MAY 10, 2018 – As any parent knows, there is no shortage of so-called mavens who love to give advice.
From a pile of how-to books that can break your shelves and your spirit, to blogs and email blasts that blur any idea of effective or even appropriate parenting, it seems the more help we seek (or don’t), the worse we feel.
That is why it is refreshing to find a still small (but quickly growing) voice like Lisa Sugarman’s.
Sugarman, of Marblehead, not only admits she is struggling, she celebrates it: the subtitle of her website, lisasugarman.com, is “because we’re all a work in progress …”
Sugarman realizes that all parents (and all people) want the same thing: to be healthy and happy. That is why her humorous blog and newspaper column (entitled “It Is What It Is”) are so popular and why her most recent book, “Untying Parent Anxiety (Ages 5-8): 18 Myths That Have You in Knots – And How to Get Free,” is so engaging and rewarding.
Instead of citing studies or offering anecdotes about clinical cases, Sugarman uses real-life examples (many from her own life) to show how we all struggle and how we can do our best to deal.
“It’s always captivated me how some people seem to have the innate ability to manage stress better than others,” the psychology major turned writer says.
“It became obvious to me that there were a lot of people out there whose quality of life was being compromised because they weren’t capable of dealing with the stressors around them. … I realized that the people who were the most grounded were the ones who understood that they were in complete control of how they reacted to the world around them.”
Inspired by her North Shore surroundings to sail with the wind instead of fighting it, Sugarman uses her writings to help others find a path to a healthier attitude.
“People really started responding,” she recalls. “I got tons of feedback from people everywhere saying my columns made them feel less stressed and less alone because it reminded them that we’re all dealing with some version of the same everyday chaos of life.”
While she finishes up a new book called “How To Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids And Be OK With It,” Sugarman continues to focus on and support those who have benefited from all she has offered thus far.
“I never consciously thought I had something to add,” she admits. “I just started offering my opinions on a small, local platform and people started responding well to them. Then enough people started following along and asking for more opinions … It’s been a fun ride to say the least!”
Along the way, Sugarman has been able to include what she sees as primary principles of tikkun olam.
“If you consider the literal definition of the phrase,” she suggests, “the basic notion … implies that each of us needs to be responsible for the betterment of the world around us. I’m performing tikkun olam by encouraging parents everywhere to be the best version of themselves for the benefit of their children.”