Hi. I’m Jennifer.
Welcome to Live Through the Heart, the companion website to my first book, “Excerpts from the Heart of a Mom.” This blog is about coming together to share personal life experiences that inspire awareness in our daily lives. Through writing and poignant photography, I want to share life coaching skills with readers to encourage them to embrace their own life’s journey.
MY CONSCIOUS LIFE
Who am I? To one, I’m a mother. To others, I’m an author. Everyday, I look to live my life in a conscientious way, and strive to help others live a conscious life, too.
In my first book, Excerpts from the Heart of a Mom, readers are invited into my personal life and parenting journey, while learning fundamental insights to a conscious approach to parenting. These insights can be applied to all parenting styles and lead us to a deeper connection with our children.
DO I QUALIFY…? The Unfunny Reality
Born and raised in Rockland County, NY, I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Dominican College, and a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from New York University. I have also received certification in life coaching.
Over the years, I have worked as a rape crisis counselor, provided therapy for struggling families, and helped those dependent on drug and alcohol. My experience included dealing with trauma in the Emergency Room as a social worker, working in that field for more than five years both in New York and Southern California.
Currently seated on the Board of Trustees for the non-profit organization, Olive Crest, I assist in the mandate toward building strong families and keeping children safe.
MOM FOR LIFE
My all-time favorite pastime is hanging out with my son. In addition to enjoying life with my little guy, I’m a fitness fanatic, a passionate poetry writer, and love to travel to intriguing locales whenever possible.
To relax and maintain a focused center, I began taking yoga, evolving that passion into certification as a yoga instructor. I still enjoy practicing on a daily basis.
My personal growth is regularly challenged through meditation, facing my fears, and helping others.
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Q&A with Jennifer Laurent
We sat down over coffee with Jennifer Laurent, author of “Excepts from the Heart of a Mom”, to share stories about her parenting style, and the concepts, principles and philosophies that every parent can apply.
WHAT IS CONSCIOUS PARENTING?
I define conscious parenting as parenting with awareness. It is about taking the necessary steps in your own life that will allow you to be present with your children. Conscious parenting opens your heart and mind to truly understand the reasons why you parent the way you do. It involves making choices instead of parenting out of habit.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE AS A CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER.
I became a social worker because I wanted to save the world. I have always been the type of individual who is sensitive and can feel the pain of others. I have always wanted to make a difference in other’s lives and to inspire change.
My experience in social work provided me the opportunity to truly connect with a variety of individuals and situations that span our world. I worked dying and disabled children and their families, drug and alcohol addiction, trauma, and family crisis to name a few. I am grateful to have obtained invaluable wisdom through connecting with others as a social worker.
WHERE DID YOU SERVE AS A SOCIAL WORKER?
I worked at Blythedale Children’s Hospital for about a year during my Clinical Social Work Training. The following year I served at Pelham Family Counselling Center. I also worked at Palomar Pomerado Hospital and at Serenity House.
WHAT HAVE BEEN SOME OF YOUR MOST MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES THAT IMPACTED THE WAY YOU LIVE CONSCIOUSLY?
I can remember speaking with another social worker who was in the field for over 20 years. We were discussing a patient who was homeless and had issues with alcohol and drug addiction. This patient would continuously return to the hospital for help. I was doing everything in my power to get this man the help he needed.
My co-worker couldn’t understand why I was working so hard to help a person that never actually followed through. The patient continued to return to the hospital, usually worse off than the time before. My co-worker told me I should stop wasting my time.
It was in that instant that I truly understood the importance of being present in the moment. I was looking at what was right in front of me, and understood I have to be conscious of the individual without my own beliefs, habits, or judgments to cloud my vision.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT FACTORS TO BEING A GOOD PARENT?
1) Being present in the moment so that we can consciously be making choices.
2) A willingness to be vulnerable with our children.
3) Allowing our children to be who they are, as opposed to an image we have of them.
IS IT EVER TOO LATE TO START IMPLEMENTING THESE ELEMENTS WITH YOUR CHILDREN?
Absolutely not! It is never to late to begin something and make a change. Each and every one of us has this very moment to transform and create our families in a way we desire them to be. At first, it may feel awkward, and our children may be confused, but we have to start somewhere. In the end, our children will appreciate the effort, and you will be able to find the peace, fulfillment, and joy that parenting has to offer.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ARE SOME COMMON “MISTAKES” THAT WELL-MEANING PARENTS OFTEN MAKE?
I once worked with a family that was truly in crisis with an 8-year-old child who was battling a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He was constantly filled with an intense anxiety. What I remember most about this particular child was how much his parents loved him and were doing their best to help him. Yet, they were at a complete loss.
Over time, as I observed the family, it became shockingly obvious that the child was simply displaying the symptoms of the family unit as a whole. All of the anxiety, fear, and frustration of both parents was being shouldered by the child and exhibited through obsessive-compulsive behaviors. The parents were completely unaware of their role in their son’s condition. The lack of consciousness exhibited within this family had obvious repercussions, and underscores the need for parents to be mindful of their negative emotions so their children do not absorb them.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR NEW PARENTS TO HELP THEM CONSCIOUSLY CONNECT WITH THEIR CHILDREN?
I would suggest to new parents that they do their best to tune everyone else out around them. When we become new parents, everybody has advice for us and they are more than willing to tell it to us. All of these outside voices can cloud our instincts, the voice in our heart, leaving us to feel confused and even cause you to parent in a way that might not be right for you and your child. Make the attempt to focus on your child and your inner self, which leads us to where the answers can be found.
WHAT WORDS OF WISDOM CAN YOU IMPART ON STRESSED-OUT AND OVER-WORKED PARENTS?
First of all, I want to say that we never actually fall short. We may feel that way, and tell ourselves that we are not good enough, but we are.
Each and every one of us is good enough. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others or judging ourselves based on what we see. I would suggest that over–stressed moms and dads should take time to focus on what is really important to them. Moms and dads should simplify the demands they impress upon themselves.
For example, having a sparkling clean house is truly not a factor in family happiness. I think we add more stress to ourselves by piling on all these things we think are necessary, but in reality, are not. It’s the moments spent laughing, talking, cuddling, sharing, and growing that will matter in our families. Get rid of the unnecessary and focus on what matters. This can take some time and shifting on a parent’s part. Believe me, I know. Not having a clean house can drive me crazy, but I have learned that if I have to choose between the clutter or missing time with my son, I’ll always accept the clutter. We need to simply look at the other areas in our lives where this same theory applies.