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293: It’s Never A “Good” Time To Have A Baby Or Start A Business

When you’re in the trenches raising kids, it can feel like the busiest, hardest season of life. 

Now, imagine trying to start and run a business at the same time? 

I think my son, Cory, would say that’s low key insane. 

He’d also hate me claiming to know what he’d say and attempting to use his lingo…whatevs:). 

And just like it rarely feels like a perfect time to get pregnant but you go for it anyway, same same when it comes to starting a business. 

Turns out the pack leadership skills that work so well for raising a family are also really good for helping you nurture an entrepreneurial business! 

In this week’s podcast episode, listen to my conversation with fellow mom of 3,  podcaster and author, Melissa Llarena, as we dive into all things parenting and business ownering. 

If you’ve been putting your dreams on hold, listen now.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Why it’s so important for busy moms to own and celebrate their own accomplishments.
  • How to identify what lights you up, and give yourself permission to go for it.
  • The powerful lessons we teach our kids when we allow ourselves to follow our dreams.
  • Why the vision you have for your home, family, business, and life is worth fighting for.

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

About Our Guest

About Melissa Llarena

Melissa is an author, imagination coach, consultant, speaker, and contributor to

ForbesWomen. She also hosts the podcast Unimaginable Wellness, for entrepreneurs, founders, and creators who are also moms. Her book is Fertile Imagination: A Guide for Stretching Every Mom’s Superpower for Maximum Impact

Links & Resources

Thanks so much for listening to the Mastermind Parenting podcast, where we support the strong willed child and the families that love them!

If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it using the share button in the podcast player above.

Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or Stitcher.


Audio MMP 293

[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. 

Hi, everyone. I have a fun episode for you this week. I sat down and had a really fun conversation with Melissa Llarena. She’s an author and imagination coach, a consultant, a speaker, and a contributor to Forbes Women articles that have garnered 4 million plus views. She’s also the host of the podcast Unimaginable Wellness, the podcast for entrepreneurs, founders, and creators who are also moms.

She has a psychology degree and MBA. She’s a transformational coach. And right now she’s also getting her meditation practitioner certificate. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and three sons, but you’ll notice that her accent is not from Austin. I’ll let you, you’ll know pretty quickly where she’s from. 

She is a lot of fun. She recently wrote a book called Fertile Imagination for moms, right? For moms. And it’s all about moms remembering what our dreams are. So as an entrepreneurial mom myself, um, I felt like I could just talk to her forever. She’s got a ton to say, she’s got a lot of charisma and pizzazz and we had a super fun conversation.

So for all you moms who were like, Hmm, I would love to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Or, I sort of hate my job and, um, it would be really amazing if I could create my own thing and possibly spend more time with my kids. And so I’m really excited to introduce you guys to Melissa Llarena. So enjoy our conversation.

[00:02:00] Melissa Llarena: We are live. How are you? 

[00:02:05] Randi Rubenstein: I’m good. How are you? 

[00:02:08] Melissa Llarena: Oh, just one of those days. 

[00:02:11] Randi Rubenstein: What you said to me right before we started recording. 

[00:02:15] Melissa Llarena: Um, I am not in flow, but I am ready to go. 

[00:02:22] Randi Rubenstein: I loved it. I loved it. And you just said it organically, but what did you mean by it? 

[00:02:30] Melissa Llarena: I don’t need flow to be ready to go. Right, it’s like, I could be in the middle of a tough moment with one of my three sons, I could be just having had a conversation with, you know, my mom, and I can quickly snap into the moment and the task at hand.

And I think for me, it’s been a blessing, you know, it’s a, it’s a complete blessing. And I think, you know, having this conversation with you, Randi is, is perfect timing, irrespective of how I entered into this virtual room. I think it’s fine. I think we’re both able to just, uh, get her done. 

[00:03:18] Randi Rubenstein: I love to have an organic conversation, and the interesting thing to me about that and what you just said is, you’re an action taker, right? And so I think so often people and especially women, like we tell ourselves that well if the conditions are just right, then I can do the thing. 

I mean, sometimes people do it about their body. Like, Oh, I, I really want to dress differently. I hate all my clothes, but I need to lose five pounds or I need to lose the weight before I’m allowed to go shopping. And it’s like, well, actually the conditions don’t have to be just right because quite often we take action, I mean, I think most often we take action and then you sort of curate the emotion to follow. 

So like, if you start dressing in the clothes that you really want to buy and you don’t put all these conditions that it needs to be perfect, that you need to, the scale needs to say something, and then you’re showing up feeling gorgeous and fresh and put together. And, before you know it like, like you’ve just become that person. And you’re like, I don’t understand, I’ve never in my life had weight fall off of me. 

And so if we take action and we don’t wait for the conditions to be exactly right, quite often the flow will follow. Right. And so when you’re a person who just takes action, because this is what I’m doing. And I, you know, I’m showing up in my life being the leader of my own life, right?

I talk a lot about this concept called pack leadership. That’s what I call, when you are showing up as a leader in your family with your people, um, I call it pack leadership because we are pack animals. Really. Humans are pack animals and we’re not meant to live on an island by ourselves. We’re meant to have a pack we’re meant to have a you know a business pack, a family pack. 

And so, every pack needs leadership, right? that’s what we know and so when you’re the kind of person who shows up and is like I may not feel like I’m in flow yet, but this is, this is a conversation. It’s on my calendar. I’m ready to go. I’m going to trust the universe that it will be exactly what it’s meant to be. Like to me, just that sentence said to me, Oh, you got some pack leadership sister. 

[00:06:07] Melissa Llarena: Thank you, Randi. I think, um, it’s so interesting because the, the thoughts that pop up for me are of two powerful women. So first of all, um, Abby Wambach, didn’t she write a book about like the pack and everything, the soccer player, Olympian person married to Glennon Doyle. Certainly very powerful in her own right in her own skills and expression. And I got to believe that there were days that she got to the field and she did not feel in flow. As a matter of fact, she could have had Aunt Flo for all we know, right? Which is awkward and not most fun during athletic abilities and moments. 

