So you think you’re a guru….

I remember for the first year or two after I had my first baby thinking – “Wow, I’m actually pretty good at this parenting thing! I can’t believe how natural it feels….” When my oldest was still a fairly young toddler we were hanging out with some friends who had a son about 6 months older than our daughter. The husband asked me “do you ever yell at her?” I remember thinking on it for a moment and saying innocently “No, no I don’t think I ever do”. This friend and I have since laughed about that exchange because little did I realize where my journey would take me.  I came to experience that motherhood was a bit more challenging that it initially seemed to be.  I’m still overcoming weakness and learning every day.

Part of the purpose of this blog is a way for me to share a little of the lessons that I have learned as a way to connect, inspire, and find shared wisdom with my readers. In order to do that I think it’s helpful for readers to know the basics of my story and where I am today.

I graduated from Southern Utah University (SUU) in 2001 with a degree in Psychology. I met a cute guy who drove a mustang that summer and we were married a few short months later. He was just going back to school so I set out to find my first grown up job and work him through school. I was hired on with the Division of Child and Family Services as a Social Service Worker, so my husband transferred schools and off we went on a new adventure.

Our daughter Kelley was born in 2003 and, outside of the sleep deprivation, I adored being a mom. In 2005 our son Tyler was born and that’s when things started to get interesting! Kelley was nearly three years old and I was now a mother of two. My job was extremely stressful and my husband was still working on his degree. There is much to say about this part of the story and I will get to that as we move forward. For now let’s say I can now reflect back on many lessons from this part of my adventure that have fundamentally shaped who I am today.

My husband finally finished his degree and in 2007 was offered a job with my Alma Matter – SUU! I transferred to a position in the regional office in Cedar City and we moved home! After almost 6 years working as a social worker however I was burnt out and ready for a change. My husband now had a steady income and benefits which was much of the reason I had stayed with DCFS. In addition I had two young children that I left with someone else every day and I desperately wanted to spend more time with them.

Over the years as a working mom we had many experiences with various child care settings. Some were wonderful and others more complicated for various reasons. Because of my background and because I still needed an income I decided to take the leap and start my own child care. I thought I was SO prepared. I had a degree in Psychology, I had been working with children for nearly 10 years in one capacity or another and I was a mother of two. How hard could it be?

Well you can guess how that turned out initially. I spent the first year or two wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into. Working with children in the capacities that I had, as valuable as my experience was, did little to prepare me for this challenge. I went from working in an office, going to court and spending time with lots of adults, most of whom thought I was amazing at my job to, well, trying to run what felt like a rather unsuccessful three ring circus. I felt like someone who had been to the circus every day for years, who thought they’d try their hand in the ring with the lions, but who knew nothing about training lions.

Fast forward to 2017 where I will celebrate 10 years of providing care to local families. I’ve come in a
long way personally and professionally in the last 10 years. In 2014 I won the National Child Care Teacher of the Year Award from Children Tylenol and the Terri Lynne Lokoff Child Care Foundation. I’m a trainer for Care About Childcare and speak at various professional conferences on topics relating to child development and care. I serve on the board of the Professional Family Child Care Association of Utah as the Newsletter Editor and the planning committee for the Southern Utah Early Childhood Collaboration Conference.

I am now a mother to FOUR! My first baby goes to hight school and my little baby goes to kindergarten next year (Insert tears emoticon) I’m also a yogi, pianist, master’s degree student and self improvement junkie. I’m passionate about developmentally appropriate care and education and I love my journey as an early childhood educator and advocate.

In the book “Outliers” Malcolm Gladwell claims it takes about 10,000 hours of work in a field to become an expert. But it’s also take deliberate practice and working at areas that need improvement. When I found myself as an overwhelmed and under skilled mother and childcare provider that is what I set out to do. While I still have much to learn and I’m not sure I feel comfortable calling myself an expert or a guru, I feel called to share the things I have learned with whoever might need them. One of the avenues I can do that is through this blog.

I’d love to hear your story and where you are in your journey! Please comment below and welcome to The Learning Tree!

(Easy Peasy Image from: Screen-Shot-2013-09-02-at-10.04.43.png)

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