Hey, this is Dr. Priyanka Venugopal, and you're listening to the Unstoppable Mom Brain Podcast, Episode 60, Mom Fails and Lessons from my Son. I have been waiting for months and months to record this episode and probably been putting off this episode as well for months and months. Mostly because my perfectionist tendencies have definitely been coming out when it comes to this topic.
I think that the lessons I have learned from my son, my own personal growth as a mom has been one of the best personal growths that I have had in my whole life. And so I definitely found my perfectionist brain wanting to get it right in telling the story and sharing this episode. So, I decided finally to just sit down.
I brought everything outside. If you hear the airplane or car or birds or something, it's because I'm outside in my backyard. I brought my mic out. I do not have any notes, so it's going to be one of those story time style episodes. We're going to go all over the place, and also we are all going to come back to the intention of the episode, which is the lessons I have learned from him.
Seriously being this kid's mom has made me a better human. Absolutely. I didn't even bring tissues out, so if I start crying, we're just gonna go with it. And I'm actually recording this episode on Mother's Day. I told my husband that I wanted to sleep in, I wanted some coffee in bed, and to spend a little bit of time with the kids, but then I wanted him to just take them off.
And for me to just have the house to myself. And what's so interesting, after spending the day on my own and really reflecting and journaling and just spending time with myself, I found myself really thinking about my kids. And especially on a day like today, on a day like Mother's Day, I was really thinking a lot about him.
And becoming a mom for the first time and the lessons I learned from him. So I've decided finally that I was going to stop putting off this episode and I was going to just sit down and record it today, and it feels like a nice day to record it. Before I get into the episode, I want to make sure that you know that the Unstoppable Group, which is my six month coaching program for high achieving working moms, is officially open for enrollment.
Spots are capped in this group to maintain its intimate nature. So here's what I want you to know about this group, and what I want you to think about, if you are a high achiever, if you're a working mom, there are some common threads, some common obstacles that have gotten in your way. And to lose weight without a calculator, without counting points and calories, and to lose weight in a way that you can really maintain for the rest of your life is going to require you learning some new skills.
It's going to require shattering some old beliefs, really unraveling your perfectionist tendencies. Any time that you have found yourself procrastinating on something like putting it off, maybe I'll start again tomorrow. These are things that we solve for in this group. So if it is something that you know you have been wanting, you've been wanting to reach your ideal weight, I don't want you to wait anymore because this is your one life.
I want you to have it. I want you to know that it's possible for you, and I want you to know that there is a spot for you in this group if this is something you want. So I want you to go over to theunstoppablemombrain.com/connect and book a time where you and I can talk on a sales call. We will talk all about you.
We're going to talk about everything you have ever tried, what's worked, what hasn't worked, and then we're going to really dial down and talk about why those things haven't really worked. If it wasn't your personal capacity, your personal skills or capabilities, then what was it? I'm going to help you as your coach on that call, figure it out, and then we're gonna decide whether we're best fit to work together.
If we are, then you get to just jump in, you make your payment, and you get immediate access to all of the video modules. You get to start really learning and implementing right off the bat, and our first call is in July, which is going to be so amazing. So without further ado, I wanna make sure you go book your call with me, theunstoppablemombrain.com/connect.
I will see you on a call and we'll decide if we're best fit to work together. Now, without further ado, let's get into today's episode. Mom Fails, and The Lessons I've learned from my Son. 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 weight loss coach for ambitious working moms. I've lost over 60 pounds without counting points, calories, or crazy exercise plans. Most importantly, I feel calm and light on the scale and in 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.
So I just think it's so interesting because when I think about it. What it even means to be a mom. I think that I had this idea that you have a baby and you know you just love them because you know you're supposed to love them and then you know, like life just goes on. Like they grow up, they do what you say.
They just kind of follow along with the instructions. This is the kind of kid I think I was like, my parents would tell me what to do and I would just generally follow it. Now if you ask my mom, she might not agree with you, but I mean, in my mind, that's my memory that my parents would kind of tell me what to do.
I was a fairly big people pleaser. Especially in my younger years, and I just felt like following along, but that has not been my experience, especially with my son, who is now seven and a half. I think I thought he's gonna be born and I'm gonna love him and he'll just do what I say. I mean, I don't know how many of us think this.
I really thought he was just gonna do what I said. It's just gonna follow along. And again, I'm like, you know, the big planner, I have schedules and plans and protocols, and then I'm like, he, I just, he'll just plug right in to that plan. And I just did not take into account that he's a whole different human than me.
But that has honestly been the work. So I would say from a very, very young age, as I've actually shared on this podcast, in the episode where I shared about the disappointment in my son, he has been a musician from his earliest, earliest years. He picked up an instrument from like, I think the age of one and a half or two.
And truly, this kid is a brilliant, brilliant child. He was reading and writing at a very young age, like numbers and math and music at a very young age. But there was always something also from the get-go that I felt like I wanted to change about him. So despite me telling you that he's like this awesome musician and he was reading and writing and like a hilarious, hilarious, hilarious kid.
There was something about him that I wanted to change, and that's what this episode is all about. I noticed, I think probably like even two or three years old, he would be the kid when we would go to the playground or a birthday party, he would kind of just be off by himself. He was perfectly content.
It's not that he would be wanting to just be with me or anything like that. He would just be on his own doing his own thing, not really playing with the other kids. And I remember for so long how much that bothered me, I felt like. You know, maybe there was something wrong. Maybe he doesn't know how to socialize.
And I remember, I mean, I, I can say this now as a coach, and especially after having coached myself on this and being coached on this, that I was definitely projecting my own childhood experiences onto him. I remember when I was a kid, that was one of my biggest things, was I felt left out a lot. I felt not included in the group.
