10 Tips for becoming a Balanced Mom

Screw Work/Life Balance…Moms need Work/Self Balance!

Whether you are a working mom or a stay at home mom, you know that having children IS work! It can be a job that you love every minute of, but it is still work! I think often times when people talk about achieving that work/life balance, there is more of a focus on balancing their career and social time. A working mom may try to balance their career and family time, but a mom’s individual self gets a little lost in that.

 

Here are 10 Tips for becoming a Balanced Mom:

Let it go! – Let go of that mama guilt. You are enough. If you are feeling guilty about the amount of time you’re spending at the office, think about why you are working and what it provides for your family. If you are a stay at home mom and are down on yourself because you’re not getting everything on your to-do list done, think about all the moments that you are being present for.

Act a fool! – Don’t think about how you look or being embarrassed. (Children embarrass us enough…we might as well get used to that feeling.) Be silly. Find time to play and creative. Have spontaneous dance parties. Do these things with and without your kids.

Just Keep Swimming – You can’t go full speed 24 hours a day. Even if you could, you probably wouldn’t do everything you wanted to get done. Slow down, prioritize and enjoy the simple moments.

Mary Poppins List – It takes a freakin’ village to raise these tiny people! Make a list of people you feel comfortable leaving your kids with (paid and unpaid). If you don’t have anyone, you can reach out to neighborhood sitters, referrals from local online mom’s groups, a local agency. You can start out by having them come over when you are home and get some things done around the house.  When you feel comfortable you can escape out of the house on your own.  Have a good friend you feel comfortable with but never take them up on their offer to babysit? Do it!

Dig a Little Deeper – While moms are pretty talented, we have not yet figured out how to be in two places at once. There is only one of you. Sometime you might miss events or not be able to take them to school or go on a field trip or whatever it may be you are having guilt about missing. Make a little video and send it to the person taking care of them to show them. Put a note in their lunch, suitcase, jacket pocket. Just a little something special to let them know you’re thinking of them. If you're far away, write a letter, send a postcard, send a video or an email. 

The Circle of Life – Wouldn’t it be amazing to have family time everyone would look forward to? Have some scheduled family time! Maybe a special breakfast, a game night, everyone painting on one canvas. Sometimes it feels impossible to get everyone together for quality time. You can start off by blocking off 30 minutes or a hour.

Whistle While You Work Stop multitasking! Ok, well don’t completely stop. It is a mommy superpower. Just try to limit distractions and things that waste time. Start by taking 15 minutes to play with them and do nothing else. No checking phone, email, tidying up, no thinking about all the things you need to do. Set a timer if you need to keep yourself from checking your clock. This goes for when you’re at work also. Think about the things you do to procrastinate and start allotting time for those things. Like maybe 10 minutes of Facebook every few hours. Take those notifications saying someone liked a photo off your phone. Start small.

I Want to be Where the People Are – Schedule time with your partner or a friend. Either one person or a group. Think about which one will energize you more. Expand your focus and leave the space for a deeper connection. Don’t talk about schedules, work or the kids. (Or if you’re catching up, put a time limit on the amount of time this will take in the conversation).

Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee – Where is my Me Time! - Read instead of watch a show. Have a show you want to watch?  Make a ritual out of it. Get some wine, juice or tea in a fancy cup and good snack. Set it all up nicely so you feel pampered. When you are driving the kids around, play kids music they like while you are listening to a book or podcast. (Sidenote: Books on tape help keep me sane! I use them while walking to work, walking to get lunch, driving to work. I love them! I use Audible and love it, but if you feel like you can’t afford another subscription right now, libraries are starting to have book recordings that you can download online for free!)

I’m Wishing – Find Your Tribe! You are not alone! No matter how much it feels like it sometimes, there are thousands of other moms feeling the same way. If you have a partner you can talk to, do it. Reach out to find others that are in similar situations. There are a lot of groups and alliances both in person and online.

