Reclaiming Self-Esteem in Motherhood with Libby Ward

00:00:01    Alyssa

You're listening to Voices of Your Village, and I got to hang out with someone that I truly have such respect for and just adore on the internet, and then in real life, it turns out as well. I got to hang out with Libby Ward, Diary of an Honest Mom is her handle, if you're not following. What I love so much about how she shows up is that we throw the word authenticity around a lot, but I truly feel like she embodies that, where she talks about the realities and the struggles and the challenges and the allowing of all feelings. And we got to chat today about so many things related to like self -esteem and motherhood, and one of my favorite things we got to dive into was this idea of like shame versus accountability, and breaking down like this concept of guilt. She has an incredible guided journal for you,  The Honest Mom Journal: The struggling moms guide to struggling less, that can help you navigate this work and dive into figuring out what it looks like for you. Find out more about Libby over at Diary of an Honest Mom. She's a digital creator, a speaker, mental health advocate with a deep commitment to changing the motherhood narrative. She's been featured on a number of publications and media, Good Morning America, Tamron Hall Show, BBC, et cetera, and is truly a thought leader in today's difficult and complex experiences of mental health. She's a gem, and I'm so excited to share this interview with you. All right, folks, let's dive in. 


00:01:34    Alyssa

Hey there, I'm Alyssa Blask Campbell. I'm a mom with a master's degree in early childhood education and co -creator of the Collaborative Emotion Processing Method. I'm here to walk alongside you through the messy,  vulnerable parts of being humans, raising other humans with deep thoughts and actionable tips. Let's dive in together.


00:01:58    Alyssa

Hey Libby, I'm so jazzed to get to hang out with you today. How are we doing today? How are we holding up over there? 


00:02:10    Libby

I'm full transparency, a hot mess. Hi, I'm so glad to be here and I'm a disaster until about three minutes ago when we logged on here and I'm so looking forward to having this conversation and showing up as my messy self. 


00:02:25    Alyssa

It's my favorite thing about you, is that: that like the ability to be your messy self and in Tiny Humans Big Emotions like right towards the beginning we wrote, like your mess is welcome here. But I like genuinely believe that, and want that to be practiced more, and was just having a conversation with my best friend the other day about how like I'm not a huge fan of playdate culture of like, we're going to come together and like pretend to be perfect parents for an hour where our kids will all just like be behaved and our house will be clean and we're going to have snacks out and whatever. And I'm so much more interested in the like, hi, I'm a hot mess. Can you drop by with a meal? Like I am going crazy with my kids. Can you please step in? Like that's more of interest to me. 


00:03:14    Libby

Yeah. It's more of interest to me as well. And honestly, in the first year and a bit of motherhood I subscribed to the whole I can only have friends at my house if everything's perfect, and so then I wouldn't have friends at my house because nothing was ever perfect and then I was really lonely and I decided that that's a load of crock. Because one time I went to a new friend's house and her house was a train wreck, and within seconds my nervous system was like I really like this and it made me feel so welcome, and at home, and like she was my people, you know a person who lives in a house that looks like it's lived in, and from that moment on I was like screw this. I am not pretending to be perfect, I'm pretending my house is perfect anymore. Lo and behold, I invited people over and they felt more comfortable, and then like a lot of things were better because nobody had to pretend anymore 


00:04:04    Alyssa



00:04:05    Libby

Like it just is better that way when we show up real.


00:04:08    Alyssa

 A hundred percent and I think that like that's a huge part for me of the like like self -esteem part in parenthood is like, what are the expectations and what's the reality? And how does that measure up? And like, I don't know, I've never gone through like days with kids and I'm like, yeah, I never felt annoyed with this kid or like, they're going to do things that are annoying. We're going to be triggered. And like, that's a part of this. And I think the like showing up as our messy selves also includes that of like, oh my gosh, this kid's driving me bonkers right now and I need to tap out from it and being able to say that without the shame, or the judgment, or the blame of like I'm failing, or I'm not good at this. 


