Life is so much better since we saw you. We are all calm and enjoying our little family once more!
— Family of 5, Tauranga
Mary has revolutionised our lives! Not only has she helped us to understand our child, but she has instilled in us a sense of calm. We are calmer, more effective parents, and therefore our home is a much happier and much more peaceful place. We will be forever grateful!
— Parents of 3, Tauranga
Things in our home were not going very well, in fact they were going very badly and although we tried many different approaches we couldn’t seem to make any progress. Mary sat with us, listened to us and then helped us to see the bigger picture of what was going on. She gave us love, support, encouragement, a sense of hope and very practical and manageable steps to follow. We still don’t get it right all the time but we know that we are moving in the right direction, and that Mary is always there should we need her wise insights and guidance. Thank you Mary, I don’t know where we would be without you.
— Parents of 2, Tauranga
With great compassion and understanding Mary is able to carefully untangle the personalities and relationships that make up a family in order to provide a clear set of guidelines to resolve whatever issues you have presented her with. In doing so she gives parents confidence and resolve - such crucial attributes to have when raising children. She untangles the interaction between parent and child by giving parents the ability to act with loving certainty. The result is a calmer and, I think, more magical family life.
— Parents of 2, Wellington
I want to thank you so much for your guidance in December. It carried me successfully through the whole summer. I couldn’t believe the difference it made, or how on board the children were from the get go, the first couple of days were a little rocky, as you said, but my goodness it was great after that. I was so in-charge and they were so relieved. Thank you so much Mary. It was like day and night.
— Mother of 2, Auckland
We’d tried everything to try and make sense of our preschooler’s incredibly difficult behaviour, but everything we’d read and tried simply didn’t help. Mary showed us entirely new ways of understanding our child and the roots of her behavioural issues. She gave us tangible and highly effective ways to communicate with our child, set boundaries, and create a home and family environment that allowed change to happen and a happy, secure child to emerge.
— Parents of 2, Kapiti
Mary is the compass to our family’s journey. Whenever we get off track her support and guidance is right on point. She reminds us as parents it’s not just about the destination but the journey. With rhythm and support, clear boundaries and self-care we have navigated our way thought many challenges. Knowing Mary has changed the way we parent in the most amazing ways. Her techniques are simple and clear to follow and remain the solid ground work for our day-to-day lives.
— Family of three, Wellington
Thanks so much Mary. After working with you on our (3 1/2 year old) daughter’s sleep routine, we’ve gone from getting up constantly in the night, tears, tantrums and sleeplessness for all of us, to a calm transition to bedtime, with her nearly always sleeping right through the night.

We also found that exploring each of our family member’s main personality types very helpful too as we could see where we clashed and also our strengths, and work with these for a more harmonious household!
— Family of 5, Wellington
My husband and I have 4 children, all girls, and even though I have been working with children and families for more than 25 years I still find there are times when I have needed extra support and a fresh perspective with a challenging child. We have been fortunate to learn from Mary Willow when we have had challenges we felt unable to meet as parents and individuals. We are united in our desire to provide the best environment for our children, and to be able to share that with someone as supportive, intuitive and experienced as Mary has been tremendously beneficial to us as a couple, and to our children. Mary’s innovative way of explaining the child in us, along with the real child in question, has gone a long way to helping us gain a greater and more realistic perspective on things.

I would recommend Mary to you absolutely and unequivocally, without hesitation and exception, no matter what challenge you are dealing with. In her you will find a person who has a genuine desire to understand you and what is going on in your life, and practical ways to bring about true and lasting change
— Family of 6, Wellington
Mary has worked with our family for about the past 7 years, closely with me and my daughters, and also my wider family. She has helped me to raise my children and provide me the most insightful and loving tools any parent would dream of having, I believe. She is “the bible” of parenting assistance and support that every parent needs to have access to at the birth of their child. The stuff that Mary shares should be taught in our school systems. Her style is so intuitive, knowing, unconventional, with complete depth and she is able to peel back the complex layers of life to provide practical tools that hit the mark and change the course of family life for the better. I could not speak higher of anyone!
When I first met Mary by eldest daughter (who was 6 at the time) was concerning me hugely: she was inward, harsh, aggressive, insensitive, uncaring, immovable and unmanageable…and had lots of issues both at school and in the home as a result of these characteristics. Through Mary’s interventions, and now at the age of 13…she has bloomed into a girl who is driven, incredibly capable, strong, confident, resourceful, supportive, diligent, with amazing leadership skills. She is funny and relaxed and a pleasure to be with much of the time….she is 13 after all! We are a very happy and settled family now
— Solo Mother of 2, Wellington
My partner had never been to any talks or been very involved in signing the boys up for school etc. but I convinced him to come to a talk at the kindy last year. When you finished your talk and we left he said to me that your talk made him feel excited to be a dad.
— Parents of 2, Wellington
Mary’s parenting guidance has been of incredible benefit to our family. Mary provided us with such good grounding in child development and practical guidance for supporting our children, that we have been better equipped to parent, even now, years after Mary’s sessions. Mary has profound knowledge and personal wisdom and I would recommend her parenting services to all.
— Parents of 3, Wellington
We had come to the realisation that our parenting wasn’t working. So after a comment to our midwife when our third child was born…she recommended Mary.

