In this episode, I discuss the realities of working from home with your kids all flippin’ day long! I share 3 lessons and some immediate actionable steps you can take to create smoother days. Enjoy!
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Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.
She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.
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My name’s Randi Rubenstein and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast where we believe when your thoughts grow the conversations in your home flow,
We’re listening to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast with Randi Rubenstein episode one 14. So today we’re going to cover three lessons from Unintentional Homeschooling while working at home. And if you’re listening to this in real time, I’m recording this during all things, pandemic, sheltering in place, quarantining, whatever it is that your referring to it as a, but during this crazy time, in 2020, where we have literally been sheltering in place, schools have been closed for the year prematurely, and many, many working parents have found themselves that they’re lucky enough not to be furloughed and actually still be Working working from home with kids in tow who many of which have online classes.
1 (1m 3s):
If you’re lucky or your having to figure out how to set a homeschool curriculum, when you never meant to be a Homeschooling parents, or maybe you have preschoolers at home and you’re you become a pre-school teacher. And so I have a mom who recently said my four year old out of control. My husband and I, we are working from home. We have a four and a six year old. We have basically, we’ve got our working hours from eight to five. We have meetings throughout the day. They can spring up at any time. Our six-year-old has some online classes and things.
1 (1m 45s):
And our four-year-old is just literally out of control. And he used to sleep through the night, but now he wakes up five or six times. This is super stressful and he refuses to play by himself. He’s driving a sister crazy. He’s out of control with her. He is constantly throwing himself around in aggressive ways. He’s doing the rest of the things to everyone. No matter if we’ve done some things with him outside here, and they’re, it’s just like, nothing is ever enough. And we can’t do this. We have to work. And I don’t know what to do with him. Plus the fact we’re exhausted.
1 (2m 25s):
We are up many times during the night, we have a hard time getting them down before nine 30 or 10 o’clock. And this is just not going to work. Like she was pissed. You guys, she was mad. And, and so, number one, I recognize that she was really over it over it. And I think many of us can relate, like when we’re in this time of stress and we weren’t expecting this life, threw us all a curve ball. We have to work for a living and we’re all just trying to figure it out. And so what do you, you do when you are like in the thick of it?
1 (3m 8s):
And you’ve got a four year old, who’s just totally, yeah. You gotta control and acting like a maniac fighting with your other children. I mean, and this could be for, this could be eight. This could be any age. I mean, if you’ve got a strong-willed kid, you know, even the easiest temperaments in times, like right now there not necessarily showing up is their best selves. And so if you have a strong little kid, no matter what their age is, it can feel like the hours of the day or week long. It’s exhausting. And then on top of it, when you’re not getting sleep at night, everyone in the family and you know, like, like everyone, yeah. The half a step away from getting furloughed. So if you’re not able to show up for the responsibilities or your job, maybe you’re feeling super stressed out there.
1 (3m 53s):
It’s just like, okay, what are we going to do here? How are we going to figure this out? So I wanted to give you guys three lessons that I think we can all learn from this time and from this mom situation and, and kind of some of my work, the bus for her. So as I just sort of validated, did you see how I just kind of, I just laid out the situation and I really wanted to lay it out in a way of, we get it. This is a flipping hard ass time for so many families. And so where we start with me on, what I like to say is, is, is we solve problems. That’s what we do at Mastermind Parenting.
1 (4m 32s):
And we love it. A framework to solve problems. We have a framework to figure every day, the thing out, and guess what? Life throws us curve balls a lot of times, but we don’t want to just be told, guess what? So what, life’s messy. You’re going to have to figure it out. It feels pretty insensitive, right? To say it like that and all that is going to happen top. And when we handle things like that, whether its to another parent, whether it’s our kids, when they’re going through a stressful time, it makes the other person feel defensive. So the first place we’re going to start with everything. The thing is empathy. And you know, in what I just did, the way I laid out that situation, you guys, that really is sort of stating the obvious, which is my favorite, one of my favorite tools, for sure.
1 (5m 13s):
More tactical, practical empathy. It’s just, just laying things out in a super obvious way, which I’m not giving any solutions. They’re I’m just sort of saying like I can, do you get it? Yes. I’ll sit in the mud right here with you. I’m not gonna argue that this isn’t a joke, stressful time. It is such a stressful time. And just by stating the obvious when somebody is in the lower centres of their brain, because there going through a stressful time just doing that can help the other person to start to move up in their brain and move into a place of everything is figureoutable for themselves. Because as humans, we are all designed to figure things out, right?
