By Kelli Samson
We are so skilled at the very feathering of them. We coo over cribs and nursing pillows and tiny outfits and make seven-page birthing plans (Wait – you didn’t?). We agonize over the names of our kids, which must meet that “cute-but-professional-sounding” criterion.
We buy the books. We (mostly) read them.
In this age of Pinterest, there’s almost a competition for the most magazine-worthy nursery or the most adorable first birthday party.
We do all this fussing about, and somewhere we kind of get distracted from the fact that building and feathering is not exactly parenting – there are actual children who need raising.
Enter local personal and parenting coach, Emily McMason. She knows what to do once those eggs hatch and your nest is a mess of craziness and sleep-deprivation. She can step in when your hatchlings seem to want to kill one another, whether they’re toddlers or teens.
Why? Because she is a real mama of two who has been right where you are – a parent who has feathered her nest and knows just how you feel.
Evolving Parents is located in a cozy tree house of sorts, just upstairs at 208 Rogers Street NW, here in Olympia. With images of birds and nests tucked here and there, one can’t help but take a deep breath and exhale upon arrival.
Long before McMason found her calling as a personal and parenting coach, she was a Harvard-educated high school teacher. “I loved it – working with students and helping them grow into themselves,” she says.
After staying home with her children until they were in school, “it felt like an incredibly natural transition to shift from focusing on one side of the family to the other,” says McMason.
She began the transition by creating her blog, Revolving Mama, where she recounts her “up, down, around, forward of parenting” by sharing stories of her own life at home with her husband and children.
Local parenting guru Candyce Bollinger guided McMason through her own formative years as a parent, and it was Bollinger who encouraged her to become a parent coach herself.
Bolstered by the support of Bollinger and inspired by both research professor Brene Brown and coach and sociologist Martha Beck, McMason accepted the nudge.
“I went back to school to earn a graduate-level certification in Parent Coaching from Seattle Pacific University, and have gone on to complete an additional program, with course work entirely focused on childhood sleep,” explains McMason, who is now also a Parent Educator at South Puget Sound Community College.
And so began Evolving Parents.
The name has a meaningful background.
“When I was a younger adult, I kept waiting for the moment I felt ‘finished.’ And then I realized if we are really lucky, we are never done – we are always evolving. As parents we often focus on the growth of our children, not of ourselves. So, while people come to me for help with their children, it is bigger than that – it is about families and the parents who raise them,” explains McMason.
She adds, “I wanted the name to be inviting – so potential clients felt relaxed and knew that they were coming to a place to grow. No one is expected to know it all or to ever be perfect.”
The first nest for Evolving Parents was upstairs at the recently closed indoor playground establishment, Piper’s Playground. It was a natural fit for the two businesses. “I feel so lucky to have been a part of such a vibrant, positive place,” says McMason. “It was an incredible community. I met many, many wonderful parents with whom I continue to work.”
Despite the word “Parents” appearing in the name of her business – along with more than a few times in this article – McMason is also a personal coach.
“We all have issues we’d like to address – at work, with our partners, within ourselves. And when parents are successful making change with their kids at home, it gives them the energy to tackle the ‘adult stuff’ in their lives,” she explains.
The hot topics these days in the parenting world are sleep, discipline, and siblings. “I work with parents on all sorts of parenting issues, but these three arenas are so big I offer special programs for them – workbooks, online discussion groups, and specific one-on-one sessions,” says McMason.
Evolving Parents will soon be hatching a podcast, each episode focusing on a different parenting topic ranging from toilet training to curfews. McMason is also collaborating with the Hirsch Center for Integrative Medicine.
“Through their Evolve Spa (coincidentally named) they offer incredible community outreach programs. We are planning a parenting series that will begin in the fall, as well as other wonderful events,” shares McMason.
McMason is available for giving talks to parent groups at schools, book clubs, or playgroups. Her services also make an amazing gift.
Consider a new father, for example, who may benefit from a special gift, such as a series of workshops. “Many of the men in our generation are stuck between the way they were raised and the way they want to be raising their own children. In each of these weekly, 20-minute conversations, we’ll talk about what’s going on at home, and what are some great tools and perspectives they can utilize to make change,” explains McMason.
Not sure what to give the latest brand-new parent in your life? She’s got you covered there, too, with a support package.
“Each week for two months I’ll be checking in with the parents to see how they are doing and offer support and guidance. This gift option comes with three different levels, and each is a wonderful way to welcome a new baby to the world,” she says.
And, so, local parents, now you know whom to seek out when your nest is finely feathered but the real work needs to begin. You can learn more about Emily McMason’s coaching business – and read about her own nest – by visiting evolving-parents.com.