one stage you’ve got another one coming up. That means conflict. Of course it means conflict.

Some of us feel that conflict more deeply than others. I’m reminded of the parable of two parents and ketchup. One parent says, “My kid will eat anything as long as I put ketchup on it.” Another parent says, “My kid won’t eat anything unless I put ketchup on it!” So see there you have an issue that’s not with the child, it’s with the parent and it’s not as easy as saying, “So just put ketchup on everything and quit worrying about it” because we are talking about shifting an entire point of view and way of being in the world. THAT is what the membership is all about — the way parenting asks us to shift our entire point of view and way of being in the world, which ain’t easy. <—-understatement

Here is the thing about my membership: I make no promises. I’ve got tips to make parenting run more smoothly (because there are some basic things we can do) but my focus is on YOU, lovely parent, and how to help you as we journey through the messy process of sharing our lives with ever-changing people for whom we are wholly responsible. The point of the membership is to give YOU a safe space for growing as a parent and as a person.

If you join the membership expecting to find quick tips to never having a stressful morning I’m sorry to say that you will be disappointed. The fact of the matter is that stressful mornings are simply how life looks sometimes and even if we master this parenting tool or that sometimes people are going to forget that they needed a shoebox for a diorama that day; or you’ll have a headache; or you’ll get in the car and remember you were supposed to get gas and now you’re going to be late.

THAT’S LIFE. It doesn’t mean you’re failing; it means you’re alive.

My goal is to help you learn to roll with the inevitable stressors, thrive in spite of them, and even grow because of them. The membership site is a place free of “You should…” or “Your child should…” It’s more of a “Could you…?” and “What if…?” and “What do you think…?” and “What would you like…?” It’s a place for the messy, sometimes painful, often lovely work of being a person who is also a parent. I hope to see you there.

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