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263: But Really… Breaking Up With Perfectionism

I didn’t know exactly what I was going to talk about with Masterminder Liz, but I just knew it would turn out to be a real and revealing conversation. Like so many of us modern moms, Liz is a recovering perfectionist. We run ourselves ragged trying to get everything right all the time. That’s not sustainable anywhere in life, and it’s especially impossible when it comes to parenting. Liz and I dig into the personal history and social expectations that fool us into thinking that perfection is desirable, and how being in community with other parents has helped us stop chasing impossible standards and embrace the joyful messiness of raising kids. 

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How perfectionist tendencies interfere with the pack leadership your family needs.
  • Why we need to stop looking for the perfect script when it’s time to have a tough conversation with a child.
  • How giving yourself some parenting can help you have empathy for your kiddo and yourself.
  • Why it can be so hard for parents to find community in our culture, and how beneficial it can be when you find it.

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] Liz: Half the time it’s because I’m apologizing because I, I feel like I didn’t show up in the right way or, um, I didn’t say quite the right thing and I’m just seeking forgiveness and that we just practice a lot of that and I’m asking for forgiveness a lot because I, for a lot of those, you know, to step backwards in my, in my progress of being a Mastermind parent. But, um, 

[00:00:18] Randi Rubenstein: I think you say forgiveness, but I look at it as humility. And I think,

[00:00:23] Liz: That’s a good point. 

[00:00:24] Randi Rubenstein: Right? I think it’s humility. I think it’s like, this is, this is your, like, it’s your own internship. I think you do that a lot because I think there’s an intuitive knowing that you’re, you’re a recovering perfectionist.

[00:00:39] 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. 

[00:00:50] Showtime, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. I am here with Liz. Liz is one of my Masterminders and I invited her to come on and to be on this, But Really… series, and I don’t even know what the but really is going to be about, but I think we’re just going to uncover it and we’ll know by the end of the episode and by the end of the conversation. So thanks for coming on and being with me.

[00:01:18] Liz: Absolutely. Thanks for the invitation. 

[00:01:20] Randi Rubenstein: Okay, so before we started recording, I was just asking you what, like, do you remember what was the thing that brought you to work with me? And you were sharing a little bit and I’d love for you to talk about it again. 

[00:01:35] Liz: Sure, I think it was just a moment when I realized that my, the tools that I had, or I thought I had, weren’t really working anymore, and the relationship I had with my son was deteriorating to a point where I just needed to call in the big guns. I needed something, because what I was doing didn’t seem to be working.

[00:01:56] this is about five, six years ago. I think, um, my son was just finishing up first grade and we were just butting heads, like unprecedented butting heads. And I just, I didn’t know what was happening and I appreciated I needed some help. Um, thankfully a friend had been in Mastermind and was raving about it and all the lessons she learned and how she could apply it to her life and her relationship with her son. And I figured, I need to find out more because I need help.

[00:02:24] Randi Rubenstein: And so when you say butting heads, what did the butting heads look like? Did it look like, like him yelling at you, you, cause I honestly now after knowing you for as long as I’ve known you, and watching, watching you grow and really come into yourself. I can’t imagine you as like a yeller. Were you a yeller? 

[00:02:48] Liz: Mm hm, I think yes, because my family, small as it is, if you spoke louder than the other person, maybe you’ll be heard, you know? So I came from that. So I figured if I kind of talk over people and interrupt and just have the final word and talk a little bit louder, and perhaps I’ll win, perhaps I’ll have the control that I’m seeking.

[00:03:08] But, um, I think, it was just constant, a steady stream of constant aggravations, um, with my child. And I don’t remember the specific incidents, maybe the picking up of the toys, small little misdemeanors. But I created them into felonies, if you will, looking back on it. 

[00:03:26] At the time, it felt like the world was collapsing. I wasn’t communicating with my child. He was growing from… you know, a little boy into a bigger boy in first grade and finally, becoming a little bit more independent with an opinion and talking back and just, whatever it was just really got under my skin. 

[00:03:45] And I just didn’t show up… looking back on it. I didn’t show up as I wanted to be. I wanted to be that fun-loving parent with that incredible relationship. And I just didn’t see it. I wasn’t having it. I, I, the cute little cuddly kid that I, I always knew and loved was turning into a little bit of a, an ornery, bigger kid. And I, I didn’t know how to handle it.

[00:04:05] Um, I don’t remember the specific exchange, but arguing, I think was really our, our issue.

[00:04:11] Randi Rubenstein: That’s interesting. So it’s like, I always ask and it’s hard to remember, especially those of you who come and never leave, you know, those of you,

[00:04:21] Liz: I’m not going anywhere.

[00:04:23] Randi Rubenstein: I know I visit, this is the reason why I have a Mastermind because you know, that very first program I ever did was like eight weeks. And then I had all these people like sitting around going, we’re not going. Like we’re not leaving. And now like so many years later, they’re so… and I used to think like, I wonder if I’m creating like a whole codependent environment because I’m codependent. But then I started thinking about it and I was like, wait a minute, very recently, this is such a like brick to the head moment, which might seem obvious.

[00:04:52] But I’m like, you have the same pediatrician for your kid all throughout their childhood, hopefully. And if, or maybe you switch pediatricians, but you always have a pediatrician. There’s people who have therapists for years and years and years. I’m like, Avery had the same piano teacher for many years until it was time to graduate to the next piano teacher.

