Why am I passionate about helping committed parents raise happy children and happy future adults?
One evening, when I was about 7 years old, I was chatting with my mother in my parents' bedroom.
My father came in and said, "What's Spooky doing here?"
That name made me feel like a ghostly none-thing, barely there.
Then he turned to me and said: "Oona, you were a mistake… Mummy was furious when she found out she was pregnant with you.”
I reeled - and drew my knees to my chest, trying hard to disappear.
In that moment I decided I was very, very wrong. The only thing I could do was to work hard not to make any more huge errors, to add to the error of my existence.
So, I tried to look pretty, sucking in my round cheeks in the mirror.
I tried to be quiet, but not too quiet, or I'd be told I was mumbling.
I remember, at the age of 12, standing on the upstairs landing in our London home. I felt as if I had a stone in my stomach. I was crying - dreading going back to boarding school later that day.
My mum called up, telling me off for behaving like her mother - who was mentally ill and spent her life worrying about the future, instead of enjoying herself.
In that moment I felt so utterly, utterly alone. I'd have to go back to my dorm later - and no-one understood. There was no escape from that stone in my stomach. No escape from mummy-ache.
A couple of years later, we visited my Great Aunty Bunty, who lived in a farmhouse in Ireland.
“Come in! Come in!”
We sat down at her kitchen table, piled high with cake and scones, as she stood there, smiling and pouring out tea and love in equal measure.
As I basked in her smiles and loving attention, a sensation of safety and excitement bubbled up in me. It was a new feeling which said:
It’s ok to be me, after all.
As we got in the car to leave that day, I made a decision:
I was going to be kind like her, and go around creating safe harbours so everyone can feel:
It's ok to be me.
I did well at school and I got my 2:1 from Oxford. My friends went off to their jobs in publishing and media.
It was time to start my kindness project.
I became a teacher, then a storyteller.
Then, joy of joys, I had my own child. That gave me acres of room to practice kindness!
I didn't always get it right. At the age of 5 my son hit me with his building planks - and wouldn't stop. I completely lost it, throwing the planks out of the back door.
Clearly I hadn’t quite mastered kindness yet.
Then... I met some wise women whose understanding of kindness made every cell in my body flip. I wanted to learn it from them.
So I did! I trained with them in various European capitals, drinking in their decades of research and experience.
During this training, I felt as if I had found the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow.
I wanted parents around the world to have access to this knowledge.
It would lead to not only happy families everywhere - but also a more peaceful world.
So - inspired by the wise women - I led parent-child groups for more than a decade, practising kindness and sharing insights with hundreds of families.
At home I changed, too.
We had happy school runs, mealtimes, bedtimes… hugs and laughter… he told me everything. (We still have a fantastic relationship - he's 17 now.)
I became the mum I want to be - not perfect but kind, happy, confident and able to provide my son with the safety and consistency he needed.
On the journey to kindness I came to understand what a 3 year old with mummy-ache is really feeling.
I developed laser vision for why a 6 year old is lashing out at their sibling 'out of the blue'.
I understood how to help a bolshy 9 year old have the loving relationship with her parents that deep down she's longing for.
With me, parents were learning how to courageously hold space for their children's aches, rages and fears.
They healed their own wounds - and the joy when they realised they'd actually become the grounded, loving leaders their children needed.
No more carbon copies of their own upbringing.
I listened to my own pain, too. I started the process of wrapping my arms kindly around myself, giving old wounds space, time and attention.
Now I can truly say, I have become my own safe harbour and, while I'm not perfect, I know: it’s ok to be me.
“There’s something magical about you. I’m unlocking things from inside.”
Sally Mesner-Lyons, London
Imagine no longer lying awake at night, worrying about how it went with the children.
Imagine no longer saying to yourself “You're no good at this. This shouldn’t be happening.”
Imagine instead enjoying each moment with your children.
Feeling comfortable at the school gates.
And being in your body, where your children are - playful, light, happy and accepting.
They feel: “Whatever I do, I feel loved. Whatever my parents say, I feel their love. We have fun together. Even when they say ‘No’, I feel loved. They understand me. So I know it’s ok to me me.”
Imagine for a moment:
A world where all parents and all children feel: “It’s ok to be me.”
Because they’ve discovered the power of kindness.
I want that world.
You and your children being who you truly are.
It’s ok to be me.
Do you want this world too?
Would you like to find out how to make a start, with your own chidlren?
My free guide will show you, step by step, how to create the magic of a happy, connected family.
Fill in this form and my guide, Solve the Struggle with Your Kids, will be with you in seconds.
Solve the Struggle with Your Kids
Discover the 6 wise and loving parenting powers you need to have a happy, loving family.
By signing up you're agreeing to receive the guide and my newsletter, with useful articles and resources, news
The Official Bit:
- 25 years guiding hundreds of families as a speaker, coach, mentor, teacher, family-learning leader, storyteller and parent-and-child-group leader;
- Pikler expert;
- Parent educator: the Nurturing Programme;
- Certified Clear Beliefs Coach;
- Voice Dialogue Facilitator;
- Early Years Professional Status: Postgraduate qualification;
- Co-founder of the Pikler UK Association;
- BA Oxford University;
- Diploma in Waldorf/Steiner Education.