Mom guilt, burnout, and stress over remote learning has most parents exhausted these days. Hear psychotherapist Lynn Lyons share ways to manage these common pandemic parenting stresses.
In this bonus episode, we asked listeners to share what they needed help with most, and Lynn delivers strategies to make days smoother.
1:38 We address burnout and how to fill an empty tank is small breaks.
6:56 A listener mentions that she feels guilty telling her children she is working when they want her attention.
Lynn discusses the real purpose of guilt as an emotion and the toxicity of misapplied guilt.
12:06 The conversation moves to schoolwork stress and how to give the right space for kids to perform and why getting involved isn’t always best.
19:06 We discuss how the lockdown has been a teacher of resilience for kids used to getting what they want. Lynn describes the difference between disruption and devastation and how the pandemic affects families differently.
Lynn explains that our own self care must be independent of our children’s emotions.
29:29 Robin asks Lynn to relay a time as a mom that she couldn’t easily show her vanilla ice cream face.
Lynn Lyons 0:01
We have been talking a lot about what your kids are feeling what your teenagers are feeling. Today we’re going to talk about you. We’re going to talk about what you are feeling. This is all about helping parents with their own feelings and their own struggles.
Robin Hutson 0:18
We asked all of the members of our Facebook group, what do you need help with right now. And interestingly, the answers all had a lot of commonality. They’re feeling a lot of guilt, because we’re supposed to be parenting in the same space that we’re also supposed to be working on our jobs. We’re also feeling a lot of burnout. So, we’re going to talk about a lot of those things today.
Lynn Lyons 0:47
This situation is really sort of an amplifier of some of the struggles that people normally have. So, if parents have different attitudes about parenting, then they’re amplified right now because we have to make very big decisions about what we’re going to allow our kids to do and what feels risky and what doesn’t feel risky. And it’s the same thing with mommy guilt. The same thing with whether or not you feel like you’re getting the job done. Those things aren’t generally brand new right now. It’s just that living in a pandemic sort of puts the spotlight on those things. And our reserves are down for sure.
Robin Hutson 1:38
Let’s talk about that burnout feeling right now, because I just think that everyone has experienced days where they just feel completely depleted. And hopefully not everyone’s feeling that every day. We’ll have some days that are worse than others. I want to talk about the burnout feel and what are the ways that you would recommend… I feel like you got to recognize that you are just completely tapped out. And to not try and pretend that you’re going to be able to meet all of your obligations at the same level on a day where you say, you know what, this is a day I’m going to be really good to myself and I am going to cut corners. And I might retreat, I might skip out on a couple of things. And how do I try and create this space to replenish my energy knowing that I don’t get a lot of opportunity to go and be by myself? Or go and connect with my friends? All of those things.
Lynn Lyons 2:33
When I talk about helping parents with mommy guilt, it’s that burnout. It’s this feeling that you’re not doing enough. And this feeling that you are depleted, and yet you still should be handling things perfectly you still should be able to do all the things that you need to do. So, it’s one of the things to remember if you are a bit of a perfectionist, and if you really feel a lot of pride and a have self-worth based on how well you get things done.
And this situation is really challenging. The skill that I always am focusing on when I’m dealing with perfectionism that I want to teach is just like you said, Robin. The ability to recognize when you can cut corners because what we’re dealing with right now, it there is no room for that all or nothing mentality. If you are feeling burnt out, or if you are feeling as if you’re cutting corners, if you’re feeling as if you’re not doing your job as well as you should, or your parenting, your kids aren’t finishing all the assignments that they should be finishing.
This is your opportunity to step back and say, I’m allowed to cut corners right now. And here’s the other thing too with this all or nothing mentality. Getting a little help, getting a little relief, getting a little filling up your tank a little bit. One of the things I think that gets in our way is that we think it has to be big and huge. So, you think, “Oh my gosh, I don’t have time to do a 45-minute meditation app.” or “I don’t have time to go upstairs and take a half an hour bubble bath,”
I don’t take bubble baths. What’s the average?
Robin Hutson 4:12
I totally take bubble baths.
Lynn Lyons 4:15
But you don’t take like a five-minute bath, right?
