About Joyous Parenting
Raising up a new generation of creative, resilient LIFE ready children,
one parent at a time, through the art of play
Is never just about the parenting.
In working with hundreds of children and caregivers for almost two decades, I've learned: there are true patterns that lead us towards either a difficult parenthood or a parenthood of bliss.
But you won't find "nanny 911" here. Nor will you learn a cookie cutter design.
The world has plenty of experts and gurus about every parenting woe. But after you've read the books and blogs and listened to the myriad pieces of advice that EVERYONE wants to give you, you already know - you're going to do it your way anyway. But maybe you're not so sure what "your way" should be or even is. Maybe you're scared that you're "doing it wrong" or that everyone else is doing it better.
That's where I come in, my dears, to remind you that YOU have all you need to nourish a confident, lovely, peaceful, dare I say even relaxing parenthood.
Because it isn't about the tips and tricks or even the philosophies.
It's about the way you approach your parenthood in all its glory and in all its forms: and that means understanding what you really want, being able to communicate that vision to your love village, and yes, maybe making some shifts in your mindset and assumptions along the way. It's letting your family values run the show and using the art of play to raise wholehearted people.
A healthy, joyous parenthood takes more than a system. It means holistic, whole life and mindful care. Of yourself. Yes, yourself, mama! And your relationships. Of your identity. Of your connections. Of your children, of course. And of your family.
But it all starts with you.
I love a good discussion about behavior management systems and how to help your child sleep through the night. But here is the biggest secret I have discovered: a happy childhood actually starts with something very different. And here it is: with self love, radical unapologetic gratitude, and a love village that lets them be THEM.
So join me in redefining your experience into a Playful Parenthood - through both 1:1 coaching and group classes - and follow your own Joyous Journey through my recipe for raising LIFE ready children: wholehearted values-based parenthood + play as THE work of childhood + raising changemakers!
It won't be easy, but BOY will it be worth it!
When parents move through the joyous parenthood methodology, they are not only empowering themselves to lead a confident, stress-free, wholehearted parenting life. They aren't just learning to communicate their needs and lean on their love village. They even aren't just learning to understand play as the catapult it is into aligned living!
Of course, they ARE doing all of that and more!
But when parents join the joyous journey, they aren't just getting quick fixes and band-aides.
They are joining a MOVEMENT - a play revolution:
That will take back childhood...
That will take back the way children deserve to learn and grow...
That will take back the way parents deserve to experience the ride alongside them...
That will ensure resilient, creative wholehearted LIVING
Because we don't just simply want to raise children who are life ready (of course we want that too), but we want to empower them to see a different future, to envision what can be and then to have the tools and prior experiences and strategies as a foundation for helping them actually CREATE that new reality.
The way I see it, our generation is one foot in. We see the harsh reality of our world. We recognize the injustices and limitations. We yearn for a better way. But we are still struggling to rewire and retell our thought patterns and stories.
However, if we are able to do right by our children - through play, through wholehearted valuesbased living, through alignment with our truth and Knowing - then they will get to be
Two Feet In
Can you imagine the possibilities there would be then??
I am confident that by moving through my methodology lovingly and with an open heart you will discover the inner parenting wisdom you always had. And that will be what it truly takes to bring your parenthood closer towards your truth. And when a child grows while witnessing their parents' truth, there is nothing that can stop their unflappable wholehearted truths from shining as well.
And THAT is how we raise CHANGEMAKERS!!
In my own parenthood journey, I had to learn what I now teach:
To learn the language of unapologetic gratitude.
To build and grow my love village, that unique network of partners, family, friends and ideas that truly uplift my soul, my spirit, my physical day to day.
To get smart about leaning on that village, knowing what I really need and asking for it.
To forgive my family, lineage, and culture for the harmful lessons they might have taught me about parenthood, and all that I never learned, so I could reach a space of inner peace and self nurture.
To break through parenting challenge after parenting challenge by honoring my unique parenting blueprint, wisdom, and values.
To deepen my practice of self love, forgiveness, and mindfulness.
To forgive myself again! (And keep on forgiving)
To celebrate the mama warrior, the mama artist, the mama spirit within me and let her shine.
