Amanda Hill, M.Ed., an adjunct professor at PLNU, has become accustomed to multitasking. At any given time she can be seen juggling her roles as a mother, wife, professor, and now as an author.
She recently wrote her first book, “Growing Pains: A Parent’s Guide to Child Development.” For her, this project was about tackling the subject from the perspective of the parent and the educator; it was important to create a dialogue that bridged the gap between academia and the true realities of family life.
Hill supplies many personal anecdotes that center around the lessons learned after many years spent caring for and interacting with kids. The book reveals her journey, from the struggles she had as a nanny to the ones she still faces as a mom. There is greater accessibility to her narrative because of the vulnerability she reveals. Hill is unafraid of sharing her own missteps in this book because each story acts as a guide on how parents can grow with their kids. Topics like tantrums, attachment, and even suggestions on how the parent can find “moments of sanity” highlight her desire to create a space for the entire family to grow together.
Hill received her B.A. in child and adolescent development from PLNU in 2011 and has been an educator for 15 years, she started out as a preschool teacher and has been working at the college level for eight years now. For the past year and a half, she has been teaching at PLNU. She says her work at the collegiate level has given her a different perspective because the students she works with are at a completely different stage in their lives and are wanting to pursue careers in her field. Hill explains,“I like to see that my students have these goals and are excited to be there — it’s really fulfilling.” During her time as a student, she lived off campus and commuted. Still, she expressed how supported and loved she felt while pursuing her education and enduring all the challenges that came with that. Coming back to this environment again now as an educator has allowed her to re-enter the community and be a part of her students’ journeys as they grow. Difficulties in her own life have given her more empathy for students because “they have so many different things going on outside of the classroom.” Her experiences drive her to spend time encouraging students to succeed.
It is this experience and Hill’s role as a mother for her two children, her daughter Emery and her son JT, which has inspired her to be a voice for adolescents. She knows the struggles of caring for kids and all of the frustrations that come with that, but she uses her platform to show how much of an impact a caretaker has on children from the earliest stages of development. She teaches and explains the etiology behind certain behaviors so parents know the most effective ways to react while still maintaining love and patience in difficult situations.
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While she may seem like an adept multitasker, this balancing act has not always been easy for Hill. During her own journey, she said, “My husband and I experienced several pregnancy losses … It was incredibly difficult to talk about children when I so desperately wanted my own.” The grief they felt at having their plans for a family disrupted so tragically was not easy to manage. Despite this, she continued teaching and was blessed with her first child in the middle of a school year. “In the hospital with a newborn baby, replying to students’ emails,” she realized she would have to make adjustments. However, reflecting on all that she has managed to continue doing, she says, “I didn’t expect to be able to start a family, be a parent, and continue on this career path. I feel so incredibly blessed.”
“Parenting can be hard, [but] parents should not feel alone … We can find ways to make it less chaotic.”
She credits much of her continued success to her support system and wants to use her book in the same capacity for parents who might feel lost when searching for the best way to deal with children. Despite a career spent working with children, she admits that parenting brings challenges in her own family too, many of which are universal, and Hill hopes to use her work as a lifeline for those dealing with these complexities. Her educational expertise and time with her own kids has given her the perspective necessary to offer this insight to others. “Parenting can be hard, [but] parents should not feel alone … We can find ways to make it less chaotic.” Through her website, theprofmom.com, she works with parents in a personal capacity to give practical advice on how best to handle young children at this crucial developmental stage. It is through faith, empathy, and community that Hill hopes to create a better conversation around the “growing pains” families often endure together during these early years.