I write this in the quiet hours of 1 o’clock in the morning.
It is the eve (or should I say morning) of the Parental Stress Centre’s launch day and I’ve found myself faced with a mixed range of emotions.
The first of the emotions that I became acutely aware of is ANXIETY and FEAR. Will people like the site? Will they judge it harshly? What if it’s not enough? There’s still things I need to fix but my website designer is away on holidays. What if it’s not good enough? What if I don’t receive positive feedback? What if it’s boring to people? What if…?
These emotions have come from an attachment to outcome, an ego attachment to approval. They come from a mindset caught up in a fear of the unknown and the fundamental fear that plagues most of mankind – the fear that maybe I’m not good enough. This kind of thinking is what used to plague my existence just eight years ago when I started this journey from the pits of postnatal depression and anxiety.
But tonight, I reflect back on that journey from that very day I sat in my room bawling at almost hitting my (then) two year old in the head with a knife and running to my room screaming how much I hated my life, all whilst holding my (then) six month old. Even the thought of that day still brings tears to my eyes as my brain recalls the emotions associated with that memory.
But that event and the lead up to it was my gift. It was my kick in the pants that I needed to wake up and start making a deliberate effort to change. It led me to the realisation that I wasn’t the only parent feeling this way and led me to a drive and determination to find the answers to eliminating parental stress.
It was that event (and the many similar events before that) which led me to work for hours on end, day in, day out, getting up and 1 or 2am in the morning to get an early start or going to bed at 2 or 3 in the morning. It was like, all of a sudden, after that day, I had become obsessed with the notion that I needed to teach parents how to NOT feel like I did.
I knew too, that I needed to apply this to myself first and teach as I learnt, never putting myself above anyone else. Always remembering that I will forever be learning and growing myself.
In the last eight years I have been training hard, just like a body builder does or an olympic sportsperson does. I have saturated myself with information on how to change how I feel, how I think and how I react to life’s challenges. Just like these professionals, I have practiced what I’ve learnt over and over until it has become more habitual and I have dedicated my life to the skill of thinking differently, driven by passion, commitment and what felt like an invisible force at times that seemed to have its hand gently on my back, pushing me, even though sometimes I wanted to give up.
If you were to rewind to this time last year you would find that I was nearly at that point of giving up. I had run a challenge that was then called The 28 Day Scream Free Parenting Challenge. The idea of the challenge took off unexpectedly. I teamed up with the Essential Kids website, we were on Sunrise twice, had several newspaper articles written and did many radio interviews. It finally felt like my old site ‘Self Help for Mums’ was going to be what I’d always dreamed it would be – well known to thousands of parents.
However, after that Challenge, when I had turned it into a book, I had a telephone conversation with a company in the US, who were named, The Scream-free Institute. It seemed that I wasn’t allowed to use the term ‘scream-free’ and I had to take everything down off the web that made any reference to the term.
The whole excitement for me getting on TV and having so much publicity was that I had intended to use that exposure as a platform to push Self Help for Mums even further into the public eye. But just when it seemed like my time had come, it was pulled right out from under me.
Over Christmas last year, I was done. I had dedicated so much time and energy into Self Help for Mums that I felt I had no more to give. I stopped doing anything and got stuck into fitness instead.
However, self-help had become part of my life now. It wasn’t just what I did. It was who I was. I had facilitated workshops, webinars, worked at a retreat helping people with stress, depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol addictions. I could see that this was ‘my calling’ in life and that gentle hand on my back pulled me back up and spurred me back on again.
Somehow, after the new year where we all tend to get re-inspired to follow our dreams, I began to think of how I could get back on the horse and keep pursuing what I’d been working for.
When I ran the 28 day challenge I received many emails from dads who were also looking for help with their parental stress and were upset with me that the challenge seemed to be geared only towards mums.
I knew that it was time to expand upon Self Help for Mums and start to help dads too. It was then that the idea of The Parental Stress Centre was born.
After speaking with my husband, Steve, who had always been supportive of my passion, we agreed that we would give this one last shot this year and do everything we could to make it work. We decided that we would throw what little money we had at it and make it all we could make it be.
Once we had committed to this and put a deadline on it, the gates seemed to rush open and I began to encounter so many key people and vital information I needed to create the information you find on this site.