The baby was easy; it was our eldest, the 4 year old we were having trouble with. It was eye opening to learn from Mary all about our personalities and how children develop…and one of our biggest realisations was that we had wafty boundaries. We also learned how to safely defuse anger.

What is interesting now is that when we do find our parenting challenging we can talk about what we did that didn’t work, and how we can change things for the next time, and we delve in to Mary’s fantastic notes.

3 kids under 6 is busy, but I knew I wanted to write this, as it’s not fair to keep Mary a secret from others who may be like us; Parents who love their kids but are finding it challenging. Sometimes in life its better to admit when you need help and be strong enough to ask for it. Thanks again Mary, and may many get to benefit from your guidance and enjoy their parenting!
— Mum and Dad with 3 Children, Wellington
Our family cannot recommend Mary and her wonderful work enough. She has completely transformed, not only our little girl’s life now and into the future, but our marriage and family in the process. She came to us when we were distressed, anxious and struggling. She met our situation, past and future, with care, love, tenderness and a vast myriad of knowledge and experience. She has been a blessing to our family and will be to any other that works with her.

Her straightforward approach, explanations, skills and ideas made the necessary processes for change simpler and easier than anticipated, and at times even enjoyable!
Mary and Plum Parenting have helped reveal who our little girl truly is, and she is no longer the timid, shy, quiet girl we had become to believe she was. Like a butterfly from the chrysalis, she has come into her own and is going from strength to strength every day. We are eternally grateful: we have been set free. Thank you Mary for your love and support.
— Parents of 2, Tauranga
We are so lucky to have had Mary Willow’s help! We first met Mary when our eldest daughter started playgroup about 8 years ago. She set us up with all the tools we needed to tackle periods of change from the terrible 2’s to the 9 year old phase, plus parental break up, shifting town sagas and Earthquake drama, Yikes! Poor kids!!!

We have heard Mary speak publicly many times, watched her in action with our children at kindy and playgroup and had individual counselling sessions with her. Now, when I get stuck on a parenting issue I just find a quiet moment and think ‘What would Mary say in this situation?’ and usually some brilliant Mary-like, simple and logical answer will come. And, if not I go back to Mary’s notes and find the answers there. Mary has been my guardian angel over the last 8 years and I know my girls and I would be in a very different place right now if she wasn’t a part of our lives.
— Mary’s first client! (2007)
Partnering with Mary on my parenting journey has helped me to stay out of the metaphorical woods and on the straight-and-narrow of growing deep, heartfelt and joyful relationships with my growing family. Her shared wisdom has been a blessing for myself, my children and hopefully, in time, will be of service to our community. I am deeply grateful
— Mother of 3 children, Kapiti
Mary is not only highly qualified and full of knowledge and love, confidence and experience, she is also a Mum full of compassion and empathy. That made the session with her a really encouraging situation, where I as a parent could feel some HOPE AGAIN, knowing I am not the only one nor the last one to be going through similar circumstances. Thanks Mary for your time and vocation.
— Solo Mother of 1, Tauranga
You had a wonderful, aware way in helping us make our decisions by offering a way of approaching the family situation on a timeline respectively, from the essence of every family member, with warmth, empathy and an experienced objectivity.
— Family with girl 13, boy 15, Tauranga
Mary’s mentoring helped me to regain confidence as a mother. Her advice has helped bring my beautiful son back from an unhappy headspace. Thank you so much for your help.
— Family of 4, Far North
Mary was very intuitive about our child and offered invaluable advice and strategies to assist our parenting. Her caring, loving approach, combined with a focus on the importance of boundaries gave us confidence to help deal with the various challenges we were facing with our child at the time. For any parent out there feeling in unfamiliar territory with a child, we highly recommend contacting Mary
— Parents of 2, Wellington
The lecture Mary Willow gave over the two nights struck a deep chord within me and got me to thinking about the rhythm of life…as a parent of a fractured family I think I’ve had a tendency to compartmentalize everything as a means of functioning. And here we stand now as (separated) parents with things so compartmentalized that there is no flow, no communication and no ownership of responsibility happening.

