Shann and Marin“I have to write a paper for my English class about a mentor or role model who is a hero in my eyes. I think I’d like to write it about you, Mama.” Marin said. My eyes widened and I smiled from ear to ear. “I’m honored honey. Thank you.”

There is nothing more satisfying than the realization that your 14-year old daughter admires the way you show up in the world. I don’t know about you, but on occasion, I can drive myself crazy second-guessing a myriad of parental decisions. Then one magical day, a bright young woman tells you that you are hero in her eyes. How cool is that?

Several days after Marin announced her plans to write the story, she shared the first draft of her assignment with me. I was moved to tears. This was the first time I got personal feedback, in writing, about how my teen daughter sees me. Marin described me as confident, beautiful, intelligent, fearless, and caring. And she shared that I was always there for her, and provide her with everything she needs. She went on to say that even when she messes up, she knows that I’ve got her back.

The kicker was the bit where she said she respected me for getting on her case when she acts out or behaves thoughtlessly. She said, “I wouldn’t be the kind person I am today without my mom’s guidance.” And finished her paper with, “ Without my mom I wouldn’t know about all the stuff a teenager needs to know. ” Wow…

About 12 years ago, I made a choice to become a healthier version of myself to become a conscious parent and positive role model for my daughter. I’m so glad I did the work and hope you find the following conscious parenting tips supportive.

Here are our Top 5 Conscious Parenting Choices:

1. Never Cry Over Spilled Apple Juice

I used to have a very short fuse. I would often overreact when things went sideways. About 10 years ago, Marin spilled apple juice all over the back seat of my brand new car. I was furious and berated her for not being more careful. After losing my mind over spilled apple juice, I watched a moving story about Randy Pausch. Randy was a 47-year old professor who was dying from Cancer. In his famous “Last Lecture” one of the points he made was that life was too short to be pissed off at his children about things like spilling soda in the car. After watching the video, I no longer overreact like a lunatic when things spill or get broken.

2. Enjoy Family Dinner Every Night

Our family has been having dinner together every night since Marin was born. We share our day, talk about current events and cozy up to each other after a day at work and school. All subjects are open for discussion with the exception of creepy crawlies, zombies and toilet humor. I can’t express how much of an impact sharing a meal has had on our family dynamics. One of our favorite family rituals is sharing 5 things that made us happy or brought us joy throughout the day. I call this practice Joy Spotting.™

3. Celebrate Rites of Passage

We celebrated Marin’s first period with flowers, dinner at her favorite restaurant and a Moon Box full of sweets, salty snacks, magazines, nail polish, and temporary tattoos. Marin shared that she and one of her friends were the only girls in her circle that experienced a rite of passage celebration with family. Witnessing my husband give Marin roses and congratulate her on becoming a young woman busted my heart wide open. We’ve made a family pact that the first day of our periods be a special ‘red tent’ day with plenty of quiet time to rest and nibble on chocolate. Speaking is optional.

4. Never Call Each Other Names or Hold a Grudge

Just like every family,  our family gets in arguments on occasion. Tempers flare up and we raise our voices but we NEVER call each other names or drudge up past mistakes during an argument. We argue, go to our respective corners, take a breath, and come back to the table to talk about what triggered us and do our best to resolve the issue. Even on the most trying evenings, we hug it out before going to sleep for the night. No matter what transpires, we love each other and choose to let go of the drama.

5. We Value Privacy and Have an Open Door Policy

My husband and I value personal privacy and give our daughter her privacy without letting her fall too far down the rabbit hole of life. We are very much aware of what’s going on in her world, (although I’m sure there are some things we’ve missed). We spot check her room, backpack, iPod, and have locked down our internet router to protect her from the seedy side of the Internet. We make it clear that she can talk to us about anything and never has to hide her feelings. Up to this point, our daughter is comfortable talking to us about all kinds of subjects, even the topics that can make my husband blush.

These are just a handful of the decisions Thomas and I have made during our parenting adventure. So far, these choices have worked out beautifully for our family. Most importantly, we are raising who knows that she is loved, respected, admired and trusted.

There are lots of times when I drive Marin crazy, and there are times when we don’t understand each other but no matter what, there is a deep level of trust and respect between us.

Our daughter is kind, witty and bright. She is an off-the-charts, talented artist and a proud card-carrying sophomore nerd and academic achiever. Wise beyond her years, she is sensitive, creative, and digs her heels in about things she cares about like a warrior goddess. I am blessed beyond measure to be Marin’s mama. I’m so glad she chose me! My daughter is a hero in my eyes.



Shann Vander Leek is the founder of the Transformation Goddess Experience and Podcast Bath Media Services. She is a lifelong media expert, celebrated podcaster, and voice over talent. Shann is the author of Life on Your Terms, and co-author of seven more Best-selling books for women. She produces the popular Divine Feminine Spotlight podcast series and co-hosts the award winning Anxiety Slayer Podcast, with over 3 million listens. Shann teaches women to walk in beauty with the strength, courage, and pleasure of reclaiming their feminine sovereignty.

About Shann Vander Leek

Shann Vander Leek

Shann is a Transformational Leader, Award-Winning Podcaster, Best-Selling Author, Voice Over Talent, Podcast Coach, and Producer. She lives in the village of Suttons Bay, Michigan with her beloved husband and mouthy old cat. This Goddess Shines!