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Avoiding Mommy Burnout and Teaching Our Kids a Better Way (Part 1) (Ep 42)

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This is a 2-part episode and blog post:

Part 1: focuses on mommy burnout and creating the connections you need to prevent it.

Part 2: focuses on helping our kids and teens overcome burnout and anxiety.

Let’s talk about Mommy burnout, ask any mother of a toddler, and she’ll assure you ‘it does exist’. But we can feel it at every stage! Today I have a very special guest, Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, psychologist, and author of Mommy Burnout, discussing all things mommy burnout.

My goal for today’s episode is to help you reclaim your life and raise healthier, happier children in the process.

Because we have so much to say, this episode is broken into two parts – part 1 (this one) and part 2. Let’s go!

This episode will help:

👉  Overwhelmed moms identify and combat symptoms of burnout
👉 The lonely mom feel more confident in finding or building her tribe
👉 Keep you out of the ambulance due to burnout (IYKYK)

In this episode:

3:49 Defining Mommy Burnout
10:52 Recognizing and Combating Burnout
12:13 You Need a Full Stop
17:57 Leaning on Your Tribe
20:40 What if you don’t have a tribe?
26:49 Getting creative in building your tribe

What is Mommy Burnout

What even is mommy burnout and do I have it? Turns out that burnout is way more than being stressed. We’ve all had a day here and there that has just kicked our butts, but burnout is chronic emotional and physical exhaustion.

A really good way to describe it is like drowning. It’s like you’re under the water, and you can come up for short, shallow breaths, but nothing too big. You’ve got just enough air to keep you living, but certainly not thriving, and this is how you feel day after day, maybe even month after month.

Burnout is not a fun place to be, and if you’re not careful, you might find yourself unconscious in front of the alligator exhibit at the zoo. ( Ask me how I know….)

Recognizing and Combating Burnout

So here you are trying to balance the busy, live in alignment with your values, and avoid mommy burnout, but just how do we do that?

The first thing we need to do is to take burnout seriously and not wait until an emergency forces us to take a break. Dr. Ziegler is adamant about this. If we can recognize and become aware of the warning signs of burnout, then we can make intentional changes that are chosen instead of being forced upon us.

Because, guess what, if you don’t make the choice to take burnout seriously, your body will do it for you.

What are the signs of burnout?

Some of the telltale signs of burnout could be that you are feeling more irritable or like you have a shorter fuse. You could start to forget things or lose interest in some things that used to excite you. You might be avoiding family and friends. You might start to let your self-care practices slip a little or lose interest in intimacy with your spouse. Your sleep quality might start to decline, or you might be skipping it altogether because sleep is for people who aren’t busy, right?

Those are some of the top clues that you are heading towards burnout, and if you’re raising your hand high, like YES, that’s me I’ve got some advice for you:

You Need a Full Stop

I can already hear you saying, “But Leah, you don’t understand I CAN’T stop!” To which I say that I completely understand.

I was absolutely under this perception that no one understands – I can’t stop. I am the breadwinner, I am the stay-at-home mom. I am the homemaker, I am everything. If I stop, I disappoint everyone. I ruin everything.

Well, guess what? You end up in an ambulance, and you’re admitted to a hospital, and you are then forced to take a full stop.

This actually ended up being a huge blessing and eye-opener for me because I was able to see that the sky didn’t fall, the world didn’t collapse!

And that was honestly shocking for me. I had believed and told myself this story for so long, that our life would collapse if I stopped. And then, when I had no choice, well, it kept on going.

That ambulance became a gift because it allowed me to stop believing that story. I started getting the big breaths I needed. Instead of drowning and getting only these tiny short breaths. I started being able to fill my lungs again and actually feel like, oh my gosh, I can see light, I can get to the other side.

What does a full stop look like?

My full stop was physically collapsing and waking up in an ambulance. Your’s does not need to be nearly as dramatic. A full stop can look a lot of different ways. Sometimes it might just be shutting down the computer a little earlier today and leaving emails for tomorrow. It might mean turning off notifications and heading outside without your phone to just breathe. It might mean booking a Hawaiian vacation and completely checking out for 6 days. (Yes please to Hawaii! Who’s joining me there?)

The point is to make an intentional stop, where you can take some time to check in with yourself and recharge.

