Parents to boys age 7 + 4, Vanessa + James, are here to be completely honest with you about how they've gone from regretting their decision to have kids, to enjoying international travel with them, tantrum-free.
They ended up sharing a powerful story about a recent trip they took that drove home so much of the perspective that we need to be compassionate with our kids and their need to make sense of the world.
But most importantly, you'll get to hear how they think, which is one of the most powerful impacts of working with a mentor or coach; being able to not only relate, but adopt their mentalities, viewpoints, perspectives and mindset.
IN THIS EPISODE, WE COVERED...
It was awful honestly, like a lot more stress. They're like, No, you hear like parents like, Oh, it's great. There's these moments and like, you just look at them and like, yeah, there was a couple of those, but like, there was a lot more other moments that were really seemed to be dominating. And those, you know, cherishable special moments really felt far and few in between, it's just not a lot of fun. Like, there's our being a parent of so much fun. Like, it was just not a lot of as a lot. It was so much work. And it was all encompassing and happy to say we're on the other side of it now, but like, you know, those were the moments were unnecessary talking about doing this that like, okay, yeah, something needs to change.
Danielle Bettmann 0:38
Ever feel like you suck at this job. Motherhood, I mean? Have too much anxiety, and not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. But this is survival mode. We're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up. And you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is Failing Motherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her wins. We do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom your kids need. They need what you have. You are good enough. And you're not alone. I hope you've had an ear buds somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend, we're so glad you're here.
Hey, it's Danielle. I really hope you realize how much wisdom and insight is about to come your way. Get ready to take notes and share this one with your partner. On today's episode, I'm joined by Vanessa and James parents to two young boys and graduates of my program Wholeheartedly CALM, as nervous as they were to record together, they jumped right in with being super honest about how they were beginning to regret their decision to have kids because the day to day was so hard. They ended up sharing a powerful story about a recent trip they took that drove home, so much of the perspective that we need to be compassionate with our kids and their need to make sense of the world. You'll certainly want to make note of the accommodations they made to make their trips so successful with their strong-willed child. But most importantly, you'll get to hear how they think, which is one of the most powerful impacts of working with a mentor or coach is being able to not only relate, but adopt their mentalities and their viewpoints and their perspectives and mindset. So you're able to realize things that propel you forward, saving you so much time, energy and pain. So just a few of the questions that I asked and they answered in this episode, we're Why did being super calm, make things worse, through big emotional outbursts? And what did you do differently? If you are already doing things like choices, and prepping? And reading parenting books and talking at length about your parenting? Why did you join the group and what made it so different? James shares a really wise piece of advice speaking directly to dads. They talked about how why they're so glad they didn't do one on one coaching. And the ways that their professions of being a physician and a scientist brought challenges to who they are and how they parent. I just couldn't stop smiling. Through this episode, the things that they share are just so insightful and wise. I'm so just honored to be able to share this with you in this space and be able to connect in this way. This is what being human is all about. I love it so much. So without more ado, here is my interview with James and Vanessa.
Welcome to Failing Motherhood. My name is Danielle Bettmann. And on today's episode, I have James and Vanessa, thank you guys so much for joining me. I'm so excited. I love getting to have clients back after they graduate and it's been a few months. So I'm excited to reconnect and kind of hear how things are going at your house. So go ahead and just introduce yourself to my audience. Who are you who's in your family?
James, you want to start?
I was looking to you to do it. So my name is James. I'm 43. I work in healthcare as a physician. Our kids are Quinn who is seven, Callen who is four, we live in a rural area of Pennsylvania so that somewhat limits like resources around us for certain things. I like it folks in other urban centers Have our kids started school this week, quitting goes to what's called like a nature school calendars and more of a traditional school. And maybe we can talk more on like the pros and cons of that if you're interested. But yeah,
I'm Vanessa. I am ageless. And I am a scientist and work in healthcare as well. I am the mom to Quinn, who's sort of a mini me and Callen is our little mini James. And I'm excited to be here, although a little nervous.
Danielle Bettmann 5:34
Expected. What grades are they in?
Quinn is in grade two and Callen is in pre K. Okay,
Danielle Bettmann 5:43
so who were you before you became parents? Like, what are your personalities? Like? What type of parents did you think you were going to be? What parents did you start off being give us some backstory.
So I, before I was a parent, I primarily worked like I mean, I loved working, I still love working. But that was, I was not, and still am not very good at doing fun things and just doing things for fun. And I mean, I became a scientist because it didn't feel like work to me, I love learning. And I just wanted to, I felt fortunate to be in that career path. So it just really didn't feel like work. So that's what I did all the time. Before becoming a parent. I mean, James and I did have fun together, we like traveling a lot. And we really enjoyed, we lived in a major city at that point when we were married. And so we went out to eat a lot, we enjoyed cultural experiences. But we really didn't think much about parenting, quite frankly,
for a long time, we were against the idea of having children or was never something that either of us really wanted, it was not a desire, necessarily, or a box that needed to be checked. For us. I think it kind of our decision to have kids came down to well, we both kind of like, hit our apex in our careers, like we like we made it to the top of the food chain, so to speak. And, you know, so now what, how do we continue to keep growing as human beings as adults, and you know, develop as individuals, and, you know, our conversation about having kids was about that, and we kind of settled on, you know, it's, you know, a way for us to grow as humans by doing this and kind of continue our own development, rather than Oh, you know, like, I want a baby like that never came up. Really in the discussion.
We still don't like babies. And our children give us the ultimate test. They really they really said we're we'll have it, let's give you some growth.
Danielle Bettmann 7:40
I mean, at least you came in, you know, accepting that as an intention that it didn't blindside you like, what, you know, most of us were just like, This is gonna be great. All sorts of optimism. And you were like, No, this is a great opportunity for us to learn and grow and become better people. And that you did.
Also speaks it goes back to my personality a little bit in that I have to think about something from every side of the question problem scenario, before I move forward, I have not just a jump in and "let's wing it" person. So I think that also is how I approached parenting sort of,
Danielle Bettmann 8:22
yeah, and that's one of the reasons why I kind of asked you to kind of paint that picture. Because I think with your respective professions, there are pros and cons to the way that you kind of were wired to then become a parent and kind of like, let that fall into, you know, the schema you already had going. So how do you see your profession in how it relates to your parenting in both the good ways and bad ways?