Robin Hutson 4:18
Oh no, I wait until the water gets cold.
Lynn Lyons 4:20
Okay, so that’s. And that’s good for you! I’m glad you can do that. But one of the things that happens is that people say, well, in order for me to rejuvenate myself, or to refresh myself or whatever, I need this huge chunk of time.
And I think that that if you haven’t done this before, you should experiment with little nuggets of rejuvenation. So that instead of saying, “Oh, I have to take a 45-minute yoga class, or I have to commit to a bubble bath, or I have to go for my six-mile run or I have to do this,” Give yourself just three minutes of time where you’re just in… maybe three minutes, you think three minutes isn’t a lot? That’s not true. Maybe it’s 10 minutes, but just giving yourself little nuggets throughout the day that allow you to just rejuvenate. So, forget about this all-or-nothing thing for now. And just give yourself a little opportunity.
So, say like the other day, I was cranking this Adele song that I really like— one of her upbeat songs, whatever, not a totally sad, depressing song. And I was just cranking it in the kitchen, and I was unloading the dishwasher. And I was dancing around, and nobody was watching because my kids just think I’m a horrible dancer— which I don’t think I am, but they think I am. And so, it was just fun. And it just took three minutes, and I just felt better. So, think about how you can give yourself these little breaks rather than is all or nothing thing.
You know, it used to be when I used to work out, and I used to train for triathlons, and I was on the swim team and, and we sort of were sort of snobby about our swimming. We would say like, “You know, if you don’t swim 3000 yards during the practice, you might as well not show up.” I look back on that. I think that was so that was so all-or-nothing.
If you’re training for an Iron Man, you’re not really doing anything else. You’re not parenting your children. You’re— sorry if any of you are listening, and you’re training for an Iron Man. You know exactly what I mean, and you just need to fess up right now.
But it doesn’t have to be so all or nothing doing a yoga class that is a 90-minute Bikram yoga class. Okay, that feels great. But right now, we can’t do that. So, take a Hershey’s Kiss, put it in your mouth, and then just sit quietly while the Hershey Kiss melts on your tongue.
Robin Hutson 6:37
I don’t know who said this, but this was really great parenting advice, especially when we started traveling with our kids when they were very young. The goal in parenting is to find good, happy 10 minutes of joy 10 minutes because frankly, if you have expectations that things are going to go well longer than 10 minutes, you’re living in a fantasy.
Lynn Lyons 6:56
Robin Hutson 6:56
10 minutes is when everything can be great, joyful, connective, etc. So, I agree with you. So, those are the ways that I am maintaining my sanity.
Getting back to the mommy guilt? One of the things that I think depending on the age of your kids when someone said, I hate the fact that I have to tell my kids, I can’t do this right now, because I’m working.
Lynn Lyons 7:16
Robin Hutson 7:17
Well, the reality is we are working. And when your children see that you have other responsibilities besides them, that’s not really a bad thing.
Lynn Lyons 7:26
Robin Hutson 7:26
We shouldn’t feel guilty about it. And when I’m done working, I make a concerted effort to have a non-distracted, complete, full-attention, five to 10 minute conversation, and you just look at them and talk to them uninterrupted, and you will feel connected, and then you can get back up and go to the second shift of your job and another zoom call.
Lynn Lyons 7:49
Well, and I think that’s such a good point. Because one of the things we know about kids and to talk about autonomy again, right? How do we develop independence and autonomy in our kids is that when kids know and when kids watch us, having our own lives doing our own things when we are setting reasonable boundaries. That’s really good for kids.
Kids that are raised to believe that they are the center of the universe, that you don’t have your own life that you don’t have your own relationship.
How many times have we heard in terms of couples, that it’s really important for couples to carve out couple time separate from their kids? Those are all really healthy things.
So that that’s a great reminder that you’re offering, Robin, of saying, it is really okay for your kids to know that they don’t have access to you 100% of the time, and that you have a life separate from them. That is a really healthy thing for kids to see. Not an unhealthy thing for kids to see.
And let me also just say a little bit about the word guilt because this is this is something that’s important. The reason that we have guilt, and the reason that you should have guilt at times is because you’ve done something wrong, that you need to make amends for. So, guilt is a really valuable thing.