Building and Using Your Tribe

You don’t have to just check in with yourself, in fact, now is the perfect time to phone a friend! If you have somebody in your life that you love, that you trust, that is your confidant. Pick up the phone and call them! And in case, this time you’re thinking, “Leah, if I am busy and feeling burnt out, they probably are too, and who am I to say my needs are greater than theirs?”

The truth is, we need each other. And the good news is that we don’t all have the same needs all at the same time. So maybe right now while your in burnout mode, they are in a good spot or vice versa. And if not, if you are both feeling burnt out and needing a break, why not connect with each other for support? You could spend two hours together, the first hour you get the focus and the second hour your friend gets it.

What happens is we leave that exchange, whether that’s on video, on a phone call, or in person, feeling better! We get their ideas, get their feedback, and we got to do one of the things that human beings thrive most on. We got to be helpful. We got to listen. We got to be there for someone else, and now all of a sudden, our oxytocin is bubbling up, and we’ve got feel-good hormones going because we got to be in relationship, helping someone else.

When you’re dealing with burnout, connection is one of the very best things you can do. This past episode with Camille Walker shares some really good tips on connecting with your tribe.

“Leah, what if I don’t have a tribe?”

Okay, I get this question all the time.

Dr. Ziegler has an entire chapter in her book called, I Swear I Used To Have Friends. So it’s safe to say that you are not alone in what you’re feeling. This is actually good news because that means that there are lots of other lonely people out there too!

Uh, how is that good news?

Because it shows that your people are out there, and they need you as much as you need them! We do have to put in the work to find them. And I get it, that can be scary, but with some creativity, we can absolutely build our tribes – the reality is, they aren’t going to build themselves. And while social media can be great in the ways that we are able to connect and keep in touch digitally, there is just something about actually connecting in person.

You could join or even start a book club, sign up for something new like a cooking or art class, try a new fitness class, or join a local hiking group.

Just something to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. I promise it’s worth it, and soon those people can become part of your tribe.

Okay, as you can tell, we’ve got a LOT to say on this topic and we’re actually just getting started! But I’m gonna stop us here and break this into TWO episodes.

Next, we are going to be diving into helping our kids and teens with burnout, so hop on over to part 2 with Dr. Sheryl Ziegler.

Links You’ll Love:

Masterclass: Reclaim 6-8 hours a week for YOU

Should running your business really take this much time


Quiz: Are you burned out:

Book: Mommy Burnout


TedX Talk:

Other Episodes You’ll Love:

Why matters more than how when STAYING balanced (Ep 37)

Busy & Productive are not the same thing (Ep 32)

[00:00:00] Leah: Welcome to the Balancing Busy Podcast. I’m Leah Rebelle, your host, and in this episode we are going to be talking about avoiding mommy burnout and teaching our kids a better way so that they can avoid burnout and just all those pressures that lead to anxiety and just a whole lot of other things to help them as well.

[00:00:20] Today I have a very special guest, Dr. Cheryl Ziegler, who has her doctorate of psychology. She is an author, a speaker, national media contributor, nonprofit board member, girl Scouts leader, girl on the run, coach and advocate for children. She has been teaching children and families for over 20 years. She has her own private practice where she.

[00:00:42] Testing and trying and hearing these things like on the ground, and then also speaking and writing. She has an incredible book called Mommy Burnout. She is just amazing and helps you reclaim your life and raise healthier children in the process. So having her on the podcast, I knew I had so much I wanted to talk to her about.

[00:01:07] So here’s what this episode is. The first thing I wanna cover is the mommy burnout. So if you are a working mom, you feel guilty. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you feel judged. And social media makes all of us feel less than, right? Then we have the burnout in our kids, and we have two sides of the spectrum.

[00:01:26] Now we are seeing kids who are so fearful of failing that they don’t wanna try anything. I see so many kids, you know, not wanting to get a driver’s license, not wanting to try something new in junior high or high school, like all these things where. Afraid to fail. And then on the other side of the spectrum, you are seeing an uprising in anxiety, O C D, this overachieving mentality, perfectionism, these things that are just creating pain for our kiddos.

[00:01:54] And so there’s all of that. There’s in fact, according to. Pew research study, seven out of 10 of our teens report that depression and anxiety are a major problem for them. So there’s that component and then we’re gonna even touch about the impact and where social media fits into all of this. So there is so much more impacting.

[00:02:16] . In fact, there was so much that we unpacked that this is a double episode, so this is going to be broken down into two episodes. So without anymore, let’s jump right in and start the conversation with the mommy burnout and how we can get past these feelings of just not feeling like life is fulfilling or, or feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, lonely, all the things.