And then the other person that came to mind when you were saying that is Shakira. Because she also refers to her fans as like the pack and she’s a wolf. I hate saying that word, cause my husband pokes fun of me. Um, but it’s, it’s so interesting how two different expressions of leadership, um, really hold onto that thought. 

And as moms in our own homes, I think, you know, it’s so funny because these are two women. And you would think like this animal mentality and like primal instincts are just something that, you know, like a dad or a man would, would be able to, um, express and, and serve as an example in their home for, but you’re right.

I think as, as moms, as women, you know, in our own businesses, for example, as leaders of our home, certainly I am the Chief Cultural Officer in my home. That’s just like a straight up designation I have. Um, It is important to find a way to, um, keep going, you know, like even if it’s a tough conversation, you know, with a child, or even if it’s like, um, a moment where it’s like uncertain, you know, how things are going to turn out and they’re quite complex and hard. And it’s like, if we as the, the female leaders of our home, as I think of myself personally, um, can carry that idea that, you know, we, we are a team, you know, we are here for each other.

And also if I don’t have the right words, I can count on you, Randi, to complete a sentence, even though we just met, because for as much as we feel like we’re not, like one another, you know, and have different life experiences, different families, different kinds of kids and all that. Um, there’s, there’s a lot that can be said about some, some threads that are consistent, you know, some threads that, um, we share that, that are enough to carry the conversation and carry us through the day.

Like, it doesn’t have to be like, you know, prolific. It could be, it could just be, um, enough to, to share what’s on your heart, share what’s on your mind. And I think that’s something that, um, yeah, I’m, I’m open to it. 

[00:09:17] Randi Rubenstein: In one of my groups today, um, a mom who went through a divorce in the last two years, um, and she’s always been a working mom, and she now is in a position of like, I’m supporting my family, right? So she’s a single mom and, um, she’s got two kids and she has, you know, we’ve all kind of been there with her as she’s gone through this season, the season change and this new season of life. And, um, and so she’s got a really intense job. She got a new job and it’s very intense and involves a lot of travel and, um, a lot of coordination.

And, my groups are kind of unique because they’re, they’re a combination of working and, I hate the term stay at home mom, um, but moms who work full time as moms and, um, and don’t have any childcare. I don’t, I haven’t found a better saying because I just think that when you’re in the trenches all day long, you’re working your ass off.

Um, so anyway, but there’s always been, you know, sort of this weird rivalry between working moms and stay at home moms, but I’ve been both right. So for the last 10 years, I’ve been growing a business baby, Mastermind Parenting. And, um, and before those 10 years, I did some training with teachers and I did a little of this and I did some public speaking and I taught some parenting education classes here and there. But for the most part, I was really a stay at home mom. And um, and, and then for the last 10 years, I’ve been a working mom. And so because I think I’ve been on both sides, in my groups, there’s this sort of beautiful synergy that happens. 

And so this mom, she posted today a little reel from Instagram. And she said, this is for all the stay at home mom sisters, or something like that. And here, she’s a working mom. And it was like some man who was talking about if you add up all the different things that, you know, stay at home moms do, and he did all these calculations. He said, it’s over 200, 000 a year that your job is worth. 

And, and I left a message back and said, I so appreciate this coming from you. It was from a woman named Annie. I said, I so appreciate, and everyone knows that Annie’s a business badass and she’s got this big job, but she’s over here saying, hey sisters, I see you. And for those of you who are thinking that, you know, you’re not bringing in a paycheck, so you’re not as important or whatever, like she didn’t say those things, but it was in the insinuation. And I said, that’s what we’re doing here. There’s no rivalry. We’re all just lifting each other up and honoring each other’s choices. And, and, you know, this is what women are meant to do. Right. 

And when women are pitted against each other, or when we’re not in our pack leadership, when we’re thinking that, oh, it’s just, we need to wait. Just wait till your father comes home. Right? When we don’t, we, we’re not owning our role that, if we’re mostly raising and shaping the little humans, and we’re there doing that. Even when, you know, you’re running your own business, you know, you said you’re the Chief Cultural Officer. Right. Like a lot of women who are working many, many hours are still the ones responsible for, well, what are we going to eat this week? And what about those school forms? And we need to go through your closet. Does you look like you’re waiting for a flood? When did you go through this growth spurt? 

You know, there’s so many invisible mom jobs. And, and so it falls on, on moms and, and the leader sets the tone. So we can’t be thinking small, or if I’m not earning a paycheck, or if I’m not earning as much of a paycheck that I don’t have, you know, I think we have to own it, you know, we have to own it. 

We have to feel so proud of ourselves. We have to celebrate ourselves. We have to acknowledge all the things that we’re doing, because the leader does set the tone for the family. And I think for whatever, you know, whatever pack you’re involved in, whether it’s a business pack or a family pack, um, the leader does set the tone, but we have to like, own our worth and our value and acknowledge it.

[00:14:08] Melissa Llarena: Yeah. I mean, a hundred percent. And as, as you’re sharing that idea about the leader setting the tone, I think also the leader, you know, sells the vision. And when I think about that, you know, as I come at it from the perspective of helping mom founders really leverage their fertile imagination, which is this ability to think about things that they have never seen every, any other mom in the history of time do, certainly not in their circles, such as build a business, do a podcast, launch a nonprofit. Um, as I think about how big a mom can dream for her children, my hope, my dream, my intention with all that I am, is that a mom can at least have the same sense of opportunity and expansiveness about what’s possible for her. 

And so the way that I see it playing out in terms of being a leader, somebody who has this huge vision, like we have these huge visions for our children. But here’s the reality from my perspective, having three little boys who are 12, 10 and 10, because I have identical twins, my perspective is that, you know, if I have a cap on what I can see possible for myself, then it’s really hard for me to have a bigger vision for my child with, with no context in terms of what it actually takes to achieve something that’s quite big.