Because people who don’t have guilt, those are people that are narcissistic. Those are people that are sociopathic, right? That they don’t really recognize when they’ve done something that they need to apologize, or they feel remorseful for. So, guilt is there for a reason. Guilt is not the same as feeling sad. Guilt is not the same as wishing that you could have more time with your kids. But you’ve got to work full time, because that’s what’s going on in your life and in your world. Right?
Robin Hutson 9:35
Because putting food on the table is important!
Lynn Lyons 9:38
Yeah, yeah! I mean guilt is there when you screw up, that you come back and say, I feel really badly that I did this to you, and I need to make amends. But to say I feel guilty because I have a job because I have to pay the mortgage, and I have to feed my kids and they have to be on their own for a few hours while I deal with this Zoom call. That’s not a reason to beat yourself up.
Guilt misapplied is incredibly toxic, because all you’re doing is you’re beating yourself up for things that you haven’t done wrong.
And guilt should be reserved again, guilt is important, but it should be reserved for those times when you need to make amends for something that you’ve done wrong. So, let’s be careful with how we throw around the word guilt because it’s too toxic to be used during a time when we’re all really trying to do the best we can as parents.
You know, there was another interesting thing that came up with the questions that we were looking at is that one person said that it feels like Groundhog Day. Probably more than one person said that. You were telling me you were feeling that.
I definitely feel like it’s Groundhog Day.
Yeah. If you need some fun family time and you’re not familiar, listeners with the wonderful joyful, clean, and amazingly Creative humor of Jim Gaffigan, then that’s your homework to check him out.
But he was talking about Groundhog Day. And he was saying that he feels like he’s just running a diner. He’s got five kids, and he’s just making breakfast making lunch. He says all we do is cook and clean up and cook and clean up. So, some people were saying they feel like it’s Groundhog Day.
And then other people were saying that they are having such a difficult time, because they don’t know what’s coming next, because of the uncertainty of the future. It is a very interesting combination, isn’t it to feel like on a day to day basis, that your days are just so repetitive, here we go again, you wake up in the morning and think I have to do this again.
And at the same time, feel really anxious about what the future holds. Because we don’t know what it’s going to look like in the fall. We don’t know what’s going to happen during this summer. We don’t know how this thing is going to play out. And so that that uncertainty is real, and it’s a strange combination of feelings, isn’t it?
Robin Hutson 12:06
A couple of our listeners talked about their kids’ schoolwork, and it sort of indicated that they’re very involved in their kids’ schoolwork. We talked about that in a helicopter parenting episode.
Lynn Lyons 12:18
Robin Hutson 12:18
But what would you like to say about that?
Lynn Lyons 12:20
You know, we were looking at the questions that people submitted. And I’m certainly hearing this from the people that I’m talking to. And feeling is the homework has to be done completely, that it has to be done very well. I think parents are feeling a lot of pressure to do the schooling at home such that the teachers aren’t judging them.
I think this is such an opportunity for you to allow your kids to manage their schoolwork a little more independently than maybe makes you feel comfortable. It is really okay if it’s not perfect. It’s really okay if it’s not done completely.
And I’ll give you a little inside information here, because I’m talking to a ton of educators, a ton of administrators, I’m doing trainings and webinars with schools. Virtually every day I’m doing them. The teachers are feeling absolutely incompetent. The teachers are feeling like they can’t do what they’re supposed to do. The teachers are feeling like they can’t reach kids, and that they’re having trouble being able to communicate with parents.
So, if you if you think that teachers are sitting on the other end of the screen, wherever they are, and judging you because your six-year-old or your nine-year-old, isn’t doing their work perfectly, they are not saying that. They are actually worried that you’re judging them.
So I think we all just need to be clear that there is no there is no need at this point for you to stress out— particularly at the end of May— for you to be stressed out that your kids’ work is not being done completely, and it’s not being done correctly, and it’s not being done to the standards that you think that it needs to be done. It’s okay to back off and to let them figure some of this stuff out. It really is, it’s a really good opportunity for you, too, for you to leave it alone and to let it be a little messy. Just let it be messy.
