Supermom is Getting Tired
Feeling guilty being away from my kid

Feeling guilty being away from my kid

October 19, 2021

Episode #110 - Feeling Guilty Being Away from my Kid

 

Question of the Day:

"I’m sick of feeling guilty all the time. When I’m at work, I feel guilty for not being at home. When I’m at home, I feel guilty for not working.

My four year old has started crying and clinging to my leg when I try to leave and it’s breaking my heart. I’m exhausted and secretly dream about taking a weekend to myself like you described in episode 72 “I need a break from mothering”.

I’m sure life coaching would help me become a better mother but I feel guilty spending time and money on myself. How do I stop feeling guilty?"

Kelly

Parent Educator Answer: 

Guilt is an emotion whose purpose is to motivate us to right wrongs. You say something mean, you feel guilty, you apologize and ask for forgiveness. The emotion is so uncomfortable that you curb your behavior. You don’t say those mean words anymore and your relationship stabilizes. 

 

The problem with guilt is an unmanaged mind will often turn it into shame. Guilt says, “I did something wrong.” Shame says, “I AM wrong.”  

 

Shame is an emotion whose purpose is also to motivate us. It comes from erroneous beliefs about feeling inadequate, unworthy, unlovable, or not enough. If we think, “I’m not a good mom” we may try harder to be present and patient with our kids but most of us do not change our belief to “I’m such a good mom” after an hour of patient, present parenting. We just dress up the shame in a different outfit. Instead of “I’m not a good mom”, we go to “I’m not working hard enough” or “I’m not a good enough employee, money manager, housekeeper, cook, wife, friend, daughter-in-law” etc.

 

It sounds like what Kelly is dealing with is this insidious inadequacy, where no matter how much time she spends at work or at home, she never gets to hear the wonderful words: ou are enough.

 

Before letting go of guilt, ask yourself, “is this guilt productive?” Meaning...“Is there any immediate action step I can take to remedy this situation?Is there anyone I can apologize to and ask for forgiveness?” If not, we can work on letting it go. 

 

Our brains need to be reminded that most guilt is unnecessary and unhelpful. Guilt that does not lead to an apology or productive action is a waste of emotional energy. 

 

Somehow we got the idea that feeling guilty means we care. It is true that highly empathic people tend to have more guilt, but holding on to guilt does not make us better people. Guilt is there to right wrongs; to draw our attention to ways we may have hurt someone so we can preserve our relationships. 

 

I believe guilt takes away from our ability to be excellent parents. Guilt disrupts our sleep, drains our energy, and takes us away from us enjoying the present moment. 

 

Here are 5 "Golden Stars" that help kids thrive and moms feel good about their parenting: 

  1. Being emotionally present when with your children. (Your mind and body are in the same place at the same time.)
  2. Providing comfort, stability, and reassurance. 
  3. Being attuned to your child’s feelings.
  4. Having your eyes light up when your child walks in the room. Expressing delight. 
  5. Supporting your child’s goals, dreams and ambitions. 

 

Do you know how hard it is to do these 5 things when you feel guilty?

How about when you are exhausted from being with your child all day?

 

Think about the longest you’ve ever been away from your child. Remember how you acted when you finally got to reunite with them. My guess is, you were present. You blocked everything else out and gave your full attention to your child. You were probably attuned to their emotions, offering comfort and support where needed. I am SURE your eyes lit up with delight when you finally got to be with your child again. 

 

Stop listening to the cultural voices saying, “A good mom should stay with her kid all day, everyday, no matter how hard it is for her to do so.” or “It’s a shame you have to work, you must miss your child.” 

 

Instead, make the 5 golden stars your GOAL. Ask yourself, “What do I need in order to achieve these 5 golden stars?” 

 

Everyone’s answers will differ. Kelly might figure out that what she needs most is rest or permission to take a break. Maybe she needs life coaching or therapy to teach her how to stop putting so much pressure on herself. Maybe she needs a wonderful babysitter or nanny to help her feel confident her daughter is in good hands. Maybe she needs to go for a run or take a yoga class before transitioning to her second job as mom. 

 

Instead of creating a one-size-fits-all formula for how to be a good mom (and judging other moms when they make different choices), let’s recognize that we all have different paths to achieve the same goal: peaceful and present parenting that brings out the best in us. 

 

Life Coaching Answer:

What gets in the way of our taking the necessary steps towards peaceful & present parenting? GUILT OVER LETTING GO OF GUILT !!! 

 

I just had a free discovery call with a mom who has been listening to me for 20 YEARS! She finally scheduled a free call with me and discovered how much life coaching could help her, but she felt overwhelmed with the idea of spending time and money on her own personal growth. She felt guilty about letting go of guilt! 

 

What gets in our way from letting go of guilt, is our desire to FEEL GOOD FIRST before taking new action. We think, “I’ll just try harder, work more, suck it up.” Or we think, “I’ll just wait” or “I can figure this out on my own.” 

We TRY to take different action without changing the beliefs that got us stuck in this situation in the first place. This can work, but it’s A LOT harder and the changes rarely stick. 

 

Life coaching works on changing the belief system that drives the behavior. This makes change MUCH easier and more long-lasting. 

 

It may seem like Kelly having to leave her 4-year-old clinging and crying is the cause of her guilt but the real culprit is what she is making it mean about HER. I don’t know what the thought is, I’m just speculating, but I’m guessing it’s something like “I’m not doing enough.” 

 

When you think and believe this thought, “I am not doing enough,” it FEELS TRUE so we don’t think to question it. We look at our unending to-do list, Pinterest and Instagram, all the things we forgot and balls we dropped and suddenly have tons of evidence to prove it true, “I am not doing enough.” 

 

What we focus on expands. When we focus on all the things left undone, it feels monumental. We feel small and inadequate because we are thinking about all the ways we are not measuring up. 

 

Telling yourself, “I am worthy of rest” or “I have done enough” will not work. She has repeated the opposite so many times and collected so much evidence to the contrary that she wouldn’t believe it. The way to overcome guilt is to QUESTION the belief that is causing it. 

 

Think about an area you feel guilty for not measuring up. Maybe you go on social media and think, “I could be prettier, fitter, or more creative or ambitious.” “I could be a better mom, housekeeper, saver, employee.” Pick one area of inadequacy and hold it as we start to question the belief, “I’m not doing enough.”

 

Are you absolutely sure this thought is true that, “I am not doing enough?” If there was another working mom who felt guilty about being away from her child all day, would you tell her she isn’t doing enough? Why not? 

 

If your daughter grows up and becomes a working mom will you tell her “She’s not doing enough?” Why or why not? 

 

Who determines how much is enough? If you work 13 hours a day, is that enough? How will you know when you’ve reached the magical state of enoughness?

Exactly how many hours of self sacrifice does it take to make you a good person? 

What is the thought, “I’m not doing enough” costing you? 

Can you imagine who you would be without this thought? 

Is it possible you have always been enough and you just didn’t know it? Did you just pick up what advertisers were trying to sell you though none of it was true? Why would you want to believe you aren’t doing enough?

How would it feel to truly believe that you are doing enough? What does enoughness feel like as an emotion in the body? 

 

If you want to be the mom who meets these 5 golden stars, you’ve got to surrender to a process of undoing guilt. I can give you all my tips and tricks, but these beliefs are so subconscious that it’s nearly impossible to coach yourself on them. 

 

The only way I know how to let go of guilt is with another qualified person. Whether that is with a  therapist, life coach, priest, EFT practitioner, or a friend who knows how to say the right things at the right time, having a compassionate witness to your guilt is the most important requirement in letting it go. 

Supermom Kryptonite - Beating yourself up for beating yourself up

When Supermoms first come to life coaching, they are astounded at how much better they can feel in such a short period of time. They get so excited about their new tools and the power they have to make changes. They feel so free and start implementing new habits like journaling and self-coaching. 

Inevitably, these mommas find new ways to beat themselves up. They start feeling guilty for feeling guilty. They berate themselves for berating themselves. The same old inadequacies show up wearing a new outfit. That’s why my Supermom is Getting Tired coaching program is 12 weeks long. I like having enough time for this to happen so we can recognize this insidious little beast when it shows up.

 

Supermom Power Boost - Make a commitment to build momentum

I loved this Supermom who had been thinking about life coaching for 20 years. She was so genuine and self aware, so devoted to her children. She said, “I would spend this money on my children in a heartbeat but for me, I just can’t.” It was too big of a leap for her. I do hope she doesn’t wait another 20 years before calling again, but before I let her get off the phone, I asked her to make a commitment. 

Scheduling her free call felt scary but she did it anyway. I didn’t want her to retreat back into her comfort zone of safety. I wanted her to stay scared and feel vulnerable outside her comfort zone so she could get used to it. I asked her to make a commitment toward some kind of forward momentum. 

Signing up for life coaching is obviously a big step in a positive direction. You are surrendering to a process and trusting it will work. There are other ways to build forward momentum, get unstuck, and prove to yourself that positive changes are happening. 

 

Here are some suggestions of commitments you can make, just make sure you do it out loud so others can hold you accountable. 

  • Tell your family you want life coaching as a Christmas present.
  • Put a deposit down or pre-pay for a “momcation”.
  • Pick a date on the calendar for a “do whatever I feel like doing” day. 
  • Schedule a free life coaching call at www.lifecoachingforparents.com/work-with-me
  • Sign up for a class: art, meditation, exercise, life coaching, whatever helps you move closer to being the mom you want to be. 

 

Pay attention to the things that bring you closer to the 5 golden stars 

  • Being emotionally present when with your children. Your mind and body are in the same place at the same time. 
  • Providing comfort, stability and reassurance. 
  • Being attuned to your child’s feelings.
  • Having your eyes light up when your child walks in the room. Expressing delight. 
  • Supporting your child’s goals, dreams and ambitions. 

 

Quote of the Day:

“Guilt can either hold you back from growing or it can show you what you need to shift in your life.” Unknown

Choosing a college major

Choosing a college major

October 5, 2021

Dear Torie, 

How is my son supposed to choose a major?  He is applying to colleges, some of which won’t let him change his mind if he applies under a certain major. He’s stressing out which is making me stress out! How the heck is he supposed to know what he wants to do for the rest of his life when he has had so few life experiences? It seems ridiculous to ask this of a 17 year old and I feel unsure how to guide him. It seems silly to hire a life coach for this but I’m wondering if it’s a good idea. 

Kim

 

Parent Educator Answer: How to choose a major

The biggest mistake we make is asking kids to get too specific too soon. I don’t mind the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” It can give you a ton of insight if you follow it up with WHY? What about that appeals to you?

Let’s imagine your kid says, “I want to be a video game designer.” If you ask WHY, you’ll get more general information. Do they like the artistic/creative elements? Do they like being in community with other gamers? Do they like the idea of working from home? 

We can help our kids figure out a major by asking questions and making observations. 

We are all born with skills, talents, interests, and proclivities. I believe our job is to figure out what we love to do, and go do it. Each of us has been imprinted with certain likes and dislikes, and with every class we take and life experience we have, we get a little closer to knowing ourselves.

