Today’s topic is going to be a little be different. I get a lot of questions coming through my Thrivers Society groups and through email asking me how to create more of a work life balance. There are a lot of stylists out there who are dying to get away from working weekends, they don’t want to work nights anymore, and a lot of the reasons for that is because they feel like they aren’t able to show up as effective parents. They are missing things like kids’ soccer games, they aren’t home in the evenings to help with homework, and they’re missing some of the things that we think traditionally a mom or a dad should be there for. There is a lot of guilt around that. I can speak to it because I experience it. I am a full-time working Mom, and my husband is a full-time working Dad, we have two beautiful children; a toddler and a teenager, and we’re trying to make it work too. I decided to get a little help from one of my friends who I am going to introduce to you all today. Her name is Sarah Boyd, and she is nothing short of incredible. She’s an amazing business woman, a wonderful partner to her incredible husband Colin, and above all else she’s an amazing mother and she has really found a way to have a beautiful and vibrant career while still being an amazing mom. That being said she travels for work, she has a full plate, she wouldn’t call herself a full-time mom who works on the side, because her career is really important to her. Today she is going to share with us the foundation for creating incredible relationships with your children while being a working parent, so that we can let go of the mom guilt and let go of the need to be perfect parents. Perfection doesn’t mean you’re there for every little moment, it’s about making the little moments count. All that being said I am excited to introduce you all to Sarah, so let’s get this interview going!
Britt: Sarah, I am excited to have you here today, thank you for joining me and the hairstylists of the world. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Some of my audience may or may not have met you before. If you could give us a little rundown of who you are, both professionally and personally, along with a little bit about your story.
Sarah: I am really excited to be here with all of you today! I am from Australia, and my family and I recently moved to California. My background is in psychology and neuroscience and for about the last 10 years or so my husband and I have been running a business teaching positive psychology principles to the corporate and entrepreneurial market. In my personal life I have had some challenges and personal struggles. I’ve been through cancer and some other chronic health issues, which have also led to me wanting to work more now. I am a mother of two kids, a 5-year-old son named Jonah, and a 3-year-old daughter named Georgia. I am now taking that positive psychology background that I have and my motherhood passion with my kids and working to equip children with the similar principles that I have worked with in the past.
Britt: I love that, and I love your story. Like I mentioned when I was introducing you to my audience, I turned to you for a lot of parenting advice and business guidance. The reason I was so excited to have you on today is because I truly struggle with feeling like I am a fully present mom, due to the fact that I am so caught up in my business and trying to find the balance between the two. I know it’s something that my community really struggles with too, I hear stories of struggle all the time. So, as a fellow business owner juggling motherhood, you are going to share with us the three characteristics of what you refer to as intentional parenting. I know that I need this, so I am really excited to hear your breakdown. Where do you start when you start talking about this idea of intentional parenting?
Sarah: The first thing that I think about with intentional parenting is relationship. It’s really about your relationship with your child. I think as moms we are particularly hard on ourselves. I think a lot of people can relate to the feeling of hearing others talk about a new thing we need to do whether or not it’s a psychological strategy or something like healthy eating, etc., As a working mom we have a lot of complexity in our life, and it’s often something we would like to do, but it’s too much. I’m really passionate about helping to instill values in your children, and intentionally parent even when things are super busy. It’s not about doing more things, it’s actually about working with the things you’ve got and making small tweaks to help you be intentional in that. In a relationship research shows us that a child’s values and their character is actually developed primarily in the connection with the parents. Who our children are going to grow up to be in the world is actually about their connection with you as their parent. It’s really about being a good enough parent, not a perfect parent. Your relationship with your child isn’t about the moments, it’s not about the high moments where you take your children to Disneyland, and not about the low moments where you are exhausted and lose your temper. It’s about the overall connection that you have with your child over the course of their life. I think we need to take that pressure off ourselves as parents and be okay with that we’re imperfect, but we’re doing a good enough job to create the kind of connection with our children.
Britt: I love that you said that, and gave us permission to be good enough and to just come as our best, to know that we have a full plate, and as long as we are showing up with relationship as a priority and doing our absolute best, that’s good enough. Also, to allow us to not have that mom guilt, and to just know we’re doing out very best. It’s so interesting that the people our children will grow up to become is in many ways built around the relationship they have with their parents.