I'm curious to hear what your you think the good ways are gonna be? Because I feel like it's only bad ways. Honestly. This one's easier probably for me to answer. So like, you know, is a physician, like there's a, I'm trying to, like think quickly make decisions and give orders, right? So like, and have those orders executed, without a whole lot of pushback and questioning and wanting to know why we have to do it this way or that way. So like, having children was like a complete challenge to everything I have been working on and practicing. You know, for the last 15 years of my life. I remember like there's a conversation of an SI we're having a one point like in the throes of our struggles about like how we're saying like how hard this was. And she made a great point that you know, and I said like, you know, going into work and dealing with like critical crashing patients is far easier than is sometimes having a conversation with your child. And she made the great point. Yeah, well, you practiced that he had seven years of intensive training to learn how to do that. And essentially you're doing this being a parent with zero training. So like of course, it's going to be hard and you're going to struggle. And that's something that stuck with me in any kind of comparing parenting to work like totally untrained on prepared to be a parent.
Danielle Bettmann 9:55
Yeah, as we all are originally. Vanessa, did you have thoughts to share?
I think that for me, I'm still learning. I don't I don't know how to turn off how my brain works naturally, like I tell myself, I need to stop, there is no right answer with parenting. And it's really hard because I, I want to have a solution. And I think like, there's so much information out there. So maybe if I just acquire all of it, I will finally have the solution, you know, for the perfect ideal for my child and whatever environment and I actively have to try to turn that off. So I'm not, I see mostly negatives. I also my, my line of research is in, like human brain development. And so while people think that means that I have expertise in actually the behaviors of children and interacting with children, that is false, really studying how the brain works, and like, sort of information processing of the brain. But that does mean that I think a lot about how every decision impacts brain development. And so I think that also makes it challenging to just let go, because you cannot, you cannot be perfect at this. And there is no perfect because like every child is unique, every parent is unique, every situation is unique. So I know that but that's I mean, that really should be my daily mantra, I should, I should print it out and put it on my wall, because it's hard. It's hard to go against what I've been trained to do, which is find the solution and make sure that you're thinking of every other option. Mm hmm. The scientific method does not apply well to child rearing.
Danielle Bettmann 11:36
That's, that's probably a good quote, I'll pull that. And I'll send you the transcript of what you say here afterwards, so that you can write down your own your mantras to look at on your nightstand tonight, but I think it does pull out like the wisdom where you're like, oh, yeah, I should take my own medicine with that one. But that's so true. Like, the more that you overthink it, the more that you become so insecure in what you're doing. And then that just creates more and more indecision and problems. And you know, that your perception just syncs with the evidence, the facts of the circumstances of the day to day of parenting, you know, you can make it tell any story you want it to. And usually, it seems pretty negative, because you have that evidence to say like, I am not doing this well, and they are not learning and everything is a failure. And you know, that's why we're here. So that leads us great into that segue I asked every guest is have you ever felt like you were failing parenting? Daily?
I don't know if I felt like I was like failing parenting. But I think there was a lot of second guessing we had that decision, you know, to have kids was did we make a mistake? And, you know, as I have, I caught myself asking that question, if I could do this over, you know, what, I made the other choice? And I think I mean, we all How did you get into this? Like, when I found myself asking that question. It was like a rock me air quotes. When I say like, hit rock bottom, like, like, you know, that was kind of like, I don't want to live the next 20 years regretting that decision, like something needs to change to make this process better.
Danielle Bettmann 13:17
Because you're not- you're not enjoying it the way that it was.
Yeah, it was awful, honestly, like, a lot more stress. They're like, No, you hear like, parents are like, Oh, it's great. There's these moments and like, you just look at them. And like, yeah, there was a couple of those. But like, there's a lot more other moments that were really seemed to be dominating. And those you know, cherishable special moments really felt far and few in between, it's just not a lot of fun. Like, there's our being a parent is so much fun. Like, it was just not a lot of as a lot. It was so much work. And it was all encompassing and happy to say we're on the other side of it now, but like, you know, those were the moments where unnecessary talking about doing this, like, okay, yeah, we needed something needs to change.
Danielle Bettmann 13:54
Yeah, yeah. I mean, and that's, that's so commonly, the factor is like, I just want to feel like we have more of those, like heart swell moments, or in the moments where it feels like, oh, you know, our hard work pays off, or, Oh, we really got to see this like light bulb moment and be, you know, have this happy family memory. And so often those get drownded out by the heart that feels completely over encompassing. And that's where a lot of families end up finding me. And it is not fair, because nobody should have to live that way. But it's also not fair to kids too. Because that's their life. That's all they know. And that's not fun. It's not fun for anybody. And I know that like you did not find me as your first parenting resource. So walk us back through a little bit of your journey of when things started to feel hard. What did that look like? And what did you do?
Yeah, so with our oldest, I think the first time was when he started going to an outdoor preschool. And this was Following COVID, so he had gone to a more traditional preschool, and then COVID hit, and we pulled him out. And I think, especially because of our professions, we felt COVID. I know, I know, everyone is impacted in different ways, but it was very intense in our household, especially early on with the unknowns, especially with James really constructing new treatment environments. I mean, it was it was, I don't know that everyone had that perspective. And it was really, really hard to know what to do as a family, both but both of us working with these really young kids, which I know, you know, many people experience. But I'm only now realizing that it was so intense in our household due to our jobs, and especially due to James job. And I think it's important to mention, because I mean, we'll never know what each thing impacts our child. But that was a big event, especially in our oldest child's life, because he was just getting around friends just starting to learn how this social thing worked. And we pulled him. And we never noticed anything before that. So it could be influenced partially by this, it could be not. But that's something that I think is important. And he is very attuned, and understands high level concepts. So I do think that he internalized or really understood sort of what was going on more so than just like, I'm not going to school anymore. He knew something was going on. And so then when we started him in a different preschool, it was an outdoor preschool, maybe nine months later, and I am friends with the director of the preschool, and we would talk a lot about like, pick up different challenges in each kid's day. And it would definitely started to feel then that it wasn't I couldn't follow traditional parenting as I had read it in terms of, you know, give your child choices. Certainly, that's great. Give him two choices. He says neither, there is not a follow up in the books for that I'm like, I am doing what they're saying. And the director of the preschool who's my friend said something like, I would not recommend picking a fight or trying to win a fight with him. Like he has nothing but time. And he's just gonna dig in. And that, you know, that's his personality. And it's true, he has nothing but time. And so that's when we started thinking about these different strategies. And I can be more positive about it now. But it was really hard then because I felt like what's what's wrong with my child? You know, and it feels like everybody loves an easy kid, somebody who goes along, like to do anything to do something fun, you know, it was just like, if it wasn't what he wanted to do, necessarily. No, I don't, I don't want to go do that thing, that fun thing. And I took a very negative perspective at that time. But like, I mean, I definitely just started reading books, how to talk to little kids will listen, which I still think is a really good resource. And I think we found them helpful. And it was sort of me doing a bunch of reading and then trying to get James on board, or like giving him assignments. And I say this, because like not because I feel like a martyr that I was really the one that pushed us. But it was like that was also the nature of my personalities. I was like, Well, let's find resources. Let's exhaustively, you know, read them. And then I will present this as a summary to James and we can like move forward with the plan. But that actually felt really burdensome in this moment, because it just felt like it felt like something else that I was having to do. And so I say that because I think we did a few other classes like nothing that was more like a one on one or like even a group setting was a group setting, but not as interactive. So we did something like something online where you get some resources, but it wasn't really like you're interacting with the other people. And it wasn't until we started your class that I think James got a lot more on board. And I'm not sure what it was for him. But I think that was was important for us for making, you know, the changes in our household that we needed.
