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258: But Really… Better Boundaries Aren’t Enough

Masterminder Shawn recently opened up about a common struggle for parents of highly-sensitive kids. Her son’s birthday weekend with extended family left him overstimulated and dysregulated, and her frustrated by crossed boundaries and judgy relatives. Shawn’s takeaways were important. She’s trying to better understand her triggers, and to be more clear about her boundaries and expectations with other adults.

But really, Shawn (and every parent in America) is the subject of a failed experiment in family structure. For most of human history, raising kids was a communal activity. We’ve put all that responsibility on individual parents, and put them in charge of figuring out how to manage the stress. Join us for a candid conversation about the expectations we’re all struggling with, and how we can start to share the load again.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  1. Why we all need to stop performative parenting and be real about how hard it can be.
  2. How to balance compassion for the mistakes our parents made with the desire to do better for our own kids.
  3. How cathartic it can be to have honest conversations with your kids about your parenting missteps.

And much more! 

As always, thanks for listening. Head over to Facebook, where you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community. We post tips and tools and do pop-up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!


About Randi Rubenstein

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.

At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.

Randi’s Web and Social Links

Links & Resources

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[00:00:00] Randi Rubenstein: it’s almost like I feel like the human condition is to fuck things up and then to repair. Because the connection that comes from the repair feels stronger than if we were to have gotten it all perfectly. 

[00:00:16] Shawn: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I mean, I think, what’s that quote? Like, we’re wounded in community, healed in community. Um, because we try to like heal on our own. I mean, you’ve done that. And I’ve done it. Like, I’m gonna heal by reading all the books. It’s like, yeah, this doesn’t work. I mean, it works to a point, it gets you somewhere. But, yeah. 

[00:00:35] Randi Rubenstein: Well it works to let you know, like, what you want to do. But the integration piece is more nuanced and I think it only happens in community having these types of conversations.

[00:00:50] My name is Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast. At Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong-willed kids and the families that love them. 

[00:01:00] I’m here with Shawn. Hi, Shawn.

[00:01:04] Shawn: Hello. 

[00:01:05] Randi Rubenstein: Shawn is a masterminder. I’ve had her on the podcast before, and this is a series that I’m calling the, But Really… series. 

[00:01:18] Shawn: I like it.

[00:01:18] Randi Rubenstein: I just came up with this, But Really dot, dot, dot. So it’s like, we think there’s an issue, but then when we dig in, we’re like, but really this is what this issue is about. 

[00:01:32] I kept thinking about when I was coaching you and you were coming on and venting about like the birthday part, Claire’s birthday party and um, like the older generation, your aunt, your dad, older generation sort of like judgment and just being in the way.

[00:01:54] It’s like you’re the mom with the little kids and you’re like trying to throw a birthday party and a birthday weekend, but really you end up focusing so much bandwidth on entertaining this older generation. And I kind of wanted to just talk about that and unpack it and find out what the But Really… is all about. 

[00:02:17] Shawn: Um, yeah, it was an eye opening party. Yeah, because it wasn’t, it was about me being annoyed that I was, like, resenting the fact that I was so worried about everyone else. And I think I told you, I’m not like one of those good hosts, but like, emotionally, I’m pretty good at reading the room and trying to at least feeling obligated whether or not I do something with someone else’s emotion is another thing, but… I mean, a lot of it is just playing out this interpersonal pattern for me that is trying to, like, get adults to show up for me the way I wanted them to show up for, as a child. Right? And so It doesn’t work and it makes you feel

[00:03:05] Randi Rubenstein: Well, let’s,

[00:03:06] Shawn: really ineffective and, yeah. 

[00:03:09] Randi Rubenstein: If you had to say like, what were the three most annoying or triggering things about the weekend when it comes to that older generation, what would they be? One to three, one to three, super annoying, triggering… 

[00:03:25] Shawn: Um, first one is definitely like I expect other people to read the room and make adjustments, as opposed… like I felt like yeah, there was a lot of like. I want to do this I want to, I want to be at your house all weekend. I want to go to breakfast the next day and yeah, just me being like, can’t you tell that I don’t actually want to do this, and that I just feel obligated? Like versus me having because I didn’t set a boundary. Right? 

[00:03:56] So just me expecting people to do what I do, which is read the room and adjust yourself, versus me having to say explicitly, this is what would be helpful to me, or I don’t want to go out to breakfast on Sunday, it’s been a long weekend, or I don’t need anyone to be there during the time when Will’s supposed to nap because he’s too excited and then he won’t nap and he’ll be a mess at the party. So that was number one. 

[00:04:20] That’s sort of the, the main theme that I think of. Which is like, just do what I, and I realize this about myself through, I suppose, a lot through Mastermind. Of like, just do it. It’s not that hard. I do it. Like, expecting people to do that, and honestly, not even realizing until you and some other people said, like, that I could send a set a boundary around that. So not even knowing it was an option. So that was kind of just interesting. I was like, wait, I don’t have to just like, let people come when they want to come.