Robin Hutson 14:18
In the helicopter parenting episode, we sort of talked about that of a way to test yourself if you’re hovering to intervene, and you can complete a sentence that says if I didn’t interfere blank, what if you didn’t interfere? The work wouldn’t be done correctly or completely?
Lynn Lyons 14:37
Yep, but that’s okay. Incomplete, incorrect work is okay.
Right? Because that’s what learning is about incomplete incorrect work is always okay. When you’re in fourth grade and seventh grade and ninth grade and 11th grade. I think that when we step back and we let kids work through it, it’s a process of being able to do something, being able to recognize that it needs to be revised, it needs to be corrected. Also, that skill of recognizing that something might not need as much as attention as something else.
All of those are really good learning skills and cognitive skills that we want to promote in our kids. So, and it’s I am not saying like, Oh, this is this pandemic is so wonderful because we get to learn all these things. But what I am saying is that it’s a reality we’re here. And so, let’s try and take advantage of some opportunities.
We have to pay attention to the skills that we can develop in our kids. And we’ve talked about that, that a lot. The list is long, we’re going to keep talking about it, because that’s what I’m always talking about. The ability to let your kids be messy in their schoolwork is really, really important.
Robin Hutson 15:55
In the helicopter parenting episode, you talked about making sure for parents that they push their kids slightly beyond their comfort zone. And there’s a there’s a psychobabble term for the…
Lynn Lyons 16:05
Zone of proximal development.
Robin Hutson 16:07
Right. But if what you’re saying also is that we parents also have to put ourselves in that zone by making us a little bit more uncomfortable with unsupervised outcomes
Lynn Lyons 16:19
Robin Hutson 16:20
And this is the best time to test it.
Lynn Lyons 16:24
It’s a fabulous time to test it. There is so much value in allowing your kids to struggle a little bit, there’s so much value in allowing them to take stock of what they’ve done and come to their own conclusions. without you. They’re doing that for them. Right? So, when they’re little, you are that voice, you are showing them how the world works, you are talking to them about things, and then the goal is for them to be able to internalize that voice, so they carry that with them. So, start doing that.
And I think that that if you are feeling as a parent that you have to be responsible for getting all this schoolwork done and making sure it’s done correctly and making sure that everything is handed in on time ,than you are not giving your kids the room that they need in order to develop that.
And here’s the critical thing. It’s making you cranky. So, you’re feeling burnt out. You’re feeling frustrated. They’re not doing what you need them to do, and you’re trying to do your job, too. And then you have trouble being vanilla ice cream. You have trouble, and then you feel bad about the fact that you lost it with your kid and that kind of stuff.
The more room you give them, the more room you give you.
Because the result of it is that everybody ends up feeling worse. There’s no situation that I can think of when a parent is frustrated and irritated and dives in, and a child is feeling like they can’t get it done. And you have this big argument about whether or not the math is done correctly, and you feel terrible because you don’t know how to do algebra anymore. Nobody finishes those interactions and it’s like, “Oh, that was such a good family moment.”
So, the more that you back off, the better everybody’s emotional connection will be. I know sometimes that sounds a little hard.
You know, one of the metaphors I use a lot when I’m talking to the families I work with is that you’re hanging on to a trapeze, right? So, you’re on this trapeze, and you know, in order to…the trapeze is coming, the other one’s coming, and you’ve got to let go of the trapeze and grab the other one.
And sometimes as a therapist, I feel like they’re, you know, people are gripping their trapeze, right? And there I am saying like, “Let go! Grab the other trapeze! it’ll feel better!” and they’re thinking like, “Oh my god! I have to have this moment where I’m suspended in midair? and trust that I can grab the other trapeze?”
I totally get that, but look, take a little bit of a risk here. We have this situation going on. Just trust me a little bit. Let go of the trapeze. Grab the other one and see what it feels like. You’re going to feel better.
Robin Hutson 19:06
I think one of the positive aspects of the pandemic and its opportunity for being a teacher of resilience is that I think that, you know, I was very close to my grandparents and they were members of what’s called the Greatest Generation and those stories of the Depression and the war and the sacrifices that they made and how we wouldn’t necessarily experience those tests.
