Supermom is Getting Tired
How do you know you are doing enough as a mom?

How do you know you are doing enough as a mom?

August 9, 2022

Episode #131  How do you know you are doing enough as a mom? 

I am overall very satisfied and fulfilled with my life but I wish I could be more patient and kind. I’ve had a lot of family time this summer, much of it wonderful, but I find myself getting snappy and irritable with the kids.

I want to be grateful for what I have but instead I get obsessive about getting the kids to act the way I want: use nice words, clean up after themselves, play outside instead of screens, eat healthy foods. I just want to know that I’m doing the right things for my kids. 

It feels like I can’t rest until all my work is done. How do you know if you are doing enough as a mom when there is still work to be done? 

Heidi

 

 

Parent Educator Answer: How do you know if you are doing enough as a mom?

 

  1. Are you taking responsibility for your own mental, emotional, physical, and financial health? Think about someone you know with a mom who doesn’t take good care of themselves. Notice what a burden it is on that child. The best thing you can do as a mom is to take excellent care of yourself so your child can be a child and not have to carry this additional burden of becoming an adult at a young age.

 

When kids take on adult responsibilities at a young age, they get rewarded by our culture. We see how capable they are and admire their successes. The problem is they develop a fear of relaxing and it is difficult to trust others to take care of them. Focusing on our own health allows your kid to be a kid.

 

  1. Are you still around? If you haven’t walked out the door never to return, then you are doing enough. Staying in the game, figuring things out, taking breaks and coming back shows your kids that you love and care for them. Never underestimate the power of BEING THERE. Ask anyone who was abandoned by their mom. Just you being there and doing an imperfect, lackluster job of mothering can show your children a realistic view of the role and help them decide who they want to be as a parent someday.

 

Julie’s mom abandoned her and her 2 siblings at a train station. Her mental health was teetering on the edge so she walked away and never came back. This creates a huge void in a child’s life with a lot of unanswered questions. It also made her determined to never do the same to her kids so when life got hard, she thought there were only 2 options: leave or stay. If she admitted she was tired and needed a break, it felt like abandonment. Her thinking was black and white, love or abandonment. Together we developed her ability to admit life was hard and it was ok to take breaks from the 24/7 demands of parenting. 

 

  1. Are you trying your best? There’s a saying in Parent Education that those who take parenting classes and work with parent coaches, aren’t the ones who need to. Just by you TRYING: learning, growing, and seeking out additional resources demonstrates EFFORT. This is what we call a growth mindset and it is a wonderful thing to model for your children. 

 

I remember teaching my girl scout troop to jump rope, not individually, but the big one where you run in, jump, turn around, and run out, while one person stands on each end turning the rope. Reece was cued up, ready for her turn to run into the ropes. She was watching the rhythm, gearing up her body to sync with the timing, she looked nervous and it was taking her a long time to go for it. Her mom was there watching her daughter’s hesitation and thought she would help by running into the ropes and showing her how to do it. “Look, Reece, it’s easy, just do it like this.” Reece’s mom did a seamless job of running in, jumping a few times and running out saying, “Now it’s your turn”. After watching this demonstration, Reece walked away and sat down, refusing to try for the rest of the day. 

Perfect parenting is not the goal. When we do everything easily and beautifully, our kids develop a fixed mindset. “Mom’s good, I’m not.” “I’ll never be good at it so why try.” 

Just by you staying in the game, trying your best, and taking care of YOURSELF as well as your kids, you are modeling imperfect, super adequate, good enough parenting. 

 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in our way from believing we are doing enough as a mom? 

Here in the U.S. we live in a “blame the mom” culture. 

Kid throwing a tantrum? Blame the mom. 

Kid not doing his homework? Blame mom. 

Overweight kid? Blame mom

Middle schooler with anxiety? Blame mom. 

 

It is overwhelming and it seems like the only way to be a “good enough” mom is to have kids who act perfectly.

So we focus on getting them to act the way we want so we can feel confident in our parenting. 

If they eat their vegetables and clear their plate, we feel calm and reassured that we are doing the right things. 

When they play nicely with their siblings, we praise ourselves for raising such great kids. 

 

Instead of focusing on our thoughts inside our heads, we focus on improving their behavior, believing that’s the only way to think nice thoughts about the job we are doing. 

 

This is taking our ego and putting it into the hands of our children. Since children are still LEARNING, they are bound to make many mistakes. Putting our ability to feel like a good mom into the hands of our children is a surefire way to feel inadequate and powerless. 

 

It’s time we stop looking at our children’s behavior to determine whether we are good parents. 

 

Can you think of someone who turned out to be a functioning member of society, accomplished and kind, but whose parents were a hot mess? I can think of MANY people who did an amazing job of overcoming their upbringing to create a brilliant life for themselves. 

 

Can you think of someone who you look at and think, “She is a really good mom, but their kid is kind of a hot mess?” It could be someone you know, someone you read about, or someone famous. It is absolutely possible to admire the way someone parents their kid, while also seeing a struggling child having a difficult time with life. 

 

I remember one time I was

sitting at the dinner table waiting for my 14 year old son to join me for dinner. I had picked up prime rib from our favorite steakhouse since it was just the two of us. The rest of the family doesn’t eat red meat so it’s a treat.I’m waiting for my teenage dining companion to finish up his video game and join me.

and I’m waiting….

and I’m waiting….

We have an agreement with the video games. He plays with his friends online and it messes up their scores if he doesn’t complete the game. 

I could care less about this, but I understand he doesn’t want to upset his friends. We’ve agreed that if I let him finish his games, he will come down before starting any new ones, check in with me, and hand in all technology by 9:00pm. This agreement evolved after lots of frustration and a few blow-ups on my part. Tonight, as I sit by myself watching this beautiful prime rib dinner get cold, my doubts creep in like a familiar shadow whispering, “You're not doing a good enough job as a Mom.”

As much self-coaching as I have done, this “not doing enough” voice has been a tough one to shake. The old me would have exploded in a rage-filled fit so that my son would feel as awful as I do. You see, I like to be right, so if I think I’m not a good enough Mom, I act like it. 

For some funny reason, he has asked me to find a different way of coping with my frustrations and I have obliged. So instead, I sit there thinking, “How do I know if I’m a good mom?” 

I think it is disrespectful to keep someone waiting and let the food get cold. It feels like my son is putting video games before his mother, who is just trying to feed him. These thoughts make me feel resentful, righteous, powerless. I don’t like feeling like a victim, so I explore other thoughts to interpret this situation. 

If his food is cold, he’s the only one who suffers, letting him suffer natural consequences sounds like good parenting. It’s not like I’m missing out on inspiring dinner conversation, he’s a mumbling teenage boy who talks with his mouth full and wolfs dinner down in 5 minutes. This feels better, but it’s still not getting to the core issue.

What’s really bothering me is that I don’t know what a good mom would do. I can’t think of anything I want more in my life than to be a good mom, so it drives me crazy when I don’t have an answer. The reason I can’t find a good answer is because “How do I know if I’m good enough?” is not a good question. 

There is no final parenting destination, no parenting report card, no judgmental “mother in the sky.” The good parenting/bad parenting dichotomy doesn’t exist. It’s a construct of a perfectionistic mind (probably implanted by advertising companies that tap into our insecurities so we’ll buy their products to feel like good enough moms).

So as I sit there, enjoying my delicious dinner, by myself, I choose to find something else to focus on. Instead of asking, “Am I good enough” I focus on Love. 

I love that I have a great relationship with my teenage son. 

I love that we can resolve conflicts with compromise and peace. 

I love that I feed my son delicious food. 

I love that I care so much about being a good Mom. 

I love that he can connect with his friends without me having to drive him anywhere. 

I love that he has people who share his love of games. 

I love that I can enjoy this dinner with or without him.

I finished my dinner and left his full and beautiful plate on the table, letting it be his problem if it gets cold.  

Ten minutes later I threw a screaming, crying fit. Not because my son never came down to eat. Not because I’m not a good enough Mom. But because my tiny 10 lb. dog climbed on top of the table and ate his entire 12oz prime rib.

I felt so much better after crying, screaming, and getting mad at the dog. Maybe it’s easier to let in the love after we’ve gotten rid of the yuck. 

I love that I’m not the only one who gets exhausted trying to do everything right and good. I love that my son got to experience natural consequences without experiencing my inner turmoil. I love that other Moms get it and have my back. I love that life coaching helps me choose how I want to think, feel and act. 