[00:02:42] Let’s dive right.

[00:02:44] Dr. Cheryl Ziegler, thank you so much for being on the Balancing Busy podcast today. 

[00:03:22] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: I’m so happy to be here. I can’t wait to have this conversation. 

[00:03:25] Leah: Oh, me too. This conversation is so important. It’s so needed and to have your expertise. I feel like a lot of times, you know, we’re trying to figure out this burnout thing, and, and I think a lot of, a lot of people are just guessing and then feeling frustrated that they’re not feeling better.

[00:03:42] So we get to have you the expert here today to really help us. So let’s start by talking about mommy burnout and, and kind of jump there and then, and then we’ll move on and we’ll talk about burnout with our kids and, and keep the conversation going. So, how, how do we look at mommy guilt? I know women are reporting less and less satisfaction, um, in their lives, and they report less satisfaction than men.

[00:04:09] How do we help ourselves? What, what do we look at as mommy burnout and how do we help ourselves? 

[00:04:14] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Yeah, so let me, let me start off with just getting, um, all of your listeners grounded on how did I come even to figure out that moms were burned out, um, years ago before we were talking about it all the time.

[00:04:28] Right? So since the pandemic, since 2020, we have been talking about burnout in every single way, shape, and form. Um, but I was talking about moms being burned out years before that. And so what happened was I run a private practice, I am a practicing psychologist and I run a private practice, and these moms would come in and they would say, so it would be an intake, and then they would say very similar things like, oh God, I just find myself wondering like, is this all there is to life?

[00:04:58] Or, oh, no matter where I am, I’m doing a shitty job if I’m at home. I, I’m really, I’m not, I don’t even know what I’m doing. And then if I’m at work, I feel guilty cuz I should be at home and then I’m not doing a good job there. And so there just seemed to be this theme. I was just tracking it. I was just observing it.

[00:05:15] And um, so when Mommy burnout came out, even like nobody had identified burnout as an actual syndrome, that happened very satisfying for me the year later. So the World Health Organization came out with a proper definition, a well accepted universal definition of what burnout was. And then of course, then the pandemic happened.

[00:05:38] So a lot has happened since Mommy burnout was published. And I think it’s important to start off by saying burnout is chronic stress gone awry? Burnout is the chronic physical and emotional exhaustion that results from feeling like you are no longer good at your job or that you. Don’t have anything to add or contribute.

[00:06:00] Okay. So there’s this reduced sense of personal accomplishment, right? That’s the proper way of saying that. And so burnout isn’t just being stressed. Burnout is chronic stress that you cannot manage or mitigate and that there’s no end to it. So I wanna pause there because I think it’s really important because we say things like, oh my God, I’m so stressed out, or, oh, I’m so burned out.

[00:06:23] We say it kind of easily and like it’s no big deal, but it’s actually really a health it, it really is a big deal and it impacts our full health, not just our mental health, but our physical health. And so I wanna just pause there and get your reaction to that. Cause I want everybody to be grounded around what are we actually even 

[00:06:39] Leah: talking about?

[00:06:40] Yes. And I, I completely agree with you. For me personally, and my audience knows this, I’ve shared this story. My burnout came about 10 years ago, and it was running under a level of pressure and stress. With without the rest, without bringing myself back and just constantly adding more and more stripping away all the things that I needed for my mental health.

[00:07:06] Because in my mind, I believe there just isn’t time. I have to find more time. So therefore, I let go of all the things that were good for my mental health until I literally collapsed at the zoo, was taken off by ambulance. My body truly shut down because it was so burnt out. Like we have to recharge ourselves.

[00:07:27] And there can be seasons of maybe higher stress, but when you’re living in it, Ongoing. It is unsustainable. And, and that’s I think what causes so much pain and heartache. And I love what you’re saying. You know, I, I think you’re so right. There are so many women out there who are saying, I feel like I should be happy.

[00:07:51] I feel like I should be so content, so grateful. And yet I feel not, and I don’t understand it. And I constantly feel like, is this as good as it gets? And not really being able to understand. And then, and then they add on top of that more guilt because they think, well, you should be happy that what, you know, look at how great your life is.

[00:08:14] You have everything you’re supposed to want. Why are you unsatisfied? So these feelings are there. What do we do when we’re feeling them? What, what does she do when, when she doesn’t wanna admit to anybody? And I remember having those feelings of like, My life looks incredible. It should be incredible. Why do I feel like this?

