A few years ago, I wrote multiple blog posts that said I didn’t believe in “parenting experts.” That definitely included “parenting coaches,” I just didn’t know those existed–but I definitely would have rolled my eyes if I did.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve known from day 1 of motherhood that I was FAR from perfect and that I had things to learn. I hate cooking, struggle to include vegetables, watch too much TV, don’t read with them enough, don’t go outside enough…the list goes on and on.
But I knew I loved my kids deeply. And for a few years, I rode the ups and downs and exhaustion well. Yes, we had typical baby and toddler tantrums and rough days here and there, but overall, I knew I was loving them well. They were happy kids, and our family dynamic was good.
And even though my intense love for my kids never changed–everything else did.
I Love You, But You’re Driving me Insane
In late 2019, the tantrums from both kids increased in frequency and intensity, and my ability to handle them well had decreased until it was non-existent. They were now in daycare, but I would be COMPLETELY at the end of my rope within 30 minutes of being home.
I was emotional, frustrated, exhausted, and drowning in guilt. I knew there were things I should be doing better, but I couldn’t figure out how or where to start when I was just barely scraping through each day. Our family was functioning, but definitely not thriving.
Finding a “Parenting Coach” Was an Accident
Through some business connections, I ended up being a part of a parenting coach’s Facebook group. I didn’t realize that at the time, because what even is a parenting coach, right?!
But I realized about 3.41 minutes after joining that this woman understood my struggles, shared my foundational beliefs about disciplining and loving my kids, and was actually REAL. Not an Instagram mom-fluencer who acted like her kids were perfect all the time. No thank you.
And when she gave me the details on her 6-month program, I knew it was what I needed. But I still immediately thought, “No way I’m doing this.” A million reasons came to my mind, like:
- My mom never needed to hire a dang parenting coach!
- Who does this?! People are going to judge me so hard if they find out I’m even considering something like this. (I would have!)
- Our family would be fine without this!
- I’ve never spent this much money on anything that wasn’t a physical necessity before–it should REALLY be going toward other things.
- The fact that I’m even considering this must mean I have failed at being a mom.
But it was all of those extremely unhealthy thoughts that had gotten me to where I was. When I really thought about it, I knew that I had to do something different to get to a better place.
The truth is:
It doesn’t matter how other moms do it.
It doesn’t matter who judges me.
What does matter is my family. And if I’m not willing to value my family above other people’s opinions, then what was I even doing?
I also physically had to tell myself that the fact that I was willing to do things differently and face my fears was exactly what my kids needed from me. It was what made me a good mom, and the right mom for my kids.
So I Enrolled.
(Okay, I also sent the coach a message a week later telling her that no no no, I couldn’t do this, it’s too weird and different. But then I snapped myself back and kept going.)
Over the next six months, I cried a LOT. I resisted the program A LOT.
Because it wasn’t just about setting up rules, a perfect schedule, and trying to make your family and your kids perfect.
It wasn’t about changing my kids, my husband, or anyone else. Yes, there were some discipline tactics, but it was mostly about me–facing the thoughts and fears I had been allowing to seep into our family. And honestly, sometimes it sucked. It was not easy.
But is there a transformation that’s bigger than 180 degrees? Because that’s what happened.
I saw an almost immediate change in my level of energy. Guilt and fear had quite literally been draining all of it, and letting them go was mind-blowingly freeing. I saw drastic changes in my kid’s behavior by week #2.
For the first time in too long, we weren’t in constant survival mode. Our 2 and 4-year-olds started willingly helping around the house. We were able to do fun things, start traditions (even in the middle of a pandemic!), and all four of us were able to grow in our own ways.
It most obviously impacted me and my daughter–I swear she doubled in maturity in a few months. She went from a 4 year old throwing tantrums to a child who would talk openly about her choices, ask me questions, and admit things she did wrong.
Hiring a parenting coach was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Sometimes you have to do things that feel absolutely crazy to make big, important changes. We should be completely unashamed of getting help in whatever way we need it.