Our interview today is with Suzy Martyn, author of Enjoy the Ride: Tools, Tips, and Inspiration for the Most Common Parenting Challenges
FQ: When my first child was born, a grandmother promoted kissing the baby on his sweet-smelling head when I was feeling overwhelmed. Surprisingly, that little tip really helped diffuse the tension. What is the one best piece of parenting advice that helped you get through some tough spots when the girls were little?
RELAX! Especially with my first daughter, I was so nervous, so worried all the time...what if she doesn't ever learn to walk? What if I forget to teach her something and then she fails out of college because of me, on and on. Sounds silly but parents really do worry so much and sometimes take too much of the burden (and credit) when it's more about the kids and their lives/success/accomplishments/calling in life, etc. It's not so much about the parents but many times it's hard to believe or live like that is true. Only when you relax and keep things in perspective can you fully soak in the joys of all parenting was meant to be.
FQ: The wide range of topics in this book is impressive in its diversity! Were there topics that you wish you had included in Enjoy the Ride, but felt you had to leave out due to space issues?
I do have some things that I wish I had time and space to add but I will be adding them in new editions. Some of the topics requested by readers and those in my listening audience are:
-How to plan and enjoy family vacations
-How to motivate your children, give them a vision, and make use of teachable moments
-How to organize your and your children's life
-More detailed discussions on family life including scheduling, balance, and how to promote healthy relationships amongst all members of the family, including in-laws and extended family
FQ: Parenting can be unexpectedly challenging, as you point out in Enjoy the Ride. What challenges did you encounter that surprised you in their complexity?
I always thought parenting would be a breeze-that I'd never raise my voice, that I'd always have a happy household and that I would have all the answers. Although the overall tone and mood can be joyful, there are many really tough moments of parenting. Your children test your limits over and over and over again. And, you find you cannot be patient all of the time. Things don't go as you expect-sometimes better, other times worse, and yet other times, there is a total twist. But, through it all, wonderful plans unfold for each member of the family and what a privilege to get to be a part of this wonderful journey.
FQ: I feel like I got to know your daughters a little in reading this book! How are Grace, Faith and Hope these days? What parenting challenges are you coping with at this stage in their lives?
They are thriving and we are enjoying! Thanks for asking. I'm so glad you felt you got to know them a bit because the joy I have in parenting them is something I want to really convey. Faith is turning 13 next month but we actually just got done doing an early celebration for her, including totally re-decorating her room. Extreme makeover! Her nature theme with butterflies galore is "Spread Your Wings and Fly!" She has such a wonderful life ahead. I can't wait to see it unfold more and more. Ever year that I get to witness the growth and life of these precious children that I have such a short time to really have under my roof, the more I savor each moment. Even the most challenging times are part of the memory and will be treasured.
FQ: Have you considered writing another book on the challenges of the teen years as your children get older? Or do you have other child-rearing books in the works?
I am jotting things down for that teenager book, yes! I am currently also the guardian to a Korean 13-year-old girl and so I am fast experiencing parenting two teenagers! It somehow reminds me a bit of training my girls when they were going through the "terrible twos" except that their bodies are a lot bigger! (side note: Actually, now I have to wear heels next to Faith so I can avoid having to look "UP" at her!)
I also have a book devoted to sleep that is due to be released in February of 2010. In Sleep Tight, parents can have access to my proven, easy-to-apply plan for teaching your child to sleep peacefully on their own within three days. Within the pages, I share my solid plan in a very easy-to-read format with Q & A, case studies, and specific plans for every age ranging from birth to 4 years.
In the works are also a multitude of books on topics such as discipline, responsibility, and nutrition. Also, I am working on a children's book series as a companion to my first book, Enjoy the Ride.
FQ: Can you tell our readers about your online resources for parents, so they can continue to turn to you for updated advice?