I can still remember the totally helpless feeling of being a first-time mother with a screaming baby in my arms. Every sense in my body reacted to those cries. Was she hungry? Was her diaper wet for the millionth time? Was this not the way she liked to be bounced last night? Was she getting sick? Every tip and trick that I’d read in all those baby books flashed through my mind, but I was so sleep deprived that I couldn’t seem to think clearly. I was four hours away from my mother and oldest sister, who would undoubtedly know what I was supposed to be doing…
Some mothers are lucky enough to have a huge community of support around them from the get-go. And others have to work hard to find one, either because they move to a new place or perhaps they are the first one of their friends to take the plunge into motherhood. I would imagine that every mom has had a moment of confusion, frustration, exhaustion, and despair all wrapped up into one. But I would also bet that if any mom felt that her (ever-so-slight) victory over that moment could be of help to a friend, she would share it in all its ugly truth. So to all of my ACMB friends, I must now share with you a story of someone who helped me tackle a hard situation and made me a stronger mom because of it.
Recently, I found out that one of my very own friends has a secret identity I was clueless about. Over the years, she has come out of the shadows of motherhood to swoop in and save the day for many a family, only to resume her normal life without any fanfare. A newborn’s desperate mother may have called her, racked with guilt that she cannot figure out how to get her baby to sleep. A mom struggling with a child’s discipline issues may have reached out. Knowing that they can turn to someone with their most intimate issues and trust that she will listen and offer non-judgmental help can make a world of difference.
Her name is Stacy Bullock, and she has three children of her own. Though her resume is packed with achievements and a broad spectrum of people she has served (master’s degree in education, former teacher for special education students, ran a shelter for women and children in crisis, and more!), what I find most compelling about Stacy is how personable and trustworthy she is. Over the years, as she navigated the difficult road of parenting, she found that her advice and expertise was a valuable resource to those in her network. The joy of helping a family settle into a happy routine and conquer challenging stages was what led her to officially found SoReal Coaching & Consulting. She is like a mom superhero whom you can call up in your time of need! Here’s how a few of her clients describe the impact of working with Stacy:
“I was a completely overwhelmed new mom to our first child, who would not sleep. We are a military family, so we were living in a small town in Georgia that didn’t have many resources to get any kind of help. Whatever we did, we could not get Trace to sleep! After a dozen books and more than half a year of sleep deprivation, I just needed someone to tell me what to do, and to offer support and answer questions. Stacy was our miracle worker! Within a few days, we had a whole new happy, sleeping baby and a much more rested mama. She would text me to check in and answer any questions, which I really appreciated. I enjoyed working with Stacy so much that I contacted her again many more times. Our chats included helping me set up a daily and weekly schedule to create some balance with my new life, and in the toddler years, transitioning from the crib to toddler bed, toddler sleep issues (thanks, kid!), and discipline and behavior help. I’ve always been amazed that no matter what I throw at her, she always knows what to do! Plus, she thinks of every scenario. For example, ‘If A doesn’t work, try B or C.’ Almost four years later and across the country, we welcomed a baby girl to our family, and sure enough, we’ve been using Stacy all over again! Stacy has been such a huge part of my motherhood journey, and I’m thankful to be able to have her wisdom and encouragement, no matter where we may be stationed and no matter the situation.” —Lauren M.“Stacy has been a good friend of mine for many years, and when I had my baby girl, she literally saved my sanity! She was a calm voice of reason when I was totally unsure how to tackle my baby’s sleeping and eating problems. I distinctly remember calling her one day after not sleeping for at least three days and asking her what I should do. She gave me a plan and told me exactly what she would do and why, but at the same time respected my boundaries and ideas of how I wanted to parent. Just knowing that Stacy had been through what I was suffering through with all three of her kids, gave me a sense of connection and confidence in her advice. All of Stacy’s children are a testament to her incredible mothering skills coupled with an awareness of what children need at different developmental stages.” —Renata G.
From my own personal experience, Stacy is a kind and empathetic listener. I told her how many conflicting pieces of advice I had read about how to handle our son’s temper issues. One website said to ignore any outbursts, and another one said to stay with your child and help them identify their specific emotions. One book said to be stern and not let your child run your household, but another one suggested that you not show any emotions or even raise your voice. I confided in Stacy that I had a few regrettable moments when I had yelled and disciplined him out of anger and had to apologize to him afterwards. We had a long discussion about how to handle those moments going forward, and the most valuable piece of advice she gave me was to acknowledge the behavior that you want more of. We are trying to make a habit of praising him for days when he has a long stretch of good manners at both school and home, and we have seen some significant improvement over the last three or four months. Her reassurance that we were handling things in a positive and calm way made me feel understood and optimistic about future incidents.
If you are a mom who needs the support of someone with years of experience and wisdom, there is no shame in calling a professional. We all have friends (and even total strangers on the internet!) who are willing to give us advice on how to raise our kids, but it can feel overwhelming to really make changes at home. You can find a list of the many services that Stacy helps with on her website, or you can also find her on Facebook. You can even choose to do FaceTime or phone sessions if you have a busy schedule! Like any great superhero, Stacy can come to your rescue when your strength is almost gone and leave you with a new hope for tomorrow. Take it from me, a mom of three who still doesn’t have it all figured out!