00:04:50    Libby

Yeah absolutely and I think it's so interesting that we apply different rules to our relationship with our kids than we do literally any other person and in any other environment. So like the shame and blame is so real, and I have struggled with it so deeply in my life. But when I step back and I look at the logic of the situation, I'm like, if anybody else in my life completely ignored everything I said 10 times in a row, naturally I would be filled with rage. If anybody else in my life asked me to cook them dinner and then threw it on the floor, naturally I would be filled with rage. It doesn't mean that I'm a bad parent because I am filled with rage that my work gets thrown on the floor, it just means that I'm a human being and also that they're a human being, that their brains haven't fully functioned yet, they haven't fully grown, and they haven't fully developed, and yet here we are expecting ourselves to not be reactive and not have any emotions about the lunacy of our lives with them. And in terms of self -esteem, it's like what? You're judging yourself for what? You're holding yourself to this ridiculous expectation for what? With any other human in your life, you would be frustrated if they did the things that your children did. And we are not like, our patience doesn't just up level by a million the moment we like pop out a baby or like, you know, become mothers, it's hard and it's going to be hard and you're going to be impatient sometimes. And so to the title of your book, Tiny Humans, Big Emotions, but also like big humans, big emotions. 


00:06:27    Alyssa

Yeah. That's like the spoiler alert is like people come, people come for the kids and they stay for themselves. I mean, there's five components to the CEP method and one is adult -child interactions. The other four are about us for that exact reason that like, we also get to have feelings. And I think there's a clear distinction to be made between us as adults having feelings and kids feeling responsible for our feelings, right? That like, it's one thing for me to say like, Sage, I'm feeling really overwhelmed right now. We're trying to get in from outside and you are playing in the front seat of the car and I'm trying to pull in the groceries and it's almost nap and whatever. And I'm going to pause and calm my body so that I can help you. Me taking ownership over my own regulation rather than like, and you need to change your behavior and who you are so that I can feel calm. That like that for me is that clear distinction. We write about it in the book, but I think it's bonkers to think and also to imagine that kids don't see that we have big emotions. The like, we are allowed to, and they are going to feel it. And if we don't acknowledge them, then they're like, you don't seem fine. Right. When we're like, no, I'm fine. Like, well, you don't seem fine. 


00:07:41    Libby

And then it leaves them questioning themselves. And so they're naturally going to blame themselves. And I think for me, I had to really come to this. So the way I grew up is I felt like I was responsible for all of my mom's emotions. And I was blamed and shamed and had to change my behavior and became a people pleaser to make her happy. And so then when I became a mom, I was like, I'm not going to do that. And so I tried to stuff it all inside and not share any of those emotions with them. And I realized very quickly that that's what ends up leading to more explosions and leading to more of like the dirty eye, you know, the dirty eyes towards the kids and the yelling and the things like that, because I wasn't expressing them. And I finally got to this place where I had to realize that like emotions are a normal experience for children, for adults, for all of us. And we actually don't need to blame anyone. We don't need to blame and judge ourselves. We don't need to blame and judge our children. We just need to accept that we have emotions and take responsibility for our own. And I had to work really hard at the language I used in talking to my kids about it, because there's a big difference between saying mommy is really overwhelmed I need a few minutes to calm my body down, and you are making me so mad you need to leave me alone right now. And it feels so different in their body. 


