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The Mental Load + Being a "Fun" Mom



Libby  00:00

You know what, your kids don't have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. And there's something very powerful in that, that they can focus on being a kid, and focus on school and focus on their friendships and focus on all the other aspects of the development because they don't have to think about food, because you do. There's just so much power and like realizing that all the little things we do actually make an enormous difference for our kids that they might not realize for many years to come.


Danielle Bettmann-INTRO  00:30

Ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood, I mean. Have too much anxiety. 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 or 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 pop in earbuds, 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 have to give you a disclaimer for this episode. And it's kind of a whole thing. So let me explain. In this episode, while we were recording something was happening with Libby's headphones. And it was like doing this little autotune to her voice. And we tried troubleshooting it while we were recording it. I've tried an extensive amount of things to troubleshoot the audio of it now. And I've waited to release it because I just didn't know if it was high quality enough to my standards to release. And ultimately, I really, really wanted to get it out there and share it because number one, I wanted to introduce you to Libby and connect you with her platform and all of her content, because I feel like she is a really important voice right now. And number two, I feel like what she had to say was really good. And I didn't want to make her redo it. And I feel like it's good enough that I just listened to it and I think you can too. But if it does start to bother you (it gets a little bit worse as it goes on) I have a transcript of it up on my website. So if you want to go to and find the latest blog post, it'll be the transcript for this episode, in case you want to just like jump ahead and get to the good stuff. 

So in this episode, we talk a lot about cycle breaking, because Libby did not grow up in a home that she wanted to recreate. And she has a really unique perspective on being able to value what you're doing in your home that you might be taken for granted, that is actually really important. She also talks about how she was a prior perfectionist, and how she really was forced to lower her standards, and ended up embracing that and how you can too. She talks about wanting to be the fun mom, and the resentment that builds from the mental load of just all the things that we have to do, but also the resentment that built in her relationship with her partner, and how she dealt with that. She also talked about creating safety in your home and what that looks like and how she is valuing that in her home and how to give yourself credit for the things that really do make a powerful difference for our kids. So Libby's platform is @diaryofanhonestmom on Instagram and Tik Tok. And she just released a blog as well called She has really fun merch as well, but she's always talking about cycle breaking, the realities of motherhood, perfectionism, trauma, healing mental health, and advocating for moms to own their motherhood and give themselves grace for their mistakes. 

While you are looking her up right now, I will give you a quick update. We just had two birthdays in my house over the last week. It was my birthday on Sunday and my daughter's 9th birthday last week, which is insane. I am in complete denial. She cannot be that old. Like I cannot be this old of a parent. What is happening? Where is time going? and What is the world? Besides, you know, having a midlife crisis, I am really excited because... I'm recording this like right before I release it in real time. So it's March 14 right now. It's the last week of Wholeheartedly Calm the 11 weeks is like up. And this latest round of 10 moms is graduating and they're all doing amazing. I just love getting to celebrate all their wins with them. And they get to graduate on to the After Party, which is basically having all of the audio content in an even more digestible playlist, so they can go back for reminders and refresh when they need it. But I cannot wait to get the next round started. So I always take a break. So we'll have a break. And then April 1 through the third will be the absolute best time where if you know you want to sign up, do it then because it'll be early bird pricing, then on April 4, it'll go up for the rest of the month be open, and then May 1 is when the next group will begin. 

And if you're new to the podcast, this is my group called Wholeheartedly Calm. It is specifically for families that have a strong-willed child between the ages of like 2 to 7, that really, really want to work on mastering Positive Discipline, getting them to cultivate cooperation, while at the same time owning and extending their patience and just having so much more patience while they're parenting, which is a multifaceted approach, and takes time to build. So I will not -I refuse actually, to sell you anything that is not going to get you a full transformation, which is why I work with families one on one for four months. And why I've designed this program to be 11 weeks because the first three weeks are confusing. You're like, completely rethinking discipline, you are having a totally new understanding of what's going on with your child. And so many questions. So many questions that are not answered when you're reading a one sided book or finding a tip or a trick on a post. You have to be able to reason this through with someone who can give you individualized feedback based on your child and your situation and your home. And their age and that problem at that time. So that's what we do inside the group of Wholeheartedly Calm and I just cannot wait to do it again, starting May 1 of 2022. So whenever you're listening to this, hopefully you can hop on sign up and join us for the next round. Really don't mess it up. Next one's not going to be till like September, I think, so let me know if you have any questions between now and then and get all of your ducks in a row so that you can join us. You can pay upfront, or you can pay in three monthly payments. Either way, I want to see you there. 

So if you haven't yet, find me on Instagram, that way, you'll get all of the reminders and all the detailed information. And you can see me make a fool of myself on Reels and all that good stuff. So I am @parent_wholeheartedly- send me a DM and say hi.

