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273: Pretending. Performing. Parenting.

If you’ve listened to the podcast, you’ve probably heard me mention how much I love television. Since I was a kid, TV has been a place where I could escape from reality for a little while. But it’s also helped me to understand what kind of family relationships I want, and modeled the kind of parent I want to show up as. I recently rediscovered The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which was a favorite when I was in college. An episode I just watched showed me that our worries about perfection aren’t a new thing. We’ve felt this pressure to perform and be the perfect parents since at least 1970. Let me (and Mary) show you where that pressure comes from, and what to do about it.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How we got so caught up in the wisdom of parenting books and the advice of experts, and stopped trusting ourselves.
  • Why we worry so much about saying the wrong thing and screwing our kids up forever.
  • How the performance of parenting prevents us from being authentic and real (until we’re too pissed off to keep up the act).

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: 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.

[00:00:10] Hello, hello. How is everyone this week? I have a topic that I want to talk about that’s being spurred on by a number of things. Sometimes there’s themes that I seem to coach parents on, and this week there’s been a theme that involves self trust. 

[00:00:33] Like, I’m just not sure if I should say this thing. I don’t want to hurt their confidence, I mean, from a little kid that is turning four that hasn’t potty trained yet. To, uh, mom of a second grader who her, you know, son struggles with reading comprehension. To a mom who her teenage daughter took her hair product and then she found she didn’t ask to take it. And then the mom found the hair product in her daughter’s bathroom. Doesn’t know if she should bring it up or not. 

[00:01:18] To the mom whose middle schooler seems to like be operating in a lot of chaos. She’s really worried about her child’s confidence and she, running late all the time. But when mom tries to talk to her about it The daughter’s totally shut down, not open to discussing it. 

[00:01:39] It seems like there’s a lot about, I don’t want to hurt their confidence. I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to say the wrong thing. Um, what do you think, Randi? What do you think? And I think this is super common. I think that it can be really hard to trust yourself to know how to handle these little situations that feel like really big situations. 

[00:02:10] Because I think, when you think about like, if I say something now that could hurt my kid’s self confidence, then that’s going to affect them in a big way moving forward. And I’ve done all this learning. I know the first 10 years of life are really critical and, and it’s programming their subconscious. And if I say these things and I don’t say it just right, then, what if they think there’s something wrong with them and I would never want that. And we end up swirling in all of this confusion. 

[00:02:50] And when I talk about pack leadership, when you’re swirling in confusion and indecisiveness, insecurity, worrying what you might say, what you should say, not sure of what to say, monitoring every word that comes out of your mouth, it is not pack leadership and that is not what ultimately ends up helping our kids. And slash, but how do we shift out of that cycle? Right? So how do we shift out of that cycle? 

[00:03:21] You know, I’ve been talking about this performative parenting thing and this topic and, don’t know, my brain’s just been sort of going down lots of different wormholes about this. Why do people seem to think that they can’t bring their authentic self to the most important relationships? Like all we, all any of us ever want is to feel seen, to feel known by the people that love us the most. And we want our kids to feel the same way. And yet, this concept of parents that are pretending and performing, I think it’s just prevalent everywhere.

[00:04:11] And I really, I really have been trying to understand this and looking at myself as well, right? And so I know whenever some, I’m like, um, obsessed about some concept. What I know now is I, I start talking about it and I want to teach people about it and this thing that I’ve just realized and I need to teach about it.

[00:04:37] And what I know now is I really teach what I need to learn. And when I start teaching it, it means something recently I connected the dots about something recently for myself. This is super cringy to look at, right? Like, I’m teaching the thing I need to learn. So where have I been a performer, right?

[00:05:03] There’s a saying, you spot it, you got it. So I’ve really been looking at where have I been a performer? Where have I been a performing parent? And I’m really thinking about that. And when I go back to when I first realized that I need to take a parenting class or something, my son, who’s now 25, he was almost three and a half and I just didn’t, I just, I knew there was something to figure out.

[00:05:38] I knew that our household felt stressful, I knew that I was annoyed with my husband a lot and so I’ve told the story a million times where I basically gave my husband an ultimatum. I’m like, we’re either taking a parenting class or we are, uh, going to marriage counseling. I don’t know, but whatever we’re doing here, I don’t like it.

[00:06:01] And he looked at me like I was crazy. And because I can be kind of intense, he was like, uh, fine, I’ll take a parenting class. So the very first parenting class that we took was all about the kids’ perspective. It was called redirecting children’s behavior. And I learned some new things and I have been pouring over parenting books, right?

