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What if parenting wasn’t so isolating and lonely?

How many times have you held back the truth of your parenting struggles because of fear of judgement or criticism? Do you have a selective few who know ‘the truth’ and the rest just get lip service so they don’t ask more questions?

I was afraid too.

I was the only one of my girlfriends who had two boys and the only one whose husband travelled out of the country for long times leaving me solo parenting and struggling to hold everything together.

My oldest was a sweet and naturally compliant child who was also stubborn and got stuck on negative thinking. I used to put him in his room for time outs while he pulled his door so hard I had to stand on the other side and hold it closed. I had my girlfriend on the phone in one hand keeping me calm and his doorknob in the other hand.

Eventually my son would lay down on the floor and put his tiny fingers under the door into the hallway while trying to talk to me because he knew I was there. Then he’d fall asleep with his face pressed in the crevasse so I couldn’t open the door until he woke up.

But that’s not all…

My youngest was naturally curious, bubbly and physical with very strong and heightened emotions. When he didn’t get his way for got frustrated, he’d scream and writhe in a storm I couldn’t seem to calm or connect with. Because he wouldn’t sit on the stair with me even in that state, I used to calmly put him in the bathroom (right next to the kitchen where I was) until he settled down.

Each time I’d try and get him to name his feeling and revisit what happened to validate his feeling and give him options for next time. The only problem was he never remembered why he was in the bathroom (2-3 minutes total) or what he’d been feeling so it solved nothing except making sure he was safe.

So in a nutshell….

I had no idea how to help my first born regulate and didn’t understand he needed me to process with him and I basically taught my younger son his messy emotions were bad through emotional abandonment. Awesome.

Parenting doesn’t have to be your dirty little secret.

Parenting is hard enough, and parenting teens is even harder! When you feel isolated because you’re comparing yourself to social media or mom’s who only share their highlight reel, it gets WAY harder.

 

Then you join a few parenting communities on Facebook and post words that had never left your lips before only to be ripped a new one because you should know better, and told you suck now that you’ve permanently traumatized your child.

Or you confide in your best friend, sister, or mom because you trust their input and they all have a wiser, well-intended, and step-by-step plan laced with the condescending tone of “How could you not know this??” But none of their suggestions fit you or YOUR teen and you’re left feeling even more alone.

I stopped sharing my truth and felt ashamed that I didn’t have the answers.

What if you didn’t have to pretend everything was okay, even if every other parenting community left you feeling alone, shamed, and judged? What if there were a place you felt safe, supported, and understood by other parents going through similar challenges?

 

My private parenting group, The Empowered Parent Community, stands for:

  • Curiosity over criticism
  • Compassion over condemnation
  • Empathy over advice

 

Thank you to this community, a place to be "real,” to share, and to learn from. I would not be where I am without it.

- S.H

Sometimes I feel like Aly and the members here is the only thing helping me keep it together. You all help normalize the struggle, the teenage behavior, the desire to parent differently. When I’m in the trenches, and I feel like no one understands me, it’s you guys I think of.

– Katrina S.

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