1 (5m 54s):
We are all designed to survive and our survival instincts kick in for a reason. So we’re resilient, we’re naturally resilient creatures. And when we show up for other humans from this place and I’d get it, this is hard. Yeah. That makes sense to me too. <inaudible> all it does is helped. The other person have those survival instincts of figuring things out and not staying stuck in the mud. It helps that person have those instincts kick in. So the first thing is, is that we got to show up for each other with empathy and we have to show up with empathy for ourselves.
1 (6m 35s):
So for this mom, my first lesson for her would be, you have to give yourself some grace, if that means a good cry, if that means refusing to feel guilty because you yelled 27 times today and, and, and knowing that you didn’t show up the way you necessarily wanted to show up, it wasn’t it wasn’t according to your master plan as being the best mom ever ’cause it was a super stressful day that’s okay. And, and give yourself some grace that you’re in a hard time, Andrew human and today’s sucked and, and getting mired down and guilt and all of the things you did and said wrong.
1 (7m 17s):
It doesn’t mean you’re not going to own it. It doesn’t mean that you’re not going to face. It just means that your not going to beat yourself up any further about it. And when you get yourself some grace, then you can get to a place of, okay, how am I going to do it differently? Tomorrow, today was messy and we were exhausted. And of course I yelled and did things that are not proud of. And I’m worried, I’m worried about my job. I am not feeling like I’m feeling the days, the way I want to. I’m worried about lots of things. I want my kids to be happy. I don’t want them to be fighting. I don’t want them to seem as a control. And so it was a hard day and we’re going to have hard days and we’re going to do something one little thing tomorrow.
1 (7m 58s):
That’s gonna feel better. And I deserve to get a good nights sleep. And it’s gonna help me to show up as a more patient version of myself tomorrow. And, and, and, and what is one thing I’m going to do differently tomorrow? Okay. Tonight, I’m going to get a good night’s sleep. I’m going to listen to something. I’m going to take a bath. I’m going to listen to something relaxing that puts me asleep in a good head space. And I’m going to take the melatonin to get my thoughts, to stop swirling. I’m going to read something. I’m not going to be on social media. And then I’m going to wake up. I’m going to set my alarm for 30 minutes earlier tomorrow. So I have a minute to get up and get myself together and maybe even listen to something calming and relaxing and meditative to start my day off in the right foot, or I’m going to get up.
1 (8m 38s):
And I’m going to do 30 minutes of gentle yoga stretches so that I can start my day off and feel like I gave, I did something healthy for my body, right? So like ending the day in a way that feels nurturing and, and keeping a promise to yourself the next day to start the day off on the right foot. That is something you guys. Okay. And that’s what comes from giving yourself grace and empathy. So let’s start there with some grace and some empathy. Okay. When I started questioning this mom, okay. Well, tell me about your day. What is how’s the day structured and the mom’s like, yeah, I’ve never been so good with consistency, your plans for the structure. And I say, well, what does a day look like me? And she’s like, well, it just depends on the day.
1 (9m 20s):
And I said, okay, kids need structure. So lesson number two, his kids thrive with structure. We have to plan out our day. We have to show up as the pack leaders who have a plan to have a daily routine like this mom had no plan, no daily routine, nothing in place. There was no structure. And there’s a reason. If you go into any teacher’s classroom, she’s going to have the schedule of the day on a visual, posted up in a classroom. And I know we didn’t sign up to be teachers. And here we are with our kids during the day, and you need to learn things needing to have a life of needing, to have a day.
1 (10m 2s):
And kids really do thrive with the instructor. And I can speak to, you know, from my point of view, I am a rebel tendency I re and I’ve done a ton of the assessments. I resist structure and systems, and it is not a strength for me. So if I can do it, you guys can do it too. And it doesn’t mean it has to be super rigid or a super cookie cutter. But if you think about how your kids, like for this four year old, how his, his day is typically structured, you know, at preschool from nine to 12, you know, there’s play time. Okay. You know, there’s outside play time, you know, there’s indoor playtime, you know, their centers set up, maybe there’s the block center.
1 (10m 43s):
Maybe there’s the art center. Maybe there’s the LIGO center. You know, there was a snack involved, you know, that they’re might be some music. These are all things that we can put in place and have a structured. And during those quiet times, especially when we start the day off in a connected way, and we’ve got to get up, we got to get to the people at breakfast and the people we’ve got to get dressed and we go outside and we know we’re going to have 45 minutes of outside play. We’re going to go outside for forty-five minutes and have some outside play. And you may be able to put in an earbud during some of that time, if you’re kids are playing and things that are going well and catch up on some work calls, you may be able to do a little bit of multi-tasking, but get them outside.
