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Avoiding Mommy Burnout and Teaching Our Kids a Better Way (Part 2) (Ep 43)

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Welcome to Part 2 of Avoiding Mommy Burnout and Teaching Our Kids a Better way with Dr. Sheryl Ziegler. Make sure you check out Part 1 here first, in that episode, we’re talking about burnout and anxiety in our kids and how to help them.

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.

So let’s jump into this episode!

This episode will help:

👉  Moms identify the warning signs of burnout in their kids
👉 Anyone learn this skill of active listening to connect better with kids and teens
👉 Busy moms create and model better phone and social media habits

In this episode:

2:10 What does burnout look like in our kids
13:50 How do we as parents alleviate some of the pressure
15:18 Let’s talk phones, social media, and our kids
25:21 What are we modeling and boundaries
30:41 Give them space and be present to listen
37:35 The answer is connection

What does Burnout Look Like For Our Kids

Unfortunately, burnout isn’t just for us adults. In fact, the last chapter in Dr. Ziegler’s book, Mommy Burnout, is Our Kids Are Burned Out Too. Our kids and teens are feeling immense amounts of pressure these days, and burnout is a very real thing for them.

So what things should we be on the lookout for with our kids?

Burnout in kids looks a lot like burnout for us.

Pay attention to sleep. Sleep is a big one, if they aren’t sleeping well or if you see them become more avoidant in things, that’s a big clue that they might be heading towards burnout.

You might notice that there’s more whining, complaining, and even straight-up refusal. Instead of just chalking it up to being an angsty teenager, it might be a clue to dig a little deeper. Maybe they aren’t just being difficult. Maybe that attitude is a cry for help and them saying, ‘I need a break’, but they don’t know how to say it, or even if they can.

How Can We Alleviate Some Of the Pressure

One of the biggest and best things we can do for ourselves when it comes to burnout is to be proactive, and it’s the same for our kids. Look ahead to see when you can schedule in breaks before they get to the point of burnout.

When a sports season comes to an end, instead of signing up for the next thing or making sure they get into off-season training to keep their competitive edge, let them, or even insist that they take a break.

Dr. Ziegler has spoken with college counselors, professional athletes, coaches, and lots of other people, and the theme is consistent.

If you really care and you want your kid to continue to not just be the best but thrive and actually be happy in the things that they’re doing. Give them breaks.

And listen, you really might have to insist that they take a break. I have my own kiddo who didn’t want to come on a tropical spring break trip with us because they wanted to stay home and train. It might be that our kids really love something, and they don’t have good boundaries around balancing that. It might be that they are afraid to fall behind, or they might feel like they aren’t allowed to take a break, but it’s so important for them to get the message early on that even the things we love to do, we take breaks from. If they can learn now that breaks are a good thing and a healthy thing, that will be so incredibly helpful to them as adults.

Fear of Failure

Our kids are not comfortable with the idea of failure. Who is? But what we experienced as kids is different…This is deeper, and in many ways, it’s harder.

Okay, let’s be honest, I see kids and teens who are absolutely terrified of trying something new and failing at it. But if you think about it, it makes sense. Our kids are growing up in a time where they have had accessibility to check everything.

They don’t buy something without checking reviews, they don’t go somewhere without checking the weather. They don’t pick a class until they’ve checked with They have always had ways to mitigate risk and failure. There isn’t as much trial and error in their lives, as there was in ours and that is playing into that fear of failure for them because they’re used to having all these things around them to help mitigate, making bad choices.

But the honest truth is learning about who we are and what we love involves a lot of trial and error, stumbling, and, yes even failing. So our job is to help them embrace the scary idea of what if I fail?

Our call to action as parents can be that yes, we hope you ARE failing because that means you are trying! That means you are getting out of your comfort zone, and nothing could make us more proud.

I love this message from Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. She said that her dad encouraged them to fail at something every single day. That is the message that our kids need. It’s okay to fail. In fact, it’s great to fail!

Give Them Space and Be Present To Listen

So what can we as parents do to really help our kids when we are getting that sense that they’re overwhelmed, that they are feeling too much pressure, and they’re just gonna pop?

This piece of advice really comes straight from the kids that Dr. Ziegler has spent her whole career working with. What they say is:

I just wish that I could be heard.

If you see that your kid is struggling, give them space and be present to listen. And really, really listen.

As parents, we can quickly jump into teacher and lecturer mode, when we instead need to practice active listening. It’s when we get curious and ask the right kinds of follow-up questions to help our kids get to the answer on their own with a little bit of guidance.

And here’s the other big thing that I have found, we don’t get to pick when they’re ready to talk. Sometimes we really luck out, and it’s at the time when you’ve got them in the car, and it’s only the two of you, and you can talk.

But with my kids, I have found it is right after I have climbed into bed, and I’m just so tired. But we have to be available when they’re ready.

Connection is the Answer

The answer is connection. The one thing you can do to combat burnout in yourself and at home with your kids and family is connection.

Through all of the research, what we know is that we are mentally healthier, we are physically healthier, and we can manage stress a lot better in relationships and in connections-.

If you are struggling, the best thing you can do is pick up the phone and reach out to a friend. In fact Dr. Ziegler even has a TEDx talk about the different friends and people in our lives that we can connect with in different times and seasons of our lives. Those connections and relationships have everything to do with combatting burnout.

And if you see those signs in your kids, connection is the answer for them too. Pause, take a time out, and make room for connection.

