What is a Parenting mentor?
Someone, who can offer guidance and support in times of confusion, helplessness and struggle.
Someone, who can provide encouragement and tools when you want to make a different choice about the way you parent.
Who am I?
- I am a human, mother, partner, friend, learning growing being (and much more).
I am Sarah Nolden, born in Germany in 1975. I currently live in Australia (Byron Bay) with my partner and daughter. For many years Social Work was my trade. I enjoyed helping people; help themselves in different life circumstances.
When I became a mother in 2010, it got very quickly clear, that I am very passionate about raising kids in different ways, than we usually see it in the world. I started practicing Aware Parenting when Maya was a newborn and used the Parenting by Connection tools shortly after that.
Loving the tools and the way to be with children so much, I wanted to put it out in the world. I decided to make my passion into my profession. Since 2013 I am so proud and happy to be a Parenting by Connection Instructor at Hand in Hand. Currently training to become an Aware Parenting Instructor.
- I am a compassionate listener.
Listening and Compassion are at the core of this work. To hold each person right where he or she is. Not to judge, not to fix or to blame. I am here to listen to give and feel compassion and to share my experience. For over two decades I am involved in various groups where listening is at their core. I have done many therapies and am very comfortable with listening to feelings. I believe that when we are truly listened to, we are more able to find the way we want to parent. Our brain is opened to receive new and different ideas and our hearts can provide the courage to try them out.
- I am interested in your life.
I love to know more about people. I enjoy to really seeing someone without his or her armor that we put around ourselves to protect us. We need time and trust. I am open to the pain and tears, plus the happiness and celebration. I believe true connection involves all facets in life, and connection is what heals us to be truly ourselves.
- I have experience being a mother and loving it all.
I love my child and I believe we all love our children well. I have times where I enjoy being with my daughter, and wish time would stop because I am so fully present, so fully loving, so fully nourished by being a mother. I have an easeful time meeting Mayas and my needs and am comfortable to listen to whatever comes up. I use the tools in my parenting tool-box effortlessly, feel flexible and confident.
- I have experiences being a mother and having a hard time with it.
Sometimes I have a really, really hard time being a parent; I would quit the job if I could. Everything feels like hard work, its effortful and I am burned out being always wanted and needed. I then, want to be free of this unappreciated, underpaid, never-ending job of mothering or at least I want to go on a loooooooooong holiday.
- I have an interest in helping you being the parent you want to be.
I know that parenting is hard work. I know that we parents rarely get support. I know how physically and emotionally draining it can be to look after young children. I want to support you in finding strategies and recourses to find your calm loving self in the midst of a stressful family life. I want to share my experiences and my tools. How we can reach out, to meet our needs to be heard, to be seen and to be listened to. And in doing so, to heal old wounds that stand in the way of loving the entire parenting journey.
- I am passionate about helping to bring more connection, more fun and more understanding into your family life.
I love the Hand in Hand tools. I use them in my family to invite connection. I love talking about them and inspire people to try new things. I love seeing families transform old not useful pattern into aliveness and fun.
- I live these parenting approaches with my heart and soul for over five years.
This parenting journey had me stretched and let me grow. I am very grateful for all of it the pain and the joy. I am still growing and living more out of my true self.
- I love to play.
Play ahhh. It is so underestimated and it can heal so much. Not only in our children but also in ourselves. When we get playful, life can be more fun. Mothering is not as serious as we think. That’s an old paradigm. Playful discipline can replace punishment and reward systems (they not working anyway in the long run) and help children feel loved and are more likely to cooperate rather out of their inner motivation then out of fear. Limits set in a playful connected ways allow the release of pent up emotion so the child can come back into emotional balance.
- I love to feel deeply.
I feel deep. I though for a long time that feelings need to be hidden. In the years of therapy I realize that it makes me who I am. Because I feel I am alive. When I suppress the “bad” feelings I am not able to feel the “good” ones either. Feelings are our friends. When we let them flow through us, instead of stuffing them down they give us aliveness and joy. Yes, it hurts sometimes and yes, it is sometimes hard to let us be seen in them. The benefit is that we don’t need to hide them and they don’t need to hurt inside and make us sick.
