Why am I so tired?

Today’s Question:

Today’s question comes from almost every one of my clients. So many moms have a hard time articulating what’s bothering them. They say, “My kids are on my nerves,” “I feel off my game,” or “I feel lost, stuck, bored, easily annoyed.” Whatever they say, it all seems to fall under the umbrella of TIRED. This is why I named my podcast and facebook group “Supermom is Getting Tired.” Not that my clients think of themselves as Supermoms, but they work so hard and put so much pressure on themselves to get things done and do everything right that I chose this title for them.

I find that there are 5 reasons why Supermoms get tired that have nothing to do with sleep, exercise, nutrition and hormones. These are invisible forces (kryptonite, if you will) that make moms feel like they are being dragged through their day, going through the motions, and not feeling fully alive. If you ever feel like a zombie mommy, wondering why you can’t seem to enjoy your life more, today’s podcast is for you.

5 reasons why Supermom is getting TIRED:

1. You are arguing with reality.

Wishing things were different than they are, will drain your energy. This shows up as thoughts like, “My kids should play together nicely and they don’t.” “My daughter shouldn’t resist going to bed at night.” “My son shouldn’t play so many video games.” “My husband should help out more.” “My mother-in-law shouldn’t be so nosy.

It’s like we have this invisible rule book in our brain that says how everyone and everything should behave, and we get annoyed when our rule book isn’t followed. This rule book shows up with ourselves, husbands, our in-laws, other parents, bosses, co-workers; we even have rules about how our pets should behave!

For me, this showed up a lot with my husband. My Dad was the most organized, self-disciplined, and reliable man on the planet. An engineer by trade and an upholder tendency, meant if he said he was going to do something, he did it. Religiously. Every night before bed, like clock work, he would walk around the house, locking the doors and windows and turning off all the lights. When I got married, I expected my husband to assume this role. However, I married an impulsive, serial entreprenuer with ADHD and a

rebellious streak. This means he does NOTHING on a regular basis. Any kind of routine makes him feel imprisoned, even if it’s something he wants to do. I’ve been married over 20 years and I still wake up to find every light on in the house. It took me YEARS to realize that my husband will never do things the way my Dad did. He will never do yard work or put the garbage cans on the curb on a regular basis, but he can do a year’s worth of yard work in one day when the mood strikes. My husband is an amazingly talented, skilled, creative and fun-loving man but it can be hard to remember that when I’m stuck wishing he were more like my dad. Aligning your expectations with the reality of your experience, will give you so much more energy and appreciation for the life you are living.

2. You are “shoulding” on yourself.

What is it about our culture that puts so many perfectionistic expectations on moms? Is it that we learned to put pressure on ourselves through school and our careers, that we then bring into parenting? Many moms think of parenting like it’s their job, meaning that they believe it should be hard work and that they are supposed to do everything right. The problem with this, is that kids learn by imitation and we are stressing them out when we aren’t relaxed, happy, and playful. There is no “right” way to parent but we put so much energy into trying to do everything perfectly that it leaves us exhausted.

Here’s the common problem that myself and many clients, find themselves in:

While folding laundry, you are thinking, “I really should get dinner started.” So you stop folding laundry and start dinner. As you are cooking you are thinking, “I need to send that email before I forget!” At the computer you see someone’s facebook post and think, “I’ve got to get our summer vacation plans started”. While researching vacation rentals, you think, “Crap, I have to go pick up the kids but I should have scheduled that doctor’s appointment while I was on the computer and paid that bill.

This scenario causes exhaustion for three reasons. First, we are putting so much pressure on ourselves with the words “have to, need to, should”. These words make us feel like responsible hard workers, but also prisoners. Second, when we constantly juggle and multi-task, we don’t get the sense of accomplishment and completion that so many of us crave. Lastly, our energy goes where our attention goes. When your body is doing dishes but your brain is thinking about laundry, your energy is split into two. If you are at work thinking “I’d rather be at home” or at home wishing you had a job to go to, you will exhaust yourself without even knowing how or why you are so tired.

