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Meet Mary Van Geffen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mary Van Geffen.

Hi Mary, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I started coaching parents in 2011 – a few years after I first hit a wall in my parenting journey.

Before that, when my kids were 2 and 4, I was drowning. I was being bested by a 4-year-old boss baby. The constant conflict and power struggles sent me on a crusade to get her an official diagnosis. Some string of letters from a professional to explain her defiance, persistence, and intensity. I would have been happy with ADHD, ODD, OCD – anything!

I dragged her to a play therapist who saw her for a session or 2 before inviting me to come alone. Of course! I thought. The therapist wants to talk to me about my little sociopath so we can devise a plan to keep her out of jail.

Instead, I ended up going back to the therapist again and again. For two years. Turns out, I’m the one with ADHD and am a Highly Sensitive Person, traits I used to be ashamed of but now count as my superpowers.

The chaos in our family wasn’t just because my kid was a professional boundary pusher. Much of the negativity was from the leftover hurts of my own back story. How I was parented when I was little was getting in the way of me parenting well. It transformed our relationship when I unpacked and processed my past.

Now I love that I get to make my living helping other moms go from overwhelmed to confident in their relationship with their children.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Heck yes! Parenting wasn’t common sense for me, especially not the gentle conscious relationship I desperately wanted to create. But it got a whole lot easier once I did the work to understand myself and the approach I needed to take to lead a spirited child.

Along the way, I took child development courses and attended multiple parenting classes. I was able to build up my self-regulation skills and learn communication techniques for increasing cooperation and connection with a strong-willed child.

Eventually, I got certified as a Simplicity Parenting Counselor® and then earned my accreditation as a Professional Co-Active Coach®.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
I am an international parenting coach for overwhelmed moms of strong-willed & spicy children. I have a ministry on Instagram where I post parenting tips and inspiration every day.

Just reading my daily posts will help you delight in your child and remember that you are enough. Watch out! Once a mom realizes how hard she is on herself and cracks the door open for some self-compassion, her entire family is bathed in light!

I offer all kinds of recorded and live digital classes. My signature course opens up twice a year. It’s a transformative 8-week group program called Moms of Spicy Ones™ designed to build your parenting confidence and skills at connecting and setting boundaries. You can parent your challenging child with more respect and gentleness than your mom was ever able to do.

Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
If you are trying to build a business on Instagram, know that real growth happens when you stop trying to be like everyone else. Using trending audio is fun but it wasn’t until I began filming original content and being my completely goofy quirky nurturing self that my account doubled its followers. Now 43,000 people tune in for parenting support!

Don’t wade into entrepreneurship alone. You don’t have to be good at everything. As for me. I can coach and brainstorm content and be on camera all day. But I’m trash at the boring but important work of planning, financial recording and digital course platform building. So I hired two amazing women (Jill and Rachel) with very different personalities and strengths from me. They counterbalance my wackiness and bring a structure and process to the business that I just don’t have within me.

If you are just getting started in parenting, take the time to discover your personal values and what being a successful parent looks like to you. So many people are just reacting to the stressors of family life without holding an overriding vision for who they want to be.


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