For example, now, you know, like I have a fertile imagination. What does that mean? You know, I decided that I would build out a podcast. I decided, for example, on my podcast, Unimaginable Wellness, that I would have guests that are the same guests, the same quality of guests that someone without children might be able to dedicate all of their time to get like Gary Vaynerchuk, Susie Batiste, you know, and, and so for me, that, that was my vision.

And I had my three little boys and they got to see mommy do what it took, which was a lot, it took, I mean, just Gary Vee was like a hundred days and writing, you know, a thousand word articles on every single one of those hundred days, adding up to 67, 000 words, by the way, while my kids were… 

[00:16:36] Randi Rubenstein: Well, were you in flow?

[00:16:38] Melissa Llarena: No, that wasn’t flow. That was a funk. That was not flow. That was funk. Um, but you know what? I did it. And my kids were watching me. So for me as a leader of my family, of my home, um, you know, having this big vision, oh, one day you, you can have your own business or one day you can be a podcaster or you can be fancy schmancy in whatever capacity. Just saying that I don’t think is enough. I don’t think it’s enough. I think I actually have to then live it. You know, so for me, it’s like, okay, well, how can I make it work? How can I make it possible? 

Like here I am telling my kids that, you know, they’re going to have all these possibilities available to them, but let’s be real. Like there’s emotional stuff that happens along the way, right? You’re not always going to feel in flow. It’s not always going to feel like manifestation,, airy fairy stuff. It’s going to feel like, you know, Excel spreadsheets, buddy. It’s going to feel like, how am I going to get this content I created playing video games, you know, top of the ranking of YouTube search engine. That is not flowy for me. That is horrible actually. 

So you know being a mom being a leader of the pack to use your term Randi, I think it also shows and what’s necessary is that we are not just telling our kids, you know, here’s what you can be and you could be anything you want to be. But we are like really matching it up in terms of trying to be something that we had on our heart Maybe when we were little girls Girls, or we now see as like really cool in our lives and actually showing our kids, ’cause they learn more from what they see, right? Not what they hear. Unfortunately, I wish they weren’t true. 

Um, showing them, you know, the ups and downs and the fact that, you know what, if this is your dream, then there will be sacrifices you have to make. And you’re not always gonna feel like, you know, going on camera or working out or, you know, selling yourself, pitching yourself. The amount of fear that’s involved whenever anyone wants to go after anything that’s big or different or new is is pretty sensational and it could stop us. 

And so I think as the leader of our pack and as an example to our children by way of how we behave in alignment with what we say we want to do. I think that there’s um, such an opportunity to really, um, showcase what’s possible, you know, not just for like our sons or our kids or anyone, but for ourselves in the reality of our life. 

[00:19:19] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. I, I like to say, you know, my personal development sort of growth path has been the last 26 years. First, it was growing my actual babies and then it was my business baby. And so, and the same skills. Like it really, it’s, you know, it’s funny. A lot of times I’ve had a lot of the people who are in my programs, we call them Masterminders. That’s the name of our pack. And so there’s been lots of my Masterminders who have started businesses or changed jobs, you know, realize like this is not feeding me or I want more for myself.

And, and it’s so interesting because there’s something that happens, I think, for women within community, where that saying you become like the five people you sit next to. And even these virtual communities. I mean, it sort of was a happy accident that I even have this community. Because really, I ran an eight-week program, like, six or seven years ago, and after the eight weeks, I had 25 people that were like. I’m like, okay, goodbye and they were like, we just got started. 

I didn’t realize it so much at the time, but I am entrepreneurial I do take a lot of action. I threw a lot of spaghetti at the walls. I’ve, you know, there’s been a lot that hasn’t stuck. Way more hasn’t stuck than the strands that have stuck. Um I said okay, so, all right, well, let’s create it. And so I just was sort of building the plane as I was flying it. 

And over the years. It’s been amazing to see. I mean from the physician mom who worked for a big hospital system, who was trying to figure out how she could juggle, you know, all of it and then went down to working part time, but to pick up her kids and it was such a stressful situation to, now she runs this amazing concierge practice out of the, her garage apartment behind her home and is like every single day she drops her kids at school. She picks them up and she, she takes them to travel in Europe every single summer. 

Like she has structured as a doctor, you know, you think like, as a doctor, like how, how entrepreneurial can you really be? I mean, here’s a mom who has this thriving concierge practice and she’s an amazing physician. And she said, I really just watched what you were doing. And then I just sort of applied those same skills. 

And so there’s all these women that are doing out of the box things as women do, especially when we step into our strength and our leadership and our worth and we surround ourselves with other shiny women, right? Who, who, who own it. And, and it’s, it’s like, yeah, the days of there’s only one, there’s only room for one shiny woman. I’m like, no, no, no. You’re shiny and you’re shiny and you’re shiny. And we just illuminate each other. 

And when we surround ourselves, like, I love what you’re doing, because when we surround ourselves in community with strong leadership, strong pack leadership, um, we all just feel shinier. And then our kids, it’s like what you said, our kids learn by our example way more than from our words, even though it would be so much easier to just say all the things without having to do all the things.

[00:23:03] Melissa Llarena: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. 

[00:23:06] Randi Rubenstein: They’re watching us all the time. So you’re, you’re stepping into all of this. And as anyone who’s started a podcast or built a business or done something that they’ve never done before. Yeah, you face a lot of fear and rejection and fails and mistakes and, um, and you go through all of it and your kids also, they’re there and they’re witnessing it. You know, and they see you going for your dreams. They see you like pick yourself up by your bootstraps, you know, or have those, you know, have the law, I remember it was like the launch. I was working my ass off, working my ass off and then I was like freaking three people signed up. I spent so much money on this launch and it was a fail. It was a colossal fail. 

