KC Davis is a mom of 2, author, licensed professional counselor, and creator of the Struggle Care platform, dedicated to sharing compassion and guidance to those who struggle to perform everyday care tasks.
Have you ever felt like your "cup was full" but still had no capacity to play?
Do you ever wish a fairy godmother would poof onto your shoulder to be like "the answer is..."?
Have you ever beaten yourself up for being a bad mom because your house is a mess or you can't keep up with all the laundry?
<<< SAME >>>
You can be emotionally healthy and still be kind of a messy person.
You can aim for a net positive experience of being loved for your kids.
You can complete care tasks because you deserve to function.
FED. CLOTHED. SAFE. LOVED.
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A "Good Enough" Mom with KC Davis
[00:00:00] Danielle: Welcome to Failing Motherhood. My name is Danielle Bettman and on today's episode, I'm joined by KC Davis. Welcome KC
[00:00:13] KC: Hi, thank you so much for having me.
[00:00:15] Danielle: Of course, I couldn't not. So have you ever felt like you were failing motherhood?
[00:00:23] KC: Oh God. Like as recently as like three days ago.
[00:00:27] Danielle: What happened three days ago?
[00:00:29] KC: Okay. So gosh, what was it? There's been so many things, you know, I gave birth to my second daughter three weeks before the COVID shutdown.
[00:00:38] Danielle: Oh, that wasn't smart of you.
[00:00:40] KC: Oh my God. Right. Um, poor planning on my part. I should have known. Um, and I guess, you know, I, four days ago and I'll, I'll, I'll circle back to the postpartum stage, but four days ago I was really stressed out.
I had done a bunch of work that day and come downstairs and. You know, saw my kids and I was so excited to see them and I hugged them and I kissed them and I sat down with them and within probably like 10 minutes, I was like, I am so irritated. I am so bored. I'm so frustrated. I just want to turn the TV on now.
And I I'm, I'm usually pretty good at having self-compassion giving myself grace. I had a very hard year. There's some other hard things happening in my life. And I went a really, really long time without having a break, right. There was no childcare during the, the heart of the COVID last year and my husband works a ton.
We're in a city where we don't have really very many things, family or friends. And so when I was in those long stretches of just not having a lot of support, of course, I was gonna feel irritable. Of course, I was going to be impatient. Of course, I was going to feel a little checked out. But on this day, I had a babysitter there all day.
And I had worked on things that I felt really passionate about and I came downstairs and I guess I was just expecting, well, no, I'm, I'm Phil. I'm filled up now I've done the thing. I've filled my cup and now I'm ready to be the mom. I want to be. And I was so disappointed that I didn't feel that, oh, I'm so ready to craft and do this and do that.
And I remember thinking, oh my God, what if, what if the problem is, I'm just not a good mom? Like what if the, what if the issue really wasn't that I was burnt out or that it was a mental health struggle or that I needed more support or that I was stressed? Like, what if I'm really just not good at this? What if I just, what if I'm just not good at it anymore? And that was so sad to me. And so I felt so much shame and guilt around that. And, you know, I try, I'm trying to be kind to myself within that. And also trying to remember that, you know, one day or even one week of adequate support, doesn't automatically undo all of the residual trauma from 18 months of struggle. Um, and, and, you know, I, I know that it's just a matter of time before I have a day. Where my heart feels full. And, you know, just literally the day before that day, I had some quiet time with my older daughter and we were making crafts and we like busted out the craft supplies and I didn't feel anxious about how much mess we were making and that baby was asleep.
And she said she wanted to do a Llama craft. Cause we had just bought her led Llama LLama book. And so I was like Googling Lama crafts, and we made these adorable little crafts and we had so much fun together. And I was just like, my heart was so full. And, and so I know that those moments are coming where I'm reminded that no, I really am good at this.
I really am. I I'm good enough at it. Right. But that was sort of my most recent feeling as though I was failing as a mom.
[00:04:03] Danielle: Well, there you go episode over. Thanks everybody. Yeah.
[00:04:08] KC: Yeah.
[00:04:10] Danielle: I'm sure every listener could relate to this because we are expecting ourselves to now that if we were supposed to have grace before, all right, now we're bouncing back where we have some support systems. Kids are getting back into school, so therefore problems are solved and problems. Aren't solved. They're still not
[00:04:29] KC: it reminds me of, I think this kind of like lie that we get sold as parents, particularly in our culture, in the U S here that like, the problem is self-care,
[00:04:40] Danielle: Yes.
[00:04:40] KC: right. Like if I'm feeling burnt out or like, I like to say like one step past burnt out, it's just like crispy, like, right. Um, then the problem is that I am not taking care of myself, that all I need is a little self-care.
Um, and, and yes, ish, but also I know like me getting a few days of getting to. To use sort of the phrase that we talk about that I hear a lot, like fill my cup. Does it undo like structural systemic, like issues with not having enough support as a mom?
[00:05:21] Danielle: right? Yes, because if it did, yeah. All we would need is a good date night and a bubble bath and yeah. All our problems will be solved and that's no, that's not, it,
[00:05:37] KC: And like waning and waxing capacities. Like I did, I had a day where a friend invited me over. She had a friend visiting, they had kids there and I went and for all day long, our kids ran around with each other and we just talked the three of us and it was like, good, deep. And just comfortable talking. And at the end we went to a restaurant and of course, the restaurant went the way restaurants go with a bunch of kids.
It was total chaos. Uh, you know, nobody could do anything. And, but I found myself like not that bothered, like I was really able to hang in. I felt patient. I felt not disturbed. And I, and I reflected at that moment, like, wow. Usually by the end of the day, I'm screaming at everyone. But I had this day where I was, I felt so well cared for that.
I had a different capacity. And so I think I expected that was what was always going to happen. Right? Like anytime I get what I need, then I'm going to be able to do this with excellence. But the reality is, is like some days I feel that heart bursting. I'm so excited to get on the ground and play with you.
And some days I feel frustrated and irritated and like, I just want to go lay in bed and shut the door and put on an eye mask and have 9,000 hours to myself. And there's no like formula, there's no formula for like, oh, if I just do these five things, I'm going to be super excited and engaged today. So I think just recognizing that some days I feel like I have a ton of capacity and other days I feel like I'm at the end of my rope.
Right. When I roll out of bed.
[00:07:14] Danielle: Yeah. And it's nothing about your kids. It's nothing about circumstances just is. Yeah. We want more answers in that. We want to be able to have the formula come on.
[00:07:28] KC: And there are things that I've figured out that have been really helpful. Um, you know, I very much, struggle with pretend play. I'm sure people can relate to this. Like I don't enjoy
[00:07:40] Danielle: their hands. Yes,
[00:07:42] KC: play or pretend, play, or like cooperative play. Um, I'm not very good at it. It really, um, I don't know. And so, you know, when I was doing those crafts with my kid, I was sort of reflecting on like, what things do I love doing with my kid?
And I love baking with my toddler. I love taking them on little errands or going places with them. I like going outside with them, with our little, you know, pool and, and all kind of clean up the backyards while they play. And I kind of had this aha moment where, you know, when you start to learn about how kids play, you learn that like first they do something called parallel play where kids will basically be engaged in their own thing, but just next to each other.
And then as they get older, they start doing cooperative play, which is where, you know, they're engaging in the same game or whatever. And it hit me while I was doing crafts. Oh my God, I'm a parallel player.