This began by finding myself a hugely talented marketing strategist. He cost me my entire marketing budget, but he was definitely worth it. He gave me homework which I diligently did and he gave all of my intentions and desires for what I wanted to teach people, a very clear and marketable direction.
He helped me to establish what parents were looking for and how I might be able to help them to achieve this with the way I delivered my message.
After working with him, the hours spent on this site have been relentless because I had such a clear direction now. The hand on my back seemed to press a little harder and the information, the experiences I had, the people I met and the support I began receiving seemed to synchronise perfectly with new ideas and products that took the information from Self Help for Mums to a new level.
I was a woman possessed. Thank goodness I have such a supportive partner because he has seen the back of my head quite a bit as I’ve plugged away at this computer.
As the months progressed over this year, so too has my confidence and my ability to deal with those self-doubting, fearful thoughts. They are still there, but they no longer consume me. I can quickly upgrade them.
The stronger belief in myself was new to me, as I’ve always felt this was what had held me back from really getting my message out there to parents. Those ‘what ifs’ I mentioned in the beginning of this post always seemed to plague me.
However in August this year, I went to the Hay House ‘I Can Do It’ weekend seminar because I had always wanted to meet my mentor – Wayne Dyer – who was speaking there.
However, surprisingly it was not Wayne who inspired me to believe in myself – it was a man by the name of Joe Dispenza and Doreen Virtue – the angel lady.
Joe stood up there and told us about how the brain worked and gave an understanding of the reality of the thinking process and what was involved in changing your thinking patterns. I was enthralled throughout the whole presentation because he was saying everything that I was teaching on this website. I literally felt like I could have stood up on that stage and given that presentation. I couldn’t believe that someone of that standing was teaching the same things that I was. It gave me a huge confidence boost that I was justified in creating The Parental Stress Centre.
Then, Doreen came on. It was funny because, after seeing Joe, I was just inspired to write and write and write and I almost left the seminar to find a quiet place to do that because I didn’t feel like I needed to see Doreen, even though I was intrigued by what she did.
However her message to me was probably the most pivotal of all in helping me to eliminate those self-doubts and fears about being good enough.
You see striving to teach myself and clients to increase their understanding of why we are all 100% worthy has always been at the helm of what I do. Believing you are worth-less is at the core of ALL stress and over the past eight years I have been studying how to feel more worthy and having huge amounts of success personally and with clients.
I have found that more and more I am starting to see evidence of mine and everyone’s innate worth, just through our existence and the inevitable contributions we make to the world just by being ourselves.
What Doreen said really struck a deep cord within me and seemed to really cement that concept within me. Her words inspired me to write a further three books in just three months as well as completing this website, ready for you to access. She said:
Don’t ever worry that someone else is doing what you’re doing. Don’t ever worry that other people will get in first. We need lots of people teaching this sort of material because the more they hear it, the more they will believe it and take it on.
You don’t need to compete with anyone. Just be you and deliver your message your way. The people that need to hear it will resonate with it and be ready for it.
All of a sudden, I didn’t need to be like any other psychologist or counsellor or industry professional. I just needed to be me! I just needed to maintain my integrity, my realness, my honesty about my flaws and deliver my passion that had become a natural part of who I am.
And tonight, as I sit down to write this blog and introduce The Parental Stress Centre to the world, it is those words that settle my nerves, calm my fears and remind me of the bigger picture.
There will be nay-sayers. There will be people who don’t like what I’ve written, think it’s boring, it won’t be what they’re looking for and who will judge it negatively for one reason or the other.
But I know that, although I will at times, feel momentarily effected by those people, my training and my new beliefs about self-worth will kick in and I will remind myself once again of the bigger picture.
I will not dwell on the people I cannot or do not help. I will only focus on those who are being helped and to keep delivering my message, my way, with my personal flavour. That will be my contribution to the world.
But this website is by no means finished. It never will be. There are so many topics that I want to address, so many areas that I wish to continue educating myself and others about. If I waited until I addressed them all, this website would never be ‘ready’ to launch because it will never be finished.
So it is with great pleasure that I present to you, flaws and all, The Parental Stress Centre.
Enjoy. I hope you get out of it everything that is intended..,