Falling in Love With Parent Education:
In 1985, I graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. I started out as a staff nurse on a Diabetes Unit at Georgetown University Hospital where, in addition to caring for the patients’ physical needs, I had to help families come to grips with this life changing illness. This is where I first learned how important the entire family’s involvement is for the healthiest outcome. I also learned that there is much more to individual health than what is physically happening in one’s body. Body, mind, and spirit all need equal nurturing.
In 1988, I moved to Southern California where I continued to work with families as a Certified Diabetes Nurse Educator until my first child was born. My husband and I were thrilled with parenthood, and I thought I already knew quite a bit about taking care of children. I quickly discovered, however, that focusing on “bottoms, breasts, and burps” was only the tiniest fraction of what it meant to be a parent. Also, I was not prepared for the isolation that occurs when raising children away from family and non-working friends. Fortunately, my local hospital had a New Mom’s Forum where I met other mothers in the same situation and, best of all, learned about Parent Education classes at our local community college. When my daughter was 10 weeks old, I decided to try a class just so I could have adult conversations again without waiting for the rest of the adult world to get home from work.
I learned so much from these classes, and from spending time with other parents, that I was hooked! After my second child was born, I signed up for as many classes as I could find, no matter what city they were in. (Gas was cheaper back then!) Parent Education had become my life’s passion, and before my younger daughter turned two, I was offered a position as a Parent Education Instructor at Glendale Community College. I have now been teaching parenting for twenty years, including a seven year term as Program Director. My own children require less hands-on parenting now, but I am still on the journey of letting go. Even though the task is different once our children have reached adulthood, we never really stop being parents.