Wow, these two episodes packed a powerful punch. For me, one of the biggest things I want to work on is my active listening skills. I’d love to know what your favorite takeaway was from these two episodes! You can connect with me on Instagram and let me know!

Links You’ll Love:

Reconnecting Offline in a Digital World World

Why I’m So Good At Failing

How I’m Changing up My Routine For Summer

Other Episodes You’ll Love:

Helping Our Kids Balance The Busy (Ep 21)

About Dr. Sheryl Ziegler:

Sheryl Gonzalez Ziegler, Psy.D. holds a Doctorate of Psychology, is an Author, Speaker, National Media Contributor, Non-Profit Board Member, Girl Scouts Leader, Girls on the Run Coach and Advocate for children.

She has been treating children and families for over twenty years with areas of expertise in anxiety, trauma, divorce, stress management and depression.

Dr. Ziegler is the author of the best-selling book, Mommy Burnout: how to reclaim your life and raise healthier children in the process, the winner of Best Parenting Book of 2018 as awarded by International Latino Book Awards.

[00:00:00] Leah: So as I shared in the last episode, getting into all of this with Dr. Ziegler was so good that we ended up having to make it a double episode. So in the first episode, we really got into the mommy burnout and we talked about. All of the things that we can do to combat that mommy burnout. But 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.

[00:00:29] So let’s jump into this episode and get right into it.

[00:00:33] But I will say, if you didn’t get a chance to listen to Part One of Avoiding Mommy Burnout and Teaching our Kids a Better Way with Dr. Cheryl Ziegler, I would highly suggest you go back, listen to the. Part of this two part episode and then come here because we are building on what we’ve already covered and talked about in that first episode, and now we’re gonna be building on it.

[00:00:58] So go back, listen to part one if you hadn’t had a chance, and if you did, then hey, we’re ready. Let’s jump right in and start focusing on how we can better help our kiddos.

[00:01:08] Okay, so, so I wanna transition. Into our kids because we talk about burnout as adults a lot, but I don’t think we’re talking about burnout with our kids enough. And I think that is a real problem too

[00:01:52] So will you kind of transition us and help us to understand burnout with our kids? Where, what’s, what’s the earliest it can start?

[00:02:00] How do we help them and give them some tools? What can we do? That was a lot, but we’ll just, you know, we’ll start and work our way through. 

[00:02:08] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Absolutely. So burnout and kids looks like the same types of symptoms, um, where they’re not sleeping well. They, they may be more avoidant where they’re trying to avoid things.

[00:02:20] There’s more maybe whining, complaining, um, but refusal is a big one for kids. Like, no, I don’t, no, I don’t wanna go. No, I don’t wanna do that. Um, and so I end, my last chapter, the last chapter of mommy burnout is, um, Our kids burned out too. And what we know is that today’s kids, right? So Gen Z feels very overwhelmed and under pressure.

[00:02:52] Yes. And they are so ill-equipped to go into the world, um, because of this. And so they are, um, not always graduating high, graduating college. They’re not always fulfilling their potential when you are an amazing whatever you are, right? Whether you’re an amazing diver, swimmer, whatever, whatever it might be, the talent you have.

[00:03:20] But that starts at the age of five and you’re now 15 and everyone always expected you would go play the violin in the orchestra or you would go dive for some amazing, you know, division one team and all of a sudden you look at your parents and you say, I quit. I quit. That is when you know that should be a sign to you or I wanna quit that.

[00:03:45] This is too much, too long, too intense. We need breaks from things like, I love what I do, but I take a break. I’m taking two months off per coming up soon. Right. It’s not cuz I’m burned out. I’m not. It is because 

[00:04:01] Leah: love how we stop ourselves from being burnt out. Yes, exactly. It is 

[00:04:05] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: proactive. Yes. Like I’m telling everybody right now.

[00:04:08] Right. I know this is, um, some points, people could listen to this anytime, but right now it’s like spring break ish time. So I’ve let everybody know, Hey, you know what, this summer I’m gonna take two months off this summer, and I’m not burned out. I, I, it’s giving me time. I’m planning for it. And so what I’m trying to say is when you look at your kids and you think about, well, I don’t know.

[00:04:28] Is my kid burned out? What are they burned out from? Their life is so great, right? Or they love baseball so much. Even when they love something so much. Give insist they have a break. Oh no. But then they’ll lose their competitive advantage. No, no, no. Because the higher they get in their, whatever it is, sport or activity, the more mental strength.

[00:04:51] Plays a role in their success. So if you have, you know, the best, whatever they are. And you, same thing as like, same exact thing as like, no, I can’t do the full stop. I know parents are listening right now going, no, no, you don’t understand. You don’t do that in baseball. You play year round. Oh, no, no. I do understand actually.

[00:05:10] Um, and I have interviewed people on my own podcast talking about kids and sports and kids and overdoing it. I’ve talked to college counselors, I’ve talked to professional. I literally talked to two professional athletes top of their game. But I’ve, I’ve talked to a lot of different people and there is a theme, and the theme is consistent.

[00:05:27] Like if you really care, if you really wanna get to this answer, you want your kid to continue to not just be the best but thrive and actually be happy in the things that they’re. Give them breaks. Maybe within their break. Maybe they’re just resting. Maybe they’re doing something artistic. Maybe they’re just doing something musical.

[00:05:45] They don’t have to, don’t replace it with another sport. If it’s a sport, whatever it is they’re doing, just do the yang to the yang. Just think to yourself, what would you wanna do? Talk to them about it and just say, Hey, you know what? I don’t know. If we have to do those private lessons this summer, the season’s over in May.