1 (11m 31s):
So that’s a way that’s that puts some structure in place. It doesn’t mean you have to be the preschool teacher, you know, taking them from center to center, necessarily sitting there with them, interacting with them. If you structure it, where your sprinkling in time, together, and time to play alone, time together, and time to play alone. You you’ll realize that your able to accomplish a whole lot more. And it may turn out that quiet Lego time or quiet art time. You guys are starting to work together more as a team where you say, Hey, listen, I’ve got a work call from this time to this time. So let’s play and have some fun right now. And then during my work call, I’m going to go into my office and take it.
1 (12m 11s):
It needs to be super quiet. And you can do this. You, if you’d like to color and do some artwork, you can promise me that your lips won’t be moving and you can come and do that. Maybe you want to have some where my AirPods and listen to some fun music while you do your art in mommy’s office. How does that sound? And so you guys are going to work together. Okay? So you see it. It’s like you have to set realistic expectations. And what I said to this man was employers know, have your work in Vermont, come from eight to five and you got kids home, all employers know right now, it’s a crazy time, especially for Parents. So they understand that. I mean, I’ve seen a million different, funny names about zoom calls and kids in the background and, and different things like that.
1 (12m 56s):
But when you bring that calm, centered leadership energy, and you’re having realistic expectations where your spending some quality time, and then you’re allowing them to be a fly on the wall of your life and be quiet and your team. And you’re also spending the time really practicing the skill-building practicing, okay. Let’s practice, or if mommy’s on a work call. So let’s pretend you’re doing your art in here. What are some things you could do in here? While mom’s on a work called wear your lips. Aren’t moving. She would pick out the, of your favorite music. We have your little playlist set up so that when you want to listen to the music, if you want to be in here with mommy, as long as you’re quiet and mommy is on the work call, you could totally be in here with me to be so fun to, for me to get to look over. I don’t normally get to do that at work. I can look over and see your cute little face. Let’s do that.
1 (13m 36s):
Okay? So you’re going to really bring realistic expectations and have some structure in your day, have some structure in their day, post it on a visual and put it up so that you, even if you have a little four year old, isn’t reading and doesn’t know time, and you can have some little visual that you can say, Oh, we’re having snack. What comes next? Look at the, and look at the schedule, show me what comes next and really proactively spending your time skill building. Now what’s typically been happening a lot of households. As we resist doing this, we resist showing up as these assertive pack leaders. And so as a result of that, they just happened to us. So the day creates us. We’re behind the eight ball. There’s a lot of chaos versus us taking the time to be effective leaders and to create our day.
1 (14m 20s):
And what I tell all the parents that I work with. I said, you guys have the skillsets. I mean, I haven’t to attract Parents that usually are in some higher level management or authoritative position at work and they’re running teams, or there are a part of a team that are leading other people. A lot of times they have, you know, jobs where their doctors or lawyers or business owners. And I said, you guys have the skillsets. It’s not like this is brand new for you. You know, you’re not an hourly employee. Who’s just a task master being told, this is what you’re working on today. You are part of creating those structures. So let’s just bring that skill set. Home right. We’re gonna bring that skill set home and do all the things that you already know how to do and show up as your badass self here, because we got this.
1 (15m 6s):
Okay. So lesson one, empathy, empathy starts for yourself. Listen to structure. We got to have some structure. We got to bring our PAC leadership to the table. In lesson three is pack leaders focus on the plan. We focus on the skill building and the empowering okay. Of our little humans. And how do we empower the little humans? Well, my favorite hacks is we empower with two positive choices. Okay. We empower with two positive choices as much as possible, especially when we’re skill-building because Choice’s the opposite of control. Control always leads to rebellion.
1 (15m 46s):
So if we’re telling them, don’t do that, stop doing that, you know, the rules, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So it’s just controlling and it’s just going to cause resistance and rebellion. It just does. And if it, if you have a, a, a super easy kid, one of your kid’s or two of your kids are super easy and they’re like, you’re like, no. And I tell them what to do. They do it. Guess what? Wait til these kids are teenagers control, always lead to rebellion. So there going to rebel their, just not doing it as little kids there, going to wait and give it to you a big time when it become teenagers. And it’s going to probably be pretty scary. The strong-willed ones there going to rebel. Now the rebel from the get go. So when we offer empowering choices, like two positive choices, we don’t care if it’s the red ball or the blue bowl, we don’t care if they’d push the button to push the button.