Okay, so without further ado, here is my interview with Libby. 

Welcome to Failing Motherhood. My name is Danielle Bettmann. And on today's episode, I'm joined by Libby from @diaryofanhonestmom. Hey Libby!


Libby  08:38

Hey, thanks so much for having me. I'm excited to talk today.


Danielle Bettmann  08:41

Of course, yeah, I knew that you are one of the people that gives the honest authentic look into motherhood and I shared your Tik Toks before. And I just feel like we connect on like, we just get each other. Right. Right, right, for sure. And so I wanted to give you the opportunity to kind of share your story and why you're so passionate about creating content for the honest side of motherhood and dive into more of your story. So I'm just glad you're here. But I have to ask you the first question to qualify your interview. Have you ever felt like you were failing motherhood?


Libby  09:23

Yes, every day. I often have those feelings, but I'm working on that inner voice that tells me that I'm actually not. I'm doing just fine.


Danielle Bettmann  09:32

Yes. Good. Good. I'm glad that that voice is there and getting louder. How old are your kids?


Libby  09:38

They're 5 and 7.


Danielle Bettmann  09:40

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So who were you before you became a mom?


Libby  09:47

Who was I? Ummm, insecure and insecure, people-pleasing perfectionist, who wanted very much to not repeat the cycle of how I grew up which was in poverty and in trauma and things like that. So I had a really rough childhood. And that just like, developed these like personality qualities of mine where I just like, when I entered adulthood, I wanted everyone to know that I was okay. And so I worked very hard at pretending like I was normal, you can't see my finger quotations, but I'm doing them heavily. Right. And so what I did was I looked to the people around me who looked like they had their lives together... (I've since learned that nobody does). But at that time, I really was like, Okay, I need to emulate them, like, I need to, like, cook really good meals every single night. And my house needs to look perfect all the time. And I need to have my ducks in a row and all of those things. And I sort of like developed into this like perfectionist, and I'm this person that said yes to everyone. And I wanted to be like a helper and I wanted to be known for like, doing good. And, and I still do, but I just said yes to everything. And I wanted to emulate perfection, I guess.

And then so that really carried into my journey in in motherhood, where I had my first child and I was like, okay, like, I don't want to do it, how my parents did it. But I don't know what this looks like. So let's look at everyone on social media. And let's look at everyone in my circle, who looks like they've got it all together and try and be all of those people. Not be one of them who's good at one thing, but be the best of all of them. Right? So I wanted to like wear my baby and breastfeed and not sleep train and no sugar till one and no TV till two and no like, I had like, all these rules. And I didn't just try to be good at one thing I wanted to nail it all. Didn't really work out too well. For me. 

I mean, for the for the first year, it was okay, like I just had one baby and she slept with us both sleep and eat. You know, she ate what she was supposed to eat and like did the things that like, you know, most babies do. I did struggle a little bit in the first couple months, but who doesn't. And we sort of found our groove and I was supported and that sort of thing. And then long story short, I had my second and everything came crumbling down. And you know, the pregnancy was hard. The birth was hard, postpartum was hard. It was hard. He never slept, he hardly ate. He cried all the time. And it drove me to the brink of insanity. And I just realized that perfectionism wasn't working anymore. And it wasn't healthy. And it wasn't good. And I needed to learn how to say no, and I needed to learn how to ask for help. And I was forced to lesson my strict rules about sugar and TV, and breastfeeding and all the things and, and in doing and being forced to lessen my perfectionism, I learned that everyone was actually okay.

And in fact, I was more okay, by lowering my standards, and by being okay with the mess, and by being okay with, you know, sugar or being okay with putting them in front of the TV so I can go have a flippin shower, I realized that I became more okay. And when I was more okay, I was a better mom and I was more present. I was less angry, and I was less sad and I was less angry. So that's sort of my journey. And so now I'm sort of on a mission to like, tell everyone to like, lower their standards and give themselves a break and give themselves some grace and just accept themselves as they are. And we don't have to get it all perfect, then literally nobody does anyway. So stop striving for that.


Danielle Bettmann  13:31

Yes, yeah. Oh my gosh, so much truth to that, but it does not happen overnight.


Libby  13:36

No, it takes a long time.


Danielle Bettmann  13:39

Yes. What does that evolution look like? Like... Was there like a breaking point? Or was there like a voice of reason speaking into you, or kind of what did that evolution look like?