I felt different. I felt other, I felt like there was something that I didn't know how to do. So all these other kids know how to socialize and I just didn't. And I remember one of my greatest fears for my son when he was two, three years old was like, I don't want that to be his experience. This was coming from what I thought was love.
I thought that, you know, I love him so much. I do not want him to be that kid that's alone. That kid that's left out. The kid that doesn't get included or invited or has difficulty making friends and I think what I used to do at that time was I would flash forward, and I still do this now, by the way, whatever I wanna tell you today.
It's like I learned this in layers. I have these experiences in layers, and then I have to learn it again. So going back, I really felt like I was very, very much wanting to teach him how to be different than he was. I thought oh, I just need to teach him some skills, some social skills. And I remember, and I'm saying I'm sharing all this very openly without a drop of shame for myself.
I don't feel any shame or embarrassment. It's just the honest truth. It's, it's how I was, and I can see why I was this way. I remember driving to playdates and driving to birthday parties and kind of telling him. Remember to say hello. Remember to make eye contact. Remember to say bye. Remember to say please and thank you.
And I remember I would like to reflect back on a previous play date or a previous birthday and say like, remember how that one went? Like it wasn't so great. Remember, remember, remember? And I would try to like drill into him this little kid. I mean he might not have been two, he might have been three at this point, but like he's still little.
This little kid likes how to be. Basically, I wanted him to act like a grownup. Effectively I wanted him to act like a very emotionally responsible, mature adult that knows how to greet someone, knows how to recognize them, knows how to be polite, like I wanted him to basically be a grownup in a child's body.
And I remember so many rides to play dates and birthdays where I had that kind of conversation. And I think that what that started to do for me personally as a mom, Was it started to really color my experience being his mom. So I have so many memories where just like laughing and joy, and again, as I told you, he's hilarious.
He's the funniest kid ever. So passionate. So everything, I mean, I can go on and on about him and all the things I love about him. But what I found was instead of me really focusing on those things, focusing on the things that I love about him, the things that I appreciate about him, I was always focusing on what I thought he needed, what I thought was missing, what I thought would help him with his like childhood experiences.
And that really created some, for lack of a better word, some suffering. So I think that, and that that's kind of part of the intention of today's episode is to talk about when you're a mom, there's plenty of moments of joy and love and laughter and delight and like, oh my gosh, so much that happens when you become a mom and you lean into that relationship.
That's not the purpose of this episode. So it's not that I don't feel those things I do, but the purpose of today's episode is to talk about the other side of being a mom and to do it with honesty. So I think that there are some painful moments with being a mom. I had them where I felt pain, and by pain I meant I felt disappointment.
I felt frustration. I felt anger. I felt annoyance. I felt a lot of emotions like that. But then I added on and I didn't know I was doing this at the time. This invisible layer of suffering. And so I would have an experience and I'll share a couple of them with you, but I would have some experiences with him and I would feel an emotion like disappointment or annoyance or frustration.
And what I would do is I would then add on this layer of judgment, a layer of blame and a layer of shame. And that layer, I didn't realize that I was doing this at the time. It just felt kind of like I was just being a mom and I wanted to teach him the right way, but that added layer of judgment and shame and blame really turned my, what would've just been, you know, pain, it turned it into suffering.
And I think that that's really the intention of today's episode is learning that as moms, we do have a certain way that we think our kids maybe should be, we think we know what's best for them, obviously, because we're their moms, but, I think sometimes with that there can be this nuanced line we walk where that desire that we have for them turns into suffering.
So that's really what happened for me. I would say I was maybe about four years ago now, four years ago for sure, where I was living the life of an Ob/Gyn, and I was practicing going to the hospital, doing deliveries on call. Really like a busy working mom life at this point. My daughter was about seven months old and my son was three and a half .
At this point, again, like I just wanna paint a whole picture so you can kind of get a zoom out view of what was going on on paper. I definitely had that really good on paper life, right? So a great job, partners I respected patients. I loved my husband who was super supportive, and these two cute kids who are healthy.
And you know, from the outside looking in, it feels like you have it all and you know, you should be grateful for that. And I wasn't. I think I really had a view and a perspective that was very laced in what's not enough. It was very laced in what was missing, and there were some things that were missing, which were going to get to, but I focused on things outside of me.
So I focused on time constraints with my job. I focused on the things with my son that I really wished were different. At this point, my daughter was seven, so she wasn't fully sleeping through the night, right? So I would focus on like, oh, she's not sleeping through the night with my husband. Like, why can't he be a certain way?
So I would always focus on the things that were missing in people and things outside of me, and that really led me to feeling a lot of scarcity. A lot of scarcity is just feeling fulfilled, feeling satisfied, feeling like the way that I imagined I would want to feel at this point in my life. And you know, at this point, I'm in my mid thirties and I remember thinking, I've worked so hard my whole entire life, decades of studying and working and med school and residency, and hours and hours and hours of working.
And here I am, and it just doesn't feel like what I would want it to be. It doesn't feel like enough. And at this point, of course, as you all know, the scale was also a little bit over 200 pounds, not surprisingly, because the scale was simply a symptom of how I was feeling on the inside. And I realized one day when I was driving into work, when I discovered a podcast and I discovered coaching that there was so much behind my relationship with my son.
Now I think it's so interesting because when you think about weight loss and coaching, it's like, what does your mom life, what does your relationship with your son have anything to do with the number on the scale of being 200 pounds? Let me tell you what it would be. So like a perfect example. I think that, and this is why coaching is so valuable for weight loss, so I think it's such a necessary step to lose weight, is because the only reason we ever eat when we're not hungry is because we're trying to feel a certain way.