[00:08:42] Danielle: uh,
[00:08:43] KC: This is what, this is the way that I love in actually enjoy. Playing with my kid.
[00:08:52] Danielle: yeah.
[00:08:53] KC: not that I'll never do cooperative play because you know, you don't have to like something to do it.
And it makes my kid happy. But also recognizing like, it's okay that we do very little cooperative play together and that the rest of the time I'm either encouraging her to play independently. I'm saying I'd love to hang out with you and spend time on a, watch you what, what you're doing or finding enough sort of ways for us in the day and in the week to engage in that parallel play so that she feels like her needs for play and connection with mommy are being met.
And I'm genuinely engaging in an activity that I'm enjoying because she, they can tell, like they can tell when you're bored out of your mind, trying to play Barbies. And, and I think the biggest thing I've seen since the beginning of the pandemic is that like my ability to fake it. Has gotten like less and less and less, like it used to be like, Hey, this isn't my favorite thing, but you know what?
I can do it for an hour or whatever. And then like, it became harder and harder to do it. And like, I'm so crispy at this point, because like I used to have this full, amazing stay-at-home life where we were on the go and doing things. And then I got locked in my house for 18 months with a newborn and a toddler where there was nothing to do, but have to engage them directly for 12 hours a day.
And now I'm like fricking crispy about it. Like even just the, will you play with me? Let's play Barbies or whatever. I'm like, oh God, like I have got five seconds in me before I feel like I'm dying inside. Literally, like I had just killed and, and, but I'm, I'm finding like, okay, You know, I'll, I'll do that with you for a little bit, but like, if we could do Legos together, I'll sit with you for an hour.
We'll talk, we'll engage. So I'm finding like these small shifts that, you know, it's not about, oh, I don't like pretend or cooperative play and therefore I'm a bad mom, but you know, relationships are about everyone having needs. And that like really cool give and take of those things. And I do want my daughter to know that not that I don't sometimes do things I don't want to do for her.
She sometimes just thinks she doesn't want to do for me, but that in general, we should be sort of looking for that common ground of this is the best way we connect and you are having fun and I am having fun and that's, you know, that's going to be a higher quality interaction than mommy just gritting her teeth and pretending to understand how to play.
[00:11:28] Danielle: yes, because ultimately, yes, she wants to play Barbies, but even more. So she wants to enjoy some type of experience with you emotionally connecting. And if that's not going to happen with whatever that activity is, Then yeah, you have every right to redirect that into something that is going to be a closer to that end for you.
And that's okay.
[00:11:50] KC: yeah. And just getting okay with like in this season, I am the good enough mom and I was listening to a, there's a Tik Toker that I really liked to follow Dr. Shepherd and she's a psychiatrist. And she was talking recently about the good enough mom, which is an actual psychological concept. And in the, in the research about child development, which is that, you know, kids don't, they actually don't need a perfect parent.
They don't even need like a quote unquote, good parent. They really, for their development need just need a good enough parent. They need the parent that's that yes is meeting their needs, but also as sometimes failing because they just, as much as they need that secure base of feeling loved and. They need to start to learn in small doses.
So what do I do when I don't feel safe for a minute? What do I do when I do get my feelings hurt for a minute? What do I do when mommy isn't the rock for a second while she, you know, breaks down at the kitchen and, my new motto is fed, clothed, safe, loved. That's what I, that's what I'm aiming for.
Fed clothed safe. Loved.
[00:13:03] Danielle: I love that.
[00:13:05] KC: I'm just going to be the good
[00:13:06] Danielle: tangible outcome that you can strive for. That seems to be.
[00:13:11] KC: Yeah. Especially the loved part because like, I may not be nailing every interaction right now. I have this picture of the kind of mom that I want to be, and I'm not meeting it on like a daily basis, so I'm not nailing every interaction, but at the end of the day, I feel as though I do know how to make a net positive experience of being loved.
[00:13:37] Danielle: Hmm. Yeah.
[00:13:41] KC: And right now my daughter has been sleeping a lot in our bed. And before the pandemic where we had some, some pretty like firm boundaries around everyone in their own beds, unless, you know, you're scared or some, obviously you can come for us to comfort, but right now, sometimes they get to the end of the day.
And I just think, you know what, like let's get in bed together. I will go to bed at seven. We will snuggle. We will have this really sweet connection time and we're not going to worry about whose bed you're in. Um, and so anyways, I know I would, I just jumped on and started rambling. Maybe I should have called my therapist because you asked me like three questions about motherhood and I'm over here about to cry.
[00:14:21] Danielle: That's the whole point we just dove straight in.
[00:14:25] KC: Yeah.
[00:14:27] Danielle: I absolutely love that because clearly you are people you you're ready to talk about the real stuff. And that's what we, that's what we all want to do. We want to have the safe space to be able to say the things that are right on our heart and like the tip of our tongue.
I don't know, nobody's there, nobody's there to say, how are you doing? And so I guess we get to do that with strangers and that's a beautiful thing as well.
[00:14:51] KC: with me. Nobody prepares you for nobody prepares you for the emotional whiplash of. Being so angry at someone you just want to put them outside and so angry that you find yourself screaming or so angry that you find yourself wanting to be kind of mean. And then an hour later looking over at that same person and wanting to burst into tears, because they're the most perfect thing you've ever seen.
And they're so precious and innocent, and all you want to do is just make them happy. And then an hour later you wanna put them outside. Again, nobody prepares you for that emotional experience, those extremes and, you know, flipping back and forth and all the guilt that comes with why can't, I just always see them as perfect.
And then the frustration that comes with, you know, oh my gosh, my buttons are really being pushed right now.
[00:15:53] Danielle: that is such a good way to word it is the emotional whiplash
[00:15:57] KC: Yeah.
[00:15:58] Danielle: is so real and it happens all day. And yeah, I had no idea because I w I did work with kids. I have a degree in child development. I thought I understood what a relationship with a kid looks like, but it is next level. The roller coaster that comes from a parent-child.
[00:16:20] KC: yeah, 100%
[00:16:23] Danielle: It's a whole thing. It's a joy ride. Maybe I think that it's a lot of that. W it's just a lot of whiplash. It is. And yeah, it feels irrational. It feels like we're the crazy person. It feels like what's wrong with us. It feels like how can I have a temper this bad? What is wrong with me? Clearly, they deserve someone better. And all of the keeping guilt is just laid on day after day after day.
[00:16:51] KC: and you know, it's made worse way. You keep it all to yourself because not only are you thinking, oh, I'm failing, but you're thinking everybody else is managing to do this, but me,
[00:17:03] Danielle: Yes,
[00:17:04] KC: you know, how, how how's everybody else doing this? There must be something deeply wrong with me. If I can't accomplish this basic task that, you know, looks so simple when you're looking at everyone else's life.
And, and when you're listening to other people talk sometimes about, you know, whether they're just talking about the highlights or they're misrepresenting themselves or, or what it is, but it can be difficult, especially. I think if you're someone who's used to being ultra competent in other areas of your life, I mean, I am used to being good at everything I'm used to being very smart and very competent.
And if it's a problem, I just figure it out. And, and here I am like looking. These little people. And I think one of the hardest things for me is knowing that as a, as a parent, I have this like dual responsibility to both teach them boundaries and limits and to meet them where they are and foster their emotional growth.