[00:04:54] Randi Rubenstein: Hmm. Mm 

[00:04:56] Shawn: So. That’s number one.

[00:04:58] Randi Rubenstein: So feeling annoyed that, like, you have to explicitly set those boundaries, like, my priority this weekend is not entertaining the older generation on my kid’s birthday weekend. Like I don’t want to, you know, I’m not throwing a wedding weekend where we’re going to have like a rehearsal dinner and then activities in between events and then end it, end the weekend, wrap it up with a brunch. Like that is not what this weekend is about.

[00:05:31] If you want to come when it’s your grandchild or your grand niece’s birthday, then come and read the room and be that wise older generation that’s actually being helpful, right? And, and a part of the celebration, but instead you’re just making more work for me. And this is incredibly frustrating. 

[00:05:54] Shawn: Yeah, yeah, and I may think and having a lot of guilt even saying that because in some ways there’s a little bit of helpfulness but it’s not necessarily what I want, like people helping in the way that they want to help which is bringing a cake which was nice, but like I would prefer someone show up and just like be someone I could like connect with. Um, if that makes sense. 

[00:06:19] Like, I, like I said, I even feel guilty talking about it a little bit. Cause I’m like, well, they are helpful, but not in the way that I actually wanted. Not in the way that actually allows me to show up for my kids in the way that I would want to.

[00:06:34] Randi Rubenstein: What would connecting look like? What would it, what would the helpfulness look like? Like, can you give an example? 

[00:06:41] Shawn: I mean, I think just like being there and asking how I’m doing or just, I don’t know, asking questions versus making assumptions, right, of like, or just making random comments, but that tends to be the thing, like, hey, your house is a mess or like, hey, it’s not poorly intentioned. It’s actually not. 

[00:07:03] It sounds like there’s judgment, but it’s really not. It’s just lack of awareness, of like, oh, hey, doesn’t appear that Will’s taking a nap. I’m like, no, he is not. He’s screaming And instead of just commenting on the facts, just saying like, yeah. Being there for me. And again, it’s that, like, that desire in me to have what I didn’t really feel like I got from the older generation in my life. 

[00:07:32] Randi Rubenstein: So interesting because like everyone’s different. Like for me, if there’s people around when I’m hosting an event who ask me questions, it’s super annoying to me. Like, hey, I just want to check in with you. I’d be like, huh? Like that’s extra input. I, now my job is to fill you in on how I’m doing.

[00:07:57] And Scott said this recently to his mom, his mom thought I was annoyed with her about something, and I wasn’t annoyed with her about anything. And so she was like, is Randi annoyed with me about something?

[00:08:12] And Scott’s like, no, Randi’s not annoyed with you. Not that I know of. He’s like, but you know, let me tell you something about Randi. He said, when she’s hosting these things, she’s never going to say, um, hey, can you do this? And can you do that? She’ll just, you know, he kind of pointed out my, lone wolf pattern, right? Like my adaptive pattern, which is, I can’t count on anyone. I’ll just do it all myself. 

[00:08:39] So he goes, she’s never going to ask you what to do. But when you just do something, when you just notice something that needs to be done and you just do it, she’s super appreciative. And, um, but when she’s like in the middle of doing things, if you like, ask her what needs to be done, that annoys her. 

[00:09:04] And I was like, that’s so true. You know, that’s so true. It does, it overwhelms me. It’s like my mom used to show up when I was throwing a holiday and like she’d show up 10 minutes before and then she’d be like, what can I do? And I’m like nothing right now. Like I’m doing the last final things, and now you’re asking me to give you a job so that you can feel useful. And like, that’s so fucking annoying to me. Um, right. So everyone’s different because we all, we all have our triggers. So 

[00:09:35] Shawn: Well, 

[00:09:35] Randi Rubenstein: for you,

[00:09:35] Shawn: Well we all have our own patterns of what needs we didn’t have met. Like, my parents were really good at meeting my physical needs, like, and they were very consistent, right? My dad’s quite good at, in almost too much, like, he’s like, constantly doing the dishes constantly, like, which is great, but it’s like, I want you to show up differently, right? 

[00:09:56] Randi Rubenstein: That’s interesting. So meeting your physical needs, he’s like, let me go get the cake. Right? So there’s something very tangible. Like, let me pick up the cake and, and, and do that or handle the cake for you. Right? And so there’s something very tangible. Let me do the dishes. There’s something very tangible. 

[00:10:14] But would you appreciate if it was more like I, I teach this concept of, um, being a gracious guest, you know, those, like when you’re hosting an event and you have those guests that show up or those friends that you just know they’re going to like help everything go more smoothly because they’re, you don’t have to entertain them and they’re always going to be, you know, finding someone to talk to, reading the room, looking at someone who seems like they’re not having a good time or feeling kind of, you know, isolated and they go over and they’re just like this gracious guest where they help sort of host in that they entertain other guests and you constantly see them like making other people have an even more enjoyable time. 

[00:11:03] So would it be like your aunt or your dad is like, you know, playing with the kid or going and talking with someone else or getting someone a drink? Like what would it be? 

