Emmeline Chang is a life coach and writer who moved to Ditmas Park with her husband Bill in July of last year, welcoming their son William into the world not even four weeks later.
This Sunday, September 29, the mom of a now one-year-old will lead a free 3pm workshop at Lark (1007 Church Avenue between E 10th and E 11th Streets) called “Baby Love” & Loving Your Life to help local parents apply the same enthusiasm to individual goals that they already do to raising their children. We asked Emmeline about her own experiences in the neighborhood and as a parent, and how she can help fellow parents channel their energy and adoration for their kids into diverse areas of their lives.
“As soon as we got pregnant,” Emmeline says, “we started looking for a place where we could raise a family. I had been in Park Slope for almost 10 years, and I knew about Ditmas Park. When we started looking at homes here, we both fell in love with the neighborhood.
“We love the old Victorian homes and the quiet tree-lined streets. We love the diversity of people and the food–the Pakistani food on Coney Island Avenue, the jerk chicken place at Newkirk Plaza, the Tibetan place on Cortelyou, Purple Yam and The Farm… and we love the sense of community.
“I am part of an amazing mother’s group,” she says, “which has made the first year of being a mother so much easier. Ditmas Park feels like the best of a suburban neighborhood combined with the best of New York City.”
Emmeline says she decided to hold the event at Lark–and, really, became a life coach in the first place–as a result of of her own experiences struggling towards her goals.
“For years, as a writer, I struggled with paralyzing self-criticism and perfectionism and procrastination. I started taking workshops and trainings to deal with that,” she says, “and discovered that I loved the process of supporting people to grow and transform.
“When I became a parent, it was so easy and natural to love my baby even with all his ‘imperfections.’ Yet so often there are parts of ourselves we don’t love–or ways that we don’t commit to ourselves and our dreams.
“Without that self-love and commitment to ourselves,” Emmeline says, “it can be a real struggle to achieve our life goals. I wanted a way to help parents draw on that deep baby love to realize their own goals. Because ultimately, living a life we fully love is a huge gift to our children: it models for them in the deepest way how to be happy and successful in their own lives.”
A parent’s love for his or her child is wonderful, she says, but can also mean sacrificing other meaningful things.
“When you love your children so much,” she says, “you want to give them everything: your time, your energy. But many of us live away from the extended families that used to support parents–which means that one or two people are usually shouldering all the work of parenting.
“We live in a time where parents feel pressure to parent very intensively–whether that takes the form of homemade organic baby food, the ‘right’ preschools, cello and ballet and aikido lessons, or expensive college prep tutors. It’s easy for that combination of love, family structures, and societal pressure to create a situation where we feel a constant pressure to do more and more and more as parents.”
Emmeline says she plans to show local parents through the workshop at Lark how to channel the love they feel for their kids to be productive in other ways, and to start creating a life that’s equally fulfilling and enjoyable in every area. She says the event is perfect for parents who feel dissatisfied with certain areas of their lives, and that the session will give attendees tools to “dissolve internal blocks” and move more quickly and easily towards their goals.
“We’ll explore the fundamental connection between love and life goals,” she says. “There will be exercises where we connect deeply with our love for our children and then tap into that powerful ‘baby love’ to start moving toward the lives we want.
“And here’s the important thing,” she says. “This is not an academic workshop–by doing the exercises, parents will fundamentally shift the energy with which they approach their life goals. They will actually clear emotional and other obstacles to their progress.”
Sound like something you could use? RSVP for “Baby Love” & Loving Your Life by e-mailing [email protected] with your name and putting “Yes to Baby Love!” in the subject line.
Photo via Emmeline Writes