I am a single mother, trauma survivor and a trauma-informed care master trainer. People look to me for feedback and creative-thought leadership on building resilient classrooms, organizations and professional cohorts. This is great… I love my work… it is my purpose!
So, what happens when I realize that my own life and purposeful mindful mothering could use some support? Well, just like many of you, I struggle with knowing what I need to do and asking myself, “What’s wrong with you!?!?” This is the question
that TIC aims to eradicate from our personal and professional communications.
No matter how many books we have read or how great our skills are, we can all use support and, yes, professional help navigating our lives and family struggles, especially with our children. Asking for help is one of the most powerful ways for us to access shifting perspectives and solutions that seem to be out of reach. Family transitions and stressful work can overwhelm adults and children alike. When we don’t stop to ask for help, we tend to charge ahead recklessly. Often we fall back into old patterns of problem-solving that we know don’t work, such as using intimidation to control the situation or becoming overly and illogically punitive.
In my own work-life balance, I am seeking to honor myself and my family with honesty, both the giving and receiving of it. This can be hard, especially when my 6-year-old has been known to say the following:
- “Your spirit is becoming my spirit, and my spirit is becoming your spirit.” (Age 3)
- “Do you see what you are teaching me, mama? “( Age 4)
- “Is it trauma-informed care?”(Age 5)
- “Patience, mama.” (Age 6)
He is wise beyond his years, listening to me constantly (even if it doesn’t seem like it), but he still tries to blame his lizard brain for everything! We are on the path together, each doing our best, learning something new every day. I have learned that my most important job is to embody the truth that I seek to teach, to the best of my ability, each day.
Trauma-informed parenting is:
- Knowing your own ACE (adverse childhood experiences) score and recognizing how your experiences have built your brain architecture and your parenting style.
- Educating yourself and your children about brain-based strategies for proactively building resilience, managing stress and healing trauma.
- Practicing self-care and work-life balance, so that you don’t bring toxic stress home with you.
- Having a plan for self-regulating that ensures you will have lots of ways for modeling this behavior for your children. Practice mindfulness, emotional intelligence and creative problem-solving.
- Noticing your experience and asking for help when you need it.
- Being compassionate with yourself to ensure that you will have that same loving kindness to extend to others.
- Protecting your optimism by practicing forgiveness, gratitude and reflection — daily.
Some of my favorite tools and favorite books for growing my capacity to be a trauma informed parent.