A Lesson from My Daughter | Weight Loss for Unstoppable Moms with Dr. Priyanka Venugopal

Episode #27: A Lesson from My Daughter

Oct 04, 2022

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My family and I are currently reaching the later stages of our big four-part move from New Jersey to Maryland. However, we’re not quite settled yet. I love feeling in control, having routines, schedules, and color-coded calendars, but how do we create solid footing when we’re experiencing the big feelings that come with a lack of certainty?

Coaching has not just been a cornerstone for me reaching my ideal weight with lasting ease. Coaching has fundamentally shifted my perspective as a human. Every facet of our lives, we get to see with a fresh set of eyes. I still love order, plans, and schedules, but I’m able to be so much softer with myself, my relationships, and especially with my kids.

Today’s episode is a little bit of a storytime, along with some lessons I’ve been learning particularly from my daughter since we’ve been moving and getting used to new environments. Some of the changes we’ve been through recently have been huge, and listening deeply has created really important shifts. I know that these lessons will be super useful on your journeys too, so listen in.


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What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • Why working moms operate from a paradigm of what things should be like.
  • How coaching has allowed me to see my kids more clearly than ever before.
  • Where our ideas about how things should be come from.
  • How we’ve internalized the message that our big feelings, sadness, frustration, and irritation are not okay.
  • How one thing changed both my and my daughter's experiences of big change and big feelings.


Listen to the Full Episode:



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Full Episode Transcript:

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  • Hey, this is Dr. Priyanka Venugopal, and you're listening to Weight Loss for Unstoppable Moms Episode 27- A Lesson from my Daughter, and really listening. This episode is a little bit of a story time and some lessons that I have been learning from both of my kids. I'm going to be sharing with you some of the lessons I have been learning specifically from my daughter, particularly as we have been moving and starting at new schools, and really all in all being in new environments that, for my kids and definitely for me, have been feeling really big.

    I cannot wait for you to listen to this episode and how really listening deeply can create really big changes. Let's go. 

    If you want to reach your ideal weight and create lightness for your body, you need to have simplicity, joy, and strategic decisions infused into your life. I'm a physician turned life and weightless coach for ambitious working [00:01:00] moms. I've lost over 60 pounds without counting points, calories, or crazy exercise plans. Most importantly, I feel calm light on the scale and did my life. There's some delicious magic when you learn this work and the skills I'm going to be teaching. 

    You ready? Let's get to it.

    Oh my Unstoppable friends, welcome back. 

    It feels so good to be recording this podcast mostly because the past few slash many episodes that I brought to you here on the show were recorded before my crazy four part move from New Jersey to Maryland. I wanted to make sure that moving trucks and last minute craziness is that are just always a part of life did not get in the way of me bringing you a podcast every single week. 

    So here we are now, I feel like I'm starting to get. Back in my rhythm, and we are in part three of our four part move. So now I'm here in Maryland and I'm going to be in this home for quite a while, and [00:02:00] I'm set up and ready to go. I would say that really the rhythm that we have developed after having moved here is not quite settled yet and if you've been following along for a while or if you know anything about me, you know that I like having routines, rhythms and schedules and color coded pens to really help me feel like I have some sense of control. 

    And I would say probably one of the biggest things that I have been learning over the past few years is that feeling like I have control and have some sense of kind of solid footing doesn't actually come from my calendar, but that's what I kind of wanted to talk about today.

    Really knowing that we can actually feel like we have solid footing even when we are having the big feelings that come along with change and moves and not having your schedule perfectly set in place. Today I really wanted to be sharing with you some of the lessons that I have been learning from both of my kids, and [00:03:00] I'm definitely going to be threading them through the life of this podcast, Both lessons from my daughter and lessons from my son, because as I have said before on this podcast, coaching has not just been a cornerstone for me losing weight and reaching my ideal weight lasting ease.

    I would say that coaching has fundamentally shifted my perspective as a human, which means every facet of my life I get to see with a fresh set of eyes. I'm still me, I'm still Priyanka, who loves to have order and be in control and wants plan and schedules, but I'm also so much more soft in my perspective of the world and with myself, with my relationships, and especially with my. 