[00:06:03] Maybe we revisit this back in August. You know when August goes, what? We don’t, no. Everybody’s gonna have their private coaches and everyone’s gonna be doing this, and they’re gonna be doing club leagues. They’re gonna be traveling all over the country. Oh, yeah, that’s, that’s good for them. But you know what?

[00:06:19] I see how much you really love. Fill in the blank, and so I wanna keep it that way for you. No, no, but really, I promise I wanna do it. Oh, maybe we do it then a little bit less. So they’re getting the message very early on. Even the things that we love to do, we take breaks from just like even the friends that we love, we also take breaks from, right?

[00:06:40] We can’t just dive in 100% into people or places or things because we like them. That’s indulgent. That is a recipe for. 

[00:06:51] Leah: Mm, that’s so good. And I really like that you said, you know, you made that little point where you said you might need to insist because they’re feeling the pressure, they’re putting the pressure on themselves and, and we are the parent.

[00:07:05] They need us to step in and be that parent and say, no, you are going to, we literally just had this conversation. We’ve just come into track season and one of our, all three of ’em are in track, but one of ’em is like Lis Breeze, gungho has been training and we’re talking about spring break, and we’re like, we’re going somewhere.

[00:07:22] And she’s like, no, we can’t. And we were like, no, we will. Practice is optional and you will not. Do that week, we will be going as a family. And, and, and it was hard. Like I, no parent wants to disappoint their kids, but we are the parents and we have to, you know, like, I mean, it’s kind of funny when you’re like, they’re arguing with you to go somewhere tropical and you’re like, 

[00:07:45] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: come on.

[00:07:46] But, um, but that’s the way it is. That’s a great point, Leah. That’s a great example because, oh, we’re gonna go to some tropical amazing vacation. No thanks. I wanna stay here and run. What? No, we go on the tropical vacation and if you wanna take some runs while we’re there. Great, 

[00:08:00] Leah: great. You can do that. Yeah.

[00:08:02] So, okay. I love this and like, oh, I wanna go in so many different directions because I know, I know we have. Some parents who are seeing this pressure manifest for their children with, uh, a failure to fly or, or, sorry, fear. Fear of, of flight, right? Like, uh, I’ve, I, I don’t know if other people have noticed this, but when I turned 16, every single one of us was trying to get our driver’s license the day or as close to as we could to getting 16.

[00:08:34] Now you see so many teenagers who are like, meh, I don’t need to, like, they’re, they’re not even really pushing or excited to, to, to take those next steps. So, so you have that, that side, right? All the way to the side of, of, you know, maybe parents who are saying, okay, I have, I have a child with O C D, uh, super overachieving.

[00:08:57] And, and there’s this pressure because you literally go from like, you’ve gotta do great for middle school so that you can get into the. Um, honors classes and the AP classes. Then you get into high school and it’s like, now it really counts. You gotta be stacking those things for the college. Then you get into college and depending on, on your child, for those who are saying, well, I wanna get into a master’s or a doctorate program, or something like that.

[00:09:19] Okay, there’s never a break then, because now you gotta be working for that one. And then in that one it’s to get placed at the really great, I mean, it just doesn’t end. I can’t, it doesn’t end. And I’m looking at that and I’m like, we’re talking about decades of our kids feeling like you’re never allowed to pause, because if you do, you’re gonna miss this advantage.

[00:09:37] And we could talk about that academically. We could talk about that with sports. We could talk that about that with, with other kinds of, uh, you know, artistic activities. So I see these two spectrums, right? Like how do we as parents help? 

[00:09:51] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Mm-hmm. Um, this is, this is a really great point because I actually right now have.

[00:09:57] Uh, I have my own 15 year old, and I find it to be the most bizarre thing. She has, um, her driver’s permit and I, I am like begging her to practice driving. Right? So it’s like, uh, yesterday we just had it. I we’re going to the mall and I, I started driving and I stopped and I go, oh, wait, what am I doing? It’s a Sunday afternoon.

[00:10:17] This is a perfect opportunity. You drive? No. What do you mean? No, no, no, I don’t want to. I don’t want to. You can just keep driving. And in her case, it’s not because of necessarily, I don’t think pressure from me. I think it’s this fear. They are so scared to fail. Yes, yes. They have no sense of like, yeah, you’re gonna learn how to drive.

[00:10:44] You’re gonna hit a curve, you’re gonna make a wrong turn. I’m gonna have to yell at some point and say, stop. I’m gonna, you’re gonna forget to put your blinker on. Like that’s, that’s all part of the learning process. And even though I am overtly saying these things to her, right. I don’t wanna get into an accident.

[00:10:59] But other than that, there’s gonna be hiccups. That’s part of learning. You’re learning. It’s this though, culturally right now it’s fear of failure. Yes. And where like we were talking about boredom and the importance of boredom, because that’s where creativity is born. Literally. Yes. This fear of failure is keeping our.

[00:11:19] In our basements not driving, not wanting to try things that they don’t know how to, not wanting to be the one weird kid who wants to try something new in high school cuz nobody tries anything new in high school. Mm-hmm. Because they’ve been prepped for 10 years for that moment. So then, oh, what? I’m just gonna go out and try lacrosse.

[00:11:38] That’s the stupidest thing ever. Kids have been doing this for 10 years. Uh, yeah, actually. Yep. Uh, yep. That would make you weird. I get it. Yep. Right. And so that, and, and I understand it’s not that easy, but this is what, this is what in, in a sense culturally we’re up against. But this is our call to action to start to change this.