To honor the natural development and growth of the unfolding life of my parenthood and to flow with those waves with grace and some laughter too.
To return to my parenting garden again and again in a practice of radical self-love and un-shaming.
And throughout it all to harness the art of play to support the blooming of my children's purpose.
I want you to remember these things about parenting right now:
You do NOT have to do it alone. There is a whole village of support out there waiting for you. And nothing that you have thought or done is unheard of or shameful or wrong. The soft years are sacred, confusing, crazy and incredible. Lean in. Lean in with all your heart and know that there is NOTHING you can do that will "ruin" your child, as long as it is done gently and from the heart and with all of your truth. So bring all of yourself to this journey that before we know it will be over. The precious years of early childhood are ones to cherish and a chance to build the blocks of a healthy, sustainable, loving and peaceful future of HAPPY, CONFIDENT, FULFILLED, CREATIVE and SOULFUL humans who can make this planet a better place. Every child can be joyous. And every parent can too. So trust yourself. Honor what you do already know. Get ready to laugh at yourself. And to lean into a different kind of parenthood, one with SO much ease and joy.
Want to raise children without resentment?
Want to raise children without resentment?
How I Got Here
My Personal Joyous Journey
There I was: living in a gorgeous garden apartment in a cute Brooklyn neighborhood, married to the love of my life, mother of the sweetest child, dedicated and passionate educator at the school of my dreams. I had all of the things people are supposed to want- stability, success, passion, the best friends, an amazing classroom of children who inspired me daily, colleagues who challenged and lifted me up, supportive and loving friends...and I was in turmoil.
Where I was also overflowing with gratitude for all that I had been given, I was also in a confusing and scary place. My identity had always been so clear to me, my goals solid, my life mapped out. I knew what I was here to do and how to get it. And then I crossed that bridge from maiden to mother and everything turned on its head.
With my motherhood, I experienced the greatest joy and amazement I had ever felt, but also I was suddenly torn between two worlds: the way I had been before and a new one where all of the same expectations were still there but I just couldn’t hack it anymore. More honestly, I didn’t want to do it anymore. On the outside I was a happy, glowing woman in the prime of her life. And on the inside this way of life I had built around myself of constant running, organizing, controlling, achieving, proving just didn’t make sense anymore. I found myself trying to negotiate it all and just failing. Miserably. All the time. In everything. I had fogginess, forgetfulness, guilt, shame, embarrassment, a sense of feeling judged. I was constantly overwhelmed, angry, and on the defense.
And completely exhausted.
And then one day something happened. I remember I was sitting on the floor of my classroom surrounded by yet another an endless project and 30 minutes late to picking up my daughter, yet again. My husband had called me twice already wondering where I was and earlier that day I had inadvertently angered a colleague and lost my temper more than once with my class. As my co-teacher walked in, I rallied myself to face what I was sure would be yet another failure on my part. And then something magical happened. Instead of putting up defenses, making excuses, and trying to fight through my self-imposed storm, I gave in and said my truth out loud. I said I couldn’t do it all anymore, that something had to give, that I needed relief. That I was trying my best but my best wasn’t functioning and I felt so trapped. I must have cried for an hour and with it, began to shed my supermama complex. That day, my co-teacher lovingly wrapped her arms around me and said the empowering words that rocked me back to my truth: “instead of being afraid to change things, you should fear what could happen if you DON’T change anything.”
Once I began to talk, I couldn’t stop and I began telling my story to anyone who would listen. The most glorious thing happened - I discovered that I wasn’t alone in my experience. And I realized I must have postpartum depression and had possibly had it in different iterations for a long time. It all added up: When Ella was a week old, both my mother and husband returned to work. I was suddenly left alone and in shock. At week two, I completely lost it; I remember pulling at my hair, screaming and crying on the floor. Breastfeeding was excruciating but I so desperately wanted to “do the right thing” that I battled through the torture. I could hardly sleep. I lashed out at my husband and was hysterical at times. And then after four months, I had to return to work was before I was ready, which devastated me. I couldn’t understand why the world wasn’t allowing me to be with my daughter. “Jumping back into work” felt foreign, wrong, and confusing. I constantly felt like I was failing and of no use to anyone. I cried all the time and most days it was a battle to get out of bed. My head was foggy, I felt violent and unstable and very alone. Flash forward to 2 years in and I was still suffering. It took a long time to admit, but I slowly realized that I had never fully recovered from being torn from being with my little girl, something I felt in every fiber was wrong but did anyway because I thought I had no choice. That day, I made a new choice. This time, instead of hiding back in a hole of assumed responsibility, fear, shame, and inflexibility, I visualized what I really wanted and needed and began working towards it, even if meant losing money, “security”, even friends.
