Former Miss USA Terri Amos-Britt Shares Parenting Tips in New Book

06/21/2011 at 02:00 PM ET
Courtesy The Enlightened Mom

After being crowned Miss USA in 1982, Terri Amos-Britt had a successful career at her fingertips, soon working her up way up to an anchor position at entertainment channel Movietime (which later became E!).

Though she had never wanted children before, motherhood soon came calling, and she left her career to start a family with then husband Steve, welcoming daughters Kolbi and Mackenzie, as well as becoming stepmom to his son A.J.

In 2007, Steve passed away, and Amos-Britt married current husband Charlie, and welcomed his daughter Haylee into her family.

As her brood grew, she continued to face feelings of anger that inhibited her ability to parent successfully so she chose to spend time studying and practicing at a healing center.

The center’s teachings helped her finally conquer her issues and become an Enlightened Mom — the title of her new book, which she hopes will help fellow moms recognize that self-acceptance is the key to raising a happy family.

We recently chatted with the mom-of-four about her new book and her journey to becoming a better parent. Check out our interview below.

On your website, you discuss how you’ve dealt with reconciling anger from your youth and issues with your mother. Can you tell us how those experiences helped shape this book?

It all began years ago when my late husband owned a company called consciousone.com. It was Mother’s Day and he said, ‘Let’s do something on mothers and how you healed your issues with your mother.’ I had many years where it was a struggle for me [to buy a Mother's Day card] because they were all so mushy and I didn’t feel that way. So we sent out this email and we had 1,700 responses come back. And I looked at that and realized there was a huge problem out in the world that people didn’t feel loved and accepted by their moms. And that had been somewhat the way I felt.

I wrote this book because I did have anger issues and I didn’t realize it. I didn’t understand why. When I felt my calling to become a mom, and I was being a stepmom to my stepson, what I was recognizing was that I was angry a lot. I was having knee-jerk reactions. I felt controlling and I made a decision to say, I can’t stand myself like this. I can’t stand who I’m being with this child. I went into therapy and the therapist said you need to get into meditation.

How did that change your parenting style?

What I realized is that I had been my whole life performing, trying to be something that I wasn’t, trying to make people love me. And that is where my anger came from. And I was putting the same rules that I lived by in my mind on my children. And that’s what was making me angry and controlling, because it was like, ‘You got to live this way’, but yet, by being in these rules in my mind, I wasn’t connected to my heart.

And as I started using the tools that I learned at the healing school to clean up those beliefs in my mind about how I thought I was supposed to be and started giving myself permission to be who I am, the anger started dissipating. The need to control, the fear, the worries, the knee-jerk reactions, they all started melting away. And it was because I was finally saying yes to my heart. As I said yes to who I am and the way I was created, it became easier to say yes to my family and who they were.

At what point did you think your own experience was something other moms could relate to and that you wanted to share with others?

As I started using The Enlightened Mom tools — which are tools of going in, looking at why we’re not worthy of love, why we don’t feel valuable — I started to clean up the beliefs in my mind of how I should be, and I started shifting. I saw a huge change not only in my life, but in my family as well…

It was not something that I planned. It literally was like a divine download. It was a message saying, ‘This is your life’s mission. You’ve seen your life heal; you’ve seen your family’s lives change and heal. Now it’s time to bring this message into the world.’

Can you describe an instance of how these tools positively affected your family?

My girls fought with one another when they were younger, and it bothered me. It made me feel as a mom, ‘What am I doing wrong that my kids are so unhappy and they’re fighting?’ I recognized what was going on. And I heard one day, ‘Use your tools, Terri. What’s going on? What is this mirroring back to you?’ I realized I had a belief that said it’s not okay to fight. I was reacting to my kids in a negative way because I had this belief that it wasn’t okay to have dissension.

I looked at little Terri, the little girl inside of me, and I said, ‘You have permission. If you need to have arguments, have arguments. If you need to have a voice, have a voice.’ And by having that shift in consciousness, all of a sudden, my kids quit fighting. And the reason they quit fighting is 1) because I was no longer in the middle of it, but 2) I truly believe and what I’ve seen is that you’re going to attract to you what you need to see to heal. Because I no longer needed that, they no longer needed to fight.

Do you think these tools are applicable to all moms?

Oh my gosh, are you kidding? I have seen women who have had their dads sexually abuse them use these tools. I have seen women who have been beaten by their families; I have seen women on the other end of the spectrum that have tried to be so good that they’re shutdown to purpose and passion use these tools. I have seen women who are not mothers; I have seen soon-to-be moms, moms with young kids, teenagers, empty nesters and grandmothers use these tools.

What it really comes down to is, ‘are you honoring and loving the way you were created?’ Because that’s where anxiety goes away; that’s where pain goes away. As you learn to love and honor who you are, and take tiny steps of trust, giving yourself permission to follow your heart, what you start seeing is that by being in that place of love from the inside, you start attracting more love and abundance to you from the outside world. You begin to realize that you are truly supported and loved by the universe.

What’s the one thing you want readers to take away from your book?

It’s not what we do for our families, but how we live our lives that impacts them the most. Because we think that being a martyr is the loving thing to do, but being a martyr creates pain and suffering.

To read more about Terri Amos-Britt and her book, The Enlightened Mom, visit theenlightendmom.com/book.

Kiran Hefa

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A. on

Amen to that!

Liz on

Wow, I’m glad I read this entire story, this book sounds excellent! I really need some of these healing ideas in my life, I’m definitely going to pick this up!

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