Michelle Gambs — a SwellWomen if we’ve ever seen one! Michelle Gambs is a parenting coach and private practice psychotherapist with a masters degree in counseling. She calls herself a Hoosier Texan as she has spent her childhood in Indiana with a degree from Notre Dame, and ten years of her adulthood as a Texan. Read her story below!
WHAT’S THE STORY BEHIND YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS?
When our daughter was one, my husband thought that it would be a good idea for us to take a parenting class. I was so moved by the material, that I began my mission to bring it back to Indiana from Houston, teach it, and be a resource for the community while raising my two children. We parents do what we do because we are out of ideas and when we learn something else, we DO something else! I want to share with as many people out there that are open to new ideas that there are peaceful ways, kind and firm ways to navigate the daily interactions with children. Really, I teach about human relationships as it can all be applied to partners, employees, even dogs!Those kids? They are now 22 and 20…so mission accomplished! Now I am shifting from being a local resource for parents to a more global one.
Launched ParentED the podcast in 2018 and am quite proud of that baby as well! The transition to becoming available and “findable”in a more virtual and online form has been both a learning curve for me and an exercise in courage! So much of my work has been in a private setting and in order to reach all of you out there, I am welcoming the openness that is required by doing videos for instagram and you tube. Remind myself often that love is greater than fear!
WHAT KEEPS YOU INSPIRED AND GIVES YOU BLISS?
Challenging myself and experiencing the delight and fear dance that that process brings. Be that in a physical new challenge (surfing) or a professional one(book and podcast)! There are MANY moments where life has invited me to jump off a figurative cliff into the unknown. I trust that jump now in deeper ways than ever. Women inspire me again and again in ways big and small. Their ability to manage the buckets in life and do it with humanity, patience, adventure and abiding love. And, I have found some men like this too! 🙂
Nature is an autocorrect for me. All that I need to do is place myself physically in it. It does the job: inspiration and bliss!
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO SHARE WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS AND CLIENTS?
My intention is to give parents hope and permission.
Permission to be human and imperfect and exactly where they are. I want EVERY parent to know this and have even written a book about it, coming in 2019: in every situation with your child, you have A-D options. A is the best case, textbook scenario should you have the time, patience, resources. B is the good enough option given the context of ALL that is going on. C is do no harm: walk away, say nothing, take care of yourself, breathe, walk outside. And D is harm: spank, yell, shame, guilt, humiliate. The permission? Just steer clear of D and you are doing a bang up/PERFECT job as a mom or dad!:) And, this applies to the rest of your life as well. Just don’t do D = perfect parent. Ahhhhhhh, can you hear the relief? Can you feel the relief? And then comes the hope…
Hope that now that they are ready and asking for more, I provide them with alternative strategies to implement that make each day smoother, more joyful, and with greater connection, understanding and even respect for their child! I give them the “As” to upload to their crowded minds so that in the moments where the patience, time, sleep are there, A is a possibility.
Hope. Peace. It seems that those are the gifts that are imparted and that clients leave with a lighter step. That lighter step then trickles to those beautiful children. A wise man observed many years ago that the people who benefit most from what I do, I never meet…
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE TRAVEL AND/OR RETREAT MEMORY? WHAT WAS IT?
SWELLWOMEN provided one of them for me. As a therapist and parenting coach, I encourage parents to plan an activity with each other when their children leave the house and we are left to face the empty nest. It is helpful to go enjoy yourselves before coming back to face the new space and the emotions that must be felt and moved through. SO, here I was facing that very situation as my youngest went to college and I was on my own as the marriage was” complete” the previous year. I asked myself what was something that I had always wanted to do? SURF SCHOOL. I had coveted a paper for years describing a surf school for women that said: we make girls out of women. I wanted to be that girl. SO, I joined the all female SWELLWOMEN group in Maui and felt the BLISS. And BLISS it is for me. Surfing. We were warrior surfer goddesses! All nature, all body experience, joy, delight, fear, agony, and paddle back out for MORE of it! I am hooked. And have since taken that new skill, packed it up and took it out in Byron Bay Australia. I am hooked. And I look forward to a lifetime of it…even though I currently live in Indiana. A surfing, yogi, paddle-boarding, traveling tea snob, parenting coach, momma of two beautiful young people…all that and much more….aren’t we all?