Libby  13:49

I've always been very self aware. And I've always been someone who like likes to read like self help books, I'd like to like read words of wisdom. And you know, I love Jen Hatmaker- she talks a lot about finding community and relying on your community. I am obsessed with Brene Brown talks about like emotional health, like, shame and vulnerability and those sorts of things and Glennon Doyle in just these different voices of strong women who, you know, talk about like, the power of vulnerability, and you know, the power in saying no, and slowing down and prioritizing different things. So those voices that were always there, but while I was able to like keep things in a row, I kind of ignored them.

I was like, Well, I don't need to do that. I'm actually functioning okay, like I wasn't functioning well but I was getting through. And then with my second I literally fell apart like, I fell into a really deep postpartum depression, but it came out in rage like I wasn't... I always tell people I'm not a sad depressed person. I'm an angry depressed person and like rage. I was mad at my husband for sleeping or going to work for existing, for not having boobs... I was... I was mad at my friends who had older kids because they didn't have babies who weren't sleeping. I was mad at my friend who didn't have kids. I was mad at my toddler for needing me still. Mad at my baby for not doing anything baby room the most... I'm so angry! And I. So what it looked like was I was literally forced to be like, I haven't showered in six days... you're watching TV, or like, I literally can't get off the couch, because I'm so depressed so you're watching TV, or I have zero energy to cook... so you're getting Kraft dinner, and ice cream.


Danielle Bettmann  15:36



Libby  15:37

So in the beginning, it was very much like survival. Like it literally felt like survival. Like, I didn't feel like I could get off the couch. I didn't feel like I could even interact with my kids because I was fake and depressed. And and so it forced me to lessen my rules. And then eventually, I learned that I don't have to be in survival mode to say that TV is okay. I can let my children watch screens just because and they're not going to die, and they're not going to be stupid. And they're not going to be developmentally suppressed. Yes. All taken outside and we still go to the park and we we still bake. But you know what, when I do put them in the TV in front of the TV just because so that I could just exist without being constantly like needed by them...then I gather the energy to do those things that are good for their development. And I gather the energy to be like, yes, let's be together. Or yes, I'll sit on the floor and play with you.

But if I just resentfully pour out of an empty cup constantly, that's not good for my kids either. So it was really just this transformative thing of being forced to lower my standards and forced to do things that I didn't think I was going to do. And then learning, it's okay. And then learning...let's do those things not just because we're forced to, but because like, it's fine, like, sugar is fine, and TV is fine and processed food is fine. Like everything in moderation. But like, we don't need- no one needs perfectionism. It's not good for us.


Danielle Bettmann  17:10

Oh, no, no, it's not actually what our kids are asking for, for sure.


Libby  17:14

No, no, they don't need that. And they need to know that we're human. And they need to know that we have desires and needs and feelings and all those things, and that we don't just exist on this earth to serve them endlessly. But that doesn't help them develop into kind, compassionate, empathetic humans and leaders either that, you know, to train them that like a mother's job is to just martyr herself. And that's, that's not it. That's just not it.


Danielle Bettmann  17:39

Right. Right. That's doing them a disservice. 100%


Libby  17:42

Exactly. Right, and ourselves a disservice. So


Danielle Bettmann  17:46

yes, yes. I'm so glad that you not only learned that, but you are now able to preach that on such a loud platform, where it's resonating with so many people because they just needed to either be given that permission, or be able to hear their story represented by someone that looks and feels like them in motherhood and be able to know they're not alone. I think that's like, we have the internet at our fingertips. But it's either conflicting, or it is pressuring or there's still an emptiness of, but I'm still alone, like, I still feel lonely.


Libby  18:27

Right? Right. And we need people to go deep, right. And we need people to talk about hard things. Because not everyone has someone in their life where they can talk about hard things with and that's one of the beauties of social media is that, you know, like when we are vulnerable. And when we share our story, it's like a deep sense of connection that comes out of that, that of other people with similar experiences. And sometimes those experiences are very wide and varied. And like, you know, most moms feel mom guilt, for example, right? It's really a very common feeling.

And then the other things that like, for me, for example, I thought that, you know, breaking generational trauma was something that was very specific to me, because outside of social media in my immediate circle, I don't have friends who are doing that, you know. They were raised in relatively stable homes, they still have really good relationships with their parents, they parent similarly to how their parents did. And I felt like I just stuck out like a sore thumb. And that like, I'm doing it on my own. And I had to figure it out on my own.

And then, you know, I joined Tik Tok and I joined Instagram when I found these corners of the internet and these corners of social media, where there are droves of people doing this work and doing hard things and sharing their experiences and encouraging one another. And that is extremely powerful. That I've found that and so finding those people who's even helped me to be more bold in sharing my story and not feel that shame, and that you know, knowing that vulnerability really helps people to connect and to heal too.