[00:11:57] Like yes, you can still be 14, 15, and 16 and I sure hope you’re trying new things and I sure hope that you’re failing a whole bunch. Cuz if you’re feeling a whole bunch then I know you’re pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and nothing could make me prouder. That’s the kind of message our kids need.

[00:12:14] Leah: Yes. I remember years and years ago, I’ve read a couple different. Articles where, where, uh, a founder talked about their, their childhood. I think Sarah Blakely was one of ’em where she talked about how her father would ask, what did you fail at today at, around the dinner table? And I loved it. So we introduced that years and years ago and, and constantly pushing them to think of failure as forward, not backwards.

[00:12:40] And so I, I really love that I read an, an article that I thought was, it, it really got me thinking about how our kids are growing up in a time where they have had accessibility to checking things their entire life. So they’re used to, you don’t buy something without reading reviews. You don’t go somewhere without checking the weather.

[00:13:00] You don’t, you know, you do your research. You can, you. Mitigate the failure moments or making the wrong decision by utilizing all of these tools. Well, none of us grew with, grew up with that. Like you and I did not have reviews of things when we were trying to figure things out. It was a lot of just like, well just guess and trying.

[00:13:21] No, that was wrong. And so how that is playing into that fear of failure for them because they’re used to having all these things around them to help mitigate, making bad choices. Where the honest truth is learning about who we are and what we love is a lot of inter, I don’t even think they’re bad. I don’t believe they’re bad, but, but it could feel like they’re bad choices, right?

[00:13:45] Because it’s like, Nope, that wasn’t right. Okay, let’s keep trying. And that, that can be so scary for them. So, so we, we see our kids having trouble embracing. I guess the scary, um, we see our kids feeling this amount of pressure. What can we do as parents? Because I, I do think I, one of your articles, I really loved it, you talked about how parents feel like this is bigger than us, right?

[00:14:18] Like, my kids are feeling burnout, they’re feeling the pressure, they’re feeling all these things. And it’s bigger than me because there are things that, like we might be asking ourselves, oh my gosh, what am I doing wrong here? Why are they feeling like this? But it, it’s not all us because they’re getting it at school.

[00:14:32] They’re getting it from coaches, they’re getting it from, from, um, you know, maybe teachers in or, or elective type things of like this idea that you’ve gotta know sooner and you, you’ve gotta have it all figured out. So how do we at home help? Mm-hmm. 

[00:14:50] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Yeah, there’s, there’s so much, there’s so much goodness you said there, but I’ll just give it like a really small example, um, that hopefully people can relate to.

[00:14:58] So let’s take the huge beast, which is social media, right? Mm-hmm. So how do you, if you’re sitting here going, okay, the thing in my life, you know, that I’m struggling with my kid is constant social media use. Or my kids may be a little bit younger and they’re already asking for a phone, or now they got the phone, now they want a TikTok, whatever it is, right?

[00:15:18] So that’s like the beast. And so one of the things that I find it’s small, right? But this is what I want, I want people to realize that like the problems are really, they’re big and the societal pressures are very large, and they’re systemic even in some ways. And so, You’ve gotta take the world that you, that you live in, right?

[00:15:39] Your macro system, and then break it down into your little microsystems. So one idea that I love, there’s this pledge, like a campaign that’s called wait Till eighth. And what that says is that you will, you’re committing to wait till eighth grade to give your kid a phone, right? So that would make you very much outside the norm, because now it’s like an average age of 10.

[00:16:00] 10. 

[00:16:01] Leah: Yeah. Yeah. It just gets younger and younger. 

[00:16:04] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: It gets younger and younger. So that’s probably gonna be 13 that you’d be waiting for. And so, you know, we just had this month the surgeon general of the US come out and say even 13 is too young to be on social media. That’s still too young. They, they need to be older.

[00:16:18] So we’re fighting, right? We’re fighting these like, you know, there’s these tiny voices that have lots of research behind them that go, no, don’t do that, but yet you. Gigantic world saying, 

[00:16:28] Leah: this is what, and let’s just admit everybody is a very loud voice of our children being like, I am the only one who does not have this.

[00:16:34] You’re ruining my social life. Right? So like, oh 

[00:16:37] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: yes, there’s that too. Ab absolutely, there’s, there’s no question about it. And, and not every example or things that I have, um, you know, is there something really structured around like what I’m about to talk about? But I want the, the spirit of it to, to really resonate with some people.

[00:16:54] So wait till eighth Pledge says I pledge, I will wait till eighth grade to give my child a phone. Okay, well, if you just do that in a silo, that’s gonna feel like a really lonely, very unpopular place to be. But guess what, what is, you know, little Ryan’s, who’s his best? And who’s his other friend and who’s his neighbor and who does he hang out with?

[00:17:14] Mm-hmm. Can he talk to those parents? Can you in sixth grade or fifth grade instead, probably a fifth grade conversation. Now go, Hey, have you guys heard of this? Wait, wait till eighth thing. I mean, I know if I’m the only one that tries to do it, I’m sure I’m gonna be anybody else interested And that that, right.

[00:17:30] So all of us, all of a sudden, this is values based parenting who has a similar value. Now again, Leah, just because you don’t do it, that doesn’t mean I can’t be friends with you, but if I’m aggregating, can I get some peeps that have some similar values around me that wanna be the uncool parent, um, ever.