And those things are not in conflict. Right. But at the same time they feel in conflict in the moment. Um, I'm trying to teach my three-and-a-half-year-old to ask questions instead of make demands.
[00:18:25] Danielle: Hmm.
[00:18:26] KC: Um, it feels like an appropriate time to be doing that. So instead of, you know, saying milk milk, and what milk kind of gently move her towards, like, man, I have some milk and. It's been difficult and she melts down and says, I don't know how to ask questions and I'm sitting there. And so, you know, the first few times it's like, you can say something like, may I have some milk, but literally every, but she asks questions other times all day. And, and you know, we've done this enough times that now I'm sitting here and I'm like, okay, so what's my, what's my move.
What is the good mom move? You know, she wants this. I know she wants it is the move to say, well, once you ask a question, I would be happy to get that for you. And then let her have her feelings. Let her struggle with that. Let her move through whatever resistance she's feeling about. I don't want to do that.
I want to be young. I want to be whatever, right. Because is, is the answer that she is capable and she needs me to give her the space. Move through that and figure it out. Um, or, you know, is she truly not understanding, is there, is there a developmental issue? Is there a cognitive issue? Is, does she just not understand?
And am I torturing her by being like bigger out and she's wailing on the floor right. Falling apart. And if I say, okay, I'm just going to go get the milk. Well, that's either giving in not letting her have her feelings, fixing her feelings, or maybe it's recognizing that she's in distress and she's really had enough learning for the moment.
I mean, I feel like everything I do is like, okay, this could either be exactly the right thing or you're really fucking.
[00:20:20] Danielle: Yes.
[00:20:21] KC: And there's no one there to be like now. And even though I understand all the principles, like I read all of the gentle parenting people, I, I know the developmental stuff. I understand that it is important that they have their feelings, that I should be comfortable with them being upset that it's okay for them to struggle with something.
And that it's okay for me to have limits. And I understand that sometimes the more important thing is the relational thing. You know, she can only be in distress for so long before there can't be any learning, but there's nobody that like, there's no fairy godmother that poofs onto your shoulder to be like, and
[00:20:56] Danielle: Right.
[00:20:57] KC: the answer is a.
[00:21:03] Danielle: Yes. Oh my gosh. The struggle is real. The struggle is so real because yes. You know, so much so that, you know, to the extent that you still struggle, because it's like that added responsibility and mental load of those questions. And I always say that the mark of a good parent is caring about things that matter.
So obviously you've taught your brain to go through. Questioning process because you care how she's feeling. On the other side, you care about what impression you're making and how you're trying to teach her and what skills she's becoming out of this and how emotionally regulated she's able to get herself and all of the things because you care. So it's, it's a mind game, mind game trying to rationalize into every individualized moment. What does she need? What is going on here? How can I best help? Am I enabling? Am I like completely missing it? Is this even about the milk,
[00:22:13] KC: yeah,
[00:22:14] Danielle: right?
[00:22:15] KC: what's the more important lesson here. Yeah. And I guess that's why I say, you know, I'm just these days, I'm just aiming for a net positive experience of being loved, because then I don't actually have to nail that interaction. Like I can get that wrong, but I can get it wrong in a way that still communicates that I, that she's loved.
[00:22:36] Danielle: yes, you totally can. That is not only doable, but I'm sure that that is the message that's getting across because how many times do we do that in our marriages that we miss a moment or totally get an interaction wrong or, you know, have conflict day in and day out. But yet the net positive message is I love you.
I choose you. I'm not going anywhere.
[00:23:02] KC: Well, not only that, but it reminds me of, you know, one of the bigger marriage and family, like research centers, the Gottman center. Um, and, and there were the ones that came out with sort of that groundbreaking, uh, paradigm of like, you know, people who stay married have like a one to seven ratio of like criticism to like healthy, connected, happy con like moments.
And then people who get divorced, like they were able to predict by looking at the ratio of like critical interactions and dismissive interactions versus connected and supportive interactions. And, and, you know, so we know that's true in marriages that it's not the absence of times when you miss it.
It's that. The sort of overall effect is feeling loved because there are these other moments where you're, you are able to kind of connect and, and answer those bids. And, and it makes sense that that would be the same with our kids that it's this. And I think it's also really hard when you feel as though, you know, everything, you know, you go into parenthood.
And I know for me being a therapist, having that experience of knowing child development, doing a lot of research around the parenting style I wanted was like, you know what, we're going to do this. Right. Because we know, we know like we know what to do, but then when life circumstances enter where it's like, it doesn't matter that you knew it's like it's life.
Like right now. Like, I, I would love for, you know, my children to be in preschool for all of the amazing benefits of that.
[00:24:48] Danielle: Yeah.
[00:24:49] KC: But the reality is between them getting sick and the, like the closures, because off of COVID like their school, isn't able to be a reliable source of childcare at the moment. And because me and dad both have real money-making obligations right now.
Um, we're having to talk as a family about, you know, maybe we need to move from school being childcare to a nanny being childcare. And it's so difficult for me to make that decision because I feel as though what they really need, what is best for them is the structure and the interaction versus having to be in our house all day long and watched by somebody where they're not going to get the same kind of seeing their friends, especially the older one.
[00:25:36] Danielle: Yeah.
[00:25:37] KC: And I think it's really hard when, you know, what's quote-unquote best, but like life is life. There are circumstances beyond your control where you can't give that to them.
[00:25:48] Danielle: Yeah.
[00:25:49] KC: And, you know, we had a doctor's appointment yesterday and I asked this doctor about that, where I was like, you know, like, I guess, I mean, I can keep them in, but like, that's really not gonna work for our family, but I'll do it if it's what's best for them.
And she just looked at me and said, I mean, they're going to be fine. Like, they're really, it's fine. Like, you're, you're, this is not the decision that's going to make or break the foundation of their emotional wellness. Like no one's life happens under the ideal circumstances all the time. And, and to be honest, I, and my family we've been so privileged that, you know, is the first time my oldest is three and a half.
This is the first time that we're really dealing with outside factors. We can't control getting in the way of our best laid plans.
[00:26:39] Danielle: Yeah.
[00:26:41] KC: So that's heartbreaking, right? I mean, there's, and this is real, like, you know, this school would be the best, but you can't. You know that, you know, this amount of therapy for a child would be the best, but that therapist, you know, only sees them on days when you have to have an, a, another commitment, there's a multitude of things.
And, and I think that's another thing that nobody prepared me for. I thought if I just really studied up, we'd be all right.
[00:27:10] Danielle: Right. Oh yeah. We're the best parent before we become one. But it's because we don't understand the actual environment that we're doing this in and the limitations and constraints that are going to be put on us because we are still human and have a million other plates that we're still juggling. And then kids are just added into that rather than like you're taken out of all of this reality.
And then you just get to. Self-isolate in this like perfect little cocoon where you go create all the environment yourself. And I struggled with that a ton because all of a sudden I was blindsided by my husband, struggling with alcoholism. And we ended up having to sell our house and nothing was ideal.
Nothing was by the book. What I thought our early childhood years were going to look like, and I have felt like my entire adult life has been beaten into the fact that the first seven years are incredibly influential. So like, it's a lot of pressure to understand that all the ramifications of that, and then be able to reconcile that with what you can actually feasibly do.
And for us that has been like almost no extracurriculars. And you know, that was my whole life as a kid was extracurriculars. And so to feel like I'm doing I'm limiting, they could be a prodigy. And I would never know, like I'm, I'm not able to give them what they probably would love and enjoy. That's sad.