[00:06:26] And I really did learn some new things. I really, it helped me and my husband to get on the same page. It helped us to what I call Q-Tip, Quit Taking It Personally, and really start investigating and playing detective about what, when our kid was whatever behavior it was, whining all the time, um, being super needy, biting us on things, picky eating, whatever it was, it helped us to play detective and really to try and understand him better, get to know him better.

[00:07:00] But it was when I really kept on reading the books, and then the books turned to books about me. You know, when he was about seven ish was the first time I saw or heard about 

[00:07:14] Brene Brown and so many years ago. And she wasn’t even a big deal yet. She hadn’t done a TED talk or anything like that. She was local. She lives in Houston, not far from me. She was speaking at my synagogue. I went, I heard her speak. I, she was talking about these concepts about, it was, she was talking about her book, The Gifts of Imperfection. She was talking about things that I had never learned about or heard about. It was really interesting to me.

[00:07:39] And so I read her book and, shortly after that, I started learning about this program for, that was designed for teachers and called Conscious Discipline, which really helped me to, in that, that program is all about the adults looking at themselves. 

[00:07:55] And so that’s where all the science came in. I started learning about the brain and learning about what’s going on in our bodies when we’re triggered and all these concepts I’d never heard about. And so what I want to say is, is I learned a lot from parenting program to books, to resources, and I threw a lot of spaghetti at the wall. A lot.

[00:08:25] And I would, I would learn information and then I would practice it. Sometimes I would shift gears way too quickly. Um, like I learned about this thing, kids need structure. And so I put in crazy structure and then that didn’t feel right. And then I read a book about how you just follow the kid’s lead. And, and so I combined the two. So I kept just combining things and just trying and trying and trying and trying to try it. 

[00:08:52] And ultimately. Where I am now is I realized that if I had just had two kids, like my two younger kids, I probably would have just, I would have raised my kids the way I was raised, just maybe a little bit of a more modern twist on it. I wouldn’t have. change cycles. I wouldn’t have been a cycle breaker. I had to have a kid that was strong willed, that was highly sensitive, who nothing, those old tactics, those authoritarian tactics, they didn’t work. And it definitely was not going to work to yell at him because he was so highly sensitive, like there was some kind of inner knowing in me that had to learn a new way.

[00:09:42] And so I like to say now that, Alec basically introduced me to myself. And because we had an Alec, I think every member of our family was called to more, you know, became an elevated version of ourselves. But as I now notice when we’re in certain patterns, I bring a lot of curiosity and help other parents sort of investigate and look at their own patterns in a way that is, I think it’s kind of fun to be perfectly honest.

[00:10:17] So I was, look, I was thinking about this performing thing and I was thinking about where have I been a performer? And the truth is, I think for, I think when I was learning new things, I was sort of faking it till I made it. And then when something felt right or it worked, I just tweaked it and made it my own.

[00:10:41] And when I started teaching parenting classes all those years ago, which really was prompted from learning the program for teachers, I started just sharing stories from my own life. Not like, here’s a super success story. It was really more like, this is how my family looked this week and this is the shit show that occurred. And I tried to do this thing, this concept that I learned from this program, from this book. But what I realized afterwards is this is what I did wrong. So I went back and I course corrected and I talked to my kid and lo and behold. Like we figured it out, you know? 

[00:11:23] So I started sharing these stories and I didn’t set out to do that but I think you know when I’m now what I know about my patterns is is when I learn something that It really impacts me in a big way. I take a lot of action, right? I’m with, I’m, I love this assessment called the Kolbe. So I’m a quick start. So I take a whole lot of action, but I also am a big researcher. So I learn and I learn and I learn and I go down these rabbit holes of learning and, and then I just try things, but I don’t really have a plan. I just, I don’t know, I just kind of do it. 

[00:12:01] And I think it’s interesting to start to look at your own patterns, because when I started teaching those classes, I was really just teaching something that I had, that was working for me in my household. And all I knew was that I got to share this, like I needed to talk about it. And, when we teach other people things that have impacted us, well, then we learn it on an even deeper level. And really that is how Mastermind Parenting came to be.

