Thursday, June 04, 2009

Mom to Mom: Judy Arnall

As some of you know, I have a very passionate son and this past year has been one of many challenges. I'm not an expert on child development, so I read a lot of books on the subject of parenting. I stumbled upon Judy's book and when I discovered that she has 5 children and read over 200 parenting books, I just had to chat her up. I'm pleased to introduce...

Mom: Judy Arnall
Of: Christopher (18), Marlin (16), Heidi (15), Travis (11), Scotty (7)
Where: Calgary, Alberta Canada
URL: Professional Parenting

1. In what ways has becoming a mother changed you?

Being a mother allows me to look for joy where I didn’t notice before. I relish a sunny day at the beach, and I look forward to my bedtime/naps like I never did before. In fact, I worship sleep. I love hugs from my children even though they may wreck my hairstyle and I love sticky hands holding mine and exploring the world while out on a walk and looking at things from a child’s point of view. I love sitting around and talking, joking and laughing with my teenagers. I have learned to adjust my world to “kid time”, which is totally different concept than adult time which the rest of the world is run on. I no longer expect perfection from others and especially myself. I have learned to live peacefully with clutter and resolve to accept that tasks get done in phases and sometimes those phases take months or years. I have learned how much little control I have over others and how much control I have over myself. I have learned to appreciate the small things like going to the bathroom all by myself!

2. What message would you like to share with other mothers?

Raising children is like getting a package of seeds without the label. We never know what kind of child we are getting, and have to figure out how much love, limits and care that particular child needs. It never ends and the answer is not in any book, expert, or well meant advice. The answer is in our children if we observe and accept them as they are, and change our little corner of the world to fit them until they grow to change themselves to fit the world.

3. What inspired you to write Discipline Without Distress?

I had read about 247 parenting books. My own upbringing had so many points that I wished to change, so I became a parent information consumer. I took many classes. I found that the books were too heavy on theory and little on real applications. Although I liked the idea of raising children without shame, punishment, and coercion, I didn’t find one book that showed me how to do it on a daily basis, including how to handle the myriad of situations that come up with each child’s temperament, age, gender and stage.

4. How do you orchestrate your passions as Mother, Author, Speaker.

It’s not a balanced life. There is no such thing. It’s more of a seesaw when some things take more time and energy at a particular time of the year then others. It’s not a 50/50 equal balance for sure. It’s more like work and being a mom get 100% when they each require it and it can be very unpredictable. However, being a mother will always, always take priority when the need is there. When the families’ and my personal needs are met, then I put my energies into being an Author and speaker. I can’t be successful if I have no family relationships.

5. What is the most common question that parents ask you?

“Can you come and live in my house?!”

6. What are some practical things that parents can do to make the most profound impact in the lives of their children?

The number one best thing to remember is to take parent time-outs. Parent time-outs on a regular basis are necessary for remembering the person in the parent. We get centered, fulfilled and feel good again and that makes us more effective parents. Time-outs are also helpful for handling parent and child anger. They are way more effective and useful then a child time-out. We can think clearly and look at things in a lighter way. That’s not to say that we neglect the children while taking our time-out. We need to provide for their needs of safety and care at the same time, but recognize that we have to take care of ourselves too.

7. What moves you, grounds you, fills your well?

I love movies and books. They transport me to another world and spur me to action on global issues, or allow me to appreciate what I have. I love volunteering. I love children that grow into nice wonderful people which is 99.9% of them. I love parents that support each other. I love hugs. I love my family.

This weekend we'll be celebrating my husband's 50th ride around the sun. Satch wants so badly to tell his Dad what his gift is. Have a good weekend. See you Monday. ~ Wendy


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posted by Wendy at 5:18 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Robert knows what his gift is. A packet of seeds without a label.

Great interview

12:28 PM  

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