[00:28:29] KC: Hmm. I mean, can we talk about like the blessing and the curse that is having like that keen awareness of the importance of the first 60 months of life? Um, like I, you know, so I went to drug rehab when I was 16. Um, and I was there for like 18 months, but one of the like pivotal, um, assignments they had us do was an assignment called 60 months where you wrote out like the major events of your first five or six years.
And that was literally 16 years old. The first time I learned like the first 60 months. Are the most important in terms of laying that foundation of trust and safety and, and sort of making that first imprint. And, and then of course, you know, you go to counseling school and, and you learn the same thing and you know, these things and you're like, okay.
But then it's like, okay, but we're also parenting in a real world. Like it's not just about the experience I give them. It's about the real world and my human limitations. Um, I would love to just, you know, do everything exactly according to what they need, but I think that's another way that kind of the mommy blog has really robbed us.
This idea that, you know, what's important is that we create this environment where nothing goes wrong for the first 60 months. Um, And it, it really leaves out the fact that there's this constellation of people happening, that this child doesn't exist in a vacuum where, you know, we're coming around and, and, you know, creating a terrarium of perfect ecosystem for them.
They are entering into a complex constellation of people and personalities and needs and limitations. And you know, when I think about, okay, I guess I could send them to school because that's what's best for them. And then I'll just not do work. Like I just I'll put it to the side. I won't take on somebody's commitment so that, you know, somebody can be there if they get sick or the days they have to stay home.
Um, and because I think that if you were to play into it, You know, taking every mommy blog to heart, how important it is that they get what they need. Quote, unquote, it would feel as though that's the right thing to do as a parent. The right thing to do as a parent is put aside, you know, oh Casey, it's a tick tock channel who cares?
Right. Like, you know, oh, I know you like working, but your husband makes enough money. So like put aside your pursuits because this is such an important time. Um, but the thing that rings in my head is that quote, that said, that says the biggest burden that you can put on a child is the unlived life of a parent. And, you know, thank goodness for my good friend that looked at me the other day when I was saying, you know, do I go the nanny route? Do I go the school route? Um, which has already, I, I understand a privileged problem to have, but looking, she looked at me and said, We're not making idealistic decisions, we're making reality decisions.
And if you made the circumstances perfect for them, but the only way to do that was you being burnt out and crispy and engaged. That's not a perfect scenario. That's not acceptable. Um, if things are a little less ideal in the structure of their childcare, but they have a mom that is alive and passionate and comes down the stairs ready and excited to see them.
You know, a board mom for 12 hours is not superior to a happy and engaged mom. Who's ready to be there for four hours.
[00:32:30] Danielle: Yes.
[00:32:31] KC: And, and so realizing that I can't make decisions based on what's best for my child, I have to make decisions based on what's best for our family, everyone in my family counts. And everyone on our family depends on each other to be held. Um, and it's hard. Cause I think sometimes when people hear about like, oh, a mom putting themselves first, I think we think of like a mom leaving her kid at some randoms house because she wants to go clubbing and her justifying that by being like, well, I still have to have a life. Right. Like I'm obviously we're not saying that like, um, but
[00:33:09] Danielle: the impression though. It is.
[00:33:11] KC: and, and you know what, there, there are genuinely some adults who had a childhood like that and are deeply traumatized, right?
Like they didn't actually get very fundamental needs. Because their parents weren't ready to be parents. They didn't want to make sacrifices, not in a healthy, we have to be interdependent on each other, but in a, I just don't want to do this. I'm going to go pursue these things. Um, and so I do think that it can be hard to feel as though, okay, am I leaving my kid at my new boyfriend's house to go clubbing?
Like, is that what I'm doing? It's like, no, that's not what you're doing. This is a totally different scenario. Totally different kids, totally different context. Um, so yeah,
[00:33:58] Danielle: It, it really, you're getting to such a crucial point, which was the heart of why I created this podcast, which is that ultimately, I feel like we're so ingrained to think what does my child need? And instead, if we looked inward and said, what do I need? And became really cognizant. Understanding what makes me a good mom for this child?
What brings out my personality? What works with my limitations? What makes me feel alive and gives them more quality over quantity. If that is what it comes down to, that matters so much because it overflows and trickles down. When you have healthy wellbeing as a parent, that is ultimately the most, the thing that your child needs most and that isn't taught, and that feels uncomfortable and wrong for a lot of reasons.
But that is the biggest thing that we can do for them is live our own lives and be really filled up by our own passions and show them by example, what it looks like to have true ups and downs and bring them along for that ride because. Love seeing the things that we are working on and it doesn't always afford us all of the time that we wished we had with them or be able to afford all the things that we can.
Um, but I made the same decision last year of should I stay home homeschool rather than sending my kids off to elementary school? Because I thought the school year was going to be way more unpredictable than it ended up being and have all these closures. And I knew like, this is just not, this doesn't make sense on paper.
So therefore I should basically take a step back with my business. And it took friends, essentially having an intervention conversation because I was going to homeschool their kids do. And they were like, no, you can't do this. Like you need to run your business. We will send them to school and they will be okay.
And it just still felt like, are you sure? Is there anything else I can do?
[00:36:05] KC: you know, what's interesting is that there's sort of this camp of people that talk a lot about like, oh, you're, if you're trying to be a respectful parent, a gentle parent, they're like, oh, but they're, your kids are gonna be soft. Like kids need to learn that things don't always go their way. Kids need to learn that they're not the center of the world.
Kids need to learn that things aren't ideal and not everything's going to go. Right. And my thing is always.
[00:36:29] Danielle: Yup.
[00:36:30] KC: You know, that, that just, that also just happens, right? They're like the world is hard. I'm like, that's the point.
Like, I don't need to fabricate scenarios in which things are hard on my child. There will be those scenarios. Like you're talking about like, they're going to have to go to school. And in less than ideal circumstances, they're going to have to deal with being lonely because they can't see a friend like that's going to happen.
And so my goal isn't my goal is neither to create like superficial circumstances that are hard for my kids. So they toughen up nor is my job to necessarily soften. A very organically difficult situation. Like I don't have to mitigate that. That's going to be hard for them because that it is hard that they are going to learn it.
And I feel like some of my struggles with motherhood is when I sort of like flip what my responsibility is and I'm like, oh, am I not teaching them enough of this? Am I not being hard enough? It might not be, am I being too soft? But then on the other hand, when it's something like this, I'm like, but they're not going to get what their needs.
Maybe I should give up my whole life. So they get what they need. And it's like, okay, if I could just take a step back and really that there are circumstances I control and I will control them obviously with having boundaries, but to be kind of gentle and responsive to them. And when there are circumstances that are by themselves difficult, that's when it's my job to teach them that sometimes life is difficult and I'm going to be there for you with patience and kindness to hold your hand.
But I don't have to go out and control the hard situation. Or, or feel as though I can't put you in the hard situation and that, that takes a lot of pressure off of me. Right? Like
[00:38:21] Danielle: It's taking life as life. And that's a big piece of like the support group for families of alcoholics. I felt like I learned how to be a up for the first time and have boundaries and know that they should take care of myself and all of those things. But one of the key parts of it, I really have taken to in my parenting because it came up for a very real example.
Last week when we got the class assignments and one of my daughters was in, is assigned to the class that has all of their friends from last year and my other daughter is not. And so my mom heard is like, no, like, you know, I'm going to email the school. I'm going to find out more information about this.