We are either trying to avoid feeling something or we're trying to create a new feeling. And so for me, I wanna give you a very specific example that I remember. I was in the office, I was back at work, so when my daughter, now at this point, was like seven and a half or eight months old, I got a call from the principal.
My son was in preschool and we got a call from the principal. And you know when the phone rings, you can normally, if it's spam, if I don't recognize the number, I just like let it go to voicemail or I like, I cancel a call, but I could see that it was his school calling me and it was on my cell phone, not like my office phone.
And I remember I felt my heart drop because the school only called if something was wrong. Right? They don't just call you in the middle of the day for no reason. So I remember I felt my heart drop and I picked the phone and it was the assistant principal and she said, hi, Dr. Venugopal.
Everything is fine. I feel like this are all these conversations with parents like, everything is fine, don't worry. But you know, I think it would be a really good idea to have a conversation about your son and at this point, now that I know that he's safe, I kind of just slipped right into annoyance and a little bit of irritation with the school, like, can you please handle this?
I'm like literally in the middle of seeing patients. I'm in the middle of my workday and I'm being interrupted. I had so many feelings at this moment. I felt some [00:16:00] embarrassment too, like why are they calling? Like what did he do? What? What's going on? I felt some embarrassment. I think I felt some annoyance that I had to deal with this.
I felt some relief, like, okay, he's safe. Like I had such a mix of emotions and I remember even tears even came to my eyes when the principal called me because I felt like, oh my gosh, one more thing that I have to deal with. I noticed that. I got through my day. I saw my patients and I put on a brave face at the office to get through my day.
But on the inside I remember feeling overwhelmed. I remember feeling just a huge jumble of emotions, like, great, there's one more thing that I have to fix. One more thing I have to solve, one more thing I have to figure out. And it's as though I don't have enough, as though I don't have enough to figure out one more thing.
And I remember I got home that night. I was snappy with my husband for sure, like we need to figure this out. I was kinda kind of throwing my hands up, kind of a little like telling him, but saying it, but in a very irritated way. And I was irritable with my son. I didn't talk to him about it that day.
I was like, I wanna figure this out and think about it. So like the kids went to bed and I remember that night I plopped down on the couch. For my evening, plop down, put the Netflix on, poured a glass of wine and made a huge plate of nachos thinking I just deserve a break. And this is the theme I think, for so many working moms, so many high achievers who are kind of, I think like the common phrases, burning the candle at both ends.
I always get the phrases wrong, but you know what I'm saying, like where you're working really hard at work and you're trying to work really hard at home, and it feels like nothing is ever quite enough. And you, you just kind of get lost in the middle of that. And I remember thinking, I just deserve a break because I did.
I did deserve a break. I had been working so hard all day and I just had no other way to treat myself. And so I ate the big plate of nachos. I might have even like, made a second plate of nachos, had one, two glasses of [00:18:00] wine, and I really was able to numb out from the experience of overwhelm. I wanna really kind of just take a pause here and share.
You can imagine doing this again and again and again is the reason that the scale ever became 200 pounds. So it was never just the nachos. It's never, ever just that I love the food so much. It's never, ever that like, you know, the Dorito chip is so delightful, or that glass of wine is so amazing. It's never the food that we are just loving.
It is the feeling that we want to have. So for me, a big phase of my life was, I just want a break. I just need a break from this overwhelm. I just need a break from this stress. And that was the feeling that I wanted. And food was a very brilliant coping mechanism to numb out on the stress and the overwhelm and take a break.
So, Again, I always like to share that the habit of overeating or eating when you're not hungry was always coming from a brilliant place. Your brain was like, yep, she wants a break from stress. This is what we do. And we did. And so over 10 years between the time that I got married to the time that I was at my heaviest, I gained 60 pounds.
And I think that there came a point where I really realized, you know, I was sick after one of these Dorito dinners. After one of these wine nights, I stepped on the scale. And it was up after a week of like really grinding down and counting every point in calorie and like really like limiting what I was eating.
Seriously. I worked so hard all week and one Dorito dinner just undid the whole entire thing. I remember feeling so frustrated, and I don't think I ever at this point connected my weight gain with how I was feeling as a mom or how I was feeling kind of in my life. I was just like, oh, the reason that I'm gaining the weight is because I clearly can't control myself around food.
I clearly don't know how to portion out the right portions. I don't know how to stay to my calorie allotment. Like I'm just not disciplined. And I really thought, I think I kept that story for a really long time. What I discovered shortly after [00:20:00] when I stumbled onto a podcast and when I discovered the world of coaching was, oh, I had no idea that for basically my whole entire life, I have just been wanting to feel a certain way.
And I have gotten those emotions that I have been wanting, like pride and satisfied and good about myself generally with external sources of validation. So every time I got an A on a test or praise from a parent or teacher, or recognition from my husband, or like when my kid does something really well, these external sources would give me this boost.
I would feel like things are going okay, things are going well right now. I'm okay. I'm doing well. And so because I would think that way, that was when I would get to feel the good feelings. And not surprisingly, when things were not going well, when circumstances in my life were hard, maybe I had many nights of being on call in a row, or maybe I had a lot of sleepless nights, or my kid was acting up or my husband said something, or something outside of me was going on.
Not surprisingly, I also blamed those external circumstances for my feelings of stress and overwhelm and annoyance and frustration, and a lot of that I think happened with my son, I think for a very long time. I thought that if he was just different, if he was just a little bit different, then I wouldn't feel so annoyed.