Sarah: I love Berne Brown the researcher on shame and vulnerability, she talks a lot about how in parenting we don’t need to focus on quote on quote strategies, or being a better parent but instead thinking about if we are being the type of person that we want our children to be. Whether or not we like it, and even though it can be both exciting and scary, our children are growing up with us as their primary form of example in the world. They either tend to become us, or be a complete rebellion of us. I think it is more important to think beyond did I get the discipline right, or have I got a routine right, or did I decide on all the right parenting strategies. The most important thing is who are being in the world, and would you be okay if your kid turned out like you.
Britt: Sarah I love that you said that. Somebody mentioned to me a few years back, that we need to focus less on just being a good mom or being a good dad and really think about raising an adult. That we need to realize that our children are going to one day become adults, and we need to give them the skills they will need to become adults and live a fully functioning lives themselves.
Sarah: Absolutely, because essentially that’s our main job, is that we’re essentially preparing them for adulthood. That’s essentially the job of raising children. It’s not about making them happy, or making things awesome, it’s about preparing them for success in adulthood.
Britt: I love that. Do you have any signs or indicators that could tell us that we do have a good relationship with our children, that is not based around how much time we are with them? Or things that we can do to help build those relationships and make them as strong as possible?
Sarah: Yes. Your child’s behavior with you is always a huge indicator. There’re two sides, and I think you as a parent know intuitively when the relationship is starting to breakdown. You often see it in your child’s behavior, if they are school aged, they may start not doing as well, or getting into trouble, or finding themselves in those types of places, sometimes this is a reflection of the connection or the lack of. In the same way I often find mothers saying their child acts so well-behaved outside and then they get home and they are just horrible, if your child is talking to you, and sharing their emotions, even if it’s dramatically, that’s a really a positive sign, because you are their safe space, you are their connection place. Two things I would really have a look at is how you child’s behaving, and you can test it. So, say you’re concerned that your child’s behavior is maybe going in a negative direction and you think to yourself, well is that because your lack of connection so maybe over the next few weeks you schedule a little bit extra quality time with them and you see if it changes. If it does change then maybe that was the situation, if it doesn’t then something else may be going on.
Britt: I love that. Can you tell us the next intention that we should set as parents?
Sarah: Yes, the second intention is about rituals. This should be about routine and patterns in our week. I know as a working mom there are certain things I can get to and certain things that I can’t get to. I know in your community there is often Saturday’s spent working, or certain events in your child’s life that you may miss or things you wanted to get to that you couldn’t. With including rituals, you give yourself another point in your routine that you could input quality time with your child. It doesn’t have to be long in fact, research has shown that sometimes even 10 minutes of really focused quality time is all that your children need. You know if you we put the phone and away or whatever it may be that’s distracting us and give them our undivided attention even for a short period of time, they’re really looking for that. Say for example you can’t see your child on Saturday do you have something else in your week, another period of time that you could spend an extra 20 minutes with them. Maybe it’s before you drop them at school, it’s something you can create a special routine or rhythm, or ritual around, maybe its ice cream after school on a Wednesday, or playground after school on Thursday. What this does is it gives your child the certainty that even if you are unable to make it to everything, that you really intentionally care and value them. At the same time this helps your own mindset around guilt, because, it gives you the buffer of knowing well I can’t be at this, but I know I am investing time here.
Britt: I love that. Let me ask a clarifying question on rituals. Let’s say that I create a ritual with my kids that every Saturday night it’s my last day of work for the week and we go and get ice cream after dinner, but this Saturday it couldn’t happen because I worked late. How do I get through the guilt of that? Do the rituals need to be locked in place, calendared in, and is that an important part of it?
Sarah: I would definitely have some kind of routine to it, but again it’s about when they don’t happen, it’s about being okay to pivot. Some children are more flexible with this than others. Some of us may have a child who likes things specific and predicable. If you miss part of your routine, it’s about understanding that if you are missing things, you’re missing input with your child, and that’s not a problem on the short term. In fact, it’s quite normal in a working parent’s life. If you let that go on for weeks, months, and years, then there’s constantly no input and what you’re going to find is a lack of connection. Part of it is having it become part of your mind. My husband and I travel sometimes away from our children, so part of my organization when I’m doing that is making sure the kids are prepared and ready, but I also know when I come home that I’ve been away from them and I need to reinvest time with them. So, it becomes about making sure there’s always money in the bank with them so to speak, not about the actual activity or the timing of it.
Britt: Can you tell us about the third aspect of intentional parenting?