Don’t know where to start? Check out both our Creative Mama and Mindful Mama classes today!

http://www.parenthoodprep.com/classes

Written by: Morgan Katcher

Who Am I? Creating Identity After Parenthood

Malika was feeling overwhelmed and stressed out with her new life as a mom. She said she felt like she was sacrificing every ounce of herself to nurture her sweet new baby boy. Why wasn’t she happier? This is what she wanted! They did three rounds of IVF for this little guy. What’s the deal?

This question came up when we were reviewing the different realms of wellness: Physical, Emotional, Spiritual, Relational, Intellectual, Occupational, and Environmental. She was creating a vision board collage with these 7 categories on the outside (sort of like a sun) and the center what devoted to the small matter of what feeds her soul. **try this at home!

The problem she quickly and emotionally ran into was she couldn’t recall what feeds her soul: her purpose, joy, fun, life-force, prana. The only thing that she was able to focus on was her baby and now from our exercise all the loss she’s experienced. Malika thought about all the things that are different now: loss of her pre-baby life, her career, her friends (especially the ones without children), sleep, loss of her pre-baby body, her relationship is now different, her moods and emotions are so sensitive now, her home is messy, and on top of it all she has an infant that needs her all the time.

Oftentimes we enter into motherhood with preconceived notions and expectations of unconditional love, energy, vitality, and of course a peaceful adoring newborn that sleeps all night and supportive partner. However, the reality is it’s a lot of hard work, exhaustion, irritability, uncertainty, mixed emotions, loneliness, and stress mixed into the joyous magic.

The physical and emotional roller coaster of recovery, hormones dramatically leaving your body, and the new little being taking over your life is a lot to adjust to. Who was this woman now?  Moving forward Malika had two options: continue as she has been or make a change. Obviously, she called me so she was ready for the later. We went into exploration mode. She was able to hand craft with intention her new and expanded identity as a mother and herself as a human – separate from her baby and wife.

Malika learned that by taking care of herself and feeding her soul she is also taking care of her son. Being the most stressed out mom is not going to make you or your family happier. There are no Stressed Out Moms Awards. Some self-care items she implemented in her life: outsource house cleaning, weekly massage appointments, volunteer at the SPCA, and a ceramics class. Rock on Malika!

By taking care of her whole life and accepting help she is now able to enjoy her son in a new way and feels like a better mom.    

If you’re experiencing a difficult time transitioning to parenthood we may be able to help! At Parenthood Prep, we get it. Together let’s create a safe supportive space where you can heal, grow & become empowered to create the life you want. 

Written by: Renee Bond

Why I wish I had poked holes in all my friend's condoms!

I wrote this when my daughter was a few months old and thought I would share it.

If I could go back to when I was pregnant, I would definitely have made an effort to meet other pregnant moms in my area! My friends who lived nearby didn’t have kids, which turned out to be more isolating for me than I originally expected. Maybe some of you will resonated with this more than others, but hopefully you will all see the humor in it.

I am not one of those people who hated dating and are so happy that they don’t HAVE to do it anymore. I LOVED dating! I loved everything about it! I even loved the horrible awkward dates that I went on because even at the time, they were so ridiculous they were funny and now they are great stories to tell. (*Disclaimer for the Hubby: I love my partner and would be very happy to never go on a date with anyone else again.)

What I have discovered about myself is that I HATE mommy dating and if I were a straight male, I would probably still be single. I now have more sympathy for the men that had the courage to hit on me in the past. It took more courage than I thought. I now occasionally feel mildly bad for the men that I rejected immediately. While I don’t feel that I should have given them more time because I knew right away it wouldn’t work (and wouldn’t even be a good ridiculous date story for the vault), I give them props for their ability to put themselves out there.

Finding a mom friend is just like trying to pick up a girl at a bar, but much worse. Here’s the basic break down

-Walk in and scan the room

Bar pick up: You walk in. You scan the room. See if there’s anyone who catches your eye. You look for someone you’re attracted to, looks interesting and who you think you could have the most fun with (either for that night or forever).

Park pick up: You walk in. You scan the playgroup. See if there’s anyone who catches your eye. You look for someone who looks the most like you (similar age, you like their outfit, they look just as terrified as you, etc), has a child around the age of yours and who you could be BFFs with!

