Name: Kimberleigh Stickney
Where did you grow up:
I grew up all over the United States. I was born in New York and lived in Texas for several years before joining the military at 17. From there I lived in California, Montana, and Texas again. Most of my childhood was spent in the Catskill Mountains of New York, however.
Town you live in now:
For the last ten years we have lived in Juno Beach. My family and I are very happy to live here and love the community.
Why you love living there:
I love this area because there is always something free or cheap to do with the family. My family has spent many weekends at places like Busch Wildlife or Loggerhead Marine Life Center. We love to paddleboard and kayak and the weather is amazing most of the year. And most important…I don’t have to shovel snow.
Tell me about your kids:
I have two great kids; my son is 12 and my daughter is 9. They both have such unique and funny personalities. Just when I feel I have figured out how to deal with one stage they grow and change tactics.
My son is fascinated with dinosaurs and is planning on being a paleontologist when he grows up. He is a walking encyclopedia of Dino knowledge. My daughter is in gymnastics and wants to be the next Simone Biles.
Favorite things to do with the kids locally:
As a family we have always loved to be out in nature and learning about our environment. We have always loved story time at Busch Wildlife or checking on sea turtles at the Marine life center. We also love snorkeling or kayaking on the intercoastal side of Coral Cove. One of the best things about this area is how many places are amazing to visit while still being donation-based and affordable. We recently have started going out to the beach at night to look for nesting sea turtles. We have seen tracks a few times but have yet to see a turtle.
What’s your ‘day job’? How did you get started with it?
My day job is counseling and helping others through hard times or adjustment periods in their lives. I got started as a therapist a little later than most. When I was in the military, as an EMT I was exposed to a lot of different situations and stressors. When I got out I became a nurse in a dialysis clinic and had a hard adjustment to civilian life. I always knew I wanted to help others often wanting to go work with Doctors without borders and help in 3rd world countries; after Hurricane Katrina, I spent 2 weeks in the Astro Dome working with the dislocated refugees of the Superdome in New Orleans. During that time, I discovered a passion for listening to others and helping them with trauma and adjustment. When I met my husband shortly after and put my career and work on hold until my second child was 3 and ready for preschool. At that point, I was able to return to college for a degree in mental health counseling.
What is your best parenting advice. Lay it on us.
As a therapist my best parenting advice would be to remember you are a person too. So many parents get lost in the job of being a parent and forget that they exist as an individual too. Moms especially have the tendency to get lost in the role of mom. Make sure you take the time to do things for yourself and practice self-care and the harder things in parenting will be easier to process and deal with. Also, there is no perfect parent, we all make mistakes. If you are feeling overwhelmed and things get tense, it is ok to take a second to breathe and ground yourself before you deal with a tantrum or a fit.
As a parent my best advice is to know your intuition is the best guide. You know your child better than anyone else and trust your gut. And if you have doubts that’s what other moms and community support are for.
What do you do for self-care?
Going for long walks and spending time on the water are some of my favorite self-care techniques. When I am unable to do those things I use music and breathing techniques to help regulate my stress. However, talking is my biggest coping skill, I turn to my friends and family when I am stressed to vent and process.
Anything else you want to share?
The expression it takes a village is more than just words. It is almost impossible to raise kids as an island. As parents we need other parents to talk to about the new stage our children are in or whether something is normal. We need to know we are not alone. There are times when for one reason or another we find ourselves without that support or community or have a problem we feel we cannot share there, it is important to find an outlet for the process, whether that is in therapy, church, or support groups; it is important to process these experiences with others, so they are not bottled up inside.