[00:11:16] Shawn: I mean, that would be neutral, I guess? Like, it wouldn’t annoy me. Like, I mean, that’d be good. But, I set up these gatherings so they’re very low stress, very low maintenance. We’re talking, like, pizza and I, you know, buy a cake, right? So like I’m not really doing that. I’m not like stressed, right? So it’s not like I need that much. It’s just extra. 

[00:11:38] It’s more not during the party, it’s it’s before and after that. It’s like that’s when I feel like whether they’re just around and it’d be different. Like, I always want connection, right? Like, I want real, authentic, honest conversations. And when I feel like I can’t have that, and you’re just around, then I feel like I can’t fully be myself, if that makes sense. 

[00:12:00] Randi Rubenstein: So you don’t necessarily want them to scatter. You’d prefer if they were there and they were just, were like, you know, how are you doing? Is this like asking, checking in with you, having meatier conversations.

[00:12:14] Shawn: Yeah, like if it was like a, you know, a lot of the friends in my life, like if they were acting like the people I chose, like if I had… I, I’m definitely someone who likes having friends stay at my house. Like as long as they’re okay with me not being a very quote unquote good host, because I’m not, I’m just not, that’s not really me.

[00:12:35] Like I’ll maybe get like one thing that they like, make sure that they have like their cream or something, but mostly like you’re kind of on your own. But if you can fend for yourself and make it work and be flexible and get your own takeout. Like, I don’t mind having people in my space, which I know if it’s a friend that I’m going to have, like connecting conversations with,

[00:12:55] Randi Rubenstein: Mm Mm hmm.

[00:12:55] Shawn: if that makes sense.

[00:12:56] Randi Rubenstein: Mm hmm. So what would it look like? So let’s just like, in a perfect world. Like, and so, well, I guess first keep breaking down the things that annoyed you. And then I want to hear you like, just, you know, if we were like, poof, here’s some magical fairy dust and let’s now have it play out the way it would in a perfect world. So, so give me the rest of the annoyances. 

[00:13:22] Shawn: Well, another main annoyance was like, one of the guests shaming my son. He like, threw a pillow at someone and almost knocked a cup out of their hand and we were like, oh, we don’t throw pillows. Like we said something, we’re not going to make it a big deal though. He was just excited. There’s all these people here. 

[00:13:40] And, and then someone else decided that they wanted to put their two cents in. And this is not a relative of mine. This is a guest of one of my relatives. So, it was like, you can’t do that. That’s not okay. Like actively shaming, so that was definitely, we got to put that top of the list.

[00:14:00] I was very mad. And we took him to another room and it’s like, you are not bad. Cause he already has that like shame trigger that we’re actively working on. So I’m like, thanks, thank you for activating that. I mean, yes, you shouldn’t be throwing pillows. We got to, you know. But you were just excited. 

[00:14:21] Randi Rubenstein: hmm. Mm hmm. Mm hmm. Mm 

[00:14:22] Shawn: That’s got to go high up there. I was annoyed. And ironically, at the end of the party, he was incredibly tired, my son. And, um, like we got him into the bath and the person who had brought that particular guest who shamed Will got… Will screamed in their face, like just screamed. Which I feel like it’s his way of being like, don’t bring mean people into my house. And I didn’t apologize. I was just like, yeah, he’s tired because didn’t get a nap. So.

[00:14:59] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. Yeah. Anything else? 

[00:15:03] Shawn: I’m trying to remember what else.

[00:15:05] Randi Rubenstein: Well, the aunt comment, 

[00:15:07] Shawn: I forgot what she said. I literally like blocked this out.

[00:15:10] Randi Rubenstein: I know that’s why you have me elephant memory to remind you. Um, so remember when your aunt like, she like didn’t leave and it was like after this whole long weekend and then you I think it was maybe the brunch or or I don’t remember when but she like was like well, if you would have brought some snacks or she like started giving you parenting advice.

[00:15:34] Shawn: Yeah, yeah. It was if, oh, because I was, I was sort of preemptively setting a boundary and I was like, yeah, it was fun. A little too much fun. Maybe we’ll have to have a little bit less fun next time. Ha ha. Like planting this seed that it was a little much for the kids. They were overstimulated. It didn’t go great. 

[00:15:52] Um, and yeah, she said, oh, I was, I was thinking afterwards I should have suggested it was pretty long between lunch and dinner. They hadn’t snack, had a snack. So I wish I would have helped by suggesting and it’s truly not a judgmental thing like at all. And I know that I’m not actually being judged.

[00:16:09] Of course, I was quite mad because it’s, it’s really like this desire to be helpful. Like, I had an idea and I didn’t share it with you and it could have prevented these problems, which is very dismissive of my own parenting wisdom for my kids, right? Like, but it’s not intended that way. But yeah, oh, yeah I went into like a little bit of a rage because I had let my boundaries be crossed over and over and then that happened and I had nothing left.