- I love to be myself.
I discover more and more to love myself. It is a journey. Compassion, kindness and patience are my keys. I believe children learn from what they see and experience and not from what we teach or preach. I am doing my best, being a role model for my daughter. When I love myself I model this to her. And that is my most precious wish for her. So she can love herself no matter what.
- I love to encourage parents to be themselves.
Not every concept fits to every family. I can offer what I know. I am so happy when you can take what resonates in you and leave the rest. I want to encourage parents to try new things but not to loose themselves in what is not working for them. I know and hold this always in my heart that every parent does his or her best. And I want you to know that that is always enough!!!! I am here to support not to judge or criticise.
- I love being of service to you.
I am available for consultations via skype or phone, in person or check out one of my courses.
My personal Story
When my daughter was born in 2010, the first weeks with her were blissful. I had a water birth, which took less than 6 hours. We were easily able to establish a good breastfeeding relationship. But after10 days of being home with her the doctor told us she needed to wear a restrictive hip harness around the clock for five weeks. This was a shock for me. It triggered many painful emotions due to my own childhood experience with a hip harness. When I was 3 months old I had had to wear a harness for 6 months. I still felt traumatized by that.
Because of the harness she needed to wear nappies and clothes all the time. We could not hold her naked against our skin anymore. The harness was like a tight suit that covered half of her legs and feet as well as her whole upper body. Our baby changed immediately. She cried almost constantly. We asked if we could loosen the harness, but it was not possible. To correct her hip, she had to have her legs spread apart and her body covered.
The first days were horrendous. It felt like she did not sleep more than 15 minutes at a time, and that was only when she was in a moving car. Then I stumbled across a book in a baby shop library called The Aware Baby by Aletha Solter. She stated that tears are the healing mechanism in every human being. This was the direction we needed to help our baby through the difficult situation we were all experiencing.
We started Staylistening with our little girl right away. It just felt so right. It was so much better than rocking her, distracting her, breastfeeding her every hour, or constantly moving around.
She cried a lot, sometimes for hours in between sleeping and feeding times. I always made sure that she was comfortable, that she was not hungry, that she was dry and then I would pay attention to her while she cried in my arms, looking at her and sometimes speaking softly to her. She would mostly cry and then fall soundly asleep, waking up to cry a bit more or to gaze deeply into my eyes. Sometimes the cry would end suddenly and we had time to play a bit. It was such a gift to me to be there for her in that way. Later when the harness came off, she was still crying quite a bit. The cries were amazing, as I could mostly identify what she was working on, whether it was frustration, fear, anger or sadness. Her tone of voice or the volume would change and I was in awe that such tiny babies could express such a range of emotions. These times connected me with her deeply, and that deep connection has remained. Now, at age 4, she is a delightful child to be around most of the time. Lots of adults comment on how relaxed she is.
As I learned how to Staylisten with our child and get through that difficult time, I had a lot of help. I had a Listening Partnership as well as caring listening from an experienced counselor. When my partner would come home from work, I would go into another room and cry and cry, which helped me to find the emotional space to be able to listen well to my baby. It was training for life. I would not want to have missed this time, which was filled with so many intense feelings and so many lovely supportive people. I have been using Listening Tools often since then.
In 2013 I took the Building Emotional Understanding class in preparation for applying to be trained as an instructor. Becoming an Instructor of Parenting by Connection has been a dream come true. I am so passionate about this work and this way of being with children as well as people in general. I see such a need in the world for people to be listened to and allowed to “just be” rather than trying to find connection through “doing.” And it gives me so much joy to watch people transform their relationship with their children and become more connected and less strained and stressed.
Emotions are our friends. They are nothing to be afraid of, nothing to push away. They are not a cause for anger. Emotions are like children; they need to be heard and understood and then they can leave us and make space for more aliveness, creativity and clarity.