 

 

                                                                                                                         

3. You are trying to control something you have no control over.

I know a Mom who has the thought “I can’t relax until my kids are happy.” With 3 dramatic kids, it’s a rare moment when all of them were happy. Which means she spent years believing she couldn’t relax. She feel

s like she always needs to be available to them should they need her for anything. She’s a loving mom and very close with her kids, but feels constantly fatigued and lost. She struggles to take time to herself or do things that she would enjoy. This mom thought she control their happiness.

This causes exhaustion for two reasons, the first is that she wanted her kids to be happy all the time. We are wired to experience a wide range of human emotions, about 50% of which will be negative. To live a real, human experience, we need to feel happiness, but also disappointment, sadness, anger, jealousy, you name it. The other reason trying to make kids happy causes fatigue is that people get to feel whatever they want to feel. Have you ever tried to cheer someone up or talk them out of feeling bad and they just would not budge? Some people WANT to feel negative emotion. We don’t get to choose other people’s emotions for them and when we try to control it, we end up feeling resentful, lost and TIRED.

 

4. You are resisting emotions.

Some clients have an area of their life that they really don’t want to think about. It could be a fight with a family member that they never reconciled or a job they got fired from which caused them embarrassment. Trying not to think about something that causes negative emotions is exhausting but it is very easy to

solve! If clients only knew how much more relaxed and energized they would feel for such little effort, they wouldn’t believe it! The problem is that these unprocessed emotions can be very sneaky and hard to spot. I’ll use an example from my own life.

I witnessed a horrible accident while on spring break in Lake Havasu. I was on a boat with a hundred other people, watching a couple people on their jet skis. One tried to jump his jet ski over the other one, hitting him in the head and causing his death. It was AWFUL. No one else on the entire boat seemed to notice, understand, or care about what I had just seen. I was shaken to my core. I wanted to go out there

to comfort or help somehow but I couldn’t. Witnessing this event was traumatic for me but I tried to leave it behind me. I never thought about it consciously but years later when I had kids and a swimming pool, I developed terrible anxiety that something bad would happen and they would drown. Anytime I was at a water park, ocean, or community pool, I had the thought, “It’s my job to make sure everyone stays safe” (even when life guards were on duty). This anxiety compounded when my impulsive, fun loving husband bought a boat for our family. I was in a constant state of fight or flight on that maiden voyage. My anxiety was preventing me from doing things I really enjoyed so I knew it was time to get over it once and for all. I was a MESS until I got some coaching and used my ACT tools to finally process the emotions of that accident I witnessed years earlier. Having a pool and boat ended up being a blessing because it gave me lots of opportunity to re-wire my brain to relax around water. Once I was able to process the emotions from witnessing this terrible accident, it FREED me in a way that’s hard to explain. It’s like suddenly I had access to a deeper level of relaxation and a reservoir of energy that I had never had access to before.

 

5. You are ignoring your calling.

We are all born with certain interests, talents, and proclivities. Our job, during our lifetime, is to figure out what these things are and to use them to make the world a better place. You felt called to become a mom, now that you have accomplished that task and soaked up your new identity as mom, it’s time to figure out “what’s next?” Many moms follow what culture suggests, but this can cause exhaustion if a mom is trying to live a life that isn’t right for them.

My client Teresa was an ivy league, super-achiever.  She knew how to be successful and rise to the top of any organization she worked for and her resume was impressive. Her job and family relied on her full time but when her girls were 4 and 7 she couldn’t deny this nagging voice inside her anymore. She was terrified, but finally admitted in a faint whisper, that she really just wanted to stay home, bake cookies and lead Girl’s on The Run.

To many of us, this does not sound sinful, but for her, she was going against her upbringing, her peers, her culture, everything she had been raised to believe her life should be at this stage in her life. Once she gave herself permission to want what she wants, and admit the truth out loud, she relaxed and had many creative ideas and options for the next stage of her life.