[00:05:13] And I’m like, so when it comes to parenting and it’s, always, there’s always a new issue. I’m like, I guess it does make sense that people never leave because, you know, until it’s like, because before you know it, you’re in the tween years and then you’re in the teen years and then you’re in the, you know, I mean, I even have people who stay or who stick around…

[00:05:35] Well, do I have, yes, I’ve had a couple of people who’ve had kids that go off to college. I mean, I’m still going through things with my kids going off to college, so I understand it. Um, but I always like to ask you guys like, what was the shit hits the fan moment, you know? And I think for you, and now knowing you, it actually makes sense that there wasn’t, did you just have some, a shit hits the fan moment pop into your head or no?

[00:06:03] Liz: No, I didn’t. But what I realized was we had just, we had moved to, we were, we, my son was born in Houston. We were living in Houston. We moved to Florida and we were wrapping up our first school year in Florida. And I, I didn’t have a tribe. I didn’t have a community. All my people that we played in the playground with and all of my little parent buddies from preschool on up. I didn’t have any of that. 

[00:06:28] And I literally was on my own. I didn’t really know when to talk to or no one to really bounce ideas off of or, have that just like you or just like me, we’re going through this. I didn’t have anybody that I could lean on to, to either laugh it off or get some ideas. And I was really searching for a community.

[00:06:45] I, I think it was a kind of a push and pull situation where, I didn’t know what to do when my son was talking back to me or when he was pushing back on my edicts, you know, pick up your toys, eat your vegetables, make your bed, whatever it was. 

[00:07:03] He wasn’t doing the thing. He wasn’t doing his homework. He was, whatever it was, I mean homework, first grade, reading, whatever it was. Um, he wasn’t doing the things and I just felt completely lost and out of control and I didn’t really know how to handle or what to do or how to fix it. Because I’m a good fixer. Which, um, yeah.

[00:07:22] Randi Rubenstein: Knowing you now. I, I understand, because I know that perfectionism has, you know, been very much a part of your story and, and, and breaking up with perfectionism, which I know is an ongoing process. Um, so I feel like it makes sense that you were like, well, it’s not going according to plan and he’s now talking back to me and I’m getting super triggered and aggravated inside and, and I don’t really have people that, you know, I feel safe in this community to bounce it off of. 

[00:08:08] Which I have to say, even, I mean, even people who have that, quite often, the, you think you have a mom community to bounce it off, but if in real life, you actually have other parents who are there with you in it, yeah, that happened to me too. You know what I read that I just was thinking about trying, like sharing resources from a place of no competition, total vulnerability, trust, honesty, um, my kid’s not perfect either. I’m not judging you or your kid. I’m not comparing myself to you or your kid and no way am I putting in little teeny tiny nuanced digs. 

[00:08:54] It is rare to even find that. I think in real life and, you know, and I think through the conversation I’ve been having recently with Michaeleen on the podcast, what I’m realizing more and more is that what she experienced in the three different indigenous communities that she visited, which is like, that sense of true community, you know, when she was struggling with her kid, the other mom, you know, rushing out of her house to offer help. And not to judge her and not to like, you know, not to make her feel worse about the situation. But literally ran out of her house and was like, I keep seeing the two of you by yourselves. Like, don’t you have any help? 

[00:09:42] And Michaeleen was like, no, no, no, I’m fine, I’m fine. Doing the Western thing. I’m, I’m good. And she was like, you need help. And she’s like, it’s only the two of you. And she said like, like you need help, but also don’t you think she might be a little sick of you? Like you deserve community. 

[00:10:02] And so what Michaeleen experienced there was then this woman invited her into her home, invited her to come stay with her, like absorbed her in their community. And next thing she knew she had like older kids, you know, playing with her daughter and she was sitting there with all the other moms and, it was generational. It’s like multi generational community all there together, helping each other, supporting each other. 

[00:10:30] And I think in our weird Western world, we don’t have that. And humans for literally hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years. Have required that so now we have to go and find that for ourselves right and so so you came here and you thought, I think this maybe your but really is you thought you were coming for the scripts and the tips, right? And I even remember early on when you came in, you know, there was, I, I, like, I could feel your anxiety virtually.

[00:11:18] Liz: I, there’s one specific moment. I remember early in your program where you were doing, uh, you have a lesson with lessons and you were guiding us through the art of having a productive conversation. And I remember there was a moment that I needed to have one with Walker and I thought, okay, I’m going to type it all out. 

[00:11:36] I literally typed out your acronym for the reminders for having that productive conversation. And I typed it out. It was, I literally created a script to the T. And I think I shared it with you and I was so concerned. I didn’t quite get it right. And I was looking at these prescriptive buckets and you kind of, you know, lovingly chided me to say, you know, or to, to help me understand that this is not a, um, black and white, you know, proforma template to fill out.

[00:12:09] And I think that was my big wake up call. And it was a little scary because I need, I need definitive direction, but I think looking back on it now going through all the stages of the program was so helpful. And when I turned back to having that productive conversation, it is infinitely easier because it feels so much more natural and part of the fabric of our, the fabric of our communication. 

[00:12:37] It just feels much more inherent because, but you just basically walked us through the principles of it, not so much the prescriptive buckets. First of all, you have to have this, this talk about A, B, and C over here, and then you kind of shut that down and go over here to talk about, you know, D. E. and F. And that’s not what you were getting at. You were just kind of talking through the overarching principles of having that conversation. And I took it at face value. 

[00:13:04] Um, but I think, and I’m probably skipping ahead, but I don’t know how this fits in the oh, but really, but I think the biggest thing for Mastermind for me was not so much, here are the tools. But. What’s going on with you? Wake up and look at yourself, hold up that mirror and really figure out what’s going on with you. And how are you showing up? 