[00:08:37] Yeah. 

[00:08:38] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Well, I’ll say one of the things that the on the to-do is first to understand what’s happening and take it seriously as if a health condition has come over you. Because that seems to be the one time that busy women and moms, um, actually pay attention, right? So when you, it’s time for your mammogram and something comes up irregular, it’s like, The world stops.

[00:09:03] Like what? Right. Or you have been having some heart or chest pain and you go in to see the doctor or something like that. Right? It usually takes something very big to stop us in our tracks. And so I think the first thing that I’m really here to say is, let’s not wait for that. Because if you allow yourself to, like for me, my, my feeling when I’m getting close to burnout, or maybe I’m already there, is I feel like I’m drowning.

[00:09:30] That’s how I explain it. Like I’m under the water and I can come up for short, deep, very short, not deep breaths, shallow breaths, and then I’m back down. And then I’m back up. And that’s my feeling of like, this is when I know on too much. And so I freely will say, I need a timeout. Right? Like right now, this needs to stop.

[00:09:52] I have language for it, and I also have language in which my spouse can understand, so I don’t use it lightly. Like I don’t pull that card out very freely. So if I say, hold up, this is too much. And it actually happened just to me in the past week where I was having some issues going on with one of my kids, and I just felt like, oh my gosh, I’m keeping my kids afloat.

[00:10:16] I’m keeping this afloat. I’ve just felt like really overwhelmed. And I looked at my partner and I said, I cannot do this anymore. It’s been 48 straight hours of like feeling like I have to be perfectly on in everything and I can’t do this anymore. Okay. So now we have a different dialogue. Okay, what do you need from me?

[00:10:34] Right? But if I’m in it and I don’t initiate that conversation, I might get defensive. Like if someone says to me, you look like you could use some help. You look like you’re overwhelmed. Well, what do women do? We’re like, what? I don’t need any help. I can do it all. So it tends to give a knee-jerk reaction.

[00:10:52] Although one of my other tips, so first one is understand. Second is have some language. Have communication. If you have partner, a spouse, um, a boss, whoever it is you need to be communicating with, establish a language that the two of you can really say like, I promise I’m not pulling that out unless I really need it.

[00:11:12] And again, really needing it doesn’t mean you’re already like sunken at the bottom of that C. It just means that, oh, I now recognize the early warning signs and that’s gonna be my cue to stop not collapsing on the zoo ground, right? For me, not going into the hospital with kidney stones, it means like, huh, I’m starting to realize that I’m irritable.

[00:11:35] So here are some signs. I’m irritable, I’m forgetting things. I have no interest in sex or self care. I am avoiding friends and family who love me and that I love. Because I am too busy, um, and I’m not sleeping well. I would say those are like the top ones, right? Like you have, you’re chronically either not falling asleep or staying asleep.

[00:12:00] So if those things are happening again, not once in a while, but they’re chronically happening, consecutive nights in a row, stop. It’s a full blown, it’s a full stop. Um, so that would be my first tip, honestly, Leah, it’s a full stop. Like a stop and reevaluate and ask for help, and then learn how to receive the help.

[00:12:21] We’re not great at that. We’re not good at, even when we do ask for help. And then let’s say you helped me. Oh my gosh. I’m very likely to be like, oh my God, now I owe you a favor. Oh my God, I’m gonna have to repay that favor. Oh, now, right? And then we feel guilt about accepting the help and all of this needs to change.

[00:12:40] Leah: I love that so much and I wanna affirm what you are saying because. I absolutely have experienced this in my own life and have recognized everything you’re saying. And one of the things that I wanna, that I wanna speak to is for every single woman who’s hearing you say, you need to do a full stop. And they’re like, okay, but you don’t understand.

[00:13:01] I can’t. I believed that wholeheartedly. I was absolutely under this, this perception that no one understands I can’t stop. I am the breadwinner, I am the stay-at-home mom. I am the homemaker, I am everything. If I stop, I disappoint everyone. I ruin everything. And then guess what? You end up in an ambulance and you’re admitted to a hospital and you know, same for you when you had your kidney stones.

[00:13:28] You are forced to stop. And low and behold, that forced stop. One of the biggest takeaways from me for that was, wow. The world did not collapse when I stopped. That was honestly shocking for me. I had believed and told myself this story for so long that, that our life would collapse if I stopped. And then when I had no choice, it kept on going.