My other client, Mandy, was a stay home mom. She enjoyed it for many years but wasn’t feeling as satisfied as she once had. There was plenty to do, but she felt busy, but bored, tired and uninspired. She came to our first coaching call with the common phrase, “I don’t know what’s wrong with me”. She elaborated by saying, “I should be able to get more done. There’s all these tasks I keep procrastinating on. I just don’t feel like doing anything. I have a good life, why can’t I enjoy it more? I’m wondering if I should get a job but I don’t know how I’d find the time to do everything.”

When I asked her, “If you had no rules and no fear, what would you love to spend your time doing?

She answered “I don’t know.”

When I replied softly, “Well, let’s pretend for a minute that you did know. What’s something you always imagined yourself doing?

The line goes silent and the tears start flowing. It takes her a minute but she finally squeaks out a terrified, yet sacred, “I’ve always wanted to be a writer.

Ignoring a calling can be the source of our greatest suffering.

We try so hard to fit in and live out our parent’s expectations of us, but our calling never goes away. In fact, the longer you ignore this tugging, the more tired and irritable you will become. Accepting this calling often means going against societal expectations, otherwise you would have done it by now. When you start living a life that is more suited to your uniqueness, your brain is going to freak out. It will come up with every excuse in the book as to why you should NOT take action on your calling.

I’ve coached so many clients into lives they LOVE, where they wake up everyday feeling excited and inspired and so grateful they learned to overcome their fears and pursue their passion. I know the amazing life that awaits clients on the other side of those fears but they can’t see it yet. All they know is that it sucks to not take action, but it’s terrifying TO take action.

I love helping Moms become the hero in their own life and live a life without regret. This is my life’s calling. If you are feeling TIRED and want to get a glimpse of how much better your life could be, schedule a free discovery call at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me

 

Why can’t I ask for help?

Today’s Question: I’ve got 3 kids, ages 1, 3, and 5. My oldest has special needs. Recently, I got the flu and was totally out of it. Before I could fully recuperate my kids all got sick. It’s been two weeks and I’m EXHAUSTED. Total zombie mommy, barely functioning, and yet…I STILL cannot bring myself to ask for help. My parents live nearby, I’ve got friends and neighbors who I’m sure would step in, but I struggle. I will die on the sword before I admit I can’t do it all by myself. What is the deal? If my friend was in a similar situation, I would love to take her kids for a couple of hours or cook her dinner. Why can’t I allow others to extend me the same courtesy?  Meredith

Parent Educator Answer: Usually I start with a parent educator answer, but today’s question is a little different. Parent education offers helpful advice and insights into child development and parenting strategies that work for moms and kiddos. In this case, Meredith KNOWS what she needs to do, but she can’t bring herself to do it. For this, we dive straight into the life coaching.

Life Coach Answer: We want to look into the feeling that she is trying not to feel which comes up for her when she asks for help.

The only reason anyone does anything is because of the feeling we imagine it will give us. We want to win the lottery because we imagine feeling totally free with endless possibilities. Many people avoid asking for what they want because when they do, they feel vulnerable and afraid of rejection.

Many Supermoms have the idea that they are supposed to be able to do it all; easily and well. Supermoms avoid asking for help because it brings up the feeling of embarrassment. That we have failed at achieving effortless perfection.

When we have the emotions of possible public humiliation, vulnerability, and failure coursing through our veins, it’s a recipe for inaction. Nobody likes feeling these emotions so we go back into our comfort zone, curl up into a ball, and ride it out.

Even though these feelings are coming from thoughts that are untrue, we still need to allow these emotions to move through us. Why?

Trying to resist an emotion is exhausting. It’s kind of like boiling a pot of water on the stove: putting a lid on it does not make the boiling go away. In fact, it gets louder and messier, eventually spilling over or burning the pan. Before Meredith can take action, she needs to allow these emotions to move through her.