What makes the mommy pick up more difficult:

The wild cards: Is that the mom?…or is it the Grandma, nanny, babysitter, etc. I have often been given false hope by connections I’ve made with “mommies” who turned out to be nannies. So in the dating scene, Nannies = Teases…and nobody likes a tease.

-The approach

Bar pick up: Make a plan of attack. Read their body language and make eye contact. Approach by ordering a drink next to them if they’re at the bar or have some opening line.

Park pick up: Make a plan of attack. Make eye contact…If this happens at all it may be brief. You’ll probably try to get your kid to play in the same area their kid is playing. Bonus points for actually getting the kids to play together!

What makes the mommy pick up more difficult:

Making eye contact to engage another mom can be tricky. She may only briefly look at you or may keep her eyes on her kid(s) at all times.

-The Conversation

Bar pick up: [Insert your basic opening line here]

Park pick up: Opening lines are always about the children. How old are they? How long have they been [insert milestone here]?

What makes the mommy pick up more difficult:

It’s difficult to get past those basic 2-3 questions and to actually share info about yourselves as people who hopefully have something in common. Also, kids are unpredictable. They could suddenly decide they want to be on the other side of the playgroup. Even if the conversation is going great, you may suddenly have to dash off and hope that you have another opportunity later.

-What does your wing-man think?

Bar pick up: Your friends will have their opinions about them. Sometimes those opinions are stronger than others.

Park pick up: Your child will have opinions about the other mommies child. This can go a few ways. If they ignore each other, you’re still good. If they get along, you could be in. If they immediately don’t get along, it’s all over (ie: You’ve been cock-blocked).

What makes the mommy pick up more difficult:

Unlike with your friends, your children need to be in the same age range (preferably within a few months of each other). If your friends hate the girl you’re hitting on, you can ignore them. If your child hates their child (or visa versa) , say bye-bye to your new potential mommy friend.

-Share information

Bar pick up: Ask for their number. They either give your their number (or business card) or they tell your they're not interested. (Or if they’re trying not to hurt your feelings/are uncomfortable saying no…they ask for yours instead)

Park pick up: Ask for their phone number or email address to get together for a park date/play date/etc. If you actually are able to get this far in the conversation, the answer is pretty much always “yes” to sharing info. (So one nice thing, is that there is a lower rejection rate than hitting on a girl at a bar! Yay for something positive!)

What makes the mommy pick up more difficult:

Even if someone gets up the nerve to ask to share info. This process could be interrupted by your child, their child (or possibly a random child needing assistance).

-Actually USE contact info given

Congratulations to both the guy at the bar or the mommy on the playground! If you’ve made it this far, you deserve a reward for all your efforts. Unfortunately, you’re not in the clear yet.

Bar pick up: Possibly text that night saying how you’re looking forward to seeing them again. If they gave you a fake number, you find out early on. You contact them a few days later (Either call or text…I always preferred the call in being asked out. A text just seemed lazy). Say how nice it was to meet them the other night. You either have a concrete invite (dinner, show, party, movie, etc.) or you can ask to just “hang out” on x night and meet for a drink or something. You just pick a time to meet, and know that you could end up meeting for an hour or hanging out all night.

Park pick up: You contact them soon via text or email. Moms don’t really have time to talk on the phone, and it’s easier to schedule if they can look on their calendar on their own time. Another bonus for mommies is that getting a fake number is a problem you don’t have to worry about. Yay for another small thing in our favor! (I’m sure there is some mom out there that has given fake info, but I personally have never experienced it or heard of it happening to anyone…so I’m assuming that it’s rare.) Come up with a concrete plan! Time/place to meet. Usually it’s for a very small window of time. Probably 1-2 hours at most for the first meet up. If you don’t schedule a get together within a week, it will probably never happen.