That is how in an instant of naming my truth I began to learn more truths about myself. And I became braver. I no longer wanted to “rise the ranks” and I no longer wanted to run and I had the privilege to stop. I wanted to slow down! Breath in nature! Live more mindfully and consciously and somehow support my family through my talents and passions while doing it. So instead of suffering through the rest of the school year I did the best thing I could think of for my family, my colleagues, my students, and myself: I asked for relief and I got it. I went to the leader of my school and named my postpartum depression. I told her about it all. In the end we negotiated a four day week and shorter days. She gently encouraged me to seek help, and I did. That is also when I began to build what I call a “love village” by surrounding myself with the people I knew would let me be me and I could lean on without shame.
Those “self-care Fridays” and my therapy were a life elixir for my battered soul. I shared my story with others, realized that my hormones were imbalanced, and got help for my postpartum depression.* I got support and love from friends and family. Sometimes I stayed in bed all day - guilt free! Other days, I worked on the mountain of research, bureaucracy, and connections I would need to build a new life. Sometimes self care meant making time to be with a good friend. Other times it even meant allowing myself to dive back into the classroom for long hours and passionately guiding my students. You see the lesson that I learned is that once things are on your own terms and you are able to be honest with what you want and need (and get the necessary help as well), you become free from all the other stuff. Finally, I could put on the break and ask for what I needed without worry about the ramifications or what that would say about me as a mother.
Actually, once I named my shame, embarrassment, and guilt, it all melted away. I no longer had to prove or defend myself. I could just be. Incredibly, many things that had been hard up to that point flipped back into focus and I was able to teach, partner, give, take, parent, celebrate with all my heart again. And most of all, I was able to finally embrace my need for a new way of living with an overflowing tank of gratitude and joy.
A year after this story took place and almost every way my life had felt has changed. It still isn’t easy and some days are of course super difficult, but I now live according to my true terms. After quitting our jobs and setting new intentions, my husband, daughter and I now live in a small, nurturing intentional cohousing community in Asheville, NC. I wake up to the forest and sun shining through the windows of my bedroom. We have organized our physical space and systems to support and work for our ideals of peaceful parenting, sustainable living, community connection, and creative, flexible living. I have become a mamapreneur, a soulpreneur, embraced my musical and artistic roots, allowed myself to rest and reboot.
This is a story of the beginning of learning how to actualize my truth and throw away the societal trappings that had held me back. It is the story of how I began to match my inside world to my outer one. It is also the story of how I named my truth, unapologetically stated my needs, and accepted support from many sources with extreme gratitude. I believe that the greatest things that can hold a person back are regret of the past, comparison in the present, and fear of the future. It is important to me that my daughter watch me lead my life with unabashed honesty, humble graciousness, and without fear. It is important to me that my daughter see me stripping postpartum depression from its taboo and not take it lightly so that help can be given. It is important that she watch me build my dream despite all the naysayers, despite the fact that it might not work out in the end, and to also hear me name my privilege in being able to do so.
Because it already has worked out: I’ve been given what I need to be able to try my best and have begun to follow my heart’s truth of what I am meant to do at this moment, in this life. I am far from done with this work, but I already feel free. By shedding away what I thought was expected of me and instead digging deep in order to define how I actually wanted my life to look and feel, I was finally able to take the risks needed to get there. I was then able to boldly and joyfully leap, and am the happiest and most fulfilled than I have ever been in my parenthood and my life. And now I open up my heart to you and ask you, are you ready to define your truth?