Then I would feel more content, more satisfied, more fulfilled. If only he could just get in line. If only he could just like be the way that I wanted him to be. And you know, I feel a little sad now, but also I feel so grateful to that part of me that went through that experience because I kind of had to hit my version of rock bottom.
When I say rock bottom, I don't mean rock bottom in maybe the traditional sense, but my personal rock bottom where I just felt so like not great, not great at all in this life that I was living. I kind of had to hit that point to even be open to challenging my life, because that's what coaching was.
Coaching started to become this opportunity for me to challenge it, but I wasn't getting to change anyone else, which was my whole way before it meant I wasn't gonna change my son, or my husband or my daughter, or my time. I had to change myself, and this is why I share on this podcast very often, and the whole intention of this episode is, I embarked on really a self-improvement journey where I decided at some point along the way that clearly me trying to change everyone else outside of me and everything outside of me is not working.
I mean, if it would've worked, I guarantee you I would've done it by now. I know it would've worked if that was a solution, if me trying to change my kid, my partner, my time, if that was a solution, I'm pretty sure I would've figured this out. Turns out that I still feel dissatisfied, annoyed and frustrated, and it turns out that I'm holding the feeling of satisfaction and fulfilled hostage.
Every time my kid misbehaves, or every time my partner says something or something comes up at work, every time that happens, like all of a sudden I don't get to feel satisfied and fulfilled and I don't get to feel good. I think that it took me to that personal rock bottom where I realized, okay. Maybe I'm the common denominator, and I say this, and I've also said this on consults before with some of my clients.
When you find that there's a common theme that comes up again and again and again when you find that a weight loss strategy has not worked again and again and again when you find your plan has not worked again and again and again, you are the common denominator. And I don't say this from a place of going, and this is why I think this can be tricky because again, what a lot of working moms will do, they'll go to judgment and shame and blame themselves.
What would it look like for us to step into, yes, I am the common denominator, and I wonder what it has been about the way I've been pursuing my life that's been creating this result for me, that was what I think coaching really started to shift. And what I started to learn, and it's so fascinating because in coaching on weight loss, one of the first things that I got coached on was being a mom.
I discovered and I realized how much pressure I had been feeling for so long, and not just as a mom, but even before being a mom, how much pressure I had been feeling on getting things quote unquote right. And that included him. Like as though this other human, I can just like, you know, plug him into a program and outs, spits out like exactly the way that I want him to be.
It's like I thought that if things were a certain way, then I wouldn't have to feel the pressure. And here was the best discovery for me. And it's part of what unraveled my own journey and what unraveled the lessons I've learned from him is there are absolutely things that he says or does that I don't like, that I don't even approve of, that I absolutely disapprove of.
But what I've learned is that by really coming into the relationship with him from a critical lens, coming into it believing that there's something about him that's wrong, something about him that needs to be fixed. It really colored the texture of our relationship. If you think back about the story of me, like in the car with him, and we trying to tell him and teach him and convince him, say, please say thank you.
Be polite. It's like none of it was sinking in. None of it was sinking in for him. And when I really take that to the next step, I wasn't modeling it to him. In fact, I was modeling a form of rejection, right? I was actually not seeing him for who he was. I kept trying to change him into being someone that he really wasn't.
And I kind of think back on that time, and of course he's never said these words because I don't think he would know to say these words, but I think that he didn't feel fully seen by me, and I'm his mom. So I think that one of the biggest things that I had to learn, and it took time for me to learn this, it didn't happen overnight, but what happened over some time was what would it be like for me?
What would my experience be, what would my lived experience as a mom be? If I could start to see my kid whole, like if I could just see him for who he is. And the glasses that I'm wearing, the lens that I am using to see him is the most generous interpretation ever. Right? So I'm kind of swinging in the opposite direction.
So the lens that I used to use to look at him was a critical lens, right? Like, what can we fix? What's missing? What, what can we do to teach him? What can we figure this out? What, what, what it's like. It just feels so grindy and so constricted that lens, and it doesn't feel so good as his mom. And slowly moving that to, if I put on a lens that was generous, if I had the most generous lens when I looked at him, what would I see?
What would I see then and how would I then engage with him? So, for example, if he said something or did something that I didn't like, maybe that I didn't approve of, maybe that's rude or not kind. If I came into that relationship with the most generous lens, instead of me thinking that something is wrong with him, I would think he must really be having some big feelings to use language like that.
He must really be feeling a certain way to behave in that way. And just that one small pivot started to soften how I would engage with him. I still thought of it as my responsibility to teach him what's kind and not what's rude or not what's polite and not, but I wasn't doing it from this graspy needy place like he had to be a certain way for me to feel good as his mom.
I was able to make this shift because I felt that generous lens in my mind. That clearly he's having an experience right now, and this was just his best in the moment. This behavior, which I don't find acceptable, was his best in the moment. And how can I model to him coming into this relationship? How would I model for him to be, and this sounds almost like crazy, but just that one shift when I started to shift from a critical lens to that generous lens in my mind, even though a lot of the way, like a lot of my actions didn't change with him, I always a very steady style in parenting. I think that he picked up on my energy shifting. He picked up on the tone and tenor of my voice shifting.
I might still correct him, but the way that I corrected him would be different. The way that I would teach him would be different. It was softer, and I think what happened, it's so crazy, I wanna say in just like three to four months, I started to see a huge change in him. And at this point he was probably maybe four or four and a half, such a different experience where he still was himself.
