Reflecting on Motherhood with Parental Intelligence: A Letter to Myself

Welcome to the June 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Talking to Yourself

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written letters to themselves. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


Book CoverLaurie’s new book,

Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior,

will be released Oct. 13,2015.

Dear Laurie,

As a new mother, you knew that you were preoccupied with caring for your baby as your first priority. When your second son was born that focus didn’t change, not even when you began going back to school and working. Although you didn’t have the concept of Parental Intelligence formed yet in your mind, you were building its principles as the boys grew. You listened attentively to what they had to say, were involved in their interests, didn’t judge their ideas and opinions, and loved being with them as much as possible and as much as they wanted, respecting their individuality and developing autonomy.
As they grew, you didn’t really discuss behavior in a direct way. You modeled it and they followed. They became polite and engaging, each with their own style.

You discovered that they thought about your feelings just as you were always keen on recognizing theirs.
You found a great delight in understanding how their minds were working at different ages. You liked learning how they went about thinking things through. Although you had been an elementary school teacher before they were born and became a psychoanalyst as they were growing up, for them you were determined just to be their mother.
You shared parenting with your husband, and set the tone together. He added his interest in the natural world expanding their horizons. He enjoyed building things, something you couldn’t have given them. We were both avid readers, interested in sculpture and painting, had intellectual aspirations, and they incorporated that love of  learning in their daily lives.
But when it came to emotional situations, we never punished—really, not ever. We talked and explained our points of view but clearly always attended to their vantage points,too. As they grew older and we grew older, with my husband we discussed more and more what we wished for them and did all we could to support their individual hopes and dreams emotionally and practically.
My thoughts are returning once again to when they were younger. I remember so thoroughly enjoying how creative the boys were together making videos, interviewing each other, spending lots of time building things, and reading. I know it sounds unusual, but I never told them to do their homework. I was in school, too. I got my PhD while they were in high school. So learning and homework was just part of our everyday life. When they needed help with an assignment it was very natural for them to ask for help and I learned subjects (like math theory), so I could help them with it.


I am thinking of the pleasure they gave and give to my life. As they developed their own interests as they got older, I learned a lot I would never have been exposed to without them. Their interests in computers, movies, history, politics, and literature still astound me. I watched as they chose their different career paths and continually took on new challenges.
Socially, when they were young and as they grew older, I remember being involved in making sure they were choosing friends who could be as good to them as they were to others. I didn’t make any choices for them, but kept a watchful eye. If they felt liked and cared about, I felt good. If they felt disheartened, so did I. But I tried to be supportive, never critical, and let them know how I trusted their judgments and had great faith in their decisions. The way they came to me to confide their social questions, reinforced my hope that I was doing things right.
parent-intel2Now I have the concept of Parental Intelligence after decades of mothering and my professional experience. I know how important it is to follow the five steps: (1) Step Back and review a situation before jumping in to change or correct it; (2) Self-Reflect and monitor my own reactions, so they don’t lead me to misinterpret a situation or behavior; (3) Understand My Child’s Mind by respecting how they think and process the world in their own way; (4) Understand My Child’s Development by realizing that my expectations have to match what they are capable of understanding at different ages; and (5) Problem Solve together with them looking for underlying features of what they and I might be struggling with. Those are the five steps of Parental Intelligence that evolved with time as I grew as a mother.


My evolution of mothering has its challenges: I balanced work and home; involvement and letting go; loving and being loved. I also discovered that parenting is for a life time; it continues after they leave home.

IMG_0662The bonds we hold grow stronger as we all keep on growing up and we are there for each other. Sometimes the tables turn and they show me with their faces and words how they enjoy my successes and validate me frequently just as I’ve done and will continue to do for them.

There is no greater joy for me than being a mother. It’s like the wonder of a rainbow that flows across the sky.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!


  • Dear Me. — Meegs at A New Day writes to her decade-younger self offering a good reminder of how far she’s come, and she addresses some fears she wishes future her could assuage.
  • Reflecting on Motherhood with Parental Intelligence: A Letter to Myself — Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. at Parental Intelligence writes about raising her two loving, empathic sons with Parental Intelligence and finding they have become industrious, accomplished young men with warm social relationships.
  • A Letter to MyselfThe Barefoot Mama writes to herself in the moments around the birth of her daughter.
  • A Letter to Myself
  • Dear me: Nothing will go the way you’ve planned — Lauren at Hobo Mama gets real with her just-starting-parenting self and tells it to her straight.
  • A Letter to the Mama Whom I Will Become — Erin from And Now, for Something Completely Different writes a letter to the Mama whom she will one day be, filled with musings on the past, present, and future.
  • Dear Me of 7 Years Ago — Lactating Girl at The Adventures of Lactating Girl writes to her pre-baby self telling her about the whirlwind she’s about to enter called parenting.
  • Talking to My 18 Year Old SelfHannahandHorn talks to herself as she is just entering college.
  • Dear highly sensitive soulMarija Smits tells a younger version of herself that motherhood will bring unexpected benefits – one of them being the realization that she is a highly sensitive person.
  • Talking to myself: Dear Pre StoneageparentStoneageparent enlightens her pre-pregnant self about the amazing transformations life has in store for her after having two children
  • Dear Me: I love you. — Dionna at Code Name: Mama wrote herself a few little reminders to help her be at peace with who she is in the moment. That may give her the greatest chance of being at peace in the future, too.
  • My best advice to the new mama I was 8 years ago — Tat at Mum in Search shares the one thing she wishes she’d figured out earlier in a letter to her 8-years-ago self (that’s when her first baby was 6 moths old).
  • A Letter to Myself — Bibi at The Conscious Doer sends a letter back in time eight years to her darkest moment post partum.
  • To me, with love — Jessica at Crunchy-Chewy Mama makes peace with her past and projects what a future her will need to hear.
  • To Myself on the Last Day — Rachael at The Variegated Life tells her panicked last-day-before-motherhood self not to worry.