Who I Am
I’m Erin Donley: a life coach, board-certified pediatrician, wife, mother, daughter, friend and about a million other things to a million other people. I’m also a recovering perfectionist and control enthusiast, and here starts my coaching journey.
Did you know that being a highly knowledgeable pediatrician does not actually mean you know anything about parenting? Silly me, back in 2013, apparently did NOT know this. My entrance into motherhood, a life transition known as matrescence, was not a smooth one. In fact, it was more like a crash landing onto a desert island full of scary jungles, limited resources, and one very hostile native…a colicky newborn baby girl.
My perfectionistic self was not willing to tolerate anything less than parenting the ONE “right” way, and my inner control enthusiast was in a total state of shock. I carried my anxiety around parenting quietly for years, never feeling like I was doing enough, always feeling like I was failing someone. I tried therapy, but despite an amazing psychologist, it wasn’t the right fit. I wasn't trying to heal my past. I was looking for more actionable ways to address my brain mess and move forward in my life.
Then, in 2020, I saw a FaceBook Live done by a dear friend and former mentor of mine who had started a life coaching practice. I had no idea what life coaching was, but I trusted her, and she was speaking my truth. So I swallowed my (at the time) substantial pride and embarrassment and hired her. I tell her today that she was my gateway drug.
You see, I was the girl with a 10 year plan when I was 8. I pursued that vision relentlessly. I got all the grades, all the honors, all the accolades….and then I “arrived” at my vision. Despite building the life I had dreamed of, something was missing. Coaching helped me realize that what was missing was me. I was so busy pouring in to everyone else’s bucket that I had conveniently missed the fact that my own bucket was bone-dry and had been for years. My coaches (yes, plural) taught me the skills, habits, and mindsets I needed to build self-belief, self-trust, and to show up to my own life. They unwaveringly held the vision of who I wanted to be until I could believe it for myself.
Today, parenting no longer feels like a problem without a solution. While everyday has its challenges, I no longer carry the narrative that parenting has to be hard. Loving my beautiful children for exactly who they are, not who I expect them to be, is my constant endeavor. It is work that, despite its challenges and discomfort, I will never put down. Because my babies are worth it. Because I am worth it.