Finding the right career path is like the game of You are Getting Warmer. I love playing this game in workshops where we'd hide a small object (that represents her future), somewhere in the room. I would take one person out of the room, while the others chose where to hide the object. Once hidden and everyone had taken their seat, II'd bring her back in the room and stand her in the middle of the circle. All the girls watched to see how she would go about finding her future. 

How you do one thing, is how you do everything. The way you play the simple game of You are Getting Warmer is the same way you approach choosing a major, a university, or a career path. 

It was fascinating to watch all the different ways to approach this game. Some girls would just stand there saying “I don’t know where to start.” They wanted to KNOW the RIGHT PATH before taking a step in ANY direction.They were afraid of making a mistake. I would ask questions like, “Where in your real life does the fear of making the wrong choice get in your way?”  

The girls only got "warmer" or "colder" clues if they asked for it. Some NEVER looked to us for clues, they wanted to figure it out on their own with no input. Others wanted feedback with every step, constantly looking for reassurance they were on the right track. Some bulldozed through my living room, upturning couch cushions and moving people and obstacles out of their way. 

Some went in with a plan, others did great until they met with a human obstacle. I liked hiding it in places that forced them to interact and ask for help. Many of the girls would give up rather than ask someone to move out of the way. 

Choosing your major is just like this game. You cannot know unless you take a step in some direction. But every experience you have is giving you clues to what feels “warmer” or “colder” to you. We can help our kids tune into these important clues by asking them questions. 

  1. What feels warmer: online learning or in person learning?
  2. What did the Pandemic teach you that you never want again?
  3. What did the Pandemic teach you that you liked and want more of? 
  4. What is something you enjoy “practicing” even if no one asked you to? 
  5. When your teacher assigns a project or essay, do you prefer detailed instructions or very little guidance?
  6. What’s your favorite books? TV shows? Youtube channels? Movies? Video games? 
  7. What kinds of activities did your teen enjoy between the ages of 6-12? How would they spend their free time? 
  8. What did your child get in trouble for in school? Talking? Running? Not paying attention? What did teachers say about them at conferences? 

 

There are MANY WAYS to help our teens understand themselves and choose a major as long as we don’t get too specific too soon: Indoors or Outdoors? Sitting or Moving? Teaching or Learning? Talking or Reading?

If I were coaching your teen, the things I’d want to discover are, their play personality, their Myers-Briggs Type Indicator profile, and their Sparktype. Self awareness is one of the most valuable skill sets kids can develop to navigate the wild and uncertain future. Personality quizzes are valuable tools to help us understand ourselves but these 3 are the easiest to spot in kids.

I have talked about play personality in the past. The book called Play by Dr. Stuart Brown helped me understand the different activities people engage in that make life more fun. Choosing work that feels like play, is the surest way to enjoy your future career. If you are a competitive creator you won’t be happy in a job where you have to uphold rules all day. I’m an explorer / director so I created this job of coaching and teaching where I can create positive experiences for people while helping them understand themselves at a deeper level.

The 8 play personalities Dr. Stuart names are: explorer, director, kinesthete, creator, collector, competitor, storyteller, joker.

The MBTI is another great personality assessment helping us understand who we are and how we best operate. The book Nurture by Nature, can help parents identify their kid’s personality types from a very young age, up until adolescence. The quiz is written for adults so I don't recommend that but I love the book and the parenting tips they give based on your child's personality type. 

If you are an introvert, working as a school principal will wear you out. If you dwell in your 5 senses, more than your intuition, you may struggle as an entrepreneur or in an environment where you are asked to “figure things out on your own” and “trust your gut”. 

Understanding your personality type can help you choose a career path you can be happy with. 

My latest obsession that I find super valuable in helping clients understand themselves is a new book and personality assessment called Sparketype. Jonathan Fields at The Good Life Project wrote a book to summarize what I would call “Archetypes” but he calls Sparketype: Discover Your Unique Imprint for Work that Makes You Come Alive 

I was talking with my teenage niece the other day, and she mentioned she is interested in becoming a chiropractor. When I asked WHY, she told me about the role her chiropractor has played in her life. How she’s always there for her when she gets stressed and tense. She’s kind, wise and helpful. She loves going to see her, always feels better after. There are many reasons to become a chiropractor but what I heard is that my niece identifies with the Sage sparketype. She wants to play this role of wise advisor, coach, mentor, in other people’s lives. Once you know your Sparketype, the role you need to play in order to feel alive, then you can choose your favorite arena. Turns out my niece is not interested in body mechanics, science, medicine or human biology. She would have been miserable studying these subjects in college! 

 

The different Sparketypes are: The Maker, The Scientist, The Sage, The Advisor, The Maven, The Essentialist, The Performer, The Warrior, The Advocate, The Nurturer. 

 

I’ll include the link to the quiz but it’s geared towards adults who have been in the workforce. Take the quiz for yourself but check out the book to help your teen and learn about the different Sparketypes. 

 

So the answer to your question, Kim is YES, hiring a life coach to help your teen choose a major is a great idea. Hiring a life coach would save you time, money and future regret. If you are interested and find this as fascinating as I do, I've given you some places to start. But if you don't want to spend thousands of hours and dollars learning, then a life coach can save you time, money and stress.

 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in our way from teens figuring out what to major in? Societal Pressures! 

What gets in the way of teenagers knowing themselves enough to choose a major is the pressure to pick the perfect thing. The world is changing super fast. Many of the jobs today’s kindergarteners will have haven’t even been invented yet! The only constant we can count on is change. 

The best thing we can do is to help our teens develop the skills of navigating uncertainty. These important skills are  self awareness, flexibility, and trusting yourself to rise to any future scenario.

 

When teens think “The school and major I choose are super important” and “I have to like this for the rest of my life” it puts on a lot of unnecessary pressure. If they don’t like their choice, they can change schools halfway through. If they can’t find a job in their major, they can still find a job in their Sparketype. 

 

Don’t worry about “The major I really want to study won’t make me any money.” We always find excuses to avoid things that make us feel vulnerable and being your true, authentic self always feels scary. Choose the major that gets you excited to get out of bed in the morning. There are many ways to earn income so don’t let that be your reason to not follow your dreams.

Be wary of societal trends or pressures.

Tim went to medical school when the trend was shifting towards primary care doctors. “All the future jobs are in general medicine” he was told. So he followed the trend and spent 7 years diagnosing ear infections and runny noses. If he had paid attention to his personality type instead, he would have known he was a specialist, not a generalist. He LOVED being the expert in the room. He loved going an inch wide and a mile deep on a subject. Every really interesting case that came into his office, he had to refer out. His boredom finally got the best of him and he went back to school to become a pediatric anesthesiologist. He learned to be true to himself, to be nimble and flexible, and follow what felt good to him, no matter what society said. 

 

Supermom Kryptonite: The Talent Trap

When I was preparing for my first teaching job, my mom, an experienced teacher, gave me the unusual advice: “Don’t be too good.” She had seen it happen too many times where the best performers or the hardest workers often got asked to be on the most committees, review the latest curriculum, chair the boards, and volunteer too much extra time outside the classroom. 

(As a fellow people-pleaser, I suppose “don’t be too good” was the best advice she had because “Say no to things that don’t spark joy” wasn’t in her vocabulary.)

But the talent trap is real! If you are really good at a lot of things and you like school and learning, it can be hard to choose a major. Most people love being recognized for their skills and talents. This ego boost can get in the way of knowing whether we really like something because we all enjoy being good at things and getting recognized for it. 

I've coached a many clients who got stuck in the "Ivy League Talent Trap". Feeling pressured to perform at a high level when they really just want to bake brownies and coach little league.

If you find yourself good at a lot of things, ask yourself questions like

“What would I do if I could not care what people thought?”

“What is so fun that I’d do it even if failure was inevitable?”

“What do I do for fun in my spare time when no one is watching?”

The game of “You are Getting Warmer” never ends because we are always evolving. What felt warm to you two years ago, may not be the same as it is today. When you learn what to pay attention to and focus on self awareness, flexibility, and trusting your future self, you will have what you need to navigate this wild new world we are living in

 

Supermom Power Boost: Let yourself off the hook. 

It’s too much to expect yourself to be able to guide your children towards a successful future when you don’t know what the future will bring!  We have blind spots when it comes to our kids. If you think, "He's just like me, or my brother, or my mom." it blocks us from seeing our kids as they are. We remember how they were when they were younger, which can block us from seeing who they are evolving into as adolescents. We have our own hopes, fears and biases that help us see only what we want to see in our kids. 

Parents may not be the best mentors for their kid's futures because they have so many biases and blind spots.

It took me 15 years of learning and practice, thousands of dollars in coaching programs and books to help  people discover their essence, and I'm sure I still have biases when it comes to my own kids. 

Instead of being the person with all the answers, be a living example of listening to your inner guidance. Talk out loud about YOUR game of “You are Getting Warmer” that you are playing in your life. Do you notice that walking the dog feels warmer than going to the gym? Is working from home warmer than going to the office? 

Take the Sparketype Quiz and make sure you are doing work that makes you feel alive. Understand your play personalities and adjust your life to make your work feel like play. Honor your Myers Briggs Personality Profile rather than telling yourself you should be someone you aren’t. 

Don’t guide, model. (Unless your Sparketype is a Sage then find more people to guide than just your own kids!) 

 

Quote of the Day: “When you align your actions with your essence, you become a beacon that amplifies your presence.”  Jonathan Fields

Annoyed and Irritated? Why that‘s important

Annoyed and Irritated? Why that‘s important

September 21, 2021

Episode #108 - Use Your Anger to Get What You Want

 

Dear Torie, 

So….my pre-teen just pointed out that every time I have to drive him somewhere, I act annoyed. (which annoyed me). My teenager piggy backed on that saying I’m ALWAYS mad and yelling at her to pick up her things and do her chores. (which irritated me). My partner joined in saying he can’t remember the last time he and I had fun together (which TOTALLY pissed me off!). What is happening to me? Am I developing anger issues? 

The last few days I started observing every time I felt angry. I’m mad at other drivers who don’t drive more carefully around schools. I’m mad at the poor job our school is doing to accommodate my child’s learning disability. I’m mad that I have to work full time and have a full time messy house. 

I don’t think of myself as an angry person. If anything, I’m too nice and a bit of a pushover. Where do I go from here? 

Angelica

 

Parent Educator Answer: 

 

First, let me say it sucks when your family gangs up on you. That is not nice and I’m sorry you got called out in that way. 

 

Second, let’s talk about where NOT to go from here. 

 

Do not go from anger to guilt and shame. It’s tempting, but this is what keeps you stuck in the “exploding doormat” cycle. We turn into “exploding doormats” when we feel bad for yelling and being short or snappy, this guilt causes us to abandon our boundaries, cater to our kids desires. Ignoring our own desires and being overly accommodating, ignites our anger, (naturally and appropriately) which makes us snappy, continuing the cycle.

 

This repression of anger does not help us learn the lessons anger is trying to teach us. Most women are taught to swallow their anger, keep it inside, and not express it. 

