By StayWell Vice President of Product Development, Hans Hage
Prior to a few years ago, I never saw myself having kids. Perhaps it was the fear of the responsibility – the inability to live up to the preconceived notion I had in my head of having to be the perfect parent – or perhaps it was just the thought that truly establishing a family would send my (admittedly, lofty) career aspirations down a path I couldn’t navigate. Another part of me feared losing my identity. Who would I be as a parent? Would my kids like me? Would I even be any good at it?
Thankfully, I’m comfortable admitting when I’m wrong. After three wonderful years with two beautiful, smart, amazing children – I’ve never been happier, more content, or more fulfilled. My children inspire me to be a better person, to be the kind of father they can be proud of – and they inspire me to leave the world a better place than it was when I found it. That’s not to say that parenthood is for everyone (and that’s ok too!), but for me – every single day I am better for having these two pint-sized troublemakers in my life.
I know my story isn’t unique by any stretch of the imagination. In fact – a 2014 study by James Rilling and Larry Young was able to show that, among us mammals, there is a hormonal difference driving the interactions by adults towards children both before and after having children of their own. Once parents have kids, it’s like… a switch flips, and all of a sudden our own needs are overridden by those of our little ones.
The need to shelter and protect our offspring is baked into the very fabric of our existence – it’s one of those things that helped contribute to the continuance of us as a species. Think about it: if we didn’t work to ensure the future prosperity of those to follow us, how long could we have expected to last?
Genetically predisposed or not, parenting is tough. Sure – some days it’s easy and natural as breathing, but other days leave me with more questions than answers:
- What happens if my children get sick?
- How do I keep my kids safe on the internet?
- How do I teach my child about healthy eating?
- How can I ensure that she understands how to take care of herself financially when I’m gone?
- Why does he or she do this one thing that’s so incredibly annoying?
- How do I know if I’m doing the right things?
- How do I find an appropriate work/life balance?
- Am I the only parent who’s ever felt this way?
This is one of the reasons I’m so immensely proud of StayWell’s newest product, a program called StayWell Together.
What is StayWell Together, you ask? It’s a way for similarly-focused parents to ‘come together’ in a supportive environment to work through their family’s unique well-being concerns. We do this by leveraging our Digital Group Coaching platform and ‘bringing together’ families in groups of six to eight. We use a combination of technology and an interactive face-to-face setting to work with parents on a variety of age-appropriate topics, as parents are segmented based on the age ranges of their children.
One of our early adopters described the experience quite simply as a “wonderfully safe environment that allowed her to interact with our parents about the topics that were most concerning to her – almost like her group of girlfriends she’d reach out to for support.”
Ultimately, our goal with this program was to do exactly as this person stated – provide a safe, structured place of belonging where parents can speak honestly and receive support. We know that it isn’t for everyone – and that’s ok – but for those of us who are looking for group parenting support, this is a great place for it!
In the coming weeks and months, we’ll be releasing more information about StayWell Together – but in the meantime check out our video. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
In good health.