    I feel like I get to see them a little bit more clearly than I had before, and I think that all of us working moms could do with a little bit more clarity around this [00:04:00] topic. I would say that most working moms start motherhood from a paradigm of what we think it should be like, which makes a lot of sense because before we've ever become moms, we have never been moms.

    It makes a lot of sense, right? 

    I want you to really think about how, before you've ever been a mom, how do you actually really know what it's like if you've never been in the role or had their responsibilities it makes a lot of sense that we come up with theories. 

    We maybe latch onto what we learned when we were growing up, or maybe we read some parenting books or talked to friends who had kids or watched some movies.

    I would say that more than really the books and the friends and the movies, most of us, without really realizing it, are often using some parenting paradigms that we were raised in and we sometimes do this kind of unconsciously. I want you to really think about this. 

    Think about the times that you really hated what that grown up in your life did, and you find [00:05:00] yourself doing it. This is just kind of a, a great example of thinking about how certain parenting paradigms that we grew up with are the parenting paradigms that we parent from. I noticed for myself before I entered the world of coaching and really understanding how to tease this apart, I wanted things to be a certain way.

    I'm sure you feel me. 

    I know this isn't just me because I have talked with hundreds of moms, both in my role as a physician and as a coach, that we want things to be a certain way, and we come up with this idea that if things were a certain way, then we would get to feel calm, controlled and peaceful. 

    And I get it because I think that this is just very old and deeply practiced patterning.

    Let me tell you, actually, I'm still in this, so this is not something that ever goes away... it is paradigms and practices that might be with us for very long periods of time. But here's what happens when we [00:06:00] really allowed this paradigm to drive how we show up as moms. 

    You have your kid who is, by the way, their own unique flavor of human, and things don't go exactly your certain way. Maybe your kid has certain proclivities or certain tendencies or certain ways of being. I mean, I kind of think it's a little funny to think about right now because my two kids who have certain similar characteristics are truly such unique individuals. 

    And when I really look at my parenting, I think that I parent them in fairly the same way or so I think I might have some subconscious differences that I'm not aware of, but for the most part, for an outsider looking in, I would say that I really apply the same parenting strategies to both my seven year old son and my four year old daughter. 

    We have the same family rules, we talk in the same way, we have the same general tendencies and styles when it comes to both of our kids. 

    But my kids take and respond [00:07:00] to my parenting so differently. This has been so obvious, particularly in our recent move as both of my kids have started school. I knew that there would be some normal and natural transitions for both of my kids.

    They would both be starting at a brand new school with new kids, new teachers, and new environments. My daughter would be starting preschool for the very first time, and my son would just be in a brand new environment. So essentially for both of them, they would be experiencing something new and I would say like all humans, that they might have some natural big emotions and big feelings around having a new experience.

    I will be doing a whole separate episode on the lessons I have learned from my son because there have been many, many, many lessons. But for today, I wanted to share a bit about the power of our brains, what I learned from my daughter during this transition for her, and how me just learning this [00:08:00] one thing really changed her experience and mine. 

    Now, before I tell you the story, I wanted to just share a personal memory of mine from when I was four years old. I remember this really distinct memory that I would say is probably one of my earliest memories of just like my life in general, is of my mom dropping me off to school for the very first time. I still remember the name of the school was called Busy Bee. I was four, it was my very first time going to preschool... and more than the specifics of the classroom and the kids and the people and the teachers, what really comes to my mind is the memory of a feeling that I was having. 

    Big feelings, like really big.

    If you think about what big feelings might feel like for a four year old who didn't have the skills or the know how to understand what big feelings even were. Really think about this. All of us humans are born with really big [00:09:00] feelings, but we aren't born with the skillset of understanding them and managing them.

    And so it makes so much sense that we go along in society and from families and communities and schools, we learn how to quote unquote best manage big feelings. Unfortunately, just from the paradigms and the programming that we have had, we learn to squash, brush aside, or bulldoze our big feelings. 

    This might sound like wipe those tears away.

    It's not a big deal. 

    You're being too sensitive. 

    I mean, you can just pause and raise your hand if any one of those, or a flavor of those thoughts were ever shared with you when you were growing up. We say these things, we have heard these things, and at some point we internalized a messaging that those big feelings, the sadness, the frustration, or our irritations were bad.

