A bit about me
My name is Bethany, and I like to be called either Bethany or B. Let me first say when it comes to being a parent you have to know yourself quite well, and I’m not talking in the biblical sense. I’m talking about the whole self...all those bits and pieces that makeup who you are...emotionally, physically, spiritually and your intellectual capacity (it’s important to know your limits and/or your need to apply yourself a little harder to achieve a lot more).
No individual on this planet is uni-dimensional. What I mean is that we are made up of many feelings and emotions, and unlike characters on television or in the movies, people in real life are bloody complex and challenging at their BEST! I am no angel, yet I have become a slightly better person since I became a parent 5 years ago.
Whenever I read a parenting book or an advice column from a person with either practical and/or professional knowledge about children, I am always curious about the author. Have they tried the techniques they are suggesting with their kids? How did it work out for them? What was their experience of it? Any takeaway pointers for when the advice they gave just doesn’t work? You see where I am going with this. I want to know a bit more about the “expert” telling me how and what I should do with my kids. Do some of these people even have kids? Hmmm...
Given that, I feel it necessary to provide you with what I consider relevant information about myself before I start throwing advice your way. The lens from which you view the world has been forming since your birth, and every interaction you have ever had with others has impacted your life in some way (big or small). So, let me share with you what I believe to be the significant moments/events from my past which factor into how I now view the world.
I was adopted at the young age of 9 months (but the adoption wasn’t official until I turned 1 year old). Before my parents took me home with them I had lived with my biological mom, grandmother, was placed and removed from 7 foster homes, and was adopted once and returned to foster care. My parents picked me up on a warm summer day at a country farmhouse, ear wax coming out of my ears and red fly bites all over my body.
At the age of 7 years old I remember standing in my front yard and making a decision then and there that I would either be good or bad or a crusader for justice and helping others or a mischief maker and all around little shit. I chose to be good because I felt better about myself when I helped others. Isn’t it funny how volunteering time and/or money to a cause is never indeed a selfless act because the individual giving always gets something back...it’s called feeling good about being a good person (or a tax break).
The violin lessons began when I was 7 years old and piano lessons started at age 8. My mom told me I couldn’t quit until I was 18 years old...so I kept on with both instruments and took the occasional voice lesson in high school. I participated in countless ensembles, state choir competitions, a youth orchestra and even started writing my own songs.
When I was 16 years old, my mother told me she would rather her daughter get pregnant out of wedlock than be a lesbian. At age 18 I had my first looooong romantic kiss, and it happened to be with a girl, but I had not forgotten that comment. Consequently, I started to secretly see therapists spending my “pocket cash” on trying to figure out my biological/emotional desire for both sexes. Let’s just say it took 10 years of on-off therapy (with different therapists), dating boys and girls of all colors, shapes, and sizes but it ultimately took meeting the right person for me to come to terms with my sexuality. I remember when I told one of the therapists that none of the boys at church dances wanted to dance with me because I thought their jokes were stupid (and they were), but all the other girls laughed and would carry on like these boys were the funniest things in the world. You know what that therapist said to me? He told me to laugh at the jokes and then maybe I could get a boy to dance with me. Yup, that was our last session.
At the age of 28, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints excommunicated me for committing my life to a woman (we just celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary July 2019). My commitment to the church was very very strong, and I tried SOOOOOOOOO hard to find a man I was compatible with who was also a Mormon. (The church strongly encourages people to marry within the faith. Don’t worry, I understand why. It makes life more comfortable when the heads of the house agree on the same God and set of rules.) However, I never found Mr. Right, but I found Ms. Ooh, La La! (Well, she’s a Brit so maybe more like Ms. Why-thank-you-very-much-for-the-kind-compliment-love.)
College for me was an eye-opening experience in many ways, but I will keep this bit to the more educational ones and leave the juicy ones for later when they are relevant to parenting. :) I went to a private women's college in Missouri called Cottey College and graduated with a 2-year associate's degree. After I received my Bachelor’s of Music at Western Michigan University and a Master’s of Art from St. Mary of the Woods College. Then my last academic hurdle was the doctorate degree in clinical psychology which I received from the Illinois School of Professional Psychology. The practicums and internships I did during my doctorate degree were focused on community mental health with urban and rural families with histories of all sorts of abuse, minimal formal education, and low socioeconomic backgrounds. My postdoctoral work was in neuropsychological assessment, and I specialized in the diagnosis of ADHD/executive function disorders, Autistic spectrum disorders, learning disabilities to name a few and dementias often found in the geriatric populations.
You should know I’m passionate about animals and have trained my dogs to be “therapy dogs” so they can go to work with me when needed. My heart literally aches when I see an animal in distress.
You should know I’m really an artist/musician, but I don’t own that side of me because “you’ll never make a living doing that.” I believe we need MORE arts and encouragement for our youth to embrace their artistic self and create. I think we have to push college less and vocational schools more.
You should know that after growing up in a very religious home in a Christian town, I am taking a break from formal/organized religion. I am living and practicing the principles I learned about Christ (help others less fortunate, love unconditionally, treat others the way you want to be treated, make extra food to share with elderly neighbors, etc.) and teaching my children to see fellow humans as people all worthy of love and respect.
Lastly, this bio is a work in progress, just like you and me. I will add relevant information as I feel necessary. Thank you for reading and learning about me.