Women's Journal

Revolutionizing Parenting Through Self-Care: A Conversation with Holly Swenson, Author of ‘Stop, Drop, Grow, & Glow’

Holly Swenson, Author of 'Stop, Drop, Grow, & Glow'
Photo Courtesy: Holly Swenson

By: Alexander Green

In her book “Stop, Drop, Grow, & Glow,” Holly Swenson offers a transformative approach to parenting that encourages parents to align their actions with their deepest intentions for their families. Swenson, a mother of four boys, draws from her rich personal experiences and professional background as a BSN and RN to provide a holistic method aimed at fostering personal wellness and daily self-care. Her inspiration for this book stems from observing the stress and overwhelm many parents face today and recognizing the need for a more intentional, joyful, and conscious approach to parenting. Swenson’s method is designed not only to enhance how parents interact with their children but also to ensure they nourish and mend themselves, resulting in more balanced, fulfilled lives. Through practical strategies and heartfelt advice, “Stop, Drop, Grow, & Glow” promises to be an essential guide for parents seeking to elevate their parenting journey.

Your book, “Stop, Drop, Grow, & Glow,” promises to revolutionize parenting by helping parents align with how they want to show up for their families. Can you explain what inspired you to develop this method and write this book?

Absolutely! I am the mother of four boys and on a mission to raise the bar for parents everywhere. A big component of raising the bar is personal wellness and daily self-care, and I have had to become more intentional in my life since becoming a mother to start cultivating more of this on a consistent basis. I know what it takes to raise children, and I am still in the thick of parenting and walking right alongside the parents of today. 

With this lived wisdom and ever-evolving immersion of being a mother, I recognize many parents are stressed, tired, overwhelmed, and oftentimes not showing up for themselves or their loved ones the way they want to. My witnessing of what’s happening in the world at large, and what I have experienced firsthand as a parent, was truly the catalyst for me to bring more consciousness, joy, and intentionality to parenting because there is an undeniable need. And thus, Stop, Drop, Grow, & Glow was born and breathed into life. This award-winning and best-selling book is a must-read for all parents, grandparents, and parents-to-be who want to take parenting to the next level. Writing this parenting companion has truly been the bridge for me to be of service to parents everywhere.

In “Stop, Drop, Grow, & Glow,” you emphasize the importance of nourishing and mending parts of oneself to parent more effectively. Could you share some specific strategies or exercises from your book that parents can start using immediately?

Tending to your own heart and mending parts of oneself to parent more effectively is a must-do and something that gets left out of the parenting equation all too often. Some helpful strategies to start activating more nourishment for you as a parent include cultivating more self-awareness of any needed shifting in life, partnering with reflection as a superpower, a willingness to change any unhelpful generational patterning, being curious to news ways of thinking and being, diet—be mindful of eating whole/ organic/ local foods as often as possible and reducing or eliminating substance from your life, exercise—find a true match of home workload to your chosen exercise regimen, and start taking steps to let go of what does not serve you—this may require professional help to bolster you and give you support (especially if it is related to past trauma or challenging familial baggage).

Also, consider a mind-body practice. My two personal favorites are hot yoga and meditation. Hot yoga helps me detox my mind and body, and helps me continue to feel radiant and strong in my own skin. Meditation, for me as a mother, has been a total game changer and something that I share because I think it is a seed worth planting. What I love about this practice is it allows me a moment before the day starts to get grounded, practice gratitude, and clear out any energy I no longer need or wish to carry. It is very restorative and supportive, and I believe as a parent, you need to pull out any and all stops that give you the most support and peace of mind, as parenting can be an intense and prolonged initiation. Hot yoga and meditation are my go-to’s, but I encourage you to think about what this looks like for you in your life. It is about partnering with mindfulness on all levels and becoming more conscious in your waking life, and finding support that best suits you.

As a BSN, RN, and mother of four boys, you bring a unique perspective to parenting. How have your professional experiences in nursing and personal experiences as a mother influenced the insights and methods you share in your book?

In the first section of my book, Stop, I introduce a supportive parenting protocol I created called the Five Rights of Parenting. These are a spin-off of my days in the hospital, when I frequently practiced the five rights of medication administration. Following the five rights of medication administration helps to ensure as a nurse, you are doing the right thing for your patient and not causing harm. It is the standard for safe medication practice. I wanted to create a supportive parenting protocol that would be easy for parents to recall and utilize on a regular basis and the Five Rights of Parenting took shape. These rights are designed to help you stop and check in with yourself on how you are showing up for your child. They are as follows:

  1. Right Now
  2. Right Intent
  3. Right Use of Speech
  4. Right Use of Power
  5. Right Use of Love 

To scratch the surface of what these rights encompass Right Now speaks to being in the moment and present for your child(ren).  Not texting or working on three different things while your child is asking for your time and attention. When you show up for your child, really show up and be all in for them. It will teach them how to be present for others and will ultimately set them on a path to success in their future relationships. If you truly cannot put aside what you are doing, give your child a hug and set a time to connect when your schedule allows. 