 

Some women learned to express anger in a way that violates other people’s boundaries. Yelling, blaming, cursing, name calling, are all unhealthy ways we have witnessed others express anger. 

 

Anger has a purpose. It is here to help us identify injustices and give us the strength to right wrongs and set firm boundaries. 

 

Rather than suppressing or expressing anger, we want to USE IT. 

 

Feel around in your body and mind for any anger you are carrying around with you. Look for anything that says, “It’s not fair.” 

 

In the past, my anger, resentment, and bitterness mostly showed towards my husband. I raged against our unequal division of labor. 

 

The first step in turning rage into the fuel required to make change is compassion. This anger isn’t to be ignored or tolerated, it’s HEALTHY. Your anger is important! As you give it the reverence it deserves, you allow it to turn from suppression, to curiosity, to the strength you need to set healthy boundaries.

 

Ask yourself, “What do I need that I’m not getting?” 

 

If your answer is “I need my daughter to do her chores”, go broader. Get less specific and more general. Take a deep breath and ask again with compassion, “What do I need that I’m not getting?” 

 

Listen for an answer from your HIGHER SELF. It may communicate in a one word answer: Support. Kindness. Respect. Justice. A break. 

 

Then ask yourself, “What am I experiencing that feels unbearable?” 

 

A lot of my Supermom clients are surprised at the answer their higher self gives them. While the critical, chatty left brain will give long-winded answers about all the changes that need to be made, the quiet wisdom of the right brain often lets them know that it’s loneliness, disconnection, and overwhelm that feels unbearable. 

 

When I was raging against the inequity of household responsibilities, and asked myself “What do I need that I’m not getting?” The answer was rest. I was driving myself so hard trying to PROVE that I was doing ALL THE WORK, I wouldn’t allow myself any leisure time. I felt guilty taking a break in the middle of the day. I couldn’t allow myself to spend time or money doing things I enjoyed. Having compassion for my anger helped me channel it into releasing the guilt and pressure I was putting on myself. I used my anger to override my inner drill sergeant and started having more fun. 

 

When I asked myself, “What am I experiencing that feels unbearable?” The answer was all the mental arguing I was doing trying to get my husband to change his ways. I took the blame off of him, and put 100% responsibility for how I was feeling on ME. This empowered me so much! I felt so free! I started learning more about what it’s like to be married to a rebel personality type with ADHD. Reading books and watching videos of other people in similar situations, gave me the support and compassion I struggled to give myself. 

 

I no longer waited for some imaginary permission slip to let me do what I wanted. I started taking weekends by myself, signing up for coaching programs, and doing things that brought me joy. The more I filled up my tank and prioritized how I felt, the less resentment I felt towards others. I didn’t change the amount of work I did, just my thoughts around it.  

 

 

Life Coaching Answer:  What gets in the way from using anger to fuel appropriate action? 

 

Let’s take your example “I’m mad at the poor job our school is doing to accommodate my child’s learning disability.”

 

When you ask yourself the question, “What do I need that I’m not getting?” Your higher self might answer, “an explanation” or “a teacher who gets it” or “someone else to manage his academic progress”. 

 

When you ask, “What am I experiencing that feels unbearable?” 

You might get an answer like “going it alone” or “watching him struggle”. 

 

Your next step might illuminate itself. It may become very clear what you need to do. But in order to take an action step like advocate for your child, ask for a new teacher, interview and hire a tutor to help or switch schools, it involves going against social programming. 

 

We’ve been taught to play nice, keep quiet and swallow anger. To stand up to injustice or advocate for ourselves or others, we have to believe we are worthy of getting what we want. 

 

Taking action to right wrongs means we have to defy cultural norms. This brings up A LOT of fear! Many people would rather stay stuck in anger than have to feel scared, vulnerable, valuable and worthy! 

 

In order for me to check into a hotel by myself for the weekend, I had to go against my cultural programming that self care is selfish, a mother’s place is in the home, and it’s better to give than to receive.

 

In order for me to advocate for my stressed out kids and tell the teacher: “I’m taking my kid off homework for the rest of the year.” I had to go against my programming that said good girls obey authority and follow rules.

 

In order for you to release the anger, you’re going to have to feel the fear and vulnerability that goes along with defying cultural programming. 

 

The best way to do this is in a group setting with other people who share the cultural values you are wanting to adopt. I cannot think of a better way to do this than a group coaching program. 

 

My group coaching program shares the belief that when we pursue things that make us feel peaceful, alive and free, we not only create a life we love, but we inspire our families and communities to do the same. When we focus on “filling up our love tank,” we inadvertently and without effort give courage to others to believe in themselves and their inherent worth. 

 

Supermom Kryptontie - Defensive Teenagers 

 

Because of functional MRI machines, the last few decades have given us huge insights into the minds of teenagers. 

 

You mentioned that your teenager accuses you of “always being mad and yelling” which is not a fun thing to hear. Anger is a natural response when someone accuses us of something negative AND untrue! (No one is ALWAYS yelling). 

 

Researchers showed pictures of facial expressions emoting anger, fear, surprise, shock, and neutral (no expression) to adults and teens during an fMRI. The adults were able to correctly identify the emotion with activity in their logical frontal lobes. The teenagers, however, interpreted them all as anger, using the reactive amygdala to decipher the emotional expression. 

 

This explains why teenagers can think we are “angry and yelling” even when we have a neutral expression. Teens overreact and get defensive because they are interpreting the expressions of peers, teachers, and parents from the emotional amygdala.  

 

With age and further development of the frontal lobes, their defensive reactions will calm down and they will be able to see a wider range of emotional expression without thinking everyone is mad at them.

 

 

Supermom Power Boost - Healthy anger

It’s hard to know what healthy anger looks like. 

Usually, we see anger expressed in unhealthy ways: 

  1. Expressing it verbally and physically, blaming others and violating other people’s boundaries and sense of safety.
  2. We see it expressed passive-aggressively, with sarcasm, snide comments, control, ignorance, forgetfulness, ghosting, exclusion, and omission. This can be “the silent treatment”, “backhanded compliment” or a “bless her heart” fake smile. 
  3. Suppression and denial. We say we aren’t mad but it leaks out other places: road rage, overeating, overdrinking, overworking, blaming ourselves, etc. 

 

The reason it’s hard to SEE healthy anger in action is because it often turns to love. 

I may join a march for justice, not because I’m angry, but because I love the people. 

Angelica might happily drive her son around because she loves him and his passion for social activities.

She may advocate for educational resources because she loves the local school. 

She might change schools because she loves the support of teachers who understand learning differences. 

 

To help your rage turn into love, ask yourself this question: “What would make my anger go away?” 

I used to get REALLY mad at people who made racial slurs. So angry that it was hard for me to articulate and advocate in a way I was proud of. When I asked myself this question, “What would make my anger go away?” I learned I needed to forgive myself for a racist slur I made when I was 9 years old that caused my friend to cry. Once I made peace with the past and forgave myself, I was able to turn my anger into love. 

Maybe what would help Angelica’s anger go away is to spend less time with an angsty teenager and more time having fun with her husband.

Maybe she needs a coalition of other parents at the school fighting the same cause. 

Or maybe a few more please’s and thank you’s would make all the difference. 

 

Then ask yourself: “How can I find peace if nothing ever changes?” 

 

I used this one a lot when I would rage against the TV news. Hearing about all the crap happening all over the world, would send me down an angry, powerless spiral. Once I accepted that our world will never be perfect, life got easier. From the beginning of time, there has been violence, injustice, poverty and cruelty. Accepting that this is not heaven on Earth and these elements may always exist gave me my power back. It turned my anger into fuel to act upon change I believed in. 

 

This is a life changing question. Ask it every time you hear yourself say, “It’s not fair!” and watch your anger turn to love. 

 

Quote of the Day: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.” Maryann Williamson

I can‘t get anything done!

I can‘t get anything done!

September 7, 2021

Episode #107 - I can’t get anything done! 

Question of the Day: 

I am thrilled that school is back in session —really I am—but I am gobsmacked at how little time I have for myself. I’ve been holding my breath waiting for all my kids to be in school at the same time so I could finally get a moment of peace. Now that it’s here, I feel trapped and overwhelmed by the schedule and everything on my to-do list.

Mornings are 100% about getting the kids out the door. There is no time for me unless I get up ridiculously early, and that feels like torture. Afternoons are complete chaos, trying to juggle carpooling, homework, and after school activities. I need to get dinner on the table all by myself while my attention gets pulled in a million directions.

While the kids are at school, I really should be exercising because it helps my stress level but how can I prioritize myself when there are so many other demands on my time? 

By the time the kids are in bed, I’m too exhausted to do anything. I’m so frustrated that this is my life and I can’t see any way out. 

Monique

P.S. My husband is a firefighter so he’s gone for extended periods of time. With fire season, it’s not like he’s off vacationing, but he’s so tired and out of sync with our routines that he is no help even when he’s home. 

Parent Educator Answer:

Can you hear what emotion Monique is in? Notice the energy with which she wrote this. Overwhelmed. Powerless. Trapped. Exhausted. 

Usually, I would start by giving you some tips and tricks to help you solve your problem. A good time management tip is to make a list of activities that require no brain power that you can do while distracted like laundry and dishes. Only do these activities when your kids are around. Save the activities that require your attention, like writing emails or trying a new recipe, until you have time for yourself. 

But any suggestions I give are just going to make her awful, when she already feels awful. 

When we are feeling this overwhelmed and exhausted, venting to a compassionate witness is the best medicine. My guess is that Monique felt a reprieve just by putting her words into an email. 

 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in the way from getting what she wants? 

 

Can you imagine there is another mom out there with the same schedule and routine who doesn’t feel this way? 

Maybe there is a mom who feels busy and needed, but also valued and purposeful. Or maybe there’s a mom out there who feels guilty and ashamed for not getting more done in a day—she goes through her day quietly feeling like a failure. Maybe there’s a mom who doesn’t notice how much she accomplishes in a day—she doesn’t measure her worthiness by how much she gets done but cares more about how she looks.

So many times we look to other moms as evidence to prove that we aren’t good enough or we aren’t doing it right. I want you to look to other moms as examples of our flexible brains and how powerful our thoughts are. 

The reason Monique is feeling powerless is because of the words she is using. The words we use dictate how we feel. Words have power. 

When we use words like “I CAN’T get anything done” or “I SHOULD be exercising” or “I NEED to get dinner on the table”  It creates a helpless and powerless feeling in the body. We feel trapped. We can’t see any way out. Helplessness is one of the worst things for the human psyche. All humans have an innate desire to feel free.

Monique feels “trapped by the schedule” and “overwhelmed by the to-do list” as though they have more power than she does. The way she words“There’s no time for me”and “This is my life” as though she’s just reporting factual details, is going to give anyone the exact feelings she reports feeling. 

Notice how you feel when you think the thought “I am tired.” Tired, right? 

How about “I’m overwhelmed.” When I think it, my brain starts looking for all the things I have going on.

The “I am” statement is extremely powerful. Whatever follows those two words, you are guaranteed to experience. 

