Does my training as a therapist or School Psychologist make me a better parent? I feel that I might be more educated on child and adolescent development and have read many more parenting and self-help books then the average parent. I feel that I really have a lot of tools in my toolbox, and can deal with any situation that can arise when at work, but when at home it is a different story, especially when dealing with my own children. For my own children, I have to be their mother – I am the one who tucks them in at night with a kiss, the one who cares for them when they’re sick, and the one who loves them on a daily basis when they need my love. I wear two hats, mother and therapist, separate, but informing each other.
The flip side of being a therapist is that in the likely situation that my own children would someday need the support of a therapist – that person that would know them at a completely different level than I will ever as a mother. I value therapy, I see how it can alter a person, and make a person feel differently, this idea I value, and can appreciate. I can only hope that one day my children have an open mind about therapy and their own personal growth, and that they can appreciate their mother’s profession later on in life. So while I feel that it’s not right for me to try and be a therapist at home, I won’t ever know their full inner struggles, and I can’t escape that idea of “knowing,” as it’s the nature of what I do for work. At times I wish that I could quiet my mind and find peace, not over-analyze so much, think too deep, or worry too much. I want to just be a mom, without all the knowledge in my mind, without the over-analyzing or educational knowledge I have about a certain aspect of therapy. I am a parent, I am a mother, we all have similar hopes for our children, same concerns and same fears.
I cannot lie when I say that some days I feel more comfortable being a therapist than I do being a mother. Being a mother is hard work, and it's 24/7. Being a mother there are no days off. When I come to work and see the difficulty and struggles of the children that I work with, that need the help, reminds me how much I enjoy getting to go home and be with my children. I also heed to my own advice that I give other parents when working with children…take a deep breath when times get tough, don’t be so hard on your children, slow down and enjoy the little moments, lighten up, call a friend, prioritize time for your children, and when you need to get your own support for yourself, your mental health is a priority too. As challenging as moments can be at times, it’s a precious time and time that flies that we have our children living with us, and wanting that hug and kiss before bed, those are the moments that you have to remember to hold tight to.
Author: Elizabeth Vosseler, M.A. PPS