Danielle Bettmann 19:07
I love all the details. And yeah, I would love your your side of the story. James, that kind of that perspective.
I don't know if I have needs to be brought on board. Like I knew something needs to be done. But I think I was kind of just it's been our history, I was waiting for Vanessa to tell me what to do and what the right answer was. Because she, you know, in every aspect exhaustively researches and considers everything so like I just I just her yeah, that's Yeah, so just tell me what to do, and I'll do it. But I think that wasn't going to work. Like there wasn't a right answer. There wasn't a single thing that needs to be done. You know, and the long story short of like, your class is that it's an introspective process of self change. Like it's not changing them. It's changing us. And that's what's needed to happen. And that's not something Vanessa could have told me that you know, she she kind of said, James, you need to change like, you know, like that's that wouldn't have flown.
Danielle Bettmann 20:00
In what way? How dare you say that?
I am perfect just the way I am. So I think struggling to make these other things work. And our usual approach to problem solving wasn't working is what kind of got me on board that Yeah, well, we need to go to an expert here. We've tried our usual ways, and we're coming up short still.
Danielle Bettmann 20:19
And so was that a continue is Google, I can't remember how you first came across me it was at the podcast. Do you remember Vanessa?
I do. Because I, given my age and sort of on the edge of social media interaction, like I'm solidly a Facebook girl, but had just been stepping my toes into Instagram. Anyway, and I was sort of like, as is my nature are trying to see both the good and the bad, and everything. And there's like so many negative things about social media, this really is going to answer their question, I swear. But I started like exploring what Instagram was. And like, because I had found some groups through COVID, I actually had a lot of Facebook groups that I found really, really helpful, like really good to connect to. So I see the good side of that. So as sort of like exploring Instagram, and then I saw like some parenting accounts, and I was like, Oh, well, this is nice to get like digestible bits of like, because that's what you need. You just read reminders of, you know, other people going through the same thing you are, you know, advice in those little moments, because like it is, it's just like moment to moment, you just don't always have the right thing to answer or how to approach it. So that's how I started on Instagram, to try to better understand like, what's out there. And I started following some parenting accounts. And I think that's how I found your parenting account. And then I also, I'm still trying to get James on board, he really isn't even into Facebook or Instagram. So I said, Can you please make an Instagram account so that you can also follow parenting accounts because like, I thought maybe that's what he needed was like, just having more digestible bits, instead of like me, flipping out and saying, This is what you need to do for parenting, maybe if he was just getting those little elements. And so I think I started following your account. And then I went to James, and I said, you know, we tried this other stuff. But it just feels like there's not maybe we'd be helped with an exact answer, almost like if we had like, this is our problem. Can you please help us talk about this specific problem? Because there's a lot Oh, I was, because I couldn't find anyone who had our situation, which doesn't mean they're not out there. But it was like, I think a lot of the parenting accounts, do you have a stay at home parent, or like, at least that's how it is viewed, or the people that are making those accounts, you know, they are doing that as part of their stay at home job. So it's just I couldn't see someone that was like us that had the problems that we were having, and had solutions. So for example, like we have full time in home childcare, and that's just creates a different dynamic, and I wanted more personalized advice on that. And so I will say, for the most part, whenever I go to James, were like, Let's do this. He was very supportive. So he never balked at me saying like, let's meet with this woman. Let's start doing one on one. So that's how we found you. And also, I remember, when we talked with you, you had told us we you know, I have this group. And I was actually sort of pushing more for the one on one than James was, maybe? I don't know, my memory of that is exactly, but I just felt like, No, we need the one on one. I didn't necessarily see the benefit of the group. But it was very quickly into our group experience, I think, probably after the first one, that I was really grateful for the group. And it makes sense in retrospect. Yeah, you know, we're all looking for people who are going through something similar. And I think also that environment of you know, not not being judged at all, because that's what we all need for parenting. I'm very grateful that you gave us that option. You didn't push us in one direction or the other. But you gave us that option.
Danielle Bettmann 23:49
Do you feel like you missed out on anything that you would have had with one on one? No. So you got all your questions answered? You're able to individualize?
Yeah, no, I think probably it hands down is better than one on one just because like, you can't get that experience of like you are not alone. If you're doing a one on one or like parenting on sort of counselor, coach, etc. It was just so nice to see all of these parents, I mean, not nice to see like that they're struggling but like we are all we are all going through something similar and quite frankly, I think being part of that group gave me I don't know courage or influenced me a bit to talk about it more with my own friends, which is not like I was keeping it inside but I think like just in our day to day like when you're chatting with your friends you don't always want to go deep into your parenting style and of conflict and challenges you're having with your Yeah, but as I started bringing it up with other people like they also seemed grateful so I do think the group environment is key was key for us for also not just having that but like feeling like what we're doing Having more confidence in what we're doing. Because I think that's the thing is with parenting, you just don't know none of us will ever know. And I think it was just emboldened us to know that like, we are all on this path and making the best choices that we can for our kids,
it was nice to know, as in our first week or two, there was people in the group that were on there last week or two, and seeing them talk about their successes, you know, builds faith, you know, trust the process, like, and you see people getting their wins, and it was reaffirming that you're hopefully involved with something that's going to give you a payoff at the end. And then towards yourself when you are, you know, in your last weeks, and then you see the new people getting their first successes, like you're so happy for them as seeing, watching their own growth, like you feel in a way like a proud parents like yeah, like you're you're you're genuinely happy for everyone else in the group. And it was, it was really great.