What makes the mommy pick up more difficult:

Instead of coordinating two schedules, you’re coordinating 4 schedules! There are lots of variables that interfere. You pretty much only have daylight times to get together, usually you need to be back home for dinner time. Kids start to melt down towards the end of the day and don’t have late night play dates, so you really only have the morning or afternoon to schedule something. If they have completely different nap times it makes things even more complicated. If one or both or you work even just part time and have opposite schedules of each other…just forget about it.

My conclusion:

Mommy dating is exhausting and it sucks. It makes me wish I could go back in time and poke holes in all my best friend’s condoms.

Avoiding Meltdown-City: Working With Our Irrational Toddlers

Emotional, erratic, impulsive, intense, and intelligent toddlers! Do these words describe your toddler? If so, you’re in good company. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some stressed out parents these past few months that have used these intense descriptors to describe their toddlers. As I work with these families I hear a common theme: “no one told me how hard this was REALLY going to be”. So if you’re reading this and you’ve not yet had the distinct honor of your very own toddler. Let me be the first to tell you, it is hard! Really, really hard.

They didn’t get their reputation of the “terrible twos” or lately I’ve been hearing a lot of people complain that it really should be the “terrible threes” from nowhere. Sorry, but the truth of the matter is it takes a lot of work, both internally within yourself as their parent and externally, your interactions with your little one(s). Don’t lose hope – there are ways to create beautiful relationships with these young rapidly growing humans who are pretty amazing if you shift your perspective a bit!

Now that we’ve cleared the air about the reality of the situation let’s switch gears or perspectives (if you will). Let’s take a minute and point out the great stuff too. Their brains are like sponges absorbing language skills, negotiation skills, and relational skills. They are also brilliant scientists. They test all boundaries and theories. Your boundaries are so much fun to test. You’re their parent, friend, mentor, favorite toy, role model, and greatest teacher. It’s so much fun watching you come alive as they push all of your “buttons”.

I know it’s stressful and draining keeping up with the tiny terrorist that you created, but, the energy expended is worth it! I want to share three of my favorite tools that I keep in my toddler-terrorist-negotiation toolbox at all times. Plus you can energize yourself while filling their inner wealth at the same time.

1. Soothe. Maximize your expert skill of prevention! When you see your toddler’s energy taking a turn for meltdown city use that opportunity to connect and soothe. Hold, rock, sing, dance – mix it up to redirect the energy.

2. Empathy. Recognize the feelings associated with the potential melt-down. Even if they don’t make sense to you (remember you’re working with a slightly irrational population here). “That sounds really disappointing that your favorite green shirt is in the washing machine and you have to pick a different shirt. It’s hard feeling disappointed, I get it. Sounds like you’re having a difficult time right now.” This one’s big because we are meeting our child where they are. We’re not dismissing their really big feelings and we’re supporting and respecting them in the process. How awesome is that? It gets easier the more you do it, so give it a try.

3. Active Recognitions. When you see something going right — call them on it. Celebrate it. I mean really harp on it: “I see you being kind to your baby brother right now”; “I just caught you respecting our home by picking up (and eating;) the cheddar bunnies off the ground”; “You just showed great self-control accepting my ‘no’ answer”; “I see you sitting peacefully playing legos”. These are really fun and build your child’s inner wealth while building your energy level and relationship with your child. That’s a lot of bang for your buck.

At Parenthood Prep we want to support you through these really hard moments. We want to teach you awesome tools that are effective. We offer online counseling and coaching and parent education. Reach out and connect with us! We want to build a non-judgmental community that awakens parents up to their greatness.

Play with these tools a bit. Where you’re sending your energy? Are you energizing negativity? Or are you reinforcing all of the wonderful choices your little one is making throughout the day? Let us know what happens when you play with these three tools.

Written by: Renee Bond

Learning To Dance in the Storm of Divorce

How can parents join parenting forces while going through a divorce? I’m not saying it’s an easy dance but because you care deeply about the health and wellbeing of your child you’re going to learn the steps. If raising resilient children is important for both of you, read on.

The time has come. You’ve tried everything humanly possible to stay together. You’ve been in couple’s therapy for a while. You’ve read the books, blogs, and research, but keep coming back to the same conclusion. You’ll be happier apart. You have decided to separate.