And like my whole family, they like, they were there, they knew and they were like, mom, the last launch was good, you know, and I was like, yeah, there’s, I’m going to have to figure this out. This is, this was a lot of stress and, and they felt the stress, but you know what, they were invested.

[00:24:15] Melissa Llarena: Yeah. And, and so that’s, see, that’s something that I think doesn’t get spoken about enough. The fact that, you know, behind, um, the dreams that we go after as, as moms, there, there’s a lot of tears. And the, the interesting bit I would say, and maybe it’s a nuance is that I, I get it. And I understand, like, if you’re a mom and the tears are because of the emotional burdens you carry as a mom, you know, a child who has different abilities or all these medical appointments and no answers, or, you know, maybe you’re in the sandwich generation, right? So maybe your own parents, you have to take care of them and the kids. 

But I think what doesn’t get any sort of, I don’t know, maybe, maybe I’m wrong in this. I would love to hear a listener’s perspective, but what I haven’t seen as much is the tears that a mom who has a business experiences. Um, you know, I gotta be honest, you know, have I shed tears in terms of my business? Not, not as much, but, but I feel like maybe, maybe it’s time. 

Because, you know, 12 years as, as, someone who had her, I still have it. It’s not like they took it away. My MBA. What’s interesting is like when I made the decision to leave, um, a formal work world, having worked in advertising to then, you know, launch my own practice, this was 12 years ago. That, that was actually when I cried, now that I think about it. That was actually when I cried. I cried when I left what I knew and the only path to having money in my brain, um, you know, was no longer, not available to me, but no longer in alignment with what I needed as a mom. 

Like just to paint the picture, like when I put in my letter of resignation, um, you know, this was in 2011 at an ad agency. I had just finished my MBA and I had reentered the world of advertising because I was like, you know, let me now make six figures. Because before the MBA, I was not making six figures in the advertising job that I had, although I was working investment banker hours, which is what a lot of people do in that space.

And I remember when I had to make a choice in terms of, you know, either coming back to work and having that agency schedule or, um, starting something totally random. Like context here. This was in 2011. Coaching was not what it is now. Um, and someone with an MBA to ultimately, this is how I felt, throw her MBA in the trash, quote unquote is how I felt, um, was just, you know, horrible. It was like, that’s cause I’m, you know, wild thoughts there. 

But for me, I cried. I actually cried because that was an identity that I held in my heart. And that was an identity that I had to like, let go. And, you know, when I went and became a mom, it was like, everything changed, obviously, biologically, in our brain, like our brain legitimately changes once you have a child. And I would say that everything changed. 

And what didn’t change, and and I hope to never happen. I don’t ever want to cry again. Not, not for like an identity change like that in terms of my, in my career. Um, and, and I haven’t said this, I haven’t shared this on like other podcasts, but I feel compelled to, because I think it’s something that maybe a listener can, can really just take to heart in her own heart.

But, you know, being an entrepreneur, having your own business. I think it’s worth fighting for. I really, really do, especially as a mom. And I have three kids. The things that my children can now see in terms of the work I’ve done when they’re little still is unbelievable. We went to the library the other day here in Austin. And we went to the library and my three little boys, they went to like the new releases and like the nonfiction section of the library. And it’s right in the, front of this library that they go to all the time and you can see two books there in Austin’s library. One is Fertile Imagination, my book, um, and I acknowledged every one of my little boys in that book, and they now can say, Hey, mommy, like, that’s you. You did that. 

And then the second book that I also have a story in is Fast Fallen Women, which is like a compilation of a lot of stories of like resilience, right? And that is a story of me. When I was like 14 years old, like it’s a story, like when my mom, um, you know, who has a mental illness, um, actually like left escaped, quote, unquote, went to a movie theater and I had to follow her and I had to use my imagination in order to like get into the movie theater and find her. And, and that book is at the Austin library too. 

And I think it hits me differently. Like my kids when they see that in the library they go to they are now 13, 10 and 10 and, and to have them see their mom’s stuff in a library they go to, god like, it would make me cry if I never got that done. Like that would bring a tear to my eye entrepreneurially. And you know what? I would record that on Instagram live. 

But but I think it’s it’s something that, it teach and I hope it taught my kids something about themselves too, you know? It’s like you too are important enough to be in a book, in a library, you know what I mean? And I think, and I think this whole idea of, um, you know, really, understanding just like what’s possible for us on our timeline, um, is really worth exploring.

I know I have a group coaching myself and you know, it’s really with mom founders who want to create their own opportunities instead of like hoping and wishing to bump into like an investor or like a client at a networking event. No, no, no, no. I’m having them do actually what you did to me, Randi, like finding someone that you think is cool, reaching out to them, presenting an opportunity and figuring out how it could work for both parties, right? 

Um, networking is what we call it, but what I call it is, you know, forming a bond that’s stronger together than having been apart. And, and I help these moms do this, and I help them do this in a way that they can, you know, leverage the, the benefits of connecting with people, irrespective of the mom stage that they’re in. So if they have a baby that they’re nursing, I can teach you how to network and, and connect with people and start building out your dream, right? If you have like a child that you’re homeschooling, there’s a, there’s a, where there’s a way there’s a will, right? Um, or where there’s a will, there’s a way it’s the opposite.

But the whole point of the matter is that, um, yeah, I really think that right now, it’s like, as someone is listening to this conversation and you’re thinking to yourself, wow, okay, Randi’s talking about a coaching program in her business. And Melissa is talking about a coaching program or her book. Like, I want you to actually take this conversation and make it deeply personal for yourself. What, what’s that thing that if you don’t get it done, now would make you cry? Like, what’s that thing that you would want your kids to see you do precisely as imperfectly as life might be right now? Right? Like, what’s that thing for you? 