[00:13:54] And guess what? Exactly what you said. You know, people stepped in. I remember like calling my sister and she lived about three and a half hours away from me. And you know, before I had even seen the, the first round of doctors, she was already in the car coming. Right? Like that help was there. I had to ask for it.

[00:14:13] And, and who knows what that looks like for each of us, but just for anyone who’s saying you don’t understand, I can’t stop. I just want to tell you, I under, I, I understand and I believe that you believe that I believed it, but it actually turns out that was a story. And when I stopped believing that story, I started getting the big breaths.

[00:14:33] You know what you talked about? Instead of drowning and you’re getting these tiny short breaths. I started being able to fill my lungs again and actually feel like, oh my gosh, I think, I think I can, I can see light, I can get to the other side. There is a life raft somewhere that those feelings. So, okay, so, so what else can we do?

[00:14:52] Yeah, 

[00:14:53] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: let me say something about what you said. Um, I love that you pointed that out because we do have inherent belief that if we go down, right, like, so that’s the way I put it. If I go down, you know what’s gonna happen. So I wanna say what full stop can look like, because full stop for some people just says, just take a breath.

[00:15:14] Like, just, just don’t go on your phone tonight. And instead maybe get out a piece of paper and a pen. Just start writing. Just start writing. Just see what happens. Full stop doesn’t mean. Go, quit your job, go divorce your spouse. Right? Go take a Hawaiian vacation. I booked a flight, I’m gone. Yeah, exactly.

[00:15:36] That’s not what, full stop. Full stop means check yourself. Go check yourself. Right? Stop. Just stop what you’re doing. Um, maybe you’re not gonna reply to emails tonight. Maybe you are not going to do a load to wash tonight. And instead, full stop means I’m gonna stop my pattern because clearly it’s not working.

[00:15:59] I’m gonna stop what I’m doing and I’m gonna make some time to check in with myself. I think a great place to be. And so I know you asked what else to do. This is my bridge to that, is if you have somebody in your life that you love, that you trust, that is your confidant. Pick up the phone and call them.

[00:16:20] Ask them to go out to dinner, FaceTime them, text them if you have to, and say however you want to, whatever your personality is, I’m having a midlife crisis, need to talk or SOS 9 1 1. I need you. Or just, Hey, do you think in the next week or so we could find some time? I really, I need you. And here’s what I wanna say about that too.

[00:16:41] Here’s the other belief women have. I hear it all the time. Remember I have traveled the country listening to these burnout stories. And so a lot of this, you know, is people, I work with people, I hear my own experiences. But the other belief we have is, well, Leah, how could I do a full stop and call you when I know that you are running a company and you are so busy and you have kids too?

[00:17:05] And so who am I to say, oh, my needs and wants are greater than your needs and wants, cuz you probably need somebody too. Okay. Mm-hmm. That’s the other fundamental belief we live with, and here’s what I wanna say about that. We don’t all have the same needs at the same time. And so maybe right now I’m in a good spot and so guess what?

[00:17:27] Feel free to call me. Feel free to tell me you need my time. Like I love it when my girlfriend say, I need you, so I don’t care what you have to stop doing. Yes, right? I need you, and guess what? I’m gonna drop what I’m doing, or I’m gonna make that time ASAP and I’m gonna be there for you. And if I truly can’t be right, if truly I was in a position where, oh my gosh, you don’t even know what I’m going through, right?

[00:17:53] Then maybe I say, you know what? I need you. Yes. So let’s still be in relationship and connect with each other. Let’s spend two hours, the first hour you get and the second hour I get. Because what happens is we leave that exchange, whether that’s on video, on a phone call, or in person. We leave and guess what just happened?

[00:18:11] We got to release our stuff onto someone else, get their ideas, get their feedback, and we got to do one of the things that human beings thrive most on. We got to be helpful. Yes. I got to listen. Yes. I got to be there for you. You got to make me feel like that was such a good idea. Cheryl, thank you so much for being here.

[00:18:30] Now all of a sudden, my oxytocin is bubbling up and I’ve got feel good hormones going because that’s all we wanna do is we wanna be in relationship and we wanna be. 

[00:18:40] Leah: Mm, I agree so much. In fact, I’m loving this cuz I’m like, this literally happened for me this morning. So I got a text from, from a friend this morning that said, are you awake?

