It can be really challenging to “find your people” when you become a parent. All of a sudden you’re thrust into this new world with a new little person to take of — where you may or may not have a tribe or people you can turn to.
Local mom Jessica Fountas is hoping to change that with her parenting workshops and mothering group, Mothering From The Inside Out. Designed for new mothers and their infants, the groups meet weekly to discuss what mothering looks like to you. In their shared space, the group comes together to connect and share stories as they help each other become the mothers and women they aspire to be.
Jessica also offers month long/four-week parenting workshops for new parents, which provides an opportunity for parents to share and connect as well as helps couples develop relational ways to communicate with each other. Below, we are sharing a fun interview with Jessica to learn more about her and how you can join her Mothering From The Inside Out community right in Mount Kisco!
Meet a Mom: Jessica Fountas, Founder of the Mothering From The Inside Out
Northern Westchester Moms: Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in your town?
Jessica Fountas: I’m originally from Massachusetts. I lived in Southern California for 7 years and I’ve been in my current town since December 2004.
Northern Westchester Moms: Tell us about being an entrepreneur.
Jessica Fountas: Being an entrepreneur is very much like being a mom! You need to be flexible yet consistent. There is a delicate balance between being clear on your values and goals but not being so rigid that you miss an opportunity to learn, grow and better serve the people you’re trying to reach. Every time I think I’ve figured something out, life changes — this inspires me to adapt and think outside of the box. Believe it or not, the unpredictability of being an entrepreneur is what I love the most about it. It stretches me in ways I never imagined and always pushes me to learn new things, not only about running a business, but about myself.
Northern Westchester Moms: Tell us more about your business and what services you offer.
Jessica Fountas: I’m a parenting educator and I currently offer a few types of services. First, I run groups for new mothers and their infants which meet weekly. In addition to this, I offer month long/four-week parenting workshops for new parents. I structure both the groups and workshops in a format that provides parenting education, an opportunity for parents to share and connect and I help couples develop relational ways to communicate with each other. I also send parents out the door with some new tools in their parenting toolbox and a deeper sense of who they are as parents and what their values are for their family.
My experience is that we often parent from a place of reactivity as opposed to responsiveness. The clearer we are on our beliefs about parenting, where these beliefs came from and whether they truly resonate with us or not, the more present we can be as parents, partners and as a family.
A lot of the work I do is focused on helping people become more aware of how they communicate and why. I find that while parents share a common goal of wanting the best for their children and their family, they may have very different ideas of how to attain these goals. I help parents develop skills to parent and partner from a place of respect and joining. I invite a level of curiosity and also humor around the parenting dyad and in so doing, parents begin to move towards connection and learn to focus on the we instead of the me. I teach parents and families to work collaboratively. When we learn to be more compassionate towards ourselves, we find we can hold the same gentleness with our partners. This way of relating has a ripple effect out into the whole family.
Northern Westchester Moms: Why was it important for you to create this?
Jessica Fountas: Parenting is the biggest commitment we make in our lives. We are relational beings; everything we do stems from our relationships and the parenting relationship is one we participate in for a lifetime. Because of this, I think it’s incredibly helpful to have resources and support along the parenting journey.
I have found that parents can easily describe the type of parent they don’t want to be but they have difficulty defining the parent they do want to be. I like to help parents position themselves from a place of informed decision making rather than simply defaulting to what was modeled for them as children by their own parents. When our children are born, we aren’t given an instruction book on parenting, it’s a lot of trial and error. It’s important to me that parents feel equipped and that they have the capacity to choose how they want to be in a relationship with their children and family.
COVID forced most of us into various levels of disconnection and isolation. Living with great uncertainty for such an extended period of time caused a collective sense of anxiety. New parenting is also a time of uncertainty and anxiety. I wanted to bring connection back into parenting. Being in community is not only helpful, it’s also incredibly validating and freeing to listen to others share their parenting experiences. Hearing about other people’s thoughts, worries and questions normalizes our own parenting concerns and challenges. Connecting with people who are sharing a similar journey gives us an opportunity for deeper reflection and more thoughtful and intentional behaviors.
By offering parents education, communication tools and a place to be vulnerable with each other, I help parents feel more present and that’s what we want more than anything — to feel like we can connect deeply with the people we care about the most.
Northern Westchester Moms: What is a Mothering circle and why are they important?
Jessica Fountas: In her book, My Life on the Road, Gloria Steinem writes about her travels and her first experience with talking circles in India in the 1950s. Steinem writes, “…if I had to name the most important discovery of my life, it would be the portable community of talking circles; groups that gather with all five senses, and allow consciousness to change…They taught me to talk as well as to listen.” (pp40)
Mothering circles are built upon this premise. They embrace the idea that we are better together than we are alone and, in our gathering, and connecting, we help each other bring our best selves forward. We are an individualistic society and yet any wise parent knows, it takes a village to help raise a well-rounded human. The mothering circles I create allow women to share and listen to each other’s experiences as women, mothers and partners. By hearing another’s stories, we can awaken to our own lives. Listening gives us pause and propels us to look at ourselves inquisitively, lovingly and bravely. Women lifting up women is a big piece of what is lacking in our communities and COVID brought this to an entirely new level. I’d like to do what I can to help transform a challenging time into an opportunity to move forward from a place of possibility, deep transformation and growth.
Northern Westchester Moms: How can people find you? How are you reaching the community?
Jessica Fountas: My website is jessicafountas.com which has my email: [email protected] and a way to connect with me directly from the website. I’m also on Instagram and Facebook: @jessicafountas. I’ve been posting on social media and I blog monthly on my website; if you follow me on social media you’ll know when the latest blog is released.
Northern Westchester Moms: How are you juggling your business during COVID?
Jessica Fountas: If COVID has taught me anything, it’s to lean-in to living with uncertainty. I think it’s incredibly important to find our own ways to support ourselves during challenging times. I’m a person who loves to learn new things and to gather information. With some of the stillness imposed upon us I took time to do things I always wanted to do– yoga, meditation and building this business. When I can’t control the externals, I take more time to focus on what I can control.
Usually that’s building on things that matter to me and in my case it’s my relationships and being in community. I try to practice what I teach by exploring ways to stay connected and building on my relationships. My self-care practices are in tandem with my business and I feel incredibly fortunate about that. I find building my business to be deeply rewarding because it resonates with who I am as a person.
Northern Westchester Moms: What are some of your favorite things to do in your community?
Jessica Fountas: I love being outside and in nature. Nature both grounds and invigorates me. I enjoy hiking in Rockefeller State Park, visiting various farmer’s markets in different towns and walking and shopping in our local small towns. Since I have such a strong commitment to community it’s important to me to support our local shops and vendors. It’s also a nice opportunity for me to have an adventure and connect with my three teenagers in unique ways. Who doesn’t love a local baked good or ice cream?!
Check out Jessica Fountas on her website and Instagram. You can also sign up for her Mothering Group.