Because I think, um, there’s enough that, that we experience in life that bring, bring up our emotions that we stuff down. And I think it’s, it’s a detriment because I think our emotions and like what, what we pulls our attention, what pulls our heartstrings, I think there’s a lot of information there. You know, maybe it’s to rise as the leader of your pack, if you have a child that needs extra attention from you. Or maybe it’s, you know, to rise as like your own business leader, you know, and, and be the face of an organization. Even if you don’t feel like you’re perfectly fit and you’ve got guns like Randi, who has amazing arms right now. Like, they are, yeah, you are strong girl. But um, yeah, like, I just want this conversation to be like, encouraging for a listener, you know? 

[00:33:05] Randi Rubenstein: Well, I think so. Something good to look at to kind of if you’re listening and you’re thinking Dreams? like, I’m just surviving over here. Like, and for my listeners, all my listeners have what we call a strong-willed child, which is you’re, when you’re in the trenches raising a strong-willed child, it’s the busiest hardest season of your life. And so if you’re, if you have a strong-willed child and you have, you’re trying to grow a business, for your listeners, because I think it’s probably pretty common. I, having a strong-willed child is very very common at least one. Uh, yeah, you’re in the most exhausting, busiest season of your life that you might be like, yeah, dreams? What, what am I going to dream about? 

So if you don’t even know what you might be secretly dreaming about, I think a good question to ask yourself is, who am I jealous of? 

[00:34:12] Melissa Llarena: Mmm. 

[00:34:14] Randi Rubenstein: Jealousy has a lot of information when we’re willing to sort of go deeper which is, why am I jealous of, this person? Like and a lot of times the people that we’re jealous of that we show up and we judge the hell out of them, right? We’re like, ugh. Okay, so if I move past the judgment and I don’t have to tell anyone else. I’m just this is a conversation I’m having with myself. And so if I move past the judgment, what am I actually jealous of? Like what do I wish I had or I could do that this other person has accomplished? And so when you look at that, then you’ve got some real information about what your secret dreams are. Because it’s like, okay, so, so why can’t I have that? What am I telling myself? Why? 

You know, like one of my beliefs for years was like, I don’t get chosen for things. Like other people get awards and get chosen. But like, I’m just, I’m not that person. So I don’t get picked. That was, uh, you know, one of those thoughts that was going through my head that sometimes would stall me out, have me forgetting about my real dreams or settle for a lot less. 

And so I think when we start to sort of lift the hood of our brains and, and, and look at hard things like who am I jealous of? Who am I judging? Why can’t I have that too? What am I telling myself? I think these are really great questions to ask. 

[00:35:49] Melissa Llarena: Yeah, and it’s so funny Randi because just yesterday I made an investment, right? I was like, you know what? I want to be on YouTube. And so the funny part of it all is that I have a video. I mean, I have a lot of videos already on YouTube. That’s the funny part. So now I’m like being like, Oh, I want to be officially on YouTube or something like my re, my re coming out or something. 

Um, so why did I make that decision yesterday? So a couple of things, one of them is jealousy, right? So for example, there’s this like, so super creative, uber talented, artsy, artsy mom of two who has like the coolest brand since sliced bread. It’s kind of like, um, you know, Harry Potter meets, I don’t know, a mom. And, and, and so I love what she does, right? So I had to just give myself the opportunity to A, acknowledge the fact that I don’t hate her. Instead, I’m like, dag, how can I be like her, you know? 

And so I’m like, okay, I’m not moving to like, um, Central America, because that’s where she is. But what is it about her that I really appreciate? And for her, it’s the fact that she’s doubled down in videos, right? So she doubled down in videos. She’s like analyzing how she articulates her sentences and how she makes people feel. And she’s very, um, visual because of her artist background. 

And so for me, I think to kind of just like, take it to the next step, if someone’s ready, it’s like, okay, great so Randi just said, see who you, who makes you jealous? like who brings up that feeling, right, of jealousy? That’s step one and then step two, kind of like really be very, very thoughtful about it and be like, well, what is it exactly? 

And so for me, this was not like a step one happens on May 1st, step two, May 2nd, no, no, no. We’re talking, I’ve been following this lady and I have bought from her. Okay. Like a decade ago, but, um, I still appreciate her. And so I then made that decision just yesterday. I was like, well, I like her videos. I like how she is very professional and it’s unexpected what I’m going to see. And I feel a certain way and her branding is on point.

So what does that mean? Okay. Well, the only way I can now start my journey is to make an investment in videos. And I think that’s kind of like, that’s the step two that sometimes gets like held in purgatory as it did for me, you know, like as it did for me. I think we look at a lot of people who have things that we want You know like an infinity pool or you know is in Croatia eating wonderful seafood or, I’m making stuff up that would be really cool for me. Um, right. And we look at them and we’re just like, we feel stuck, you know, we feel stuck. 

And when, when I’ve worked with people in terms of coaching them, or even in my book, right, Fertile Imagination, like in my book, it’s about figuring out, okay, you know, let’s be really honest with ourselves. Like, can we hold ourselves accountable for maybe some of the decisions we made that are counter to what we want, right? And can we be held accountable for that? 

So that comes from a chapter in my book where I interviewed Susie Batiste, the inventor of Poo-pourri. Like she actually suggests that if you, for example, to your point, Randi, find someone that you’re jealous of. Right. And then you don’t 

[00:39:38] Randi Rubenstein: Can I just pause you for a second? 

[00:39:39] Melissa Llarena: Yeah. 

[00:39:40] Randi Rubenstein: I just sent a coworker. She was having an issue with her kids. I literally searched on YouTube, found the old videos. Anybody who doesn’t know what Poo-pourri is, because my coworker didn’t and her two boys who share a bathroom, they were fighting, one of them is highly sensitive. Her strong-willed one, super, just like, smells are smellier, noises are louder, and his younger brother, there was all this control and all these rules around when the younger brother was allowed to go to the bathroom. 