[00:17:48] Cuz if we do it in groups, we’re gonna be much more successful. But if my kid’s the only kid, I’m gonna be highly unpopular. They’re gonna be miserable. This works. So whether it’s okay, we’re gonna wait till eighth. So this, we’re gonna wait till social media for this, um, with driving. Anybody else not interested in giving your kid a brand new car when they’re 16?

[00:18:09] Right. So like, you know, just, just realizing it goes back again to connection when, when the system feels really big, when the macro system feels like, oh my gosh, I’m, I’m going upstream, if you can just grab a partner or two and even maybe you sit the kids down together and I don’t care what age they are, they could be 17 years old, 18 years old, maybe it’s even around, Hey guys, we don’t have the money to send you outta state, but we’re so proud of you and the work you’ve done and we thought as families together, we would really kind of talk about what are some really great in-state options for you.

[00:18:43] Cuz that’s what we can afford. Like, I mean this could apply to so many things that maybe feel at first, like these are private discussions. I don’t wanna admit to the neighbors that I don’t have money for out-of-state tuition. We don’t have some college savings plan. Guess what? Neither does that one and neither does that one.

[00:19:00] You’re not the only one. Right. Um, and so those are, those are really some of my ideas around just how do you parent in a world that you probably feel like is just against so many of the things that you know, in your heart of hearts that are good for kids, but you just, we give into them. Right. We just, we give into 

[00:19:20] Leah: these things.

[00:19:21] And that is, so I, I was just literally thinking we are getting the nudges, the nudges are there that like, oh, I don’t think you should have a phone right now. I don’t think I should be letting you create that. Social media account, I don’t think. Right? But then that pressure feels so hard and, and we want our kids to be happy.

[00:19:44] And so I, I just, I I love that you said that and because I was thinking the same thing. I’m like, okay, I’m gonna drive that home. And just for the sake of people, I love hearing what other people do that really helps me. I’m like, when I get to hear what other people’s strategies are, I’m like, oh, it gets, you know, things percolating for me so that people know here’s what we did for social media.

[00:20:02] Cuz we now have an 18 year old, a 17 year old, and a almost 15 year old. Um, They each got their phone at eighth grade, but we turned a smartphone into a dumb phone. So Apple is our favorite for this. There are so many things you can do to truly make that phone stupid and not be able to do pretty much anything other than be able to, you know, do the main things you need it to do.

[00:20:25] We also love, um, we are Apple users. We love that we can do find my phone so we can figure out where they are, what, what they’re doing. So we find that really, really helpful. Um, and there was no social media on, on any of their phones. It was, it was truly a, a phone, not, not those extra things. And then we were very clear from the very beginning.

[00:20:45] All phones are always charged in a, in a main living space. They don’t go into your rooms and we will be going onto your phones periodically. Just know that that’s, that’s part of the rule that’s gonna happen. Uh, when they turned to 16, they were allowed to start with social media. Um, only, the only one we do is Instagram.

[00:21:04] We don’t do any other ones. Only, it’s not actually on their phone. It’s on my phone, and I’m the only one who knows the password. So they can get onto Instagram and we’re starting to basically train them, um, to use it because I don’t, I don’t want them to be trying to figure it out all alone when they go off to college or when they’re 18.

[00:21:23] So it’s on my phone. I’m the one who knows the password. They have to say, mom, can I get on your phone and check social media? And then I can be like, yep, go ahead. And usually I’ll say, set a timer for this long. Um, and, and they can, they can go on there. And then my oldest, who, you know, she’s a senior in high school and she turned 18.

[00:21:40] At 18, I said, Hey, you can put it on your own phone. And she actually, Are you sure I should? And I was like, yeah, you, you need to start testing this for yourself. You’re, you’re gonna be in college and like you’re gonna be doing this. All. The other thing that I will say really helped is Netflix, I think has a documentary called The Social Dilemma.

[00:21:58] And we sat down and watched it with our kids and we were getting a lot of pushback before that. But when they watched it with us, they started seeing and understanding more and, and having their own appreciation. Cuz if you don’t understand the why of a rule, of course you’re gonna fight it. We, all of us are that way.

[00:22:16] Like, if, if I think the rule is dumb for me, I’m like this, I, I don’t agree. Right. But when we can start to understand it, that helps. I did the same thing. I’ll link to it in the description, uh, in our show notes and everything. Cause I cannot remember the title of the book, but there was a book that I listened to in the car with my son and it was so good.

[00:22:36] And it was, it was the same kind of topic to where he actually was like, I’m really glad you don’t let me play. Xbox whenever I want. And I was like, that is not what you thought last week. Um, and so, so those things really helped our family just as like putting that out there of what we’ve actually done, um, in case, in case that helps.

[00:22:56] Anyway. 

[00:22:57] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Yeah, I, I mean, I love that and, and I will, I call you the renegade moms. I have a category in my head of like, these are the renegade moms. The ones that are like just doing the thing that is so hard. I mean, I haven’t even done that good of a job and then I have to go back on things. I mean, I will say that for somebody who mentally and intellectually prepared for the adolescent years and the management of all these things, I also feel like, oh, this is so exhausting.

[00:23:27] Mm. It is. This is so draining. Right? It’s, it’s so gets in the re it gets in my relationship way. Like it’s all those things. So you. Have done an amazing job. I would say the, the other, the one thing I have done for someone who hasn’t done probably as good of a job, but I’m trying, doing my best, is, um, created contracts and we review the contracts, right?