Danielle Bettmann-PROMO  20:00

Hmmm, definitely. Hey, I'm interrupting this broadcast to see if you have downloaded and watched my free masterclass yet. It's called Chaos to Calm. It is specifically designed for families that have a strong-willed kid aged 1 to 7, and are looking to prevent tantrums, eliminate power struggles, extend your patience and get on the same page. In this free training, you will learn how to hold kind, yet firm boundaries with your strong-willed child without crushing their spirit, swap timeouts and tantrums for truly connecting, meeting their core needs and maximizing your influence. You'll learn how to establish rhythms, routines and a healthy culture so there's less fighting and more teamwork. You'll learn how to stop arguing about discipline and start feeling like a team by building a full toolkit of strategies that work. And you'll take control of your composure and rewrite the mindsets that are undercutting your patience. And avoid needing to save for therapy years down the road because you were the patient, loving and calm parent your kids need you to be. And if that sounds right up your alley, go to And you just put in your email, and then it will pop up on the next screen. It will also email you the link if you have to, you know wait to watch it, but it's on-demand at any time. Just dive in and get the answers that you are looking for. And that's there for free waiting for you. So if you haven't watched it yet, go find that right now save that link in your email. And I can't wait to hear what you think of it. I'm so glad that you're a listener of Failing Motherhood. And I hope that you know, we are cheering you on. 


Let's dive into that idea of generational trauma for a minute. Because I feel like we all expected to be kind of walked into motherhood by having someone hold our hands and have a village there to support us and have some sort of role model that we could emulate. And I know for me, that was not my story. And I knew that I needed to kind of make it up from scratch, not wanting to do it the way that my parents would. And I know that that's a lot of parents in our generation right now, which I love, because I feel like it's like a whole movement. But there's not a lot of people that are talking about the semantics of what that looks like and feels like. And so if that's part of your story, what do you feel like, has been that journey of not only being aware of that, but working on it?


Libby  22:56

So I would say that I knew when I became a mom, from the moment I was pregnant, that I was going to be different to how I parented. I was parented rather. But the words gentle parent, respectful parent, conscious parent, were not in my vocabulary. I did not know those terms.  The movement didn't exist. Maybe it did. But the words were not in my vocabulary.


Danielle Bettmann  23:22

I hadn't found the Instagram accounts yet. No.


Libby  23:24

Right. Right. And so I didn't have anything to go by. All I knew was that I did not want to be an angry parent. Which is interesting, because with the birth of my second, that's exactly what I became. And maybe that's from trauma, maybe that's just personality, I don't know. But I became acutely aware with my second that there was something inside of me that I really needed to work on. And that I was reactive, and that I naturally did get angry. And that i... It's not that I wanted to rule by fear...but it's that that's what worked. If you yell loud enough, your children will stop crying.


Danielle Bettmann  24:06



Libby  24:06

Yell loud enough, they will do what they're supposed to do. And it was that learning that like, just because that works, it doesn't mean that it's right. And it doesn't mean that I'm going to build a good relationship with my children. And it doesn't mean that it's teaching them emotional intelligence, and it doesn't mean that it's the best way to do it just because it works in the moment. And so I had to work on myself and go to therapy and learn myself how to be less reactive, um, so that I wasn't reacting to my children that way. And I say wasn't as if it's a thing in the past, like I still get triggered on on a daily basis. It is such hard work and not just like the read a book and you're like, Oh, I'm gonna be different now. Or you read one Instagram post and you're like, Yeah, I'm gonna be a gentle parent like I don't feel gentle inside, like, on a daily basis.

And it's like managing not only like our reactions inside and our physiological response to when our children aren't listening to us, but then like managing what comes out as well. And I feel like I went into it with this knowledge, I want it to be different, but it wasn't till you know, my kids hit one and a half, two and a half, three, that I really started being tested multiple times a day, every single day for the long haul, and really had to, like do that work of like, how am I actually going to react in this situation? Because this is really hard work to do. 

So, yeah, it's it's definitely a journey. And I, I've come to the realization that there's no real destination, it's not like I'm ever going to arrive at like, now, I am a successful gentle parent. No, it's just every day, reminding myself that my children are humans as well. And they deserve to be treated and spoken to with as much respect as I hope to be treated and spoken to. And I can still have firm boundaries, and I can, I can have lots of rules and all that kind of stuff. But I can do it in a way that isn't just anger and fear, and, and that sort of thing.

So it's a really, it's an interesting road to walk and beautiful than I found so many other like minded people on social media who are doing the same work. Mm hmm. And even if they didn't grow up in necessarily, like, really rough, traumatic homes, they're still trying to parent differently to how they were parented. Right? And so we all I think many of us have that common thread of you know, we're all figuring it out as we go along. And we all want what's best for our kids, too. Right?


