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Episode 13: What to do When Parenthood is HARD


[00:00:00] The journey of parenthood is difficult, to say the least. When you have a baby, that baby is crying and you have no idea why this baby is crying. And you just keep thinking to yourself like, it is going to be so much easier when this baby can talk and tell me what is wrong so I can stop guessing. I checked your diaper. I fed you. I burped you. I've done all these things and you're still crying. And I don't know why.

[00:00:37] You just think, it's going to be so much easier when you're older and you can tell me what's wrong. And then that's true! As they get older, they can tell you what's wrong, and that is super helpful. But then you're faced with other problems. They have their own personality, they have their own opinions, and you don't know how to make them do what you want them to do. And they cry and they have tantrums. And you know why, but you still can't fix it. Every stage of parenthood has something that's really difficult about it and forces us to take a good, hard look at ourselves and pivot and figure out, OK, that didn't work, what's the next step? And when you're faced with something that causes extra difficulties, you think to yourself, like, okay, I was barely figuring out what to do already. And now you're throwing a divorce at it. Now you're throwing a pandemic at it. Now you're throwing a cancer diagnosis or school bullying or something that's making things even more difficult, like, okay, now what?

[00:02:02] I'm thinking today about my journey through parenthood and how, you know, basically everything that Mighty + Bright is I have created to solve some problem that my daughter was facing. And then once I was able to figure out a way to help with that problem, I thought, well, other people can probably benefit from this also, which is how I ended up with new products for Mighty + Bright. You know, we've faced so many different difficult things that it has turned into something bigger than I ever would have thought it would be. But the base of it, the whole point of it has been to try and help my own child. And it sucks because it's like, you know, life is hard enough. And then we've just had to deal with so many other things that have compounded how difficult I think life already is. And at times that can be really depressing and really difficult. And I have had to take a good, hard look at my own coping skills because if

[00:03:24] I don't take care of myself, I cannot help her, and no matter how much I attempt to create tools, if I'm having emotional meltdowns I'm not going to be of service to her. This is part of the reason why I have such a focus on taking care of myself . . . So that when this stuff happens — because it is inevitable — I have skills that I can fall back on. And that's why I have been sharing some of these tools with you. It's because I understand how difficult parenting is, because it's hard for all of us. And I want you to be able to care for yourselves, too.

[00:04:14] So I just kind of wanted to spend today's episode giving you a bit of validation that this is hard. And that there's nothing that I am going to say, nothing that anyone can say, that is going to make it easy, because nothing that is worth doing is easy. This life is not easy. And that is why I think it's so imperative that we don't make it harder and we really try to simplify things as much as possible, because the older we get, the older our kids get, the more things happen in this world. . .the more difficult things just happen. And we don't need the complications that we create on top of all of it.

[00:05:09] I can say from personal experience that there have been plenty of times where I have way over-complicated things because I thought I was helping, and I really wasn't. One of the main things I did was I looked too far into the future and tried to solve all of the problems at once. That is the number one thing that led to overwhelm. And I remember sitting in my bedroom right after my divorce, and I had set up this little alter. I had a really peaceful looking Buddha and all these rocks and, you know, things that reminded me of peace so that I had a place where I could sit and think about being peaceful. And I remember sitting there feeling the exact opposite of peaceful. I remember sitting there just feeling like I was being crushed by all of the overwhelm of dealing with the divorce and dealing with trying to make my anxious child feel better and feeling totally hopeless and helpless and not knowing what to do.

[00:06:37] And all of these things that I was worrying about were just like, if you imagine them as as trees, it was like I had planted an entire forest of trees — of worries. And I was just sitting there looking at my altar, just feeling so overwhelmed. I knew that the bird's eye view of the forest that I had planted was probably not that complicated, but I felt like this little tiny bug in the middle of the forest and had no perspective at all of how to get myself out of there.

[00:07:22] My message to you today is this: just try to do the one next thing that is going to help and just try to live right now. I ralize that's a message you get a lot through mindfulness. And that's not what I'm talking about. I'm not talking about living in this moment. I'm not talking about trying to be aware of, you know, where you're sitting and the fact that you can breathe and what it smells like, although that can be helpful, too. I'm talking about like, okay, you've got a kid that is being bullied in school or you've got a cancer diagnosis or you've got a divorce and your ex is a real problem for you. I'm just talking about trying not to think about all of the bad places this situation can go and instead just trying to think about what the one right thing to do is right now. The one next right step, because ALL paths are one step after another.

[00:08:32] Eventually you will get out of the forest. You eventually will get out of it. But if you are just focusing on how to get out of it and all of the different possibilities of what could go wrong or all the different paths that you can take, it has a tendency to make you feel frozen and unable to move forward.

[00:08:58] And really, all you need is movement in a direction. If you trust your gut, if you trust your instincts to move you in the one next right direction, it is way less overwhelming. And it is a movement in the right direction. And that is, I would say, the number one parenting tip that I have in the middle of all of these hard things. I know how overwhelming it can feel. I know that it feels like the end of the world and like there are so many things going wrong at once and it can feel like it's crushing you. AND all you can do is the next right thing. When you do that next right thing, there's a next right thing after that. If you can try to stay focused on right now, Future You can handle future problems. You do not need to figure out how you are going to handle what is going to happen five years out from this issue and your kid is having a whole host of other problems. Future You deals with that, not Current You, Future You.

[00:10:17] So just try to focus on what to do right this minute, what the next step is, and that will lead you to Future You who can handle that other stuff.

[00:10:29] This is a reminder for you, for me, for everybody who is dealing with something really hard with their kids . . . that we can get through it one step at a time.