[00:23:50] We, we signed them. Although, you know, but my 13 year olds last week said, um, yeah, you forced me to sign that. I was like, uh, no, no. Forcing happened. What do you mean when you wrote it and you signed it, but, right. So there’s still even arguments, like even with, for me, the best laid plans or intentions, there’s still challenges.

[00:24:11] Oh yeah. But though, that’s why values-based parenting is really important. It’s like, well, okay, here’s another challenge. So is this. For me right now in my relationship with my kid. Or are there bigger fish to fry? Yes. And sometimes you’re gonna say, Nope, there’s nothing bigger to fry. Go for it. You’re gonna battle that out about that social media account, or you go, um, yeah, there’s other, actually other really bigger things and maybe you can get to that once you get through A and 

[00:24:38] Leah: b the other.

[00:24:39] Yes, absolutely. Mm-hmm. Mm. That’s so good cuz I do agree with you. Like, we can’t pick it all. We can’t make everything a battle and then expect to have the relationship we dream of with them, right? So like, we have to figure out and, and someone might be listening to this being like, whoa, great. I, you know, I, I already gave my kids one and, and I wish I would’ve heard that earlier.

[00:24:59] And, and we just, we’re all doing the best we can and we just start with where we’re at and we see what we can do. Maybe, you know, they already have the phones and you’re realizing, oh, but you know what I could do? I could say, Hey guys, we’re gonna try not, not letting ’em be in your rooms at night. They’re gonna start charging.

[00:25:16] Out in the, in, you know, in the kitchen or something like that. Maybe it just starts there and, . 

[00:25:21] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Yes. And I have to say one really obvious thing that, that neither one of us have said, which is we also cannot be on it as parents on our devices. Yeah.

[00:25:31] All the time. And then go, Hey, no devices at the table while our phone is sitting on the table. Right? Because I don’t know about you, but in my sessions, this is a hot, hot topic. Oh, you are telling me not to do this, this, this, but that’s all you’re ever on. And then what does the parent predictably say?

[00:25:50] They usually say, oh, but I’m working, but I’m sending emails out, like I’m working. Alternatively, they say, well, I’m the adult and my brain is already developed, but yours isn’t. Right. Which is a big, what does that mean to them? Right, right. And so I will say that, cuz you asked about what, what parents can 

[00:26:08] Leah: do.

[00:26:09] Oh, I’m so glad you’re saying this. 

[00:26:10] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Yes. Yeah. I mean, part of it is modeling and part of it is monitoring our own behavior. It’s just, it’s addictive to adults too. It is more addictive and more sensitive to a kid’s brain. And we know really we’re starting to learn very specific things. And just, just this past month, um, I think in the last two to three weeks, UNC Chapel Hill released a, uh, research paper that detailed out how social media is affecting the adolescent brain.

[00:26:39] I mean, we’ve got up to date data that keeps coming out every couple of months. There’s something really interesting. We know how TikTok specifically affects the brain. We know these things. But I will say, Our brains as parents are, are done developing now they’re just, you know, synopsis and things are dying, neurons are dying.

[00:26:59] Um, but we also have to think about what are we modeling? Um, are we clear? Do we have good boundaries? We haven’t used the word boundaries yet, but do we have good boundaries set? And, um, you know, when your kid is struggling, it’s a great time to do the full stop and look at yourself too. What role am I contributing or what am I not doing to help?

[00:27:22] So either, what am I doing that’s contributing to this problem, or what am I not doing that’s not being helpful to help this problem? So I just wanted to make sure to get that in. 

[00:27:31] Leah: No, I’m so glad you’re saying that. And I wanna be the first to admit that it was way harder than I thought it would be to be off my phone.

[00:27:39] More like when I realized, okay, I’ve gotta model this, this behavior. I remember them being in elementary school and, and really setting this intention of like, I wanna be really present. From when they walk in the door to dinner time, right? Like where I’m just really there, they’re all sitting around the table, they’re gonna work on homework.

[00:27:57] I’m doing snacks, and like, I want to be present. And it was so hard to not go to my phone. I mean, I had to go to great lengths of like, my phone is going in a drawer. It has to be hidden away in another room because otherwise we don’t even realize we’re doing it and all of a sudden we’re looking at it again.

[00:28:15] So I just wanna say like, I agree. We have to model. And if anybody realizes and recognizes that this is way harder than they thought it would be, it was for me too. And just like anything, the more we practice at it, the better we’re gonna get. I actually had an alarm that went off. I, I, I shared this earlier today on social media, so this is so funny.

[00:28:35] But I had an alarm that went off at 4:30 PM the entire time my kids were in elementary school. It was just silent. I created a custom alarm that said, are you being fully present right now? Because I realized that that was about the time, that was my hardest time. It was like I’d gotten them home, they were all situated.

[00:28:52] It wasn’t quite time to start making dinner, and it was so easy to just slip away. But I didn’t want to, I had set this intention of like, no phones, no distractions. I’m gonna be all in for them between the time they walk in the door till after dinner. And that was my hardest time. So I set an alarm so that if I had gotten on my phone, I literally, like, it brought me back to what mattered most and those values that I said were my most important.

[00:29:19] But you know, they were just easy to, to let slip. So, oh, I think that’s so good. 

[00:29:24] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: So good. I love that idea. I’m gonna be sharing that idea and taking it. Do 

[00:29:29] Leah: it. It’s, uh, yeah, it’s, I mean, our, our alarms on our phones are for more than just waking up. I have used them for years and years of like these custom things to bring me back to what, what I, my values are telling me matters, but my habits are not quite caught up to yet.