Danielle Bettmann  26:35

Right. Yes, 100%. So I think what you're zeroing in on is the idea of your parenting instincts, like you come in with instincts, based on how you were conditioned and wired, and how you were treated, and how behavior was dealt with in your home. And everybody shows up to parenting differently, based on every home being a different experience. And that way, you have to kind of bridge that gap with your partner that you might be parenting with, to try to like rationalize what those differences are, and come to new conclusions as you are learning some of these issues for the first time, like boundaries, and regulating your own emotions, and being able to process emotions and all of these, like big concepts that we were never taught. We're trying to give those tools to our kids. Now, right as we learn them... While we teach ourselves.  Yes. Right.


Libby  27:38

It's not like we've been practicing them our whole lives. And we're like, okay, children, this is how do you do what mommy knows how to do! It's like, let's learn together!  All while your children are developing, right? So it's like, super important. It's like, all of a sudden time is of the essence, like, I have to figure this out, so that I can model it and teach it to my children before it's too late. And then they have to figure it out for themselves. Like, hopefully, we can get to it earlier. So that they don't have to work as hard as we did to, you know, to learn how to regulate our emotions, and all that kind of stuff.


Danielle Bettmann  28:11

Yeah, and I think that we have to battle our own expectations of ourselves. Because I hear so often that moms feel like they should have this figured out by now. Or they should just know what to do, or motherhood should come naturally, or they shouldn't need to ask for help with parenting, right? And that's, that's just doing a disservice to your kids by not being able to give yourself more tools and resources and support.


Libby  28:38

Right. For sure.


Danielle Bettmann  28:40

So I loved I loved the Reel, specifically, where you talked about, I want to be the "Fun" Mom. So if you would just like speak to that. I feel like that is like such a feeling that resonates with so many moms. I want. I want to be that fun, mom?


Libby  28:57

Yes. Yeah. Like in my mind, I'm like, I'm a fun person. Like before kids, I was just this fun and easygoing, fly by the seat of my pants, just do weird stuff, do fun stuff, like just experience life. And then you become a mom. And your brain space is taken up by all the things that you need to remember. And the laundry that needs to be done and forms need to be signed and the meal it needs to be cooked and the email that needs to be responded to. And those things take up so much of our brain that we don't have much left to have fun.

And I often feel sad sometimes too that, you know, when I go out with friends, I could be fun. But with my kids, it's harder because I always have to be thinking of their safety and I always have to be thinking of like, okay, well what snacks or you know, when are we going to eat and do I have enough food in the house and you know, what am I going to cook and so I can't like be as engaged and be present in the moment with them because I'm always thinking of those things, but also, just being tired from doing all the things all the time and not have any energy for and and I've really struggled in the past with resentment towards my husband.

Because you know, especially when my kids were little, and I was home all day, and I was the one that, you know, made the schedule and cook the food and clean the house and reinforced boundaries and reinforced rules and dealt with a temper tantrum, and it sucked every last ounce of energy out of me to do that all day long. And then my husband would come in the door, and they run to him and give him a big hug. And he wrestled on the floor with them. And I would just see them having all these like positive interactions and they'd like positive things. And and I would just be like what I would give to have that, what I would give to not have to be the one that's reinforcing the rules all day long, and being drained and losing my temper and feeling guilty, and having to remember all the things so that I've had the energy and the capacity and the ware-with-all to just be able to let go and play with them.

Or, you know, like, you know, I'm the one that's cooking dinner, you know, when dad gets home? And so it's like, how nice would it be to come home from work and play with your kid and just know that food is gonna wrap in 40 minutes that you don't have to think about it, that you can literally focus on just being present with your kids. And I think moms carry a lot of guilt over that guilt over not being able to be present with our kids, because we're doing everything to keep the household running. We're doing everything to keep everyone alive.

But we're doing all these things to help them develop into like, kind, compassionate, rational people. But that means for years and all throughout the day, we are having to reinforce roles and do all those things that are hard work. And that work is really worthy. But it can be really hard to not be able to just let loose and have fun. And sometimes I just I have the desire to let loose. But I'm like I can't because dinner won't get cooked. Or I can't because I don't have the energy, or I can't because if I let go and just have fun right now, I'll probably forget about their homework and forget to sign their agenda. And I'll forget to write that email and I'll forget to do all these things. And then I'll have to deal with the repercussions of forgetting all those things tomorrow, and then I'll spiral.