    My memory of being four years old is distinct. I felt sad and it was mixed with unfamiliar surroundings. Now it's normal that I felt sad, right? But I [00:10:00] want you to think about what we do as moms when we notice our children feeling sad. 

    We want to cure our kid of sadness. 

    You wanna put a bubble around them so they don't have to feel the big feelings, Because we know that big feelings feel big.

    They don't feel good all the time. Here's the thing, by us doing this, by us wanting to take away their sadness, cure their frustration, delete their irritations, we basically try to erase their big feelings we don't do something that is infinitely more valuable. 

    By trying to take away their sadness and cure their frustration, we don't teach them the skills of recognizing, allowing, and managing when they have those big feelings. And equally important to that, we never learn the skills and then we don't teach our children the skills of deeply listening and understanding why we have those big feelings to begin with. 

    Now this is completely okay.

    I want you just recognize that [00:11:00] this is normal because this is the way that we've all been parented. We've done it this old way for decades, squashing, bulldozing, or even going to the land of unicorns and faires trying to cure sadness because that's what we've been taught. 

    Here's the thing, squashing, deleting or trying to fix the big feelings, which are normal, teaches us at a really, really young age those parts of us are not, okay. 

    Let me say that again. Squashing, deleting, fixing and solving the big feelings, which are normal, teaches us at a really young age that those parts of us are not okay. 

    Squashing. Deleting, fixing and solving the big feelings teaches and trains our brains that parts of us are not okay and then you end up having to squash, delete, and fix those parts of you always. 

    When you really think about the habit of overeating, overdrinking over scrolling it, overworking, like really think about [00:12:00] where it comes from: you have a big feeling, you don't know how to really feel the big feeling. You've been trained to think that these big feelings are a problem, and so you do what's been practiced.

    You squash, delete, you numb and distract. 

    I want you to really think about the impact of this, of changing this for you and your kids right now. If they learned their big feelings are normal right now, and then at the same time, learn new adaptive mechanisms and tools for managing them. 

    Can you seriously imagine if you grew up with those skills and tools?

    Here's the thing though, and I say this all the time, we have to go first. Before we can teach our children adaptive mechanisms and tools and skills we have to go first. We just do. 

    Which is why I often say that coaching changed the course and trajectory of my life. Yes, coaching was a piece of weight [00:13:00] loss for me because I learned the skill of feeling the normal big feelings that all working moms have without relying on food. But more importantly, I learned how to see myself differently as a mom who had big feelings around her kids. 

    So let's get back to my daughter. I was talking to my daughter about school. The first couple of mornings were tough for her. She had tears and she didn't wanna go in and here's the thing, we had been talking for quite a few months leading up to school about what going to school would be like for her.

    We talked through what it would be like. 

    We walked through exactly what she would do. 

    I even took her to the school before school started, so she was familiar with her surroundings And what was interesting to me, Before school started, while we were role playing it together, she was so excited. She would tell me about it, she would tell my husband and my son about it. She would talk through her excitement about going to school with so much love, but [00:14:00] when it came down to actually going, she got quite tearful. 

    So this is the moment that I learned a lesson. We were talking about her going to school about a week into her starting, and I asked her to talk to her little stuffed penguin about going to school.

    I said, Hey, what if you told Penguin about what it's like going to school, because maybe Penguin's gonna go to school one day, and Penguin kind of wants to get a sense of what it's like. So can you tell Penguin about what it's like going to school. 

    And let me tell you listening to her describing her experience was everything.

    Now, if I had some preconceived notions around what I wish you would say to Penguin or direct her on how to talk to Penguin about school, I would never have learned this lesson. Like what part of me wanted to say was, Hey Penguin, it's gonna be awesome. School's gonna be amazing. You're gonna make new friends. You're going to do amazing new projects, and you're going to practice being brave. It's going to be so amazing. 

    This is [00:15:00] like what my very reflexive mom self wants for my child, right? I want her to practice being brave. I want her to see how awesome it's going to be. This is me trying to paint a really rosy picture, and it can prevent me from seeing what really was bothering her.

    Instead, I just paid attention to what she told Penguin. 