Our bodies don’t like when we lie. I wouldn’t suggest Monique saying “I am fully rested and happy to be here,” but she could ease into some softer “I am” statements with “I am tired but that’s ok.” “I am managing a busy schedule” to give her some more peace. 

 

The good news is that all this is fixable. She’s a perfect candidate for the Supermom is Getting Tired coaching program because she would feel SO MUCH BETTER at the end of the 12 weeks! 

 

The most important thing for Monique is recognizing that she is creating her negative emotions. She has more power than she realizes to change. Not in an “I’m not doing it right” way, (watch out for this inner demon who prevents you from making changes) but by thinking “There is a skill set I can learn that will dramatically improve my life.” 

 

The second thing Monique can do is to stop using the words “I CAN’T” “I HAVE TO” “I NEED TO” and “I SHOULD”. These words all create a feeling of helplessness and keep us feeling like prisoners with our children, house, and to-do list as our prison guards. 

To set yourself free from this mental prison, focus on what you want instead. 

“I want to feel calm.”  “I want to pick my kids up at school.” “I want to feed my family.”

If those don’t feel true, then switch to “I will” or “I intend to”. Remind yourself (daily), that you can do whatever you want to do. 

You don’t have to pick the kids up at school. You could go to the movies by yourself and make them wait for you or walk home. 

You don’t have to feed them dinner. You could listen to them complain or let them eat cereal for dinner. You might CHOOSE to feed them because you don’t like the alternative, but that freedom is yours for the taking. 

You don’t have to drive the soccer practice carpool. You might choose to because you want to do your part and you like seeing your daughter happy and sweaty afterwards. 

You don’t have to do laundry. Your kids can wear dirty stinky clothes and probably won’t even mind. You want to do laundry because you don’t want to be embarrassed.

 

We are always free. We are born free and die free. Even when we have three little monsters demanding food, time, and attention, we could walk out that door and never come back. We choose not to, because we love those little monsters. 

Supermom Kryptonite - Fighting for Freedom with Negative Liberty

 

You cannot turn on the news these days without someone shouting, “They are trying to take away my freedom!” I’ve been talking about the FEELING of freedom that is really important for our spirits. To live our best life, we need to believe we are free to do whatever we want. If not, we get stuck in fear. 

 

When people shout about politics “taking away freedom” they are talking about civil rights or civil liberties, “The rights of citizens to political and social freedom and equality.”  I don’t want to minimize this important distinction by saying you can feel free whenever you want. 

 

These are arguments of people “fighting for freedom”. See if you can guess what they are arguing for. 

(Mask wearing) “Requiring someone to wear something or do something is an overreach of governmental power”

(pro-choice) “Every human being has a right to own their own body and should be able to decide what to do with their body.”

(carry concealed weapons) “THIS issue is fundamental and essential to maintaining liberty as are the rights of free speech, free press, freedom of religion and other encroachments on liberty.”

(anti-vaxxers) “We are for medical freedom and body autonomy. Our bodies are ours, not for someone else to govern. We are fighting for our freedom.”

(euthanasia)  “We have the right to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Doctors should not be allowed to decide who lives and who dies.”

 

Let’s use the recent Texas court decision to ban all abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy as an example. 

Women in Texas can still FEEL free by thinking “I still have choices. I can go to another state to have an abortion. I can take the morning after pill or find a “back-alley coat-hanger clinic” to do the job.” Texas has ruled to remove civil rights for half their population. Now making it one of the least free states in our country. 

 

There is actually something called the Human Freedom Index: A Global Measurement of Personal, Civil and Economic Freedom. In a very long and well researched academic report, the authors ranked countries in freedom and civil liberties, from highest to lowest. 

Which freedoms are considered in this Index? • Rule of Law • Security and Safety • Movement • Religion • Association, Assembly, and Civil Society • Expression and Information • Identity and Relationships • Size of Government • Legal System and Property Rights • Access to Sound Money • Freedom to Trade Internationally • Regulation of Credit, Labor, and Business.

 

Unsurprisingly, the top 10 countries that rank highest on happiness ratings, also ranked highest on the freedom index: Finland, Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway, Austria, Denmark, Canada, The Netherlands, and my family’s country of origin, Luxembourg, made the list in 2020. 

 

The U.S. ranked 17th on the freedom index and 18th on happiness. 

 

The Freedom Index defines freedom as a social construct that recognizes the dignity of individuals and is defined by the absence of coercive restraint. “Individuals have the right to lead their lives as they wish as long as they respect the equal rights of others.”

 

Countries that rank highest in freedom trust their citizens to make decisions that are right for them. They respect free will, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.

 

So I can choose not to wear a mask at a grocery store, but when I do, I compromise the freedom of others to shop safely. So my freedom restricts the freedom of others. The government creates laws to help people enjoy their civil liberties. 

 

I love knowing that if I buy property, no one can take it away from me or without consequences. There are laws in place to protect my freedom to come home and not find squatters in my house. 

My beloved Costa Rica scores high on happiness rankings, but low on the freedom index because the legal system does not impose restrictions on criminals. They have negative liberty, meaning non-interference by government, so people can do what they want without consequences, but this impacts the security and economic freedom for a majority of citizens. 

 

Think about it this way. 

Negative Liberty is noninterference by others. If your kid doesn’t want to go to school, negative liberty means no interference. We’ve created laws that make this illegal because getting an education increases the child’s civil liberties, which increases access to economic, social freedom.

When your teen says, “You have no right to take away my cell phone! I should be free to watch porn all day if I want to!” You can say you are actually increasing his civil liberties, giving him access to education, jobs, transportation and relationships with real people. By restricting this one freedom you increase his access to a more fulfilling life. 

Positive Liberty removes the constraints that impede one’s personal improvement of the fulfillment of individual potential. Positive liberty cannot be imposed by others because we naturally have conflicting views on whether and how to achieve self-improvement. Positive freedom means different things to different people.

If you told your teen they have to play football to fulfill his potential and have a meaningful life, it restricts freedom because no one else can impose their idea of self improvement. 

When politicians decide that women are not allowed to make medical decisions about their own bodies, they are taking away freedom like a country that imposes marriage for 13 year olds. 

 

Supermom Power Boost: Practice feeling free

Freedom is not just an important FEELING but also a VALUABLE CIVIL RIGHT. Let’s make sure we have BOTH. One, by not imprisoning yourself with your thoughts and two, by not imposing your values and ideologies on others. 

Today’s Supermom Power Boost is to practice the feeling of freedom so you can experience how good it feels. 

The more free you feel, the happier you will be. 

When you interact with others, your joy will leak out and infect others. 

When you experience the benefits of freedom, you’ll want to encourage others to seek it for themselves (without assuming you know what’s right for them). 

 

My favorite way to practice freedom is with the thought, “I can do whatever I want!” 

I walk around my house thinking, “I can do anything I want to do right now! I can tidy, but I don’t have to. I can get on an airplane to Tahiti, but I choose not to. I can sit on my couch and read a book, but I would rather fold laundry. Isn’t this exciting?! 

I can be married, or single. I can earn money, spend money, or invest money. I can MAKE my teenager cuddle me, but I choose not to because she does not like it and I don’t want to take away her civil liberties!  I am free to become the best version of me! 

 

Quote of the Day: 

“There are two ways to go to the gas chamber, free and not free.” Jean Paul Sartre

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor E. Frankl

How to Stop Feeling Crappy

How to Stop Feeling Crappy

August 24, 2021

Episode #106  Sick of feeling crappy all the time

Question of the Day:

Dear Torie

School has started and I’m excited for my kids to be out of the house and in the classroom. As I was walking toward the school at the end of the day to pick them up, I saw a class out on the playground. These kids were running, playing, laughing, and having a great time. Some of their masks were on, some half on/half off, but they were living in the moment, having fun. 

Instead of appreciating that these kids were happily playing together, I kept focusing on their masks! I was thinking about how they were too young for vaccines and that as soon as Covid starts spreading around the school, they’re going to shut down and send kids home again. I’m worried about how contagious the Delta variant is and even vaccinated people can get it and spread it. I can’t even deal with my relatives who are illogically refusing to get the vaccine. I’m worried things are never going to return to normal. 

I want to enjoy life again like the kids at recess were. I thought returning to school would help me feel better, and it has a little, but it seems all anyone wants to talk about is COVID, masks, vaccines, and I’m just sick of it. 

What can I do to stop feeling so crappy all the time? 

Allison

 

Life Coaching Answer: 

Good News! You’ve already accomplished the first two steps to feeling less crappy!

  1. NOTICE that your brain is focused on negative thoughts.

Our brains are constantly running commentary inside our heads without us even realizing it. We might go from happy to sad to mad to crazy, all in the course of a minute, because our brain is jumping from one thought to the other.

We THINK that we feel happy because our boss gave us a compliment, or we feel sad because there was a dead cat in the road. We THINK that it’s the circumstances we encounter that dictate our emotions, but it isn’t. ALWAYS, it’s the thoughts inside our head that are creating how we feel.

You already noticed this! You didn’t say their droopy mask wearing was making you crazy. You said seeing their careless mask wearing caused you to THINK worrisome thoughts! This is a huge distinction!

We cannot control other people’s mask wearing, conversation topics, vaccine choices, or state mandates. Believing that these circumstances can make you feel a certain type of way, will cause you to feel powerless. You are already feeling shitty so let’s not add powerlessness to the mix.

You feel shitty because the thoughts inside your head are negative. Guess who has control over the thoughts inside your head? YOU DO!

 

2. A desire to feel better.

Once you notice how you feel, and the thoughts causing it, the next step is to spend time thinking about how you want to feel.

The circumstances are going to remain the same: People are still getting sick and dying of COVID. Some people will still choose not to get vaccinated. There isn’t a vaccine approved for kids yet. Masks still do a great job of protecting people.

Even without any of that changing, you still get to decide how you want to feel and what you want to think about.

You say you want to feel joyful like the kids at recess. But it’s hard to go from shitty to joyful without sounding like a fake motivational hallmark card. “Every day, in every way, life is getting better and better!” Our bodies/higher selves will reject any thought that doesn’t resonate as the truth, so we can’t just make up happy thoughts and convince ourselves they are true.

When you have a circumstance like Covid that is such a trigger for negative thoughts, you’ll want to think more generally in order to feel joyful in the present.

Right now, in this moment, all is well. I am healthy. My kids are happy and healthy. We have air to breathe and food to eat. In THIS moment, it is safe to relax, take a deep breath, and appreciate the things I see around me.

Covid is a virus. Our world has seen many viruses. This is not the first or last, just one of many. This isn’t new, it’s just a part of being a citizen of the human race. I like being part of this human community. If Covid is the price to pay for having a human experience, I’m in. It’s worth it.

3. Give equal time.

How much time have you spent thinking about the negative aspects of COVID? A third thing you can do to feel less crappy is for every minute you spend worrying and thinking scary thoughts, give equal time to thoughts of love, safety, and beauty. Fear and love are in two different parts of the brain. You cannot be in both at the same time.

For every minute spent in fear, deliberately spend equal time in love and safety.
Right now, in this moment, are you safe? Look around you. Is there any immediate threat? If not, sit back, close your eyes, and relish in the enjoyment of safety.