Danielle Bettmann 25:53
Yes. Okay, I want to circle back to that, because you guys ended up being super seniors. And you're like, resident experts now in the legacy of Wholeheartedly CALM. So we have a lot a lot I want to tap into there. But take us back to kind of that month that you were deciding to join. What hesitations did you have? What does that conversation looked like? And how did you know that this is either what you wanted? Or you were in the right place? You know, how did you make that decision?
Trying to remember like how the conversation went. I think we both recognize that this was in line with other things that we had found some success with. It seemed like this would take it to the next one. We just knew we knew we were close, we knew we were barking up the right tree with some of these things we had done, you know, with with how to talk to your kids and that style that we really we knew we needed something more. And this seemed like that something more?
Yeah, I don't remember a lot of has it. I don't remember a month between considering and joining. Maybe there was because I think we were both pretty much on board very quickly. But that's because we had decided we wanted something like this. Previous to that I think that we were just our house just felt tense all the time. I think like we were dealing with, you know, getting to school problems like it just so it just felt like every day, especially the mornings were such a slog, and didn't feel great to approach. So I think we needed something because we wanted to continue getting up every day. Yeah, you know, and prefer that that would be a more positive experience. So I think we were just ready. And there wasn't really a lot of decision in terms of like, do we do this? Do we not? I mean, I think we did talk about like, Will this be different? Like, will we get a value out of this? I think especially like because we received some, you know, written content. And you know, James and I talked about it. And he's like, Well, you know, this does, some of it does feel like what we've read, maybe in a different way. But I think that we really were on board with the class. So as soon as we did the first class, I remember James saying that we made the right decision with the group. Like it's weird that I felt we felt such a connection with some families that in retrospect, I'm like, we were only on two calls with them. And I still find myself like, I wonder how it's going with them? Yes. Yeah. So I think we were ready.
Danielle Bettmann 28:17
So then let's go that step back. And what led you to that place of being ready, like we need something else it just met, you know, at that point, it's like, which one? What were some of the, let's say symptoms? Of what did parenting look like in 2022? How did it feel? What was going on day to day?
Yeah, I mean, I don't like to mentally cut back. Because it's so much better now. And it's hard actually to remember. But getting to school daily was awful. And it was a series of negotiations. It was very stressful. James and I were fighting more because like usually one of us would be taking our oldest to school, sometimes both of them went to the same school at that point, too. And it was just like we were texting and you know, being mean to each other because we were just so frustrated that like the other one didn't have this. Like because it was the mornings were awful. And then I think the days were also we were a bit on edge because we were wondering because there were sometimes symptoms at school, they definitely resolved over time and reduced. So I can't remember exactly in 2022 but certainly we were worried about the what was going on at school. I don't think we realized in that moment that sometimes we were setting the tone for that through our morning routine or our attitude during the mornings but yeah, it was awful. Like we knew we needed something and we knew we had done read the books and some smaller content but like we needed to focus and like I don't think of it as a problem anymore. But like the mindset then we try to fix this problem. We need to address this. And that might be when I you know talk to James about like we haven't studied parenting like even the time we've put into the reading these books is not a lot of time. And, and this is this child and they're this new age, right? Like, so they're always growing and developing and, you know, whatever strategy you had the year before might may or may not work. So like, you know, just like you have continuing medical education credits in order to do your job. Well, we should continue with something. So yeah, it was really awful.
Anytime my phone would ding with a text, it would be a sense of dread either because I knew was Vanessa messaged me with a problem that was happening. And then, you know, God forbid, was his teacher texting, it was instantly your stomach is drops out the bottom, and you're just waiting even, it'll be a good message, like, you know, just like you just, you know, it's gonna be something awful. And there's such a sense of dread from moment to moment, just waiting for the next bad thing to kind of happen. And realizing like, we can't live the next 18 years like this, and we had to do something
Danielle Bettmann 30:52
that was unsustainable. Yeah. Yeah, I remember you saying that. Like, you weren't able to get him to school. Some days, he would absolutely refuse to go to violin.
Danielle Bettmann 31:03
you would have huge problems with like, the new nanny that that started and trying to develop that relationship. I mean, it was it was contemptuous on a lot of relationship friends, where there's like ripple effects, you know, for everybody in the family.
Speaker 3 31:15
Yes. Oh, God violin. Yeah. I mean, and it was like, we would follow some of the strategies, like, it felt like we would do things, and then sometimes they would work, and sometimes they weren't. And I think that now again, in retrospect, now that we've been through the class, and we have like, it's about of our approach and our perspective, but you know, I would do all the things like prep an hour ahead. Okay, here's your, here's your warning. We're going to be doing this. I mean, we had so many things that we were doing to try to make it easier what we thought would make it easier for him. Yeah, but yeah, and violin days were definitely, definitely challenging.
Danielle Bettmann 31:57
I feel like I'm giving you PTSD just by bringing it up.
It was it was hard.
This finally PTSD like feel like thinking back like what that whole feeling with a text like that was so awful. And it's so nice now, to not have to instantly go to that place as a reflex. Like whenever you get a text message, like it's like, I haven't really thought about that until now. And like, it's so different now. Yeah.
Danielle Bettmann 32:39
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Let's fast forward, and then we're gonna go back to the middle. Fast forward to this summer. Tell me about your trip that you were messaging about how amazing and like successful in your mind it was. What are things like now?