[00:12:38] So recently I watched an old show on Hulu, a show that I hadn’t watched in many, many years. But if I look at my patterns from childhood, I was television obsessed. Okay. And there were certain shows over the years that I became so obsessed with it. I think it was like the way I tapped into my own magical thinking. It was almost like, you know, during the early years I watched a Little House On The Prairie and I watched all these shows about families and I think it was my way as a little kid to live vicariously through these fictional characters.

[00:13:28] And then, you know, as I got older, the shows shifted, but when I became a teenager, I started to watch this, I started to watch Nickelodeon at night, Nick At Night, and they would show sitcoms like sitcoms from, that my parents watched when, you know, they were younger, like black and white. I started watching like things like, like the Dick Van Dyke show and I Love Lucy. And um, I mean, I watched all kinds of shows, Leave it to Beaver and one of the shows that I watched as a teenager and I would fall asleep every night watching these shows. I had this little tiny like black and white television set.

[00:14:08] One of the shows that I loved was the Mary Tyler Moore show, which is older than me. Okay. So the Mary Tyler Moore show came out when year 1970. And it was a show about a young 30 ish, single woman, and she lived in Minneapolis and she lived in this apartment building. She worked at this TV station, sort of like behind the scenes, Mary Tyler Moore, and She. Lived in this apartment building and there was two other women that lived in the apartment building, Rhoda and Phyllis. And they were her friends and they were like her chosen family. And she was trying to make it out in the world and figuring out this whole independence thing. 

[00:14:48] And I loved the Mary Tyler Moore show to the point that when I was in college, I remember I couldn’t fall asleep until I heard the Mary Tyler Moore theme song. Like I would go through different seasons where I couldn’t fall asleep until I heard that theme song. There was something about that show that was super comforting to me. 

[00:15:09] So the other night I start watching just a random episode, early episode, episode three of the Mary Tyler Moore show. And it was about parenting. Like I, you can’t script this stuff. It’s like all of a sudden I just, for the first time in years, randomly turn on the Mary Tyler Moore show and it’s an episode about parenting. And I’m like, I was learning about things before I realized I was learning about things and this particular episode I think is so good and answered so many questions for me.

[00:15:51] Because I’m like, why are we so worried about not saying the wrong thing? Second guessing ourselves, wanting to get it right to the point of when you’re a parent, you even change your tone of voice. You talk to your children, you refer to your children as children. Maybe your tone changes. There’s a certain way to be. You use little terms that are different. It’s like as parents, so often I think it’s like, we think we need to act like parents, but inside we don’t necessarily feel this way. 

[00:16:26] So it’s like, we’ve gotten a role, somebody’s parent, and now we have to figure out the right way to be that person’s parent. And so all of this thinking and studying and nervous to just say it, it keeps us out of our authenticity and it keeps us in this state of perpetually performing. 

[00:16:54] And when we’re perpetually performing, we’re not bringing our real self. And then, you know, our real self comes online when we get pissed. And so our real self and the way we really feel inside, like that’s the most authentic part of us is when we’re pissed. Our kid is having some behavior that is obviously rubbing us the wrong way. And then we’re like, enough! And we stop being so scripted and we now are in our authenticity. But that is the opposite of what we’re trying to be when we’re in the parent acting role.

[00:17:34] I want to share some clips from the Mary Tyler Moore show because I think it really sort of explains how we got here. Okay. How we got here thinking that we need to trust. The books and the resources and the programs and the professional more than we trust ourselves. 

[00:18:00] And I’m not saying, I look, I learned a ton from all the things I’ve studied and, and the programs and the resources, like I’ve learned a ton. I really feel like I reconditioned myself, retrained my brain, sort of learned a new way to think and be in the world that goes way beyond parenting. I think it’s helped me to grow into who I am today. 

[00:18:25] So, I’m all about learning, but I think there’s this balance of, okay, I know these concepts that these resources have taught me. And now, um, what does it look to, to combine that with my inner knowing and what I really think? And if I’m too scared to say things to my own kid, cause I’m so worried about breaking their confidence, right? What is that about? Right? 

[00:19:01] Guess what? We can always course correct. It’s messy being a human. Sometimes we say shit that we are like, okay, that came out terrible. That is, I’m super sorry for saying that. Right? Like that probably didn’t feel good. Yeah, mom. Yeah, it was. Yeah. I don’t even know why I said that. I’m, I’m sorry. I didn’t, I didn’t mean that. Now tell me what you are feeling. I just want, I just want you to tell me what’s going on with you. 