What do you see that is beautiful? Kids playing at recess? Flowers blooming? Vaccinated people wearing masks to protect the health of strangers?

How has Covid increased the love people have for one another? Which TV shows remind you about the importance of love and beauty? Can you think about people (or animals) you spend time with who radiate love? With whom do you feel safest?

Remember Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs from your high school psychology class?

Level 5 - Self Actualization - Achieving one’s full potential, Morality, non-prejudice, Creative, Best Self

Level 4 - Esteem - Status, respect, freedom, recognition

Level 3 - Love and belonging - friendship, intimacy, connection, family

Level 2 - Safety - Health, property, security, income

Level 1 - Physiological Needs - Air, water, food, shelter, clothing, warmth, rest

We are currently living in a world of rapid change, unpredictability, and declining mental health. This “global weirding” is dropping many people down to level 2. When people feel unsafe they can’t self actualize. They can’t be in fear and love at the same time. They don’t get to feel respected, free, or intimately connected because safety comes before levels 3, 4, 5.

When people say “wearing masks takes away my freedom” they are operating from fear. Their brains are screaming “lack and attack!” If they could feel safe, loved, and connected, they would realize that they are free and always have been.

In order to feel less shitty, we’ve all got to let go of fear.

In order to reach our full potential, we’ve got to let go of fear.
In order to feel respected, revered, and free, we need to let go of fear.
In order to feel love, belonging and connection, we need to let go of fear.

You have a choice.

You can choose to respond to global weirding with fear: atching the news, worrying about the world, getting frustrated with those who don’t think like you. Clinging to the past, or thinking things should be changing more quickly than they are, creates stress. Getting mad at people for not thinking like you creates stress. You don’t have to manage your brain, you can let other scared and stressed people dictate your emotions.

Many people are responding this way. You will be in good company. You will feel justified and righteous.

But there is another way to respond to our “global weirding”.

You can choose to use these uncertain times to become a better version of you. Instead of joining in the group anxiety, you can become an emotional leader. Deliberately choosing to feel peaceful and loving, no matter what the circumstances. You can focus on beauty, safety, peace and joy, all of which surrounds you all the time. You can hire a life coach to help you illuminate your blind spots and step into a higher version of yourself. You can manage your mind, deliberately choosing what you want to think about, how you want to feel, and take actions that reinforce the belief that you are loved, free, respected, safe, and beautiful.

If you want this, but don’t have a community around you that supports these ideas, you’ve got to step outside your comfort zone and start taking the lead. It’s too important to wait and hope that your mom, your sister-in-law, or your partner is going to self actualize so that you don’t have to.

You have already taken the first two steps. You know you feel shitty and you know how you want to feel. The next step is learning to manage your mind. That’s what I’ve been trained for. I help people use their minds to get what they want. Not just a career you want or a peaceful home life, but how to create the world you want to live in by changing how you feel and think on the inside.

 

Supermom Kryptonite: The Jim Rohn quote, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

Have you heard this quote? When I heard it, I felt terrible but it made me take a long hard look at the people around me. No wonder I felt so crazy! 

Think about the people you spend the most time with. It’s easy for their little voices, emotions, and opinions to start dominating your brain! If you’ve got a partner and 3 kids, that doesn’t leave a lot of room left for positive, uplifting people! 

This makes our media diet and our online community that much more important! 

Be very careful to take in only positive, uplifting news, people, movies and information. Notice who or what lights you up and makes you feel like the best version of you. Notice who or what drains your energy, makes you worried or anxious and AVOID IT.

 

 

Supermom Power Boost: Be around other people who feel crappy

Like attracts like. 

If you feel crappy, the last thing you want is to be around someone who thinks everything is great and looks at the world through rose colored glasses. The best match for you is someone who feels shitty like you, but wants to feel better. 

Invite them over, have a glass of wine or a cup of tea, commiserate and notice how you feel after. If you feel seen, heard, and felt, great! Schedule a time to see them again! 

If you feel connected to this person but disconnected from others, then it’s not a good match. Righteousness or sharing a mutual enemy gives you a false sense of connection. “We’re right and they're wrong” is not at the top of Mazlow’s self actualization pyramid. It’s actually a level 2 fear. When people aren’t open to hearing other opinions, get defensive, or become close minded, they are scared and need to focus on safety and security.

Want to be around other people who are sick of feeling crappy? Sign up for the free group coaching call by getting on the newsletter list at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/10Q 

 

Quote of the Day:

“Believe something and the universe is on it’s way to being changed. Because you’ve changed, by believing. Once you’ve changed, other things start to follow. Isn’t that the way it works.” Diane Duane, author.

 

I feel bad for not playing with my kids

I feel bad for not playing with my kids

August 10, 2021

Episode #105

Question of the Day:

 

Dear Torie, 

I feel bad for not playing with my kids. They are super cute 5 and 8 year olds who happily live in the moment. I would love to be more like them. When they ask me to play, I TRY to say yes, but either I start cleaning up or I turn it into a lesson. 

The other day, they wanted me to swim in the pool with them. I WANT to be the kind of mom who can have fun playing in the pool with her kids!  I make myself stop cleaning and put my swimsuit on. I wasn’t in there 5 minutes before I started advising them on the proper breaststroke technique and making them swim laps. It’s like I forgot how to play.

My daughter wants me to shoot hoops with her in the street. I love that she is excited about playing basketball! I want to encourage her and play with her, but my attention span is so short. I tell myself “just play with her for 5 minutes” but it’s agonizing. I feel like I’m wasting time because there are so many things that need to get done. 

Can you help this “All work and no play” momma become fun-loving and playful? 

Tamika

 

Parent Educator Answer: 

The first thing that might be getting in your way is your “play personality”. 

You say you forgot how to play, but I would offer that what feels like play to your kids, may not feel like play to YOU. 

In the book Play, by Dr. Stuart Brown, he identifies 8 categories of play, explaining that not everyone plays the same way. It sounds like you are defining play the same way a kinesthete would, “If I’m not moving, it’s not play!”. You want to play with your kids, but if swimming and shooting hoops don’t shift you into a playful state, then “kinesthete” may not be your play personality. 

You might have more fun curled up on the couch reading books with your kids, or hosting a pool party for them and their friends. 

The 8 play personalities are: 

  1. Kinesthete 
  2. Storyteller
  3. Director
  4. Collector
  5. Competitor
  6. Creator/Maker
  7. Explorer
  8. The Joker

If you are a competitor, you can make swimming fun with “how long can you hold your breath” contests or “who can do the weirdest dive”. 

Because of your tendency to turn things into lessons, you might be a director, trying to create experiences for others. It could be more fun for you to create a “swimming pool obstacle course” or make a checklist of skills for your kids to master.

Figuring out what feels like play to you, can stimulate your brain, reduce the pressure you are putting on yourself and help you have more fun with your happy kids. 

 

Now let’s talk about the brain.

 

When neuroanatomist, Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, had a hemorrhage on the left hemisphere of her brain, she wrote an amazing book, My Stroke of Insight (and gave a famous TED talk) to help us understand the two hemispheres of the brain. 

Our right brains are all about this present moment, right here, right now. When we are in our right hemisphere, we experience a deep connection to all other energy beings and our environment. This side thinks in pictures and experiences life through our sensory systems. Our right brains love storytelling, music, movement, creativity, imagination, intuition and empathy. It’s the consciousness of the right hemisphere that causes us to feel playful, joyful, peaceful and connected to a larger whole. 

So the question Tamika asked “Why can’t I play with my kids” is simple but very powerful. What she’s asking is “How do I switch from my left thinking brain, to my right thinking brain?” 

Learning how to manage the mind, to choose which part of your brain you want to be in depending on the circumstances, is the most powerful and beneficial skill set any of us can learn during these wild and unpredictable times we are living in! 

After her first book, people were so enamored by Dr. Taylor’s description of life with a healthy right brain and non-functioning left brain, she wrote another book called Whole Brain Living: The Anatomy of Choice. This book is the “how” to her first book’s “what”. 

Folks wanted to know, HOW can we tap into our right hemisphere to experience deeper joy, peace and connection? HOW do we quiet the left hemisphere of our minds so that we can drop into a playful state whenever we feel like it?

This is one of the goals of life coaching. 

Before we can CHOOSE , we need to recognize and name the 4 sections of the brain. In Whole Brain Living, Dr. Taylor talks about the 4 sections of the brain having 4 distinctly different personalities. 

  1. Left Thinking - Thinks about past and future. Linear and methodical. Gets things done. Details. Categorizes. Plans. Verbal internal chatter. “I am…..” which separates me from everyone else. (Captain)
  2. Left Feeling - Always afraid, Bad things are going to happen. (Porcupine)
  3. Right Thinking - Creative, sensory, playful (Dancing Queen)
  4. Right Feeling - Fascinated, connected, no boundaries. Moments of inexplicable peace. Compassionate (Oneness)

 

Everyone of us has these characters in their brain. Getting to know them, naming them, and  forming a relationship with each character helps give you the ability to CHOOSE which part of the brain to step into. 

The left thinking part of the brain is the Captain of the ship. It helps us gets things done. It watches the clock, reminds us of deadlines and goals, it keeps things moving along. It’s extremely valuable, but most Supermoms spend over 98% of the day in the left hemisphere of their brains. Many of my clients will bounce back and forth between character 1 - left thinking, and character 2 - left feeling. They may start their day with a to-do list, but start panicking when obstacles come up. When your kids won’t cooperate, it can send you into left feeling, character 2. 

Tell yourself you are “falling behind” on tasks, worry about your boss getting mad at you, or anticipate the embarrassment of your mother in law seeing your messy house, can send a Supermom from Character 1 into Character 2.

When your kids invite you to play, they are inviting you into the right thinking part of your brain. This playful, creative, live in the moment, expansive, imaginative, connected, part of all us DOES still exist. It is a part of your neuro-anatomy, even if you find it difficult to access, it’s nice to know it is still there. 

The more you identify and notice times when you’ve been in your right brain, the easier accessing it will become. So the answer to why can’t I play with my kids, is because you are in your left brain, and perhaps trying to play in a way that isn’t fun for you. 

 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in our way from hopping into your right brain on command? FEARS

Fear is an emotion in the body. It comes from two places, our instincts and our thoughts. 

I remember sitting WAY UP HIGH on a ropes course, held up by one cable above me and a tiny piece of wood below me. I was scared out of my mind. My heart was pounding. My palms were sweating. My mouth was dry. My body was shaking but my verbal mind was quiet. When I got to a place where I could stop and gather myself for a minute, I remember thinking “This is what REAL fear feels like….and it’s pretty damn exhilarating”. The fear I felt on a daily basis I called “fake fear”.

 

Fake fear comes from scary thoughts inside our head. It’s the verbal, left feeling brain creating imaginary future scenarios, or replaying past scenarios, that we react to as though they are actually happening right now. 

 

“If I take time to play with my kids, work will pile up and I’ll get overwhelmed with work later.” 

 

“A good mom would be able to keep the house clean, put dinner on the table, and happily swim in the pool with the kids when they ask.” 