I love that I’m giving my dog the silent treatment and she doesn’t even know it.

 

Supermom Kryptonite - Asking a high quality question

 

I know this is what the whole blog is about but I couldn’t end without reiterating how toxic this question is, even though every person I’ve ever met has asked it. It could be triggered by many things: the number on the scale, the amount of money in the bank, the amount of vegetables our kids eat, what college our son attends, you name it, and we will use it as evidence to prove we are inadequate and unworthy of love and belonging. 

 

Instead of asking yourself this toxic question, ask yourself something that feels good. Was I adequate today? Am I trying to learn and grow? What is my impatience trying to teach me? How can I be more relaxed while at home with my kids? 

Heidi says she wants to be more patient and kind. The fact that she has this desire indicates that her nature is to be patient and kind. How about asking “What is blocking me from being patient and kind that needs my attention?” or “What can I do to let the yuck out so that I can access my gratitude?”

 

Everyone wakes up with a question in their mind. Make sure you are asking yourself a question that leads to a good answer. 

 

Supermom Power Boost - How I feel is the most important thing.

 

Being a caring, sensitive, people-pleaser this statement felt sacrilegious. When I discovered this thought, I felt naughty and selfish, like I was breaking some sort of cultural rule. But the more I thought it through, the more accurate it seemed to be. 

 

When I feel calm, I parent in a way I admire. When I feel content, everyone around me feels content, too. Emotions are contagious. Instead of trying to make my kids happy (which never lasted long), I could focus on my own happiness, something I actually had control over. Then my kids could enjoy the gift of a happy, fulfilled mom, while also enjoying a home filled with joy. 

 

It’s not like I’m trying to be happy all the time. Sometimes I want to feel mad (like when my dog ate my son’s prime rib dinner). Sometimes I want to feel disappointed (like when I got COVID right before a trip).

 

But deciding that how I feel is the most important thing puts my focus on something I have control over that benefits everyone around me. 

 

Quote of The Day:

“The truth is: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you're enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect." Brene Brown

Do I need boundaries for my nocturnal teen?

Do I need boundaries for my nocturnal teen?

July 26, 2022

Boundaries for a teen who won't get a summer job and sleeps all day.

Episode #130

Question of the Day: 

My college kid is home for the summer and I’m struggling to know what boundaries I should have in place. She’s 19, very responsible, but she sleeps until 1:00pm and stays out late with her friends. I love that she has a social life but this “no work and all play” doesn’t feel right. 

I’m up at 7am working at my job to pay for her school, car, gas, and food—shouldn’t she be up working, too? It feels wrong. I expected her to work during the summer like I did, but the window for her to get a summer job is closing. She doesn’t seem motivated to work and says her friends can stay out as late as they want and none of them have jobs. 

Do I give her a curfew? Make her stay home? Make her apply for jobs? When I was her age, I worked multiple jobs and loved it, but all my friends worked, too. Can you give me clarity on how to handle this unexpected situation?

Mary

 

Parent Educator Answer: 

Let’s start with getting clarity on the issues that are bugging you.  

  1. Her nocturnal schedule.
  2. Not knowing what rules to enforce. 
  3. Her "all play, no work" summer lifestyle.

 

I have a hunch that if your daughter was out late because she worked a night shift, it wouldn’t bother you that she was sleeping until 1:00pm. The reason her nocturnal schedule bugs you is because it’s symbolic of a lifestyle that is not aligned with your values. So for today’s Parent Educator answer, let’s focus on the difference between rules, boundaries, expectations, and values. 

 

Boundaries are personal decisions you make inside your own head to protect yourself. It’s a line we draw in the sand to feel safe. Nobody else needs to respect our boundaries, that’s our job. They are here so we can have our own backs and be the people we want to be. 

 

For example: I have a boundary with myself that if I start worrying about my children, I will not indulge my anxiety and “go psycho.” I will not call 911, call their friends, or follow them around town stalking them. I will look up their location on my iphone or text them and calmly ask that they check in. I will breathe, write in my journal, coach myself, and trust that all is well. Having a game plan keeps me from embarrassing myself and putting my anxieties onto my kids. 

 

Another example: I have a boundary around people yelling at me. I don’t like it. If anyone, family member or stranger, communicates by yelling, I will ask them to calm down or I will walk away. I feel safe because I trust myself to take either action 100% of the time. 

 

Boundaries are personal. You can tell people what your boundaries are, but it’s up to you to uphold, educate and enforce them. 

 

Rules are established by an authority figure and/or agreed upon by a group. They can be written or unwritten.

 

Kids like rules (as long as there aren’t too many of them) because they like to know what’s expected of them and they like to have their parent’s approval. When you make up a rule, like “no cell phones at the dinner table”, your kids know what to expect and they know how to please you. This only works, of course, if there are consequences when the rule is broken. If your kid is on their phone at the dinner table and you don’t say anything, they are going to learn that you don’t mean what you say and rules are not to be followed. 

Kids like to be able to blame their parents’ rules if they feel like they are getting into a situation they aren’t ready for. Being clear about your rules is a gift to your children. Instead of having to look “uncool” in front of friends, kids can blame parent’s rules like: “My Dad said if he finds me vaping, he’ll take my phone away.” or “I’m not allowed to have a boyfriend until I’m 16.” You might not hold too tightly to these rules and be open to negotiation but kids usually like having them in place. 

Parents might even notice kids making up rules that aren’t true like, “I have to get straight A’s or my dad will kill me.” His dad might not care at all about grades, but the student may be embarrassed to admit how much he cares about grades and is using Dad as an out. 

In order for kids to respect your authority, it’s helpful to have 100% conviction and consistency with our rules. 

This fear of having to be 100% consistent can prevent parents from creating rules because as adults, we understand the world is nuanced and situational. If we say, “You have to be home by 11pm or you’ll lose car privileges”, but then our kid gets invited to a fun event that ends at midnight, we feel torn between upholding our rule and bending with the specific situation.

It’s hard to be both consistent and flexible but it is the way the world works when you get to adulthood. You can uphold a rule while also making room for extenuating circumstances and special events. 

Examples of rules Mary might like to implement are:

“Always keep your location turned on on your phone.”

“If you vape or smoke in my car, you will pay to have it professionally cleaned.”

“Be home by 1:00am every night or no more gas money.”

Keep rules short, clear, and easy to remember. Rules change and evolve as kids do so don’t hold on too tightly. As your child grows in wisdom and responsibility, it’s appropriate that you will have fewer rules for them. 

 

Values are something that is important to you. Values change over time and differ from person to person. It’s ok for children to have different values than their parents. 

 

For example: Mary has a value around hard work. She expects herself and her family to share the same values of work and contribution. She feels frustrated and confused because her expectation that her daughter would get a job this summer wasn’t met. It’s ok to keep her values but change her expectation to meet her current reality. 

 

It’s the expectation that is causing her frustration.

 

To answer the question about what she should do, let’s take a look at what she has control over.

 

Moms cannot make children apply, interview, or accept job offers. We can offer our thoughts and feelings on the matter. We can talk about why we think it’s important. We can offer conditions like, “I’ll take you shopping after you’ve submitted 5 applications.” We can offer consequences like, “if you don’t work this summer, I won’t give you money for gas.”

 

Cars, cell phones, apartments, tuition, and food are areas most parents of 19 year olds still pay for and therefore have control over. 

 

Let’s say you have a VALUE around hard work and contribution. Your daughter currently has a value around socializing with friends and enjoying her summer. These can co-exist. Yes, it’s a little late to be looking for a summer job, but she could start looking for an on-campus job for the next school year. There are other ways she can contribute that don’t look like the traditional summer job. 

-She can help you clean and declutter the attic.

-She can teach grandparents or elderly neighbors to use technology. 

-She can do yard work or babysit for friends that need help. 

-She can sell stuff on LetGo, eBay, or Facebook Marketplace.

-She can take over cooking dinner for the family. 

-She can plan the family vacation, take the car in for maintenance, or re-paint the bathroom. 

 

If you widen out your perspective, align with your values, and stay focused on things you have control over, you can have your expectations met. 

 

Renegotiating some family rules would be a good thing to do now, too. Nobody needed curfews during COVID lockdowns but now it sounds like having a curfew could give you both peace of mind. If not a traditional curfew, it could be a nightly check in. You could make a rule saying if you are going to be out late, please text before 11pm letting me know where you are, who you are with, and when you expect to be home. 

Your daughter may appreciate knowing what your expectations are and how to make you happy, and you would feel more in control of an unexpected situation. 