When I think of people still feeling badly for our kids and ourselves missing out on things I tend to think of the positive outcome of Well, we’ve lived in a pretty simple time where not getting what we’ve wanted is a good lesson. We’re recognizing that missing out on certain things is probably a good thing in personal development in the long run. Right?
Lynn Lyons 19:56
And one of the things that I have been saying, and I’m hearing other things people saying as well, a lot of other people are saying this people that I, you know, the people in my field that I admire very much is that is that the goal is to not prevent your kids from feeling uncomfortable.
The goal is not to get in there and make sure that they don’t have any loss or don’t have any disappointment.
And I think that we as parents, we, we have to make sure that we’re allowing ourselves to feel loss and feel disappointment and feel frustration and recognize that that’s okay, that we feel it.
It’s about being able to let yourself get through it, to recognize it’s just like what you were saying before, rather than being able to acknowledge like, Alright, I’m burnt out right now. And instead of saying, you know, why am I feeling this way? I shouldn’t be feeling this way. I should be able to do it all.
You say I’m burnt out right now. So, I’ve got to go put a Hershey’s kiss in my mouth, or I’ve got to go dance to Adele or I’ve got to go take a bubble bath, or I’ve got to fill in the blank.
So, the ability to not get what you want in that moment and get through it is just so important. And we know that kids who are able to experience a range of emotions and a range of things, they do better as they move through life.
It’s not about getting rid of the difficult times, and we can’t get rid of this time. I think actually, that’s probably one of the things that’s sort of interesting about this is that perhaps a lot of us as parents, we cannot answer the unanswerable questions. We cannot take it all away. And I think that feels challenging to us.
Robin Hutson 21:41
Right. It’s acknowledging the privilege that we have, of course, many people on this planet have been having to protect their children from very dangerous, harmful experiences throughout. So, it’s, you and I both know that, and so we just want to acknowledge that.
Lynn Lyons 21:57
That’s right, that’s again, that I’ve been saying since the beginning of this, there is a very big difference between disruption and devastation.
And that families that are feeling devastation right now, are not experiencing this in the same way that families are feeling disruption. So, you’re right. It’s really important to make that differentiation.
Robin Hutson 22:21
Yeah, not only with pandemic conditions, but even just in general.
So many parents are unused to allowing their children to feel these, these emotional experiences, as you call it. The elimination culture, right is if you think your goal as a parent is to eliminate these hard feelings for your kids. They’re feeling them right now. And maybe that’s triggering a really unwarranted guilt that just has to stop. Right?
Lynn Lyons 22:46
Robin Hutson 22:47
And so, when you see your kids experiencing these types of hardships, how can you see that as a positive opportunity for teaching them and teaching you, right?
Lynn Lyons 22:59
Robin Hutson 23:00
We’re having this in our in our house right now of certain things coming up. And I recall what we’re talking about, and one of our children is having some negative feelings right now. And our goal isn’t to go in and try and clean it up.
Lynn Lyons 23:16
Robin Hutson 23:17
Our goal is that those feelings are okay.
Lynn Lyons 23:19
Robin Hutson 23:20
And we have to do this consciously, right? Because the unconscious desire is always protect your kids at any cost.
Lynn Lyons 23:25
Of course, yeah. I was listening to somebody, and they were talking about how our goal as being a parent, is to always make sure that your child is safe, and healthy and secure. Right? And of course, that’s our goal as parents we want to. That’s our job is to protect them. But we have to be careful that we’re not letting that bleed over into their emotional lives as well.
And I think again, it’s not all or nothing if you have a child, a child who feels loved and safe and secure can also feel angry and sad and disappointed and frustrated. And they can experience loss and feel safe at the same time.
So it’s this definition of my child is doing well if… Right? My child is doing well, if…
I would not finish that sentence by saying My child is doing well if everything is going smoothly. My child is doing well if they can navigate and manage all the different things that are going to be thrown at them.
And like you’re saying, Robin that brings up a lot of emotions in us. And I think if we sort of circle back to this idea of feeling guilt, as a parent, feeling burnout as a parent, feeling as if you’re supposed to be doing all the things for your kids all the time.
That’s where you need to recognize that that your self-care sometimes doesn’t involve them.