Right Intent is showing up for your child intentionally. Being intentional in how you treat them, the choices you make, the guidelines you set, and the framework you use to parent. If you don’t know why you are doing what you are doing, it’s time to re-evaluate your parenting strategy. 

When you become intentional in your life, doors start to open in healthy ways with your children and beyond.  Right Use of Speech is a critical component of effective parenting. How you speak to your child is one of the most important aspects of raising your young. Your voice is a tool of creation and thus has the power to uplift or tear down. This can be one of the toughest rights to implement and remember, especially if you have more than one child. 

Right Use of Power is a big one. As a parent, you are the guiding light for your child. You are the one who wields power, decides on discipline, sets boundaries, and you have the final say on whatever issue may arise along the long road of 18 years; you are blessed to have them in your home. Be firm in creating a safety net with clear boundaries, but be mindful of how you apply your power.

Right Use of Love is by far my favorite right. I believe love is the cure for all that ails us, parenting and beyond. This right should be used as many times per day as you can aspire to. Letting your child know how much you love them and are there for them will help them plant their spirit and childhood in deep, rich soil as they grow.

Finally, in terms of my own personal experience as a mother and how this has influenced my method, I will keep it simple, as it has indefinitely touched every corner of my framework. 

Especially when I write about self-care. If I could drive one thing home that is the hardest for parents, it would be a reminder to take care of you every single day. When you are nourished, you will be a much better caregiver, mother or father, husband or wife, and human being. You can’t leave yourself out of the equation when caring for others. If you pay attention to nothing else, keep this tucked away in your memory bank. This is something I have learned, partnered with, and continue to utilize on a daily basis, and I am truly flourishing because of it. 

Many parents struggle with balancing their own needs with the demands of parenthood. How does your method help parents find this balance, and what are some common pitfalls they should be aware of?

The first ask in my method is to stop and self-assess how you are doing as a parent and as an individual. This is a crucial step in giving yourself a minute to do some internal gazing on what is going well and what might not be. This allowance for some personal grace and check-in will allow you to illuminate areas that are in need of a tune-up. Once you identify where you want to put your energy and make changes, then you build from there and partner with healthy practices, dropping anything in your life that is taking away from what is right in front of you and keeping you from living in the now.

Finding balance in life takes practice, intentionality, discipline, and a genuine desire to become the base of the scales in your own life. The parenting struggle is real, but my method addresses mind, body, spirit, and environment, so it really is a holistic framework that aims to nurture the whole you, not just bits and pieces. When you truly take the Stop, Drop, Grow, & Glow method to heart and incorporate my offerings, you will receive a head-to-toe, body, mind, and spirit overhaul. 

The biggest pitfall parents face is not striking a balance in life. To overgeneralize, many parents often give, give, give and forget about themselves. Parenting is the ultimate sacrifice, but one that is totally worth it, so long as you remember to factor you into the picture. Give with all your heart to your child(ren), as this is a very precious time in life, but save some of that goodness just for you so you can keep your own cup overflowing. Don’t give it all away, or you will be dancing with burnout. This slight mindful pivot will rework you from the inside out and make you a better parent.

Your book promises to help parents not only manage their responsibilities with more grace and gentility but also tend to their own hearts in the process. Can you discuss the long-term benefits parents might experience by adopting your “Stop, Drop, Grow, & Glow” method?

The intended long-term benefits from my Stop, Drop, Grow, & Glow method, when activated and practiced routinely, include deeper and more thoughtful relationships with your loved ones, decreased stress and parental anxiety, more awareness as a human being and mother or father, improved health and happiness, more clarity on your own life journey, and hopefully more enjoyment of being a parent on all levels. The reality is these benefits from my method ultimately depend on you and your willingness to engage with your own wellness, intentionality, and joy. Have fun with the process, and keep showing up in a conscious way. Your life will start to smile back at you. You will feel lighter, more supported, and more fulfilled. Remember, you get out of life what you put in. Be mindful of your choices, make time for daily self-care, and partner with the Stop, Drop, Grow, & Glow method to bring your best self to the surface on the regular. You are worth it. Glow on, sweet parents. 

Find Stop, Drop, Grow, & Glow: Forming Deeper and More Joyful Connections with Yourself and Your Children on Amazon Today!


Published By: Aize Perez

Share this article

This article features branded content from a third party. Opinions in this article do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of Women's Journal.