[00:13:28] And yes, there’s tools, but truly bettering yourself, getting that oxygen mask on you first is the only way that you can really show up and be the best parent you can be. With all the tools, of course, but you really have to, um, you know, look inside yourself and, and get comfortable and get… and heal yourself first, whatever, whatever’s going on first before you can even think about being a good parent or think about being the best parent you can be. Um, anyway, I didn’t mean to skip ahead,

[00:13:56] Randi Rubenstein: No, I think, I think that I wanted you to skip ahead because the truth is, is you came in wanting to be the perfect parent. Like now I’ve got a kid who’s, who’s back talking. I can’t have that. Right? Like I wasn’t raised this way. What if he does this in front of his dad? I mean in front of, in front of his, his, you know, his grandparents. What if he does this? You know? 

[00:14:23] And it’s like nobody’s consciously thinking my kid mouths off to me in front of my parent and then my parent’s going to think that it’s gone off the rails and I’m failing at, you know, this role that my parent clearly succeeded at. Because I have known as a human that I better not talk back. And I had a sense of respect and there was so much civility and I would never have talked to my parent like that. 

[00:14:52] And now you have this kid, this little mouthy first grader who’s feeling so emotionally safe that after a long day of school, when you’re like, I’ve asked you three times to pick up your toys. You’re showing up you know, you’re, you’re being that calm, clear, gentle parent, very patient. And you’ve got, you know, a six or a seven year old who’s had a long day of school, who’s highly sensitive, whose, you know, nervous system is like, and all they’re hearing is quack, quack, quack, quack. 

[00:15:27] And they do what, what dysregulated people after a long day. Like, you know, if we have a long day as adults, we’re like, uh, I need a glass of wine or I need a stiff drink or whatever it is. And so he’s like, I just need like quiet and to be in la la land and to play and to be messy and not to be having any more directions. I’ve had directions thrown at me all day long. And so a little six or seven year old, they don’t know how to voice that.

[00:15:58] Liz: Mm

[00:15:59] Randi Rubenstein: They don’t have the skills yet. So what do they do? They talk back. And they’re like, fine I will in a minute Right, and they and that’s how they let us know, that’s how they let us know like I really need a stiff drink this right now, but I’m not old enough So I’m just gonna like lash out at you because you’re not reading the room mom. Right? 

[00:16:24] And so we don’t know how to read the room because we were raised In this authoritarian family where, you know, and for Liz, like you, you were an only child and your parents got divorced when you were very young and you had two very loving parents who, you know, put a lot into you and there was a lot of pressure on you to, to be that amazing child. Tell me if there’s anything you disagree with.

[00:16:56] Liz: No, I think, you know, looking back on it, I never really spent so much time focusing on how my background affected or, or influenced how I showed up today as a parent, but you’re absolutely right. And I literally had 50/50 household every other day, a different parent. And it was just, it, it was a lot. 

[00:17:16] The first time I actually, I slept in the same bed for more than, you know, college was really the first time I actually could wake up and go to sleep in the same bed for an extended period of time. And it was the most joyous feeling of knowing that I just didn’t have to constantly move around. And it was very disruptive.

[00:17:34] Um, there’s no good answer when your parents get divorce, and it was what it was, and I, I am who I am because of it. But, um, you know, sometimes, and I know this is scandalous. Sometimes I look at my kid and I realize, gosh, you have such a good life. You’ve such a good life. And I get a little frustrated sometimes.

[00:17:51] I mean, you know, I, I didn’t have that life. You have a wonderful life with two parents who love you who want all these things for you. You get to have plenty of you know you time and you don’t have to worry about schedule, you don’t have to worry about appeasing a parent or another parent. You don’t have to worry about forgetting your ballet shoes, one parent’s house, because you’ve got to be shuttled to the other.

[00:18:15] So there’s just a lot of my history, I think, that I realize is bubbling up as I’m raising my kid and I sometimes it seeps out as resentment. Sometimes it seeps out as gratefulness. Sometimes it just a whole, a whole heap of emotions. But yes, I think absolutely how one was raised definitely affects how you initially, hopefully, initially show up. 

[00:18:36] And, um, you know, I think that hopefully, again, through Mastermind and through just a lot of a lot of hard work, you can realize what is the, how do I want to show up differently? And how can I rewrite the script about how I’m being a parent, but also embrace who I am and look for the good and the positive that I had growing up? I mean, there’s, there’s definitely a lot of good and and hopefully I can bring that to the table now and channel it for good and not evil. But anyway.

[00:19:03] Randi Rubenstein: Well, I think, I mean, at the time that you came, you didn’t know that you were struggling with perfectionism.

[00:19:09] Liz: No, not at all.

[00:19:11] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah,

[00:19:11] Liz: Not, not at all. And frankly, I did have a little bit of a hiatus. Um, I think COVID kind of threw me off a little bit and I kind of just stepped out of the community. I still was, you know, card carrying member of the community, but I, I didn’t participate and I just, I had a little bit of a difficult time juggling the homeschool and being present and controlling, you know, how my kid was showing up for the zoom call for class and doing the homework and all the things. 

[00:19:37] And I felt like I couldn’t even take a break from my vigilance. You know, I had, I had, and even that looking back on it, boy, I wish I took my time and stayed with Mastermind. But having said that, when I did come back, I think I was much more in the mindset of showing up in a way to receive the insight and to really focus on and work on myself.

[00:19:58] I distinctly remember, I don’t know how it came up, or you were coaching someone else or what have you. But I remember something about, you know, this is going to become second nature if you really work at it. It’s not just instantaneous. You learn the lesson, you apply the lesson and poof.

[00:20:13] And for a perfectionist, um, it’s hard to hear that, because you feel as if you’ve taken the lesson, you’ve done the homework. Let’s just put it into circulation and your behavior and your communication with your, with your family. 

