Expanding from our From Our Families... series, we're pleased to introduce From Our Friends... - a new collection of blogs highlighting the work of some of our amazing collaborators and community.
Today we start by meeting Jessica Hill, Motherhood Coach and Fair Play Facilitator, from The Parent Collective.
Let's start with a big question - what do you think is the biggest challenge facing parents at the moment?
The pressures of modern parenting are immense. Mothers specifically are being inundated with unrealistic expectations on their time which leads many to feelings of overwhelm and insecurity.
That combined with the lack of a village of real connections with other women who are going through similar struggles leads so many moms I work with to feel like they are the only ones who aren’t managing. That can be really damaging and one of the main reasons that I do what I do.
We'd love to hear a bit more about how The Parent Collective is responding to this.
I started The Parent Collective inspired by my own journey into motherhood. I had so much access to support & opportunities for community building as a new mom in the UK and upon returning home to the US, I heard from countless friends that they spent their early months and years after having a baby feeling lonely and isolated.
So to help fill that need, The Parent Collective seeks to equip parents with the education, guidance and support they need to thrive during the many transitions of parenthood.
We do that through our:
Prenatal education, designed to help you connect with other couples in the same stage of pregnancy as you
Community groups (for new mothers and working mothers) which hold space for women to share their highs and lows, swap strategies for dealing with the issue of the day, and provide companionship during what can be a solitary time
1:1 coaching which helps mothers feel in control, prioritize what’s important, and create weekly action steps that help them see concrete change. Whether it is managing the juggle of responsibilities between work and home, resisting the pull of perfectionism, fighting against mom guilt and burnout, or feeling disconnected from the woman they were before they became a mother; often mothers need a safe space to work through the thoughts in their head with the goal of gaining clarity and developing strategies for making life smoother and more enjoyable.
This sounds like a fantastic range of complementary classes, following parents through the fuller journey of what it means and takes to raise a child, starting at the very beginning!
I am always banging on about how important it is to have friends with babies the same age as yours. We absolutely realize that it is hard to make friends as adults. With pregnancy or motherhood as the common thread, it can sometimes be easier. Mom and dad friends at every stage of the parenthood journey are super helpful, but friends who have kids the same age as yours are essential.
No one can fully appreciate the daily trials of a newborn like your friend who is also navigating life with a newborn. From spilling preciously pumped milk to dealing with an explosive poo in-transit, when you are in it, these feel like total disasters! However, these stories will not elicit a visceral “gasp!” from a new parent, but rather a breath of relief as you realize another real person has experienced something similar—like, yesterday.
Parents need this camaraderie so you can enjoy/survive the early days (and hopefully beyond) together. Our classes allow parents to solidify these relationships before babies arrive, so you don’t have to work so hard once they do. You can already be texting from the hospital about the terrible food and a love you never thought possible.
How can parents find out more?
Fantastic. And let's get to know you a little it better - what's your typical 'day in the life'?
I can’t quite believe it, but my kids are now in middle and high school. So after the painful process of rousing them from their beds and seeing them off to school I can work in peace until I take on my role as schlepper in chief, driving them to their various activities. I actually enjoy that time because it gives me a chance to hear about all of the gossip from their day, and I have their (mostly) undivided attention. Since activities run late most days, there is a flurry at the end of the day involving homework, eating dinner and when my husband gets home and we’ve had a catch up hopefully we end the day with some (usually rather dark) TV show. Recent faves have been Slow Horses, Fleishman is in Trouble, and Bad Sisters.
How about three things you can't live without?
1. That first cup of coffee (and my kids know to avoid me until I’ve had it)
2. 8 hours of sleep
3. A project to sink my teeth into. Whether it’s planning a trip, solving a problem in my business or bringing people together for an event. I am a doer!
And, because we love to ask everyone this, what's your favourite part of the Onoco app?
Working with new mothers who are navigating a return to work, I so appreciate that Onoco helps to make them feel more in sync with their childcare provider. Gone are the days of the ‘pass off’ where you get a download of when your baby last napped or how they fed that day. Moms and dads can get a complete picture of the day and vice versa so there’s no confusion. That piece of mind is priceless.
Finishing on a fun one, how would you describe your life with one movie or song?
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close 😏
You can read more about the work of The Parent Collective in Jessica's recent blog for Onoco, Managing the Increased Workload of Having a Baby.
If you'd like to know more about partnering with Onoco, please email us at email@example.com!