[00:29:45] Right. Like, okay. So, so I wanna wrap this whole thing up with, do you have any very specific tips if we are recognizing that our kids are in burnout, um, I love the idea of, you know, doing the stop, right? Like, okay, we need to take a break. And I love that. I’m learning from you. It doesn’t have to mean days or weeks or month.

[00:30:05] It might even mean a day or an afternoon even. But like, we need to, we need to be able to call, stop. What, is there anything else that we can do to really help when we, when we are getting that, that sense of like, that they’re, that they’re overwhelmed, they’re burnt out, they’re, they’re in too much pressure and they’re gonna pop.

[00:30:24] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Yeah. So, uh, for our kids or for 

[00:30:26] Leah: ourselves, Let’s start with kids and then maybe finish up with ourselves if there’s anything in addition for ourselves we 

[00:30:31] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: can do. Well, I’m gonna, what I’m gonna give as a piece of advice really comes straight from the kids that I’ve spent, you know, my whole career working with What they say is, I just wish that I could be heard.

[00:30:48] So what I would say to a parent is, if you see that your kid is struggling, they’re, they’re stressed, they seem like they’re, maybe they are in burnout. Give them space and be present to listen. And I mean, like some people really do need to look up tips and they exist online. Whatever, put in active listening, Google search, how to active, listen, put it in chat, e p t, whatever you need to do.

[00:31:16] And, and it’ll give you great advice. Um, but. I, I really do mean it. Parents are lecturers. They like to tell kids what to do. Like I’ve been there, I’ve been there, done that. I’ve got lots of wisdom. Well, we do. I mean like, I feel like I have lots of experience, but I’ll tell you, my style of parenting is all curious.

[00:31:37] I always tell people I’m acting half the time, like, oh really? Wow. Tell me more about that. Like I’m the most curious, like, dumbfounded person. Right? And even in my sessions I’m like, wait, so tell me more about that. What do you mean? And I think that’s why kids love coming to therapy, even because they get this hour where I am actually.

[00:32:01] Not even the expert. I am there to expertly listen to. Like even a lot of times it’s not clear what’s bothering them, right? So, so I’ll listen long enough. I’m not, I’m not distracted. There’s no phone, there’s no nothing. And so if I translate that, is every parent gonna be a therapist? No. Do you have an hour?

[00:32:19] No. But I think if you really see these warning signs in your kids, get curious. Be creative in figuring out how you’re gonna open up space to actively listening. And a, there really are steps and there are processes to actively listen. You reflect back what, what the person said. Don’t jump in with a judgment.

[00:32:41] Don’t jump in with opinions. Um, make sure you summarize it. I, and ask clarifying open-ended questions. Those are the kinds of things that a teenager, especially a teenager, but even younger kids, but particularly for teens, tweens, and teens, will just finally feel like. Wow. That was a good conversation. I felt heard.

[00:33:02] And if you can get them to lead the way on solving their own problem, at least the beginnings of, well, I don’t, maybe I should do, maybe I should drop an AP class. That’s where I always get to with a kid under high pressure. Like your daughter, I, one of my objectives was like, can we please just drop an ap?

[00:33:20] Can we just go to honors? Like, or can we go from honors to I? We have no thoughts. So many times, I won’t even lie. I’m 

[00:33:27] Leah: like, do you have to do that though? Because I don’t 

[00:33:30] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: think you do. Exactly. But like if you say it, then they’re just gonna fight you. Yeah, I do Mom. I wanna go to Harvard Mom. Yes. Right. But if you just go, gosh, I’m wondering what is like, what is so overwhelming about each one of these classes.

[00:33:46] Right. So that would be my wonder. Okay. I wonder. Why it’s so much more intense. Like, I wish I could figure that out. And they’ll be like, oh wow. I can tell you why. Cause they’re AP and these are the Oh, cuz they’re right, right. Cuz they’re ap. That’s what I mean. Like I’m acting and I’m curious and um, I’m improving.

[00:34:05] As one, uh, teacher slash comedian told me, he’s like, that’s improv. It’s just a lot of improving. Like, how could I act as if I don’t know the answer? So, right. How could I show up in this conversation with curiosity, with no judgment and with an open mind and. That’s what our kids want us to do. So I’m gonna tell you right there, that was worth listening to this entire podcast.

[00:34:28] Agreed. So good. A golden ticket. Yes. That’s so good. That’s the secret. That’s the secret sauce right there. I swear it, it really isn’t. But you know what I, when I do segments and I say that like, cuz you know, or an interviewer will say, oh my gosh, well what can parents do about that problem? And I always say, well, they can start with listening.

[00:34:45] And I say, I know that sounds really easy. Oh, it’s not. Oh, right. Oh. Like, it’s such a novel idea. I’m supposed to listen to my kid. Uh, actually yes it is. So I understand that it sounds easy and a lot of people think they do a really good job. Um, but I will say according to what a teenager needs, it’s usually not meeting.

[00:35:09] It really is not usually 

[00:35:11] Leah: for them. I know. You’re right. And, and I wanna, again, I wanna use myself as an example and say, guys, I think I am a good listener and I am terrible. It turns out, and I have had like, we’ve actually come up with language where, um, they are allowed to say, mom, this is a listening mom moment.

[00:35:29] And then my whole job is just to like mm-hmm. Ask questions and not respond. And I am not, I, I am going to be so honest. It is so flipping hard. There are times where I’m like biting my tongue, sitting on my hands trying to do everything cuz I’m like, I know the answers, I know what you need to do. But that’s not what they want or need right now.