So yeah, we had our first family international trip. And like the boys have always done really well with planes they really like they feel like it's a ride. I mean, they loved off. So we've flown before we knew that piece would probably go fairly well. But you know, they've never been to a different country before. And there's just a lot we usually when we've traveled, we've gotten a house, you know, what rented Airbnb or VRBO. And that is just nice, because like, we could have things that are more similar to our own house and like spaces and all that stuff. So we knew that this was going to be different, because we also had a hotel room and all of that stuff. And I was kind of dreading it. And we got I mean, I feel bad, definitely listens to this, because it was an amazing, amazing event. But we kept going back to Should I just go? Like, should we just have a family representative? Should we really have our, our family through this? We were so worried about like what was going to happen, especially like, if they I don't know, just dug their heels in, I think especially when but we've also you know, Kalin has had has definitely had his moments as a four year old. So we were just worried that it would be this big trip that we were doing as a family, and it would be awful. And we would be like just anxiously waiting to come home.
So we got refundable tickets, because I was like we could cancel the day before. And maybe I'll just go we'll just figure this out. So we ended up taking the whole family. And it was amazing. The kids did spectacular Quinn is, you know, our strong, strongest willed to date. And he really just impressed us so much.
And we when we came home, I mean James was James was particularly impressed. I think I was impressed. But James was the one that came home and said, like we've been wanting to travel more as a family and his family's from Ireland. And so I've been wanting to go back and visit them. And he came back and called his dad and said, like, we're going to Ireland next summer like that.
That's how well the trip went. And when we were talking about it, he's like, Yeah, I mean, the truth is that there were two tantrums on the trip. And it was one for one from you. And it's true, like the adults with what we each had a tantrum. And I mean, it was, I think I'm pretty sure I threw my phone at the wall. I was very, very frustrated. And the kids, neither of them had a tantrum at any point. Wow. During this trip. Anyway, I'm trying to get to the point, which is really helped us realize, like, we had tantrums because of the pieces of our environment that were unknowns that we were used to having them be known, like we were outside of our own element. And like our communication had sort of broken down because you know, neither of us speak Spanish. And we didn't necessarily know where all of our resources were coming from that we needed, like water. So we needed like large amounts of bottled water, like these things like seem simple. But we both realized that we didn't have those and we didn't know the plan. When we didn't know the plan, when we were like completely taken out of our element didn't have the right communication didn't have all of our needs met, both of us had tantrums. And in retrospect, we're like, oh, that's what we put kids through, like, all the time, and we expect them to just go with the flow. Like, they have no idea what they're doing that afternoon, a lot of times are like no way to really, you know, solidify it the way adults do. It was just really interesting to reflect back on. I mean, I'm not proud of my tantrum. We've all been there. It just helped us realize, like, we really do have high expectations, we're meeting both us and like the world at large has really high expectations of children just following along without all of these pieces that we would like to have as unknown, you know, to be able to, to feel safe and all of that. So
Danielle Bettmann 39:15
that's such a good analogy.
Yeah, and like so it kind of harkens back to like back when we were figuring out what sort of parents we wanted to be and, you know, there's this question of like, do we want to raise kids who grow up and become compliant? Right, like, you know, compliant, people don't change the world. So like people who challenge questions, challenge, the rules are the ones who you know, make things better and the drive change. So questioning, adults start off as questioning children and how do we find that balance between raising non compliant children who question things around them in the world and authority and then maintain our sanity as parents?
Danielle Bettmann 39:54
That is the question.
Right? And this kind of really helped us this event. perspective because we weren't now kind of essentially being forced into being compliant adults by through this trip, like going with the agenda that was set for us at this exact time. And it was eye opening and reaffirming that, you know, this is hard, it's going to be hard and to cut our kids a lot of slack with a lot of the things that both US and the world ask of them on a daily basis. And to be more understanding, when they flip out that, you know, we flipped out to and so it made it easier to empathize with them, and hopefully reminded us to be more kind and forgiving to them when we do need to ask things of them.
Yeah, and I think the other piece is just like a reminder back to a lot of the lessons we learned in the class, which is like trying to learn about your child like being open and wanting to learn their perspective, because I think that piece also in this trip, just things that I don't think about that came up. So for example, we've gone on some trips, but we've always rented a car, I mean, COVID, sort of cut off our trips for a while. So they don't have many memories of trips. But when we started going on trips, we would rent a car, or we would go to driveable places. And then because they were in car seats, we sort of didn't use the only public transportation we would use in major cities would be like a subway, so we didn't use taxis or anything. So we went to Mexico, and then we were using Uber and taxis and things like that. And we had sort of talked to Quinn about it, because like, we wanted to talk to him about like, try to give him perspective. And so things he could anticipate. But it wasn't until we got there, and he had taken a couple of cabs. And he's like, it's it's kind of strange to like, just get in a car with somebody you don't know. And then just like, trust that they're gonna take you like, that is a really, really, really great perspective that I've never considered because it's just become commonplace. But I can imagine that is really disconcerting. And whoa, thank you for going along with us just get in this car. No, we don't know this guy. Yeah, he'll probably get us there.
Danielle Bettmann 42:08
Right? Like, okay, as long as you trust him, I guess.
There were a lot of moments like that. I think that helped us help to remind us that our kids are living in this world. And we need to try to help them make sense of it a lot of times.
Danielle Bettmann 42:26
Yeah, no, for real. So like, what do you owe the success of the trip to? How were they so much more resilient than you expected them to be? What do you what do you attribute that to?
That we have become perfect parents, I think is really no. No, I think I mean, we did make a lot of, we were mindful about some of the things that we know their needs are. So like, Quinn likes to do this sort of jumping thing he kind of regulates and like does a little game on the couch. And so we've always again, the Airbnb kind of thing comes up, we've always had like a house sort of situation when we've traveled, and then he could sort of regulate doing this game that he does. And so we knew he would need a couch. And so we were fortunate, they were able to get like a suite that had a couch that he could do this thing that's very important to him. And I think it's one of those things that like we think of when we're traveling all of the things that pieces that are important to us, like I have a lot of those pieces, I am very high a high maintenance traveler, like I need to sleep in a certain situation, I need my white noisemaker.