    Let me tell you what she said. She said, Okay, so Penguin, after we have breakfast and we get ready, you're going to take your bag to the car and your mommy or your daddy will drive you to school.

    At this point, guys, her little lip starts trembling, okay?

    She has to catch her voice just from telling Penguin. She's not actually going to school guys... she is just telling Penguin about school. You can see the tears coming to her eyes, and then she says, Then your mommy will drop you off, and you have to be brave when she leaves. Guys, literally she has tears in her eyeballs [00:16:00] as she is telling her stuffed penguin.

    She's telling her stuffed penguin, You have to be brave when your mommy leaves. 

    Here's what I wanna tell you, this is what I realized. I realized just from listening to her, instead of me assuming that I knew the story, just from listening to her with an open mind, I realized a few things. I realized that she has some very big feelings and it was not going to school.

    It was not her going to school that was making her feel the big feeling of sadness. It was the idea of me leaving her. Let me say that again, by really paying attention to her in this moment and not assuming that I knew the whole story, I listened to her more intently... and I realized it wasn't going to school that made her sad. It was me leaving her.

    Now here's the thing. This makes so much damn sense when you really think about someone leaving you, right? It makes so much sense that she felt sad. [00:17:00] If I had said to her, Don't worry about school. Be brave. Go have fun. You'll have fun. You're gonna make friends, don't worry. I would not have addressed the real reason that she was sad. 

    But this is what we all do, isn't it? 

    And honestly, I wanna just say that we do this to ourselves too. We try to rah and cheerleader ourselves when we feel sad, frustrated, angry, mad, disappointed, defeated. Like whenever we have our own version of big feelings, how often do you try to cheerleader yourself over to feeling better?

    This is a problem because when we do that, we avoid really discovering the real reason that we are feeling the big feeling to begin with. I want you to really think about how we do this sometimes to ourselves. We lump things under really broad categories when we feel annoyed, stressed, worried, pressured, disappointed, or even defeated.

    It's work. 

    It's the kids.

    It's my husband, it's my wife. 

    It's my [00:18:00] time, or a lack thereof. 

    It's my weight. 

    By continuing to lump things under these hugely broad and vague categories, it makes it so challenging and borderlined impossible to really solve the root cause of our big feelings. And this is the reason what we all start doing, especially ninja working moms, is we start doing more, working harder, counting harder, calculating, planning, restrict.

    Because we think that this way maybe we'll solve something, but it rarely does... it bulldozes and then we wonder, why are we so fatigued? Why does this problem keep popping up again and again and again? And why is it that our willpower is so depleted that we end up in the chips and the cookies?

    Inside the Unstoppable Universe, I want to slow you down to solve and understand the deeper problem, so you discover the root cause of your big feelings.

    This is the real thread, and by slowing down long enough to understand what your [00:19:00] real thread is, then you can get to ninja problem solving. Honestly, this is really the core of coaching, uncovering and diving below the surface of your surface answers to ask and answer harder questions. My clients listen to this episode might be nodding their heads as I'm saying this.

    I ask my clients questions that they have rarely really answered before. 

    They might have answered or so they thought they've had an answer in their mind, but it was never down to the real thread. And this is not something that we do purposefully. It's just that you just didn't know how to ask and dive below your initial reflexive very memorized answers.

    It's the work, It's the kids. It's my time, it's my partner. 

    And this is why really having a trained coach to walk you through this is invaluable. I don't give you the answers. I help you learn the more valuable skill of mining your brain for the answers. [00:20:00] 

    So let me tell you what happened with my daughter next.

    Once I realized in that moment, in this conversation between me, her, and Penguin, that she wasn't actually sad about going to school, but she was rather sad about me leaving. I could more effectively help her. 

    My strategy as her mom changed, I didn't say, which I might have before. Let's practice being brave, you're going to have so much fun at school. You're going to get to go play with so and so. 

    Because that would never have addressed the real problem. 

    Instead, I got to pivot. I got to show her the real thread that was making her sad and help her reframe if she wanted to. So here's what I said to her. 

    Oh, now I understand why you're feeling sad. You're not sad about going to school, you're sad about us leaving each other. Of course, I totally get it. I would feel sad too. You know [00:21:00] what? Here's what's up. I actually think about our mornings as going places. 