[00:16:39] Like I was so spent from the entire weekend, and… I just posted in our Voxer recently how I’m really rethinking thinking of myself as actually quite a highly sensitive person. Like, I was, I answered the questions differently when I first took it last year, because I was like, no, I’m not, I don’t avoid anything really, like, I don’t, if I’m anxious, I don’t tend to avoid. Some people when they’re anxious, they avoid stuff, but I just push through and just do it. And that’s what I do at these weekends, I’m like, oh, just, you have to. I’m like, oh, maybe I don’t. Um, and it’s very interesting.

[00:17:18] Randi Rubenstein: I’ve been having the exact same thought recently. I’ve always said I’m not highly sensitive, I’m not highly sensitive, but then I was like, I think I’m a highly sensitive wannabe because I’m learning so much from the highly sensitive people in my life and now all of a sudden I’m realizing, you know, I only saw… 

[00:17:39] It’s just so interesting when we unlock the next level of the like, growth video game, right? It’s like, I didn’t even see that gaslighting had been such a part of my conditioning. Like, except for maybe starting like two years ago? Like that is a big pattern and, or having a narcissistic parent, like that was something that was totally in my blind spot.

[00:18:06] And so now realizing that there was so much gaslighting and I, one of the messages that I received that was just like, like, I think just like bred into me and I just couldn’t even see it was women are supposed to never be an inconvenience. Okay? So if you have a lot of feelings, or if you’re sensitive in any way, or if you bring any kind of drama, it’s super inconvenient for the narcissistic male, right? And so like very kind of like Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump, you know? And so I think my armor was, I’m a no drama mama. Like I’m not ever, like I got it. I got it. I got it. I got it. 

[00:18:57] And so being highly sensitive would be very inconvenient. It would involve a lot of feelings. And so I think my armor was yeah, I don’t have a lot of feelings. And so I’m realizing, yeah, wait, there’s lots of times, like I do take it all in and I, you know, I think I’ve pushed that anxiety down for so long and now I’m feeling safe to finally be sensitive.

[00:19:31] And I mean, it was only when Corey turned 16 that I was like, what is this feeling in my stomach? What is this feeling in my stomach? And then I was like, oh, it’s anxiety. Like I don’t even think it was safe for me to feel my own anxiety. So now that it’s finally feeling safe, it’s almost like I kicked the anthill.

[00:19:51] And I’m like, holy shit, what is all this stuff? I’ve been talking about all this stuff. I talk, could talk about it, how it, how it applied to other people or other family members. But now I’m realizing, I think this is me and I think it wasn’t safe to admit even to myself that I was highly sensitive, which that, that’s kind of blowing my mind as well.

[00:20:16] Shawn: Yeah, it’s so interesting that that’s your process too, because, yeah, I mean you and I have that in common somewhat, that we’ve, I mean you’ve been working on very, like what did Scott say? You’re just you work on your mental health more than anyone he knows or something. And I I think I’m kind of similar like, I have been working on it actively for quite a long time and, 

[00:20:38] Randi Rubenstein: I would say becoming a psychologist, right? Like…

[00:20:42] Shawn: Well, and I think I’ve, my insight lately is like, I think I chose this career so I could justify working on myself this much because I think I felt like then I’m allowed to invest in myself in all these ways because it’s learning. And that’s like the safest way for me to do it because it feels like it’s okay because it’s for this other purpose, right? 

[00:21:03] Randi Rubenstein: Um, okay, so back to our judgment, older generation, um, all that conversation. So if we look at what the issue is, so the older generation is not showing up in a way that actually feels helpful and unfortunately sort of making the weekend more stressful, instead of less stressful. What was the main issue and what was the learning and what will you do differently if you had to kind of identify it? 

[00:21:39] Shawn: I think the main issue is I can’t expect people to be mind readers for me. Like I can’t expect people to show up in the way that I’ve learned to show up for other people of exactly anticipating and trying to like make them comfortable. And I have to explicitly create that reality. And even though it’s with my family, like I can, and I, and then when I do that, I will be able to show up more for my kids and model what boundaries actually look like and model not being strung out so I can actually enjoy my family for who they are.

[00:22:19] Randi Rubenstein: So you feel like the issue really has to do with boundaries and communication. Right? Like letting people know this is what works for me. This is what doesn’t work for me. 

[00:22:31] Shawn: And resetting my internal expectations of what, if I do the exact right thing somehow they’re gonna change. Like letting go of the expectation that somehow they’re gonna just magically become someone different.

[00:22:46] Randi Rubenstein: Right. So it’s like being rooted in reality. These are the people that are the older generation in my family. I know who they are. They’ve shown me a million times. So having expectations that they’re going to be different is torturing myself. Right. 

[00:23:03] Okay. So accepting reality, and adjusting your expectations. Communicating what’s okay with you, what’s not okay with you and having those boundaries in place. 

[00:23:16] So that feels like I would even say, yeah, I agree with that. And I want to offer the, but really what this is about. Okay?

[00:23:31] Shawn: Okay, I’m ready.