Danielle Bettmann 43:33
So like I bring all of those pieces on the trip, right like so I wouldn't, I wouldn't do well if I left them home. And I've learned that about myself. So I think we were conscious about that we were conscious about things that were ultimate needs of theirs. I tried doing a sort of book to prep them, but it really didn't even help. So I don't know if that was it, but we did talk to them about what they were going to do. And then we also tried to figure out a strategy again, working with their personalities of like, what they could focus on in moments where they were, you know, overwhelmed or it was stressful for them. So like, you know, you're in a country where you don't speak the language. Although I have in retrospect, realize this is what kids do most of the time because they can't read signs, stubs or like all the things that we use to like make order around us. So like with when we were dead, you know, maybe you could like videotape or take your camera and like view our trip from that perspective. Because he like likes this idea of like posting it on his not public YouTube channel. Yeah, love that. And just like, you know, takes the focus out of like this scary experience, potentially scary experience into like, what you're passionate about. So I think we did that. I mean, we packed a lot of the things that were their
needs. I think we reframed our expectations for what they were going to actually get out of this trip to like, we recognize, you know, Quinn's probably not going to be trying all this unique new food like how things that we would be excited about I Doing a trip to a different culture, and not being disappointed if he didn't do those things. So like, we essentially packed a whole suitcase of his favorite foods. And I said no expectations that he would eat anything other than that suitcase of food that we brought. And it worked. And there was like a rough agenda for like, the days that were down there because like, we were staying with family, and they had like these events planned for everyone. And, you know, our kind of goal was like, not to make the most out of every single day they were there. But if we can kind of do one thing a day, that's, you know, memory making whatever that's, you know, see something spent on that that would be excessive, we have to skip some events, like, we're going to be okay without too, and said, just really low expectations for what might happen. And that made easy victories, and I think made you know, them feel good, I feel good. And therefore it actually kind of let us accomplish more than we would have had we kind of set high expectations for the trip.
Danielle Bettmann 45:53
Oh my gosh, that's huge. And I love all that insight, because I feel like, you know, now I'm going to name the episode like traveling with strong-willed kids, because there's so much mindset that goes into that trip, that you just shared a few circumstantial things, but a lot of it is your mindset. And I think that attributes a lot to your growth in Wholeheartedly CALM too that we alluded to, that will now kind of circle back to which is like, why are things better? What changed? How are your kids different? How are you different? What was that experience? Like for you? And what value? Did you find through that experience? Was it a lot of mindset?
I guess I'll take a stab first, like, thank you. So how did your kids change? And how do you change, I don't think our kids changed, I think they're the same kid. I think, you know, personally, I have changed a lot. And the thing I keep coming back to so like, a couple thoughts kind of stream of consciousness here. Like, one thing I learned, there's no quick fix like this is what we set out to do, which is to grow is adults and human beings. And that's not an overnight sort of thing. That's a lifetime journey. And recognizing you know, that I have to keep coming back, it's not something I can graduate from, like this class doesn't end, you know, that's 12 weeks of intense, but then you kind of have to revisit it. And you have to keep setting doing your CMEs As Vanessa says, and I forget that sometimes, and I have to come back to it.
But you know, those core pillars that you know, like, even like, the week one I think is the lessons are like the most important where it's like, you know, until you're in control of yourself, like you're never going to be like control what's happening around you. If anything that I took away from that class, it's that and that's about me, that's not about my kids, you know, and that's how I think I probably changed the most is just recognizing if things are not going well, in any particular station, it's usually because it's something I'm doing that because it's something that they're doing. And being able to revisit that over and over again, I think is what lets me continue to have victories and wins. And, you know, it's not perfect, I still get it wrong a lot. I forget that. And luckily, you know, I have a partner and Vanessa, who, you know, can remind me of that, like, I'm not saying that facetiously like, you know, having Vanessa be a partner in this, it has been a huge part, I think of both our successes. That's what it really was, like realizing that this is a me thing, it's not a thing. And it's about my growth. And because I'm doing that growth that allows them to grow as well, through this whole process. And just coming out of it, especially with Quinn, I was struggling to have a meaningful relationship with him. And that has changed so much. And like just this morning, I took him to school this morning. And as we're kind of getting up like I just don't like to, but I love spending time with you. And like these drives to school in the morning are like one of my absolute favorite things. And it just totally those moments of like, did we make the right decision, like, you know, those are not there anymore. Like, I'm so glad we did this. I say that now I'd like you know, tomorrow, I might totally regret it again, you never know. Like the pendulum has shifted to where most of the time I was unhappy with that decision to most of the time, I'm happy with decision. And I like where our trajectory is going as a family, those moments of joy are now present. Those instantly negative thoughts are gone out of the setback, sure, but like they're far and fewer in between, and you build that momentum, and you just get the ball rolling and then it starts to build on itself. And it starts to reinforce itself. It only becomes easier. You know, there's this like saying like a work, you know, like about like customer service to patients like you know what, why does that matter, catering to their not just their illness, but until like their person and somebody said to you in the lecture I want to once you know doing that only makes your job easier. And I think that it really kind of applies here learning like the skills of how to interact and meet their needs, like makes everything else easier in every aspect of your life. So by doing those extra steps, like why do I have to do this, but then you do it a few times, like oh, this makes it easier. This makes my job as a parent easier. It makes their job as a kid easier. It just feeds into itself.
Danielle Bettmann 50:00
Yeah, and as devil's advocate as a listener, sounds lovely. But it also sounds like why would I sign up to something? That's like a high investment and commitment level when my kids not any different at the end, and I have to do you know, all this work? Like, what would you say to that as kind of like a well, you know, I want I want to fix them, why would I go this route and change me? How does that actually stop the tantrums? You know, like, I don't get it?
Well, I have an answer. Because when James was talking, unsurprisingly, I was like, No, that's wrong. No, not that it's wrong. Because no, it is, it is really about parental change. Like we all we recognize that and it's about perspective. But when I don't think it's true that the kids haven't changed, especially when, because I think that when you're not taking this approach, or have this perspective of trying to help your child, you can be yelling at them, you can be making them feel bad about having very basic needs, and not being able to have them met or, you know, not being heard. So I think that before we were changing our perspective, and changing our patterns of behavior, and changing how we communicate with him, he was feeling bad about the things that he was doing, even though they weren't that and I think for me, I frequently come back to because when so many me and in many ways, we have a similar personality. And I know some people found me challenging as a child. And I try to think like, gosh, do these people really think I was bad? Like, I didn't want him to feel that from adults that he's a bad kid? Because he has feelings? Or he has a question about something or he needs things in a slightly different way. Because if we need that, as adults, we make that situation happen. Right? So yeah, I do get a little a little emotional about it. Because I do think he's changed, I think he's changed because we are treating him as a more valuable human being like, we are valuing all of his quirks. And we are giving him the license to like really feel emboldened to like, go into those feelings that he has and delve into those unique ideas that he has, right. So I think that he's not feeling as put down. So I think he's changed because he is, you know, having all of those needs met and feeling like he is valued as a family member. And like, he really, I know not to go back to the trip. But like he impresses us every day, like he really is tackling new situations that we know might be harder for him, and he is really been able to change. So I do think that it does change your child, fundamentally. And I think it's because of how you're treating them differently.
