My Personal Philosophy - About Not Being a Mom, and being the Founder of The ParenT(w)een Connection
Thursday January 5, 2023
You're not a mom - What do you know about any of this?"
That was the response I was TERRIFIED of receiving as I began forming the concepts of The ParenT(w)een Connection. I was utterly paralyzed by the thought of getting that feedback.
And (shocking to some, and not shocking at all to others), that is literally the ONLY response I got to the VERY FIRST YouTube interview I ever did.
It was as if the universe was telling me to shut up and sit down. I’m NOT a Mom…maybe I never will be. What DO I know? It took me a long time to own what I do know:
- I know teenagers. And I know them pretty darned well.
- I know people who know teenagers – people who know them pretty darned well.
- I know people who know parents – better than the parents know themselves, often.
- I am a rockstar at holding space for people be themselves and explore what really lies within.
- I am an even better connector. Almost every time I meet someone knew, I can think of someone they need to know.
And honestly? I’ve NEVER gotten that feedback since. I’m open about the fact that I don’t have kids, and I will NEVER tell a parent how to do their job. How can I speak to what I haven’t experienced?
What I HAVE experienced, though, is developing connection with others.
My family moved a TON when I was a kid – I went to five or size different elementary schools, I think, and two different middle schools. Being the new kid sucked. But I learned a lot about how to read people and how to get along with a wide variety of personalities.
A few years ago, I sat down with pen and paper and asked myself, ‘Why do my test prep students feel comfortable talking with me about stuff that they don’t want to address with their parents?’ I came up with the Foundations of CONNECTION:
- Create a Safe Place
- Nod (& Smile)
- Challenge Your Truths/Curiosity
- Take Your Time
- Own Your Own Story
These are the basis of the monthly CONNECTION Calls that members of ParenT(w)een Village can join. We talk about how to bring more of that month’s Foundation into their world and into their experience with their t(w)eens. (You can download a free PDF of the Foundations here. If you’d like a hard copy, email me and I’ll send you one: [email protected].)
No, I’m not a Mom. I can’t relate to the pure and utter joy a mom experiences when she holds her child for the first time. I can’t sympathize with the terror you feel at watching your teen drive off by themselves for the first time.
That also means that, in many instances, I can be far more objective than a parent can be – I don’t have the emotional baggage, so to speak, that parents have. I don’t have the load that inevitably builds up in ANY relationship, especially one with humans whose brains aren’t fully formed yet.
But most importantly, I don’t have to be a mom to create community. I don’t have to be a mom to maintain a judgment-free zone for moms, dads, grandparents, older siblings, cousins, and other members of the proverbial village to connect. I don’t have to be a mom to network with awesome professionals who can help teens, tweens, and families. I don’t have to be a mom to raise funds to help families afford to work with the professionals whose support they so badly need.
So, no, I’m not a mom. I’m the founder of what WILL become a worldwide community of families and professionals, working together to support teens and tweens.
I firmly believe that the more supported and knowledgeable parents (and other members of that village) feel, the better they can connect with and advocate for their teens and tweens. And ultimately, that means we’ll lose fewer kids to suicide.
And since we're talking about moms....here's a picture of me with mine when I was about three years old. She passed on to her next adventure in November 2019. She was both my very hardest and my very best teacher. I continue to learn from her, even though she's no longer with us on this planet.