[00:23:32] Randi Rubenstein: All right. But really. What this is about, to me, is a lot of what I’ve been sort of talking about and thinking about with Michaeleen Doucleff, you know, the author of Hunt, Gather, Parent, for anybody who hasn’t been listening to those episodes. This nuclear family dynamic is a failed experiment. It is not the way human beings were ever meant to live and thrive. It goes against this, this pack mentality of we are meant to be in community. For hundreds of thousands of years, it was aunts and grandparents and uncles and neighbors and a whole community of people. It’s like what Michaeleen experienced when she went and she lived with these different indigenous cultures. Where it was, it was never all on mom and dad. It was older kids playing with younger kids. It was a whole community pack mentality.

[00:24:46] And, and this nuclear family model, that we have been raised in for the, and we’re raising our kids in and that has existed in the Western culture for the last hundred years. It really is a failed experiment. Because it’s too much on one or two people to raise the humans. You know, I think it’s why I keep on my YouTube algorithm, all these videos keep popping up all about loneliness and the loneliness epidemic. And even like the, the founder of Airbnb, I heard an interview with him recently and… 

[00:25:23] Shawn: I just listened to that because you shared it with us.

[00:25:26] Randi Rubenstein: Didn’t you think was so good? It was so, to me, he’s really, he’s really impressive and compelling. 

[00:25:32] Shawn: He’s really interesting, just the way his brain works. Like, you can just see his, like, mental process as he’s talking. 

[00:25:38] Randi Rubenstein: Well, and it’s so interesting because he’s… I love how he speaks because he’s not like a, you know, a CEO business guy. He’s not like a finance bro who started a business. He’s a, he was a designer, you know, so he’s creative and cool and smart and, but yeah, like from him talking about the loneliness epidemic to, I just saw a thing with like, the Surgeon General on another podcast talking about the loneliness epidemic.

[00:26:04] And why do we have this loneliness epidemic? It’s because humans were never supposed to live in isolation. And I think it starts with this nuclear family model. It’s like, there’s so much involved in raising humans and, and little humans learning how to be alive and learning how to human, right? And there’s just a lot of needs and we all have busy lives and figuring out what we’re supposed to do.

[00:26:40] Like what if we were, you know, part of the Inuit community and it’s like, you know, from the time you give birth, you have a sisterhood circle basically surrounding you and telling you what I learned you know, when I finally did natural childbirth on my third child, which was, oh, it’s going to really hurt for like 45 minutes. And other than that, like, it’s going to feel like bad, bad period cramps. And we have all these things that, you know, and don’t worry, you’re going to be okay. We got you. We got you. 

[00:27:17] Like if you had this older community who’ve been through it before, who are saying like, we’re right here, we’re with you. We’re going to walk you through it. And this is what you can expect. And, and, and you’re not supposed to just know what it’s going to be, because how could you know, right? Like, let us let us shepherd you through this, let us be here to support you. Let us make you feel anything other than alone right? 

[00:27:49] And, like if we had that older community that was bringing their wisdom, not from a place of judgment, from a place of support and love and protection and helping us feel safe. And then we’re able to learn the things and then we’re able to show up like that for our little people. And our little people are also able to trust this, you know, all of these wise elders who are, who are helping us. And then they feel safe, safer in the world because they’re surrounded by this beautiful community of support and all these people surrounding them with love and protection.

[00:28:29] Like, like to me, that’s the, but really. Like it was like, yes, right, because this Western model is a failed experiment, now we have to learn all these things like about boundaries and, and we have to learn better communication tools. And we’ve got all this like, grandparent fragility going on, and, and we have to like, you know, arm ourselves with tools to let us know it’s not our job to take care of the grandparents and if they get their feelings hurt, that’s on them. But really it was never supposed to be like this in the first place. It’s all kind of fucked up.

[00:29:06] Shawn: Yeah, and it makes me think, I mean, there’s a nuclear family, but there’s also like, I don’t know, it makes me just curious. This is something I’ve talked about with some of my friends of like, yeah, and I’m laughing because Garrett, my husband’s been like, kind of into looking at like generational differences and the Boomer generation and how they’re like, what, all these kids go into therapy and then blaming us, you know, this idea of like, you messed it up, right?

[00:29:32] But there’s something about… and you talk a lot about the opposite, which is like being able, the power of just being able to own, truly own, like, ooh, yeah, I did, that wasn’t a great plan. Right. Like, or I being able to own mistakes. Um, and yeah, I mean, what you’re saying sounds amazing, but the part of me, maybe that’s like, but I don’t need their help because I know better. Right. Like, and that may be true to a point, but not fully. Right. And it allows, it keeps me like shut off from 

[00:30:04] Randi Rubenstein: But you, 

[00:30:04] Shawn: some of that wisdom.

[00:30:05] Randi Rubenstein: But you know better because you don’t trust the wisdom because it hasn’t been there. Because you didn’t get what you needed, because in your nuclear family. That’s what I’m saying, the generational patterns of the last hundred years is like, there’s all these wounded children, us, right? And the generation above us and above them probably too. So there’s all these wounded children in grown up people bodies, right. 