[00:19:28] Right? Like we have a conversation, we share our real selves, but if we’re in insecurity, confusion, I’m worried I’m going to do it wrong. What if I’m going to damage some, this human being for life? I can’t trust my gut. It leaves us in this cycle of, I think, perpetual performance. 

[00:19:53] And that is the opposite of what our kids want. Our kids, they want us to know them, to see them, to unconditionally love them. And they want to know us, like the real us, the one who screws it up, the one who says the wrong thing, and then knows how to go back and course correct. The one who shows up authentically. 

[00:20:15] So when I was watching the Mary Tyler Moore show. Her friend Phyllis says, I have to, I have an emergency with my boyfriend. I need to go away for a few days and take care of him. Can you keep my daughter, her daughter, Bess, can you keep Bess? Bess seems to be around seven or eight. And Mary’s like, uh, I don’t think Bess likes me very much. Come to find out like Bess is classic strong willed kid. 

[00:20:40] So I’m going to play a clip because when. Phyllis, before she brings Bess over to be with Mary, she shows up with a giant stack of books. Okay. She shows up with a giant stack of books and I’m like, okay, 1970 Phyllis, the single mom on the Mary Tyler Moore show was struggling with the same thing we’re struggling with today. And she was in performance mode. And, I just feel like this show might really help you to understand this point that I’m just starting to kind of really delve into it and understand more myself.

[00:21:26] So let’s learn together. 

[00:21:28] MTMS01E03: 

[00:21:28] Bess’ll be up in a second. These are the books. 

[00:21:33] The books? 

[00:21:34] Yeah, on creative child rearing. I know some people find it amusing that I insist on raising Bess from these, but the, uh, men and women who wrote them are experts, and the people who laugh, uh, aren’t. Besides, Bess thinks these books show a lot of insight.

[00:21:51] Bess has read these? 

[00:21:52] Yes, why, does that surprise you? 

[00:21:54] Well, yeah. I mean, she’s just a little girl. 

[00:21:57] Wrong. She’s just a little girl. Uh, chapter six. The adult who says of a child she’s just a little girl is clearly showing her ignorance. Now she’s, she’s gonna be here in a second so I think I ought to prepare you for something.

[00:22:15] Oh, what? 

[00:22:16] Well it’s just something she does when she’s angry. I, I just ignore it. I wish you would too. 

[00:22:20] Well what? 

[00:22:21] Oh, Mother’s coming Bess. 

[00:22:22] No, no, no. Mother is not coming until Mary finds out what it is that Bess does. 

[00:22:27] She wears my wig and makeup. Mary will be doing the very best she can, Bess, and we can’t expect too much of her. Remember, mother and father love their Bess. And Mary likes her. 

[00:22:47] Well, here we are. Uh, have you had dinner? 

[00:22:54] Yes, Phyllis burned it. 

[00:22:57] Oh, I’m sorry. 

[00:22:58] Why? You didn’t burn it. 

[00:23:00] Well, no, but it’s just that, you know, when you try to fix something, and then it doesn’t turn out right, it’s kind of disappointing.

[00:23:05] Well, it doesn’t bother Phyllis. 

[00:23:07] Do you always call your mother Phyllis? 

[00:23:10] It’s her name. 

[00:23:13] Yeah, I know, but when I was a little girl, when I was a young person, I, uh, I always called my mother Mother. I still do. I mean, I never even think of calling her Marge! That’s what it is, it’s Marge. 

[00:23:28] Did Phyllis show you these books? 

[00:23:31] Uh, yeah, I, uh, I haven’t had a chance to really get into them yet.

[00:23:34] Yeah, well, I think you ought to. This isn’t going particularly well so far, you know.

[00:23:41] No. Uh, do you like having all that makeup on your face? 

[00:23:47] Yes, do you? 

[00:23:48] I think it makes you look awful.

[00:23:51] Bess? Bess, what are you doing? 

[00:23:57] Randi Rubenstein: Okay, so in the first clip she brings Mary the stack of books. She tells Mary that her daughter Bess has read the stack of books and she’s like, of course she’s read the books. It’s like whatever the child wants, you know, these books talk about honoring the child. Yes, we believe in honoring the child. Yes, we believe in understanding how the child is wired. Yes, we believe in. The child having needs, right? And also this kid cannot be the pack leader of the family. And that’s where there’s a disconnect for Phyllis. She’s letting her daughter dictate everything. She’s taking these concepts so literally that the kid is running the show and the kid is acting like a super brat and a little bit like a little adult too.