As I write about this I see how this flows into all areas of one’s life…and can see that this needs to change…I can’t help but think of Ghandi who said with such clarity of vision that ‘we must be the change we want to see in the world’…I am only able to affect change for my son and my family on my side, and will do so…as Mary mentioned about divorce and separation: ‘we can only give and have control over 50% of what is happening’… Mary’s message empowers separated parents to step fully into their own parent/home/life bubble and make it good.
— Mother of 1, Tauranga
We have attended one of Mary’s seminars and had two counselling sessions. With Mary’s help we have gained a greater understanding of our children, their temperaments and how to parent them in a way that is best suited to them. I recommend Mary’s support to all families.
— Parents of 2, Waiheke Island
We were both singing your praises last night. The sleep advice has worked a treat. I feel like my understanding of nonverbal communication has moved to a whole new level, which feels liberating. It took about 3 days but has really been so easy. She pops into bed now with no problems. Thanks so much!
— Parents of 2, Kapiti
Mary has an amazing ability to clearly describe the character of a child and suggesting appropriate strategies to overcome a current parenting challenge or issue. She has a wealth of tools, tricks and experience to move a child to the next stage and help them grow according to their own unique pace and ways.
Her support has helped us establish very strong daily rhythms and routines for our family and made us feel confident to enforce them, despite what others might think. This has had a massive impact on our fire temperament children by managing (almost eliminating) spectacular tantrums, ‘going to sleep’ road blocks, and fights between siblings. As a result, we have regained our adult time in the evenings and can now build on harmonious relationships between each of us.
— Parents of 3, Wellington
Mary Willow has worked with us in the past and made a significant difference to our everyday life. We are more connected as a family, clearer on our purpose and have a wider appreciation for each others strengths and differences. Her work around understanding child development and the ages and stages is critical for every parent to know and understand. Thanks for your input to our family Mary.
— Parents of 2, Wellington
Parenting can sometimes get you into a right muddle and Mary brings wonderful, much needed clarification in these times. She has supported us to see and implement clear strategies that have supported us to be the best parents we can, and to help our family be the best it can be. She is like the walking stick we lean on when the track gets bumpy!
— Mum of 2, Wellington
Dear Readers, As a single Mum I find I am often in a very lonely and helpless situation raising my wee girl with very little support. The traumatic earthquakes have added another enormous stressful dimension to our lives. Even after all these years, I know we have been emotionally affected by everything that has happened.

It was through our school that I first heard of Mary Willow.
I went to listen to her talk one weekend. I was struck by a lot of things she was talking about. Mary is so ALIVE bubbling with warmth and wonderful humor, and just so REAL! I saved up every cent and booked for Mary to come over on the ferry to visit and have a parenting session!
It was great; it has made all the difference in the world! I think one of the biggest things was for me to realise that part of the problem is my gentle nature verses my daughter’s firecracker nature. It is like asking a marshmallow to raise a walnut! It ain’t ever going to be easy!! But YES, possible!

That really is the key, to really know your nature and your child’s nature. My daughter has stopped dressing up like a lawyer and DEMANDING me to sign CONTRACTS she has written up! I am your Mother (even though I am really a Marshmallow) BUT I AM in charge here, thank you very much!!! My daughter is always cooking up some new idea but I cannot remember the last time I signed one of her contracts!
Ps: what REALLY blew me away is Mary was prepared to travel for miles and catch the ferry over to visit. I will never forget that! Thank you Mary!!
— Single Mum of 1, Banks Peninsula
Mary accepts everyone the way they are, where they stand in life. The humour in her teaching and passion in parenting is immensely beautiful.
— Family with 3, Tauranga