The way we do this is to ask ourselves: “what does embarrassment feel like?” “Where in my body do I feel it?” Be sure to keep your breathing slow and steady while noticing how the emotion manifests in the body. Does it feel warm or cold? Heavy or tight? Does it feel like a solid, liquid, or gas. Ask yourself enough questions that you have a really clear image of it. Your brain isn’t going to want to do this. You will be tempted to think, analyze, judge, interpret, or change the subject, but if you can keep your full attention on the physical sensations in your body without going into your head, it will dissipate.

It is much easier to do this with a life coach so if you struggle to do this on your own, that’s perfectly normal! If you want to try it out, get in touch at: www.lifecoachingforparents.com/work-with-me.

Try the same thing with the emotion of vulnerability. Pay attention to the differences between the embarrassment and vulnerability. Do they feel different? Is one in the solar plexus, the other in the throat? Try it again with failure. When you understand the process of allowing emotions, you are free to do anything because there is no fear. The worst thing that will ever happen to you is a negative emotion, so learning how to allow emotions will set you free. You will feel so much more confident knowing you can handle anything that comes your way.

Once you’ve processed this emotion, you can take a look at the thought causing it. It’s probably going to be something like “I have to do everything right” or “I should be able to do this on my own.” Certainly, our Supermom culture supports this thinking, but is it true? Is it helpful? Would you ever say to another mom with three sick kids: “You should be able to do this on your own?” No, it’s not nice! So why is it ok to say to yourself?

It feels good to help others, especially when they need it and appreciate it. If you have a friend who is overwhelmed and having a hard time that asks you for help, how do you feel? Most of us feel happy to help. It increases positive emotions. You feel happier and your friend feels grateful.  When we don’t ask for help, we’re creating more negative emotions. Does our world need more negative emotions? No! We need more positivity. Saying no when someone offers help, is interrupting the flow of kindness and positivity.

When the clerk at the grocery store offers to carry your groceries and you say no, it’s like saying: “I reject your kindness and refuse to allow you to feel good about yourself today.” We do it because we like the feeling of being a Supermom: juggling three kids, a shopping cart, and ten grocery bags. When we choose stoic heroism over gratitude and appreciation, we cut off the flow of kindness and support that is trying to uplift our energy. It is in giving that we receive, but it is in receiving that we give. 

Asking for help is humbling, but not because we NEED help. Of course Meredith can do it all, she was doing exactly that! It’s humbling because it is admitting that we aren’t perfect, as our current culture suggests we should be.

Askng for, and recieving help take courage. It’s taking a stand and saying, “I am human, I like support, community, and time by myself. I want a reciprocal amount of giving and receiving. Our culture is out of balance and my inner mommy wisdom is saying so!”

 

Supermom kryptonite: Perfectionism

Most people don’t think of themselves as perfectionists because their house isn’t immaculately clean, but perfectionism is really more about all or nothing thinking. “I either do everything right or I’m a total loser.” “I’m either a good mom or a bad mom.” Trying to perfect is exhausting because it’s impossible to achieve. The moms and daughters in our culture are swimming in perfectionism and they don’t even know it! When everyone else thinks they have to do everything right, perfectionism feels normal. Give yourself permission to be an imperfect human. Celebrate your mistakes. Laugh at them. Compete with your family to see who messed up the most. It’s a tricky thing to recognize the perfection in the imperfection, but it’s more genuine than trying to be some idealized and flawless version of yourself.

 

Supermom power boost: Practice Receiving

When your life is all about giving and taking care of others, you probably feel needed and purposeful, but also pretty tired. To balance out the giving, one must receive. For some of us this takes deliberate practice. Say yes when someone offers their help. Say thank you when someone compliments you (even if you disagree, try to receive it as a gift rather than deflect it). Ask for, and receive a massage. Indulge in other sensory pleasures like wine tasting, spending time in nature, curling up in front a fire with a book, listening to beautiful music, or indulging in an afternoon nap. Write yourself a thank-you note and give yourself a thank-you gift for doing such an amazing job for your family.