 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in our way from setting and enforcing rules? Fear of how our kids will react.

 

We worry our kids are going to rebel, lie to us, feel mad or stifled in a way that ruins our relationship with them. We want to enjoy our adult kids and respect their growing independence. We understand their need to individuate and worry that making rules will mess up our bond. 

 

I think this idea comes from the times we make unrealistic rules out of anger that are impossible to uphold. After seeing a bad grade on a report card, a mom might yell, “No more cell phones!” only to cave in a few days later.

 

When we make these off-the-cuff rules from an angry, disempowered state we learn to associate rules with harsh, authoritative parenting. 

 

Making and enforcing rules is best when done from calm leadership energy. When we step into our power and ask for what we want, good things happen. Yet it’s common for moms to reject their own authority. They are afraid to “be mean” because they want to have an open and positive relationship with their kiddo. 

 

THIS IS EXACTLY WHY WE NEED MOMS TO STEP INTO THEIR POWER AND OWN THEIR AUTHORITY! 

 

Because when women step into leadership positions, their instinct is to do it NICELY. Women gravitate toward collaboration, fairness, and kindness. Women are really good at preserving and prioritizing relationships! This is what we need more of! 

 

What moms resist is the old fashioned, overly-regulated, command and control stereotype of authoritative parenting. 

 

Like it or not, you ARE the AUTHORITY. You pay the bills. You know ALL THE THINGS. You are older and wiser with more education and experience than your children. You are the authority and you do have power.

 

You absolutely can set rules with consensus. I remember doing this in my classroom on the first day of school when I was a teacher. I asked the students what kind of rules they thought would be good to have and made sure everyone followed. They suggested every rule past teachers had in their classroom. We wrote them on a poster and hung them on the wall. 

 

Mary can negotiate with her teenage daughter about what the rule should be when she comes home from college. They might want to negotiate other rules like “Don’t stop by my dorm unannounced.” People like rules. Even rebels, who get a thrill over bending and breaking rules, like to know what the rules are so they can have fun with them. Artists and musicians study the “rules” so they can use their creativity and think outside the box. 

 

Supermom Kryptonite: Differing Values

 

One thing that can drain our energy is when we see our child has different values than we do and we extrapolate into the future. Mary might be imagining that her daughter’s disinterest in working a summer job means her daughter may NEVER want to work a summer job, or any job for that matter. She might worry about her daughter not sharing the same values around hard work as she does. 

 

We tend to expect our children to have the same values we have. When they don’t, we futurize and catastrophize, making us overreact to the current situation, because we are actually reacting to the imagined future scenario in our heads.

 

The thing to remember is that values change over time. After so much social distancing, we all placed higher priority on socializing and having fun with friends. Many kids had social and emotional delays that they needed to make up for. Just because Mary’s daughter values play over work this summer, doesn’t mean it will be her value next summer. 

 

When my kids were younger, I placed a high value on alone time. Now that I’m getting more time to myself, it’s not as high a priority. It’s not that I don’t value it anymore, it’s just I don’t have to focus on it. 

My daughter has a value around not eating animals. She would love it if her dad and I were also vegan, but we have different values and that’s ok. 

 

Learning to respect your children’s values, even when they are different from yours, is part of the “love more, care less” philosophy I teach in the Leading Your Teen coaching program. When we let go of our expectations of how we think things are supposed to be, and let go of our futurizing and catastrophizing fears, we can embrace our children’s differing values peacefully. 

 

Supermom Power Boost - Invite Yo’Self! 

 

When I was a freshman in high school, I asked a boy to the Sadie Hawkins dance. He gave me a typical freshman boy response, “oh! um…huh….um…maybe…I’ll think about it…I may have already made arrangements to go with someone else…I’ll check with her and get back to you…” He, of course, never got back to me, nor did he talk or look me in the eye ever again. 

 

From this experience I decided, “That sucked and I’m never doing that again.”

 

I felt so brave and proud for putting myself out there but quickly developed a fear of rejection that translated into my adult life. I have a hard time initiating friendships, inviting people over, or in expressing my desire to socially connect with others. I also tend to take it personally when someone says no to my invitations or says yes and then cancels. 

 

I LOVE hosting people and planning fun things to do with others so this fear of rejection makes it extra stressful. 

 

Which is why today’s Supermom Power Boost is to “Invite yourself!” My new friend Darcy doesn’t have a fear of rejection. She invites herself along to anything that sounds fun to her. When we bought our lake house, she made it very clear she wanted to come up and go water skiing on the lake. This took all the fear of rejection away for me. It was such a gift! I knew she wanted to come and would accept an invitation (during COVID it was hard to know who was willing to risk exposure and who was playing it super safe). If she said no, I knew it wasn’t a rejection of ME but just a date that didn’t work for her. Boldly stating that she wanted to come helped me overcome my fears of being rejected. 

 

I’ve seen her invite herself along to other people’s fun adventures and it’s so good for me to see that people don’t hate her, she doesn’t curl up into a ball when they say no, and more often than not, she gets invited to do a whole bunch of really cool stuff. 

 

I am learning to take a page out of her book and make it really clear when I want to be invited or included. The social suicide that would ensue from being so bold died back in high school. As adults, I can see that people like to know who likes them and who wants to do fun things. 

 

Today’s Supermom PowerBoost is to give a gift to the hostess by inviting yourself to join anything that looks fun to you. Instead of letting her worry about being rejected and who may or may not want to join, you can alleviate her fears by making your interests clear. 

It might sound something like this: 

 

“Your camping trip sounds amazing. I’ve never been camping. Would you be willing to take a newbie along with you next time you go?” 

 

“Are there any spots available in your Bunco group / book club / playgroup? I would love to join.” 

 

“Would you like to escape the kids and meet up for dinner and a movie with me?” 

 

“I notice your family goes to the concerts in the park Friday nights, could I bring my kids and go with you next time?”

 

Make your interest clear. The worst thing that will happen is the “Oh…um….maybe…I have to see….” response. If so, no big deal, just do what I should have done and go ask someone else to the dance. 

 

Quote of the day:

 

“Rejection…and the fear of rejection….are the biggest impediment to choosing ourselves.” James Altucher

How do I prioritize my to-do list?

How do I prioritize my to-do list?

July 12, 2022

How do I prioritize when there are so many demands on my time?

Episode #129

Question of the Day:

“I’m on summer break along with my kids. I’ve got a 7 week break from my job but I’m overwhelmed by all the competing priorities on my time. I want to use this time to relax with my kids by the pool, declutter and have a garage sale, teach my kids how to cook, get more exercise, see my friends and family, plant a garden, take my kids to Six Flags, and get a hold of my finances, organize my files… see what I mean? The list just keeps going on and on. I don’t want August to come along and find I haven’t accomplished any of it. These 7 weeks could easily be filled with the daily tasks of motherhood. How do I  prioritize my to-do list when they all seem equally important?” 

Laura

 

Parent Educator Answer:

When you work on the school calendar, it is very easy to put pressure on the condensed summer vacation to accomplish things you are unable to get to during the year. But thinking about all the things you want to do creates an attention bottleneck. Too many ideas swimming around our brains makes us move slower and accomplish less. Call it analysis-paralysis or overthinking, but it is a Supermom kryptonite for sure. 

 

No one else can tell you what your priorities should be, only you know what’s right for you, but I can give you some guidelines and questions that can help you prioritize. 

