Hi! I’m a Canadian homeschooling mom of 4 and Parent Coach. Parenting is a tough gig, from diapers, sleepless nights to teen hormones and backtalking, I have been through it too and know first hand there isn’t a instruction manual you get when you become a mom. I wasn’t prepared for motherhood and I’m guessing you weren’t either.
Come listen to my story as we dig into my struggles as a mom of a neurodivergent kiddo and the growth we’ve gone through together. I love positive parenting and the more I learnt about connection-based parenting, the more I felt like I was failing my kids every day. But not anymore! In this season I am going to share my story, what I did that completely changed my life and my family forever.
I would be honored to be your coach and help you get the changes you want to see in your life. I have come so far, completely turned around my life and my relationships with my children, I know what it takes and how to make it happen. You can use the links below to get more of my content and learn about my monthly program By Design, where I provide monthly training and live coaching to help you build radical connection in your life.
Hey, I'm crystal, a certified life coach and mama of four. In this podcast, we combined radical connection and positive parenting theories with the how to life coaching tools and mindset at work to completely transform our relationship with our children. Join me on my journey, unleash your inner parenting expert and become the mother. You always want it to be, make sure you subscribe wherever you listen to your podcast and rate this podcast on Apple and check out my transformative monthly membership for moms in the show notes. Hi, I'm crystal. I'm a certified life coach and a homeschooling mom of four. I'm super excited to share my podcast with you. I'm going to share you
My journey. I'm going to talk about what I went through in my transformation with my children. And I'm going to be talking about actionable tools that can help you as well. So for the first few episodes, I'm going to share my story where I came from and a little bit about me. So before we dig into my journey, I want to tell you five quirky things about me, or maybe cool, maybe quirky. I don't know. Number one, I started homeschooling accidentally. I kind of just wanted to try it out for a year to spend more time with my kids and then put them back in school. And I accidentally fell in love with homeschooling and have been doing it now for over eight years, I had no family or friends that did homeschooling I wasn't homeschooled. And at that time I literally knew nobody that was doing it.
So we kind of just happened into it. And now we've been doing it for years. Also. I love traveling so much. My goal is to go traveling full-time again. And we have gone traveling, um, for several months at a time and I would like to do it for a solid year. Another thing is I'm a wannabe legit hiker. I really love the mountains and I really love hiking. And I love the idea of hiking until I'm actually hiking. In which case I have a very hard time hiking, but one day my goal is to get really good at hiking. Another thing is 80% of the time I eat really healthy. My kids have a lot of food sensitivities and things that bother them. So we eat regularly in a way that's more of a whole foods program, I guess, but 20% of the time when they're asleep, I just chow down on Oreos and a club soda with cream and syrup because I think it's delicious.
Um, lastly, I love the feel, look, and smell of real books. So even though I love podcasts and I love audio books, I just, can't not read a legit book. And so if I have an opportunity, I always choose the actual book, especially if they're like old and, from like a cute little vintage shop, then it's like even cooler. All right. I would love to get to know you. So reach out to me on Instagram. Um, and this is my story. All right. I'm going to tell you a little bit about my background. When I first had my, my child, my oldest child now is about 14. So at the time when I first had him, I kind of thought parenting would be easy. I didn't really know much about parenting. I'd babysat a lot. None of my friends that had kids before me.
And so it was kind of a slap in the face. It was really difficult and it was really hard and he was colicky and he was just a hard baby. And he was a hard, hard toddler. And I'm sure that I had a lot to do with that because I didn't really know what I was doing. Um, so around the time he was two or three, my parents actually introduced me to Gordon Neufeld and his book hold on to your kids, which I highly suggest. And I started reading about this attachment, developmental philosophy and theory. And I was like, wow, this is awesome. I love this. So I got more into it. I started reading more books on connection and positive parenting, and it was kind of gaining a little bit more popularity. So more and more books were coming out. I even went to some , Gordon Neufeld conferences, which I loved and I thought were so great.
And I thought that this would be what transforms my parenting. I thought that I would be able to just shift from this kind of impatient and frustrated and angry person that I kind of was naturally as a mom. I was kind of just cranky and grumpy. I mean, not all the time, but a lot of the time. And I thought that I would be able to just transform into this beautiful, lovely, peaceful, you know, mom that I envisioned. Um, but what happened was over the years, my expectations of myself got higher. Um, the way that I behaved got lower because I was feeling so bad that I knew how to do it, and now I wasn't doing it. And I felt like what every positive parenting book was missing was the how to like, how do we actually do this thing? I'd read all these books and be like, okay, expert now come into my home.