 

Today’s Quote: “Accepting help is a sign of strength, asking for it is a sign of maturity.” Tal Gur

How can I help my daughter make friends?


Today’s question: “My daughter is 9 years old and doesn’t seem to have any friends. There are girls in the neighborhood we carpool with, and kids she goes to school, gymnastics, and temple with, but she doesn’t seek these kids out on the weekends or after school. At recess or on weekends, she prefers playing by herself. Her brother, on the other hand, is always with friends: riding bikes, skateboarding, and generally having an active social life. I’m worried that my daughter isn’t going to have close friendships. She’s very opinionated, strong willed, and doesn’t like to compromise, so I understand why other kids may not choose to play with her. She doesn’t seem as bothered by this as I am. She likes to read and be by herself, while I’m the one scheduling play dates. How can I make my daughter make friends?”  Lea

Parent Educator Answer: It sounds like you are doing everything you can to support your daughter’s friendships. It’s wonderful that you have arranged so many opportunities for her to socialize and become familiar with other kids.

Between the ages of 3-9, most girls develop friendships based on proximity and convenience. They don’t discriminate easily and are usually happy to play with whoever is happy to play with them. Birthday parties can be huge during these years because it’s hard for kids to choose which friends they like best.

Between the years of 10-12 (once puberty begins) girls tend to want a smaller, more intimate group of friendships they can build closer bonds with. Developmentally, they are practicing intimate relationships by creating a more manageable group of girls they feel comfortable with. It’s common in these years to have hurt feelings as girls get edged out and left out while best friends are created. It is normal, however, for some girls not to be interested in forming these intimate relationships. In every class, there’s always at least one girl who is happy to play with whoever shows up. She doesn’t mind hanging with a different kid everyday, or even none at all. These kids are valuable assets for to those who have recently been rejected by their friend group. 

From what I hear in Lea’s question, there are at least 5 perfectly healthy reasons why this kid might not like playing with other kids:

  1. She hasn’t entered the stage yet of wanting an intimate friendship or friend group.
  2. She may be the type of kid who is comfortable with acquaintences rather than close friends.
  3. She is exhausted from being around kids all day long and needs time alone to recuperate.
  4. It’s more important for her to be able to hear and execute her own ideas while playing, than to expend energy compromising and explaining her thoughts to others.
  5. She hasn’t found a friend yet that allows her to be fully herself.

Kids who have strong ideas and opinions often enjoy the company of younger children. Younger kids are so excited to have the attention of a big kid, that they are willing to compromise more than children of the same age are. Little kids love the creative ideas for play that big kids come up with, and don’t mind being told what to do. Older kids can make great babysitters or mother’s helpers because they get to play the role of leader, boss, or director that they were born to play.

 

Life Coaching Answer: When our kids don’t have meaningful friendships, this can be a big trigger for moms who place a high value on friendship. It is really easy to “futurize” and “catastrophize”, imagining that they’ll never have friends and be sad and socially rejected all through adolescence. Moms can worry that their kids will ALWAYS struggle to make friends and believe this is a huge problem that needs immediate attention and intervention. 

First, we have to look at the problem that is CURRENTLY presenting itself. We cannot fix a problem in the future that hasn’t happened yet (and may never happen) and trying to do so will make us crazy.

The circumstance here, is that Lea’s daughter is 9. She hasn’t entered puberty yet. She likes reading books (a solitary activity), she doesn’t seek out playdates, she is surrounded by family members and family acquaintances almost every moment of every day, and she prefers to play by herself at recess, after school, and on weekends.

We want to take a look at what mom actually has control over. Can she make her daughter make friends? No. She can arrange playdates, carpools & neighborhood gatherings so her daughter has exposure to other kids and becomes familiar with the people in her life. She can sign her up for summer camps and gymnastics classes, but how her daughter interacts with the kids while there is not within mom’s control.

