You Don't Need to Be a Perfect Parent to Raise Happy, Resilient Kids

Meet my grandmother, Ursula. The day that Ursula died, was the day that I began devising a new way to support mothers to remain empowered, and aligned with their own true north, despite living in a culture that often doesn't encourage it.  

It was 2020, and the week that the  pandemic took hold in Australia. Ursula was turning 98 — her birthday strangely ended up being the last day she was consciously present with us.

For ten days she lay still, breathing but not opening her eyes. No food, no water, no drip, no morphene. Eventually, when she was finally left on her own in the room for long enough, she quietly farewelled her earthly experience and died with great dignity.

I sat with her for much of that week, as her eldest grandchild, and the continuation of her maternal line. She was the eldest woman in her family, her daughter (my mother) was also the eldest woman, and then I was the next in that line. It seemed appropriate for me to sit beside her for this changing of states.

In a way, it initiated a kind of personal quest. Perhaps fueled by a fire that had burned within me for quite some time, but when Ursula left the building, it grew. 

In the following weeks, I began training, planning, and assembling the tools needed to serve women and mothers in a new way. The first iteration of the 'Soul Mama Academy' was born when a handful of women, some friends, and some local acquaintances, believed in this idea that we could do motherhood differently - together. 

The question of 'how can we make peace with our desire for more, even when we love our children, without the ever-present mum-guilt' formed the basis of a program to bring women together and learn new ways to thrive, rather than barely survive, in modern motherhood.

The statistics around maternal mental health, combined with the numbers of women being injured or even killed from intimate partner violence, and the numbers of mothers who do not survive it by choosing to end their own lives quite frankly are alarming, intolerable, and unacceptable.

Am I the only one who sees a link here? I strongly believe we need to come together, and support each other to do this whole thing another way. 

This entire experiment has been loosely based on a concept that Ursula embodied - you don't have to be a perfect parent to have happy, resilient kids. Perfection is highly over-rated in our society, and yet somehow has come to sit right there beneath many of our ideals, subtly influencing us to feel like we are never ENOUGH.

It's just not true — even detrimental — and leaves many women with a sense that they need to tough it out, or battle on through adversity, without showing vulnerability or asking for help. 

These are potent and powerful issues, and to this day, I'm still asking questions of them whilst remaining curious as to how each woman might answer them. 

Over the last 3 years, we have had some incredible guests come in and join the conversation in our community, sharing tools with us that we add to our personal, self-development tool kits. 

 - Joree Rose, US-based mindfulness expert has shared ways for us to embed buddhist principles and mindfulness techniques that support us through challenge or grief. 

- Lael Stone, Aware Parenting practitioner and Public Figure, came and spoke about how she navigated her trauma to be there in a new way for her family, and now widely supports others to do the same. 

- Several EFT Tapping practitioners have shared their practices to calm the nervous system and clear the mind.  

- Nancy Valentine Smith gave us wonderful insights into spiritual support and protection for children having big feelings. 

We've had money mindset sessions, yoga nidra sessions and, perhaps best of all, we have supported each other through it all. 

As a group of women committed to self-mastery and aligning our lifestyles, parenting and our work with our most authentic and purposeful ideals, we've had deep and real conversations. 

Members hail from Thailand, to the UK, Australia to the US. And our small, yet mighty evolving cohort has been a touchstone, month in, month out. 

I want to thank you Ursula, for planting this seed. As I got to know you better in your later years, you were an inspiration - you worked your whole life, had three kids, a successful marriage, and displayed a determined generosity of spirit, despite the tragedies in your past. You were fantastic with your boundaries, and an excellent listener. Your curiosity and love of people have stayed with me and carried through into this experience - they inform how I serve the women I work with today. 

Celebrating 3 years since founding the Soul Mama VIP community (as it is now called) and the creation of the LionLife Roadmap, I feel so honoured to stand beside these incredible women as they find their biggest, boldest path to true authentic living. 

With huge love, I am so grateful to facilitate this with you all! 



This is original writing from the desk of Alena Turley
Speaker, Somatic Practitioner, Student of the Human Experience

ps. Here are a few ways you can work with me and stay connected. 

1. Get the bitesized guide — 3 Secrets to Healing Depletion, here.  
2. Join our soulful women's community here.
3. Book a time to have a chat with me here.

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Respectfully created on the Land of the Saltwater People, long recognised as a place of learning, gathering, and healing.