Monday, May 8, 2017

Passing It On: Being an IMPACT Mom

Martha with granddaughter & daughter
With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, I have been thinking about IMPACT and parenting. I’ve been an IMPACT Instructor for 29 years, making me an IMPACT Mom since my daughter was 6. When she was a teenager, she would bring boys she was dating to IMPACT graduations. I now have a granddaughter and joyfully see my daughter and son-in-law teaching her consent and respect for her own and others’ boundaries.
In honor of Mother’s Day, I asked other IMPACT staff who are moms in what ways IMPACT has influenced their parenting. 

IMPACT Chicago Instructor Molly says:
As a parent, IMPACT has given me insight into teaching consent and respecting the requests of my children with regard to their bodies. I definitely have to stop myself sometimes when I find myself saying something that may seem innocuous, but upon reflection, is actually perpetuating negative ideas about consent. Being a parent is the hardest and best job I have ever had, and having complicated conversations is part of that. IMPACT has helped broaden my awareness of ways to counter the messages we receive about who we should be, what we should look like, and how we should behave toward each other.
Molly & daughter practicing their verbal boundary setting skills
IMPACT Chicago Office Coordinator Kathleen says:

My daughter was my motivator through Core. She was in my mind as I delivered blows with tears in my eyes. I’ve never been particularly afraid or concerned for my safety, but once she came into my life I worried for her. The greatest outcome of taking Core and DAAR was unexpected. Sure, I feel like I can protect myself and my daughter. That was the goal. But I didn’t realize that modeling strength would be so powerful. After taking Core and DAAR, after watching and learning from Katie, Margaret, Molly and Martha, after being supported and “threatened” by Rob, Mark, Ben and Nat, I walked away with a confidence that I didn’t expect. 

Kathleen & daughter
Parenting is hard and I really struggle with instilling my daughter with confidence and self-worth. She often tells me that she isn’t strong. She’s the smallest in her class and other kids tell her she isn’t strong, so she believes it. I put a lot of effort into reassuring her and building her up, but it barely makes a dent in her middle-school aged self-doubt. She is a child during a strange time when toys are labeled for either boys or girls, and girls are expected to start dreaming of their wedding when they are young. To try to counteract the more plentiful examples of meek, weak and helpless girls who give up much of themselves, I intentionally seek out movies and books with girls and women in strong lead roles. But since I’ve taken IMPACT classes I have another weapon against the weak girl stereotype. I make no secret of how badass taking those classes makes me feel. I tell her how strong I am. I tell her how strong my classmates are. I tell her how strong the teachers and my co-workers are. I didn’t expect IMPACT to affect my parenting. I didn’t know that I would walk away with the bonus to getting to model this level of strength and confidence to my child. She knows I am strong and she’s looking forward to taking the IMPACT Girls Program this summer so she can prove how strong she is.

It is very inspiring to realize ways that we all, whether Moms or not, can pass on what we have learned in IMPACT to the next generation and beyond.
Martha Thompson
IMPACT Instructor
Administrative Co-Chair

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