[00:20:27] And it doesn’t happen that way. You really have to remind yourself, even to this day, all these thoughts, even how I behave, I showed up for my kid yesterday is showing up and I didn’t do the right thing. I didn’t do the Mastermind-y thing, but I’m aware and I know how to pivot quickly and get back on track much more than I ever would have. So it’s just it is a constant two steps forward one step back situation But hopefully you’re still making progress. 

[00:20:50] Randi Rubenstein: I mean, that’s the point is, that I was kind of saying to you before. Like, I think you came in wanting me to be like the Dr. Becky resource, like, just tell me what to say. Like, you wanted me to tell you, you know, it’s like my productive conversation process. It’s not a script. It’s a mindset. Right. And, every once in a while I’m like, okay, here’s a fish dinner. And everyone gets excited. 

[00:21:21] Liz: Ha ha ha. 

[00:21:22] Randi Rubenstein: Everyone’s like, wait, let me get my notepad out. She’s giving us a fish dinner because you know, that’s so rare because I’m like, I am teaching you how to fish. Like, you’re not…

[00:21:32] Liz: That’s the absolute perfect best analogy for what you’re doing. 100%.

[00:21:36] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. Yeah. Like, and sometimes I’m just gonna hand deliver a meal because I love, I love to feed people. And, my I want to feed you for life. I want you to learn how to feed yourself. And so it’s like you come in wanting the script, but really, but really, what you end up doing is you end up reparenting yourself in the process of parenting your kid.

[00:22:07] And so therefore you are able to start thinking differently. You step into a different style of leadership, because no one’s capable of being the best leader possible when you have all these invisible old hurts or unhealed hurts lingering right below the surface that you’re constantly wanting to superficially put band aids over, right?

[00:22:35] And that’s what perfectionism really is. It’s like, if I’m perfect, then, then I’m not going to disappoint people. And I’m not going to get hurt. I can avoid, I can avoid all kinds of upset and disappointment if I just do everything perfectly. And, and that’s just not sustainable. And it’s, it’s that bandaid, you know, you’re going to take a shower at some point or go swimming and all of a sudden the bandaid’s not sticky. And so that old hurt 

[00:23:04] Liz: Mm-Hmm. 

[00:23:04] Randi Rubenstein: you know, is exposed and, and, and, and that’s, that’s not the thing that’s going to heal it. So the scripts and knowing exactly what to say in this moment, right? Like sometimes that may serve as a, as a wonderful bandaid. However, what happens is humans are gonna human and life is gonna happen and you’re not going to have the perfect script for every moment and you’re not going to remember that perfect script when you’re having a human moment because you’re not in that part of your brain that has the script memorized. You’re in the emotional part of the brain where the unhealed hurt lives. 

[00:23:46] And so unless you start to think differently and truly reparent yourself from a place of healing, right? It’s never going to be sustainable. You’re never going to get the longterm results that you came to get and be the parent that you wanted to be, if you just stay on the surface with all those surface band aids, yeah.

[00:24:09] Liz: I had no idea that, that I, I showed up for parenting help, but I ended up getting me help and that was the biggest Aha. And showing up in a space that was so loving and welcoming and I could be authentic and vulnerable and I didn’t even know. I didn’t know I had to get deep to be a good parent. I thought being a parent is in one bucket of my life and being me is in another bucket and I didn’t realize how intermixed they were. Um, it sounds silly to say that, of course, but I had

[00:24:39] Randi Rubenstein: I didn’t either!

[00:24:40] Liz: absolutely no idea that I had to go so deep and figure out what Is wrong. What’s bothering me, heal myself, repair it myself. Um, and then be able to then reemerge with that insight and with that self love and with that, um, perspective, I just had absolutely no idea. 

[00:24:59] And frankly, I’ve been to many, many, many years of therapy and I’ve never been able to get that comfort and that, um. Just be in a better place of… I don’t want to use the word sane, but just just personal sanity and personal. Struggling with the right word, but to be in a place of, of just absolute tranquility, if that’s even possible with myself, with who I am, where I came from. I’ve never been able to do that before until I showed up on that one call with you.

[00:25:32] And I remember just digging in so deep and I didn’t even realize, again, that my background and my personal baggage was affecting my ability to show up as a good parent and as a good human. So I’m incredibly grateful for that and the journey that I’ve been on.

[00:25:45] Randi Rubenstein: I won’t, I don’t think good. I don’t think, I think you’ve always been good. I think you’ve always been good. I think, as your best self.

[00:25:56] Liz: Yes, that’s a wonderful way to say it. Mm hmm.

[00:25:58] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah, because you always have been you. You’ve always been generous and kind and so supportive of the other people that you’re interacting with. You know, that’s just, I mean, your compliments towards me, your appreciation anytime I’ve coached you, like you have always shown up as a good person.

[00:26:18] I think, the best version of you to me is like, when I think of the Liz that was like, I remember was since you just jogged my memory of the writing out the script,

[00:26:29] Liz: Hmm mm.

[00:26:29] Randi Rubenstein: Like that version of you versus who you are now, right? Is so different just even in your energy, how you are able to articulate things. And, you know, when you come on and sometimes you’ll just like share, like you shared, I think an update after you took Walker with your extended family on some travels this summer. 

[00:26:57] Liz: Hmm mm. 

[00:26:58] Randi Rubenstein: And then you came back and, and you were kind of recapping and sharing an update of when, you know, he was the only kid and it was all these adult relatives and he’s now 12, 11,

[00:27:11] Liz: 11. Mm hmm. Mm 

[00:27:12] Randi Rubenstein: 11. And so as an 11 year old boy. And was it all women that he was with too?