[00:18:51] And I was like, yes I am. I knew that meant a call was coming, right? And, and we started chatting and, and she chatted her things and then she’s like, okay, you sound like you just woke up. And I was like, no, I’ve been up for hours and hours. And then she’s like, okay, then what’s going on? And then I shared with her, you know, it, it was, it was a moment of, of overwhelm for me because, you know, we’re six weeks post our fire.

[00:19:14] We don’t live in our own home. There is so much stuff. And so I got to share that. And, and it was so fun as we each got off the phone, she said, I feel so much better. How about you? And I’m like, yes, I feel so much better too. And so I agree with you, number one. We love to feel needed. And I know if someone’s in burnout, they’re like, oh, believe me, I want to be needed less.

[00:19:32] But there’s different kinds of needed and like this, this kind that you’re talking about, it feeds our souls. And number two, we, we need to just, again, these stories we tell ourselves, they don’t have time to help me when it’s your people, when it’s your person, we make time for each other. And, and it can be as good for them to get to have that feeling of like, oh, I did something good today.

[00:19:56] I helped them as much as it is for us when we need that person that we can let it out to and, and process with. 

[00:20:06] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Absolutely. I I think it’s a given that it’s a reciprocal process, right? So even if in the exact moment, um, you don’t need something like Right. You will, you will. Right, right. There’s not an IO you needed because this is life.

[00:20:21] Right. So like I, and I really, I wanna say something because you said, We talked about a tribe and from, from writing Mommy burnout, hearing so many stories, I get dms, I get all people communicate in all different ways, right? One big theme that I have heard is, but what do you do if you don’t have 

[00:20:41] Leah: a tribe?

[00:20:42] Oh, I’m so glad you’re talking about this, because that is such there, you know, for that woman who’s saying, great, I love that. I don’t have my person, so what do I do? So I love this. Yes. Tell us. 

[00:20:53] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Yes. So what I say is, if you don’t have it, build it. Yes, they will come. There are millions. I actually mean millions of women and, and men too in the world who do not have a best friend, who do not have a confidant.

[00:21:10] I have stats on this. So only about really one in four women. Truly say they have somebody who they think cares about them in a friendship way, that they have a best friend who cares about them, that they can go to only one in four. So that means three. And about three and four women are wishing they had their friend, their person.

[00:21:33] They’re probably missing somebody. Evan, an entire chapter in mommy burnout, that’s called, I swear I used to have friends, right? So most people, um, and not everybody, everyone’s got their own unique story, but for the most part, many of us had friends when we were in college or we got our first job, right?

[00:21:52] You had no kids, you had no committed relationship. Go out after work, right? It’s all fun, happy hours, all this stuff’s happening. Um, you’re working hard, but you’re playing pretty hard. And then, um, you meet the guy now that’s super fun, or the girl whatever right now. But then what happens is, Once you have a child, all of a sudden you went from all eyes on you being showered, right?

[00:22:19] Having people around you, touching your belly, being all up in your space, right? All those things. And then we know that about six weeks after you have that baby, women feel lonely. And where are all the people that were like bringing the food and wanted to just come over to hold the baby? And we’re so understanding about like, oh, you must be so tired.

[00:22:43] I’ll come over and hold your baby. You take a nap, that goes away really fast. Yeah. And one of the very sad things that I’ve been talking about, um, over the past year in particular is even, um, you know, maternal suicide. And we know that the, the peak month, so whether it’s suicide or just dark thoughts or feeling, uh, really lonely happened six months.

[00:23:07] After. It doesn’t just happen. It’s the peak of, of feeling so alone and lonely six months after you have a baby. And so for anyone listening right now that knows somebody who recently had a baby, go look at that calendar. What month are you on? Have you stopped calling? Have you stopped texting? When’s the last time you went over?

[00:23:27] When’s the last time? You didn’t just ask about the baby, but you asked about how they were doing and get over there and reach out. So what I’m trying to say is there are so many different people in different ages and stages of their life, whether someone’s listening, they’ve got a new baby at home, they feel lonely.

[00:23:42] I know, I know. They feel stressed and lonely. Even if you love your kid, we all know that that’s the baseline. Yes, we know it. You love your baby. That’s not what we’re 

[00:23:51] Leah: talking about. And it’s still okay to be lonely. Like that does not mean because you’re feeling lonely, because you’re having blues, because you’re having dark thoughts.