And so anyway, I had given her some, some, some coaching and some tips on it, and I was like, Okay, you have to get this Poo-pourri stuff and, and you have to show the boys these amazing average. I mean, they, I thought those, um, that whole advertising campaign for that product was genius. So I just had to, like, it’s so funny that you bring up Poo-pourri. Okay, so keep going. Keep going. 

[00:40:43] Melissa Llarena: Yeah. Yeah. So Susie Batiste, the inventor of like, you know, God’s gift to toilets, right? These days, um, she actually in my book shared how, you know, let’s imagine that we are jealous of someone like an entrepreneur who’s killing it on YouTube or whatever. Um, but we have been following this person for a long time. We’ve had this thought before, I should be on YouTube, and we ourselves said to ourselves, but I don’t want to spend the money on doing a YouTube channel. And then we go again the next year thinking the same thing and again and again. 

So if you want to now feel, almost like make peace for the choices you made in the past so that you can make different choices in the future, you almost have to go back to the past, hold yourself accountable for the fact that you know what, and I’m talking to myself right now, Melissa, you decided to not do YouTube because you didn’t want to get your hair done and all this other stuff, right? And now just kind of like move forward beyond that, right? 

So here I am, I took accountability for the fact that you know, I on purpose was not on YouTube. But then at the same time I took action, which is that next step of like, okay, so now I know that, you know, I might be a little wobbly here and I might start the YouTube thing and start second guessing myself again, but no, now I’m going to stay on this path. And so in, in my book, Fertile Imagination, the reason why I bring it up is because you know, talking about stuff, and I don’t know if I need like a white flag, a billboard or what, but like talking about stuff is just not enough. It really, really, really is not enough. 

I get that communication is the key to successful relationships. I understand the fact that, you know, if you, and this is, I’m not the expert, you’re the expert, Randi, I understand that if you have a strong-willed child, you know, there’s, there’s something pertaining to what a parent has to do versus what the child has to do. And I’m guessing the parent has 90 percent of the work.

Um, but at the same time, it’s like action, just action. And, and discomfort, you know, and I write about that in the book as well is kind of like, you know, stepping outside of your comfort zone, doing completely different things, thinking expansively, which is what I’m about. And when I, you know, coach mom founders or entrepreneurs, like, like I say it over and over and over again, it’s like, well, if you’ve done it before that exact way, and it hasn’t worked, you’ve got to try a brand new way. You know, you’ve got to try a brand new way and it is gonna feel weird. Like doing things differently, you know, definitely feels so weird, but at the same time, it’s like, that’s how you then baby steps go in a different direction. 

So that this way, when now I look at that person who’s on YouTube and all of that, I’m not looking at her like, dag, I wish I was on YouTube. Instead, I’m like, okay, wait a minute. How is she like talking about her program? You know, like, how is it that she’s branding her YouTube? What does her header look like? It’s useful to me now. Because now it’s like, wait a minute, Melissa, you just voted for yourself. You know, you just voted for yourself. You’re the leader of the pack to use your term. And you are showing your kids that yeah, sometimes you could put your tail between your legs, um, and move in a different direction. And that’s okay. 

[00:44:10] Randi Rubenstein: There’s so much there. But the main point that I think we could kind of correlate to the main point of helping kids to thrive, helping kids to, um, learn a better way, do new things that are unfamiliar and even a little scary, um, change behaviors, right? Like, solve the problems instead of feeling like it’s groundhog day and we’re just, it’s like the same conversation over and over. 

That term accountability, right? Like we throw that term out, accountability. You know what accountability is? And I don’t know if you’ll agree with this, but in my, like, from my point of view, accountability is really what we’re talking about when we talk about boundaries, right?

Like, that word boundaries, I think a lot of times is a confusing word because people are not 100 percent sure. Like, and, you know, we work with new families. We take them through this 12 week program. And the last four weeks, we focus on boundaries and then following through. When the boundaries are not honored, there has to be some follow through. Well, what happens when the boundaries are not honored? And all of that to me is accountability. 

So if we look at right, like, like you had to do a lot of mental prep to, you know, you’ve been following this lady forever. And then your brain started going into that place that it does for all of us, which is, uh, if only I would have, I mean, I think this about Austin, I’m like, if only how 30 years ago when I went to school there, I would have bought real estate, right? And so there’s, I think so often we can stay stuck in could have, should have, would have.

And, and so, so like moving past that, okay, well, I didn’t, I didn’t make those videos. I didn’t feel like getting my hair done and, and maybe what helped you get through that is, and I was raising three, like I had a baby and then two years later I had two more. And like, of course I didn’t want to get my hair done. It wasn’t the season for me to make YouTube videos. And now my babies are 10 and 12 and I didn’t get my hair done. In fact, I did it today. It looks kind of cute, you know, right. Or I can stick a hat on and put my hair back in a ponytail and put some cute earrings on and I’m good. Right. I’m in a different season of life. I can come up for air. 

So there’s that mental pre work, which is like, okay, now moving on. Oh yeah, I’m an action taker. It’s not too late. I, I, and, I do really well. I’m, I hold myself accountable when I put a little skin in the game. I’m going to invest. Yes, I could just keep following and doing all this and piecemealing things together, but I’m going to invest in a program because I want to really take this thing serious, seriously.

So you’re putting those boundaries in place in terms of, I’m putting some money into it. I’m admitting what I want. I’m, you know, boundaries are really I statements. What do I want? What is okay with me? What’s not okay with me. It’s not okay with me to continue not making, you know, becoming a big sensation on YouTube. So I’m ready to hold myself accountable, put some boundaries in place, put some money in. 

And then it’ll come to the follow through piece, which is, you know, when you’re like, okay, I invested in this thing, the momentum was high. And now maybe I’m not using the tool that I invest. I need to watch. Oh, I need to, or I need to make this video. I need to watch. Okay, now I’m going to put time on my calendar to actually, like, hold myself accountable and learn the thing that I need to learn. And then I’m going to actually make a video. Right. 

