Helping children has always been her calling. The oldest of four children, she grew up with a large sense of responsibility to take care of others and to give back. From a very young age, kids in her neighborhood would seek her out, hold her hand, look for her for comfort. Her dad called her Mary Poppins. A spiritual mentor once told her, "It is so clear to me that there is a purpose in your life. You are going to help so many people."
Teresa had considered becoming a teacher or a lawyer to defend children who had been abused or neglected, but never did she imagine that life’s mysterious ways would lead her to becoming an owner of a small business, Stewart Family Solutions, providing sleep consultations, safety training, and parenting support. When Isis Parenting closed, Teresa’s stellar reputation for integrity and non-judgmental approach followed her. “Clients organically started to come to me and asking me if I was still practicing as a sleep consultant. I have wanted to be a number of things in my life, but an entrepreneur is not something I ever before said I wanted to be!” And yet a sleep consultant she is, and a terrific one at that.
What do I mean by life’s mysterious ways? When Teresa graduated from Long Island University, with a degree in English/Writing and a minor in Psychology, she had two internship opportunities. One in Arizona in journalism and one in Connecticut focused on children's health and advocacy. Around that time friends told her about a guy Rick they wanted her to meet. Though many thought it was a crazy idea, she took a fairy from Long Island to New London, CT; and Rick drove down from Boston to meet her. Their first date ended up lasting three days! A few weeks later Teresa moved to New England for the internship at Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford. After a Master’s degree in Child Development from Wheelock College and a Master’s in Public Health from Boston University School of Public Health, her decision to have a career devoted to parenting support and teaching was sealed.
“The work I do as a sleep consultant is something I feel very called to do. It's not a job for me. It is a passion, a purpose. When clients contact me and say "my baby isn't sleeping", to me, that is just the tip of the iceberg.
What I love about being a sleep consultant is that it ties everything I have learned and done in my career together. To me sleep is a trifecta of concerns: it is a biological function of the human body. It is an emotional process. It is a behavior. Then, if we look even deeper under the iceberg, we will find that sleep is impacted by nutrition, play/ movement, a child's development, the health of all family members, the parenting style, parental stress, emotional wellness of the entire family, the logistics of the family's life, and so much more!
Although families reach out to me in hopes that we can help their child sleep better, and although I do want to help them achieve that goal, I also want to empower the parents, respect the child's needs and development, and help the family be long-term healthy and successful.”
Teresa is a very open, generous, bright individual. Her Facebook posts are a collections of conversations she has with her kids, achievements as a Spartan racer, and raw and uncensored stories of miscarriage, health challenges, and self-doubt. “I believe in living an authentic life, having integrity during the good and the bad, and finding connection with others. If we don't tell our stories, none of that can be achieved”.