I'm going to see if she can get in the other class because she's not, she's gonna have to start over at base. Why am I even paying tuition? She should just start over like, immediately. I was just like, you know, 11. So I sent him nicely worded email, just inquiring more information about what the advantage was to splitting up siblings this year.
Because last year for COVID. A rule any, and it came back that, you know, oh, if you know, she needs to be moved, she can be moved. And then once it was like, oh, I can, okay. Then that's not my place as her parent. Like, I really, it really checked me because I'm like, what is my role right now? Is it to fix all her problems?
Or is it to help her through her problems that are inevitable? And this is a great example. So I had the conversation with her about how she's going to be in this other class. And so we went through the friends that are in this other class and she apparently loved one of the kids. And so that was the redeeming quality that she's going to be fine.
And I like that, that was a really good example for me of like, I have a big decision right now I can intervene or I can support. And see that this is her journey to go on that I don't need to do anything about. And because I want to be emotionally responsive and available, I'm going to validate that this is going to be a big deal for her.
I'm going to see what there is that we can do to set her first day up for success. And I'm going to check in with her more often and things, but that's my role. My role is not to fix all her problems because that is essentially undermining her ability to live her own life. And, but yeah, that can get easily construed.
[00:40:39] KC: And I think it's also hard because it's just an example of those, like, okay, two forks in the road, and nobody's going to tell you which one to take and which one is the right. One is different with every circumstance, because I feel like one of the things that's also hard is that like, if you have a child that has a disability or as neurodivergent, or has, you know, adaptive needs, there is this role where like, I need to advocate, I need to bust the door down.
I need to go in there and demand. And I think sometimes it makes it harder to know, okay. When is the time to go in and say, you know, we will change some things and there's importance in that for them to get what they need also for them to model. This is how I advocate for myself.
[00:41:22] Danielle: Right.
[00:41:23] KC: There's also a time when it's not my job to go bust down the door and fix it to demand.
It's it's, you know, it's they, and there's nobody to tell you exactly when you're supposed to do one or the other.
[00:41:36] Danielle: Great. Yes, I can. So often I feel like where's the person, where's the person that's supposed to tell me what I'm supposed to do in this moment. Oh, I'm, I'm the grownup. I, my thirties, like, no, it doesn't make any sense. I don't feel any more equipped than I was five years ago, even though I somehow am. And ultimately, if I really do sit with that thought, I do know her back.
So I am going to make the right decision if I listened to my intuition as her parent. But so often I could just look outside myself and ask my husband or ask my mom or ask somebody else and just do what they say. And because yeah, you want confirmation, you want validation for your own struggle and you want to know that you're doing the right thing and it's just not clear
[00:42:27] KC: well not to mention, like having to unpack my own childhood stuff, because I find that like, whatever we, if we had a negative experience in childhood or a really distressing sort of adverse experience, then we tend to parent on a pendulum, like we'll swing all the way to the other side, you know? And so, you know, I had some experiences in childhood where I remember feeling afraid and unprotected. And so that makes me as a parent, you know, I'll do anything so that my little girl doesn't feel that way, but the context is so different. And so, you know, I can sort of accidentally go to the other opposite about, you know, not being able to tolerate her being afraid. Because I'm so afraid of her having that experience.
And so not only, you know, am I trying to listen to my own intuition, but I'm also trying to sort of piece through, okay, what's my intuition. And what's like some childhood baggage,
[00:43:29] Danielle: Yeah.
[00:43:30] KC: at the end of the day, you know, she's not, I'm not supposed to be the parent that I needed as a child. I'm supposed to be the parent that she needs.
[00:43:41] Danielle: oh yes, that is deep.
[00:43:44] KC: And she doesn't have the same context with things like feeling scared or getting our feelings hurt or anger.
[00:43:58] Danielle: Right.
[00:43:58] KC: That's a hard one.
[00:44:00] Danielle: It's so hard because that's why that's what parenting is so hard for us because it's triggering the things that we didn't learn well or processed through. And if we don't become conscious of why that is or what that is for us, then we're going to just by default treat our kids, how we would have wanted to be treated or repeat a cycle of how we were parented without really thinking a whole lot about it.
And just because you become aware of what's going on, it doesn't make it any easier. Sometimes it makes it almost harder to be able to override those instincts and implant them with something else and do differently for this child in front of you. But that's a huge piece of parenting that we were not prepared for.
Did not know, was even a thing that we were signing up for. And it's next level. Thought processes and mental load to know, okay, this is a me thing. This is not a them thing. I'm going to go take care of this for me. While I also asked myself how to, how I can show up better right now, and learn a different skillset or tool for this personality in front of me.
But then you have, then you have your partner coming at it from a totally different angle, and they're seeing it as intimidating or threatening or worrying for an entirely different reason because of how they repair it. And then you're trying to come together for like some type of response that's at all cohesive or consistent. Did we imagine parenting was hard?
[00:45:33] KC: well, it does just make me feel better when I get to have these conversations, because at the end of the day, remembering that, you know, being a good enough, mom doesn't have doesn't mean that I'm like always picking the right route. Um, I, I really do think that the mark of a good mom is someone who is willing to engage in that struggle.
Of wanting to do what's right. And thinking through the hard questions and making that effort. And at the end of the day, my child, isn't going to be made or broken by whether I fixed the classroom assignment or didn't, or whether she went to preschool or had a nanny, um, she's going to be made or broken by her experience of whether I love her enough to put in the effort to at least try and get it right. And I think a lot of times when we go through childhood trauma or adverse experiences, we associate that feeling of not being loved with the circumstances that happened, as opposed to the deep wound of recognizing this person is not for my good, this person is not trying to protect me. This person is not.
Um, for me
[00:47:00] Danielle: yes. That's way deeper.
[00:47:04] KC: and I don't, and I think sometimes, and I see this a lot on my channel, like my channel, we primarily talk about care tasks and when it's difficult to clean and shower and things like that. And a lot of times, and even in speaking with my friends, you know, I'll talk about how, like, you know, a messy house is not going to damage your child.
And there's always someone that says, okay, well, my house was really messy and it damaged me. Like my mom never kept up with anything. We didn't have clean clothes, you know, we didn't, and every time I've been able to talk with someone one-on-one about that and really unpack with them and get curious, you know?
Okay. Was it, obviously I'm not talking about like hoarding or being unsanitary because that's obviously, you know, damaging, but was it that. The laundry wasn't done. Was it that there was clutter or was it that your parents' mental health was having a negative impact on you? Was it that they could not connect with you?
Was it that they were staying in bed a lot. Um, and we see the same thing the other way. Some people will say, oh, a perfectly clean house just means children are being ignored. And then people who are like, naturally really tidy will be like, I'm not ignoring my kids. Please stop accusing me of that. Um, and when you get down to the, to it, with the person it's okay.
Was it the fact that everything was perfectly in its place? That had a negative impact on you or was it that your mother's high anxiety around everything being in its place meant that she couldn't engage with you or connect with you? And every time when they really kind of get curious with themselves at the end of the day, it wasn't really about how messy or clean the house was.
It was about the emotional and mental state of the parent.
[00:48:57] Danielle: right.
[00:48:59] KC: And so, you know, that needs to be the priority because you can be, uh, emotionally healthy and kind of be a messy person. And there are people who had those parents and they're like, oh, mess. Didn't bother me. Um, but that's kind of what's happening behind those debates.