[00:23:58] Whatever it looks like, that does not take away anything from your love for your child. This is a real true thing that, that I, that for so long, I think we’re doing so much better, but for so long no one talked about because they felt ashamed, and now we understand like, no, this is normal and, and you are okay.

[00:24:14] So yes, agree with you a hundred percent. I love that. 

[00:24:17] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, and there’s help. There’s help. I, I recently had, um, just this weekend had somebody, I don’t know, send me a DM that said, thank you for writing your book because of your book. I just went to my first therapy session today and I was like, Ugh.

[00:24:34] Right. Like that, that kind of stuff. Just if that’s what fuels me. Mm-hmm. So you have to understand, if you do not have a community, if you do not have a best friend, if you just moved and you’re sitting in some city, yes. You’re sitting in St. Louis right now. You’re sitting in Detroit, wherever you are, and you’re just sitting there and you’re like, oh my gosh, what did I just do with my life?

[00:24:56] There are other people who also just moved. There are other people who just had babies. There’s other people who just lost a spouse. There are other people who have kids who are in middle school, loneliest age for moms, middle school kids get to middle school and all of a sudden you don’t, you don’t have a community the same way you did anymore.

[00:25:11] Yes. It’s so true. It’s so true. So I I, I truly mean at any stage, I’m relating right now, of course to parenting, but from whether you just had a baby to whether your kid’s getting, starting to look at colleges, there is grief and loss and loneliness and disconnect. And friends you used to be close to, and now you’re not really close to ’em.

[00:25:30] You lost touch in-laws. You get along with, in-laws you don’t get along with like, these are all the things and create a meetup group. Just ask somebody out to coffee, ask somebody, you know, if they wanna start a book club with you. However you need to, whatever your comfortable PO point of entry is, I promise there will be at least one other, but probably way more.

[00:25:54] One other person that’s like, sure, I’ll go, yeah, I’ll start that with you. Sure. I’ll be your, you know, co room parent, whatever it is. And if you’re in a work setting, starting ERGs, those are so popular. Employee resource groups. Maybe it’s just like you start a new ERG and if you work for a large company or corporation, you know, the new parent group, the old parent group, whatever you wanna call it, build it, they will come.

[00:26:20] I see it happen time and 

[00:26:21] Leah: time again. I love this so much. So it’s, I love what you said, you, you need to go out and find it. Here’s the honest truth. We’re it, it’s a different time now. I mean, how many of us would say like, yeah, honestly, I don’t know my neighbors, they never came over and introduced themselves, or I never.

[00:26:40] I meant to, I didn’t get to them, or I used to have, you know, have to set up play dates. So I’d meet parents, but now they are in middle school and you don’t do that. They do it all themselves, or it whatever stage we’re gonna need to get creative in how we are going to build those tribes. So for some it’s gonna be go and build it and, and maybe someone saying, oh my gosh, that’s terrifying.

[00:27:00] Okay, well you’re gonna have to put yourself outside your comfort zone in some way. And maybe that’s not the way I’ve, I’ve known a lot of people. Never wanted to, you know, really exercise, but they’re like, I’m gonna go join a gym and fitness classes because I’m trying to meet people and that’s how I’m gonna do it.

[00:27:16] Or I’m gonna go join the book club, or I’m gonna go join, take this class on, on cooking just so I can try to meet more people. So we’ve gotta get creative in, in how we’re gonna put ourselves out there. Um, we have moved throughout our marriage over 15 times. In 20 years you’d think we’re military. We are not, uh, we just are crazy.

[00:27:36] And, um, I, I will say I’ve had to do a lot of different things over all of these moves to make friends. My, for me, my, my starting point and my grounding point is church. I go to church, I’m gonna meet people through my spiritual community, but it has also been book clubs and cooking clubs and, um, signing up for a half marathon that I thought I would never, never do.

[00:28:01] I mean, you guys. I learned the symptoms of asthma in middle school so that I could get out of running a mile. I am never considered myself a runner, and yet I met this group of girls. They were all planning to do this half marathon and do a big girls weekend, and I thought, well, crud, if I wanna get to know ’em, I guess I’m committing.

[00:28:20] And it was terrifying, but I did it. You, you have to, you know, you, you gotta figure out how you’re gonna get yourself in there. And we can teach that to our kids too, because through each of the transitions of, you know, there’s, there’s the friends in elementary, but then kids change, and then there’s the friends in middle school.