And so I think it’s the same thing with kids is, you know, when we have us, you ask me like a bunch of questions about how do you run a business when you’ve got a strong-willed kid and they’re putting you through it, right? Like, how do we help that child to, you know, how do we manage it all? And what if you have a strong-willed kid and then you have another kid, you know, or, or multiple other kids, like, how is, how are you supposed to get a handle on this? 

And I would say it’s the exact same thing. You know, the accountability piece and learning how to have that structure and have those boundaries and to, and to say what’s okay with you as the pack leader. What’s okay with me, what’s not okay with me. And these are our rules, right? 

Like I am not, gentle parenting is not my game. I am into pack leadership and it is firm and it is loving, so loving. And no, it doesn’t involve shame and blame and spanking, but it is not permissive parenting. And sometimes it’s not that gentle. Because when we’re putting structure in place and we’re showing up as the pack leader, yeah, sometimes we got to get our badassery on. 

And holding people, especially strong-willed people accountable. It’s like, these are the rules. This is what’s expected. You didn’t do the thing. And now you’ve lost the thing because that’s what we said we were going to do. And that’s what helps our family to run smoothly. And no amount of begging and badgering and I’m just doing the thing that I said I was going to do. Right? And I think that that accountability piece is critical in both business and in parenting. 

[00:50:24] Melissa Llarena: Yeah. And I, I think also that, you know, we, we mentioned strong-willed child. It’s like, I wish I had the perfect adjective for a business that’s like highly volatile because I feel like the comparable is there, right?

So if there is a business, for example, not speaking from experience, but maybe, um, that, you know, constantly, um, you know, has, for example, traffic, you know, to a particular web page. Again, just mentioning for a friend, um, but you haven’t figured out how to get the conversions or, you know, you haven’t figured out how to get people to then make a purchase from you despite having all of this traffic on your website.

It’s like, there’s, there’s certain things that you can learn, but if you don’t implement and change, like almost the inner workings or the guts of the business, so that you can create like a, a capture system of people that go to your website, then it’s like for naught, right? Then it’s just pure fantasy, like I wish my strong-willed child were, you know, a, a gentle little furry ball, you know, that I could just squish. Um, or I wish my business just, you know, uh, converted at whatever sort of, you know, percent. 

Um, I think that the hard work is certainly the implementation, certainly accountability, um, consistency, which I hate that word, but it’s the truth. It’s the truth. We all know it. Um, and I think it’s also like, it’s like setting expectations. It’s like, okay, oh snap, you know, mom means business. Like dad means business or oh snap, like, you know, if I mess up their desk today, you know, like then the consequence will be a b c. If that is the way that, you know, we want to approach things. 

It’s just like a contract. Like, you know, I learned this before quitting law school. I went for a month and this is what I got out of it. Like, it’s just like a contract. If you have a contract, it’s only as good as, you know, uh, as when it’s used, right? Like, it, it doesn’t really mean anything until now. You’re like, put it through the system, you know, and see kind of like what was clearly stated and what wasn’t.

If you go and you take a program, make an investment in your family, in your business or in anything else, it’s like, and then I’ve heard this too, a lot of individuals who, you know, they, they invested in something for their business, you know, and it’s still there on like the metaphorical digital shelves. There’s, you cannot then blame, you know, that course that you did not do, you know? 

Um, that is where accountability comes into play. It’s like, you know what, like own it and then move forward from it and then figure out how to not make that happen again, if possible. Right? And, and I think that once we’re clear with what we’re going to do when things go wrong and don’t feel so flowy. Um, once we’re clear up front, then I think we have a better chance of success of carrying through whatever vision we had up front, you know? Um, or interacting with our strong-willed child in the way that, um, serves everybody or, you know, moving forward with your business, you know, and having a YouTube channel, even if you didn’t get your hair done that day, but figuring out a perfect hat instead.

So you know, I think there’s, there’s always a way to kind of, um, either leverage, you know, the pack leadership mentality. I am so into tough love, let me tell you. Um, but I think it’s also possible to think expansively of what does that mean to you specifically to your family specifically. Because it might look, and Randi, I’m sure in your program, you’ve seen it, like your guidance might be interpreted in different ways by different families, given, you know, whatever they got going on.

Same in my space as well. Like, you know, different clients decide to, you know, network in one way and other clients, it doesn’t serve them because maybe they’re nursing a child and they can’t go out into the world like that 

[00:54:45] Randi Rubenstein: I mean, I’m just thinking about a coaching call that I just had today. My kid is just, it’s like, no. And you know, and if I, if I say, stop doing that, stop playing with the cars like that, stop pouring the orange juice, stop and stop and don’t, no. 

And when I coached this mom, I said, what’s the sentence going through your head in, in all these moments. And she said, I don’t know what to do. And I said, but do you? And she kind of looked at me and I said, I think you’re just going into a survival state in these moments because your body is being activated and it’s reminding you, you’ve got this strong-willed kid and it’s reminding you of when you were the kid and feelings weren’t allowed. Cause I know her story. And tell me where I’m wrong on that. 

And she’s like, yeah. And I said, so we think we are thinking animals. But the truth of the matter is, is that human beings are feeling animals. So you actually do, when we’re here and we’re calmly talking and I’m coaching you, I said, that part of your brain is taking it all in, you do know what to do. You know. What, what do I say a million times? What we focus on. She’s like, gross. I was like, right. 

So no, and don’t, and stop. All you’re going to get is more power struggles. I said, and that’s what these strong-willed, highly sensitive ones, like they don’t wait for teenage hood to rebel. They’re doing it now, right? Like you’re not showing up in pack leadership, mom. And so I’m not really feeling safe in the world. So I’m going to push and push and push until you become scary mommy. And that’s what they do. I said, because, because everybody wants to know that they have a leader. 