Well, my house was messy and it was traumatizing and embarrassing. Well, my house was messy and I had a great mom and we didn't care at all. And it's like, well, yeah, because it's not actually about what your house looks like. It's about the emotional and mental capacity of the parent.
[00:49:25] Danielle: and the message that you S that it sent you your perception of that situation, and whether you felt like it was, uh, you know, personal, that they didn't care that you needed gym clothes. So therefore you had to do it yourself. And what you took on as the takeaway from that, from your parent, rather than where the gym clothes clean or dirty you're so right.
It's that deeper level of the relationship, because that's what we're doing. We're trying to do here. We're trying to create the healthy ish dynamic of a relationship that is messy and full of conflict, but the takeaway messages of that. Love message that you're, you know, that you made that point in the beginning that comes across through the way that we either enter their world, or we validate their hard things, or we understand that what's important to them is important to us.
And if you have a kid that is very worried about their gym clothes, then you validate that by keeping up with whatever needs to happen there. And that's that, that's the main takeaway. It's not the laundry, but yeah, I feel like we still haven't even gotten to talk about that. And so
[00:50:44] KC: that's
[00:50:44] Danielle: that was question one, um, question two.
Uh, yeah. Tell us more about your platform, where it came from. What's the story behind it because, uh, I mean, failing at care tasks is a big piece of failing at motherhood. So I want to dive more into.
[00:51:02] KC: Sure. So, you know, we're not really far off the heart of what my platform is about because my platform is designed for people who struggle with care tasks. So a care task is anything like cleaning hygiene, feeding yourself, laundry dishes, just really any task that it takes to sort of care for yourself and your space.
And there's a lot of reasons why people can struggle with that. It could be mental. It could be a neurodivergence chronic stress, chronic pain or illness. It could just be a transition in life, like being postpartum, being in grief, being overwhelmed, um, being in a pandemic, right? Like there's a lot of reasons why people might struggle and feel overwhelmed.
And it's, it's typically presented as this simple thing. And there's a lot of shame around, you know, just do it. Like, what do you mean you can't keep a clean house? What do you mean you haven't showered this week? And so there aren't really a lot of resources out there for practical ways to help increase your functioning, um, around these areas and also sort of taking the morality out of it.
You know, the big shift is that care tasks are morally neutral. The way you do them, how often you do them, whether you can keep up with them or not. It's not a reflection of whether or not you're a good or bad person, whether you're worthy of love, whether you're a success or a failure, um, they truly are not moral obligations.
They're just functional tasks. They serve a function and that function is to care for you. And the only reason to do them is because you're a person that deserves to function and you don't have to do anything to be deserving of function. And regardless of your level of functioning, you do deserve kindness. So you don't have to berate yourself and, and load yourself just because you're not good at keeping up with laundry or just because your house is dirty. The only reason to even work on those things is not so you can be good enough or acceptable, but because you're a person who deserves to function and once we move care tasks out of the realm of moral obligations, We can sometimes get unstuck from these sort of rules we have around them.
You know, well, you have to wash things, you have to sort colors and then you have to fold everything and you have to put them away and everybody's separate closets. And the reality is is if that's not getting done, you can do it any way you want. You can do it. You can put everybody's clothes in one closet, you can start folding things.
You could live out of a clean laundry basket for the rest of your life. It's fine. It's literally fine. Um, and so sort of getting out of the box on it doesn't matter how everybody else does dishes. It matters how it works for you. Um, you know, and so that's sort of. The, the heart of what I do is talk about this paradigm shift and also sort of give this buffet of tips and tricks for people who are overwhelmed.
People who are neurodivergent people who kind of need shortcuts and, and, you know, my goal wasn't to get help you get your life together. My goal is to meet you where you are with some techniques that can help you where you are. And so that's what I do. I have a website called struggle care.com. I mainly post on my tech talk.
I'm at domestic blisters on Tik TOK. I do have an Instagram and a Facebook, both titled struggle care. Um, and I have a book called how to keep house while drowning that you can get on Amazon
[00:54:31] Danielle: I love all of those things. And where did this come from?
[00:54:37] KC: So, as I mentioned at the beginning, I, you know, I gave birth in right at the beginning of the pandemic, everything shut down all of my sort of support structures that I had set up. Didn't happen. There was no school, there were no visits. And, you know, I just slowly started drowning in the amount of housework that was undone because of trying to take care of these two kiddos and I, one time, one day randomly posted on Tik TOK, a video of me cleaning up and I've always kind of been a messy person.
And so I'd come up with these little games and trip, like tick tips and tricks to not be so overwhelmed when it came to sort of tackling a big mass. And I shared that and I got a huge response from people who really needed help with making their home more functional when sort of the traditional organizational tips didn't work for them.
And so that started off the journey. It was a year ago and you know, I've just been talking to people via tech talk ever since and making videos and sort of fine tuning this philosophy. And, you know, from my background, I grew up. Um, you know, after getting out of rehab, there was a long period of time where, you know, I wanted to engage in self-improvement.
Um, but it was very like behavior modification. So I was always like, okay, is that thing I just did? Was that selfish? Should I have done that differently? And really hyper analyzing every decision, every move I make everything about my life. Um, and actually when I met my husband, he was, he's a much more, he's such a good man, but he's a lot more laid back back about like, it's the little things in life.
And, um, he really helped me sort of realize like, oh, um, like, yeah, I can just concentrate on doing the best I can and being a person I want to be. And you know what, I am going to do something selfish or say something wrong and I can just recognize it non-judgmentally and move on. And that is actually helping me.
Get more of the self development that I'm looking for rather than hyper analyzing every little thing. And so that was sort of my life experience. And I think that spilled over into beginning to talk to people about, you know, how you are functioning in your home is, is not going to be increased by hyper moralizing and analyzing every single care task.
And whether you're doing it right and beating yourself up when you do it wrong. And so that's kinda how those things blended together, but that's, that's how it happened. It all happened accidentally.
[00:57:06] Danielle: Yeah, that's usually where the best things come from because you are letting the needs really form what you're creating. And I think that that's why it's so well, recepted is because like, it just meets people where they're at and allows them to normalize that feeling of I'm not alone. I'm not the only one that doesn't wash my sheets every week.
That thank you for saying that out loud and building that because yeah, the idea that care tasks are morally, a moral issue, you're saying that they're not, and I think that that is groundbreaking for so many reasons, but where, why do you feel like that's such a defining thought for people?
Like, where does that whole idea in that framework come from that we're just so ingrained.
[00:57:54] KC: so I think, you know, big picture, I think a lot of it is, comes from sort of a Puritan aesthetic work, work ethic. You know, when this country was founded, it was typically Protestants and a lot of Puritans who were, you know, fleeing religious persecution, but a big part. The Puritan work ethic was this idea that you do everything to the glory of God.
And so everything you do is holy. Everything you do is spiritual. Everything you do is either right in the eyes of God or. Right. And so, um, that's sort of how work and productivity got, got a moralizing spin on it in general. And I think because we are, and always have been a patriarchal culture, then naturally, if you're going to tell a man that building a barn with excellence is a moral issue under God and, you know, being lazy as a sin.
Well, then you're going to tell the women of that culture, that cooking and cleaning to the glory of God with excellence is a way of pleasing God and, you know, cutting corners or shirking it or not doing it right. It's going to be a sin. And I think that although very few of them. Say, oh, I believe that that sort of what undergirded our culture for a long time.