[00:24:59] And so Mary, who isn’t a mom yet, she says to the kid, Phyllis leaves, and she says, you know, she says something that insults the kid and the kid gets upset and goes and locks herself in her room and Mary’s room. And so when she finally comes out. Mary says, you know what, let’s just put the books aside. Why don’t we do something fun together? 

[00:25:21] And the kid gives her pushback. And Mary, you know, this is the night early 1970s. It hasn’t become a totally kid centric world yet. So Mary being a pretty healthy adult says, let’s go window shopping. And the kid’s like, what for? She’s like, just for fun. We’re not going to buy anything. We’re just going to go look. 

[00:25:42] So then they show this whole montage of Mary and the kid having this super connecting time. They’re window shopping. They’re going up on the escalator. They’re holding hands. They’re both smiling. They’re both laughing. It’s genuine. They play a little hide and seek around the fountain, and they return home and they are super connected. Okay. 

[00:26:05] So then. Before the next part, the next clip I’m going to show you, the kid is just having a really good time. Mary’s just including her in her life. She’s not making it all kid centric. She’s just like, here you are, you’re with me. We’re roommates now. And she’s taking care of the kid and just, you know, they’re getting to know each other and the kid’s not behaving strong willed or bratty. She’s just being a normal kid now. 

[00:26:33] And , and so Phyllis shows up to pick up the kid a couple of days later and, and her daughter says, I don’t want to go home. and Mary’s just kind of sitting there like, um, And Phyllis says, so, okay, well, if you don’t want to go home, then you’ll stay here. 

[00:26:55] And Mary’s kind of like, what the fuck, like, like what’s going on here? And Phyllis says, well, we don’t force it, Mary. We encourage her independence. If this is her wish to stay, this is where she’ll stay. And Mary, you know, Mary’s not going to tell Phyllis how to parent, so she’s like, uh, okay. And I, you can tell she’s thinking like, this is freaking crazy. 

[00:27:25] MTMS01E03: Hi, Phyllis. Oh, get your things, dear. Mother’s here to take you home. 

[00:27:30] I don’t want to go home. 

[00:27:33] What?

[00:27:33] I don’t want to go home.

[00:27:35] Oh, Phyllis, she doesn’t mean that. As soon as you get her home, she’s going to be… 

[00:27:38] Oh, no, no, no, no. I wouldn’t force her, Mary. We encourage her independence. If this is where she wants to be, this is where you want to be, is it, Bess? 

[00:27:52] But, Phyllis. 

[00:27:53] No, no, no, you don’t understand. If Bess wants this, this is what you want, Bess. Well, it’s obviously her wish to stay here, so, uh, is it your wish, Bess? Then this is where she’ll stay.

[00:28:11] Randi Rubenstein: Okay. So now in this next part. And a little time goes by, not a lot of time, I think like a day, and Phyllis comes over and, and her daughter’s not there. And Mary says, okay, this is getting crazy, like she needs to go home. And Phyllis says, no, it’s just a phase. You know, I don’t, we won’t force it.

[00:28:36] And Mary’s like, well, just be real. Tell her you miss her. And Phyllis says, oh no, no, no. And then she starts getting defensive and she says, you think I’m a lousy mother. And then she calls Mary daughter snatcher, you daughter snatcher. 

[00:28:59] It’s really interesting because the way it ends up, phyllis breaks down after she has that kind of explosion and the truth comes up, you know, comes out. You think I’m a lousy mother, which Mary’s like, I might think you’re a lousy mother, which really was just Mary saying like, stop with the books. 

[00:29:19] And so Phyllis starts crying and she says to Phyllis, like sometimes you come on really strong and this like this soft gooey you this is the you that I love. This is what makes me feel connected to you the real you the messy you the one who isn’t always going by the book Why don’t you just tell her that you miss her be the real you, you know, be vulnerable like let her know you It’s so that this version of you is so much better than that robotic by the book.

[00:29:54] Let’s consult, you know, she had like the book, it was like dog eared and there was a million bookmarks, and she’s like, stop going by the book, bring this version, because this is the lovable version. 

[00:30:07] It explains so much about our modern world. Many of us are thinking that we need to just go by the book and we’re not sure these concepts, they’re concepts, but what do they look like in real life? And you know what? In real life, we often get messy. We don’t do things perfectly. We don’t say things perfectly, but you become more confident when you allow yourself to truly be yourself. 