I said, but really the solution here is, you got to take care of your gorgeous body in these moments, right? Like the orange juice gets spilled, the orange juice gets spilled. You’re having like, you’re activated. You have to walk away. You’ve got to put your hands on your heart. You have to remind yourself like it’s, I’m the mama now. This is my house. Feelings are allowed, like you’ve got to give your nervous system the message you are safe.

This little five or six year old that’s acting like a terrorist, you’re not being held at gunpoint. If the orange juice gets spilled, the orange, give your body what you need and then come back to her. I was like, but we got to get this nervous system regulated and you deserve that. 

And I’ll tell you so often that, you know, people come in there like, just tell me exactly what, I had people say, can you create a board game where you just, we just want your words. Just give us the scripts. I’m like, you’re never going to remember the scripts when you’re in the heat of the moment. We got to, we’ve got to take care of you first. 

[00:57:44] Melissa Llarena: Yeah. And I think it’s so funny. Um, in my world, I’ve been asked for the same thing. I’ve been asked actually to, to, uh, be their, their, what is it? Hitch. You remember that movie with like Will Smith? He was just like telling people in their ear, like, say this to the girl and blah, blah, blah. Well, I am not a pickup artist. So no, I am not doing this. Um, I will teach you the words to use, but you’re right. You’re absolutely right. 

There’s, planning to, you know, be the calm person, you know, whether it’s as a mom or like a business leader on a sales call networking conversation versus actuality. And I think that, um, It takes practice as with anything else. It really does take practice and it takes grace.

And I’m not great at that. Like I’ll tell you right now, like I am not great at that. Like if I’m on a call and things don’t go, you know, amazingly, um, like I can’t sit here and be like, yeah, I say, good job, Melissa, for even having the guts to get on that call. No, I don’t say that. But I will say that the distance between feeling disappointment and feeling some sense of pride, the fact that I just had the guts to have that conversation, that distance in time has shortened and it’s because of the practice.

And I think it’s also the fact that, you know, a lot of individuals that come to me like for them, like the things I teach them don’t come naturally, you know? Which sounds like the parenting sort of, um, messages that that I’m hearing from from you, Randi, like, I can’t say that, you know, having a pack leader mentality is how I thought of, you know, being a mom and being the leader in my home.

I mean, I definitely have the canines that can be fearful, be like, hey, listen to me. My kids know when I get that look in the eye. Um, but it, it does take practice because you know, in the heat of the moment, you don’t have access to the executive functioning and the ability to think creatively and all that stuff. So it’s, it’s the same thing. 

And, and here’s, here’s where I think might, might be a good place to kind of end, and, and it’s the simple fact that, you know, being the leader of your family and owning a business in my world, they are both deeply personal. And if your business, I’m not saying it does, but if your business has your name on it, Whoa. It’s like, okay, it’s a reflection of me. And, and as a mom, at least the way I think about my three little boys, it’s like, sometimes, and I know that there’s different ways of looking at this, but sometimes I do see their behavior as a reflection of how good or bad a mom I am. And obviously, what will people think of me, um, things I’m working on.

But there just has to be some sort of plan, plan for that. Like, you know that. You already know that if your kid starts wilding out in Target, you know that you’re going to feel embarrassed. Maybe it’s just me. Um, or like with your business, like if you flop, if you tell everyone, Hey, I’m going to have, you know, a group this size, and then you come under fall short, your goal publicly, like prepare for that, you know what I mean?

And, and whether it’s like investing in a coaching program, investing in YouTube, investing in yourself, in your family, you know, ultimately it’s not just what you get out of it. Like you put in, what is it? You get out what you put into something, but it’s, it’s, doing the reps of whatever it is that you learned, you know, in business or in personal, and, and holding yourself accountable for, okay, I made the investment.

You could make the investment, or you could have made the investment a decade ago, but you, you’re so capable of still implementing what you learned. And I think sometimes we forget that because a strong-willed child, we can just swap it for like a volatile, crazy business and use those skills. They are transferable. Right. 

And so I, I really appreciate this conversation, Randi because I think a lot of, at least my listeners, you know, are in that place. It’s like, let’s just think about, you know, the makeup of a typical entrepreneur. It’s not going to be like the, the most like laid back person. We’re like pretty intense people. And you don’t just like become an intense person without maybe kind of sort of being a strong-willed child at some point. And so thank you for this, Randi

[01:02:30] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah, that’s great. And I, I think, you know, I, I love strong-willed kids. Um, I like to say they’re my jam. I think they’re the most honest, I mean, they can’t not express how they’re feeling with their behavior.

And I’ll tell you, they do thrive with accountability and structure, even though they’ll fight you tooth and nail when you haven’t, you’ve been running your own business, you’ve been, you know, running like a chicken with your head cut off and, and so I think that, you know, they, they act out and they call us to more. Um, I’ve loved this conversation. This is great. 

[01:03:08] Melissa Llarena: Me too, Randi. So why don’t you just share some of your, your socials and websites so that listeners can reach out to you if they need help or have a strong-willed child. 

[01:03:17] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. So that’s mastermind, all one word, parenting. com and on Instagram, I’m mastermind underscore parenting.

[01:03:29] Melissa Llarena: Thank you. And if anyone has a business that they absolutely need to learn how to get into the right conversations, be in the right rooms, so this way they could take their business to the next level, mom founders specifically, please come to, and also Instagram at Melissa Llarena at M E L I S S A L L A R E N A.

On, I just want to say that you could have a free chapter of my number one bestseller, Fertile Imagination, a Guide For Stretching Every Mom’s Superpower For Maximum Impact. Also on, you can take a quiz if you don’t know why you’re stuck. Could it be your imagination? Could it be that, you know, maybe you have imposter syndrome, these are all the things that could be and I could help you with. So definitely head on to And yeah, I loved this too, randi, this has been sensational. Thank you for this. 

[01:04:27] Randi Rubenstein: Thanks so much.

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.

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. 

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