[00:27:19] Liz: Hmm. Some men too, but he was definitely the only kid by far. And people who either don’t have children, actually no, my aunts and uncles don’t have children. So their ability to relate to a kid and 

[00:27:31] Randi Rubenstein: And 

[00:27:31] Liz: it was tough , 

[00:27:32] Randi Rubenstein: how trigger, how triggering for you too, as you know, growing up as a single child. Right? Probably quite often with these same adults. And so it’s like as a child, it’s like figure out how to fit in with the adults. And um, you’re a child and you’re in an adult world and now your child is the child 

[00:27:56] Liz: hmm. Mm hmm. 

[00:27:56] Randi Rubenstein: in the adult world and you’re one of the adults.

[00:27:59] So it had to have brought up so much. But you came and you gave us an update and you were like, Walker did great. And there were times where we needed to just take a break and we needed to go and do something that was kids centric, you know, like I, I loved your update of like, focusing on how great he did, but not from a place of, he was the perfect little soldier.

[00:28:27] It was like, it felt like it was, it was an update from the mindset of, I was there with Walker. I was not on display trying to perform and be the perfect mother and have Walker be the perfect child. I was like, it sounded to me like it was an update that you were there with your kid and you two were a team and you weren’t like forcing him into this prescribed formula. Am I, how…

[00:28:54] Liz: Yeah, no, you’re absolutely right. You’re absolutely right. I didn’t really even think about it in terms of how, my background… even just looking back on it through that lens, I didn’t think about that at the time I was just in it and doing it. And just, I guess, the muscle memory from, wanting to just prioritize what’s the most important thing here. And I need to show up as not necessarily my child’s advocate, but he’s counting on me to be supportive for him in this environment. 

[00:29:26] And also, you know, to your point, you know, having, being abroad, you know, in a country where, you know, you don’t speak the language and the food’s a little different and the days are long and the other adults want to go out for late dinners and long, prolonged dinner.

[00:29:41] It’s, appeasing people has always been my Achilles heel, and obliging people. And I thankfully was in an environment where I could be myself and be authentic to my child and to my family. I think having not gone through Mastermind, I think I would have probably had a lot more anxiety about communicating to my family, what my child’s needs were and, and being, uh, worried about placating everybody. But I think, you know, yeah, it was, it was definitely a breath of fresh air. Mm 

[00:30:14] Randi Rubenstein: I mean, to me, when you came back and gave that update and that’s what I’m talking about is that I felt…

[00:30:21] Liz: I don’t even remember giving this update, by the way, so I’m like struggling to look back on it.

[00:30:25] Randi Rubenstein: Well, you had also, right. You were preparing to move from Florida back to Texas. Like there was a lot going on. Right? And so I remember hearing this update and I’m thinking, okay, you’ve got to move in a week and you just traveled and there was an energetic shift. That’s what I mean by like, we’re here, and I talk a lot about pack leadership.

[00:30:49] Liz: Mm hmm.

[00:30:50] Randi Rubenstein: But this is what pack leadership looks like in real life. So it’s like way back when you came and you’re like, just give me the script, but there was all this anxiety. And like there is no way when we’re in that place of anxiety and I like, just give me the script, just give me the script, that you would have been able to show up in that calm, spacious, clear energy prioritizing, like I have a child, I’m caring for a child. He’s 11. He’s not going to hijack the trip. 

[00:31:23] I’m going to, this is mostly an adult trip. However, we have a child too, so I’m going to, I’m going to straddle these two worlds in a way where everyone knows that I’m, that they’re a priority of course. And if we had to say what’s the top priority for me, it would be, I’m the mother of this child.

[00:31:46] Liz: Mm hmm. Mm

[00:31:47] Randi Rubenstein: So he’s my biggest priority. But you people aren’t chopped liver either. Right? So like straddling that and how you manage to do that, I mean, that’s some serious pack leadership.

[00:32:01] Liz: Thank you. Well, 

[00:32:02] I, I credit honestly, just being as calm as possible. And also, you know, knowing that, structuring things in a way that, uh, gave me as much berth as possible to show up that way was helpful, you know, letting, you know, the family know we’re going to stay in tonight and order room service. Have a nice night. You know, there’s no,

[00:32:23] Randi Rubenstein: Boundaries. There, okay, so there’s,

[00:32:25] Liz: That’s it. That’s the B word. Exactly. Yes. 

[00:32:27] Randi Rubenstein: that’s an example of boundaries in real life. And, which is no small feat for somebody who has, who survived through the fawn response, which is people pleasing, which is obliging, you know, I just want everyone to hear that. People pleasing. It’s not a character flaw, it is a survival response.

[00:32:49] Liz: That’s a wonderful way to put it. Absolutely.

[00:32:52] Randi Rubenstein: So anyone who has had a people pleasing pattern, it’s not because you’re a doormat. It’s not because you’re a wimp. It’s because it was what you did to survive and you learned that it was a skill set. It has been a part of you that has helped you. 

[00:33:08] It’s not an effective part of us when we are in leadership roles and it makes, um, having boundaries, like something as simple as, have a wonderful night. We’re going to stay in tonight. I have a tired kid. We’re going to stay in tonight and order room service. Can’t wait to hear about the delicious meals you have tomorrow. Have so much fun. 

[00:33:32] Like that’s, that pack leadership and that boundary. For somebody who has survived for many years in their life through that people pleasing fawn response. That’s reconditioning yourself. It’s pretty powerful.

