My son turns two years old today. It has gone by so fast, and I haven’t been a mom for all that long, but I know I have definitely changed. Thinking about all the joys and challenges over the last two years, I can’t help but also think about how motherhood has changed me professionally and made me a better therapist.
1. I am more empathetic to parents.
In counseling, we like to believe that we can empathize with just about everyone. After all, pain is pain, joy is joy, etc…no matter what the circumstance. I still think this is true to an extent. But now, when a parent sits across from me and says they are devastated because they don’t know why their child feels so sad or they want to know where their little angel has gone, I think of my own children. How will I feel if my happy little guy is one day an adolescent who rages in my living room or if my sweet girl one day talks about hating herself because she is not accepted at school. The pain for me is unbearable. I channel this empathy toward my clients to help them see better days ahead.
2. I give limited “homework” assignments to parents now.
Prior to motherhood I had all kinds of homework for parents, such as charting five different aspects of a behavior during the week (when, where, why, your response, their response), completing daily exercises with their children, taking personal time out for an hour a day…can you imagine? I am much more cognizant of the daily demands of parenthood. I still recommend personal time for parents but aim for one hour a week, and homework assignments are given with more realistic requirements. I get much more follow-through now!
3. I am more confident.
This increased confidence is not completely due to being a mother, but also due to having more experience under my belt. However, I do feel that since I am a mom, I can connect better with parents and kids. I also feel more secure in setting personal boundaries for my time and commitments. As a professional who aims to teach healthy boundaries to my clients, being able to set them for my own life is important.
4. My priorities have changed.
Now that my family life is set, I can begin working toward long-term professional goals that sync with the demands of my family. For example, I hope to establish a successful private practice over the next several years that will allow me to schedule appointments during the time my kids are in school.
5. I have more life experience.
No matter what field you work in, life experience always give you a leg up. The more I live and the more life phases I travel through, the more I can relate and offer help to others!
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Originally posted 2013-01-18 07:53:13.