And can you parent my children because I can't figure out how to actually do this with them. Um, I felt like it was just so hard. I was so naturally impatient. I know not all of you were yellers, but I was a yeller naturally. I never thought that I would be, but I definitely was. And so I felt like, the more that I learned, the more that I fell short, you know, that little idiom, the little phrase that people say, like, when you know, better, you do better. I don't actually believe that because the more and more and more than I knew, the more that I felt like I was falling short from this like ever far reaching goal that I had. So, um, anyways, that's, that's kind of where I started out as, so I knew about it. I wanted to do it.
I even had a degree in psychology. I felt like I was primed to become this amazing mom that I wanted to become. And it just was not working. Um, we'll talk a lot about shame in this podcast, but a lot of it had to do with shame. So the more that I felt bad about my parenting and the more that I realized I was falling short, then the worst I actually became at my parenting, the worst skills and tools that I used when I was parenting. And so it was just this constant cycle that I was in. So I'm going to fast forward about not quite a decade. Well, maybe it was around a decade. Um, so at this time I'm living in a town that is close to my family. I have a lot of support. I have a lot of family. I have a lot of friends around.
Um, I had a child, my first child, um, was fairly difficult as a toddler, but as he aged, he wasn't quite as difficult. But then I had my second, it was a totally different ball game. He was like the easiest toddler ever. And I thought, man, this child is going to be so easy. Um, but as he started to age, I realized that it was easy because he wasn't necessarily, meeting all of the developmental milestones. And, um, anyways, so we knew something was just a little bit off. And as he aged, he started having these like huge meltdowns. I'm not going to call them tantrums. Cause I think it's like beyond what a tantrum is. Um, and the more and more he aged, the more I was like, okay, that's fine. Like, it's just going to take him a little while, you know, to develop these emotions and develop these skills.
But as time went on, I felt like his behavior was just getting worse. So I actually went to see a parenting expert, somebody that knew a lot about, um, Neufeld and his theories. And I remember her telling me one time, like, maybe you should just accept the fact that you are a yeller and just like talk to your kids about it and kind of prep them and be like, you know what, sometimes when mom gets mad, she yells and just kind of prep them so that they're not so upset about it when it does happen. And they're kind of expecting it and it's not such a shock. And I was like, no, I am going to stop yelling. Like I'm going to do this. Um, I didn't, that didn't happen at that time. And, um, I probably should have listened to her advice more, but I never really felt like anything helped that much.
I felt like his behavior just kept getting worse and my ability to handle it just kept getting worse. And I was like, I have no idea what to do now. Like things are, things are rock bottom. And I don't know where to go from here at the time we were planning a move on across the country. Um, I'm from Canada and we were moving from Alberta, Southern Alberta all the way over to Quebec. We were going to move to Montreal, which we did. So, um, I looking back on it, I can see why there was probably little triggers that were making life a little bit more difficult for him. And he didn't know how to process it or explain it to us. And so things were just getting harder and harder and harder. I also think a lot of it had to do with his age and his and his development.
So we moved over to the other side of Quebec or the other side of Canada to Quebec. We loved it there and it was great. And there was so many wonderful things about it, but I had no family. I had no friends, I had no support system. I just moved there. I didn't know anybody. And his behavior got way, way worse. Now, when I say a crazy meltdown, I mean, like, you know, knocking bunk beds over ripping things off the wall, throwing things, screaming, yelling, and that would go on for hours. And once this, you know, kind of subsided, then he would go into this deep, like, you know, I'm a terrible person. I don't know what to do. Nobody loves me, blah, blah, blah, all of these things. And it was really alarming to me. And it was the first time that I really felt like I actually need help.
Like this is literally above what I can handle and I don't know what to do anymore. My husband was also really busy at that time going to school full-time so anyways, this is kind of the culmination of everything coming together. And it was at this point where I really, really needed help and I didn't know what do, um, I remember just sitting out his side of his room one time and just like sobbing and being like, I, I don't know, like this is so beyond, like he might need some serious help. I need some serious help. I don't even know where to go for help. We don't have anybody here with us and I just felt so alone. And like, I was a failure and like there was something seriously wrong with him and he might, you know, how our minds catastrophize.
I'm sure all humans do this, but especially moms. Um, and so I was going to like, you know, he's never gonna graduate from school. He's never going to be able to have a job. He's never going to be able to live his life. Normally everything's going to be just terrible for him because he just can't handle his emotions. Um, now within, um, Neufeld is kind of theory and a subsequent book called rest play grow by Deborah McNamara, which I highly suggest. Um, they talk about what's called orchid children and orchid children are sensitive children. They're highly sensitive, a little bit more emotional. Um, they take a little bit longer to develop through these phases emotionally. Um, and so I'd already kind of recognized that, okay, well he's an orchid child, but then as years went on, I was like, okay, but now he should be able to handle this, but now things should be getting better.