[00:33:49] Liz: Well, it definitely, it helped tremendously and, and um, definitely helped me enjoy the trip, help my child enjoy the trip. There was less, less angst, less, less frustration, less butting of the heads because we were in a good place. And he knew that he could, thankfully, I hope that, rely on me as somebody who would, you know, look out for his best interest. 

[00:34:14] Yeah, there’s some times where we have to kind of buck up and do things that are a little uncomfortable and the trip’s a little longer and the, the tour’s a little longer and the walk is a little longer and all the things and the food’s taking a little longer at the restaurant for the 14th meal out again.

[00:34:28] And there’s going to be some free time, too. And we’re going to, make sure that we get a good night’s sleep. And, we’re going to have some free time for you. And I’m going to go in the pool with you and play with you because you need some kid time. So it’s just, it was a really good balance. And we had another trip as well, uh, to visit family later on in the summer where that really, really helped.

[00:34:49] And I’ll tell you what was probably the biggest, the biggest Mastermind tool, and I don’t know, lowercase t for the tool, because I know it’s not an explicit tool, but just managing expectations. I feel the trip to family later in the summer where similarly, you know, Walker was the only child and there were just a lot of expectations on him to show up as the perfect grandchild and to do all the things.

[00:35:13] Um, and I try to run a little bit of interference to a certain degree to temper down those expectations to, make sure that I built in plenty of time for him just to be a kid and just to go outside and kick their soccer ball or go play or do whatever. 

[00:35:31] The biggest thing for Walker and me to set ourselves up for the best trip possible to visit family was for me to start telling him a week in advance, hey, I want to just talk to you about this trip coming up. I want to set some next, I want to just share. What I was doing was setting his expectations. So it wasn’t a surprise. 

[00:35:47] So he was well equipped to know that here’s what’s going to happen on this trip, and there’s going to be some fun things, and there’s going to be some things that I got to do, because I’m a grandkid, and I haven’t seen this family member in a really long time and all the things, um, but setting up those expectations and reminding him and letting him know, here’s what you can expect. Here’s going to be the fun stuff. Here’s going to be the stuff that might be a little tricky, but we’re going to get through it. And here’s some fun stuff we could look forward to afterwards. That was the best blessing, that was the best, um, learning, the best takeaway that helped set up for that trip. 

[00:36:24] And I, it’s funny looking back on the family trip that we took abroad. I probably should have done that, but it was just so hectic and the school would have it all worked out fine, but, for the next trip, I think just making sure that I communicated and reiterated, I don’t want to say the rules, but just what the boundaries were going to be for my child, for the trip, for what we were going to pack and how we were going to behave and, and all the things. In a good way, but just setting up those expectations, there were no surprises, 

[00:36:51] Randi Rubenstein: That’s leadership. 

[00:36:51] Liz: and

[00:36:52] Randi Rubenstein: You came in and you’re like, just tell me what to say. Just give me the script. But if you really think, and we can think about it professionally, people that are, that are in positions of leadership. Let’s say that you were on a work team and you have, a big project or, or a big event that you’re preparing for, that your team is preparing for, and it’s going to be like next week is this big conference that we’re, we’re going to, or we’re hosting. And so it’s going to be a week where we’re all going to travel to this conference and, um, it’s going to be intense. 

[00:37:31] Like, can you imagine just showing up at the conference and whoever was the leader in charge of your work team, was just like, yeah, I don’t know. Like, tomorrow you’ll see the schedule. Like, well, I didn’t even know what to pack. Like, what is every day going to be? Are we going to be in session? Are we going to do, we wear business attire or there are some days that we’re a little more casual. Like, who are we going to be meeting? 

[00:37:57] Like you want to know what to expect. And a good leader knows that of course you’re going to set your team up for success. But you got to let them know what to expect. And so it’s like, I think most people understand that from a professional perspective. But we’re in these positions of leadership with our kids and then we’re just with our kids, we’re just like, yeah, good luck to you.

[00:38:22] And then when whatever your expectations aren’t met, because I didn’t do my job as a leader to help you develop realistic expectations. So you’re going to have expectations as a human and when they’re not met and then you’re upset about it, then I’m going to get pissed at you. Right? 

[00:38:42] Liz: My gosh, it’s so funny you should say this and I don’t know, going off script a little bit. Not script, but… 

[00:38:48] Randi Rubenstein: Right. Topic.

[00:38:50] Liz: Topic. Just the other day, I was getting so irritated with my child because I don’t know what happened to our etiquette. Shaking of the hand, seeing another adult, communicating what your name is. Just, just a normal exchange, a nice greeting. We just lost the art of that, and so I was getting really irritated, and frustrated and angry and crunchy. 

[00:39:12] And I realized I need to pause. I need to, we need to reset. I don’t know where… he’s 11. It happens. You know, you don’t, haven’t memorized Emily Post’s, you know, volume of etiquette. Right. Um, we need to reset and I need to sip, I asked, and I got curious thanks to some of the way you, our training in our brain now is instead of getting angry and upset and, and frustrated, I got curious. And I asked my son, I said, do you remember what to do when you see an adult? And he said, well, not really. 

[00:39:43] I’m like, okay, we can handle this. And let’s just, I, I’m a marketing, you know, junkie. I’m like, let’s just break down to like three little simple words. Let’s see, let’s shake and let’s speak. The three S’s. Let’s just do that. Let’s remember that in our brain. See, shake, speak, or whatever. and I said, you see, you look the person in the eye, you shake their hand, and you speak.

[00:40:04] I can’t feign enthusiasm. I mean, you might not be excited to meet great aunt Millie, but you know, at the same time, you know, you can at least communicate and speak. Hello, my name is, how are you today? You know, thank you for coming. Thank you for inviting me, whatever it is, but, um, it was a really helpful thing.