Emotions and tensions are high right now but you’re a savvy parent. You know that learning to dance in the rain is where it’s at…not waiting for the storm to pass. You also know that the best way to help your changing family is to be present and emotionally available for your child.

Step 1: Nurture yourself and start a mindfulness practice. Whatever this looks like for you, my cup of tea includes yoga, art, meditation, and play. Cultivate a self-care plan to help you heal and be open to the needs of your sweet child.

Step 2: Start to create or strengthen that small soft spot you have inside for your parenting partner. Even if the spot is microscopic! You created your child out of love, you have love (somewhere) for your co-parent. Communication and cooperation are vital in making the new co-parenting relationship successful. I find the Loving Kindness Meditation helpful and urge you to get your mindfulness practice going.

Step 3: Work together to form your family values. From this space create your plan for parenting consistency. I recommend the Nurtured Heart Approach! Mindfulness will help you with this collaboration.

Step 4: When talking with your child about your changing family, remember their developmental stage. What is their brain doing now? What can they understand at this time? Sesame Street has a great resource to help you through this process. It is a process talk about the change and feelings that come up. All feelings are welcome, normal, and safe to share with you.

Step 5: Remember the basics of keeping and strengthening attachment with your child. Dan Siegel sums it up with the 4 “S’s”: Seen – Seeing your child deeply and empathically with mindsight by looking beyond the behavior to the core or essence of your child. Safe – Create safety by avoiding actions that may frighten or hurt them. Soothed: help them deal with difficult emotions and situations. Secure – help develop their inner wealth and wellbeing.

It’s a bumpy road. You’re feeling so many different feelings and emotions. Watch your energy exchange between you, your children, and co-parent. Take the pressure off yourself and know that you know your child better than anyone! Trust your intuition and use your heart as your guide when interacting with your little one.  The beautiful part of life is we always get another chance. If something’s not working – change it up.

Start creating self-love, self-compassion, self-forgiveness. Did I mention to start a mindfulness practice? It will help you be a better parent and person. =)

Also, there’s a great app called 2houses to help you stay organized and have clear communication.

The light in me sees and honors the light in you.

This is a beautiful time to really evaluate your new life and parenting intentions. I want to personally welcome you to join one of our courses.  A space where you can connect with your best parenting self and take some focused time for self-care.

Written by: Renee Bond

Advice You Actually Want: Let’s Talk about Sleep Deprivation and Resenting your Partner

I used to be one of those people that could sleep though a truck driving through my room. One of my biggest concerns during my pregnancy with my first child was if I would wake up to my baby crying. Everyone assures you that when the baby is born, it will just naturally happen. And it did for me. I wake up to every sound she makes and even sometimes when she turns over in the next room.

When you are pregnant everyone makes jokes about how you will “never sleep again”. Hilarious. What nobody warned me about was the resentment and jealously I would feel towards my husband for not waking up at every little sound and for not hearing her cry.

My logical, well rested brain reminds me that some of the symptoms of sleep deprivation are inability to concentrate, irritability, impaired immune system, memory lapses and mood swings. My desire to have a happy marriage and be the “perfect partner” makes me think that having both of us in an irritable and sleep deprived state at once would wear on our relationship. When I was awake with the baby, my sleep deprived and impulsive self would look and my sleeping, angelic looking husband and the urge to wake him up by punching him in the face would wash over me. Lucky for him, I never acted on those thoughts.

When I took a step back and was really honest with my whole self, what I really wanted was for someone to be there in the trenches with me. I wanted us to be united in our sleep deprivation and co-survivors of that phase of parenthood.

In all my worrying about if I would wake up when my child needs me, I wish that people had told me is what I should really be focusing on is sitting down with my partner and having a discussion about how we will handle those sleepless nights.

For example, when my daughter was no longer co-sleeping with us and I was breastfeeding and our daughter would cry, I would wake my husband up to bring her to me and put her back when she was done. That way I got to stay warm in bed and while he couldn’t actually feed her, he was a part of the process. Plans like this helped my feelings toward my partner move from resentment to support and companionship.