He still has a very strong personality and he's fairly rigid in what he likes. And again, this is something that, you know, who knows how long he's going to have this, but he really thinks his way is the right way. It's the only way. And so he's very rigid in that and even with him keeping a lot of his tendencies and a lot of his personality, him picking up on my energy and how I was with him started to shift something in him, and what I noticed was his prickliness started to soften too.
And I think what I loved about this personal lesson for me was I had no idea before coaching that I was being critical of him. I just thought like, this is what moms do. Moms are just supposed to teach their kids. That's just what I'm doing, and I had no idea that really the lens that I was coming into my relationship with him, my relationship with myself was so critical.
I had no idea. So I think that the very first lesson that I wanna share on this podcast was so often we think that we have to fix [00:30:00] something or solve something, and it's coming from, if you check in with your body, if you check in with how you're feeling, it's coming from a critical place, the emotion that it's coming from, you'll tell, right?
You can tell when you feel criticism in your body and what would it. Feel like just gently slowly shift that to a generous lens. So you still want to come into the relationship with your kid. You still wanna teach them, but you're not coming from a place of criticism. You're seeing them truly as this whole human.
And I love how Dr. Becky Kennedy, she's the author of Good Inside, if you're a parent, you must go read this book. So good. She really talks about this and it just lines up so well with coaching. And her message is really, all of our kids are good inside and sometimes we have behaviors that are not. So, like for me, it's like I can be a good mom who yells sometimes, right?
Or my kid is a good kid who sometimes is rude. So I think that it's so interesting how well it fits with when I remember that my kid is good inside. All of a sudden it's like my generous lens just comes back. It's like, oh yeah, he's a good kid who's having a really hard time right now.
And I think that this kind of takes me to the next lesson, which I think was a more painful in some ways, lesson because as I said, when he was four, four and a half, things started to improve. He started to soften, like something in his whole body demeanor, relaxed a little bit. And I think he started to feel like he was really being seen more by me.
I really think about how, as his mom, but his place, that's supposed to be his one safe place, maybe he felt criticized a lot and not seen, and I could feel the shift for him. So, I wanna say when he was like four, four and a half, when we started to see the shift in him, I started to think, this is it.
Solved it. Solved it, one, and done. We're good now. Like, you know, kind of like one of these, you know, we've wrapped this one up at the bow. And then Covid happened and then, you know, he was out of school for quite a while and my son, as I was sharing is he's very, all or nothing, he's quite rigid and transitions are super, super hard for him.
So we had another big shift for him when he had to go back to school. In first grade, it was a big transition for him. He had a whole lot of separation anxiety with us. He didn't wanna go to school, and it was almost like, you know, it's not that his behavior repeated or anything like that, but he definitely went through a really difficult time.
And what I've noticed is whenever my son is going through a difficult time, I started going through a difficult time, right? It kind of snaps back to, as moms, we just want our kids to be okay. We want to know that they're safe, that they're secure, that they're going to be okay, they're going to thrive. And if there's any hint that that's not going to happen, then immediately worry and overwhelm and we need to fix it and we feel terrible comes back in the mix.
So, this was the point that I had to learn my next lesson, which was how to not go to the land of suffering, how I could feel pain and not go to the land of suffering. And what this means is he definitely had a tough time transitioning back to first grade, and I felt bad for him.
I felt sad for him. I wanted to put this bubble around him. I wanted him to have that happy go back to school experience. And that wasn't what was happening for him. How many of you are familiar with that feeling about something happening in your life? There's a real circumstance where you're facing something, your kid is facing something, and you feel sad.
You feel worried, you feel nervous. Maybe you have some doubt, right? Some flavor of an emotion that literally no human wants to feel. And what we do so often, I know because I did this, if I added on this optional, I call it this invisible layer that we are just not aware of. And I wasn't aware of it until I got coached on it.
Around all of the should thoughts that I was layering on top. So if I was feeling worried and stressed and really sad that I shouldn't be feeling this way, I shouldn't have to deal with this. I should have figured this out by now. Or I thought we had already figured this out and here we have to figure it all out or all over again.
Or you know, how come he has to struggle with this? How come other kids aren't struggling? Like I added on all of these layers of really resisting the reality that was. And I think that this is where coaching is literally what unlocked so much power for me. I share very often that my clients are confident women, right?
So I was a very confident physician. I was even very confident as a mom. I felt very confident in different areas of my life, but when certain circumstances came up, I felt powerless in them. Let me just say that again. I think of high achieving working moms as confident women, but what happened is I would feel powerless in certain situations.
I felt like I didn't have control over what was happening at school or how my son was reacting to it, and so I added on this optional layer of suffering. And I think that this was the second lesson I had to learn and I had to learn it this way, and it's something that I keep having to kind of [00:35:00] learn in different layers again and again.
But there are going to be challenging moments for my son, especially given his personality, some of his tendencies. You know, sometimes you know, his rigid behavior, some of his just natural personality traits will lead him to have challenging moments. Maybe he won't get invited to a play date. Maybe he doesn't get invited to a birthday party.
Maybe, you know, he has a hard time with the transition. Maybe someone says something to him at school. There are going to be so many of these moments and I can now really see, and I'm not saying that this is easy. This is something that is messy and I'm going to keep learning it, and it is seriously one of the best things that I could have ever learned is that I can feel a whole range of emotions.
And I can drop the optional resistance. I can really accept that this is what it is. I'm not saying I love it. I'm not saying I approve of it, but I think what I finally realized is I can accept it. I might not love it. But I can accept it. So I think that what that lesson did for me, and it again, it took coaching, it made me really vulnerable and honest in my thoughts about my role as his mom and what I wanted for him.