One thing we mammas do have control over is how we interpret our kid’s social relationships. Without meaning to, Lea may be communicating the idea that “there is something wrong with her daughter” because she doesn’t have the quality and quantity of friendships that her brother has. Can you imagine that there is an introverted mom out there in the world who loves to read, be by herself, and sees nothing wrong with her 9 year old avoiding social interaction? We have no idea how this girls social relationships will change with puberty, middle school or high school. This is a time of rapid development! After a day of obeying teachers and following their curriculum, she may have a higher need of listening to her own voice, directing others, or dwelling in her imagination.

It has never been easier to find one’s tribe than it is today. If you don’t fit in with the tribe of people around you, meetup, tinder, or youtube will help you find your village and connect you with people who appreciate your authentic self. Rather than thinking, “this is a problem that needs fixing”, try thinking thoughts that make you feel at ease.

“She is surrounded by people who love her.”

“She will find her people someday.”

“She is so true to herself that when she finds someone who likes her, they will really genuinely like her.”

“If she’s ok playing by herself, I can be ok with it, too.”

“I’ve done everything I can think of, the rest is up to her.”

“If she wants better friendships, she’ll be motivated to compromise.”

When you feel at ease around your daughter’s social dynamics, you communicate the message that there is nothing wrong with her the way she is. This gives her acceptance and belonging; the whole point of friendships in the first place!

 

Supermom kryptonite: worrying

I used to think that “good moms” worried about their kids. It seemed the opposite of neglect. When my worrying turned into anxiety, I had to make a change. What I’ve learned is that worrying is terrible for kids and robs us of our ability to enjoy our lives. Worrying is imagining bad things happening. Focusing on everything that can go wrong drains our energy and keeps us from appreciating when everything is going right. Once I stopped worrying, I was floored at how much more productive I was throughout my day, how much more energy I had, and how relaxed I was able to feel.

 

Supermom power boost: yoga

All exercise is good for us but yoga seems to be especially beneficial for overworked mammas. My theory is that yoga turns our attention inwards. With kids around, your attention is constantly being pulled outside of yourself. Even when we aren’t with them, we think about them, talk to our friends and partners about them, and get annoyed with them for leaving their mess all over the floor. Yoga brings your attention into your body, focusing on the subtleties of movement, muscles, positioning, and breath. This forced self attention and flowing movement re-energies us in ways beyond a typical workout. In my opinion, yoga is a quick and reliable energy boost.

 

Quote of the Day – “Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. 
Keep in the sunlight.” ― Benjamin Franklin

 

 

When a Chore Chart Doesn’t Work

Episode 6 – How to make a chore chart work

Today’s question:

I’ve tried chore charts in the past, but I have a hard time keeping up with them.

I let things slide, but then it bothers me that my kids don’t help out more around the house.

My older kid is more cooperative than the younger, so I end up asking him to do more work. He complains about the inequity and he’s totally right.

I get so tired of the negotiating and complaining when I ask my daughter to do a simple little task. My current system is unfair and unhelpful. How can I make a chore chart that sticks?   Melinda

The Parent Education Answer: 

When chore charts have the most success, it’s because it fits with the personality of the parent or of the kid(s).

Some people love the sense of satisfaction they get from checking a box, the pride from displaying their accomplishments, and the predictability of what is expected of them.

If this sounds like you or your kiddo and external validation is something you value, by all means, create a system and commit to it.

Even if it wanes after a month or two, that’s okay. Just create a new one and enjoy the novelty.

Allow the kids to have input on any adjustments to it.

Most parenting experts suggest not tying chores to allowance but instead reinforcing the child’s role in being a responsible member of the household.

If your kids are reluctant, you may need to provide an incentive like no screen time until chores are complete, or a reward once completed.

Sometimes a chore chart can make a kid want to rebel against it.

“Brag boards” are an alternative where your child gets to post and boast about the chores they have completed.