And in any system, if you need a workforce of unpaid domestic labor to support people working 40, 50, 60 hours to uphold capitalism, then one of the best ways to control people is to highly moralize what you're asking them to do so that you will reward with praise and, um, love and acceptance. Those who are doing their duties and you will shame those.
And ridicule those and reject those that are stepping out of that role that you're asking them to do. And it's a really effective way to control people because every person has a deep need to be loved and to be worthy of love and to belong. And so if you create circumstances around that where they, you will give them that love and belonging, if they do these things, and you will not give it to them if they don't.
And that becomes ingrained in the way that we treat each other and it gets passed down family to family, to family and things like, you know, nobody's gonna want to marry you if you are, can't keep house. No, one's gonna want to have kids with you if you can't keep the laundry done. And, we've heard these messages from our grandmothers, our grandfathers men, women media, And, and we've really internalized this idea, particularly around motherhood.
That part of being a good mother is being able to run a house. When in reality, running a house is a very specific set of skills that not everybody has or want to has want to have. It is not enjoyable for everyone. And you know, when we think about dads and what is a good dad, typically you can hear lots of things like, well, he's a good dad, but he doesn't help around the house.
He's a good dad, but he's not a great, cook, but there's not really a definition of, for moms being a good mom outside of being good at care tasks. So while she's, you know, I'm, I'm a bad mom because I can't keep the house clean because the kids went to school and two left shoes with, you know, on brushed hair.
So I think that's where that comes in.
[01:01:31] Danielle: I am so glad that you verbalized that because I feel like without identifying where it's coming from, it's like, you can't heal from what you don't know. Is there. We all need to basically become conscious of like questioning what, where is this coming from? Why do I think this? I, why am I putting this on a pedestal?
Why do I feel so genuinely? Like I'm a bad person for not being able to do this thing. And until we questioned that and find our own answers, we're just stuck. We feel like we just, you know, clearly it's an issue with me. So therefore I'll just find another random solution or seek another resource or find something else to make me better.
And it really comes down to that self-compassion and that acceptance of like, I am not a cook. I do not cook. I absolutely cannot. Like every time I try, I burned myself or I burned some, the food and I married a chef. Uh, I actually, we, her high school sweetheart. So I started dating him when I was 15 and that just circumstantially worked out very well for me, but like, it was still something that early on in our marriage, it's like, I need to be able to at least bake, you know, I need to be able to like put together a birthday cake or do something when people come over and it very much became something that I had as part of my identity.
And like, there is so much more to me then my inability to cook that I can, I can joke about it and it's fine, but like I can find my identity and my pride in myself and all of the other things that I am putting myself into that I care about and that I know that I have the potential to grow in and that does not make or break my motherhood.
But I think for things like, you know, I need to make sure that my kids have clean clothes or whatever, those things that feels so fundamental. Yeah, there still is something wrong with me. So I want to read your pillars because I feel like they, we could probably break down each one of those for 20 minutes, but it's already an hour.
So, um, they are that care tasks are morally neutral, which we talked about. Good enough is perfect. Which, you know, we already touched on that one related to motherhood. You can't save the rainforest. If you're, if you're depressed, shame is the enemy of functioning. Rest is a right, not a reward and you deserve kindness regardless of your functioning.
So if there's one of those you want to dive more into, which one do you feel like we need to hear more about?
[01:04:12] KC: well, people always have questions about. You know, just real briefly. I think the rest is a right. One is important for moms because it basically says, you know, rest is a recharging activity that happens when your conscious sleep is a recharging activity that happens when you're unconscious. And so rest is important for your wellbeing and you do not have to get everything done to deserve the right to do nothing. And, and it, so it's important that you. Prioritizing the right to do nothing and the right to rest and the right to recreate. Um, because at the end of the day, the most important resource that your children have is your mind. Um, and, and so you got to keep it healthy and then, uh, people always have questions about, you know, you can't save the reinforced if you're depressed, which basically refers to, I think a lot of us struggle with sort of an eco perfectionism or eco guilt where, you know, we really want to be good citizens.
We really want to do the right thing. And you know, there's a lot of messaging about the impact that individual consumers have on the environment. And I think if you're a person that's already struggling already, anxiety prone already maybe has an existential anxiety and you're struggling to eat. And you go to the grocery store and you know, that the easiest way to ensure you eat today is to buy a pre-packaged salad.
Um, but you won't let yourself, because all you can think about is the plastic waste that you're going to be, um, contributing to the end of the world. Um, or, you know, you're a mom who is having a difficult time staying on top of keeping clean clothes for your kids or clean dishes for your kids. And you know, that, uh, perhaps say as a person with ADHD that you function best on routine and on rhythm, and that if you were to run your dishwasher every night, you would always have clean dishes, but the dishwasher isn't always full every night.
And so you won't allow yourself to engage in that absolutely necessary rhythm to function because you have anxiety over water waste. And while being eco-conscious is a great thing. Um, being eco perfect is debilitating. And it's important that you prioritize your own functioning, um, in order to move forward, running your dishwasher every night, because that's what keeps you on routine is not wasting water.
It's just using water in the same way that somebody with diabetes may need to use a lot of disposable plastic in order to, um, administer their insulin.
[01:06:56] Danielle: yes.
[01:06:58] KC: And so not trying to be eco perfect at the expense of your function.
[01:07:03] Danielle: Oh, that is huge. I feel like that is becoming more and more of a added sense of guilt on top of all of the rest of it. Yeah. Really needs to be checked at the door. And I'm so glad that you are talking about that because it just needs to be talked about it just does. I
[01:07:22] KC: and it, and you know, at the end of the day, um, the change that we need in order to save our world from climate change has to happen at a corporate and governmental level. And the only way that's going to happen is if there is a grassroots, um, push and pressure, and in order to do that type of advocacy, it takes a lot of energy.
It takes a lot of capacity. It takes a lot of time and dedication, and you're just not going to have what you need to actually, um, participate in real change if you're not fed and clothed. And in some modicum of mental stability,
[01:08:01] Danielle: It's so true. Yeah. Oh, okay. Last question, because I have to pick your brain on one more thing and then we'll go, um, Motivation problem versus task initiation. Problem. Talk to us more about that.
[01:08:18] KC: So motivation is something we're all familiar with. Task initiation is not a term. A lot of people have heard. So motivation refers to your drive to do something, your desire, to do something, your willingness to do something and just recognizing the importance or value of something being done and task initiation refers to your ability to activate yourself to engage in the task.
Um, and I was actually talking to my friend, Dr. Leslie cook recently, and she was saying that, you know, shame is a motivation. So if you're looking at a pile of laundry and going, oh, I really want to do the laundry you're motivated. But if you're looking at a pile of laundry and going, uh, I really needed to do the laundry.
I can't believe I haven't done the laundry. You're motivated. Like that's also motivation, positive, negative, like it's motivation. You're recognizing, oh God, it needs to get done. Um, a lot of people when they, and there are definitely people who struggle with motivation, um, but a lot of people who say I struggle with motivation when you really get curious with them and ask them to describe what that's like for them.
They're not describing that they lack the desire that they don't understand why something is important, that they are apathetic. They're describing. I know I need to do laundry, but I just stare at it for hours. And I can't, I just can't. I look at Tik TOK and said, I just can't, um, motivation issues show up more like apathy.
