My life experiences as a mother and an educator influence me every day.
My children are at the forefront of my mind and in my deep subconscious. Their mental health is as important to me as their physical health. I know we have access to medical support when we need it, which is important and brings peace of mind to me as a parent. I am grateful.
As an educator, I have been witness to the lives of many students. I have tried my very best to positively impact all my students – both academically and as people. I believe it is important to not only provide them content learning, but care related to their well-being. I encourage balanced lives (between school, work, family, friends, etc.) and self-care routines (stress relief, nutrition, proper sleep, etc.) to stay healthy.
So, why Kids Help Phone?
More than ever, I believe the Kids Help Phone message – our kids need to feel out loud. In whatever role we play as caregiver, we must encourage our children and youth to speak openly, without shame or hesitation about how they are doing. Every child needs at least one adult in their life they can count on. And that includes being able to share all their feelings with them. I echo this message in I Want You To Be You.
In an effort to support the amazing work by the incredible people at Kids Help Phone, L. Robin Books, together with you, will be donating 25% of proceeds of each book throughout 2023. Thank you to Elena and Rochelle at KHP for this amazing opportunity!
What a journey!
When I originally wrote the book, the writing was mostly reflective of my own experiences as a parent. I was becoming more aware of how I was responding to my children's emotions. I realized that in an effort to "help" my children with their feelings, I was focused on looking for ways to "solve" how they were feeling. In a way, looking for how to “make them happy again”. To my surprise at the time, this wasn't helpful, and it was, in fact, almost doing the opposite. They seemed to be responding to my efforts in frustration rather than relief that I had "figured it out". But during my "ah-ha" moment, I simply thought about how I feel when I am sharing my feelings and someone tries to "solve my problems" - it doesn't help! :-)
I believe my job is to offer my children the safe place to share how they are feeling. Sometimes they will be able to articulate them, sometimes they will show me how they feel - but in either case, I want them to know I will be there for them. I might offer a listening ear, or I might sit along side them to help regulate their intense feelings, or I might be in another room where they know they can come to me or invite me in. I want them to know that whatever they feel, it will come without judgement - no labelling of "good" or "bad” feelings. And how they feel will not scare me away.
The expression “I want you to be happy” was the other inspiration for the book. As a parent, I considered what this expression really means. And, although we generally wish people well, a life only full of happiness doesn’t exist. Upon deeper reflection, I realized I just wanted my children to be themselves – and this includes all of their feelings.
All those feelings are normal,
don’t save only happy ones for me…
I realized what I really meant was,
I Want You To Be You
Happy New Year!
I have been a teacher in Winnipeg since 2006 and a mother since 2012. During the spring of 2020, it was a stressful time for my family - as it was for many. I have a lot to be grateful for and throughout the pandemic my family support system was essential to my well-being. During this time, in addition to my strong family connections, I turned to another love of mine that has been on the back burner for a while now - writing.
Writing has always been an outlet for me and I find expressive writing invigorating. I had many opportunities in school to write and I am grateful to the teachers and professors that encouraged me along the way.
When things closed down and slowed down that spring the pandemic hit, I had extra time in a schedule that usually was jam packed with childrens' activities and commitments. My writing mostly started out as staring at blank paper - I had memories of writing, but it still felt awkward at first, not wanting to "make a mistake". But, as soon as I gave myself permission to let the words flow onto the paper without judgement, it was a flood gate that I couldn't stop.
Rhyming verse is a passion of mine! I love children's books and I love music and I love the magic of words coming together in perfect melody. It anchors my writing - I have an idea of the message I am trying to convey and then attempt to capture that message in harmonious rhythm. The whole process is very relaxing to me.
I wrote the majority of what you see in the final book, I Want You To Be You, within one sitting. That is how it seems to work for me. I turn the tap on and let it flow out my pencil. Now, don't mistake me. I absolutely return to my writing many times! Writing and re-writing, switching out words and exploring new words - but I enjoy the whole process! When I started, I hadn't put any pressure on myself or deadlines to complete any project. In fact, I hadn't considered publishing a book that spring.
So as I look forward to 2023, I look forward to another year filled with writing!
Wishing you and yours all the very best in the New Year :-)