[00:30:39] MTMS01E03: Phyllis, sit down, will you? I was, uh, just calling you to tell you that, uh, I think everything is kind of crazy around here and it’s going to get even crazier if you don’t do something.

[00:30:51] What’s your problem, Mary? 

[00:30:53] It’s not my problem, Phyllis. It’s yours. Bess! 

[00:30:57] We’ve been all over that. It’s just a phase Bess is in. 

[00:31:00] Phyllis, you know what? I think Bess would want to come home if you’d just show her that you miss her. 

[00:31:05] Why don’t you come right out and say it, Mary? You’d think I’m a lousy mother.

[00:31:10] No, I don’t, Phyllis. I’ll tell you exactly what I think. I think I 

[00:31:17] What are you trying to say? I’m trying to think of a nice way to say that I think you’re a lousy mother.

[00:31:28] Well, Miss Daughter Snatcher. Let me tell you something. I have read all the books and I feel that I, I’m, I’m, what are you doing wearing my love beads? 

[00:31:42] Uh, Bess made these for me this morning. 

[00:31:45] Can you beat that? She’s made you the same beads she made for me. She loves you. She wants you to be her mother. 

[00:31:53] Oh, Phyllis.

[00:31:56] What is it? 

[00:31:57] Bess. She saw me crying. Oh, she’ll hate me for being sweet. 

[00:32:02] Hate you? Oh, Phyllis, listen. Look, you and I have been good friends for a long time, right? Well, not so good as you think. I mean, it’s, it’s because you come on so darn strong all the time, and well, I like you so much better when you come on weak. And, and if I feel this way, well, imagine how Bess felt when she saw you just now. Well, why imagine? I’m gonna go get her. 

[00:32:29] Uh, Mary? Yeah? Should I keep crying?

[00:32:36] Wouldn’t hurt.

[00:32:38] Randi Rubenstein: it’s a lot on a kid to feel responsible for their adult’s feelings. It is. It’s a lot. And what they didn’t know back in 1970 that we know now is it was never Bess’s job To make her mom feel better. It was never her job to make her mom feel like a good mother, you know? 

[00:33:10] So how often are we expecting our kids to behave a certain way because then we can feel less anxious that we’re getting this right, that we’re doing things right, that we are a good parent. Like it’s. All so connected, right? And it’s layered and it’s loaded. 

[00:33:32] And I guess I want y’all to realize that these concepts, this performative parenting paradigm that we find ourselves in often. This impossible position of wanting to be the best parent that you are, but all these resources, these conceptual resources, you’re not exactly sure how, what it looks like in real life. And so you try it and then before you know it, the power dynamic is off and you have a kid that no matter what you’re doing is acting like Bess in the show. Is being super bratty and difficult. 

[00:34:15] And, and you’re, you’ve done all this learning, but you’re not sure where there’s a disconnect and you’re trying so hard to figure this out, but you beat yourself up because you haven’t figured it out and you’re on social media learning from all these professionals. And maybe you’re looking at other people’s images where it seems like they figured it out.

[00:34:44] And you are on this island all by yourself because talking about this stuff is, feels like it’s the equivalent of admitting that you feel like a lousy mom. You’re worried that you’re a lousy parent. You’re worried that you’re doing it wrong. You’re worried that you’re doing things right now that your kids are going to blame you for later, right? Like it’s so much pressure and it’s been in our TV shows and it’s been a part of our culture for like 50 plus years. 

[00:35:24] And I don’t think this is what my mom’s in my groups tell me all the time, they’re like people are not talking about this stuff. They’re not talking about what’s really going on behind their curtains. They’re not talking about things that we talk about here. Like like it just feels so good to talk about these things and also to like to study my patterns in a way that doesn’t make me just feel even lousier and even worse about myself and even less confident.

[00:35:58] MTMS01E03: Phyllis, Bess went home. 

[00:36:02] Home? 

[00:36:03] Home. I just talked to her and you know what she said? Well, it was just so touching. She looked up at me and she said, Uh huh. 

[00:36:13] She said, uh huh. I don’t know what that means, Mary. 

[00:36:20] Well, you had to be there. She said, uh huh, after I said, Bess, are you here because you know your mother needs you?

[00:36:28] And she said, Uh huh. 

[00:36:31] Uh huh! 

[00:36:33] Oh, Mary. This isn’t much, but Thank you. You’re gonna make a wonderful mother. 

[00:36:42] I know!