 

Too much to do and not enough time to do it? Focus on the D’s:

Declutter

Discipline

Delight

Decide

Delete

Delegate

Delay 

Do

 

    1. Declutter - Is there anything on this list that you KNOW will get done? Perhaps relaxing at the pool is automatically built into your summer schedule so you don’t have to THINK about doing it, you’ll just do it because it’s in your routine. I don’t have to THINK about doing the dishes because the daily mess will remind me to get it done. If you enjoy gardening, perhaps you can trust yourself to do it and clear out some mental space. Holding tasks in your head unnecessarily takes up valuable mental real estate that will drain your energy. Declutter your brain by putting some tasks on autopilot.
    2. Discipline - Is there one thing that impacts everything else? A good night’s sleep makes everything else easier. Exercise gives you physical energy, mental clarity, and sometimes a social outlet. Perhaps getting a hold of finances will make you relax and enjoy your summer more? Use your discipline on the one thing that has the greatest impact on everything else.
    3. Delight - What will you regret NOT doing once school starts again? If August comes and you have a clean house and organized finances, but you never had the chance to connect with your kids or relax by the pool, you may live to regret it. Think about the ages your kids are this summer. When your kids are out of the house, what will you wish you had done with them at the ages they are today? Prioritize the activities that delight you rather than the “shoulds” and your kids will get the best version of mom. 
    4. Decide - Is there a decision that needs to be made? Closing a loop by making a decision will give you a big boost of energy. Put a date on the calendar for your garage sale. Book a weekend trip with girlfriends. Sign up for a 5k.  Hire a money coach. Also, ask yourself “What am I avoiding?” and make a decision to move that needle forward. Making decisions and committing to forward action will clear out the mental clutter and help you feel accomplished.
    5. Delete - Is there anything on this list you can choose NOT to do? Maybe the reason you are avoiding it is because you don’t WANT to do it and deleting it is the right thing. Kids love Six Flags but you don’t? Drop them off and enjoy a day to yourself. Is Swim Team more hassle than it’s worth? Quit. Closets can stay messy another year. Kids can teach themselves to cook on youtube. Deleting things frees up energy in a flash. 
    6. Delegate - Is there anything on your list you can delegate to someone else? Maybe have Sunbasket or Purple Carrot meal delivery kits teach your kids how to cook. Send the kids to the pool with your neighbor while you clean closets. Let Dad spend the day at Six Flags while you work on finances. Invite your green thumbed friend to socialize and plant a garden with you. You do not need to do it all, Supermom! 
    7. Delay - What on your list can you delay until next summer or wait until the kids are older? Intentionally deciding to delay an important task can free up some mental and emotional energy. Delay the tasks that don’t bring you delight. Delay starting a garden until spring. Delay teaching your kids to cook until they seem interested in learning. We end up delaying things unintentionally, might as well delay them on purpose so you get the benefit of feeling in control of your life. 
    8. Do - Sometimes, the fastest way to feel better is just to DO THE DAMN THING. Spinning around inside, feeling too overwhelmed to take action, can make you feel terrible. Go for a run. Roll out your yoga mat. Put your hands in the dirt. Taking productive action fuels us and motivates us to take more productive action. 

 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in our way?

Worrying - Analyzing - Overthinking - Discussing - Researching 

 

All of these things fall into a category called “Intellectual Action.” It FEELS like we are doing something because our brains are so busy. It feels like we don’t have TIME for actual, real-life action. When we are spinning around in intellectual action we have no CLARITY. How can we move forward when there isn’t a clear step to take? 

 

We research, we discuss, we weigh pros and cons, we try to please everyone involved (and even those not involved) but all this intellectual action does is keeps us stuck and stagnant.  

 

What we want is BIG, BOLD ACTION. This will give us energy and momentum. Big, bold action makes us feel confident and in control. 

 

We think we shouldn’t take action UNTIL we feel confident but it’s these big steps that actually provide confidence! We want the PERFECT path to illuminate itself to us so we can be guaranteed we won’t make a mistake.

 

We avoid big, bold action because we feel vulnerable and scared. So we wait for confidence to come along but it never does. Instead we feel tired and drained from NOT taking action. We feel embarrassed by our lack of productivity instead of PROUD of all we’ve accomplished. 

 

If you are having a hard time prioritizing and feeling stagnant, you have 2 choices. 

 

  1. Worry, discuss, and analyze which will keep you feeling tired, confused, and nervous. 
  2. Feel the fear and take action anyway. Make decisions, take bold action to move the needle forward WHILE ALSO FEELING FEAR. This will keep you proud and energized.

 

Supermom Kryptonite - People Pleasing

When you are a card-carrying people pleaser like myself, it can really get in the way from knowing how to prioritize. 

There are many people out there who have no problem prioritizing because they know who they are and what they want. They don’t dwell on how others might feel about it. This makes it so much easier to prioritize. 

 

If your mom thinks your kids should be able to cook for themselves, and your husband can’t stand clutter, and all the neighbor kids are swimming in the community pool, it can be really hard to know what the right thing to do is FOR YOU. 

 

But it is really, really, really important for you to know what you want, and give yourself permission to prioritize it. 

 

No one else is going to take care of you. It’s your job to keep YOU in the driver’s seat of your life. Your higher self knows what you need to be at your best so make sure you are asking yourself on a regular basis. 

 

What do I really, really want? 

What would make this my best summer ever? 

When I look back at this time of my life, what will I be most proud of? 

 

Keep YOUR desires, your spirit front and center, and you will know how to prioritize. 

 

Supermom PowerBoost - Let your future self be your guide

Think about your future self. Doesn’t matter if it’s 5 years in the future or 25 years, but really spend some time thinking about the person you want to be. What will you regret NOT having done during this stage of life? What accomplishment will you be most proud of?  What forward momentum could you put into place now, that you will reap the rewards of later? What obstacle will you be so happy in the future that you overcame?  

 

When I look back on my life 10 years ago, the things I am most grateful and proud of are hiring a life coach and using my tools to overcome anxiety, going all-in on my coaching business, investing in real estate, and being involved in as many areas of my kids' lives as they would have me. 

 

We tend to be proudest of the things that are the most difficult to do. Go make your future self proud!

 

Quote of the Day: 

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Stories from Planned Parenthood

Stories from Planned Parenthood

July 5, 2022

Dear Supermoms,

I was planning to release a podcast called “How to prioritize when you are pulled in multiple directions.” I’m going to put that one out next week instead because I have been so affected by the overturning of Roe vs. Wade by the U.S. Supreme Court that I created a special episode for you this week.

Although I consider myself “politically fluid”, I am VERY pro-kid, pro-mom and pro-choice. Motherhood is hard enough that no one should enter into it without feeling up to the task and having loads of support.

I trust moms to make decisions that have children’s best interest at heart. Continuing or terminating a pregnancy should not be a sacred decision between a woman and her state legislature.

I never thought this would happen because in the years I worked at Planned Parenthood, it was the wives and daughters of judges and senators that were the ones taking advantage of our abortion services.

People are often surprised to learn that by and large, in my 3 years experience working in the capital city of California, the poor and disadvantaged were more likely to continue their pregnancies while the educated and advantaged young women were more likely to terminate. This supports the research that says the number one way to prevent teen pregnancy is to have aspirations for the future. When a girl is looking at her future but doesn’t have a clear vision she is excited about, she is more likely to step into the future fate has provided for her. When a girl has plans and a vision for her future, and pregnancy disrupts those plans, she is more likely to terminate.

This episode is not to try to convince you to be pro-choice, or support Planned Parenthood, but I wanted to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work inside a Planned Parenthood clinic. I keep thinking about these women and wanting to share their stories with you to put a personal face on this legal decision that has been made. I think everyone should work in a Planned Parenthood clinic for one week to expand the mind and heart by stepping into the shoes of others.

I don’t know about you, but I find voting to be difficult when I don’t have personal experience and I want to make an educated decision. I’m hoping a few stories about the women I met will give you more insight than you had yesterday.

In my 20’s, I worked for Planned Parenthood as a Reproductive Health Specialist and a peri-natal coordinator. The clinics I worked at didn’t perform abortions, we just did pelvic exams, pregnancy tests, STD/HIV tests, tubal ligation and vasectomy counseling and discussed birth control options.

I worked with the women who chose to continue their pregnancy to make sure they had access to adequate nutrition, housing, transportation, and all the things they needed to care for a newborn. We talked about the dangers of drugs and alcohol on an unborn fetus, and the benefits of regular medical care. We checked for anemia, gestational diabetes, and made sure they knew where to go to deliver the baby and to secure a car seat so they could bring the baby home from the hospital.

This is the button I wore on my backpack throughout college. I did not think I would still be fighting decades later.Here are stories of 7 young women who stand out that I will never forget:

13 year old margarita girl
Mom of 3 college students
Woman with infertility
Abused with no place to go
Numbed out teens
Depressed refugee
Daughter of a minister

Maybe if you hear these stories, you will care about these women, too.

I hope that we as a country can still provide a place factual and unbiased information, helpful decision making skills, safe, quality medical care, and a warm, loving environment with women who will care about you and your child.

