Tuesday, November 29, 2016

How to Be a Doula (as Demonstrated by Elf on the Shelf)

We are entering the season of yummy treats and silly elf antics, blinking lights and jolly white-haired guys. I thought it might be fun to explain what doulas DO in a fun and lighthearted way. 


Validate and encourage

Do you have a friend who loves Elf on the Shelf and faithfully sets up little schemes for that pesky elf to get into?

She is the most fun friend who has the coolest ideas. She is so imaginative and creative. She is making memories her kids will cherish forever.

Do you have a friend who hates Elf on the Shelf because he has a creepy little face?

She might have had an experience in her life that left her feeling very uncomfortable with the thought of dolls "watching" her and her children all day and night. Mind your own business, and don't pry into her past. Try to put yourself in her shoes and say, "I can totally understand that."

Support all choices

Do you have a friend that thinks playing "Naughty Elf on the Shelf" is the way to go?

Sweet! Maybe offer up a few other naughty elf ideas you have seen in the past.

Do you have a friend that wants to try Elf on the Shelf for the first time? Maybe she wants to go all out. Maybe she doesn't.

Sweet! Support her choice either way. Both choices are perfectly acceptable and valid and will provide a magical experience for her family.

Educate

Do you have a friend who wants to try Elf on the Shelf but doesn't know where to begin? A few simple blog posts may help. 

Do you have a friend who has no idea where to find an Elf on the Shelf? Share ideas of where they can be found and how to get the best deal for one.

Do you have a friend who thinks the entire idea is stupid and wants nothing to do with it?

Shun that friend. They are a lost cause.

I totally kid.

Perhaps they may be more interested in the idea of Kindness elves. Maybe they celebrate other traditions and can share their traditions with you. Be open to learning something new. 

Hold Space

Is your friend getting overwhelmed with the holidays with too much on her plate and just can't continue on with this whole Elf on the Shelf thing?

Hold space for those feelings.

Is your friend totally excited and wants to show you all the Elf on the Shelf things with daily pictures on Facebook?

Hold space. Click like. Better yet, try out all of the other buttons.

Help process difficult emotions

Did your friend work so very hard to create magical Elf on the Shelf moments but her kids just were not into it? Did they misbehave anyway? Did they stop believing in the magic of the season this year? Did things just not go as planned?

Listen. Lean into the uncomfortable feelings. Be ok with difficult emotions. Your friend trusts you enough to share her difficult emotions with you. Consider it an honor.

Avoid sentences that start with, "At least."

"At least you have an Elf on the Shelf."

"At least your kids have already made magical memories."

Help her find her voice


Do you have a friend who really doesn't want to do Elf on the Shelf, but feels tons of pressure to do it because that is what all the "good moms" are doing?

Help her find her voice to say, "No! I am enough. I don't need to do something I have no interest in doing, and that stresses me out, in order to be a good mom. I am totally a great mom! My kids can have a perfectly magical experience without Elf on the Freaking Shelf."

This is by no means an exhaustive list on how to be a doula, but it is a good start. After you take an amazing Birth Boot Camp DOULA training, of course!