But that was really such an important lesson for me to learn, was that I might feel pain sometimes. You know, seeing your kid not get invited to something or, you know, seeing your kid struggle with something or seeing them sad and upset, I know the tendency of wanting to put a bubble around them. But what I've also learned is that putting the bubble around them is not helpful.
It's not helping them. It's actually not teaching them the skills that they'll need one day to navigate the world. If I keep trying to put bubbles around him, if I keep trying to like him, if I keep trying to really manipulate every situation around him, then he's never going to learn the skills.
And so it's been hard, but also really beautiful for me to see that sometimes he's gonna feel sad and upset, and sometimes I'm going to feel sad and upset and know that he's going to get through it. I'm going to get through it, and we are going to be okay on the other side. And I wanna just really take a moment to emphasize one piece of this.
That doesn't mean that you become complacent as a mom. So what I'm saying is like if I felt sad or worried or upset about something, that doesn't mean I would just sit now and twiddle my thumbs and not do anything and just be like, you know, the world's gonna happen as the world's gonna happen. Let's just allow our emotions.
Like, no, not at all. It just means, it doesn't mean that I became complacent or twiddled to my thumbs, it just means that the lens, again, that I come in with is not from lack. It's not from suffering. It's not from a place where the quality of my problem solving would not have been really great. And what I mean by that is when I was adding on layers of suffering, so if I felt sad or worried, and then I added on a layer of my invisible layer of, it shouldn't be this way.
I can't believe it's like this. Like there we go again. And I would feel this urgency to fix him, fix it, fix the problem. I found number one that I would be ruminating a lot, dwelling a lot, second guessing a lot, researching a lot. Like I would spend a lot of my time and my energy in my bandwidth in thinking of trying to figure out this best solution rather than really pausing, noticing that I had this sadness.
I had this worry, and he's clearly having an emotional experience in his transition as well. To really step back without that optional layer and decide on purpose, who do I want to be given that this is a situation right now, I think that in the, I have to fix it, I have to solve it.
It's like we don't pause long enough to ask, okay, this is a really challenging situation. This is a challenging transition. I'm feeling a lot of big things right now. Now what? Who do I wanna be on purpose? What kind of mom do I wanna be on purpose? And the best part about this was when I started asking myself that question, what I didn't realize was going to happen kind of as a secondary effect, is I got to model to him how to handle challenging situations.
This is something that, again, it's going to take months and years. I'm planting the seeds now and I'm going to keep watering them and hope that they grow, but that we can have really challenging circumstances in our life. We can have really challenging things come up.
We can feel sad and disappointed and worried and angry and embarrassed and lonely and left out. And despite having all of that, we get to choose how we wanna show up. And again, I must say that this is a perfect practice. I am by no means a perfect mom. Which leads me to the third lesson and the final lesson that I really have learned from my son, and I can't wait to keep learning lessons because I'm his mom, is this idea of being a better mom.
Being the perfect mom. I think that for so long, I have really hung my hat on, you know, this high achiever role, the A pluses and doing well and being a good physician and really like a lot of these external places that I found myself measuring myself from. The third place is I used to think of his behavior as a reflection of me being a good enough mom.
A perfect mom, right? If my kid says, please and thank you, and is friends with all the kids in the neighborhood. If my kid's invited to all the birthday parties and is on all the sports teams, then I am like doing my job and I'm, I'm a good mom then, versus if my kid is not behaving well all the time.
If he's not on all the sports teams, if he's not friends with all the kids or if he gets left out of things, that must mean that I am somehow not a good mom. And I didn't realize I was doing this for a really long time because I never used to identify as a perfectionist. I very much definitely have some of those tendencies, but I realize, and the lesson I learned is me and him are two totally separate humans and we share a very special connection because I'm his mom and he's my son, and there's a love there that just no matter what, will never, ever change. But also we are two separate humans, and I think that that really allowed me to take a load off.
It means that he might have a tough moment. He might say something or do something that I don't approve of, and it's not a reflection of me as his mom. I have to say that that lesson has been a lesson that I've had to learn multiple times, which means I learned that lesson and then, you know, new life circumstances will happen and I'll question all of it and I'll, you know, have to kind of go through this process again and I'll have to learn it again.
And I think that that's the piece of really what I'm sharing on this podcast is my relationship with my son. Me being his mom has been a messy growth for me. It has not been perfect. I have made so many mistakes and I think that I don't live in them anymore. I used to really live in them. Like me, I wish I had done it differently.
I can't believe I did that. I feel so sad that I did it that way, but rather, I think what's so much more powerful and so much more impactful is that I have given myself the grace and the opportunity to learn from every single mistake, every single mistake that I've ever made as his mom. Always came because of my brain, because of what I was thinking and feeling.
It drove me to show up in a certain way, and it created every result with me and with him, and that's why I am so incredibly grateful to coaching because before coaching, I didn't know that I had this powerful agency for me, for me to feel satisfied and fulfilled and fully complete as his mom. No matter what is happening in our life, no matter what is happening, I feel like coaching has released me from mom guilt, from the concept of mom failing, like all of that.
I don't even think of it as ever having a mom fail or ever think of it as a moment to feel guilty about simply because I know as his mom, I love him so much and I'm trying my absolute best. My absolute best might not be good enough sometimes. Absolutely, My absolute best might mean that I yell at him.
My absolute best might mean like I have an ugly moment, and there are many of them. And also every single time, if I take the time to reflect on it, every single time I've had one of those ugly moments that I don't love, I can look back and see exactly why I did it. And that is what coaching has done for me. I think it's allowed me to become so much more reflective on how I'm showing up as his mom.
