Loving Your LGBTQ Children Exactly as They Are

Written by Guest Blogger Georgia DeClark

It goes something like this: “Mom, Dad, there’s something I need to tell you. I’m gay.”

From that moment on, your life changes. Any number of emotions sets in: worry, sadness, disappointment, anger, confusion, relief, joy. But now what? How do we tell Grandpa? What will the fallout be at church, or school, or in the community? The initial questions, most of which are based in fear, can go on and on.

When we are faced with this situation as parents, these initial thoughts may swirl through our heads, many of which are linked to our own future dreams and expectations. Parents’ initial responses to their child may unintentionally involve strong, harsh, unloving words that they’ll later regret saying. And yet, we’re all human, just trying to do our best.

After taking the needed time to sit with this new normal, it’s a gift to our child to check in with ourselves to try and ascertain what’s behind our reaction, if it is not as we wished it were. Do we feel as if we’ll be judged by our family, or community? Do we make this ours, as if to say that if we were better parents, “this might not have happened?” Are we fearful that perhaps we’ll be rejected, or that our child will be rejected as well? We may need to grieve the loss of the child we thought we had so that we can embrace who we now know our child to be. Deep down as parents, we want our children to be happy and lead fulfilling lives that bring them joy. But if we are carrying old stories and scenarios from our lives based in fear, we may inadvertently be dragging them into the present moment with our child. And it’s likely that under closer scrutiny, all of that old “stuff” has nothing to do with our child anyway.

Having come out at 60 years old, I can personally relate to every part of this scenario, except that I needed to come out to my husband and children, after I came out to myself. When asked if I realized earlier in my life that I was attracted to women, my response was that I just did “what my mom said that girls do,” which is: grow up, meet a guy, fall in love, get married, etc. So, I married a man, had three wonderful children, and was leading my life. At some point, however, I needed to address my discontent and admit to myself that I was not living authentically. It was then that the hard work began. And yet I knew that there was no other choice for me except to make some very big changes in order to live my true life.

When I came out to my then 85-year-old aunt, I was more than a little nervous. I was worried about what she would think, what she would say, if she would judge me. But ultimately, I knew that I needed for her to know that I was now going to be living authentically, regardless of the outcome.

Her response? “Oh, Georgia, I didn’t think I could ever love you more than I did, but now I realize I love you even more!” What a gift she gave me! I was relieved, and also grateful to be seen and accepted by someone I love so deeply.

And if we don’t show up as our best selves when faced with this news, what steps do we need to take to mend the relationship and recreate our connection? How can we best support our child as s/he moves forward? As my aunt demonstrated, the best way to react to a child or loved one coming forward to tell us who they authentically are is to step out of our own way entirely. When we can imagine what it feels like to be in our child’s place, we can connect much more deeply with our compassion and be available to offer full, unconditional support. It will be then that we can recognize that all children, as well as all humans, just want and need to be seen, known, loved, and acknowledged that we are enough, just exactly as we are. And lovely things can happen from there.

 

Georgia DeClark is a PCI ® Certified Parent Coach , professional educator, and mother. With over 30 years of experience working with children and supporting their parents through the challenges and joys of their lives, she has a deep understanding of the demands, struggles and rewards that come from day-to-day parenting. Georgia works with parents to address their unique parenting challenges and concerns. After collaborative conversations within the coaching relationship, parents become empowered and available to support their children as they grow and become their most authentic selves.

 

Treat Yourself This Valentine’s Day: Discounted Conference Tickets For Couples

I know that Valentine’s Day is typically reserved for chocolates and expensive dinners or jewelry, but I find that, while these things are great for an evening, romance can only go so far if you’re not actually fixing the things you tend to fight about. This is especially true for parents. Once you have the added stress (umm, joy?) of kids in your life, it can put a lot of extra pressure on a marriage or relationship with a partner.

My husband and I met when we were only 18 years old. Although we were just friends for many years before we started dating, we have an incredibly solid foundation that helps keep us together when times get tough. But being together doesn’t always translate into having a strong connection. In fact, the connection is the hardest part. We both work, so our time together is usually pretty limited and fueled by exhaustion. And more often than not, instead of connecting, we end up having the same argument over and over again: we’re not on the same page when it comes to how we approach parenting.

We have two very smart and sassy girls–Sadie, almost 5, and Ava, 19 months. When we face parenting challenges, I am usually the one who is doing all the research, reading the books (let’s be honest, I don’t have time to read books. I skim them or listen to them on audiobook!), asking others for help in online parenting groups, and just generally being responsible for figuring out what to do. It annoys me that my husband thinks he can just “wing it”, which ultimately means that we’re sending mixed messages to our kids.