And I honestly thought it was all a him problem. I didn't even recognize that there was anything that I was doing to perpetuate this. I thought it was just him and his behavior and there was nothing we could do about it. And we just needed to get some serious help. Um, so this is kind of where I'm at all alone, not knowing what to do. So I do a quick Google search and I look, you know, Neufeld Institute, certified psychologist, couple people came up in Montreal, I felt like it's a big city. I'm sure I'm gonna be able to find somebody. And, um, I did find somebody right away, a psychotherapist and she does, home visits. And so she'd emailed me and said, tell me a little bit about you and your son. And I just wrote her this like giant essay email with all of the different things we were going through.
And I really accentuated like how difficult has behavior was and how much he was struggling and how much he needed help. I was like, I don't need help. He needs help. And she's like, well, we work with the parents and I'm like, no, no, no, you need to see him in a meltdown. Like, you're not understanding how crazy this is. Like he needs help. Can you help him? And she was like, well, we really kind of just work with the parents first. So, you know, if that's needed down the road, then we can look into it. So anyways, she agreed to come meet me at my home. And I remember feeling so stressed and so overwhelmed and she opened the door and I just started crying, like just sobbing the minute that I saw her I wanted to give her this giant hug, this lady that I've never met before, she's probably like, who are you crazy person?
And I would just, I just lost it. I was like, I can't handle this. And he can't handle this. And we are both struggling so much and I don't know what to do. And, um, she was like, okay, let's go chat. And we chatted for probably an hour and a half. And I honestly can't remember very much about what she told me probably because I was so stressed out and so overwhelmed. Um, but she said, read this book and gave me rest, play, grow by, Debra McNamara, which I love. And I tell people about all the time. And she said to here, you can read about, you know, orchid children in this and sensitive children. And there's a great one. You can read about anger and rage. There's a great chapter in that you could read through those. And before I even started reading it, she said, um, really what we need to do here.
I don't remember what her wording was. She didn't say shift our expectations, but she said something along those lines. Like, what if this is just what he's going to be like? And I was like, well, no, he can't be like this. Like, we can't survive if he's just like this. And she was like, why do you feel like at his age he should be any different than he is. And I was like, well, because developmentally, you know, this stage happens here and then they move on to this stage and he's already past that. And I gave him a couple more years and I feel like I'm trying to connect with him and I'm doing the things. And so I felt like he should be farther along than he was. And she was like, but he's not. And he might never be what if he's 17?
And he still is, you know, acting this way. And at the time I was very resistant to that. I was like, Nope, that's not okay. I can not have a 17 year old. That's acting this way. And, um, as we discussed more and more and more, I realized that what she was really trying to tell me was that it was my expectations that were really harming this relationship. I felt like at this stage, and at this age, he should be at this developmental level and that he should be able to handle things. And because of that, I treated him a little bit differently. I showed up really differently. And so all she told me in that whole time was really like, what if this hap is going to happen for a long time? What if this is never going to change, then, then what are you going to do?
How are you going to handle it? Um, anyway, so we had a conversation. She left, it was kind of mind blown because I was kind of like, no, it's him that needs to change. You need to change him. And I kind of mold this over in my mind for a while. So over the course of the next week or so, I chatted with my husband a lot. I, you know, thought about it a lot. I journaled about it a lot. And um, I realized that I really was harming the relationship in that moment because this is how the meltdowns would happen. He would start having his meltdown and I would immediately get mad. I'd be like, no, cause in my mind, my story was, he shouldn't be this way. You know, he should be farther along than he is. He's too old for this, this behavior isn't acceptable.
And because of that, I would show up immediately angry and immediately defensive. So in that moment, I'm not connecting with him. I'm surely not loving him. I'm definitely not liking him in that moment. And so then I would yell back. I would be frustrated back, right? There's all these things that looking back now I would do. And it would just be kind of like upping the ante over and over again. Right? He'd yell, I'd yell, he'd yell, I'd yell and tell this giant explosion, but neither of us could handle. And I had not ever considered my, um, the fact that I was being coming a problem in that relationship. Like I just thought it
Was him. There was something wrong with him and his brain and his emotions. And I was like, no, this is a him problem. We need to get him fixed. It never occurred to me that there was a me problem in that relationship at all. And so all she really did was shift that expectation and start me, started getting me to think about things in a slightly different way. And it really did shift everything. So make sure you tune in to next week's episode where I'm going to talk all about the shift that happened. You enjoyed today's episode, make sure that you give it five stars on Apple and check out my monthly membership for moms in the show Notes.