And what it also allows me to do is to feel powerful as his mom navigates what comes up. I don't need to know every single thing. Now we're in a new phase. So going back in time after like the initial first grade transition, we moved, we moved out of New Jersey and we moved to the Washington DC area.
And that was a massive transition for him where he didn't know any kids. He didn't know anyone, and it took him again, it took him a while to get his footing to find, you know, the few kids that he really does engage well with that he really loves and I think. It's again, one more time for me to learn that we're going to keep having these moments happen, whether it's a move or whether it's a brand new school year, or whether it's a new teacher or a new friend or some life circumstances are going to keep coming up for him.
And what I am learning time and time again is when I have the most generous interpretation of him. It's honest. It's not me sugarcoating behavior. It's not me sugarcoating anything that he's saying or doing, but it's having the most generous interpretation, believing he's a good kid inside always. And also he's struggling with something and really knowing that sometimes it is going to be painful. It does not have to be suffering. Sometimes he's going to be really sad or embarrassed or feel bad, and sometimes I'm going to feel sad and embarrassed and feel bad, and also I don't have to add the optional layer of resistance to avoid, to believe that it shouldn't be this way because it is this way.
I don't ever have to do that to myself again. And then really this third piece, which is knowing that we are two separate humans. He doesn't have to be exactly like me and I don't have to be exactly like him. I think today, today's Mother's Day. His Mother's Day card says, Happy Mother's Day. I love you because you're my mom.
I like you because you're my mom and I'm thankful because you wake me up. This is what his whole Mother's Day card says. I love this. He has no idea. As a seven and a half year old, he has literally, I don't think, maybe some parts of his like subconscious, like the deepest racists of his brain might know he has no idea as his mom how much I think about him.
How much I love him. How much I have really tried to Jenga block his life to make it smoother and to make it better. He has no idea about the years that I spent doing that or the years that I spent really in my own self-discovery simply because of him. He has no idea, and here's what I've realized today, when I got this Mother's Day card from him that says, I'm thankful.
What am I thankful for? That you wake me up. I was like, you know, I love that. I love it. He doesn't need to know how much I do for him. Like I would love it if he's grateful and if he appreciates me, of course. But I recognize myself enough to know, and I feel like this whole podcast episode isn't an ode to me recognizing myself, which is what I want all of you to do.
I want all working moms to know this is possible for you. I have been appreciating myself and recognizing myself in this journey because I can see and learn from every mistake I have ever made in the past without any guilt. And because I am pretty sure I'm going to make multiple more mistakes coming up and know that I will have my back through them.
I won't shame myself, guilt myself, criticize myself or him, because we're both gonna make many, many, many mistakes coming up. Just that I can appreciate and recognize myself for this work. I don't even need him to, which, you know, as a kid, if he does awesome. I think of that as like the cherry on top of the cake and also like I am in charge of the cake.
I am the baker of the cake, not him. And I feel like I could go on and on on this topic because this has opened up so much for me, and I think that really unraveling a lot of my thoughts and my personal paradigms around being a mom actually forced me to unpack a lot of my personal thoughts about myself.
And not surprisingly, when I started to really get coached on my mom life, on my mom brain, a lot of my thoughts and perspectives on being a mom when I started to resolve some of those, when I started to feel lighter as his mom, he did not have to change. The four year old did not have to change for me to start feeling better.
Not surprisingly, I started losing all of the weight with so much more ease. I lost over 60 pounds and my kid is still my kid. He still does so many of the same shenanigans. He still has the same, very passionate, all or nothing rigid personality and he doesn't have to change for me to know how to recognize myself and treat myself and be with myself, even in those moments that are painful.
I don't have to go to the plate of nachos anymore. You know? I mean, do I sometimes eat Dorito dinner? Yes, absolutely. I was telling my clients in the group a few weeks ago, and this is so important, I think, for all of us to know that you will hit your ideal weight, your natural weight that you want to be at, and that doesn't mean that you eat perfectly always.
Like I still do Dorito dinner every now and then. It's not a big deal because I know how to catch myself right after I just catch it. It's not a big deal. We move right on. It's like just a moot point. The difference now though is I don't need to do Dorito dinner night after night after night. I might do a Dorito dinner every now and then and it's just not a big deal.
And the reason that it feels so much easier to have lost weight because of coaching. I, and again, really maybe lessons from my son is almost also a letter to how coaching was an integral piece of weight loss because I had to really feel better, feel more powerful in my mind no matter what is happening in my life.
Can you think about how often we hold off on reaching our goal weight until we think life needs to get easier? Like when our work gets better, when our kids are more behaved, when our partner gives us permission, when we have more time, when I'm not, when I'm done with vacation. We think that somehow life has to get easier for us to have time to lose weight.
And this is the lie. This is just a procrastination tactic that our high achiever brains are going to keep clinging to. It's just not true. The real truth is that your kid is going to be your kid and they're going to keep doing kid things. Your work is still gonna be your work. You're gonna have vacations or not vacations.
Your partner's gonna be your partner. These things are just gonna keep happening. And what would it feel like? What would it be like if you could discover how to feel more powerful in your life with nothing outside of you changing? That's the real work. I think that that is what it takes. It is truly a personal shift for you in how you experienced your life.
But the best news is when you do this, it colors into everything. And I love this so much, especially I wish I could almost kind of go back and talk to my younger self because that younger part of me that, the one that I was telling you about at the beginning of today's episode, that felt left out and didn't belong and felt a little awkward and I didn't want that for my son.
So I'm trying to make my son, you know, get along with everybody. I'm like, wait a second. Like we don't have to do that anymore. You think about how much better our life would feel if we didn't force our kids to be a very certain, specific way. Like my kid doesn't have to be friends with every single kid in his class.
