Karen Kristjanson is an author, a co-parent, and a life coach who nourishes and inspires courage in parents through her words.
“Everyone’s normal until you get to know them.” That’s one of my favourite sayings. When we feel weird or less than we want to be—remember we have lots of company!
Yet it’s our unique combination of strengths, passions, wounds, and life circumstances that propel us forward. Our uniqueness lets us shine and contribute.
For me, shared parenting after divorce became a focus because I co-parented my now-grown sons. It was the best choice for them and for me. While it’s not easy, my experience showed me it’s an important option, because children want to love and know both parents.
My first two years post-divorce were the loneliest of my life. When I discovered the story of another mother’s experience co-parenting, my relief was immense. I was not alone! However, one story was not enough—I wanted more. I determined to discover other stories myself and offer them to the world.
Could I do it? My drive to offer co-parenting stories to divorcing parents, combined with my skills as a master life coach coalesced to “Yes.”
I needed every smidgen of courage and determination I could muster in the nine years of researching, writing, and finding a publisher for my manuscript.
I found parents to interview by word of mouth. Their stories challenged and inspired me. Some held such sadness they were difficult to hear. Others taught me about lives different than mine: parents of children with special needs, lesbian moms, high-conflict parents. The thread of hope weaving through them was growth, as parents described how much they had learned about themselves and about being a parent.
This was my first venture into serious writing, so getting the support of other writers was critical. The manuscript completed, I sent my book proposal out, week after week, to potential publishers. Now it’s thrilling to know these stories are out in the world to support others co-parenting.
Aside from raising my sons, my greatest sense of satisfaction comes from my book, Co-Parenting from the Inside Out: Voices of Moms and Dads. It’s where my deep personal goals, life experience, and skills meet what the world needs.
Where do your goals, skills, and life experience come together?