I was absolutely delighted to meet Carrie Contey this week and get to know about her and her revolutionary work with parents and families. Carrie’s manner is direct and kind, her message is both simple and a well integrated blend of science and real life. Her enthusiastic and reassuring way will remind you that you are on the right track. 

Checking in with Carrie about your parenting life is like being on a trip and asking her for directions. She would tell you that you were heading the right way, but would alter your course a tad so you had the most direct route; one with no pot holes or gum that could get stuck to your shoe. And she’d likely ensure that you stopped in at her favorite coffee shop or bakery for a fresh pastry along the way. You know, because it’s just more fun when you’re walking along if you have a little powdered sugar on your chin.

Oh, and Carrie and I had the pleasure of interviewing each other! Read below for more about her, and check here for her interview with me. 

1) Please share some of your background.

I loved being around babies and young children from as early as I can remember. As a child and adolescent I thought I wanted to be a pediatrician. In college I was drawn to psychology and holistic health. After college I began to study midwifery, but that wasn’t quite right. Ultimately I was led to pursue a PhD in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology which now, looking back, incorporates all of my interests, and much more.

2) What first sparked your interest in child development/parenting education/brain science?

The initial spark was holding a little tiny newborn when I was seven years old. As I continued walking my path I realized that there were a lot of people trying to undo what was done to them in early childhood. I began to ask myself these questions, “What do humans need from the beginning of life to remain whole and connected to who they already are? What do parents need to know about human development to support their little people’s development with the least interference possible?” Those questions have driven my academic and professional pursuits, and have shaped my research and work, for many years now. 

3) What are your top three book suggestions for parents?

My tippy top is “Your Child’s Self-Esteem” by Dorothy Briggs. It’s an old book, written in 1971, but says everything, and more that I would want to say now. It’s timeless and priceless. I encourage all of my clients to read it.

My second is “Parenting from the Inside Out” by Dan Siegel. Back in 2004 I began offering parenting book study groups that centered around this book. It’s the perfect intro to brain development, interpersonal neuroscience and how our own early experiences, and attachments, inform how we parent.

My third is “The Conscious Parent” by Shafali Tsbary. This book is a true gem. A guide for using the parenting journey as an opportunity for massive personal growth and healing. 

4) What is your favorite part about working with families? Least favorite?

I love offering parents a whole new lens for understanding their children and human development. Within that, I love sharing information about brain development. It’s thrilling to watch a parent’s eyes light up when they “get it” and start to understand their children and their behavior in new and much more compassionate ways.  

I honestly don’t think there’s anything I don’t love about the work I do with families aside from the fact that I can’t speak to every parent out there, yet;)

5) Please share more about your work/experiences/research?

I write, speak, consult and educate parents, teachers and caregivers mostly in Austin TX but also nationally. Currently I’m on a Whirl Tour, traveling around the US speaking to parents in 13 different cities. Follow me and my travels on Twitter.

6) What else do you have going on for the rest of 2012?

I created a program called Evolve in 2011 and I offered it again in 2012. This year I have 200 families that I support through Evolve.  Evolve is a year-long program that provides parents with the support, guidance and inspiration to get clear and re-wire their brains around Parenting, Personhood (self-care), Partnership and Prosperity. It’s a holistic/community focused approach to personal development and family life. I’ll be offering Evolve in 2013. Please consider joining me. It’s life changing! 

7) Please share where people can find out more about you and your work?

Visit my website. It’s chock-full of blog posts, videos and other free resources that will support, inform and inspire you. Also, I started Slow Family Living with my friend Bernadette. Have a peek if you are interested in finding ways to slow down, connect and enjoy family life more.