[00:30:36] Shawn: Right, 

[00:30:37] Randi Rubenstein: And that’s what I’m saying is like, 

[00:30:39] Shawn: mm 

[00:30:39] Randi Rubenstein: but really it should have been different all along. 

[00:30:44] Shawn: For, many generations ago. 

[00:30:46] Randi Rubenstein: Yes, and I think that’s an important piece to like, understand because, and I think it helps us with our kids because it’s like, of course we’re going to pass down shitty things because we’re human and we were conditioned with this failed experiment, right? Where we didn’t have a tribe and all these wise elders and, feel like we were just protected in this community that was just a big bubble of love, you know?

[00:31:14] Shawn: Yeah,

[00:31:15] Randi Rubenstein: And we didn’t get the needs met, but it’s like okay, and then what does it look like to break a cycle and what it looks like to break a cycle is you know, is to break up with performative parenting, perfectionism, thinking that we need to get it all right.

[00:31:33] God forbid, you know, we’re going to do it so differently. God forbid one day our kids ended up in therapy saying you did me wrong in this way. And it’s like, yeah, well guess what? Of course they’re going to, of course they’re going to, you know, I’m like, no, I want to raise worthy enough humans who go to therapy, and prioritize their mental health. And feel close enough to me to come back to me and say, so I’ve got this thing going on, right? Like, it’s like the gaslighting, like, how was I able to really look at the gaslighting? It really was me seeing a video of me gaslighting Avery,

[00:32:18] Shawn: mm hmm, 

[00:32:19] Randi Rubenstein: And seeing it and then going to her and saying, look at this video, and look at how dad and I were gaslighting you, right? Like, like you see Alec sneak up and scare her. And he’s got a smile on his face and she’s got a you know, she starts shrieking. And then that noise pollution, now I’m realizing both me and Scott, highly sensitive people, and all of a sudden there’s the shrieking and the noise pollution and then we’re like, Avery. And you see Alec, like he’s figured out this little nuanced way to like, fuck with his sister. Right? He was probably dysregulated. He goes, he messes with his sister. He pulls her into the land of dysregulation and then we gaslight her.

[00:33:08] Shawn: Mm hmm, 

[00:33:09] Randi Rubenstein: I pointed out to her, she’s like, yeah. And I was like, how frustrating that must have been for you. And she’s like, yeah. And it’s a lot of what she works on in therapy. Right. And then she fell into a relationship, and there was a gaslighting pattern. And so like we’re talking about all of this and I’m saying, I, we primed you to fall into that relationship, you know? 

[00:33:42] Shawn: Right, mm hmm, 

[00:33:44] Randi Rubenstein: We’re just looking at it. And she’ll say yeah, and I’m gonna do it even better with my kids. And this is how we break, we break these generational patterns. 

[00:33:55] And I’m like, no, no, no, I don’t need you to take care of me and make me feel better. You know, she’s like, but mom, you did so many things right. And I’m like, no, no, no, I don’t need you to take care of me. I actually think it’s interesting to look at sort of from a sociological perspective, which is, I had no clue I was doing that. I thought I was doing it all differently, but the truth is, is if I was conditioned with such a gaslighting pattern and it was such a thread in me and I, it was in my blind spot and I couldn’t see it. Of course those blind spot patterns are going to be passed down. 

[00:34:28] And so I was like, you know, I just, I thought I was so aware and now I can see it so clearly, but I couldn’t see it then. And it’s actually really fascinating to me. And I also wish that that hadn’t happened to you because that had to have been incredibly frustrating, you know? 

[00:34:47] Shawn: Yeah, just that, I mean, the freedom for her, but also I think the freedom for us as parents to be able to say… because I remember, like, I think most people, when they start thinking about being parents, they’re terrified. Like, I was on a race to like, heal myself as much as I could before I had kids. 

[00:35:06] And look, I made some progress, so I’m proud of that. And I still to this day, I think I mentioned that in a Voxer recently, of like, 

[00:35:14] I just gotta heal as much as I can as quick as I can, so I fuck them up as least as I can. And which is well intentioned, right? But it puts me in the state of like fight or flight, and then I can’t actually connect with them because I’m… 

[00:35:30] Randi Rubenstein: I don’t, I think that’s actually more of the performative, perfectionistic, judging yourself, judging, you know, like, I think that’s more of that culture that we’ve been conditioned in in the last hundred years versus No, of course, of course we’re going like we’re humans. We were conditioned a certain way. Things are going to get through. 

[00:35:54] But when we become a family that talks about all the things, once something is brought to my attention, I’m going to work on myself to the point that I have the confidence to get curious and to look at these things and to believe my kids when they bring it to my attention.

[00:36:14] And there’s no topic that’s off limits, right?

[00:36:18] Shawn: Right. Which requires, yeah, being able to hold space for your own pain. Right. Which is like, oh crap, I hurt them.