Supermom Kryptonite - Buffering with optimism

 

Supermom Power Boost - How We Feel app

 

Quote of the Day:

"The argument was it's her right to decide either way, her right to decide whether or not to bear a child ... This is something central to a woman's life, to her dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. And when the government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a full adult human responsible for her own choices."   Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Preventing Working Mom Burnout

Preventing Working Mom Burnout

June 21, 2022

Interview with Dr. Jacqueline Kerr
Episode #127 of the Supermom is Getting Tired Podcast

Preventing Working Mom Burnout

Dr Jacqueline Kerr is a mom, behavior scientist and burnout survivor. She is in the top 1% of most cited scientists worldwide. Dr Kerr left her position as a public health professor in 2018 and now hosts the podcast 'Overcoming Working Mom Burnout' where she interviews researchers, diversity experts, and leadership coaches. She is on a mission to dismantle the causes of working mom burnout and find solutions that we can all use to change the social norms around burnout.

Watch her brilliant TEDx video here

Learn more at www.DrJacquelineKerr.com

Connect with Jacqueline on Linked In

Subscribe to the Overcoming Working Mom Burnout on your favorite podcast app!

My House is My Kryptonite

My House is My Kryptonite

June 7, 2022

Have you left a review for the Supermom is Getting Tired podcast?

Now is your chance!

The first 25 people to leave a review will save $100. on a 12 week coaching package! 

Go to LifeCoachingforParents.com/review

 

Episode #126 My house is my kryptonite

 

Dear Torie,

Being in my house drains my energy. The clutter and the chaos cause me to lose focus and feel powerless. Anything I do to try and restore order immediately gets messed up by my 3 kids and ADHD husband. When I’m in the main room, my eyes dart around to all the unfinished tasks, work that I have to do and things I hate about my house. I look for excuses to be out of my house rather than clean it. I will clean the car, work in the yard, or even run to Target to buy more stuff to cram into my already cluttered house!

How am I supposed to create a clean and relaxing home environment when being in my house makes me so tired and unfocused?

Melissa

 

Parent Educator Answer:

If you felt ready to tackle this situation, I would suggest hiring a personal organizer to help you do a dramatic clean sweep of your home. Choose the room that bugs you the most and pull everything out of it. This shifts the energy in your home and gives you a clean slate with renewed energy.

The problem with this method is that you aren’t getting to the root cause of WHY your house is where it is. Chances are, your room would stay clean for about a month but slowly you’d end up back where you started.

You could delegate it to your family to be in charge of, hire a housecleaner, decide not to let it bother you, create a system where the whole family pitches in on Friday nights. There are many solutions but here at the Supermom is Getting Tired podcast, we know quick fixes only last so long. To make long lasting change, we gotta do a little life coaching.

 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in the way?

First we need to debunk the idea that your house is more powerful than you are.

There is no doubt that our clutter holds energy and many people can feel drained in a messy house full of stuff. Most of us can walk into a hotel room and notice increased mental clarity compared with walking into a messy garage where we feel overwhelmed.

BUT

If you were walking through the messy garage to grap the fire extinguisher because your stove was ON FIRE, you would have complete mental clarity.

If you had 15 minutes to get 3 kids changed, 2 dogs fed, so you could make it on time for a worrisome doctor’s appointment, your brain would be overwhelmed and chaotic.

A messy house is not more powerful than your brain.

You could be sitting in your messy house, completely drained and exhausted, staring at all the clutter, when suddenly the door bell rings. At your door are balloons, cameras, and people holding a giant check saying “Congratulations on winning publishers clearing house!” Suddenly you would feel energized and delighted. You would invite these people in to your home feeling excited and happy, no more kryptonite!

Instead of “My house is my kryptonite” It would be more accurate to say “My brain, while in my house, is my kryptonite”.

This makes it easier because who determines what happens inside your brain? You do!

Nothing is going to change in your brain until you figure out WHY you want the house to be messy.

I can hear you saying, “but Torie, I DON’T want the house to be messy!”

I get it, but when you are actively creating a situation that is contrary to what you say you want, there are always two competing voices inside your head. One voice says, “I want a clean house” the other says “I want it to be messy”. This voice will sabotage any efforts you make to get organized so before you can conquer the enemy, you’ve got to get to know thy enemy.

If I say I want to lose weight, and I’m eating a donut every morning, drinking soda all day, and munching cookies in front of the TV every night, then clearly I DON’T want to lose weight. I’ve got to figure out why I WANT to gain weight so that I understand the forces that are keeping me making those choices.

Here are some subconscious reasons WHY someone might WANT to live in a messy house, even when their conscious brain says they want it clean.

  1. They don’t want to do what it takes to keep it clean. They don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. They don’t want to follow their kids around the house constantly reminding them to put caps back on pens, socks in hampers, and clean out sinks.
  2. They feel stressed and overwhelmed on the inside and they want their environment to reflect their insides.
  3. They (subconsciously) think that if it gets bad enough, someone will come in and rescue them.
    They love a transformation. It’s more satisfying to take a disaster and completely transform into a beautifully clean room, than to do a little bit everyday and never get to feel the energy shift that comes from a dramatic improvement.
  4. They are seeking revenge. Keeping a house messy can be a passive aggressive way to punish our loved ones for _________(fill in the blank). It could be anything from the cultural expectations society places on mom’s shoulders to that one time you accidentally gave away a bag of my clothes to Goodwill to resentment that you spent 6 years in college to spend your days cleaning toilets and picking up dog poop.
  5. The desire for perfection. Some people enjoy perfecting and make things look and function beautifully but with 3 kids constantly undoing your efforts, it’s easy to feel defeated and think, “What’s the point?” You might choose to keep it messy because you are holding out for the day when you can work your perfectionistic magic.
  6. They dislike the space. If you are wanting to move house or do a renovation, you might purposefully let your house look as bad as possible in hopes that you will get what you want.
  7. There is something else going on that you don’t want to deal with and having a chronically messy house is a great distraction. If you are avoiding dealing with marriage problems, financial problems, physical or mental health problems, then having an obvious clutter problem is a handy thing to hide behind.

There are many reasons WHY people WANT to keep their house messy.

Before you try changing your house, figure out what yours is and see if it’s worth keeping it.

Ask yourself,

“Do I LIKE my reason for keeping my house messy?”

and

“Is there another way to achieve my desired goal?”

For example, when I realized I was keeping my house messy because I was resentful that this is what my life had boiled down to. I was unhappy and I want my environment to reflect that. I asked myself, “Do I LIKE my reason for keeping my house messy?” and in a way I did. When I asked, “Is there another way to get what I want?” I decided to work enough hours to pay for a housecleaner. I would rather teach preschool and parenting classes, than mop my floor. Many people would rather mop floors than teach preschool and parenting classes. Once I aligned with my values, found work I enjoyed and let someone else do the work they enjoyed restoring order to my house, I felt much more at peace in my perfectly imperfect home.

Let’s say you resonated with reason #6 and found your desire for perfection is keeping you from having a clean home. Ask yourself “Do I LIKE my reason and is there another way to active the same goal?” You might find a compromise like setting a timer for 15 minutes of tidying then you can reward yourself by color coordinating your condiments in your refrigerator.

Saralynn thought she couldn’t relax unless the house was clean. She was constantly complaining about the mess and trying to get her family to pitch in so that she could feel relaxed on the inside. Her house was messy because she didn’t want to be cleaning it all the time.

Without realizing it, she had given her away her ability to relax to outside forces and it just wasn’t working for her. Her family hid because she was constantly nagging them and they just wanted her to chill out.

She asked herself, Is there another way to get what I want?”

Instead of focusing on getting her home cleaned so she could relax, she focused on feeling relaxed on the inside FIRST. She found it easiest to do this outside the home so she’d go sit in her car or the backyard, breathe, read a book, and then, when she felt ready to go back inside, she would tell herself what to focus on. Saralynn would rally the kids to wipe off the counters, while she put dishes away, then go back outside and read her book. This proved to her brain that she could relax, even while her house was messy, and only devote small chunks of the day to cleaning.

If you connected with reason #4 and have a pattern of increasing messiness so that you get a big transformation, perhaps you’ll decide you like this reason and it works for you. Then you can feel at peace with your decision and eliminate the cognitive dissonance that is draining your energy.

Having two competing beliefs battling it out inside our heads will always drain our energy and cause us to lose focus and mental clarity.

The most important thing is for you to reconcile these two competing voices and figure out what you really, really want.

Your conscious brain might think it wants a perfectly tidy home but your subconscious brain might be tired and just want to rest. Finding the balance between these two voices where both get heard and respected will create a mind state of peace and clarity.

 

 

Supermom Kryptonite - “This is just how I am”

One of the biggest obstacles that interferes with our ability to grow and change is a mindset like, “This is just how I am, I’ve always been this way and nothing is going to change that.”