[00:40:22] And now when I say the three S’s, he remembers, that’s his brain trigger to remember. And at least now, if he doesn’t do it, I can legitimately say, listen, there were expectations that you didn’t meet. And it’s, it’s frustrating, you know, it doesn’t look good, right? Whatever, whatever it is, but at least he knows I prepared him. He’s got something he can cling to, a little mantra. 

[00:40:42] It was a really good moment for me. Because I was able to kind of take some of the tools, take the mindset that you’ve given us, take that, the learning and that, um, that idea of we are the pack leader and we certainly can have feelings and expectations, but it’s actually my fault that my kid is showing up this way and I’m angry at myself. I’m not angry at him. I’m angry at myself for not preparing him. 

[00:41:06] So it might take a little bit of, um, handholding. It might take a little bit of, you know, indoctrination of, of what those steps are. But, you know, once we repeated the rules and repeated them often, hopefully it’s a habit that’ll stick. 

[00:41:20] Randi Rubenstein: Are you open, are you, are you open for a little add on coaching to that?

[00:41:25] Liz: Yeah, let’s do that.

[00:41:26] Randi Rubenstein: I love how you got curious and you asked him and he was like, yeah, I kind of forgot. And so you’re like, okay, so let’s give him a fun acronym. Love that. Let’s teach him. My hunch is is that he forgot because he doesn’t, fully buy in or understand the importance of why

[00:41:48] Liz: Mm-Hmm?

[00:41:48] Randi Rubenstein: we see, shake, speak when we are, you know, meeting another adult or another person or whatever. Like what’s the purpose, what’s the reason? And I think so often this is what we do is we teach manners, but kids are so logical and reasonable and naturally they’re, especially a kid that’s raised in a family where he knows it’s like what you said, like he does sleep in the same bed every single night. He has consistency as two parents that love him. He has a beautiful life. 

[00:42:20] So he, this is a kid that is being like properly loved and it really is a beautiful life. And so he is naturally going to want to do the right thing, going to want to be a helpful person. He’s going to want to be a helpful person and a kind kid. And I think he just maybe doesn’t understand why this is important.

[00:42:46] Liz: Mm-Hmm.

[00:42:47] Randi Rubenstein: So, you know, and so I would just do a little add on you go, you know, I was thinking about like, I loved how you were like, yeah, I kind of forgot. You know, when we talked about the, wait, tell me what the three S’s are again. 

[00:43:02] You know? Like you say, you go do a little teaching cause you know, I, I always want to take that opportunity. Um, but I was thinking about why you’ve forgotten. And I think it’s cause I skipped really explaining the or talking about why it’s important. Like why manners matter to us, right? 

[00:43:24] And really, that’ll be an opportunity for you to have a conversation with him about values, about why we go to church or what believe in and why it’s important to us and why it feels so important when you meet someone else, when you look someone in the eyes. Right? Like that person feels seen by you, that’s another human being. And, and, and if it’s another human being, an older member of our family, right?

[00:43:58] It’s like, you know, all the older members of the family, you know how they are all obsessed with you or, you know, they’re, it’s all about the kids. But to see someone, and to really see them, and to notice them and then to shake their hand, show that kind of, of respect, like I really see you as a human, that, that makes people feel really good. You know, everyone just wants, no matter what age you are, everyone wants to be seen. 

[00:44:27] And if you can, can truly grasp that concept as a young man,

[00:44:34] Liz: Mm-Hmm?

[00:44:34] Randi Rubenstein: right? It is going to be a skill that, that you take with you through life. Like to always, you know, let’s say one day you’re some big, hotshot business executive. But from the time you were a boy, no matter if it was the person that was waiting on you at a restaurant, or another hotshot business executive, no matter who it is, you have it ingrained in you to see, shake, speak, and you make every person that you come into contact with feel seen and valuable.

[00:45:13] That’s what we learn about in church. That’s what we believe. We believe in honoring, you know, other human beings and seeing other human beings. And that’s a beautiful thing. So I just want you to know, we’re not just going through the motions of the manners. The manners really do matter.

[00:45:32] Liz: That’s wonderful. Thank you for that reminder. That makes so much sense. 

[00:45:36] I also think there’s no statute of limitations on talking about this stuff. I feel like when you’re on a dog walk or a random moment, you know, I, it, you can sneak it in. Because I, I oftentimes will go back and say, do you remember when we have this conversation or or what have you?

[00:45:52] And I, half the time it’s because I’m apologizing because I, I feel like I didn’t show up in the right way or, um, I didn’t say quite the right thing and I’m just seeking forgiveness and that we just practice a lot of that and I’m asking for forgiveness a lot because I, for a lot of those, you know, to step backwards in my, in my progress of being a Mastermind parent. But, um, 

[00:46:11] Randi Rubenstein: I think you say forgiveness, but I look at it as humility. And I think…

[00:46:16] Liz: That’s a good point. 

[00:46:17] Randi Rubenstein: Right? I think it’s humility. I think it’s like, this is, this is your, like, it’s your own internship. I think you do that a lot because I think there’s an intuitive knowing that you’re, you’re a recovering perfectionist. 

[00:46:33] And so, by having the humility. Right? To say, you know, I was thinking about this conversation that we had and, or I was thinking about the way I handled that one situation and I, it’s been on my mind and so I just wanted to tell you like, I’m sorry for, like, I didn’t, I did that thing wrong. Like, I wish I could have, I would have said this instead.

[00:46:54] Liz: Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm.

[00:46:56] Randi Rubenstein: And it’s like, it’s such a, a beautiful example of, you have a conversation like that where you show up with humility and like full ownership of, I screwed that one up or wish I would have done it differently. And you have this very real conversation with your kid.