If you like the chore chart but your kid doesn’t, keep it for yourself as a way to stay organized, but find other motivation for your kid that works for them.

The life coaching answer:

What you’ve got here is a classic example of cognitive dissonance.

This means you have two competing beliefs going on at the same time.

Part of you places a strong value with kids helping out with household chores. The other part of you doesn’t want to negotiate and argue every time you want your daughter to empty the dishwasher.

When we are in cognitive dissonance, any system we implement is doomed to fail.

Your kids will sense your lack of conviction, “forget” to do their chore or talk their way out it. The only way to get a chore chart to work is to decide and commit to it.

Before you declare anything out loud, you’ve got to be clear inside yourself.

Right now, when you think about asking your kids to do chores, how do you feel?

My guess is tired, annoyed, burdened, or some other negative emotion. These emotions cause moms to act inconsistently and sabotage their own chore charts.

The first step is to accept things you have no control over. It sounds like your daughter likes to argue and negotiate. This is just part of her personality, so we need to let that go. Kids don’t generally like doing chores, so let’s not pin our hopes on some magic chore chart that will make them eager workers.

The next step is to decide which of your competing values gets top priority.

What is more important to you?

1. To never argue and negotiate with your daughter

2. To distribute the chores to both kids equitably

3. To have your children contribute to household chores

Which one will you be more proud of in the long run?

If you choose #3, you need to commit to this.

Be proud of your choice. Decide that this is more important and that no matter how much push back you get, it’s for a good cause.

If you incorporate a chore chart, do it with joy and determination.

How you feel about your chore chart is more important than anything else.

Decide you are going to love it.

Decide that it doesn’t have to last forever.

Prepare yourself for arguing, but plan ahead of time to just smile and point at the chart.

You will be amazed at how much more energy you have when you aren’t arguing with yourself inside your head.

Supermom Kryptonite: Open Loops

One of the reasons motherhood drains so many of us, is we are never done.

The tasks are circular, and it’s hard to get a sense of accomplishment.

This makes it even more important that we close as many loops as we can.

Having open loops, or things in our head that we need to make decisions on, follow up on, and complete, is exhausting.

To free up your energy, ask yourself every day: “What is weighing on my mind?” or “What am I trying not to think about?”.

Whatever your answer is to these questions, find a way to close the loop on the issue.

If it’s kids and chores, make a decision and stick with it.

If it’s a conversation you’ve been avoiding, have it and resolve it.

The more decisions you make ahead of time, the more energy, creativity and mental clarity you will have.

Supermom Power Boost: Softening

This is counter-intuitive because we think tension gives us power, and it does in a way.

Think of a runner in the starting blocks of a race.

Their body is tense, and ready to explode into action. After the race they relax and their body softens.

The problem with Supermoms, is the race never ends.

This is not a healthy way to live; we need rest and relaxation time.

Since many Supermoms struggle with this, I’ve found a short cut called “softening”.

Think about something that causes you tension, find the tension in your body, and physically soften it.

Eventually we’ll need to get the brain on board, but this is a quick first step.

This will give you energy because it’s more aligned with how our bodies are designed: to spend lots of time in rest and relaxation.

Quote of the Day

“Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are.” Chinese Proverb

Would you like help with prioritizing your values and creating more rest and relaxation? Sign up for a free discovery call at www.lifecoachingforparents.com/work-with-me

 

 

How to set boundaries with kid’s screen time?

Episode #5 “How to set boundaries with kid’s screen time”

Today’s question: “The cell phone and video game use in my house are getting out of control. How can I set boundaries with my kids that they will actually follow? I’m ready to throw the damn phones out the window.” Maggie

What is a boundary? A lot of parents confuse setting boundaries with telling kids what to do.

Think of it like the property line of a house.

“My neighbors can do whatever they want. It’s not my business how they talk to their kids or yell at their dog. It becomes my business if their dog poops on my lawn.”

Setting boundaries is all about what to do when a boundary is violated.

