-- In the world of moms, there's differing opinions on pretty much everything. Breast feeding. Sleep training. Organic food. Stay at home or in the workforce. Time outs.
But the real reason moms gets so worked up over what other moms are doing? The deep-seeded fear that they themselves are doing motherhood all wrong.
Enter Melanie Rudnick, a New York City-based "conscious parenting" coach who charges $150 per hour for her advice, though she does offer package discounts. She wants moms to know that just because they think something doesn't make it true.
In other words, just because you think you're a crappy parent doesn't mean you are. Rudnick tells her clients that the narrative that exists in their heads may be a complete delusion.
That was the the case for Sherri, a mom of two from New Jersey who uses Rudnick as a life coach. Rudnick and her techniques, she said, have made her a better mom.
"I would yell and scream at the kids and then feel guilty and depressed after. I would tell myself I sucked. I felt like the worst parent," Sherri said.
Rudnick, she said, offered her all kinds of evidence to the contrary. "The things I was saying to myself, they were so mean I would never even say them to a stranger," said Sherri.
The conscious parenting portion of her life coaching business is a new niche for Rudnick. It's also part of a larger parenting trend that she says is taking off, particularly among the self-help crowd. There was a Conscious Parenting Festival in Santa Rosa, California, earlier this year. There's also a book, The Conscious Parent, that speaks to a parent-child relationship built on mutual respect, something Rudnick champions to her clients and in her own parenting.
Rudnick's the mom of a 3-year-old and stepmother to an 11-year-old and is "really confident" in her parenting style. Still, she said, she's not perfect. "I have ideas about what she [her daughter] should wear and who I want her to be. But it's not my job to make her into me. It's my job to guide her and ultimately let her be herself."
It's an issue Sherri knows well. Her 12-year-old daughter, she said, has a silly streak that Sherri could do without. "I was trying to change her," she said, "even when she would say 'but this is who I am!'
"It's my nature to want to fix and improve but after talking to Melanie I realized I can't change who they [her children] are. So I've changed my approach. Instead of telling her 'stop acting that way,' I tell her I love her for who she is, silliness and all and then approach her about the behavior that's at times inappropriate."
Ultimately, said Rudnick, being a better, more conscious parent really has to do with the parent working on themselves. "Kids feed off a parent's energy," she said. "Kids of parents who are likely to snap, they're the ones who are more prone to total meltdowns. It's often because the parents themselves were yelled at, made to feel like they're feelings didn't matter."
And while parents can learn a lot from Rudnick, she said they can learn so much from their kids. "Kids don't beat themselves up when they can't do something," she said. "They just keep trying." She remembers when her daughter was learning to walk. "She would fall down. She wouldn't tell herself she was a failure or not good enough to walk, she would just get back up and try again."
1. Respect your children as people.
2. Validate your kids’ feelings.
3. Align your actions with your words.
4. Be conscious of the things you say, the words you use, and the way you act around your children.
5. Open yourself to learning from your kids.
6. Your kids feed off of your energy.
7. Be present and love as much as humanly possible.