 

“I don’t have time to play! My boss will be mad, the teacher will think I’m flaky, my kids will get cranky, and I won’t have accomplished anything today!” 

 

Telling yourself “I should be able to play with my kids” is a sure fire way to suck the joy out of the afternoon. 

In order to choose which section of the brain you go into at any given moment, we need to release the fears that keep you stuck.

There are many ways to release fears. Two of the best ways Tamika could practice releasing fears on her own, is exercise and breath work. 

When the brain goes into the fight or flight response, blood rushes to our extremities, we start sweating and our heart rate increases. You may need to run to the toilet but this physiological response happens without our permission or consent. Even though we might be creating it with a stressful thought like “I can’t mess up”, once the Central Nervous System takes over, it’s on automatic pilot.

When we enter this physiological state, it’s helpful to act on it by going for a run, riding a bike, punching pillows or somehow “fighting or fleeing”. If you have stressful thoughts, any exercise where you work up a sweat can be tremendously helpful to shift you out of fear, and into the state of rest and play. 

The other way to release fear is to shift your brain out of the fight or flight state. The one part of this fight/flight state we have control over is our breath. We can’t force ourselves to stop sweating or redirect the blood flow in our body, but we can take deliberately slow, deep breaths.  If you encounter a bear in the wild, you will automatically take short shallow breaths. When you are relaxing in a hammock under a palm tree, you automatically take slow and deep breaths. When our body goes into fight or flight, but we take slow deep breaths, we confuse our brains. The deep breathing tricks our Central Nervous System into shifting to a relaxed state. 

Both exercise and breath work bring you into the present moment, which shifts you into the right hemisphere of your brain, which shifts you into a playful brain state. 

 

Supermom Kryptonite - Too much left brain thinking

 

Kids are great at living on the right side of their brain. They live in the moment, use their imagination, their creativity and exist in a state of play. 

Parents and teachers dwell on the left side of their brain. We remind kids about the existence of rules, about cleaning up, about time, about what’s coming next. It takes a strong left brain to manage the comings and goings of a family. Doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, and getting to school on time, could not be managed without a strong left brain. 

Every time we talk about the plan for the day, or teach them to read from left to right, we are encouraging our children’s left brain thinking. 

Today’s Supermom Kryptonite is an over-development of our left brains. 

If we spend too much time following rules, watching the clock, accomplishing tasks, we lose out on the beautiful gifts of right brain thinking. Instead of always trying to bring your kid over to the left brain, try joining them in the right brain. 

Your kid is playing with superheroes instead of eating breakfast….incorporate the two. Have the superhero eat breakfast with your child, taking turns powering up with fuel to fly into the car.

Some of my favorite ways to do this are: 

 

“Do Nothing” Days - Create a span of time where the only goal is to accomplish nothing.

Exercise Classes are so good for my creative idea machine I sometimes bring a notebook to class. 

Sitting in the sunshine for 5 minutes and focusing on my breath. 

Going for a walk in nature without my phone (if no one’s watching, sometimes I skip :)

Sacred pet the doggy time, sacred chocolate, morning coffee

Floating in water: hot tubs, pools, lakes, etc.

Watching the sunset

Holding a newborn baby

Dancing 

 

Supermom Power Boost - Meditation

 

You’ve probably heard a lot about this concept of meditation which is why it took 105 episodes for me to mention it as an energy power boost. 

Meditation is this magical pill that has no adverse side effects but scientific studies show it can help decrease anxiety, depression, insomnia, blood pressure, symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, menopause, cravings and addictive impulses. Meditation is also shown to improve immune system function, boost attention span, memory, creativity, productivity, self awareness, happiness and emotional well being. 

If you had a pill that did all these things wouldn’t you take it? The problem is this pill is really hard to swallow! 

Most people hear about meditation and think, “How hard can that be?”....and then they try it. 

When our left verbal brain has been in charge for a long time, it’s not going to relinquish control that easily. This “Captain of the Ship” is going to fight like crazy to stay in charge. When you first try to meditate, expect to get squirmy, distracted, and find a million more compelling things that urgently need your attention. 

But the more you try it, the easier it gets. This magical pill becomes easier to swallow. The resistance to meditation subsides and you start to look forward to this break from the left thinking brain. 

The biggest benefit of meditation is the same thing life coaching provides. It sits YOU in the driver’s seat of your brain. Every time you have an impulse to get up off your chair, and you force yourself to sit back down, you declare dominion over your mind. The spirit and essence of YOU gets to be in charge. YOU get to decide what you want to think about, how you want to feel, the actions you want to take, no matter what your default wiring might be based on the past.

 

Quote of the Day:  “Western women will save the world” Dalai Lama

Preparing your teen to leave the nest

Preparing your teen to leave the nest

July 27, 2021

Episode #104 Preparing your teen to leave the nest

Question of the Day: 

Dear Torie, 

My first born is a rising senior. We are heading into a BIG year with college applications, tours, SAT tests, in person school and extracurricular activities. There’s a lot to think about and a lot to process. This time next year he’ll be moving out to live on his own for the first time. I want to make sure he is prepared so I’m compiling a list of things I need to teach him: check pockets before you do laundry, cook a potato in the microwave, use condoms, ask for consent, create a budget, introduce yourself to professors during office hours and sit in the front of the room, things like that. 

Do you have any suggestions to add to this list? There’s so much to cover and only one year left to cram it all in. Any advice for a crash course in turning my darling boy into a man? 

Thanks, 

Summer

Parent Educator Answer: 

There are many things we could add to your list that fall into the categories of finances, life skills, social skills, etiquette, academic success, safety, automotive maintenance, the list is endless. You could google, read blogs, listen to podcasts, order your son the book, Adulting: How to Become a Grown Up in 535 Easy Steps. 

 

There is a ton of valuable knowledge out there, the problem is overwhelm and disinterest. If your son doesn’t think this information is relevant to him RIGHT NOW, he probably will tune you out. If he is feeling overwhelmed with college applications, school work, building up his life skills and having a fun senior year, he’ll run into an attention bottleneck. This happens when too much information and stimuli are coming in so even if he WANTS to learn, he doesn’t have the mental bandwidth to take it in and filter. 

 

In my opinion, the 3 most valuable skills your teen should take off to college with him are: social skills like how to make friends, time management skills and healthy ways to cope with stress. I created “15 texts to send your teen to reduce their stress and make them nicer”. Go to www.lifecoachingforparents.com/teens to download the pdf and be a supportive cheerleader to your stressed adolescent. 

 

If you want to prepare him to leave the nest, choose to focus on the things that seem most salient, relevant, timely or fun. What is he interested in learning?

If he’s a new driver, then learning to change a tire and check the oil may be most relevant. Have him take the car into the shop. 

If he’s excited about earning money, teach him about compounding interest and ROTH IRA’s. 

If he has his first girlfriend, teach him about condoms and consent. 

If you look for timely “teachable moments” instead of an endless checklist, helping your teen adapt to adulthood will be natural and fun instead of just one more thing on the to-do list. 

 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in the way from finding relaxed, “teachable moments” to help our children gradually turn into adults?

Our mommy heart. 

My hunch is that Supermom Summer is having some EMOTIONS about her son’s last year at home and instead of feeling her feelings, she is focusing on tasks and to-do’s. 

 

The way she says “WE are heading into a big year” and “There’s a lot to think about and process” tells me there are some emotions that are bubbling up that she would rather not feel. 

This is kinda like having a pot of water boiling on the stove but instead of addressing it, you puta lid on it and focus on other things in the kitchen. This does not make the water stop boiling. It makes the water spill over, gets loud and makes a mess.When this pot of water / emotion is left unattended, the pot will burn. 

When you’ve got emotions that are bubbling up, it’s MUCH BETTER to acknowledge them. Pay FULL ATTENTION to the feeling until it simmers down. If you can watch the water bubble and boil, without feeling the need to run away and distract yourself, it will slowly become calm again and you won’t have to deal with messy, emotional overflows of emotion. 

Your child’s last year at home is an emotional one. 

Fear over their uncertain future. 

Fear of not having prepared them well enough. 

Fear of not having control and not knowing where they are all the time. 

Fear of them making mistakes with big consequences. 

 

Grief over losing the little boy you once had. 

Grief over no longer being the center of your child’s universe. 

Grief over not being able to protect him from negative emotions or experiences.

Grief over your role ending as chauffeur, chef, cheerleader, coach and confidante.

 

Before you start scrambling to fill out your list of to-do’s, allow yourself to feel the fear, grief and any other emotion that may be bubbling up. 

 

How to feel a feeling: 

Start by trying to identify WHERE in your body you feel the fear. Then BREATHE and imagine widening out the body to make room for the emotion.

What does it feel like? Is it heavy or tight? What is the texture like? The color? Does it make a sound? Is there movement? Breathe and allow for 90 seconds. 

 

Your high schooler is focused on who he wants to be. What he wants to study and where he wants to go to school. He’s asking himself some really important questions about the kind of adult he wants to be. 

Try asking yourself the same kinds of questions. 

For moms as well as kids, moving out is a time of big transitions. Spend some time thinking about who you want to be when you aren’t busy raising kids. What do you want your next chapter to be about? How do you want to fill your extra time? In which area are you interested in growing? 

Some of these questions might leave you with an uncomfortable emptiness. That’s ok. Just breathe and allow yourself to feel the void of the empty nest. It’s not bad, just different. The brain doesn’t like change and will freak out and want to fill it with worry and tasks. It’s an exciting and emotional time but fighting and denying the hard parts will not help. The easiest way through it is to feel it all, allow it all, accept it all, and start creating a vision of a fabulous new future. 

 

Supermom Kryptonite - College expectations

Parents have a big influence on setting the expectations for what college will be like for their teens. Some will “talk it up” about how fun it’s going to be, how many friends they will have and parties they will go to. Some communicate their own fears talking about how much work it’s going to be, how many dangerous situations they may find themselves in, how careful they need to be, etc. Don’t be all doom & gloom, nor all sunshine & roses. 

The reason we remember college so fondly is BECAUSE it was hard. We made a lot of mistakes and bad things happened because we had freedom. We formed tight friendships, we cried and suffered rejection, we learned to appreciate our parents, we learned our parents were weird, we failed, we succeeded, we celebrated, we experimented, we struggled without the eyes of our parents watching us struggle. It was brutal and beautiful. It was college. 

What I learned from my son’s freshman orientation is…..”All college freshmen come in wanting 3 things: good grades, a good social life, and a good night sleep. Don’t expect to have all 3 at the same time. Some days you will have to choose. Some months or semesters, you will have to choose.” 

 

 

Supermom Power Boost - Parenting Fails, courtesy of Grown & Flown 

Grown and Flown is a book, blog, website and Facebook Group by Lisa Heffernan and Mary Dell Harrington. The Facebook Group has almost 198,000 members so it’s a great place to get a HUGE response to questions or problems about raising young adults. 

One mom recently wrote a post titled, “Things I failed to teach my children” citing her teenagers inability to open a can with a peel back top. 