This was a plan that was put into place after many nights of crying (done by both myself and my baby), feeling frustrated, annoyed, jealous, angry and resentful. It could have easily been something that we discussed when I was still pregnant and it could have saved us from many sleep-deprived arguments.

If being a parent has taught me anything it’s that no one plan works all the time and sometimes you have to scrap the plan, but it’s nice to start from a place of open discussion with as little coexisting stressors as possible.

Thanks for visiting ParenthoodPrep.com. Please post comments with your thoughts, experiences and if there are any topics you would like to hear more about.

Written By: Morgan Katcher

Create Juicy Time-Ins While In Sleep Debt

Let’s take a moment to talk about sleep. I think this may have been, and, continues to be one of the most shocking parts of parenthood for me. I know everyone warns about the sleepless night…but…OMG…it can be brutal!

Not getting enough sleep affects all of our body’s systems. Our immune system, circadian rhythm, emotional regulation, patience tolerance, cognitive functioning, sex drive, can contribute to mood disorders like depression and anxiety, did you know it also causes fine lines and dark circles under eyes (I wonder if this is where the idea of beauty sleep came from), and can contribute to weight gain. Yikes! That’s a high price to pay. I think it’s safe to say that being your best parenting-self is strained when you’re in sleep debt.

Having kids causes sleep debt. Period. Parenthood=sleep disturbances. You’re now responsible for another human that does not care about your schedule. And for many women it starts during pregnancy. The odds are if you’re a parent you will have issues with sleep and your juicy time-ins will be more challenging to design.

So if you can sleep…do that! If it’s unavoidable, drink your coffee, tea, green juice, whatever floats your boat and consider this story while creating your own juicy time-in successes while exhausted.

In my home we have two high energy toddlers and a teething baby conducting a sleep strike.

As I was getting ready one morning I heard some whining and fussing downstairs. I had a bit of energy resulting from an adrenaline boost, my body’s response to public speaking. My husband however was in walking zombie mode and a bit checked out. I went downstairs to see how I could help.

The zombie and I checked-in and came up with a plan: First, get some coffee. Second, make small attainable goals. Third, wear those kids out!

Here’s what my wise husband did with our mission impossible: first, got out of the house to breathe some fresh air and get some coffee. He went inside the coffee shop to get a little social interaction and took our now peacefully sleeping baby along.  The twins hung out with me while I was finished getting ready.Second, he made a plan and got real about the energy needed to execute the plan. He knew I would be home to relieve him and put the kids down for a nap around noon. Then take baby with me to my next appointment giving him some sleep while the toddlers sleep. We designed this so that we’d each have our own down time. So, he pumped himself and our kids up. He energized their greatness and advertised the day’s plan. Third, he decided to take the kids to the park – the really fun park we don’t go to all the time. They made obstacle course drills, ran, jumped, danced, played and tired them out *while* creating juicy time-in together. He could have sat on the bench reading blogs or checking FB (super tempting). Instead he was tuned in yes, still tired, and engaged. They waited for the library to open and checked out some awesome books. This was a genius move because now they had something to look forward to, creating excitement around bedtime later. A battle left for another post.

I know you’re tired! And it feels like you have no time to do anything, let alone take an online course. Let us give you back some precious *you* time while we share some beautiful tips for balancing your busy life.

Written by: Renee Bond

Parenting Advice: Finding What Fits

Entering into the parenthood club automatically qualifies you for an instant bond and camaraderie with parents who came before you. It’s filled with an extreme amount of emotions, concepts, and expectations. This huge life shift seems to open you up to an abundance of advice and criticism as well.

How do you filter through all the how-to’s, books, friend’s advice, family’s knowhow, the millions of must-have products, and even your own expectations?

Cutting through the anxiety, learning to trust your intuition and finding your best parenting self will take time…but you’ll get there. I promise! You can’t judge your process by anyone else’s. Even though it’s so tempting to do just that.  Do your own research. See what fits with your family values. If you’re not sure what your family values are, this might be a great place to start. As the parenting tips come (sometimes by the truckload) see what feels right and try it out. If it doesn’t fit, let it go.