[00:28:38] And then it can change and change and change. And then they’re gonna high school and then college and then the first job. And so we can kind of help them to understand. But I think the best thing that you said, one of the best things you said is that you are not the only person lonely. And when we can recognize that, you know, we’re so scared, like, oh, they’re probably so busy.

[00:28:59] They probably have so much going on. And yes, everyone is busy. There’s a reason it’s called the Balancing Busy podcast. Everyone thinks they’re busy. Um, There are so many others who are lonely. And then I wanted to add, I was just thinking about this and I’d love to know your thoughts on this too, is for those who say, I’m trying, I’m trying to put myself out there in every, I’m like, they’re saying no, because I actually had a woman at our balance retreat share that with us this year.

[00:29:25] She said, I invited all these women to lunch and no one said yes, and my heart broke for her. Because here she is trying to put herself out there trying to build the tribe. And I wanna say, this is to us as women, but this is also to our children. Okay, then go find other people. Like there are the people who are lonely.

[00:29:45] I see this with I, with teenagers. I volunteer and I teach a, a class for teenagers, uh, a zero period class for them. And, um, there are so many of them who are lonely and I have this conversation with them a lot, but they’ve, they’ve gleaned on and they’ve put their eye on like this one group that they think is so great and that’s the one they wanna be a part of.

[00:30:06] And I’m just looking and I’m like, Okay. Of the 20 of you, you are, you’re fixated on this group of three, but there are 17 others who are looking for friends who are lonely, and those could be your people. So just recognizing and thinking about like the one that you’ve set your mind on may not be the best for you.

[00:30:26] And I think that applies to our kids and, and to us as as women. 

[00:30:31] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Absolutely. I mean, I think also speaking of kids, you just touched on it. Um, for people who don’t know, there was a study, um, that came out. Kaiser did it. And the loneliest generation right now. Of kids are those 18 to 23 college age post high school.

[00:30:54] And the reason is not number one, social media. It actually is because they don’t know what to do with their unstructured time. Once they are no longer under Mom and dad’s rules, guidelines, high school schedules. We haven’t taught kids, and I think we’re losing it too, as parents. The art and the skill of being bored, of having downtime, how to rest, how to relax without sleeping.

[00:31:23] And we just doom scroll and fill in all of our time. So when you go to college, I mean, I know those who don’t have kids in college or didn’t go to college or maybe, you know, there’s a lot of free time in college. A lot, a lot. Um, and if you don’t know what to do with it, you kind of freeze, right? You can fight, flight, or freeze.

[00:31:46] Um, and a lot of, you know, college age, um, young adults just freeze. They don’t know what to do. Um, which puts them in a situation where then they may turn more to social media, things online, they then feel more lonely. Oh my gosh, look at all these things other people are doing. And so it’s an interesting cycle.

[00:32:04] So I do wanna say for anyone listening who’s balancing busy, don’t be so busy that you don’t know how to play, that you don’t know how to rest, and that you don’t know how to teach your own kids how to do that because you’re doing them a disservice once they 

[00:32:19] Leah: leave your home. Oh, I’m so glad you were talking about this.

[00:32:23] So I had a saying the whole time, my kids were young. Every time they’d come to me and say, we’re bored, I’m bored, I would say, and they hated it. I, I’m not saying this is great parenting advice, I don’t know because they hated it. But I would always say, you can’t be bored unless you’re boring. And then I would, that was it.

[00:32:39] That’s all I’d give them. I. Believed in the power of being bored, because I just thought about when I was a kid, we got thrown outside and you didn’t come back for hours. And if you did come back, you were instantly given chores, so you didn’t wanna come back because then it was like, dang it, now I have to do this.

[00:32:53] And so, you know, you sit around and you’re like, you’re trying to figure out what to do, trying to figure out what to do, and then you finally like the creative, the creativity kicks in, and then you’re, you, you try something. But if I didn’t have that space of just sitting with boredom, I wouldn’t have gotten to the other side.

[00:33:13] And so I’ve always been, uh, just a huge believer in the power of boredom. And I, and I’ll admit, I think I’ve been really great at creating boredom for my kids and allowing it, but not as much for me. Because for me, I think, well, I’m a grownup. I need to be productive all the time. So I, I haven’t been as good at letting myself be bored, but I see this and I’m like, oh, that’s so powerful.

[00:33:38] Okay. Getting into all of this with Dr. Ziegler was so good that we ended up having to make it a double episode. So now we’re gonna transition into talking about burnout in our kids and how we can help combat that, how we can help them through it, what we can do.



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