Today I introduce Chrissy Collins–mom extraordinaire and parent coach living in Providence with her husband and two daughters. I have known Chrissy since our children were in preschool together and her organized positive can-do attitude has always amazed me.
Her job as parent coach supports families in the adventure of raising kids. Her practice located in Rumford Center offers individual help for families that are struggling with any of the common parenting hurdles–learning to deal with tantrums, potty training, managing sibling rivalry, improving your child’s sleep, feeding a picky eater, and more. She also offers workshops (learning the stages of early development and how to encourage a child through each stage, “less is more” when it comes to toys and teaching children positive play skills and establishing a healthy parenting plan with your co-parent while going through with a divorce) to families, daycares and schools, at her office or in their environment.
Kidoinfo: What inspired you to start your business?
Chrissy: After I got my Masters Degree in Counseling from Rhode Island College, I began working in an Early Intervention program for the last 20 years. The most inspiring part of my career has been watching families come together and gain parenting confidence. That for me is the main reason I chose to do more one on one coaching. Also, since my girls are getting older, I felt the need to establish my career closer to home as a model for them. I have also wanted to be able to take my bicycle to work and with my new office in the Rumford Center my dream is coming true.
Kidoinfo: How did you start your business?
Chrissy: I started with a strong background working with families and developed a plan that took about a year. I bought a three ring binder and on paper I designed my web site, office space and developed a marketing plan. I grew up in the era of making an outline and I still make them when I am planning things (even vacations). Of course, it made it easier that I have a supportive husband and friends that have helped me along the way.
Kidoinfo: How do you balance work and family?
Chrissy: That is an excellent question. That is the most important thing to me. My husband and children come first. I picked an office close to home to be available for school activities and field trips. I also try to get all of my work done for the day while they are in school. There has been some overlap but they have enjoyed helping me market my office and setting up my space.
Kidoinfo: Please describe a typical day.
Chrissy: Everyday for me is different. Generally, I get the kids off to school, exercise, and either work at Early Intervention, my office or clean my house (the later not my favorite). At 3:30 I’m basically manning the kitchen by handing out after school snacks and planning dinner. We try to eat every weekday meal together as a family. Our dinner conversations have changed over the years. It started with questions like “What did you sing at school today?” to ”What does a real friend look like?” Dinnertime is a real connection time for us. It’s a struggle to stay out of activities that get in the way of our dinners together.
Kidoinfo: Do you have any time-saving tricks that you could share?
Chrissy: I have a bag for every part of my life. Wherever I go, I just grab the bag that matches the job or activity. It has been so helpful and it makes it impossible to forget something.
Kidoinfo: If you could give your past self (pre-kids or pre-business) any advice, what would it be?
Chrissy: My pre-kids advice would be to travel and do something out of the box. My pre-business advice would be to gather as much experience that you can and never miss an opportunity to learn from someone.
Kidoinfo: Where do you find inspiration?
Chrissy: I find inspiration from all the families that I have worked with that take advice and implement it without hesitation. It’s inspiring to watch a family come into their own parenting style and their family mood gets lighter and happier.
Kidoinfo: What is the one kid or parent product that you could not live without?
Chrissy: I could not live without yoga and a good night sleep. But I will say the magic eraser is a lifesaver to me.
Kidoinfo: What is your favorite children’s book or music CD?
Chrissy: Lately, our favorite book is Wonder by R.J. Palacio but when the kids were little we loved Little Pea and The Giving Tree.
Kidoinfo: What do you do with your kids on a rainy day?
Chrissy: My girls and I can be found in Michael’s coming up with some craft project when it is raining or snowing. Our last big project was candy wreaths for the holidays.
Kidoinfo: What is the last great non-kid book or film that you loved? What made it so great?
Chrissy: My all time favorite book is One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus. It is a fictional book but written in such a way that I began to believe it actually happened. My book club members had to keep reminding me it wasn’t real.
Kidoinfo: Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Chrissy: My new pleasure has been Downton Abbey. No commercials and amazing clothes.
Kidoinfo: If you had an extra hour each day, what would you do with it?
Chrissy: Tea with friends to get support. Everyone needs it.
Kidoinfo: How has the experience and on the job training of being a mom/dad prepared or changed you in business?
Chrissy: Absolutely! Being a parent is the hardest job known to man. Knowing this fact puts my job in perspective and I know all parents are doing the best they possibly can. We all have the same goal, raising happy and confident people. No wants to mess up and when we need to look for help from each other more often.