So it's easier for me to just go into my phone and do all my things, and do all the things that nobody even realizes that I do. And then I'm not fun. And it's really, really hard. And it's been this thing of like radical acceptance for me that even though I desire to have more fun, and it does get easier to have fun, more fun as they get older. I will say that to encourage moms with really little kids, it does become easier to to have more fun. But I I really did just have to come to this radical acceptance of in terms of your kids development, and being a good mom, a fun mom does not equal a good mom. And that's one of those things as a lie that we tell ourselves that we have to have fun with them in order to be a good mom in order to be remembered as a good mom.

And I really been encouraged by people who have even said to be like, you know, my mom was never fun. And my mom didn't join in on my play. But I have so many amazing memories with my mom. And I'm really grateful that my mom provided for us and created the safe home for us. And I never had to think about laundry. And I never had to think about the bills. And I never had to think about this. And so I think there's something really beautiful in that even though inside we want to have fun, we're still being a good mom by doing all those things that nobody knows about. And one day our children will look back and appreciate that we did all those things. 

And and you know, there are moments for fun but it says radical acceptance that that's not your role sometimes like sometimes that's not our role is to be the fun mom and and then even just communicating out with your husband like your your partner or whoever you're with, like I talked to my husband about it and been like no, you do. I try to do XY and Z that allows me to do that.

And because yeah, not everything should fall on us as women either. And that's a whole other topic. Yeah. But I'm thinking typically, especially in those early years, I'm not talking about like long term stay alone. So like in those early years where you're on that, and you're home and whatever. Typically, like we are the ones doing most things, because we're not at work, right?

So it's finding that balance of not being responsible for everything, but really at the end of the day, you are responsible for a lot of it. And yeah, it's it's really hard. And it's a radical acceptance, and it's making little changes, but also just knowing that at the end of the day, all of those things aside, if you're not a fun mom, that doesn't mean you're not a good mom, you could still be a good mom and do all the really boring things that nobody does. But no one knows.


Danielle Bettmann  34:38

And you can, you can pat yourself on the back and you can call a friend and brag and you can buy yourself flowers


Libby  34:45

You know what you do all day long. Yes, yeah, yeah. And then our kids remember, like our kids, remember those little moments. You know, like sometimes. I remember days where I felt like I was just a basket case all day, and I was snippy or whatever. And then I felt guilty that I wasn't present with the kids or wasn't doing enough or I wasn't, you know, all these things. And I feel, I felt like it was a horrible day. And we get to the end of the day, and at bedtime, I always ask my kids for, you know, show me like a great thing and tell me something that could have been better as we talked about our day.

Like, most days, they cannot think of a bad thing. Even if I have like, lost my temper or whatever, they cannot think of a bad thing. And they'll just think of like the sweetest little the sweetest little thing that you did, or, you know, when I helped you cut up the cucumbers for lunch or something like just like the sweetest little bit and you're like, you know what, like, maybe I'm not like roughhousing with them. Or maybe I'm not building like a Lego Castle. Or maybe I'm not like doing a 3-hour arts and crafts thing. But they remember just your small interactions and how you help them feel safe, and loved and they just adore you for being you. Yeah, right.

So there is encouragement in that it doesn't have to be like this big, amazing moment or hour, it's just in those little moments so that like our kids do remember that our kids, our kids love us,


Danielle Bettmann  36:07

They really do! They would much rather have those small moments of being at home being in their safe space, you being in their world for just a little bit, then they would probably have the random but far between, you know, big days at Disneyworld, or, you know, a trip to wherever, like buying a gifts and things like they would just, they love just being and getting to be Yeah, with us. And yeah, it does not have to be 3 hours long.


Libby  36:38

Right. Right. And I think like, I think that we undervalue how we create a safe space for our kids, and how I grew up. And like the different things that affected me, I when I think about the things that were the scariest or hurt me the most, I think of not feeling safe at home, and not feeling like I was safe to express my emotion, or I was safe to exist, or just that safety in general to be put in a place of comfort and love and safety. And that is what like my heart desires from my childhood. Like, I wish that being at home was a safe feeling for me. And so I now find a lot of comfort in the fact that our home is an emotionally healthy place and that our home is safe, and that our home is a place where my kids can exist and not live in fear or live, or you know, in any of those sorts of feelings. And there's a lot of comfort that comes from that. And I think that that's a really big part of our job as moms right? Is it just help our children be safe and feel safe? And there's a lot of value in that, that we don't see in the every day. But that we- I think we need to pat ourselves on the back for like you said.


Danielle Bettmann  37:51

Yes! I think if you don't have that perspective, if that's not your story, and you grew up also in a relatively safe home, then you do take it for granted.