Yeah, I should have phrased that differently. It changes our expectation that they need to change. And they will change in this process too. But it shifts expectation of change from them to us. And yeah, through that change in ourselves, we see that positive change in them.
Danielle Bettmann 53:01
Yeah, see, do you feel like he is got more light in his eyes? He's you know, brighter given can be more passionate can be more alive in your relationship with him. I know you already kind of like, alluded to that. But does do you feel like there's more life there?
Yeah, I mean, I think he's really funny. He's a funny kid. But I think like, we didn't even necessarily realize that because he like, I don't know, we were just trying to get through each day. And we were managing that, like, he didn't want to go to school or, but I think that you know, and James says it's really a joy to be around him. I mean, I think that he does feel safe with us. And I think that he does feel that he is a good kid. I do think that it has I am he actually is really helpful with his younger brother, like a lot of times he is doing things like that he's seeing us to do in a positive way to try to like influence his younger brother, because his younger brother has a lot more strong moments than he does.
Danielle Bettmann 54:02
That's so good. Yeah, one of the takeaway conversations that I still remember from one of the calls was responding to big emotions or big kind of like reactions from Quinn, and you, in particular, James struggling with that, because in the ER, you need to have managed your emotions and stress and be extremely composed and crisis situations. And feeling like that. Uber calm was almost like making it worse. Oh, yeah. Yeah. Do you remember that conversation?
100% Yeah, that like, if I got nothing out of the 12 weeks, other than that moment, like it would have been 100% worth it like it was fundamentally life changing.
Danielle Bettmann 54:45
How would you explain that in your words?
Just kind of recap. I think what happened i'll try to remember here so like, there were there was an incident where Quinn was just really angry and upset, you know, almost to the point of like hitting and just inconsolable and angry. and not having a way to let it out and trying to remain calm and cool and collected and it was getting nowhere and might continue to calmness I think only was continuing to escalate him. And in talking about it, you know, we we kind of we hashed out the situation in the class with the group. And we, I think we came to the conclusion that he was looking to see an equal escalation, his emotion, he wanted to see that I was just upset as he was about whatever happened to be at the time. And so the next time that happened, like, you know, I tried to meet his emotion where he was, and it was such a different response, like the situation instantly diffused. And honestly, there has never been an incident like that again. Whoa. And that say like, these things I can really Yeah, like to that just hasn't happened. Maybe because like, through development of other skills, we never we, we've recognized everything that leads up to those moments, and we're able to defuse these situations a lot sooner, and we see where this is going. And we know what's needed likely. But it really gave me such a tool. Those were the things I was so frustrated at the things that I was used to deploying to deal with people who are you know, upset, just were failing time and time again, which would only add to my own frustration and trying to remain calm while you're frustrated. Like, it's just like, that's like a recipe for disaster. So by letting myself and in a way, perhaps be vulnerable to him. I don't I'm not sure quite what how to describe like, but just meeting him where he was at. And I think he saw that I cared, and was taking his issue seriously, let it resolve.
Danielle Bettmann 56:28
And was that like flailing on the floor next to him?
It was getting at his eye level, and, you know, raising my voice not to yell at him. But you know, like, I can see how angry you are in there. It's so frustrating, isn't it? Rather irrelevant. When, you know, this is really upsetting? I get it. But let's you know, let's be calm about this, that this is not worth getting upset about. Like no it to him, it's worth getting upset about, right, he's showing me that it's worth getting setting about. And so by getting as equally upset about it, like it just does not let him feel hurt, I think and that that's let them be recognized. And when you feel that way, when you feel I mean, forgot, when you feel heard, right? Like, that's super important. Yes, even if it doesn't get resolved. So like, as long as you know, your issue is being heard, like it helps you feel better about it.
That's so huge. It also has has a residual help in your, your marriage, because I do find it frustrating to be approached by a calm, very calm person, when I am infuriated about something, which I think James started to recognize, because he is he is so calm all the time. And so, I mean, I make it as a joke for marriage. But I mean, I really think relating these experiences to adult versions, like is not that challenging. Like there's so many situations that you can fairly easily relate it to an adult, like adult communication or an adult relationship and or, you know, make a parody of it in terms of like, can you imagine, if we made adults do this very thing that they're getting frustrated about? So,
Danielle Bettmann 58:04
yes, and that's what a lot of like, the modules start off with is some type of perspective shift where it's an analogy, or it's getting in their shoes, or it's looking at it in a new light, that just lets you have that shift in perspective and mindset that allows you to actually realize, like, oh, yeah, once I look at that differently, it makes sense. And then that just like unlocks a breakthrough. And there, you just have those, you know, over and over and over. So was there anything else that you took away from the group, or that was kind of like a lasting thing or something that you wanted to be able to share?
I always found it helpful like to hearing when the other parents were talking about their problems, and then being able to apply the things we learned to other people's problems. And that I think really helped us all reinforce the ideas like talking about together in this meaningful sort of vulnerable sort of way really got more out of them. If we had just talked to you alone, I think I missed that a lot like checking in with the group and kind of like hearing people's struggles. And that's, you know, to feel good about management, but like to like to help them. Because I know, that's how we're all learning together and getting better as a group by doing this together.
And I think the other thing, I don't know if we've covered it or not, but like it was actually something one of the moms said on one of the early calls, I think needed a second call that like oh, well, you know, I've finished the 12 weeks, but I am not perfect at this yet or this hasn't resolved. But I realized I actually am a parent my whole life like we have we have years to continue to work on this. And I think that is important because it was like, there definitely is change that happens in this like relatively short 12 weeks span of the class. So that is a benefit but like there's also this it's a big lifetime benefit. I mean, it sounds kind of cheesy, but it's like it really is a perspective shift that extends beyond the class. So you can get this sort of somewhat quick fix, because you do see change over the course of the group. But ultimately, it's a lifelong change that's going to like to help you be a better parent help you feel better as a person. So I think that it goes beyond that commitment.