So, after our quadrillionth fight on this subject a few weeks ago, I decided to try something new: I asked him if he’d come to the Revolutionizing Parenthood Conference with me in April. And he said yes! In fact, he seemed pretty jazzed about the idea of also being the one to get educated about tools we can use to be better parents with a more united front. I’m really excited about this, and think that this will be more than just a chance for us to get on the same page about our kids; it will be an opportunity for us to connect in a whole new way, rediscover things about ourselves and each other, and just be two grown ups out without our kids for a day.

If you are looking to do something with your husband (or wife) that further solidifies your partnership and helps you create a more united front when it comes to your children, consider joining me at the Revolutionizing Parenthood conference on April 25th. To make it even harder for you to say no, we’re running a Buy One, Get One Free (yes, FREE!) special for a limited time. Use discount code LoveBird50 at checkout February 12th through February 16th to take advantage of this awesome deal!

Indulge in a momcation

Removing Your Emotional Backpack: A New Kind of Momcation

Written by Guest Blogger Tink Fisher

Tink Fisher of Clean House and Rise Gatherings

All moms get tired, even the ones who are real-life versions of Pinterest. The everyday struggle can weigh on you until you are burnt out and feel like you’re on autopilot. For me, juggling a full-time job, three children, and a wife can be exhausting. And although I feel so incredibly grateful for it, some days I just need a break. 

As a mom–whether running after toddlers, battling with teenagers, or emotionally supporting young adults– it is extremely difficult to take time for yourself with the weight and pressure of filling up everyone else’s cup. Especially in today’s world, where the hustle and bustle can drain even the Energizer Bunny. 

As women, I believe most of us hold it together pretty well and manage to do most things with a smile. Inside, however, I think it’s safe to say that our smiles don’t always tell the entire story.  

I read once that our emotional baggage is like a backpack we carry on our soul. The more things we keep in our backpack, the more weight we feel in our heart. Even the little things, such as finding dishes in the sink after a long day at work, or breaking up a screaming match over a toy (you know, the toy that no one showed interest in for months but now one of them wants it, so it’s the hottest commodity in the house), or when you hit every red light on your way to work. I personally know how these things add up because these are actual examples from my week. Each day I continue to add weight to my backpack, and it’s rare for me to take time to unload some of that baggage.  

When was the last time you removed your backpack to lessen your load? 

This is where the term “momcation” comes into play, which seems to be trending these days. Now, I understand that typically when people talk about a momcation they   are usually thinking about hopping on the next flight to Miami to sip Mai Tai’s in South Beach And while a beach vacation is incredibly appealing, does it really lend itself to helping you make sweeping changes in your life?  What if, when we talk about a momcation,we instead think about an experience that leaves you feeling connected, refreshed, and refueled? One that gives you clarity and supports your desire to be a better mother, friend, partner. A space that supports you in all that you need in the present moment instead of escaping it. 

A women’s retreat is exactly that, but rarely considered when we think about momcations. Rise Gatherings Annual Weekend Getaway provides you with the perfect opportunity to take a momcation that might actually change your life.

Rise Gatherings

Photos by Linette Kielinski

One thing that I feel many women can agree upon is that the days are long but the years are short. We are often told “enjoy it while it lasts” and struggle so intensely with finding balance.  Balance with being present and connected, balance with taking time for ourselves while still providing for those we love, balance with being on autopilot and taking time to enjoy the little things. 

A women’s retreat can, surprisingly, be the answer to our prayers. Picture waking up to the sun (not our children jumping on our bed), amidst 450-acres of lakeside serenity (not 450 pieces of legos). Imagine taking a leisurely walk to a morning workshop (not having to sit in rush-hour traffic only to sit at a desk for eight hours). Imagine eating substantial, nourishing meals and being able to dive into transformational conversations that ignite your inner light. Imagine experiencing a weekend filled with joyful noise, healing tears, and energizing movements. Instead of wanting to escape our current state of life, we can return home with a new, refreshed mindset, and an appreciation for the beautiful chaos we call life. 

During the Rise Gatherings Annual Weekend Getaway, women have the opportunity to not only remove their backpacks but also unload and examine the clutter inside those backpacks that were holding us back. Once the clutter is removed, we can replace it with the tools we need to help us get through our day, happily.  As women we are continuously evolving and transforming, as are our needs. What we carry in our literal purse, or metaphorical backpack, should support us. When we take the time to lessen our load and replace the items in our bags with new, functional tools to support our current needs and desires, we in turn, are gifting those around us with the best versions of ourselves. 

Indulge in a momcation

Photos by Linette Kielinski

While the sun and sand still sound appealing, a momcation that ignites my inner light and invites me to connect more deeply with myself and others, is actually the best way for me to lessen my load and reinvent my toolkit. I will continue to “Rise” and reinvent myself year after year at Rise Gatherings Annual Weekend Getaway!

 

Tink Fisher is the Owner of Clean House, Associate Director of Rise Gatherings, a wife and a mother of three wonderful children.