Libby  38:01

Right. Exactly, exactly. Yeah. No, I totally agree with that. And I, I think that's one of the things that I'm, that's one of the things about my content, instead, I feel like I'd bring perspective, I feel like because I grew up so different to how we live now, there are parts of my life and parts of our family and parts of our home, that it brings me to tears to it of appreciation. Like I get to walk in the door and just feel peaceful and not be afraid that someone's gonna yell at me, or afraid that something's gonna get thrown or are just living in fear, or in a home with manipulation or different things like that, like I walked in my door, sometimes I'm like, This is home, like it feels safe, and it feels so loving. And because I experienced the opposite of that, I appreciate it so much.

But I think it's sometimes hard for us to have that perspective of like, this is so good, because it's just always been a given. Mm hmm. Right, or in a non financial security, things like that, right? Like having food in the house, and food in the fridge. And all those sorts of things that like, we just think, Oh, I do the grocery shopping and the cooking and planning and like it feels monotonous. And it's exhausting. And it doesn't feel rewarding and all that kind of stuff. But you know what, your kids don't have to worry about where their next meal is coming from. And there's something very powerful in that, that they can focus on being a kid and focus on school and focus on their friendships and focus on all the other aspects of their development because they don't have to think about food because you do. Yeah, so like, there's just so much power in like realizing that all the little things we do actually make an enormous difference for our kids that they might not realize for many years to come. 


Danielle Bettmann  39:45

Hhmm. And they may never even turn around and say, Thank you for that specific thing. But you're going to allow them to thrive in a whole new way.


Libby  39:53

Right, right. And then if if they're thriving, then how much good are they going to do in the world when they grow up right?! When they don't have to put all the energy into, you know, healing from hard things, right? If you provide that safe home, so,


Danielle Bettmann  40:07

Yes, you are doing a good job. You and everyone listening.


Libby  40:14

Exactly.  To everyone listening, you're doing a great job, even when it doesn't feel like it, even when you're doing the monotonous things every day that no one notices, they add up to make a huge difference for your kids.


Danielle Bettmann  40:26

Yes, they matter so much. And you can speak to that, because that is your story. And I think that perspective is so needed to be able to check that at the door sometimes, because everything just so heavy. And especially with the pandemic, it's just been like one long Groundhog Day, like, the same care tasks and the same chores, day after day after day, they don't end.


Libby  40:52

Yeah, 100%.


Danielle Bettmann  40:55

Everybody, deep breath we can do this. But the last piece of content that I wanted to pick your brain about was another one that really resonated with me. And I think it resonated with a lot of people, because I think you were surprised by the response. But it was talking about grieving the relationship you've never had with your mom, when you see other people's relationships with their mom, or their kids' relationship with their grandparents. And just knowing that that's not going to be like that's not accessible with your in your life. And I've been in therapy trying to work through that, because I didn't really realize how much it bothered me sometimes to see friends complaining about you know, their mom always watching the kids or, you know, just always being able to be around and call them and you know, having them be their best friend. That's just not how it went down for me. And so being able to like put words to that was really powerful. And so like, what kind of a response did you get?


Libby  42:00

Um, I'm always surprised by the response I get when I make videos about my relationship with my mom, or the lack thereof, in terms of being a present and healthy grandmother in my children's life. I like I said earlier, I've always felt very alone in that struggle. But thanks to the World Wide Web, that I realize there's so many of us who lived through that. And you know, these women and these moms who have great relationships with their moms. It's been hard to watch.

And it is something that I talked to my therapist about, and having feelings of jealousy and having, you know, feelings of envy and things like that. And, you know, she, my therapist talks to me a lot of like, about being allowed to feel our feelings, right. And so I would feel jealous, would then I would feel guilty that I felt jealous, and I would feel guilty, like, oh, actually grateful that I have a great husband, or I should be grateful that my kids are healthier, I should be grateful that you know, people would say, well, at least you're still alive, and they're willing to live through my trauma, he would understand that just because she's alive, it doesn't mean it's a positive thing all the time, like people can still hurt us. Right and, or people who have never been deeply, deeply, deeply hurt by a parent, it's hard for them to fathom, that a mother can hurt their child so much.

And for me, as a mom, now I see how much I love my kid and I would do anything to stop them from getting hurt. There's even another level of grief of looking back and saying I love my children so much. How could you do these things to me and just, it's like a mind F. Like, you're just like, how does this happen? Make it make sense. And you want to have that relationship. And it's coming to that radical, radical acceptance of you're not going to.

And then also in those moments where you hear people talking about, like, you know, the amazing things they do with their mom, like noticing, it's this thing of noticing, okay, I'm feeling guilty, right? Or I'm feeling jealous right now. And that's okay, we can accept that. Like, that's a normal feeling to have. And like moving on and not like dwelling in that and not feeling guilty about it just being like, it's understandable that you would feel that way like talking to ourselves almost right.