We all mean well and want to share what’s worked for us and for our families. Plus we want to support our newest parenthood members. We know what it’s like to be at a complete loss. We know what it feels like to be so overwhelmed and frustrated and defeated and at the same time strangely happy. We also know what it’s like to not feel happy and instead feel disconnected, isolated, and depressed. And then feeling like we *should* feel happier and as a result depressed about being depressed.

It’s a lot of trial and error. You can’t be prepared for every part of this process. And, I hate to break it to you but you also can’t be perfect. Learning the art of reset will help you throughout your entire life’s journey. Reset is a Nurtured Heart Approach term for starting over, a redo, reboot, refresh and get back on track. It’s lovely living in a world where when things aren’t going awesome that we get to start over and try again.

Now that I’ve given you permission to let the advice that doesn’t fit go I’m going to make an exception to that rule. These two things are non negotiables. Please don’t skimp on these. The rest will come. But these need to be mastered…and the sooner the better!

Self-compassion

Learning self-compassion is essential. Kristen Neff is a pioneer in the research of self-compassion. Here’s a great quick 2-minute video to get you started. She has TONS of resources online as well.

Self-care

If you’re like some many new parents we know you may be so focused on your growing baby that you forget to take care of yourself. This can be our parenting default. However the logic is flawed. You cannot give away what you don’t have. If you want your baby to be well cared for – you need to start with yourself. Happy parents = happy baby. Parenthood Prep offers a fun way to beef up your self-care and learn parenting skills in the process.

Pregnancy After Miscarriage: My Story of Life and Loss

Since I was quite small I knew that my ultimate goal was to be a mom. Not in the way my girlfriends wanted to be a mom. It was different – more intense, clear, matter-of-fact, almost in a life’s calling kind of way. It’s no wonder then that my path included child psychotherapy and parent coaching. Happy kids are my passion.

Part of my job is to sit with people in pain and hold their sacred space. I know what grief and loss looks like. I know how to walk you through the steps. I’m even pretty resolute when working through my own pain.

Or so I thought.

Four years ago I was finishing up a post-master’s program. I was enjoying my time studying art therapy and working at an elementary school. Life was pretty easy and carefree. I had a wealth of friends, enjoyed a full life, and dated a few awesome men.

As life would have it, I became pregnant by one of those lovely men. It was not my ideal scenario. I wasn’t quite ready for a child. Even though that’s all I’d ever wanted.

As I adjusted to my situation the excitement started to set in. I purchased a bunch of books and adorable baby gear. I began eating optimal baby-growing foods and taking vitamins. A new appreciation and connection to my body took hold.

In the beginning I only told a handful of people. My excitement was too immense and I told many more people, I couldn’t help it! I hadn’t smiled that much or felt such joy in a long time.

Then it happened, I miscarried.

It was terrible. I mean it was the worst pain I’d ever experienced in my life. My chest felt like it was imploding. I felt numb and disconnected. I was pissed at my body and looking for answers. The physical and emotional pain persisted and I couldn’t think about anything else. I took time off from school and felt very depressed.

The very next month I was pregnant again. This helped the pain…a little.

This time, however, the joy I felt the first time around did not return. I was looking forward to my babies but felt removed from the experience. I couldn’t allow myself to be that vulnerable again. There was a hue of pessimism shadowing my mood throughout the pregnancy. Even when I made it past the 20 week mark and my twins were healthy and alive in the back of my mind the fear of losing them remained.

A couple things I wish I knew:

It’s not your fault. Many people did tell me this but honestly, I didn’t believe them. It was still helpful to hear. If you’re experiencing this let me repeat: It’s NOT your fault. It’s ok to trust your body again.

They are common! According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists about 15% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. You’re not alone. Lots of women experience this. It’s amazing when you start talking about it how many others also had one.

