Parenting Pep Talk is a weekly series of guest posts all about encouraging other parents by sharing some of our happy moments, the advice that has worked for us and some positive words of encouragement.
Today’s post is from Lisa Edwards, a mother of two and professor of counseling psychology in the U.S. She is a volunteer on the Spanish Warmline for Postpartum Support International and created hopefulmama.com to offer strategies to help mothers cultivate their strengths.
To read more from Lisa you can follow her blog or find her on Facebook and Twitter. On her Pinterest boards you’ll find many resources about perinatal mental health, positive psychology, and parenting.
1) Tell us a little bit about you and your family
My family consists of my husband and our two girls (6 and 4). I got married at age 35 and got pregnant one month after my wedding, so sometimes I still feel like I’m adjusting to life as a wife and mother. I started my blog to use my work interests (positive psychology and perinatal mental health) to support mothers.
2) How would you describe your parenting style?
Trying to find the middle road. I like certain routines (e.g., bedtime), but also get stressed by too much structure. I am strict about some things like treating others with respect, but then I can be a little permissive with eating/snacking. Over time I’ve found that either end of any parenting continuum is hard to follow, so I try to find the middle spot.
3) What’s your favourite thing about being a parent?
How parenthood requires you to be flexible. Obstacles are at every corner, and nothing seems to go according to the plan you had envisioned. Even though it is incredibly hard it’s actually exactly as it should be: life.
4) What piece of advice have you been given that you found especially helpful?
Do what works for your family. You may feel pressure to sign up your child for a special class that is offered across town, but if it’s going to be inconvenient to get to the class and you’ll end up stressed, it’s not worth it.
Also a wise person told me not to neglect my relationships, especially the one with my partner. When you have children it is so easy to make every second about parenting, but it’s important to remember to nourish the relationship with the adult person you are also sharing your life with!
5) What one piece of encouraging advice would you give to a new parent?
Have compassion for yourself regarding your adjustment to being a parent. There is no manual for how to do this and the pressure to be a good parent can be overwhelming. Sometimes moms and dads need extra support as they transition to being a parent. Don’t be afraid to reach out and tell a friend or your doctor if you could use help. There is nothing shameful about needing support and your baby (and family) will all benefit if you are feeling emotionally healthy.
6) Can you share one of your favourite parenting moments?
When my oldest daughter first really addressed her baby sister: “Look, Emily, I got a new red hat!” I’ll never forget how my heart just swelled with joy at that moment, knowing they were about to embark on the journey of growing up together as sisters.
7) Anything else that you would like to share to encourage other parents?
For moms who are looking for information about mental health support when they are pregnant or after the baby arrives, Postpartum Support International has a great website: http://www.postpartum.net/
Finally, if you could use a quick boost of hope check out a feature on my blog: Hope Notes for Moms. Here you’ll find brief, anonymous notes of hope written by moms like you. You can also submit your own hope note to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you Lisa for sharing your positive parenting moments and the advice you have found helpful.
You can connect with Lisa on the following social networks:
If you’d like to share some of your positive parenting moments on the Parenting Pep Talk, then let me know in the comments below and I’ll email you with more details.