After multiple freak-outs in the barber’s chair, Nicole’s “Mom Monster” was tired of yelling at her boy. She tried something new: she took off her monster fangs for a minute and took a fresh look at her son from another angle, paying him a different kind of attention. What she found was empathy for a little boy who couldn’t help that he would freak out when he got his hairs cut.
The result? A HUGE parenting turnaround. She even later found herself high-fiving and bonding with her son. Robert points out that Nicole connected with her son, partnered with him, using compassion.
Compassion can be a useful tool for connecting with loved ones. In today’s episode of 'I Am the Worst Parent Ever Podcast, Robert and Nicole take the topic one step further to ask, “Where's the compassion for ourselves? Why do we always put ourselves last?”
In Robert's opinion, self-compassion has the power to combat the fatigue and self-criticism that so many of us feel.
Nicole soaks up positive comments. When someone, somewhere (really anywhere) thinks that she is doing something right, she uses it to combat her gnawing feeling that she is messing up her work, her marriage and, most especially, her kids.
In his best moments, Robert admits that he feels proud of everything he is doing but confesses that it's quite easy for him to get overwhelmed with the day-to-day, what Nicole helpfully described as “carrying the weight of the world.”
When a single effort with her kids goes bust, Nicole feels like her whole day is blown. Any further opportunity for good mothering is shot. She admits that, like most parents, she gets distracted and anxious. And then she gets down on herself.
Robert calls Nicole a “paddler” because no matter what is coming down on her head, she just keeps paddling and moving forward.
For Nicole’s part she often wonders, “how is Robert doing all that he is doing?” and was surprised to hear that he doesn’t always feel successful: “I don’t feel like I’m juggling well. I know I’m doing the best that I can. But it’s just overwhelming.”
In this episode, we work hard to put our finger on the cause for the anxiety Nicole feels and the energy drops that Robert experiences. We are aware that we are doing the best that we can at any given moment, but doing it over and over can still lead to fatigue.
Do we care too much? What happens when a parent gets burned out?
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