Meet Lauren Barnett - Westport Moms

How old are your kids and how long have you lived in Westport? I have two girls; Zoe is 19 and Sasha is 16.We moved to Westport in 2008.

How did you end up where you are now in terms of your job, or whatever passion project it is you might be doing? I have spent most of my life as a counselor in schools, agencies, and camps, and many years as a camp Director and, as such, have been fiercely dedicated to helping struggling tweens and adolescents to gain self-confidence and find their footing in this challenging social and academic world in which they live.Things keep getting exponentially harder for them and it pains me to see so many kids suffering from real anxiety, depression, and various emotional and psychological issues which, naturally, greatly impact their daily lives and the lives of their families as well.  After nearly 25 years in the counseling field watching too many parents experience countless obstacles in accessing appropriate and personalized treatment for their child’s needs, I became determined to create a better way to help.  I developed Family Consultants of Westport, an elevated mental health support service, to help expedite and streamline emotional and behavioral health care access by generating a roadmap of treatment options and viable providers for each family’s unique needs.  Driven by the drastic increase in mental health needs and a decrease in accessibility of effective meaningful care, FCW was built out of a passion for and dire need to help overwhelmed parents and their kids get more direct and efficient treatment and support, during the very time when they need it most.  I saw a void in the daunting mental health landscape, and it motivated me to create a new and modern service whereby I could help families by providing individualized, curated, and efficient referrals and coordinate collaborative and consistent care throughout their child’s evolving needs.  My goal is to be their readily accessible sounding board and point person; to hold the reins so they can just ‘parent’ and not have to spend their days researching providers and therapists, especially now during a time when most therapeutic practices are full.  Being a parent to a child with emotional/academic/behavioral needs comes with enough challenges, hurdles, and tears; finding them the right help shouldn’t have to.

What are you most looking forward to in 2021?  I am most looking forward to big, juicy hugging and squeezing family and friends again! I physically and emotionally miss the contact and connection.  I think we all do.  (Going to a bar or restaurant sounds pretty amazing, too, I must admit!)

What is the best show you have recently (binge) watched, AND what is the last book you read? The last book I read (ironically) was Maybe You Should Talk to Someone and the best show I have binge watched was (shamefully) Schitt’s Creek…(for the 3rd time)

What is one food you could not live without? I absolutely undeniably cannot live without Pizza.

What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you? People may be surprised to know that I wrote a book (even I am surprised!) …but never published it! Not surprisingly, however, is that it is a book in the voice of a 12 year old girl.  The world of literary agents and publishing houses is not my wheelhouse at all!  So it sits longingly and lonely on a shelf collecting dust.  I do think it is a great story that will connect moms and their daughters, but I haven’t figured out yet how to get it out there to the world.  That can be my next project.

If you weren’t doing what you are today, what do you think your career path might have been?  I have been so consistently passionate about the counseling field and working with children/adolescents and their parents- I never even entertained any other career interests. And other than my *incredible singing voice and my astute talent for being a staunch tv and movie critic, that’s all I have =), and it’s truly all I have ever wanted to do.  I simply have always tried to offer expertise and objectivity when families needed it the most.  I have truly grown up in this field and was practically an adolescent myself when I started as a school counselor, yet I have always been able to connect with families in an intuitive and meaningful way, and it felt important and valuable, so I stuck with it and my career developed and evolved.  I just want to reach as many struggling families as I can; people are really stressed and scared out there and parents feel lost.

If you had 24 hours to do whatever you wanted to do, what would it be? If I had 24 hours to do whatever I wanted, it would be to be at the beach ‘til sunset and in front of a fire all night.

Are you a morning person, or a night owl? How does sleep fit into your life right now?  I am neither a morning person nor a night owl- I prefer to describe myself as an afternoon and dusk person, lol. I have such envy for people who pop out of bed each morning excited, motivated and energized about starting their day, especially throughout these recent months.  I have been known to stay up too late scrolling aimlessly through Instagram or watching reruns of FRIENDS, but I suffer the next morning because of it.

What thing has surprised you most about being in the suburbs? I loved living in NYC and having young children there, but I also love life in the suburbs and in Westport. The only surprise I remember feeling was how natural the move felt and how little of a transition or adjustment from city life it actually was.  That said, because of all of my summers spent living in the Berkshires as a camp director, I have yet to truly relish in a proper heavenly Westport summer.  I hope this summer will bring all of us out of our homes and back to the beaches where we belong!

What is the first thing you do when you walk in the door after a long day? The first thing I do when I walk in the door is put on my slippers and change into sweats or pj’s…nowadays my husband teases me because even a day in leggings feels constricting!

This or that…
Cake or Pie? Cake-but only Duncan Hines
At a movie: Candy or Popcorn? Popcorn with chocolate or there is no point
Pancakes or Waffles? Pancakes-but only when eaten Julia Roberts a la Pretty Woman style (true fans will understand)
Iced Coffee or Hot Coffee? Iced coffee (but I always start my day with piping hot scorch-the-tongue green tea first!)
Beach or Mountains? Beach any day
Puzzle or Board Game? No puzzles or board games-I have too short of an attention span and get so bored (and frustrated!)
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate (but for cupcakes or cake, has to be Duncan Hines yellow cake with chocolate frosting). (who is high maintenance?!)
Reading or writing? Reading (but even then, I can barely keep my eyes open)
Ketchup or mustard? Mustard (is it wrong to say horseradish mayo?)
Watch or play sports? I love watching live sports…disclaimer-only when my daughter is in goal on the field or there is ample food and drink in the stands=)
Winter or Summer? Summer
Comedy or Drama? COMEDY every day.  Laughter and humor are way too important to me.

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