Thousands of other moms joined in talking about their teen or young adults inability to use can openers, tie their shoes, address an envelope, mail letters or packages from the post office, clean or plunge the toilet, ride a bike, use a tampon, read cursive, deposit or write a check, look people in the eye, have a phone conversation and put their napkin in their lap. 

It was hilarious to read and share in the communal incompetencies of our young adults. Have some levity around this stage of life. If your college kid puts dryer sheets in the washing machine and aluminum foil in the microwave, know that he is in good company.

It is impossible to prepare your child for every scenario. Do your best to keep it fun, relevant, salient, and timely. Pay attention to your own emotions during this transitional time and be gentle with yourself. This is a really big deal for YOU and a perfect time to hire a life coach for yourself to have support while going through it. 

Your kid is going to screw up, but that’s kind of the point. 

 

Quote of the Day: “How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” Winnie the Pooh. 

When you dislike your child’s friends

When you dislike your child’s friends

July 13, 2021

Episode #103

Question of the Day:

Dear Torie,

I don’t like my daughter’s friends.
I thought about writing and telling you all the reasons WHY I don’t like them to justify my opinion but I think it just boils down to the simple fact that I don’t like them. I think her current group of friends are lazy, boring, and impolite. 
My daughter (age 15) seems to act like whoever she is with. I want her to uphold our family values and teach her friends how to behave in our home (interact politely with adults, clean up after yourself, PLAY rather than watch TV, etc.). Instead of being the leader, she follows their bad behavior when they are here.
I like having the house kids feel comfortable hanging out in. I like that my daughter invites her friends over. I should be grateful they aren’t sneaking out doing drugs or getting into trouble. I realize it could be worse but having them around is very triggering for me.

What do you do when your house is full of people you don’t like?

Amanda

 

Parent Educator Answer: 

First, let’s celebrate what a great job you’ve done. Clearly, these teenage girls feel very comfortable in your home and, like you said, they aren’t doing anything illegal or dangerous.

Let’s start with what NOT to do when you don’t like the friend’s your child hangs out with. 

1. Don’t forbid a friendship. You may be tempted to voice your disapproval or declare these girls are not allowed over anymore but be cautious of this. 

-It puts a strain on your child’s relationship with you, and with her friends. Navigating adolescent friendships is hard enough without having your friends and parents at odds.

-She’ll probably tell her friends that you don’t like them, creating a drama triangle with you as the enemy. Teens bond over how annoying parents are, let her. Pushing back against your parents is part of separating and becoming an independent adult. 

 

2. Don’t get too involved. You never know what life lessons they are learning by choosing these girls. Maybe being with judgmental girls, taught her she wants to be less judgmental herself? Maybe she is working up the courage to take on a leadership role and feels safe experimenting with these “boring” girls? Friendships help us figure out who we want to be. If moms come in and dictate who the kid should be friends with, the kids miss out on this important developmental skill set. 

3. Don’t expect loyalty or consistency. Kids change friends frequently, especially between the ages of 10-20. They try on friends like they try on outfits in a clothing store. Do I like the way this feels? Do I like how it looks? Is it trendy? Is it me? Go with the friendship flow. See the good in every friend your child has. 

Be a good hostess, try to get to know your daughter’s friends, but don’t get too attached. 

Sometimes, we get triggered because we need to establish some rules and/or boundaries. 

HOUSE RULES are rules that everyone in your home agrees to obey 100% of the time. 

Examples: No hitting or hurting, no name calling, no cell phones at the dinner table, take your shoes off when you enter, food stays in the kitchen, etc. 

They should be very clear and obvious when violated and apply to everyone, everyday. “Be nice” isn’t a good house rule because there are many subjective opinions about what nice means. 

Is there a “House Rule” you’d like to enforce with your daughter’s friends that would make you feel more comfortable having them in your home? 

My husband likes to say we have a house rule that “We don’t watch other people work.” He thinks if you see someone working, you should jump up to help. This is not a house rule because he violates it all the time! My kids and husband have been watching me work without helping for YEARS! 

We could, however, communicate this as a value that "you don’t watch people work." Now that our kids are older, if they want to bring friends around, we could announce “In our family, if you see someone working, please offer to help.” This isn’t a rule with consequences, just a value that we can uphold in our home. 

What’s important here, Amanda, is to stay in your own business.

Your daughter’s business - who she likes, who she invites over, how she behaves when she is with them, whether she enforces your rules with her friends, etc. 

 

The friend’s business - How they act in your home, how they talk to you, whether they clean up after themselves, what activities they choose to engage in, etc. 

 

God’s business - Teenagers (especially post-pandemic teens) are often lazy, judgmental, and impolite. Most teenagers prefer watching TV over cleaning up after themselves. Post-pandemic teens may be delayed in social skills and etiquette. Most teens prefer hanging out in houses without strict rules. 

 

YOUR BUSINESS - You get to decide what the rules and expectations are in your house. You get to decide if you want to enforce and remind your daughter and her friend’s of the behavior you expect when they are around. You can ask them to clean up. You can share your values. You can be super polite and respectful to them. What you think inside your head, what you feel, what you say and what you do is 100% YOUR BUSINESS. Focus on these and you will feel a lot less frustrated.

 

Life Coaching Answer: 

When you decided to be a house kids feel comfortable hanging out in, I’m guessing you pictured lovely, fun, polite, trustworthy, helpful kids who engage with you and your daughter in friendly and authentic ways. 

Socially isolate these kids for a year, with their only interactions happening through screens, and you are going to see some delays in their social and emotional development. They haven’t been in other people’s houses, with other people’s parents, in order to learn what the expectations are for their behavior.

***The most important thing to remember is that these are not YOUR friends. You do not have to like them! It is perfectly ok to want to hang out with people your age who align with your values and act the way YOU like!***

 

Letting go of your expectations will help you feel more at peace. 

Then, it’s time to get into integrity with yourself. I think of integrity as aligning your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Say what you mean and mean what you say. 

When you are thinking, “these girls are rude” but smiling and being polite, it doesn’t feel good. When we are with people we don’t like, we turn into someone we don’t like. 

When we think “They shouldn’t act this way” “They should be different” or “I don’t like them”, we create negative emotions inside ourselves. When you are feeling negative on the inside, but not allowing yourself to show it on the outside, it makes it very uncomfortable. Suddenly, you aren’t relaxed and easy going. You tell yourself not to say anything rude, but inside you feel annoyed, you are just being rude to yourself instead of them. 

So when you dislike someone, it’s usually because of WHO YOU BECOME when you are with them. If you could be your best self no matter who you are with, other people’s idio-synchronicities wouldn’t bother you so much. 

So first, we’ll let go of the expectations that you should like your daughter’s friends.

Second, focus on who you want to be while they are around and align with your integrity. 

Third, Separate out facts from your thoughts about the facts.

 

Whenever you feel triggered, it really helps to separate the FACTS from your thoughts about the facts. I don’t know all the facts so I’m going to give some examples that may or may not be true. The goal is to deal with the problem from a neutral, factual, big picture perspective. 

 

Fact - Your daughter has friends who spend time in your house.

Fact - These friends often choose TV over outdoor activities.

Fact - Your daughter doesn’t tell her friends how to behave. 

Fact - The house is messier after the friends leave, than before they arrive. 

Fact - When your daughter’s friends are over, the words please & thank you are rarely heard.

 

When you are making your list of facts, think about taking your statement to a court of law and having everyone on the jury agree with you. I started to write “These friends prefer TV over outdoor activities” but changed it to “often choose” because that is something you can track and prove. They may prefer outdoor activities but for whatever reason, choose TV. Be very careful to word your facts in a neutral way.

 

It’s your thoughts about these facts that are triggering for you. Change your thoughts to something more peaceful to get you back in alignment with your integrity and values. 

 

“My daughter is learning something from these friends that I could never teach her.”

“My daughter is still learning how to socialize with friends and parents at the same time.” 

“I can teach these girls how to treat me and my home.” 

 

Supermom Kryptonite: Parents "good friend" expectations

Parents can have such high standards for “how to be a good friend” that it can be hard for kids to live up to their expectations. If you catch yourself saying “She’s not a good friend to you” or “That’s not how good friends behave”, keep in mind your standards might be true for a 40 year old, but kids are still figuring this all out. 

Children need to have room to make mistakes, apologize, forgive, and learn to resolve conflict. If your child’s friend lies, don’t jump to “that’s not what good friends do”. Kids lie. The way we figure out that it doesn’t feel good to be lied to, is by having someone lie to us. 

We learn about the value of loyalty by experiencing how it feels when someone betrays us. Friendship is a journey through social and emotional developmental stages with huge amounts of learning happening all along the way. 

Let’s hold off on blanket statements like good friend / bad friend, mean girl / nice girl, etc. We are all good people who sometimes do mean things. Because of COVID and so much online socializing, you can expect to see delays in children’s ability to socialize with each other. That’s ok. The important part is they are trying, experimenting, failing, and learning from their mistakes.

 

Supermom Power Boost: Reflecting on friendship

Friendships teach us a lot about who we are, what we want, what we value. When moms can suspend their judgment and ask open ended questions instead, it can help kids reflect and learn from each relationship.

Try asking your child questions like: 

“What do you like about these friends?”

“Which of your friends would you most enjoy…...studying with? Cooking with? Camping with? Skiing with? Traveling with?”

If you could change one thing about your friend, what would it be? 

What can you count on? In what way is this friend reliable? 

In what way would you like to be more like your friend?

 

You can also make observations: 

“I notice you always complain about the same thing after you’ve spent time together.”

“Your face lights up every time you see her calling you.” 

“She seems to disappoint you a lot.”

Helping your child reflect on their friendships can help them make better choices and be more deliberate when choosing who to hang out with in the future.

Quote of the Day: 

 

Which extra-curricular activities are most important?

Which extra-curricular activities are most important?

June 29, 2021

Dear Torie,

Everything is opening back up again and I am excited but a bit overwhelmed.

I’ve got 3 kids: ages 8, 10, and 13 and all of sudden, there are so many choices! Summer camps, Science camps, Sports camps, Swim Teams, Youth Groups at church, invitations from friends to birthday parties, backyard BBQ’s, camping trips, etc. My head is spinning!

I’ve asked my kids to choose but they don’t seem particularly excited about anything. I want my kids out of the house and off their devices, but they just want to stay home.

How do I prioritize which extra curricular activities are most important? Should I choose something they are good at, or not good at? Should I put them in the same activities or different ones? They lost touch with friends over the pandemic so I can’t just put them into the same activities as their friends because they don’t really have anyone they care about seeing, but they need friends!

I wish this wasn’t my decision. I wish they were showing more initiative but if anything is going to happen, it’s falling on my shoulders.

I’d love your take on how to choose some extra curricular activities so I feel confident I’m doing the right thing for them.

Cheri

Parent Educator Answer:

I remember feeling stuck in a similar situation when trying to decide the right type of school system for my first born. I had looked at Walforf, Montessori, homeschooling, unschooling, Sudbury, Catholic, Private, Charter and public schools. My head was spinning with all the options.
My son was an eager learner. He didn’t need school to teach him things because he was so interested and motivated on his own. Given the choice, he would have opted out of going to school. We contemplated homeschooling but I wanted to be sure. It felt like a lot of pressure sitting on my shoulders to choose a school system that was right for him.

