Is Being An Unruffled New Parent Oxymoronic?

7 mins read

Unruffled? What new parent would use that word to describe themselves? Almost oxymoronic! Yet, Janet Lansbury shows you it doesn’t have to be that way.

When I asked Janet how she chose that name to bring her show to millions of definitely “ruffled” neophyte parents, she said,

“Before I started podcasting, I started writing a blog about 10 years ago. A reader told me that my use of the word “unruffled” struck a chord and reminded her that was how she wanted to be with her children. That  stuck in my head, and when the podcast was born, I thought, ‘Unruffled. Yes, that’s a word that parents can identify with and want to achieve.’”

Perfect. So new parents juggling baby, toddler, feeding, not sleeping, working, colic, commuting, and the delight of a toddler who learns to say “NO!” had a new mantra for 3 AM when walking the floor for the third night straight: “I’m unruffled. I’m unruffled. I choose to be ‘unruffable!’”

Janet’s mentor, Magda Gerber, was a huge influence. She led Janet to recognize and want to share the shifts possible when you consider this new being you’ve brought into the world in this new way.

“…as a complete human being, not that their development is complete, but that they are a whole person who comes into the world with their own ideas and passions and way of seeing their own perspective. They do not need us to fill them up as if they are blank slates or empty vessels. They are people. We do the best by them if we can relate to them in that way as early as possible.”

A different perspective for most folks just trying to manage their new parental roles as jugglers!

Janet Lansbury’s podcast, Unruffled, is wildly popular–150K listeners each month. Having listened to several episodes, I understand: Janet breathes possibilities and peace into parenting. Be intrigued, interested, curious about your child and see parenting as a full-on, interactive process. Your baby communicates more than you think. Your toddler has a unique worldview. Lean in!

Have you ever thought of communicating with your baby in more than a “what do you need” way? Or, wondering what is behind your toddler’s frustration?  Janet suggests being a student of your child. It starts early. Janet recommends:

“…that we include a baby in life from the beginning by communicating with them as a person. And this feels strange when your baby’s not talking back. They’re cute and you just want to pass them around. Maybe, the baby doesn’t want to be held by Aunt Lucy just now. So, give your baby that grace. Communicate. Let the baby know what you’re doing with their bodies. Ask if they are ready to be picked up? Open this door of communication and learn to calibrate the child’s response. When you do this, the baby will show you whether they are ready, Sometimes, you’ll see them vibrating with excitement. Early on, you’ll catch a look in their eye or a facial expression that you’ll come to understand.”

Excited to listen in? Janet’s style as a podcaster is also unruffled: comfortable, easy-going yet passionate about extending the invitation to become more deeply interactive with your child. In a world that seems to value speed, she invites you to slow down and engage at new levels, in new ways, with those wonderful beings you gave birth to.

Wondering what to do with a toddler in full tantrum? Janet would suggest wondering what to do FOR them. It’s a shift in perception, and apparently a popular one with all those listeners! She has so many more insights to share in her “respectful parenting” philosophy. The Washington Post reviewer wrote:

“Lansbury’s approach focuses on respect for the child and acceptance of her emotions and development, but allows for firm parental limits, as needed. …Unruffled offers extremely practical and specific advice for common parenting situations.”

I agree.  I love the tone and direction of her work. During my interview with her, Janet was quietly passionate, and comfortably intense about her views.  I appreciated her perspective in naming one of her books, No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame.  Having raised three children mostly alone myself and having been a teacher and school administrator for years,  I love it because I know what a difference this approach makes in the lives of children and their parents.  I know it works!

Full of heart, knowledge, and first-hand experience in parenting her own children, Janet’s refreshing and informed approach can relieve the qualms of parents who want to know they are laying the foundations of secure attachment and unquestionable acceptance that is the best growing medium for healthy kids.

What Janet offers is what enlightened parents want to know. No matter who raised you and how they did it, you want to give your children even better, right?

Listen to Unruffled and learn from Janet Lansbury.  Only, though, if you want to have a lasting bond with your children that ushers them into the world as secure, stable humans who know they are valued and embrace and contribute to life joyfully.

 

July 2020 Issue

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