    You aren't leaving me, you're going to school .

    And I'm not leaving you, I'm going to work. 

    And then after our day of going to our special places, we get to come back to each other.

    Guys, let me just tell you something, in that moment. My intention in doing this with her, which was just something I came up with in the moment, wasn't intended to take away her sadness. It was actually for her to recognize it and validate it, to show her that her sadness made so much sense. And then to show her why and if she was open to it for her to see another truth.

    I wasn't rah cheer leadering her or bulldozing over her sadness. I just presented her with an alternative truth that if she wanted to, she could choose to believe if she felt like it. 

    I have been learning time and time [00:22:00] again with both of my kids. I really only have one job with them and honestly myself-- to validate my big feelings and to recognize and understand where they're coming from. Rather than labeling ourselves or our kids as too sensitive, too much, too difficult, too different to instead pause long enough without the judgment to actually listen.

    And to pause and listen requires slowing down. 

    I know that this can be one of the biggest challenges, especially if you're a working mom who's used to going and hustling and getting results. You just want things to feel better, I get that. But I want you to think about this episode and this story as just an invitation.

    It's okay and safe, and in fact, more valuable for you to pause and slow down. 

    To not lump things under big categories and to recognize that the big feelings that you have [00:23:00] and your kids have are normal. And then to get to the harder work of untraining ourselves from sugarcoating, rushing, and distracting from those parts of us, because it's only then that we can get to the more delicious work of teasing those threads apart.

    And creating more meaningful solves at the root. 

    Can you imagine the impact of that and how valuable that is? This is not just for us moms, but for our children to show them, Wait a second-- I can be patient and curious about my big feelings about my sadness. 

    I don't have to villainize that part of me. I don't have to stuff it down and just practice being brave. I can recognize that it's okay for me to feel sad, and at the same time to know that something else is available for me too. 

    Here's what is so amazing with my daughter that we've been practicing now since we discovered this together. We discovered together, and more importantly, she discovered that there was a [00:24:00] distinction.

    She wasn't sad about going to school, she was sad about me leaving, and now she can recognize that and regulate that-- even as a four year old. 

    And the thing that I find the sweetest is this whole past week, every morning as we're popping into the car, she says, "We're never leaving each other. We're just going to our special places."

    It's been such a gift for me to see this with her, and it's working for this week, and something might change for the next, but here's what I want to just leave you all with. If I can do this work and if I can teach her to do this work of teasing apart these threads, guys, our kids are set forever. It means that my daughter can learn that she can feel sad and mad and frustrated, and annoyed and worried and angry, and she won't blame her surroundings.

    She won't blame school. 

    She won't blame her friends.

    She won't blame her work. 

    She won't try to solve her [00:25:00] big feelings by working harder, by burning out, by people pleasing or by numbing out. Or if she does, at least she'll start catching it and I'll be there to help her because I would've done the work too. 

    I hope that you enjoyed today's episode and me sharing this lesson that I learned from my daughter. If you take any parts of this podcast or lessons like this and you start applying it in your life, I would love to know, come and share it with me on the podcast by leaving a rating or review, and tell me how this work is impacting you and your life. 

    I cannot wait to see you next week. Bye. 

    I love sharing this work with the Universe of Unstoppable working moms.

    My intention is that you start experiencing a lighter life while reaching your ideal weight. Really, it is the only way, and I teach this in the simplest, most lasting way inside The Unstoppable Group. [00:26:00] If you want to get a flavor of what it's like to work with me and what the Unstoppable Group might be like, then make sure that you get my free training.

    The Power Start Weight Loss Guide is available to you right now. 

    You can head on over to theunstoppablemombrain.com/power. The moment that you sign up to get this free training, you'll immediate access to a video series that will also be accompanied by an email training that teaches seriously some of my most favorite and powerful tools.

    You'll also learn exactly when the next time my group is opening for enrollment.

    I cannot wait to see you in your email inbox. Bye. 

    Thanks for listening to Weight Loss for Unstoppable Moms. It's been an honor spending this time with you and your brilliant brain. If you want more information or resources from the show, visit [00:27:00] theunstoppablemombrain.com.

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