It's okay. Okay. He doesn't even have to like all of them. The one rule I do have, I mean just between you and me, the one rule I do have is you can't be rude. You can't be mean, and also you don't have to like everyone. So we're working on that. This is actually like the newest phase that we're in. My son is very, he takes things very deeply.
Very deeply. So if somebody ever says something to him, if somebody ever, like, you know, now in second grade, curse words are a really big thing. So if somebody says a curse word to him, or they say something that, you know, he feels bad about, he kind of marks them as a foe, like that's a foe. Sometimes that person just stays a foe.
And so my work with him on this topic has been not to force him, to make people his friends, like, you know, how do you make somebody a foe into a friend? I'm like, you don't have to. They're a foe. They're a foe. But at the same time, Is it okay to not like someone and also not be mean to them? He does not know the difference for him when he sees a foe, when he sees someone that maybe said something once to him months ago that he really took to heart.
He does not know how to separate the two. And so that's my work with him. Now, this is really layer by layer. The best, best things that I have done for myself was to invest in coaching, to invest in my brain, and to know that this is my one life as his mom. It's so amazing that my husband actually said, this is about a year ago now.
My husband said, coaching has changed the trajectory of our family. It's changed everything for all of us because I changed as one human who is a core piece of the family. Then our whole dynamic in our family changed. It means how my kids are now, they've changed and the trajectory of their life changes.
So I think of coaching as really healing generational paradigms, generational traumas that we've even passed along. Like if you really think about how you are parented, it's often what's filtered into your own parenting, how you were parented, you were parented in a way that was the best at the time. And also now we have so much more that we can be aware of.
We're sitting here listening to podcasts. Like, this was just not a thing when I was growing up, but it's a thing now. And so I just want to invite all of you to think about what you want your lived experience to be as a mom, what you want your lived experience, just to be as a human. And for me, I am so, so, so grateful to coaching.
Really, really, really even more grateful to my son for being my best teacher. I mean, there are so many times that I have just been driven crazy by him, and I've just been like, I wanna quit parenting for like a minute. Can I just quit parenting for a minute? And also, all of those moments have taught me so much, and it's because of him and he has truly, truly, truly pushed me.
Pushed me, pushed me so much, and at the moment it has felt hard at times, and I'm so grateful to it. I'm so grateful for it, and the benefit is now I feel like my daughter gets to benefit because I have had to learn so many of these lessons with him. And again, I think his personality is particularly passionate and strong.
So maybe I've had to learn more lessons because of his personality compared to my daughter. But I'm going to keep learning these lessons. They've been so, so good, and I really want all of you to think about what would be the texture of your life if you had this? Really understanding how to shift from a critical lens to a generous one, to understanding the difference between pain and suffering.
To understand that you are a whole different human from your kid. You don't always have to do things exactly the same. They're not gonna listen to you sometimes, like you might have told them the best things [00:55:00] I can think of. So many times I'm like, I taught him that, that so well. He seemed like he got it and then he clearly didn't because I couldn't control his behavior like he went and did something again.
I feel like there's so many lessons and I know that it's going to stay messy until it's not and I'm here for it. I love it so much. I hope you all enjoy this episode. I have been really thinking about how to tell the story. I feel like this episode could go on for hours and hours and hours and you know, I will of course be sharing real life lessons, which is what I do on this podcast with all of you as they happen in real time.
But I felt like these were the biggest core lessons that I learned that changed everything for me as a mom. And I think that sometimes we think it's going to make us complacent if we're having a generous lens or we think that, you know, we have to suffer in the pain, which we don't. Or we think that, you know, just because we said something and if the kid was respectful, then they would just listen to what we have to say.
Like, no, they're just a whole different human. So my point is that these lessons. Have been so important for me simply because they changed the texture of my lived experience and absolutely changed how I lost weight. I mean, all of a sudden I didn't have to come home every night thinking I deserve a big plate of nachos.
The principal might still call, I might still get an email from the school. I might still have a tough moment, and I know how to be with myself now in a way that feels so much better than a cookie or a plate of nachos can ever do. So I hope you'll enjoy this episode and I will see you at the next one.
Bye. Hey, I wanna make sure that you know the Unstoppable Group is open for enrollment right now. This is my six month intimate small group coaching program for high-achieving working moms who want to lose weight without a calculator. We have live weekly coaching calls, daily written coaching, on-demand video modules, strategy workshops, and the best intimate community ever.
If you want to lose weight, now is the time, and this group is absolutely the place to do it. How to know if this group is for you. Come onto a sales call and let's talk. You can get your call over at theunstoppablemombrain.com/connect. When you choose your consult call, which is available this week. We are going to talk all about you.
I want to hear about everything you've tried, what's worked, what hasn't worked, and then as your coach on this call, I'm going to help you figure out exactly why. We together in this group are not counting points and calories to hit our ideal weight. I'm going to be talking to you on the sales call about the exact strategies that I teach you, the frameworks and tools that you are going to learn and how you reach your ideal weight in a way that feels permanent and long-lasting.
If this sounds like something you want to solve now, Don't wait to book your call. Go over to theunstoppablemombrain.com/connect today and grab your spot now. Spots in this group are limited to maintain the intimate nature of this group, so these consults will fill on a first come first served basis.
Don't wait. Go grab your call today. theunstoppablemombrain.com/connect. I cannot wait to connect with you on a call. Bye. Thanks for listening to the Unstoppable Mom Brain Podcast. It's been an honor spending this time with you and your brilliant brain. If you want more resources or information from the show, head on over to theunstoppablemombrain.com.