[00:35:52] So it is so much harder. The other thing that I have found that is, is hard about this is we don’t get to pick when they’re ready to talk. And like sometimes we really luck out and it’s at the time when you’ve got ’em strapped in the car and it’s only the two of you and, and you can talk. But with my kids, I have found it is right after I want to go to bed.

[00:36:13] It is right after I have crawl crawled, you know, crawled into bed. I’m so tired, I just wanna fall asleep. And one of them comes in and sits on the bed and I’m like, this is when, this is when they’re ready to talk. And we, we have to be available when they’re ready. And there have been many a nights when I’m like trying not to show it.

[00:36:34] And I’m thinking like, I have to be up at five like this. I wanna be asleep. But that’s when they need us and that’s, you know, that’s when we have to show up. Oh, okay. That was so good. So actively listening and I agree with you. Like that right there is worth this whole episode and learning how to be an active listener.

[00:36:54] Really hard and, and trying to learn how to just get a little bit better, 1% better, you know, just a little better, a little better. We, we don’t need to go for perfection. We just need to go for progress. And then hopefully we’re gonna see such an amazing response from our kids. They’re gonna start shocked and be like, what is happening?

[00:37:11] Are you, are, are, is something wrong with you? Right. And then, you know, we’ll keep getting better. Um, okay. So then any last tips for us with, with handling and, and maneuvering through those? That burnout? 

[00:37:25] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: Yeah, I mean, uh, it’s sort of an underscore, but. If I ever have to do, if I’ve got like three minutes and I’ve gotta answer the question, well, what’s one thing you would do to combat burnout?

[00:37:35] The answer is connection. So through all of the research, what we know is that we are mentally healthier, we are physically healthier, and we can manage stress a lot better in relationships and in connection. So even though, you know, there’s 10 chapters in mommy burnout, each one is about a certain topic.

[00:37:52] The most important thing we can do is to be in relationship, to be sharing, um, our lives in relationship, to be getting together with people face-to-face. Um, that’s what the research says. And I think also probably what many of our experiences say is healthiest for us. So, you know, if you’re struggling right now, I mean, we talked about so many different things.

[00:38:14] Somebody’s listening to this right now, and their mind is swirling with maybe multiple things or just one thing. One of the best things you can do is pick up the phone and call somebody. Um, and, and you know, again, we have different friends for different ages and reasons. Um, no, what do I say? I say seasons and reasons, ages and stages.

[00:38:32] So it might not be your very best friend from childhood that you tell everything to. Maybe in this moment right now, it’s actually like the mom you just met last month, that you had this really great conversation and this happens to really work. So also that’s what my TEDx talk is really about, which is like just I needed to open up my mind to, yeah, I have different friends and different people in my life for different things and I needed to start using that rather than like being very narrow minded about who could be there for me.

[00:38:58] So truly to combat burnout, to probably be the parent that you want to balance your work life, career, all, whatever it is that’s on your mind. One of the best ways we can do that is in relationship with others. 

[00:39:11] Leah: Mm. So good. This has been absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for being with me. We’ve talked about so many things.

[00:39:20] You have an incredible book. You’ve got your TEDx, you’ve got your quiz. I mean, there’s so many resources you have. So I want everybody to know I am gonna be linking to all of that in the show notes, uh, because she’s got some incredible resources to help you take all of this further. So we wanna make sure you have all of those.

[00:39:37] Cheryl, thank you so much for being on the Balancing Busy podcast today. Thank 

[00:39:43] Dr. Sheryl Ziegler: you so much for having me. And I know this won’t be our last time. We’re gonna have to do this again. For sure, 

[00:39:47] Leah: for sure. All right. Thank you everybody. We will see you on the next episode.

[00:39:52] What an incredible episode. I know. It was so jampacked. There was so much inside of it. Honestly. I’m gonna encourage you. Maybe this is one you go back to and listen again and take notes because it was so amazing getting to listen to Dr. Cheryl Ziegler and just sharing with us. Mommy burnout. Burnout in our kids, creating connection, how we can combat all of this.

[00:40:19] Oh, it was so good. I think one of my biggest takeaways for me personally is that active listening component, because really what we’re talking about, you know, when she shared about what we need when we’re feeling burn out, is being able to maybe pick up the phone and call someone. Actively listens, who lets us feel heard, and then we can bring that all the way to our kids and recognize that we can be that person for them and that that’s what they need.

[00:40:45] And I love this idea of like improv acting. Like just being so curious in it, right? And being like, tell me more. Why do you think this could be happening? And just wanting to get even better. At that, I just, oh, so good. I’ve loved this conversation and I hope you have as well. I wanna say thank you again for subscribing, for being a part of the Balancing Busy podcast.

[00:41:10] If this is your first time, please make sure you subscribe and you’re part of it. If you’ve been here for a while and you’ve found great value, I’d love to ask you to just pause for a moment. Soon as this wraps up and leave a five star review and if you’re on Apple or Audible, a couple sentences, even one sentence about what you love about this podcast and how it helps you, it makes all the difference for others to be able to find these resources and these ideas to help them balance the busy that is our lives.

[00:41:38] I am dedicated to helping. Feel less frantic and more fulfilled in your life as we balance all the things, because I believe that we can have happiness and great homes and great health and all the things that it is possible, and that is my mission, is to help women just like you and your best friend and your sister and your mom, and and the people who matter to.

[00:42:06] To help you live a life that just lights you up. I’ll see you next time on the Balancing Busy Podcast.



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