[00:47:16] Liz: Mm-Hmm.

[00:47:17] Randi Rubenstein: All humans, I think, respond to humility like that. It’s authentic. It’s authentic. It’s real. It’s vulnerable. 

[00:47:26] And next thing you know, you’ve got a kid that is owning something that they could have done differently or they’re, you know, like that, that dog walk, all of a sudden you notice that like, he brushes you a little more closely or he grabs your hand, you know, a few minutes later onto the walk because he feels more connected to you because you, you didn’t show up as the perfect parent robotically memorizing the script. You showed up as an actual fucking human being.

[00:47:56] Liz: Mm-Hmm. . Mm-Hmm. . Absolutely. Uh, you’re absolutely right. And it’s liberating to do that too. It really is. It just feels like you’re, that’s how you build that relationship.

[00:48:07] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. No. It’s, it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful. Okay. Well, you keep being you. 

[00:48:14] Liz: Well, thank you for, thank you for helping me be me, right? Helping shine the spotlight on, our growth and giving us a moment to pause for applause, and see how much we’ve grown, those milestones that we’ve hit. And, you know, this community is just ridiculously helpful and it’s a family and it’s a village. It’s all of it all into one, and 

[00:48:38] Randi Rubenstein: it’s, 

[00:48:38] Liz: I’m so grateful. 

[00:48:38] Randi Rubenstein: I mean, that’s what we, mean, this is what we have to do. Because this is the way I think that’s the difference. Because I’ve obviously had a lot of

[00:48:48] people, I’ve heard a lot of people over the years say I’ve been in therapy for years. I’m a proponent, I’m a proponent of therapy, but I’ve never achieved the results that I’ve achieved here. 

[00:49:01] And I think it’s because the results that we want are, it’s never going to happen in a silo. Like we need community,

[00:49:08] Liz: Absolutely. 

[00:49:10] Randi Rubenstein: right? When we do that, when we do this kind of growing and healing and, and, and learning. When we do it in community, I think that’s why the results happen exponentially. 

[00:49:24] Liz: And we learn from each other and we’re learning how to do the work. And I think also what’s beautiful about the community that you’ve established, it meets you where you are and gives and takes as much as you need at that particular time.

[00:49:37] Unlike a therapy session where you’ve gotta show up at one o’clock and it’s over at 1:52 and that’s it, and you move on.

[00:49:45] I mean, sometimes you might have a thought in your head or you might have an issue or a struggle or, a joyful moment that you just want to share, and this community that you’ve established allows for that 24/7. It’s just absolutely incredible.

[00:49:59] Randi Rubenstein: Thank God

[00:49:59] Liz: So, yeah,

[00:50:00] Randi Rubenstein: it’s because of freaking Voxer, I know, like, that’s what Scott, well, Scott says, he’s like, he’s like, you really should be on commission for Voxer because there’s no one. 

[00:50:10] And I’m like, but, but it has provided this amazing tool for, for exactly what you said, which is like, I, I have this outlet where I can share with people who actually care about me and want to hear what I’m going through and are here to support me. Right? Like, and so I’m like, yeah, no, we just found a tool that really helps us to be able to do that. And we get a lot of shit accomplished.

[00:50:39] Liz: Absolutely. And it’s also a community where you’ve kept reminding me, the perfectionist in me, is that I don’t have to be the therapist for everybody. I can show up when I need to. I can happen to listen. I, it, I do have a desire to be more involved, but I, thankfully, it’s a community that never judges and never keeps tally of how many times you’ve communicated or responded or liked, or it’s not a social media site 

[00:51:04] Randi Rubenstein: At all. Can you imagine if everyone in our groups liked or responded to every single person? It would be overwhelming.

[00:51:12] Liz: One billion percent. And so it’s, it feels so gratifying to know there’s a space you can go and show up as yourself. Give, take, hold hands, kumbaya, and just have that space whenever and wherever you need it.

[00:51:29] Randi Rubenstein: Well, it’s Kumbaya, but it’s also like, like, you know, me, like I’m results oriented. So it’s like, yeah, no, we’re going to get some shit accomplished and handled. We’re going to have a plan. Like this thing happened. And I want to make it better. What do I do? 

[00:51:47] And I’m like, well, let’s, okay, so I’m not going to just give you the script. I’m going to, you know, you’re learning how to fish. So you are going to like, let’s just know for sure you are going to make this situation better. Period. End of story. And we’re going to brainstorm this. We’re going to workshop it. I’m going to coach you, like we’re going to come up with your plan together. 

[00:52:10] Yeah, I mean, I think for those of you who have been around for as long as you have, I think part of what makes our community so special too, is because, I mean, haven’t you seen the changes in me? Like I’m here with you guys, like, I don’t have all the answers at all. And I go through tons of shit too, and I share it with you and like, we’re truly doing this in community where I’m not, I’m not the guru, I’m not the sage on the stage, even though I am the pack leader of the community, I’m learning from all of you too. And I’m sharing my real experience as well. 

[00:52:51] Um, it feels like a sisterhood, even though there are a few super cool men involved, um, for the most part, it just feels like a sisterhood, like I’ve never experienced in my life anywhere else.

[00:53:06] Liz: hmm. I agree. I agree. 

[00:53:07] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. Um, okay. Love you to pieces. Thank you for being here for this conversation.

[00:53:13] Liz: Thank you for inviting me.

[00:53:15] Randi Rubenstein: Bye everyone. 

[00:53:16] 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.

[00:53:50] 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. 

[00:54:24] 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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by Randi Rubenstein