This is a huge block to creating new synaptic activity and growing the brain to think in a new way. When you think, “this is just how I am” you are surrendering all your personal power. “I’ve always been this way” is like announcing to the universe, “I am unable to use my imagination, my creativity, and I am completely closed off to new ideas”. It is a HUGE KRYPTONITE.

PLEASE only use this phrasing to reinforce something that you NEVER WANT TO CHANGE and you HOPE TO ALWAYS BE TRUE.

“I’m a natural born winner, always was, always will be. This is just how I am.”
“I am a child of God. Loved no matter what. Nothing will ever change how valuable I am.”
“I am enough. This is just how I am. I’ve always been good enough and nothing is going to change that.”

Be super selective where you use these “surrendering” phrases and make sure it’s something you want to always believe about yourself.

 

 

Supermom Power Boost - Trying something new

Magical things happen when we try something new. We override that part of our brain that says “This is just how you are” and we prove it wrong.

Jacqueline was trying everything to overcome working mom burnout but nothing seemed to be helping. She felt exhausted and stuck, until one day, on a whim, she signed up for an Improv class. This one act of rebellion put her on a different course. Improv helped her loosen up her thinking, trust her creativity, and get really comfortable with failure and making mistakes. From there, she hired a life coach, switched career paths, and started a podcast about overcoming working mom burnout.

One of my SuperDad clients is trying to undo his addiction to round the clock work. At our last session he says, “I’m not feeling better yet, in fact I’m getting more and more fed up and desperate for change, but I am starting to eat better. After decades of starting my day at Starbucks with a coffee and a pastry, I’ve switched to oatmeal.” This might seem like a small change but it’s a very good sign that big changes are on the horizon. Trying something new keeps the brain flexible and reminds us that we are not imprisoned by our habits.

I have had “itchy feet” all through COVID, craving travel. When I ask myself what is it about travel that I’m yearning for, the answer is novelty and adventure. In my attempt to find novelty and adventure, I’ve discovered Aerial Yoga and it has been a blast!
I feel like a kid again, hanging from these silk hammocks and flipping around and upside down. When you get older, it’s easy to get set in your ways but trying something new and difficult keeps your brain nimble and your spirit youthful. My teacher will say something like “Curl into a ball, flip to your side and rotate your leg to the ceiling”. I will repeat the words to myself but I can’t get my body to obey. It’s like she’s speaking a foreign language. I can hear my brain saying, “that’s impossible” “there is no way” and then I’ll do it and it’s like little fireworks go off in my brain. I’m terrible at it, but that’s part of the fun. I’m sure I’ll get good at it eventually but then the novelty and adventure will wear off and it will feel like an ordinary exercise class.

If you want a boost of energy, try something new and prove to your brain that you are capable of change. It doesn’t have to be in the same area where you find yourself struggling.
Messy house draining your energy? Learn a new language on Duo Lingo.
Can’t get a hold of your finances? Try some new plant based recipes.

The goal is to keep your brain flexible and remind yourself that you can create whatever you desire.

Quote of the Day:

“Successful organizing forces you to look at the big picture, not one small section of the frame, so that the system you design will be complete.” Julie Morgenstern https://www.juliemorgenstern.com/books

Stop Nagging and Repeating Yourself

Stop Nagging and Repeating Yourself

May 23, 2022

Are you tired of constantly nagging and repeating yourself? 

This free masterclass will teach you how to get your kids to listen (and OBEY!), the first time you ask, freeing up your energy for more fun and important things. 

You are a busy, hardworking mom.

You need your kids to step up and take on some responsibility but it all seems to fall on your shoulders. 

“Put down your phone” 

“Finish your homework” 

“Hang up your coat” 

“Turn off the xbox” 

The constant nagging, reminding and TRYING to get kids to do things is exhausting. 

“Get dressed”,

“Brush your teeth”

“Go to bed”

These tasks aren’t difficult.

We aren’t asking them to chop firewood or do our taxes. We are asking them to do simple things that are good for them and their future!  

We’ve gotten so used to the push back, arguing, avoiding and resistance that we feel defeated before we even ask. 

We know they are going to freak out when we say “turn off your ipad and come do your homework” so we start bracing ourselves for the inevitable temper tantrum that will ensue. 

When we ask them to clean their clothes off the living room floor, we know they are going to blame their siblings, us, the dog, anyone other than just taking responsibility with a quick, “Ok, sure, mom.” 

We ask them to clear their plate and load the dishwasher and they mumble “sure, mom, as soon as I finish my homework.” Three hours later, you are going to bed with the kitchen full of caked on dishes and your daughter has asleep watching netflix.

 

This is an exhausting problem

 

This constant nagging and TRYING to get kids to do things turns us into people we don’t like. We feel like we have to yell to be heard, and it robs us of the joy of raising our children. 

parenting-burnout

There is a solution

 

Can you imagine how much more enjoyable your relationship with your kids would be if it didn’t revolve around making them do things?  

Think about how nice your home life would be if your kids obeyed you the first time you asked? 

What would you spend your freed up energy on if you could trust your kids to do what you asked of them without nagging or reminding? 

The Listen Lesson will teach you how to get kids to listen and obey the first time.

Mom and Daughter

The Listen Lesson

 

The Listen Lesson is what every parent needs to learn to feel confident and in control, knowing they can get their kid to listen to them whenever they want. 

It should have been taught to us as soon as our toddler discovered the word “no”.  It’s simple to learn and super practical, and yet no body teaches it to the people who need it most, MOMS! 

Once you master this skill, you’ll never need to nag again. 

Dreading a Device Filled Summer

Dreading a Device Filled Summer

May 10, 2022

Episode 124: "I need a summer survival guide I can stick to."

 

Question of the Day:

Dear Torie,

Summer is coming and I can already anticipate my kids wanting nothing but to sit on their devices all day. Without the structure the school year provides, there is just too much down time and in my house, boredom always leads to video games, youtube and Netflix. 

The problem is I have a love/hate relationship with their devices. I LOVE that they leave me alone! When they are on their devices, they stop complaining about being bored, they stop asking for snacks a million times a day, and they stop bickering and fighting with each other! Life is peaceful when devices are on. 

HOWEVER, after they have been on their devices too long, I start feeling guilty. I get annoyed and start yelling at them to turn it off, go outside, call a friend. They ignore me so I threaten to chuck their ipad or cell phone out the window. It’s not pretty. 

Can you help me come up with a game plan or survival guide I can stick to this summer so I don’t go insane? 

Thank you, 

Madison

 

 

Parent Educator Answer: A Summer Survival Guide for digital devices

What works for creating a simple system you can stick to for managing kids digital devices?

A clear and consistent schedule.

There is a reason why teachers follow and post a clear, predictable schedule for students. We like to know what to expect. It helps us relax and enjoy the moment. In the beginning there is lots of testing and pushing boundaries from kids wondering…”Do you really mean what you say?” “Are you going to stick to this or is there wiggle room?” But if you hold firm to your established boundaries, they will stop asking and simply obey the structure you have created. 

Your schedule can look like “No devices before noon” 

Or 

“Internet access is only available between 12-2pm and 7-9pm.” 

Or 

“Free access all day except for the hours between 4-6pm.” 

Or

“You get no more than 4 hours of play time but you choose when you use those hours." 

 

Following through on rules could mean putting devices in a central location in your house where you can monitor, setting the wifi router or cell phone to shut off at a particular time, or using an app or chart to track screen time access. 

For SURE you want to sign up for my free webinar next Tuesday so you don’t slip into the habit of constantly nagging and repeating yourself to get them to follow through on the plan! 

 

 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in our way from creating a simple schedule and sticking to it? 

  1. Feeling like a “bad mom”.
  2. Inconsistent summer schedules.
  3. Persistent and/or sneaky children.
  4. Perfectionistic fantasies.
  5. An absence of calm, leadership energy.

 

1. "Bad Mom"

When our kids have spent too much time on devices, the guilt that creeps in usually comes from a voice in our heads whispering mean things like,

“You aren’t doing it right.”

“If you were a good mom, your kids would be creating art and engineering feats in the backyard.”

“Your kids prefer video games to reading books, you are a failure as a mother.” 

We KNOW we aren’t bad moms! We are working our butts off to do the right things for our kids! So when this mean voice creeps in, we have the urge to kick it to the curb. The desire to yell or chuck the xbox out the window is really a desire to toss this mean voice out the window. 

Instead, meet this voice with confident compassion. “I know you think you are helping me by telling me I suck. Your opinion is noted but not welcome. I can get my kids off devices while still believing I'm a good mom.” 

