You’ve got a beautiful young child, who brings so much joy to your life, but you’re also overwhelmed and exhausted. This whole “parenting” thing is not what you expected. What you thought would be fun and exciting has turned into a lot of yelling, lost patience, and a whole bunch of monotony.
Each day it feels like more and more of a struggle to be the loving parent you imagined. You’re wondering why it is so hard, yet have no idea what to change to get your kids to listen. You have tried everything, and feel like no matter what you do, it always ends in an argument. You desperately wish you had a manual that laid it all out for you, so that you could have fun with your kids and actually enjoy their childhood – without all the yelling and frustration.
I promise, you are not the only parent feeling this way! I’ve been there too, and I’ve come out on the other side.
I coach stressed-out and frustrated parents who thought parenting was going to be fun, yet they are always fighting with their kids.
They want to let loose and be silly with their kids, but all the dishes, laundry, and tantrums leave them drained and exhausted.
I help them alleviate stress while becoming playful, confident parents who finally have the energy to make incredible memories with their children.
(Bonus tip, when you are more playful, kids listen better! For real!)
It was an ordinary night, one where I was babysitting two of my favorite kids in the world (well, they are almost adults now), and their mom said, “You know, I love this parenting thing, but it is the monotony that really gets to me. I mean, I do the same things all the time — feed them well, make sure clothes are clean, give them fun things to do – yet I still get into fights with them all the time. It’s like it never ends.”
I didn’t know exactly what would happen to me next, but I knew this conversation was a changing point for me. I felt it in my body and knew it was important.
I had nothing world-shattering to say. I smiled with my heart. I let her know I heard her. And asked what I could do to help.
She simply smiled, and said she didn’t know.
And then life went in fast-forward.
I did all those things people say you are supposed to.
I finished my Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology, which is all about how children grow and develop.
I got married and we bought a house.
We had a baby. (A really cute one).
The first year … was tough. Lots of crying, confusion about food, struggles with sleep, lots of cuddles, and endless amounts of dirty dishes and laundry.
And we got through it.
Then, my friend, we got to 2 years and 6 months of age. And this is where I finally understood what my mama friend had been talking about.
See, I too was doing all the things. I worked hard jobs so that my son could have what he needed. I made sure we had clean pants (ok, mostly clean pants). Everyone was fed (including the cat). The dishes got in the dishwasher (ok, most of them). I played with my son, I got on the floor. We made towers from blocks, sang songs, got outside.
We did all the things.
Yet, we were still fighting.
I mean, I have a friggin’ Ph.D. in how kids grow and develop!! And I still couldn’t seem to stop the fighting.
I did the sticker charts. We had conversations. I used age-appropriate reasoning. I researched everything about how his brain was growing. I yelled. I used reward systems. I bribed. And begged. And pleaded.
And still my son and I fought.
My husband and I fought.
Me and myself fought. I was always thinking things like, “Why can’t I seem to do this right?” “I’m a terrible mom.” “Why is this so hard for me?” “Maybe I’m not a good enough mom.” “This looks so easy for everyone else.” “There must be something wrong with me.” “Holy moly, people have been raising kids for centuries, why won’t mine listen to me?!!?!”
And on and on and on!!
I thought I was the only mom who was feeling this way.
So, I did what I do best.
I complained a lot! To anyone who would listen. (And I do mean anyone.)
Wanna know what I learned?
Sooooooooo many moms and dads feel the same way. We are all wondering if we are good enough parents. All of our kids don’t listen to us. And we are all struggling at something.
I found the way that parents who enjoy parenting had some simple stuff figured out.
It winds up that I actually learned all the things I needed through my special mix of babysitting, graduate school, working at camps, preschools, and dance studios, experience as a mom, and my super skill of being a really compassionate listener.
What turned it all around?
I knew something needed to change. Before I really lost my mind or became one of those moms who hated parenting the whole time, then looked back when my kid was 15 and realized I had missed the whole thing.
I needed a way to feel better, to have less stress, and to get some support in this parenting thing.
One exhausting day, I was so upset, I just started googling. I searched for things like “Happier mom,” “Less yelling,” and “Make the stress go away.”
And what happened to appear? An article that said there is this ridiculously easy technique that can IMMEDIATELY lower stress levels and make you feel happier. All you have to do is laugh.
Yup, Laughter Yoga is a thing. It is when you intentionally laugh. Like, you just choose to laugh and you do it!! And (not so surprisingly) you feel really good.
I started making intentional laughter part of my life, and I really started to feel better. And then, I actually wanted to spend more time playing around. It happened so quickly and easily, it didn’t feel like “work” at all.
Without even knowing the word “mindset” my whole perspective on life was changing. I was able to approach situations with more lightness and things didn’t feel quite so serious and hard.
Now this laughter stuff made a huge difference for me, yet there were still those lingering thoughts about not being good enough.
These were the actual reasons that I was fighting with my kid. I was feeling really crappy and being really mean to myself.
So, I got some help. I was tired of trying to do it on my own, yet falling back into the same old cycles. I listened to book after book on parenting, on self-compassion, on amazing goal setting.
Yet I hadn’t really been working on why the “not good enough” thoughts were showing up.
I hired a coach to help me navigate why my life was feeling so hard all the time. Through getting coached, I learned all about myself and what was making me show up as a not-so-happy mom.
Things changed really fast after that!
I had been training as a parent coach at the same time and learning so many wonderful tools to help both me and other parents to get the heck out of that negative thought cycle.
I realized, there actually was another way … and it was way easier than I thought.
After realizing that I am 100% in control of how I talk to myself, well the world completely opened up. The amount of fighting with my son had dropped sooo much, that even he pointed it out. One day, out of the blue he goes, “Mom, you are so much more fun now.”
Being able to combine what I know about kids brains with what I know about adult brains has completely changed how I approach parenting.
I started to play with my son because I wanted to (not just because he asked).
Friends started to notice the difference in how I would show up.
And they started to ask me for help.
So here I am, teaching people how to show up as the parent they want to be, while having fun with their kids, and changing things up at home so kids finally listen and parenting is actually fun.
Without all the fighting, transitions are millions of times better. Learning how to recognize my own tension has actually taught my son how to recognize his. And … get ready for this … there isn’t any more yelling at bedtime. At all! Like at all!! *Shocked face*
People! This stuff works!
Today, I get to help incredible parents find the joy in parenting while creating amazing memories with their kids. I love my work as a coach and laughter facilitator. I am thankful everyday for the opportunities to make a real difference not only in the lives of the parents I coach, but their children as well.
And I’m not gonna lie, having my kid listen to me better, without all that fighting … that feels pretty awesome too …
I would love to hear from you!
To learn more about how I can help you enjoy parenting, send me an email at Erica@BecomingPlayful.com or schedule a time to chat with this scheduler.