When and why did you join the Board of Parenting Now!?
I joined the Board approximately 1 year ago. I joined because I am an alumni. I know firsthand how important the tools and skills PN! provide are. My children continue to reap the benefits of the classes I took in their earliest years. I know that the pressures of parenthood often feel like more than a “healthy” family can handle. I can only imagine what families facing unemployment, poverty, long-term illness, addiction, single-parenting, or other risk factors face. Parenting is one of the most challenging aspects of life. It requires a commitment physically and mentally, but also on a resource level. Parenting is also one of the most important and demanding roles a human being can take on during their lifetime. It is wonderful that there is a resource such as PN! to help teach people parenting skills and that it is ok to not know what to do or want to know how better to handle a challenging situation. We have to be taught many things in life, why not parenting?
What’s your favorite thing about being on the Board?
My favorite thing about being on the Board is having an opportunity to participate in this valuable community resource that I know directly benefits parents and children alike. PN! is a unique and complex organization that provides many direct services in our community, but has also created curricula that is used nationally and internationally.
Can you talk about your experience being in a Parenting Now! group?
Honestly, my first impression of Parenting Now! was that only at-risk families utilized their services. However, when I read the materials, it was clear that my husband and I could benefit from the course content, as well as make some wonderful and—it turns out—long-lasting relationships with other first-time parents. We attended a group and it was fine. The facilitator was wonderful. She facilitated the group well, although there was never enough time to get all of our questions answered. It was a safe and comfortable environment with just the right amount of support and feeling of community that one could speak frankly. We were a team and all in this together.
However, I did not feel a connection with the parents in that particular group. I think this was because we are older parents and needed to have some parents that also shared our circumstances. One day, I met some ladies at the library who were part of another PN! group and I asked if they thought that I could join them. It was one of the best decisions I have ever pursued. Many of those ladies are still in my circle of friends today, a decade later.
What would you like prospective parents to know about Parenting Now! that you think they may not realize or know?
To all of the prospective parents, first time or not who may be reading this, you have nothing to lose and much to gain by giving PN! a try. They provide expert advice from breastfeeding to selective eaters, to how to handle sleep deprivation and challenging behaviors. You may make some life-long friends and will definitely, at the very least, feel less alone in your struggles when you share with your fellow group members your trials and tribulations of parenting. The staff is friendly, professional, and flexible. They can help you find the right group fit and better understand your child from birth and beyond. It is a wise and supportive investment in you and your family.
Fun Facts: Favorite food, movie, vacation spot, animal
I have not met a food I did not like, but enjoy spicy ethnic foods the best, such as Cambodian and Vietnamese. Amelie is one of my favorite movies, but Beetlejuice is a close second. My all-time favorite vacation spot is the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. I enjoy any and all animals I have the pleasure of being in contact with from furry to scaly.