“I get to decide if I want to offer a poop bag, yell at the dog, put up a sign, etc. My neighbor can let his dog poop on my lawn every day if he wants, he just needs to face the consequences. Maybe I’ll put his photo of him and his dog and post it around the neighborhood.”

The point is that setting boundaries is about deciding what to do, not telling someone else what to do.

Parent Education Answer: Setting boundaries around screen time is about defining what your limits are, and what you will do when they get violated.

Hating on the phone and wishing it would go away is not helpful. Instead, become really clear about what the rules are and make sure you can stick to them every time.

What can I stick to with 100% conviction? 

Phones downstairs charging at bed time

No phones at the dinner table.

Keep location permissions on.

Text Mom back right away.

No video games on school nights.

It’s very similar to your kid running into the street. The message we send our kids is, “I will stop you every time until you stop yourself.”

Mom is 100% predictable, confident, and convicted. It’s easy for you to enforce stopping your kid from running into the street, because it’s in line with your values, and because you aren’t also running into the street.

If you want to make sure your kids respect and obey your rules, don’t set them unless you have these 5 things in place:

Clarity – Make it clear and obvious; avoid vague words. 

Conviction – Every single time anyone brings their phones to dinner, they will be asked to put them away. 

Calm Confidence – Watch your voice tone, eye contact, and posture. Make sure your request is aligned with your values.

Consequences – Everyone should know what the consequences will be before the rule gets broken.

Continual Reinforcement – Make sure your rule applies to everyone in the family, every single time.

When you designate a house rule that everyone obeys, your job gets much easier. As kids approach adolescents they are going to push back on your rules, especially if they see you getting to do something they want to do! If Dad gets to play Xbox on a school night or Mom sleeps with her phone next to her bed, your child is going to argue for the same privilege.

Expect kids to violate our rules around screen time and have a plan in place on what YOU will do, WHEN they break the rule. Decide your consequences ahead of time…”If you violate this rule, I will….”

  • Give your phone to the neighbors for two days.
  • Hide the Xbox controllers for the weekend.
  • Stop paying your cell phone bill. 
  • Increase parental restrictions on phone.
  • Delete your snapchat app. 

Life Coaching Answer: The problem comes when parents think….

“I just want it to go away” “I don’t want to deal” “I’m afraid of his reaction” “She’s not going to listen anyway” “He should just know better” “I shouldn’t have to deal with this”

This self-defeating chatter will really get in the way of you setting boundaries with your kid’s screen time. Take out your journal, and write all the thoughts that come up for you when you think about setting limits. Notice how you feel and act when you think these thoughts. Make sure you aren’t trying to set boundaries from this negative energy. Ask yourself, “What would I need to think in order to set clear, consistent rules around screen time?” 

Thoughts like “I got this” or “This is important to me” can be very helpful.

Trying to controll your thoughts is always difficult. Schedule a free life coaching session at www.LifeCoachingforParents.com/work-with-me for help!

 

Supermom Kryptonite: Avoiding reality and putting our head in the sand can drain our energy. PRETENDING like something isn’t bothering you will wear you down. It’s a lot like clutter in your house. Just thinking about our clutter makes us feel heavy and tired. Thinking about getting rid of stuff, donating, or throwing it away, makes us feel lighter. There are invisible energy drains that weigh us down, even if we can’t see them. A good way to counter this is to ask yourself this question every morning in your journal: “Is there anything that’s weighing on my mind that I’m trying not to think about.”

 

Supermom Power Boost: Clarity. Know who you are and what you want. Know what your values and goals are. It makes decisions easier. It is energizing to know what you want and where you are headed.

 

Quote of the Day: “I allow myself to set healthy boundaries. To say no to what does not align with my values, to say yes to what does. Boundaries assist me in remaining healthy, honest and living a life that is true to me.” Lee Horbachewski

 

Want to ask Torie a question? go to www.lifecoachingforparents.com/record-my-question