Danielle Bettmann 1:00:17
I'm so excited to have you guys in that graduate group, they already started a kind of back end alumni community, because we have missed each other. And we'll get to have a call every month with the current group members. And I think that's gonna be such a cool environment, because it's so valuable to learn from people who you know, get it, and you speak the same language, and you know, that they've been in your shoes, and you've seen them grow over time. Like, one of the group members last week was saying goodbye to somebody who is graduating, and they're like, I really just, every time you talked, I listened, you know, and getting to, like, have that type of like, mentoring relationship outside of real life like we don't, it's hard to find. So I'm really excited to be able to continue that on the back end, because we all definitely need 1000 more reminders, and we're gonna go back to our instincts, and, you know, keep finding new curveballs along the way. So we'll get to stay connected there. And that's going to be an opportunity for all upcoming graduates to join. And they'll get to meet you, which will be so fun. But yeah, so as we as we wrap up, what would you tell yourselves last December, to kind of like, you know, speak to listeners who are still in that semi miserable place? What hope can you give them?
I think something like this is particularly helpful for maybe the dads out there that are struggling. I think a lot of this kind of empathetic, not to stereotype, I think some of that does come easier to the mom half sometimes. And you know, whether we as men are fighting stereotypes of being, you know, empathetic, emotionally available sensitive, in terms of the spectrum, like I consider myself to be pretty good at those things. But this classroom, I realized, I still had a lot of work to do, in terms of being perceptive to what my kids are asking for being emotionally aware of what was actually needed. And this was like a safe space to do it to your with other like minded people, like, you know, this isn't like the judgmental space that you might get another kind of traditionally male venues like, it felt like a good place to do that and explore some of those spaces that maybe would have been uncomfortable to do so in other venues. So I wish that back then, you know, think about, I had gotten on board with a sooner and you know, which we've kind of come to the sooner just so we could be in the place we are in now sooner.
And I guess that's sort of why I brought up the 11 week commitment versus like, lifetime, etc. Because I know that the cost sometimes comes up, you know, because it feels it can be a significant cost. But I think that's because it happens in this limited space. But you have to sort of expand that cost out into the life, lifetime of the child because I think that can be hard to overcome. And so like if that piece is what's preventing you, if you could think of it as extending through the lifetime of the child, it actually seems relatively inexpensive. It's just happening at this one time. And I just think the value is tremendous. But I know that peace can be hard for, for people to overcome. And I will say we've done some of the other buying a book. And it's not the same, like it's a fine place to start. But it is you can't get this experience without, you know, jumping in and doing it.
And so we said before, like I feel like doing those other things first is actually probably beneficial, only. So when you come here, you can really kind of appreciate the difference. Had this been my first dipping toes into the kind of pool, maybe I wouldn't have gotten as much out of it. There are great stuff and some of those other materials. But this this particular has really kind of contextualize all of it and kind of really just brought it home.
Yeah, I mean, I think it depends on your personality experience. Like I know, there were other parents that we saw come in with relatively few pre existing resources, or we saw a lot of growth, because, you know, they're all our friends now. Because we were in this experience with them, you really do root for everyone. So I disagree a little bit, I think like everyone's gonna come to it in their own time. I think you do have to be a bit ready to work on yourself, which can be hard for some, but I think you can come into it with existing resources or not. And I think that there's a lot of value either way,
Danielle Bettmann 1:04:44
No, the the readiness is everything. It's like knowing that in your path, you've exhausted your current options, and it means that much to you to have better days and to carve out the time and make the investment now so that Ah, the rest of their childhood is in a completely different trajectory and place and that, you know, it might take you a while to get to that point, or you may just realize that really early on, you know, we have families that are starting off with a 10 year old, and we have families starting off with a two year old, there's definitely an advantage to doing it sooner than later, but it's never too late. And, you know, we, there's so much hope on the other side, no matter when that is for you. So I love the ying and the yang, that you guys have to really supplement each other. I love that. And that's why it's so valuable to be able to have partners in these call discussions. Because, you know, we all are looking at things from a different angle, we're coming at it with completely different life experiences, you know, creating kind of the, the way we see the world and the way we read things, and we read people, so being able to have actual discussions about things, you're able to just bring up points and lenses that I couldn't possibly cover in a book or a, you know, quick module that Oh, yep, got it, you know, like, totally changed my life with that one 10 minute segment. That's underestimating how nuanced these relationships are, and how complex our kids are, and just how convoluted our brains are. I mean, you could probably speak to that better than I could, Vanessa.
They're all very convoluted.
Danielle Bettmann 1:06:25
Yes. Okay, so did we cover it all? Was there anything else that's on the top of your tongue?
No, I think we covered it.
Danielle Bettmann 1:06:34
Okay, awesome. How are you, the parents your kids need? That's how we have to end every episode.
In that recognizing we're not yet the perfect parents, I think and by continuing to be willing to look at this and work on it and revisit it and hoping to grow willing to grow, even if that's hard, and challenging and frustrating in many points along the way. I think Vanessa are both committed to that. And through that, you know, I think that's what they need to get them where they are in a place where they can do those same things grow and develop and mature and being the parents I recognize it's a lifelong journey, and hopefully instilling that belief into them that self growth is a lifelong cradle to grave sort of thing.
Excellent answer. Danielle has done a great job.
Danielle Bettmann 1:07:21
I love that. Okay. Yes, you guys absolutely are the parents that your kids need, because of your commitment to them. Because of your persistence in learning and growing and being willing and open minded enough to take on that feedback and be introspective, that's a very vulnerable thing to do. And that means that it is very brave and courageous of you to be willing to go to that length for your kids. And it says so much about who you are as parents, and how phenomenal of parents you are grateful to have come across, you know, have our paths crossed and be able to work together. And we've gotten to know you and can't wait to stay in touch and continue to see how things shift and grow for your family. So thank you so much for joining us today.
Danielle Bettmann 1:08:19
Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Failing Motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms know they are not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong-willed child, and invest in the support you need to make it happen. Schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes. I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.
Confidently parent your strong-willed child without caving in or dimming their spark so you can finally break free of power struggles, guilt + self-doubt!