I see. I know. I just don't care. Um, task initiation shows up more like, I know it needs to be done. I really wish I could do it. And I just can't. I don't know why, but I can't. Um, so when we're, and it's important to know what you're struggling with, because there are different interventions for both of those things.
And so if you've been going at something like a motivation problem, when really it's a task initiation problem, that's that may be why you feel stuck.
[01:10:18] Danielle: yes. I think that's mind blowing for the, you know, hearing that for the first time. So if it's, if you're realizing, oh, I do still actually. About my kids and it's not apathy. It's definitely a, uh, I can't for some reason problem. What do you recommend as a first next step?
[01:10:40] KC: so I have a short, um, video that I just recently posted on my Facebook and on my Instagram and on my YouTube that, um, in the YouTube is just struggle care. TA it's talking about some strategies for task initiation. There are lots of little tips and tricks you can do to sort of lower the, the entry cause usually what's happening is that your executive functioning is having a difficult time prioritizing and breaking things down into steps.
Um, And there are, so that's sort of like a low level thing that you can do is check that out. Look at that. Um, I definitely recommend that if it's something that's kind of chronic and really debilitating talking to a therapist that has knowledge about executive functioning and there are also medications that can really help with that.
The number one thing that changed for me when I got on my ADHD medication was task initiation. Um, and the way I describe it is that it used to be that if I was sitting in a chair and looking at the laundry. I just felt like I was moving through molasses, trying to activate myself to stand up and go do it.
And once I got on medication for ADHD, all of a sudden it was like the rails were greased. The transition from sitting on my couch to getting up to do the laundry was seamless. It didn't, it was easy to do, um, to have the thought and then activate the behavior afterwards. And so, um, certainly if it's something that's chronic and really debilitating talk to a provider, see if medication could be helpful for you.
Um, and then also, you know, check out some of those little tips and tricks. There's a few in my book, there's a bunch more in that video.
[01:12:16] Danielle: okay. Is the visual timer. One of them, I love the, it was probably what the video you mentioned, where you just set the timer and then you clean for however amount of time, that 10 minutes, 15 minutes. And that's it. And you know, you, you recommend closing tasks and things like that. But I think feeling like we have a tool that sets the expectation rather than our expectation.
Um, and insanely clean house in, you know, and it's going to take five hours, like the ability to bring that down to something that's feasible. You can use that timer like you suggest. And I think that that's much more of, I think every, every parent should have one of those, use it for your kids and for your son.
[01:13:01] KC: Yeah. And if you think about like the last time you had to do something that was really big, like big, intimidating, scary, whether it's something fun, like bungee jumping or whether it's something big, like this is kind of gross, but like the last time I felt really, really sick and I knew like if you throw up, you'll feel good. But like, it took me so long to be like, okay, I'm going to do what I'm gonna do. Okay. Wait, wait, wait. Okay. I'm going to do it, but because you just know it's going to be so awful, it kind of takes you a long time to activate yourself to actually like, all right. All right. Put your finger down your throat.
Um, and, and what I find. Yeah. But, you know, but if I think to myself, I'm going to take a sip of this water. That's right in front of me. Well, my brain understands that that's a very small, simple task and I can activate to do it easily. And my brain understands when something is a big task or a deep task or a hard task, or it's going to be a very uncomfortable task.
And it takes a lot longer to get the gears going. And what I find happens is that there are times when my brain will look at a task and it will misperceive. How deep, how long, how uncomfortable that task is going to be. So I'm looking at the dishwasher going, okay, I gotta do it. I gotta do it. I gotta do it.
I gotta do it. I got to do it. And I'm almost, it's, it's almost like I'm trying to get myself to do this deep, long, awful task. And when I put on a visual timer and I say, I'm just going to unload the dishwasher for four minutes, no more, no less. All of a sudden my brain goes, I can do anything for four minutes.
Let's do it. And, and so what you're doing is, is you're helping your, and then cause we all had that, right. We put something off and then we do it and go, this was, this was so short and not that painful. Well that's because on the front end, my brain was almost misperceiving. Um, you know, what, how, what kind of faculties it was going to take to do that task.
And so that's kind of a tricky way to get around. It is like, oh, we'll set the timer. I can, all of a sudden, you know, your brain starts to perceive a smaller task, an easier task. Um, and so that's kind of what that is.
[01:15:08] Danielle: for what it's worth. That works for kids too, because toddlers, when you say clean up their brain does the same thing. They feel like it is an ambiguous. There is no end. I don't know how to do this. This is too much. And there's way too many decisions. I don't know where things go. And so if you need to do that for yourself, you absolutely need to do that for your kids too, so that they can understand, oh, just pick up the blue blocks.
Put them back in this basket. That's all I have to do. I can do that. Then when I'm done with that, then assigned me another micro task and I can do that and let's set a timer. And then when the timer goes off, we're done. We can go, we can go out up head upstairs, read books, like, yes, that is feasible. And it really makes the difference between it happening and it completely not happening for were way too long
[01:15:56] KC: totally does.
[01:15:57] Danielle: a mountain of blocks and all of the things.
[01:16:01] KC: The reason I'm looking around is because my computer just said it was low battery and I'm realized I don't have my charger up here.
[01:16:07] Danielle: Oh, no. Okay. Well, let's wrap up real quick.
[01:16:10] KC: Okay.
[01:16:11] Danielle: So, um, I know you mentioned, but let's go over them again. All the ways that listeners can connect with you.
[01:16:17] KC: So I have a book on Amazon called how to keep house while drowning. I have a website, struggle, care.com. I have a tech talk at domestic blisters, one S and I have Instagrams and Facebooks at struggle care.
[01:16:31] Danielle: So, I mean, obviously anyone that listened to this is like falling in love with you. You're genius. Um, clearly one of our people and I feel like I needed to have this conversation. And so many of the things are just so universal. We just all need to take a collective deep breath and know that we are doing a good enough job and we can tackle whatever is asked of us today and it's going to be okay.
So thank you so much for all of your vulnerability being able to come on here and just like dive in and share from a place of just like realness. And that is what we need a heck of a lot more of these days.
[01:17:09] KC: Awesome. Thank you so much. This has been such a wonderful conversation.
[01:17:13] Danielle: oh, thank you. Oh, I can't let you go without saying like the last question I asked every guest, which is how are you that mom, that your kid.
[01:17:26] KC: That's a good, that's a pretty deep question.
[01:17:30] Danielle: No, just sprung it on you to
[01:17:31] KC: Uh, well I think that I am the mom that my kids need because I am very soft towards like, towards them. Not that, not that I'm not like sometimes angry and mean, but, um, You know what I, what I should, when I say, I want to show my kids love, like I've got a real soft underbelly and they know that. And I, no matter how much I blow it during the day, like my kids know that they can always ask me to hug them, that they can always crawl up in my lap.
That even if I'm upset with them, they know that they'll never be rejected by me. And that's like the one thing I've done. Right.
[01:18:14] Danielle: that's a huge thing to get, right. That's they are lucky to.
[01:18:18] KC: Thank you.
[01:18:20] Danielle: Thanks again.
[01:18:21] KC: Yeah.
[01:18:22] Danielle: I'll let you go before your computer dies. And I'm so excited about this episode. I, I am so appreciative to have connected with you and for the platform you've created, keep doing it. It is so needed.
[01:18:34] KC: Thank you.
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!