And so I have to do a lot of that where I just didn't like know what like, Okay. I'm rambling a bit now. But yeah, it's like, it's a really, it's really hard thing. But it's really, like, unfortunately, nice to know that other people. It's not the same for everyone. Right?

Like, not everybody has that amazing relationship. And it's just that people don't talk about it. And I think that's the thing about my content is I'm talking about things that people don't talk about. And we're talking about those relationships that people don't want to say anything about. And I get so many personal messages from people who are like, I don't want to post a comment on Instagram. My mom will see it right but they still grieve that relationship with their mom. And there's a lot of women who are struggling with that.

So like to anyone listening, if you have, you know, a rocky relationship with a parent, or if you have a toxic parent, or narcissistic parent or a parent who isn't showing up in the way that you would hope to you don't have that relationship with your parent, you're definitely not alone, like there are so many people who are in that same boat, it's possible to find community and find a bit of a tribe and to find people to fill those different roles in your life that you had hoped might come from your mom or your parent figure.

And no, it's not the same. Like, you probably think it's not the same to have a friend. No, it's not. Right. Like, at the end of the day, like, moms are the ones that like, you should be able to go to and say anything and cry about anything. And we'll come over in the middle of the night and take your baby, and we'll drop everything for you. And at the end of the day, like our friends can't do that, because they have lives of their own. So yeah, no, it's not exactly the same. But you know, we do have we do have more power than we realize. And we can find those connections and fill those type of roles, but it's definitely not definitely not easy.


Danielle Bettmann  46:09

No, no, no, but that I think that just that acceptance, like you said, is huge to be able to not add that added layer of oh, what does that mean if I feel jealous, or you know that comparative suffering of well I shouldn't, I'm not allowed to feel this feeling because I have this other good thing in my life. And like we pile it on when it just needs to be it is what it is. It's understandable to feel that way.


Libby  46:38

Yes, exactly. And then you know, we do ourselves a disservice as moms with anything not just with this parental stuff with anything, when we add guilt onto any other feeling. Right. So if you're already feeling like you didn't do enough that day, or you're already feeling jealousy, already, whatever feeling is- adding guilt is not going to make that feeling go away at and guilt is not going to make you feel better, it's just going to make you feel worse. So I think that, you know, dealing with feelings of dealing away with feelings of guilt is a really powerful thing for moms because it affects so many things in our life. And sometimes we just need to be allowed to say that's hard. That's okay that it's hard. I can say that it's hard.


Danielle Bettmann  47:20

Yes. Yes. And I think that that translates through so much of your content is that self compassion and empathy for the struggle. Like the struggle is real. And you're not alone? And it's okay. And you don't have to continue to keep all the shoulds on yourself. Just have grace.


Libby  47:39

Right. Right. Exactly.


Danielle Bettmann  47:42

So in the spirit of that, tell all the listeners where they can find you and all the all the things you're doing right now.


Libby  47:48

Rowdy! Okay, so you could find me on Tik Tok or Instagram at @diaryofanhonestmom, not diarrhea honest mom, some people when you say really fast, it sounds like diarrhea honest mom, but I'm like, It's not that.


Danielle Bettmann  48:03

Different account entirely.


Libby  48:05

I'm a different account entirely. Diary of an honest mom. And I'm actually in the process of launching a website and a blog. So I don't know when this will air but in the next few months, it'll be And I'm looking into merch, a few other different things. But for right now, Instagram and Tiktok is where you can find me every day.


Danielle Bettmann  48:31

Awesome. That is....


Libby  48:33

Yeah. Well, thank you so much for having me.


Danielle Bettmann  48:35

Yes, yes. The last question I have to ask every guest that I have on is... How are you the mom that your kids need?


Libby  48:43

I'm the mom that my kids need, because I realized that I am a person too. And then I have feelings and needs and desires too. And by taking care of myself, my mental health and my well being... it allows me to show up for them and model to them that they can also take care of themselves as well. So I think that's a good thing that we can teach our kids, right that we matter too.


Danielle Bettmann  49:10

Yeah, yes. Thank you for taking this time. And for all of the background work it takes to be a content creator, it is a whole thing. So we appreciate it- all of the ways that you speak to the things that aren't said out loud by so many moms are just cathartic in their own way. So thank you for making it, for going first and being vulnerable and being one of those voices out there. It's so needed.


Libby  49:39

Oh, thank you so much.


Danielle Bettmann  49:45

Well, if you got through it, thank you. Go find Libby if you haven't yet and leave a review for Failing Motherhood if you are loving it. It is the way that other moms find it. So thank you. Connect with me on Instagram. Share this podcast with a friend, do all the next things so that more moms are encouraged and know that they're not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood. Thank you for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.



Tuesday, Sept 27th at 1:00 PM CENTRAL

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!