Sarah: So, this would be reading and sharing stories with your child. It’s something that most of us do on a somewhat regular basis. When we read our child a book or tell them a bedtime story it’s a point of connection with out child, a point of quality time. It’s also teaching them empathy. They’re practicing the ability to put themselves in somebody else’s shoes. I actually use the point of reading to choose the right books, so you can use reading as a time to teach values to your child. I first saw the power of storytelling with my son when he was about 2 and I was going to give birth to my daughter. I was really worried about jealousy and him coping with the transition, so I bought a few books on being a big brother. After I gave birth and my son came to the hospital to meet his sister, I remember there being no jealousy, he was excited, and he actually started repeating specific sentences out the books that we’d been reading. When you find the right books to teach the values you want to your child and the conversations you want to open up to your child it can be a really powerful thing.
Britt: I have to tell you since meeting and learning the Sara Boyd way, I have been trying to be very intentional, particularly about reading. I have an older daughter who is 14 and she and I are going through the Harry Potter books together a little each night, and now I can see that I did it build the relationship and have that ritual. I can’t even tell you the impact that it’s had between the two of us to have that little moment each night, so it’s amazing to hear you say that because it comes full circle. With my little guy, he had a speech delay so him sitting down to read wasn’t something that he enjoyed. It wasn’t enjoyable for him until I started listening to what you said about finding the right books and the messaging that’s in there, and thinking about it on a bigger more impactful way. Its deeper than just reading a book, and that has been so impactful to me.
Do you have any guidance on how we can choose the right books and how we can start to foster that environment?
Sarah: So, in terms of choosing the right books, that can be as easy as a Google search. There are specific values and things that interests your child that either you or they want to read about, transitions in your life, or things you want to teach them. It’s really about finding the books you think will interest them and also teach them things you want to teach them. Sometimes you read a book and you don’t even get through the book or they’re asking questions and then pointing over the top of you, but it’s that kind of connection you want, and a lot of times things are staying with them more then you realize. Sometimes I found with my son in particular that weeks after we shared something in a book, he’ll repeat the same phrase back to me. So, from that point I’ve used books to teach him that about courage, comparing himself to other people, dealing with big emotions, and things that I’m really wanting to help him with to set him up for success in the world.
Britt: Sarah does have a resource list that we can tap into just as a place to start when we’re looking for books for our kids and or our family. She also has some free goodies just for my audience, so what resources do you have to share today?
Sarah: Yes. I have a free metaphor story that teaches courage, it’s kind of a mad libs style let them play bedtime story, that you can read to your child and insert their name. It basically takes you on this metaphor that is teaching them the value of courage by inserting their name and a scenario that they are scared of that you want to help them through. I am really excited to share this with your community.
Britt: I am so thankful and grateful that you’re sharing that with us. I know you have something very special in the works that I am personally beyond excited about. Tell us what your passion project is that you’re working on right now.
Sarah: Yes. As this whole endeavor has unfolded in my heart and my background in psychology, and seeing the power of books with my child, I have started a project of creating books that intentionally teach children values. We are actually live on Kickstarter now for our first book. It’s called The Boy Who Stood Up Tall and it’s a book about a little boy with a sensitive soul who learns to stand up to his fears, and it’s essentially teaching your child principles on how they can stand up to their fears. There’s a note in the back of the book for parents and it teaches the psychological background of the principles you are teaching your child and how to teach it in an age appropriate way. I know it’s really helped a lot of people already and just opening up conversation with the child. I liked the topic of courage because we know as a business person the value of courage, and if you hadn’t had the courage to put yourself out in the world you wouldn’t be doing what you’re doing. That was a value I really wanted to teach my child, and I was surprised at the lack of resources out there for books on this particular topic, so we’re really excited to share that with people.
Britt: I am so glad you’re bringing this into the world, because I agree with you 100%, courage is something we all need. It’s one of those values that there aren’t a lot of resources about and it’s not even something that’s talked about and we need it more and more especially living as kids in this age. I think what you are creating is so beautiful and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Where can my audience learn more?
Sarah: If you head to my website which we will link below, you can find all my information there.
Britt: Thank you Sarah so much for being with us today, I know my audience is going to love you just as much as I do. I am so excited to continue to instill these values in my babies and I hope that my audience feels the confidence to do the same.
Sarah: Thank you so much for having me Britt.
I hope that this interview with Sarah has been beneficial to all of you as my audience. If you want to learn more about Sarah, if you want to download her free tools, if you want to learn more about her incredible book, please take a look at all of her links below.
TO HEAR MORE ON THIS TOPIC TUNE INTO THE THRIVING STYLIST PODCAST EPISODE 29. CLICK HERE TO LISTEN NOW.
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