And that you can step back and say, I’m feeling lost, and it’s okay for me to feel that way. And I don’t have to feel guilty. That might be children aren’t having a perfect experience right now that it’s okay for me to say, “Look, I’m sorry, I can’t help you with your math homework. And I see that you’re frustrated that you don’t get it. So, I’m going to help you advocate for yourself with your teacher rather than to step in and make sure that you figure it all out by class tomorrow.”
So, our feelings as a parent are so tied into our children’s feelings. And being able to differentiate those is just an enormously helpful thing for parents to do.
Robin Hutson 25:33
One of the things I’m so excited about what we’re going to talk about in our next episode, is big feelings and the culture of families and how they manage these big feelings.
Lynn Lyons 25:44
Robin Hutson 25:45
And are you a family that avoids addressing anger or sadness or worry and I can’t wait to hear your feedback on all of this and how this plays out and what you observe in the clients that you In the families that you see. Because it’s just so common, and it’s that how we’re reacting right now, to our own stresses, our children’s stresses, our spouses stresses, in such a telling opportunity.
What is our own emotional self-care routine? Do we make the space for our own emotions? Do we make the space for other people’s emotions, and you talked about it in another episode, too. Who’s really quick to scream? Who’s really quick to blame? Who’s really quick to withdraw? Like we’re all just living our pattern. Yeah, all the time right now.
Lynn Lyons 26:35
And when you say the word space, and I think this is something to sort of a seed to plant is when you say the word space, the way I imagined it, that might, in my head, is that you are creating some space between you and your emotional reaction, so that you become an observer of it.
So that idea of space we all talk about, you know, so creating healthy space and all that kind of stuff, the ability to start, step back, and observe your own patterns, and to be able to show your kids how you do that I feel like is just one of the gold standard skills. That we can develop the ability to recognize our patterns, step back from them, understand them. And then of course, try and change them if they’re worthy of some adaptation.
Robin Hutson 27:22
Yeah, from what I gather, if someone’s capable of learning that skill, you’re capable of really showing that family member how to manage their anxiety, how to manage so many things. It’s really the key to emotional management, right? Isn’t that what you call externalization?
Lynn Lyons 27:38
And it’s funny because when people say to me, “Well, I’m not sure that that I could show my child or model for my child, how to how to handle sadness,” or “How do you how do you show a child that you’re able to sort of get some space between you and your anger?”
And then I always say, well, you show them how to be angry. They’re learning how to. If your kid’s a yeller, you’re probably a yeller, right?
So, we forget that we teach kids how to respond all the time. All I want to do is teach them how to do it in a in a better way. But they’re watching us all the time. That’s how they learn.
Earlier I was at the bank. And clearly the mom was teaching the son how to drive going through the drive thru. And he started backing up, and the windows were rolled up in her car, I was standing there on my bike, and she screamed at him to stop backing up. I could hear it so clearly through their closed windows.
And I thought, “Okay, so she is showing him how to overreact,” because he wasn’t even about to hit the car behind him. And I just thought, well, there we go. Right. So, he is learning that when somebody is doing something that you don’t particularly want them to do in that moment, that the way you respond is to scream at the top of your lungs. She didn’t say “Stop.” I mean, it was something.
So, if we can show them and model for them, how not to do it, then we can consciously pay attention and show them how to do it. And sometimes you’re learning it right along with them. And that’s okay, too.
Robin Hutson 29:14
Tell me when… Someone wrote about saying that they were having a hard time finding their vanilla ice cream face in certain moments. And we all do so. And I know even you have had moments. So…
Lynn Lyons 29:27
Robin Hutson 29:29
Yeah, So maybe you could share a time as a mom in the past, where you had a moment where you were really challenged to find a vanilla ice cream face. And how did you handle it? Because we’re not going to bat 1000.
Lynn Lyons 29:45
Yeah, my boys were probably, I don’t know, 11 and nine, maybe older than that. My kids didn’t have cell phones, and we didn’t have gaming computers or anything, but I agreed to let them…they will probably like 12 and 10 probably, and I agreed to let them get this game on the computer like some Star Wars game for Christmas.