Like you, Cheri, I knew that I would need to feel confident it was the right thing if I was going to drag him out of bed every morning, and listen to him complain about it.

It’s a great question to ask! “How do I prioritize what’s most important when there are so many choices?”

I started with the BIG question, “What’s the meaning of life?”

After much discussion with my husband, we decided that the meaning of life is to EXPERIENCE, EXPERIENCES.

If you believe, like I do, that you are a spiritual being, having a human experience, the reason for being here is to experience all that life has to offer. The highs, lows, and everything in between, and to be fully present and aware of yourself while you are experiencing it.

Q: What extra curricular activities are most important?

Priority #1 Experience contrasting experiences
Priority #2 Help your child feel a part of a larger community.
Priority #3 Look for things your child might be interested in.
Priority #4 Choose something YOU enjoy.

Priority #1 Experiencing Experiences
Kids who are 8, 10, and 13, need to have a variety of experiences to help them learn more about who they are, what they like, and to relate to other people in their community. Let them dabble in competitive sports, creative arts, unstructured summer camps and structured scouting activities.

If the activity is so difficult and uncomfortable that it causes your child to shut down, then they are not getting the benefit of the experience of it. You want it to be right on the edge of their comfort zone. Different enough to grow the brain, comfortable enough where they can be present to the experience of it.

All kids are going to protest going outside their comfort zone. They will complain and avoid BEFORE because they are wired to seek immediate pleasure, and avoid the unfamiliar. You want to watch them AFTER they get back from their soccer practice or camping trip. What’s their demeanor like when you pick them up from dance? If they seem full of life, then it’s a good experience for them.

Priority #2 - Connect to a larger community
The second most important thing to prioritize, in my opinion, is socializing. After a year of social distancing, kids may need to re-learn how to engage with strangers and acquaintances. They will most likely protest this. Choose the activities that will help them feel a part of a larger community.

If you attend church for an hour once a week, joining a youth group associated with that church can help them feel connected.

If the whole neighborhood swims at the community pool, consider joining so they feel part of the neighbor kids.

If your daughter’s classmates are into competitive dance, it might be worth looking into joining also.

HOWEVER…

If your daughter’s friends are into dance but your daughter is into geo-caching, helping her find her people and feel a part of that community would be a huge gift to her.

If your son is an artist and loves to create, introducing him to a larger community of artists could give him glimpses into a world he’d like to belong to someday.

Think about helping your children feel a part of a larger community.

Priority #3 - Look for things your child might be interested in.

My daughter was watching a documentary about cleaning up plastics in the ocean and setting up man-made coral reefs and she made an off-handed comment “I’d like to do that someday.” That was all the fuel I needed! I researched and found this organization where we could do just that!
I wanted her to have this experience to help her decide what she wants to major in, if she might like to run a non-profit someday, to meet others who are passionate about helping the environment, so many things one can learn from taking a tiny little interest and experiencing a little bit of it.
The best part when it’s your child’s idea, is they can’t argue with it! Even when it’s the night before leaving and she is nervous, feeling very uncertain about what to expect, what to wear, what the other volunteers would be like, she can’t complain because she knows I did it because it was her idea! Even when she has to wash her own dishes, outside, in the dark, she can only complain so much because it was her idea to begin with.

Listen for SUBTLE comments your kids make like, “That looks life fun”. Notice which YOUTUBE channels they watch. Which video games they play. Pay attention to where they get jealous of others, what they obsess over, what they yearn for, what they get in trouble for in school. Pay attention to these very important signs and then choose activities aligned with their interests.

Priority #4 - Choose something YOU enjoy

If your kids aren’t showing interest in anything in particular, it is absolutely ok to choose the activity YOU enjoy, just make sure it’s something you enjoy NOW.

Many parents put their kids into a sport they loved growing up, only to find WATCHING their child play the same sport is TORTURE!
Or they sign up for the local baseball team not realizing how disruptive this sport is to evening routines and family dinners.

It is ok to consider yourself when choosing activities for your kids.

If you love being a part of the swim team community with bingo nights and camping trips, then great! If you love traveling for weekend long volleyball tournaments in other cities, great. Maybe you prefer to sit in your car and read a book for an hour a week while your kids take a gymnastics class, great!

Just like moms in the animal kingdom, our main goal is to encourage our little chickadees to fly the nest. Our job is to raise adults and every time your child leaves the house to go to the pool, the pitch or the do-jo, we are doing our job encouraging independence. Everytime your child builds a relationship with a coach, a teacher, or goes on vacation with another family, they are learning that the world is a safe place and there are many people they can count on.

Life Coaching Answer:

What gets in our way from KNOWING which activities to sign our kids up for?
Our desire to protect them from negative emotions.
Our desire to avoid dramatic pushback and complaining.
Not knowing what WE WANT.

We, also, like to seek immediate pleasure and avoid discomfort. Of course we don’t want to deal with waking them up, getting off their devices, MAKING them do fun things that are good for them. It’s annoying, but it’s not a reason to avoid doing it.

Our job is to raise adults, experience experiences and connect with a larger community. Congratulations, Momma! You are doing it!

You are a part of the Supermom Community! We are all in this together! Forcing our kids to become functioning adults whether they like it or not.

When our kids aren’t excited and leading the way, we can feel a little lost. We spent so many years suppressing our own wants that we don’t even know which activity seems most fun to us. When you know and trust yourself, parenting decisions are easy.

If you crave alone time, find a “drop off” activity and enjoy the quiet time. If you want to get to know mom’s in the area, join a family oriented activity like swim team, competitive cheer, or any traveling club sport team. If you hate driving all over town, choose something nearby with easy carpooling.

If your kids aren’t jumping up and down to try something new, there is no harm in making it something that works for you.

Supermom Kryptonite - Overscheduling

Now that things are opening back up, be aware of the signs of overscheduling yourself or your kids. Everyone is different. Introverts and Creatives LOVED the mandated lockdown that COVID provided. Extroverted Explorers like myself, did not. Stay attuned to your child’s innate personality and what makes them feel fully ALIVE.

If you are an extrovert who loves to learn new things, you might have a hard time understanding a kid who needs time alone in their room to connect to their own ideas and express themselves creatively.

Even if your child is minimally scheduled, having to tag along to run errands, go shopping, and watch big sister practice taekwondo, can drain a kid’s energy making it harder to experience, experiences.

Signs of overscheduled kids are: grumpy/moody, complaining or whining, difficulty entertaining themselves (saying “I’m bored” when they have down time), difficulty falling asleep, getting sick a lot / stomach pains / headaches.

Try scheduling in “white space” on the calendar. Treat this down time with reverence. Tell your kids this is their “nag free / screen free” time where they get to do whatever they feel like doing. (Make it sound amazing and wonderful so they don’t think it’s punishment). This is YOUR down time, too! Where you will not respond to requests or demands from the children. You get to do whatever you FEEL LIKE DOING IN THE MOMENT. No to-do lists, no agenda, no guilt. If you FEEL like doing laundry, do laundry, but make sure it comes from your inner desires, not external expectations.

Supermom PowerBoost - Let your freak flag fly

In my 20’s I was a bit of a “green meanie”. I cared deeply for the environment and would become sickened at the nonchalant attitude some people had toward something that felt like a real and immediate crisis. I would sort through people’s trash cans, pulling out recyclables, and get sick to my stomach if someone left their engine running while their car was idle. I refused to drink out of styrofoam or plastic bottles even if I was thirsty. I was not a pleasant person to be around.

When my life coach helped me undo my perfectionistic tendencies, I learned hate doesn’t help people to love the earth. I took a break from environmental causes until I could act from a place of love instead of fear. During this time, I became a nicer person to be around. I wasn’t so judgmental or annoyed by others. I learned to go with the flow. I accepted that not everyone feels as strongly about Mother Earth as I do. Socially fitting in was nice.

When my daughter started to become passionate about the environment, I felt this was my opportunity to step back into my passion from a place of love. We started buying bamboo toilet paper, laundry and dishwasher “pods”, sustainably sourced (or second hand) clothing, bar soap instead of liquid, and we reduced our meat consumption by 90%! This all felt so good. I was able to be myself without becoming an annoying, judgemental person.

But when I was in Costa Rica, cleaning up trash with other people who were passionate about the environment, it felt AMAZING. I could let my “freak flag fly” without fear of people thinking I was weird. I was with other people who would refuse straws if they were plastic, insisted on bringing reusable take out containers to restaurants, chose veggies instead of meat because it reduces CO2 emissions, and made sure their sunscreen was reef safe. I felt free to be myself for the first time in a long time.

So when you are looking for extra-curricular activities for your child, try to find a community where they can “let their freak flag fly”.

Ask yourself, “What’s weird about my kid?” “What aspect of their personality would their peers make fun of?” and if you can, try and find a community to support THAT and watch your child come ALIVE.

But don’t just focus on your kid, find a community for your own weirdness, too. If your son loves competitive cheer, but you don’t enjoy socializing with other moms at loud, overstimulating competitions, be honest. Tell the moms that you’ll be napping in your car between 1-3pm. You might be surprised to find other mom’s following in your footsteps. Before you know it, you are leader of a community of “introverted cheer moms who nap”.

Quote of the Day:
“True belonging doesn’t require you to change who you are, it requires you to be who you are.” Brene Brown

Finding your soul’s calling after motherhood

Finding your soul’s calling after motherhood

June 15, 2021

Episode #101 - Finding your soul's calling after motherhood

 

Question of the Day:  "My oldest child is going off to college in the fall. I've got two more teens following soon, and I'm a wreck. I have LOVED being a mom. I'm excited for them but so sad for me. I feel like I found my calling in motherhood. How do you find purpose after raising kids?"

 

To help me answer this question, I've asked the brilliant Bev Barnes to join me today.

Bev Barnes M.S., is a Master Life Coach, Coach Mentor and Coach Instructor. She’s the creator of the Soul’s Calling® Roadmap process & the Soul’s Calling® Coach & Facilitator training.

Bev works with smart, empathic, women who have a calling, but they aren’t sure what their calling is, or how to get there, from where they are now. Their real problem however is that they’re used to fitting in, and their calling will force them to stand out and be seen, and that terrifies them.

Bev helps these women face their fears, get seen & claim their soul’s calling. She offers intensive courses, mentoring, training & retreats to help women get from where they are now, to where they want to be.
Bev holds a master’s degree in Psycho-education, and graduate training in career counseling and brief & strategic therapy. She has worked in the corporate world, in the education sector, and extensively with First Nations communities in northern Quebec.

 

If you feel like you found your soul's calling through motherhood and worry about life after the empty nest, this is the perfect podcast for you!  

I love that I got a chance to be coached by Bev about what part of parenting I'm most proud of and what it means. I've been asking everyone that question and it's fascinating to hear the variety of answers.

Click here to get your free gift from Bev

https://www.soulscallingacademy.com/

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