It takes some time and focused attention to become aware of this subconscious voice in our head so don't feel bad if you aren't aware of it or you don't feel in control. Managing this inner critic is really hard to do on your own. It helps to have a life coach or therapist there to help you separate from it.

 

 

2. Inconsistent summer schedules make it really hard to schedule consistent screen time. When you’ve got swim meets on Wednesday nights, play dates with friends and camping trips on the weekend, how are you supposed to stay consistent? 

The solution is to take it one week at a time, or one day at a time. If your kids know that their screen time will be monitored everyday, it doesn’t matter if you say “today you can have devices from noon to 2:00pm”, “tomorrow 5-7:00pm”. It’s not a problem to be consistently inconsistent. Just make sure YOU don’t throw in the towel when things get dicey. The rewards of consistency are kids who know the rules and follow them without arguing and pushback. 

 

 

3. Speaking of arguing and pushback, the next obstacle that keeps us from creating a schedule is argumentative, persistent and sneaky children. Some kids love a predictable routine, other kids find rebelling against routine (and mom) exciting entertainment. They get to test their manipulation skills and turn it into a competitive power struggle. If this is your scenario, the best strategy is boredom. Be consistent, follow through everyday, but don’t give it your energy and attention. Turn off the device with a yawn saying “You know the rules” then challenge them to make 10 free throws in a row. If excitement and attention are your child’s motivation to misbehave, give them something else to get excited about. 

 

4. Perfectionistic Fantasies are these dreams we have of summer time with our kids running through the sprinklers, happily playing outside, entertaining themselves with their imagination. We think, “If I was a good mom, my kids wouldn’t be interested in screens” or “If I was a good mom, I would provide fun and stimulating activities everyday.” These perfectionistic fantasies make us feel like we are constantly failing because they never come true! Instead, expect summertime to be really hard, expect your kids to want to be on screens and get a game plan in place to take care of yourself, as well as the kids. 

 

 

5. An absence of calm, leadership energy - Kids can sense when you are standing in your power, they feel your confident energy and do what you ask. If you are asking them to follow the routine from a disempowered energy, they won’t feel compelled to listen or obey. When you are afraid of their pushback, or annoyed that you have to police these devices, or exhausted from too much kid time, it’s going to mess with your leadership energy. 

Lots of things get in the way when you are trying to implement parenting systems that are good for kids. Screen time feels harder to monitor because we didn’t grow up with the availability of devices like today’s kids have so we don’t have an example to imitate. Think of managing devices like brushing teeth. Eventually, it will be your kid’s job to manage on their own but until then, we can remind them and hold them accountable to a boring, consistent routine.  

 

Supermom Kryptonite - May Crazies

The end of the year crazies are upon us. School picnics and field trips, graduation ceremonies, teacher gifts and parties. SO MUCH extra stuff gets piled on at the end of the year it can make a Momma barely have time to breathe. Give yourself grace during these months. It’s survival time. Reduce your expectations, drop a ball or two, half ass it wherever you can. Revisit your game plan once summer is in full swing and you have a little more time. 

 

 

Supermom Power Boost - Diversify your joy

If you only get ONE DAY A YEAR to celebrate your awesomeness, it’s a recipe for disappointment. If Mother’s Day is the only time your family asks “What do you want, Mom?” then it’s never going to feel like enough. 

I remember coming home late one night after teaching Time for The Talk. I loved teaching at night. Most nights I was exhausted by the time dinner rolled around but teaching gave me a burst of energy. I got to do my hair and makeup, hang out with amazing parents and kids, have some fun doing what I loved, then come home and the kids would already be in bed. No dinner, no bath, no bedtime routine! Coming home after teaching was my favorite! I would heat up some dinner, curl up on the couch and watch Survivor.

One night I came home and SOMEBODY messed up my DVR recording. I was so looking forward to my favorite Monday night routine but when I found out my favorite show was not recorded, I LOST IT! Total exploding doormat: tears, yelling, temper tantrum. What that taught me is that I need more than just one evening a week of JOY. I need to diversify so that when something goes wrong, my sanity doesn’t go down the toilet.

Last Wednesday, I made plans to go golfing with my husband after work. It was the warmest day we’d had in 7 months and I wanted to enjoy it! It took longer than we thought to finish up work and get out of the house, by the time we got to the golf course, it was too late. Even though the sun was shining and the weather was warm, they were still on spring hours, not summer. No problem, we’ll go to another course nearby. Turns out the sprinklers were going on soon and we wouldn’t be able to get 9 holes in. Fine, we’ll just hit some balls at the driving range. Guess what? The driving range closes early for cleanup on Wednesdays. Fine, we’ll go for a hike. My husband’s allergies kick in before we get to the trail head. 

In the past, this would have sent me into a tearful rage because it was my one and only opportunity to get away for a golf outing. But because I now have more time for me than ever before, I was able to roll with the punches. I didn’t feel scarcity around this day, so I was able to enjoy sitting in the sunshine, just having a beer and watching other people golf.

Be sure to diversify your joy, especially in the summer. Have it come in from more than one place. If food is your main source of pleasure and self indulgence, it will leave you hungry for more. If your partner is your sole source of sanity and companionship, when they go out of town you may come unhinged. Think about getting your happiness from a variety of sources, building in lots of time for fun, relaxation and pleasure, so you can avoid the “Exploding Doormat Syndrome” when your kids aren’t following the screen time protocol. 

 

 

Quote of the Day:

"Our children are counting on us to provide two things: consistency and structure. Children need parents who say what they mean, mean what they say, and do what they say they are going to do.” Barbara Coloroso

No matter how much I give, they still want more

No matter how much I give, they still want more

April 26, 2022

Episode #123 "No matter how much I give, they still want more." 

 

Question of the Day:

“I’ve given my 3 daughters everything. I think I’ve been a good mom and they tell me so. I know I’m very lucky that my 3 adolescent daughters love me so much and still want to be with me, but… sometimes I wish they were more independent. I hear moms complain about their daughter’s hanging out in the room too much, or always going out with friends, and I kind of wish my girls were more like that. It seems that no matter how much of my love, companionship, attention or support I give them, they still want more. They are 12, 15, and 17 and they still want me to cook for them, watch TV with them, go shopping with them, do their hair, or just hang out with them. When can I expect them to want more independence? I’d really like to have some free time to do the things I want to do.”

Missy

Parent Educator Answer:

Looking at the social and emotional milestones we expect to see in girls, it would be normal to expect a push towards independence at the ages your girls are. Between the ages of 10-14, girls tend to create (or crave) more emotionally intimate relationships with their peers. You might see the advent of a tight knit group or clique, or a “best friend” situation emerge. 

 

Some cultures have a very significant right of passage to help a child shift their identity from child to adult. In the absence of a ceremony, it takes on a more gradual process. The tight friend or group helps the child feel more comfortable being away from mom and dad. It’s a way to practice independence without being thrust out on your own. 

 

Even though it is developmentally appropriate to see this shift, social distancing through a wrench into a lot of normal developmental expectations for teens. 

 

If your daughters have made it through ages 15 - 17 and still consider you their best friend, it’s time for you to encourage independence in them. 

 

It might seem like a wonderful thing to have girls who want you with them all the time, but if you aren’t seeing them take on new challenges, making new friends or striving towards independence, you may have to act like a momma bird, nudge them out of the nest and show them they are capable of using their wings. 

 

If you have a toddler who just wanted to be carried around all the time, and wasn’t interested in learning to walk, you would find a way to balance your child’s desire with what you know is good for them. You would put them down, and give big smiles and praise when they cruised on furniture. You would celebrate their developmental milestones by taking pictures and sharing their successes with other family members. When they got tired, you would put them in the stroller. After a day of developing their skill, you would hold them and put them to bed. As a mom, our job is to love, nurture, and provide, while also encouraging them to grow into independent adults. 

 

If your teens aren’t actively seeking independence, it’s time for Momma to encourage it, praise it, celebrate it and hold them accountable. The love, care and nurture can come AFTER your teens can demonstrate they are taking on new adult challenges, trying something new and uncomfortable, going outside their comfort zone, spending time cultivating friendships, or any striving towards independence.

 

We want to make sure we are always growing and learning, not avoiding challenges out of fear. 

 

Some examples of developmentally appropriate independent activities for 12-17 year olds are: 

Cooking for themselves and the family.

Cleaning up their room, bathroom and kitchen.

Yard work.