And they were playing it. It was during Christmas vacation, and I said “I am going to sleep,” so it was probably like 9:30 or 10. “I’m going to sleep. You guys can play for a little bit longer. And then you need to turn that off and go to bed,” and they said, “Okay, okay,” so I go to sleep.
My alarm goes off at 4:45 because I get up early in the morning and exercise. I get up to go work out and those two little monkeys are sitting in the exact same spot in their bedroom with the lights on still playing the game. They had not moved.
Robin Hutson 30:38
I have two things to say to this. First of all, if you’re freaking out that Lynn is waking up at 4:45 to go exercise, I’m your people. Don’t worry, because Lynn is not common.
But second of all, you even said this in the last episode. The middle of the night is not the time. Make a note of it, and go back to bed. And in the morning, have a discussion. So, I’m going to throw your advice right back to you.
Lynn Lyons 31:06
Okay, well, so this is what I did. So, I get up and I see them, and they’re sitting there, right? And I was I really just want to be like, “What are you guys doing?!”
So, I took a breath, because it’s 4:45 in the morning, and I said, “Okay, listen, you two,” One of them saw me coming, and he got up, and he ran to his bedroom. He was running down the hall as fast as he could. And I said, “I need the two of you to think about what the consequence of this is going to be. Because I went to bed at 10 o’clock, it is now 4:45 you have not moved, you’re still playing this game. So, I’m going to go work out— which is a good thing for both of you. I’m going to go work out, and when I come back, you’re going to tell me what the consequence needs to be for this.”
You know, when they were like, okay, so then I came up with the consequences. I forget what I said. The couldn’t they couldn’t play the game for a few days or something. They actually came up with a consequence that was double what I thought. So, I guess I really sort of scared them. But I didn’t lose it at 4:45 in the morning.
But I just thought about it. I said, “I’m going to leave. I need you two to think about it. And when I get back,” yeah, I mean, it was kind of funny, cause when he saw me, he saw me come down the hall boy, and that he really ran fast.
Robin Hutson 32:31
When you came back from the gym, were they asleep?
Lynn Lyons 32:32
Oh yeah. I mean, it was 4:45 they’d been up. They slept until 11, maybe 10 or 11. And then they got up. And then we had a discussion about what the consequences would be. This was the first time that I had given them, you know, something sort of, sort of given them free rein to monitor themselves with a video type game on the computer. And so clearly, I learned very quickly that boy, those things are addictive.
Robin Hutson 32:55
Yeah. Didn’t work.
Lynn Lyons 32:58
All right. None of you are alone in what’s your feeling through this. It’s so consistent. And that’s one of the things that I say to the families that I work with all the time, right, that that these issues and these feelings and these patterns, they’re nothing if not redundant.
So, know that you’re not alone that this is a challenge in all sorts of different ways. I do want to just emphasize what Robin said is that this is an opportunity to pay attention to things
But we also clearly recognize that there are some families that are really working to just kind of get their basic needs met, and that if you are looking for an opportunity to create more autonomy in your children, then feel grateful that that’s the skill that you’re paying attention to because this is really hard on a lot of families.
We are going to talk more about those big feelings as Robin said: worry, sadness, anger. There’s so much to learn about how we manage our feelings. It’s such an important skill to have. It’s the skill really.
So, we hope that you feel supported in this we hope that you feel connected. as I always say it’s about connection, not perfection.
The school year is coming to a close that brings a whole lot of new challenges with it. But take it a day at a time. Dance in the kitchen; eat a little chocolate. Get up at 4:45 and exercise if you want to work out. It’s really, it’s kind of nice. So, you know, I know Robin thinks that’s crazy, but it sort of helps.
Robin Hutson 34:20
I don’t think it’s crazy. I’m just not doing it.
Lynn Lyons 34:23
Okay, well, to be honest, I’m not doing it during the pandemic either because the gym has been closed. So, I am getting some sleep, which is kind of nice.
So, thank you so much to our amazing listeners who sent along their questions and shared what’s going on with them in their households.
We hope to include you in our next bonus episode of listener questions. So, join our Facebook group. You can find the link in our show notes or on our homepage, amomsretreat.com thanks for joining us and stay tuned for upcoming episodes where We will ask you to think about how you were raised and how your family handled the big emotions.