Inspiring parents in our community: Lauren Raymond
Today we get to interview the amazing Lauren Raymond, a teacher and joy coach who lives in the Roaring Fork Valley. We talk parenting, navigating joy pressures as a family, and how Lauren became a podcaster with her husband and kids!
So, Lauren, can you introduce yourself?
Lauren: Well, to start my name is Lauren. I grew up outside of Denver and started teaching right after college. First I was in the Douglas County school district then my husband and I moved up to Avon. At that time I transitioned to being a teaching coach in Edwards. I had my daughter in 2008 and my son in 2011. By that time I was ready to take a break from teaching – which worked out because my son was born with a medical condition that required a lot of attention at birth.
That must have been hard!
Lauren: Yes, he had an undiagnosed TEF which required surgical repair and he spent his first month at PSL in Denver with a feeding tube. I was looking for support in my life at that time and I needed something other than teaching so that’s when I transitioned to health coaching.
And is that how you transitioned to Joy Coaching?
Lauren: It was in 2015 when we moved to Basalt. I wasn’t ready to go back to teaching full time so I hired a “passion coach” to help me find my purpose. And then that is when all the Joy came out! I started taking parenting classes and learned how to find joy within yourself, as a parent and as a partner. I started coaching privately and teaching classes locally but then with the pandemic I had to put those to the side.
The pandemic made a lot of people re-evaluate how they wanted to work and be in the world.
Lauren: Yes. I actually self-published a book (“I Lost My Dad to ALS and How I Found Joy 30 Years Later.”) and started a podcast! The podcast is with my husband and children and started with talking about real life situations and how we navigate them joyfully. We use the time to reflect on how we interact. We also discuss general topics – like how to use music to bring joy into our lives.
That is incredible! It is such an opportunity to have the space to discuss scenarios with your partner or children in a safe space like that.
Lauren: As a parent it is important to reflect on interactions and look at patterns and behaviors to try and not repeat cycles. As parents we really play a role in how our children grow and respond to situations. So as parents we can work on how we make our reactions more joyful and positive! For us, navigating the teen and tween years we have to find a balance between bringing humor and respecting their emotions.
The teen and tween years are hard. The trickiness of joy at that age is that it can be so external – they see value in what their peers value – how do you teach finding internal joy?
Lauren: That is such a good question. My younger child puts a lot of pressure on himself. For his sister, we used a lot of self-talk. I also think just being there and talking to your child helps a lot. Or holding space to be there when they are ready to talk. And you can ask them “what is taking the joy away?” As parents we aren’t necessarily there to solve the problem. But being there and sharing their world at that moment and validating their feelings – that is powerful. Don’t minimize the problem. You want to teach them it is okay to have feelings and that they also have tools to alleviate them.
That is so powerful, to just sit with them as an ally. What about the daily moments, how do you cultivate joy?
Lauren: We do a lot of music, a lot of games, we bring humor. When my children were smaller on the way to school I would have them look out the window and find five things they were grateful for before we got to school. We also dance a lot! My son does a joy dance. When people are upset he’ll just yell “let’s do the joy dance” and it helps! Movement drains the negative energy. We also do a gratitude jar. Also for those things that are tasks or chores (we call them joy pressures) we have lists and expectations so it is not a surprise or I don’t have to nag which takes the joy away from everyone!
And finally, how do you make joy for yourself as a parent?
Lauren: Being with my kids present in the moment is first and foremost. Time goes so fast so I don’t want to look back and feel like I missed something!