In the medical field they are referred to as spontaneous abortions. It really hurt when I heard them refer to my loss in that way. It felt like they were insinuating that it was a choice.

Savor the joy. Even when the other crap is looming, keep a gratitude journal, make some art, celebrate. Having the negative thoughts and withholding joy will not prevent another miscarriage.

  Take it one day at a time. If that’s too much, take it one hour at a time. If still that’s too much, take it one minute at a time.

Breathe deep. Take care of your physical, emotional, and spiritual selves.

Talk it out. With family, friends, online support, professional counselor.

“When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” -Khalil Gibran

If this is so you…I want to invite you to contact us and see if we have an online course that would be a good fit for you. You can get your mind focused in a productive way! 

Written by: Renee Bond

Hi There! An Honest Introduction

Nobody loves ice cream more than I do. Growing up the driver of an ice cream truck, Craig and I, were great friends. At one point he gifted me a rabbit and I named him Chocolate Cocoa Puff. It was an innocent relationship. No funny business occurred I realize it sounds like a strange scenario. To be quite frank – looking back it was a tad bit strange. My children won’t experience that kind of independence and freedom at such a young age.

Growing up, I was the firstborn in my family. My mom was just a baby herself having me at 15-years-old. You can imagine the struggles that come with that dynamic. And if you're guessing trauma and domestic violence, you’d be right. There was pain and heartache but there was also joy and ice cream.

That’s not the point of this story though. I wanted to take some time to introduce myself. Having a tumultuous childhood I knew early on that my life’s work would be helping kids. And it has been. I’ve worked in public school systems, foster care systems, and community mental health systems. They all proved to be unique educational and life-changing experiences.

My path ultimately lead me into child psychotherapy. I have so much fun connecting with brilliant young people using art and play therapy. Guiding them to see and experience their true greatness has brought me much joy! It makes perfect sense now that my focus has shifted to the parents of these young kiddos.

After having three children of my own I now have a deep visceral understanding of all sides of childhood. And being on the parenting side is just as confusing and complicated as being on the side of a child or the side of a mental health clinician in a (to put it bluntly) f***** up system.

Parenting is the hardest job you’ve ever love. And Morgan and I have dedicated ourselves to making childhood awesome for everyone. It’s our intention to help parents awaken to their greatness. Because happy parents equal happy kids. We cannot love our children any more than we love ourselves. We cannot love our partners anymore than we love ourselves.

My three boys are absolutely amazing humans. I marvel at their development and sense of humor and kindness. They’re also slightly evil and insane. You see, I have 3-year-old twins and an 8-month-old baby. Anyone that has a three-year-old or two knows what I’m talking about.

Morgan also has a toddler and she and I are totally on the same wavelength when it comes to raising small humans. We see you. We see and hear your struggles. We both went to art therapy school and went through the tortuous licensing process. We went to Tahoe last Valentine’s Day with all of our children and sweet husbands. I asked her to be my biz partner…well maybe it went more like “hey, so, I sort of have the rest of your life planned out…what do ya think? Wanna?” I’m smooth like that.

She said “yes!” and we’ve been having a great time creating Parenthood Prep since. We aim to connect you to yourself, your partner, and your kids. We pack our classes with cutting edge, relevant, kid-tested techniques that will change the way you look at parenthood.

Art and the Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA) are at the foundation of our current 4-week course. It will transform you and your family. My husband, the concrete-thinking, emotionally-getting-there, budget-conscious man that he is had the most affirming compliment after I literally dragged him to a NHA training (for our 1 year wedding anniversary, mind you). After an all day training that he was literally forced to attend he said “that was totally worth the money”. That is high phrase people! And you know what? We’re a better family for it. And yes, he got ice cream for being such an amazing sport.

I want to invite you to transform your family. Invest in connection, confidence, happiness, and fun. 

Join Morgan and myself as we walk with you on this crazy parenthood journey!

So much love from my heart to yours!!

Xoxo,

Renee

*Update: Renee now has almost 5 year old twin boys and a 2 year old boy. Morgan has a 5 year old girl and an 8 month old boy.