*It is important for me to say that I do not take postpartum depression lightly and is a very serious issue, and that if you feel you are experiencing it, you should reach out to a professional to get diagnosed and receive the support you need. There are people who can help you, as I was helped, that it is not something to feel ashamed of, and that many women experience it.
Some resources to begin your healing:
Want to raise children without resentment?
A Few of My Favorite Things
Some things you might
not know about me:
As a kid I proudly won a standing on one leg contest with my eyes closed.
I had an imaginary friend named Annie who could fly, had her own first foldable pocket computer (I'm pretty sure I invented the laptop before it was even a thing), and was an amazing tap dancer.
From ages 4 to around 8 or so, I am pretty sure that I could fly. I remember the feeling of running, lifting up my arms and pushing off the ground. It would always be over the playground of my elementary school. And I would always land on a cloud at some point too.
At one point, I was a pretty intricate maze creator.
My husband and I chose our daughter's name a good two years before she was born, over some delicious mango margaritas, and after I had a vivid dream of myself holding a brown, curly-haired child. We couldn't agree on a boy's name at all, but suddenly the girl's name was very clear. Years later, we realized that we somehow managed to give her a name that could be interpreted as "Goddess of Wisdom, My Love". Her first name also refers to a beautiful pistachio tree that is very prevalent in Israel, where the name is from.
When I was 7 I announced that I would be a teacher when I grew up. Then in college I really didn't think I would end up a teacher because it was "too obvious" and then, of course, I became a teacher. And LOVED it.
As a child, I was scared of bugs and didn't want to touch mud. I hated math and thought I would always be bad at it. I was shy and awkward. Now, I lead play and learning classes in a nature classroom, teaching constructivist math is my favorite subject, and I love presenting in front of a big crowd.
My entire life I've been scared of catching a ball. I still don't love it. But discovering my yoga practice has completely revolutionized my mind-body connection and my definition of what my body can do. I practiced yoga every day of my pregnancy and beyond and feel like I can soar.
I am a 4 with a 7 and 9 wing on the Enneagram. This means that I am on one hand a highly sensitive, creative and deeply passionate dreamer who could stay in bed all day with my books. And on the other hand, I am a connector, presenter, guide and someone who lives to inspire and nurture a large community.
When I was 15 I won an essay contest to travel to India, a journey that was so wildly different and beautiful that it changed the course of my life. I think this experience is what began my continuous practice and evolution into social justice and equity work and the study of what true inclusion is. Later on, my discoveries of yoga, meditation, and ayurveda have marked a new cycle of learning and evolution that have supported me in all of the out of the box decisions I have made in my adulthood but that have been so right, including taking the leap of faith that led me to quit my job, move to a new place where I know no one, and build my parenthood coaching business. I think that maybe I'll also start playing my music too.
Songwriting has always been my medicine and my very own personal journal. I've still never played on a stage, but I have made over 14 euros playing in a public square in France and once made a stranger cry when playing in a cafe in Sweden. I used to sneak into private piano rooms all the time when I lived in a tiny NYC apartment so I could play without When I was
I feel abundant when I have a great conversation and make a true soul connection. It can be with a close friend but with a stranger too. I have realized that I am an "in person kind of person."
My father is a Reform Rabbi. My mother (and my husband...full circle!) is an Israeli. My grandparents were Holocaust survivors and founded a kibbutz. I am very much a product of my heritage and the story of my family.
I am pretty sure that my daughter still believes forest fairies are real, and I intend for it to stay that way.
I am very grateful to have landed into a transformational love that has uplifted and reminded me that it's much less scary to make the changes that I dream of instead of staying in the box that I was socialized to want. I have envisioned, named, and actualized the most beautiful life that matches my soul with my incredible husband and my sweetest joy, Ella because I have learned to read my own compass and trust my inner wisdom. We live intentionally now, matching our inner beliefs with our lifestyle choices, in a lovely and intimate co-housing community nestled in the mountains of Asheville. We spend our days celebrating nature and trying to live sustainably, with a great abundance mindset and lots of laughter. Lots of delicious food too.
Want to raise children without resentment?
Join me in the play revolution and taking back childhood!