[00:36:45] Randi Rubenstein: So when I look back at my own parent performing, I can say, sure, when I was learning some new tools and trying some new things out, I was faking it till I made it. I was throwing a lot of spaghetti at the wall, and I was I mean, I, took deep audible inhales and very dramatic exhales. 

[00:37:15] I learned there was this thing that humans can do. We can manipulate our own breath. We can calm down our nervous systems. I learned it so many years ago from that conscious discipline program and the way the lady had taught it at the seminar I went to, I did it just like that. When I felt myself about to fly off the handle about something ridiculous and I would, to the point that all of my kids really like equated that exhale with like, you know, somebody’s in trouble. 

[00:37:51] Which, I don’t care. I mean, as I’ve said, Especially to Avery as she’s gotten older. I’m like, I’ll take the hit. She’s like, it annoys me so much when you exhale like that. And I’m like, that’s okay. I’ll take the hit. I’d rather you be annoyed with my dramatic exhale than be feeling like shit about yourself because I screamed my head off. It’s fine. 

[00:38:13] So I did do some faking it till I made it. I did do some performing. And also, I did a lot of inner work. I faced myself. I looked at myself. I looked at my patterns. I looked at why I wanted to do things differently with my kids than it was done for me. 

[00:38:38] I’ve now even looked at, interesting, what shows I watch, huh? Isn’t that interesting? I was living vicariously. I was putting myself, like I was going into the land of magical thinking and I was putting myself into all of those families. And for 30 minutes or an hour, I could pretend that that was my family. Right?

[00:39:01] I mean, talk about when shows end or get canceled. I literally grieve the ending of a show because I feel like it’s like my, but wait, I’m not going to see my family anymore. Like that was a big part of my childhood. I used to make it mean that I was lazy and sedentary and just rotted on the couch my whole childhood away. Now I realize it was like my therapy and I think it saved me. 

[00:39:27] So when you start to look at your own patterns, I want you to know that, I want you to be gentle with yourself. I want you to be compassionate with yourself. I also want you to look at who are you allowing to influence you, who, what books are you reading? What professionals are you listening to? What scripts are you trying to memorize? 

[00:39:54] And I want you to really notice after even like, after listening to me too, after reading, after listening. If the messages that you hear, you receive don’t create more self trust and self belief, if this resource, if any of the resources make you actually feel worse about yourself, less hopeful, less inspired, more like you’re just getting it wrong, doing it wrong, and you’re a colossal failure. If you get any of those messages. Stop immediately. 

[00:40:35] I want you to protect yourself. Like I told my daughter when she was going off to college and we were talking about, you know, partying and drinking and I’m like, I want you to protect yourself. I want you to think every time you go to a party or you, you know, make a choice to have drinks. I want you to protect yourself like a baby crawling next to a pool, right? 

[00:40:56] I want you to realize that the messages that come in, you, you are very susceptible to taking that in, and if they make you feel bad about yourself, you’re not going to show up as your most confident, messy, brilliant, authentic, pack leader y self with your kids. You’re going to show up second guessing, constantly confused, scared to even try something new. What if you say it wrong? 

[00:41:30] And so I want you even just to just take a break from anything that doesn’t feel inspiring, supportive, or help you believe harder in yourself. Being someone’s parent can feel like you’ve got the weight of the world on your shoulders. So, take care of yourself so they don’t feel like they have to. It’s like, Phyllis’ daughter goes home, my mom needs me. No, we’re not doing that. 

[00:42:04] Guess what? We’re the parents. We take care of the people. We don’t need them to take care of us. We don’t have baby feelings. We turn to other adults to help us with that, supportive adults, the right adults that feel, that make us feel better, that make us realize that we’re not alone in this and there’s nothing wrong with us. And frankly, I happen to know you’re already a good parent because you wouldn’t be listening to shit like this if you weren’t, I promise you, right? 

[00:42:37] So that’s what I have for you. I want you to think about yourself as, uh, you are your own protector and in order to become the you that you were designed to be the amazing parent that you know, you are inside, really, that you have a, you have a desire to step into more and more.

[00:43:07] I want you to protect and honor yourself so that that can come out right so that that can come out more and more and you can stop performing and trying to say things like the perfect parent. Nobody likes perfect people, including our kids. They’re not real. They’re not authentic and it’s all bullshit.

[00:43:39] So that’s what I’ve got for you this week. Bye.

[00:43:44] 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.

[00:44:36] 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. 

[00:45:09] 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