1 (16m 29s):
And when we do it proactively, and we do it a lot, especially during this skill building phase. So we’re not focused on putting out all the fires that are happening because we didn’t show up as the pack leaders with plans and structure and, and communicating with empathy. And also having a firm assertive, direct voice. If we didn’t do all those things, then we’re behind the eight ball. And now it’s all just happening to us. But if you take your time and we do those things, now we can also proactively empower them with choice and they get to feel like they’re part of the solution. And they get to feel really good about themselves. This is also a huge confidence builder for our kids. So you want to sprinkle in a little bit of fun.
1 (17m 12s):
Once they’re making those choices, once they are making those choices, whatever it is, and you have a little tiny bit of fun, you might be a cute, you know, saying or all of a sudden, one of my mom’s recorded a, a, an audio of her in the moment with her son who was six. And they were going through a lot of, of chaos in the morning, or he wasn’t doing the stuff that he needed to do to get ready for the day in the morning. Plus it was making a whole bunch of noise. She, and he was waking up other people in the household before they were ready to be woken up. And it was just, it was just a lot of stress. And so she started to, she said, you know what? I got to empower which weight. And I’ve got to show him exactly what’s expected.
1 (17m 52s):
And I need to focus my energy on, on helping him be successful in the morning, beat independent in the morning. I do all the things he needs to do in the morning. So she recorded a little, two minute video that I think will be really helpful for you guys to listen. What does it sound like when you’re doing all of these things in the moment in real time? And I want you all to remember, she gives this choice or that choice, this choice, or that choice and this choice or that choice. And it sounds like a lot. Okay. And you all might go, Oh my gosh, who has time for all that kid? Just do the things you’re supposed to do. And I want you to remember it’s two minutes. That’s all, she took two minutes to proactively skill build with him and set him up for success.
1 (18m 34s):
And then at the very end, she sprinkles in a little bit of fun and they have a good time. And now he has a positive association with doing the things that he needs to do, and he gets to feel super successful. So Enjoy this, this little audio from a mom in the trenches who was putting these things in the practice. She is showing up as a pack leader. She has some structure built in she’s using assertive, positive choices. And she had to have had empathy, you know, and the way that she communicated, she had to let him know she gets it. She gets that. He’s excited about that day. She had let herself field some grace for all of the mornings when it didn’t go well.
1 (19m 18s):
And now she’s been able to show some empathy and some grace for herself, and now attack the situation in a way that is going to be as effective. So remember, lesson one is all about empathy. Lesson two is all about structure. Lesson three is all about pack leadership. Enjoy first of all, you didn’t. I wasn’t sure you want one or two. You said two. Okay. That’s what I thought. Okay. Did you want to put to the 13 minutes on the microwave or me? You can reach it right there. The timer, there you go to 1.1, three, what’s happening.
1 (20m 1s):
<inaudible> so close. What’s happening on the timer goes off looking at me. What’s happening. Ben, I’m making my, your I’m making your waffles and your doing what? You’re tasks. Do you want a blast off or me one time? But it goes on it. When the timer goes off, do you want to be the one that lasts off or did you want me to do it? Make it through you have 13 minutes and what’s happening in those 13 minutes? No, during it. So I’m doing like, you’re doing your task and where would you find, like, if you forget what you’re supposed to be doing, what will you go? Yup. In the corner. What happened to your clothes? Aren’t there? What do you do in school? No, no, no.
1 (20m 41s):
You don’t ask mommy to go get it. You just go get it with a quiet feet because there’s other people sleeping, quiet feet, walking feet upstairs. Who’s blasting off for you or me loud. So I can hear you. You know me from 10 or from five, you can get your lights ready to get your hands ready. And I’m going to make two apples. Do you want honey or syrup? Both. No, it’s too much sugar. Let and waffle. It’s like, Oh, I could do that. That works knuckles on and get your knuckles in from five or 10, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three.
1 (21m 21s):
Get your feet. But it gave me a little bounce. Scale it down to one.
0 (21m 28s):
Are you ready to start having PRODUCTIVE conversations? If you’ve been listening to the podcast for a while and you hear me go through my three step PRODUCTIVE conversation process to solve any problem and your thinking, how does she do that? Guess what? I made a really cool resource for you guys. I call it the problem solving one sheet. Okay. It’s one sheet front and back. So, you know, take it with a grain of salt, but it will walk you through how to have productive conversations and you’ll practice. And before you know, it you’ll be having productive conversations all day, every day. It really is the solution to solve any problem. So you can download it at Mastermind Parenting dot com forward slash problem-solving all one word that’s Mastermind Parenting dot com forward slash problem solving all one word.