Babysitting, pet sitting and house sitting for other families.

Riding public transportation (by themselves).

Applying for jobs.

Making appointments for themselves.

Hosting/coordinating parties and gatherings for friends.

Traveling without mom and dad.

Walking to the store to buy groceries.

Talking to teachers about school work.

 

When you’ve created a cozy little nest, it makes sense that your kids wouldn’t want to leave it. But like all moms in the animal kingdom, our job is to teach our kids how to survive in the wild. If we don’t create some constructive adversity, our kids may never get to see how capable they truly are. 

 

We need to encourage our kids to seek out challenges that are difficult, embarrassing, awkward, and uncomfortable. They can’t be confident until they’ve developed competence and they don’t get competent without making some uncomfortable mistakes first. 

 

If your girls ARE taking on new challenges, growing and adulting, they just want mom by their side, then we move to the life coaching answer. 

 

 

Life Coaching Answer: What gets in our way from encouraging our teens to be more independent?

A belief that it’s our job to make them comfortable and a belief that it’s not ok to prioritize our needs over theirs. 

 

You can hear it in the question. 

Missy says, “I want them to not need me so much.“They want me to be with them”

You know what you want, which is great, but who is currently GETTING what they want? 

 

The girls.

Why? Why do they get what they want instead of you? 

Because there is some kind of belief that says, 

“It’s my job to make them happy.” or 

“I’m supposed to ignore what I want and give them what they want.” or 

“Their desires are more important than mine.”

 

Because they want you, you are somehow required by law to obey them? 

 

What would happen if you did what YOU wanted? Let’s imagine that your whole day is crafted exactly the way YOU want it. No more prioritizing other people’s desires above your own. You just get to arrange your day the way that works best for you. 

What would your mornings look like? 

If you could do what you wanted, how would you spend your afternoon and evening? 

What would you do on the weekend if it was totally up to you? 

 

Can you see that flipping this dynamic would make your girls uncomfortable? 

That’s exactly what we want!  To nudge them out of the nest using natural constructive adversity!  

 

When they are hungry, and no one is cooking for them, they might try cooking. They might burn something, break a dish or explode something in the microwave, perfect! That’s what the road to independence looks like! 

 

When they get lonely or bored, they might reach out to a friend. They might be brave and invite them to do something fun: go bowling or roller skating or just meet at a coffee shop and flirt with the barista. Wonderful! Taking emotional risks is the best way to prevent social anxiety. Celebrate your daughter’s bravery, we need more teenagers willing to take the social lead! 

 

Our job is not to make our kids comfortable, our job is to encourage them to live in the “growth zone”. In between the comfort zone and the discomfort zone, is the GROWTH ZONE. When we live in the growth zone, life feels exciting. We build resilience by taking risks, falling on our face, and trying again the next day. We learn, we fail, we grow, we try again. This is living. 

 

It’s time to let go of the old beliefs that were true when they were babies “It’s my job to make them comfortable” and update the brain to raising adolescents by adopting the belief, “It’s my job to make them UNCOMFORTABLE.” 

 

Remember, children learn by imitation so if YOU are struggling to go outside YOUR comfort zone, take on new challenges and make mistakes, starting with yourself is the first order of business. 

 

Make a new friend, go on an adventure, hire a life coach, and then brag to your girls about how proud you are of yourself. Soon, the whole family can grow together and celebrate each other's growth. 

 

Supermom Kryptonite - When being around your child drains all your energy.

 

This is a hard thing to describe but important to recognize. All kids drain their mom’s energy to some degree but some children have the ability to drain it in a unique way. The best way I’ve found to describe it is like the kid’s battery is running low and they plug into their MOM as their outlet. They use mom's energy to power themselves up. 

Most of us, when we are running low on energy, will power up with sleep, rest, zoning out, solitude, food, or just relaxing in the sunshine with a good book. It’s normal for young kids to feel calmed and comforted by their mom’s presence. This is different. Some kids will power up their energy by TAKING it from their mom. 

 

The moms I’ve coached who are stuck in this predicament have a hard time getting help for it because it’s hard to describe. I’m always so glad they found my podcast and have come in for life coaching because this is a no-win situation. 

 

Kids need to learn to fill up their own tank and moms need as much energy as they can get. If you know anyone who seems to lose themselves around their kids, turns into a “zombie mommy” after spending a short time with their child, or feels fully alive away from kids, but flatlines when around them, please send them this podcast and encourage them to schedule a free discovery call. 

 

Sometimes this energy draining phenomenon looks like a child LOVING on mom: touching, demanding eye contact, pulling, clinging, wanting to be physically and emotionally intertwined. A "velcro child". 

 

Other times it looks like a child “throwing emotions at mom”. For example, a child stubs her toe, looks over at her mom with a glare, and says “MOM!” with blame in her tone of voice as though its mom’s fault she stubbed her toe. 

 

Some children want to be alone with their negative emotions, others want to wail and throw tantrums. Others blame their siblings or the stupid furniture that got in their way and made them trip.  Energy draining children will come sit right in front of mom, look her in the eye with a “What are you going to do about it?” expression. 

 

It’s as though these draining kids have the subconscious belief that mom is the cause of unwanted emotions, and the cure for positive ones. It is unhealthy for both parties so please seek help if this resonates with you. 

 

 

Supermom Powerboost  - Relinquish your authority

If you are used to being in charge, making decisions, coordinating, planning and executing, it is really nice to relinquish your responsibility once in a while. When you LIKE doing these things, and you are good at them, it’s easy to find yourself taking this role in every area of your life. 

 

If you are a high powered Supermom with a lot of people relying on you, get a boost of energy by surrendering your authority to someone super capable. 

 

Last week I traveled with my brother and it has been so nice to relinquish control over the trip planning and coordination. He is highly capable, but he’s also been to Paris many times before and has more command of the language. It made sense to let him figure out the transportation and accommodations while I just went along for the ride. 

Even though it was somewhat uncomfortable because my comfort zone is to be the one in charge, it was so relaxing (kind of like being a kid!). Not only did I get a break from my routine and a change of scenery, but I got a break from the role I usually play and I thoroughly enjoyed not being in charge for a little while. 

 

It’s the same feeling I had around my yoga teacher. I could take my worn out, stressed out body, plop it on a mat in her yoga studio, and trust her to bring me back to a calm, energized state. I just did what she told me to do, no thinking required, and she was deliciously reliable. 

When you are used to being in charge, and you like it done a certain way, it can be hard to let go of control. Keep looking until you can find someone competent, someone who gets you, and is a bigger expert than you are. This is what I offer in my Time for The Talk class. For one month, you do not need to be the expert in puberty and sex education. You get a break from being in charge and just sit alongside your kiddo in a relaxed, interactive learning environment. 

 

I found a similarly relaxing experience at family camp. I’m there, but I’m not in charge. Competent people are arranging the activities, doing the driving, the cooking, and the dishes. It was HEAVEN. 

 

If you are the captain of your family ship, find a way to sit in other people’s ships once in a while and let other people take the lead. It is so worthwhile and I promise, the opportunities exist out there. You deserve a break, Supermom. 

 

Quote of the Day

“It is not what you have done for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.” Ann Landers

Raising a VERY challenging child into adulthood.

Raising a VERY challenging child into adulthood.

April 12, 2022

From difficult child to successful adult

When you've got a child who is A LOT harder to raise than the average kid, listening to parenting podcasts and experts can be SUPER frustrating.  None of the advice seems geared towards you. You feel lonely and isolated, feeling like people just don't get it. The amount of unsolicited advice from friends and family is UNBELIEVABLY ANNOYING.

How can I listen to parents complaining about bad grades and messy rooms when my child just attempted suicide and is being kicked out of yet another residential treatment program?

Today's episode is a light of hope for parents who are currently dealing with kids in very difficult situations. I wanted to show you Supermoms how things can turn out beautifully, even when it seems like there is no way they ever will.

When your child is in a dark place, it's easy to futurize and catastrophize, painting a very dismal picture of their future. Wendy wasn't sure her daughter would make it to adulthood, let alone live independently, hold down a job, and have healthy relationships with people that didn't require mom's facilitation and intervention.

This podcast is an interview with an amazing Supermom and long term client who is enjoying a beautiful relationship with her special needs daughter after years of struggle and difficulties.

If you are challenged by your teen or tween, this interview will give you inspiration and appreciation. Wendy is a fantastic mom, a brilliant artist, and continues to grow and learn as she enjoys her empty nest stage of life.

 

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