[00:36:26] Randi Rubenstein: I can feel myself going to a place of worry and guilt and shame that I’ve done some of these things to my children, or, or I wonder if I have. And then like stopping myself and saying, okay, right now I’m the child of the immature adult. I want to like understand my own conditioning better and like I have to stop myself from jumping into the parent role and then like feeling my own fragility, right? Like so I keep, I’m like, okay, there will be a time and a place for that, but not right now. Right now

[00:37:07] Shawn: Right.

[00:37:07] Randi Rubenstein: I need to look at it from this lens… 

[00:37:09] Shawn: Clarify 

[00:37:10] Randi Rubenstein: it’s, yeah.

[00:37:10] Shawn: Clarify my own process. Yeah. 

[00:37:14] Randi Rubenstein: It’s so interesting and I think this stuff is, is important to look at because when we start to look at it from a, I think the, but really, angle, I think, I don’t know. There’s something for me… 

[00:37:28] when we’re just like, okay, I need to have better boundaries and better communication skills and let people know what’s okay with me and what’s not okay with me.

[00:37:35] And I think that’s important. But when we add the, but really, I feel like it brings more compassion to that older generation for getting it wrong. Because they’re getting it wrong because it was gotten wrong for them too, right? And so like they don’t know what they don’t know either.

[00:37:56] Shawn: Right. Yeah, it’s nice to bring that, like, wide angle lens view to it, because I think sometimes, I mean, certainly I talk about that with clients a lot, of like, we’re looking at and having compassion for their parents’ experience, but I think it’s nice to do it on a broad scale, too, of like, we’re all living in these systems with these approaches and a nuclear family individualism.

[00:38:23] Like, the systems that are set up and how it, it causes this disconnection from ourselves and from others. And it’s nobody’s fault. Right. But, yes, we do have to do a lot of work to try to pull out of it and break those patterns, which is tiring. 

[00:38:41] Randi Rubenstein: Like, I mean, I will say this this is to me been the best part about my kids becoming young adults, is that once we start having these conversations and I started to be able to see these things… it’s hard at first, you know, like it’s really hard, especially when I didn’t realize I was like exactly like you. Like, I got to heal myself as much as possible because I’m going to, you know, I’m going to get this more right.

[00:39:11] There was a lot of proving energy of, I’m, you know, from that sort of wounded child place, but, you know, I was armored up. So I wasn’t even looking at that wounded child place, but I had this something in me like a fire in me to get it more right and to get it more right. And so when I first had to look at, oy, okay, I got it wrong. And then I got it wrong again, and then I got it wrong again, and you know. At first it was like there was a lot of kind of just ego, like bruised ego, and I didn’t want to look at it. It was super hard. 

[00:39:49] And then once I did, and especially it was like with Avery, having those, I mean, it’s like why I teach productive conversation, like having those productive conversations, like really believing her and really having that conversation where I saw her and I believed her and she got to get these things off her chest. Like, that felt so cathartic for me because I can’t imagine ever having conversations with my own parents like that. 

[00:40:21] Shawn: Yeah, right. No, it’s, I mean, it’s huge, that ability to repair. And I definitely fall into perfectionistic performative parenting patterns at times. But also there is a lot of freedom in knowing like, okay… I still criticize myself, I think, when I miss the mark, but it’s so nice to be able to go back and probably even more when they’re older, mine are not that old, so we’re not going to be having deep conversations, but still being able to own, and I think it’s, yeah, that humanness, like, I think it’s been even…

[00:40:55] Randi Rubenstein: That part, with, you know, everybody talks about like the negatives of when your kids become teenagers and young adults. But when you start to have those conversations where, like we have one of those conversations where I’m like, holy shit, I didn’t, like, I didn’t see it. Like I missed it. I’m so sorry. Like, I am so sorry that I did that. 

[00:41:18] And, and then when she tries to, you know, she’s like, but mom, there’s lots that you did right. And I’m like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. I’m the mom. I do not need you to take care of me. I’m looking at this. And so we have one of those conversations and it’s just so incredibly connecting. And like it’s something that I don’t ever remember ever feeling with my parents. It feels so beautiful. 

[00:41:49] it’s almost like I feel like the human condition is to fuck things up and then to repair. Because the connection that comes from the repair feels stronger than if we were to have gotten it all perfectly. 

[00:42:05] Shawn: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I mean, I think, what’s that quote? Like, we’re wounded in community, healed in community. Um, because we try to like heal on our own. I mean, you’ve done that. And I’ve done it. Like, I’m gonna heal by reading all the books. It’s like, yeah, this doesn’t work. I mean, it works to a point, it gets you somewhere. But, yeah. 

[00:42:25] Randi Rubenstein: Well it works to let you know, like, what you want to do. But the integration piece is more nuanced and I think it only happens in community having these types of conversations.

[00:42:40] And going back to the, we were designed as humans to live in community, which isn’t just your little individual nuclear pack. It’s like there’s a lot of other branches. And I think that when we do the healing work and we have these types of conversations, it brings, it’s like a deep remembering back. It’s like the human condition. Yeah. 

[00:43:07] Like this is what we’re supposed to be doing. We’re not supposed to be healing over here on isolation Island. We’re supposed to be connecting. We’re supposed to be like truly knowing each other. And a lot of times, there’s not even words. It’s just a feeling, you know, it’s just this like beautiful feeling that happens when you feel like people get you and, and you just feel connected to them.

[00:43:34] Shawn: Yeah, it’s so interesting, too, because we’ve talked a little bit on our Voxer thread about this, and I’ve kind of chimed in a little bit of just how, like, real everyone is and I have a psychologist friend who I’ve never met who we ended up getting on Voxer just because we like communicating in that way. And so she’s just someone I met because she had an online program and she’s in like, rural Louisiana. 

[00:43:57] And we were talking the other day about how much we judge ourselves for like, being sensitive and crying. Um, cause I judge myself so harshly every time I cry on those Voxers. Like I don’t, but I do. And, because that’s just been my conditioning, and I cried in a message to her. And we were just talking about like the process of like really, truly leaning into that vulnerability and how you never forget those moments when you actually are able to do that with someone. 

[00:44:23] And it was me expressing, like, gratitude for her openness and vulnerability. Like, I was just crying because I was just like, I just appreciate you and you being an open human being and I’m just glad you trust me enough to, like, share some of these things that you don’t share. And it’s like, we both were like, we’re never going to forget that, like, moment. 

[00:44:40] And it was not even live. It was, like, on Voxer. And I mean, I’ve, I’ve had those in our Voxer thread too, I would say, but it’s, it’s exactly what you’re saying. It’s like that intuitive remembering and that sensitive part of me that like loves to lean into that moment. I’ve judged for so many years, but like, that’s just like the part of me that’s like, this is how it’s supposed to be, right? Like we’re supposed to be connecting and I’m supposed to be able to bring all parts of myself to that. That’s awesome.

[00:45:09] Randi Rubenstein: Well, when you feel safe with someone and, and you get to just be unfiltered, the real you. And you trust that, like, it’s all allowed. And they see the real you. Like it, to go back to like the comment that Scott made to his mom about me. Like that was something that I wouldn’t have described about me at all.

[00:45:34] Like that, I’m never going to say, hey, can you do this or can you do that? I’ll just handle it. But if somebody shows up for me and assesses what needs to be done and then just does something helpful, like that feels so incredibly supportive and loving to me. And I never would have put that into words, but the fact that he could put that into words felt so loving to me because it was like, wow, you really see me. You really know me. 

[00:46:05] Shawn: Yeah. Definitely. 

[00:46:07] Randi Rubenstein: It’s so cool. It’s so cool when you just like, when you have that with people, and I think the thing that can be confusing in this modern age of technology. You know, I hear people say this all the time, like, our, you know, I call them our modern sister sharing circles that we have on all of our different Voxer threads in our groups. I feel like you guys know me better than, like my family or people that I’m friends with in my real life, right? Like it’s not real life because it’s, it’s happening virtually. 

[00:46:42] And I think that we’re doing what we need to do. Like there is a loneliness epidemic. And so we’re using modern tools to help us heal and overcome that epidemic. And, um, and I think, you know, I’m just proud of all of us for doing that. You know, whether it’s listening to podcasts, like for everybody who’s listening to this podcast, whether it’s putting messages in your ears that make you remember that you are part of a pack. You’re part of our pack. You’re, you’re not alone on Isolation Island figuring all this stuff out. 

[00:47:21] And I just think, you know, we’re all cycle breakers because we’re like, yeah, what’s, however it’s been done is not working for me. So I’m going to be a resourceful person and I’m going to find my people, and I’m going to keep figuring this thing out and learning how to human even better.

[00:47:42] Shawn: Yeah. Definitely.

[00:47:44] Randi Rubenstein: So cool. Okay. I knew this would be a meaty conversation because, because, you’re awesome and you’re you, and I love and adore you. Um, so thanks for doing this with me. 

[00:47:55] Shawn: Yeah, of course. It was great. 

[00:47:57] Randi Rubenstein: Okay. 

[00:47:58] Shawn: Thank 

[00:47:58] Randi Rubenstein: Bye everyone. Have a great week.

[00:48:00] Thanks for listening today, guys. I hope you picked up some tips, tools, maybe some baby steps for creating more balance and boundaries in your life. And I just wanted to let you know, if you want to continue moving the needle forward in creating this for yourself, having a happier household, I want you to go to my website and check out We have three beginning programs, and if you need some accountability and more support then please look for the one that would be a good fit for you.

[00:48:35] And, as always, we’re on all the social channels under mastermind parenting, on Instagram it’s mastermind_parenting. And, you know, periodically I do pop up on different Instagram lives, Facebook lives where I give you teaching and coaching and I love engaging with you live to help you help your strong-willed kids so that they can feel better, because when they feel better they do better, and I love, love, love getting to know you guys. 

[00:49:08] So thanks for listening. If you like this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review. Super super appreciative. 

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Creating A Happier Household

by Randi Rubenstein