00:09:04    Alyssa

Yeah exactly, exactly. When you came into parenthood I think for a lot of humans when they're entering into parenthood they maybe like slay.. you found a job or you found like life stuff like you slay, you're like I'm really freaking good at pickleball and I'm in this pickleball group or whatever. I don't know what pickleball people do, a team, a team of pickleball players, a club, or like, you know, I chose this job and I feel really competent at it and good at it. And I think for a lot of folks, like when you enter into parenthood and kind of like envisioning the wedding, but not the marriage sort of thing, we were like, I picture certain parts of parenthood. When I was teaching preschool. I had a mom, was like my first year of teaching who at drop -off one day, she was like, I am going to slay parenting, like a nine to 15 year old. Like that is my jam. This right here, this is not my jam. And I was like, I love this. I love this like acknowledgement that we don't have to, not every stage has to be like, oh, I'm just, I know exactly what I'm doing right now. And I have all the skills for it. And I don't need any support or any help. Like this is my jam. But I think a lot of us, when we like enter into parenthood, we picture certain things, and we're not picturing like the kids screaming in the car seat for 20 minutes when you're trying to go to an appointment, or them throwing that dinner that you made on the ground. You're like, no, we'll do like baby led weaning and they'll like love it. They'll totally embrace it. It's going to be perfect. And then the reality and the expectations don't align. And I think that's where like our self -esteem piece can take a hit of like, that's where we feel like we're failing. 


00:10:52    Libby

Absolutely. And I know when I became a mom, prior to becoming a mom, I was in control of my life, literally everything from where I lived, to who I spent my time with. If someone was toxic, I didn't have to spend time with them. If someone treated me poorly, if someone was loud and overstimulating, if I didn't like a job, I could leave it. If I didn't like my house, I could move. And so a lot of us, when we become parents, you become parents after you've learned that you can control your life. And if you just plan enough and you just read enough and you just know enough, then you can pretty much control the outcome as much as possible. And then from the moment you become pregnant, you slowly realize that you're not in control of anything, 


00:11:35    Alyssa



00:11:36    Libby

You know, you're not in control of how the pregnancy is going to go, how the birth is going to go, how your postpartum period is going to go. And then you think, well, maybe you'll stop here. No, you literally, this is a human being and they have have their own personality and their own needs and their own emotions and their own experiences of the world. And actually you're not in control. And that is terrifying for so many of us who have always felt like the more we know, and the more we prepare, and the more in control we've been before, that's going to allow us to be even more in control when we have our children. And even if we've done the research and we know the things that doesn't actually mean that you're going to be in control of literally anything. And I think that's where the self -esteem part comes in because we may not realize it. But being in control of so much and being able to plan outcomes and all of that kind of stuff makes us feel good about ourselves. Before I had kids, I worked two jobs and I volunteered like there was no evening when I was sitting at home on the couch like I was busy. I was involved in my own community. People were like, how did you work that many jobs? I'm like, I love it. I love being busy. I love being productive. And it made me feel good about myself to be productive and check the lists off and be someone that people could rely on, and someone who didn't get angry, and didn't like wasn't emotional and then all of a sudden I became a parent and like like oh I have to get used to not being able to get that much done and also guess what I do have emotions and it's hard to hide them when someone's been screaming in my ear for 25 minutes.


00:13:03    Alyssa

A hundred percent and I hope we're seeing a shift in this language now but that the like doing the research and knowing the things and whatever is really to prepare us to to allow this to unfold as it will. That like, there are some tools we can have in our tool belt and we can get to know our nervous system and their nervous system and things like that. But like, I was just thinking of, uh, we went to the fair, uh, about a month or so ago and fast forward a couple hours into the fair where my child had refused all food since he woke up from nap. And after like, we all gathered for dinner for like fair food dinner, and he refused that meal too we were like okay. My husband was like what do we do now and I was like just buckle up because like it's about to hit the fan. Right? Like and that for me is the allowing part of-- I'm not in control at this point, can't make 'em eat, can't make 'em sleep, you can't make 'em poop, and now we're gonna wait this out. And he's gonna get hangry, and he's gonna melt down, and sure enough like half hour after he refused that dinner we're sitting on this like lawn as he's screaming, go away, leave me alone, getting as far away from my husband and I as possible. And as close to like these families, who are like, enjoying fried dough together at picnic tables, as possible, like laying next to them. And my best friend turned to me at that point, and was like, so what's the name of the book? And I was like, yeah, Tiny Humans Big Emotions if you're looking for it, but like, this is it. Like that's it in practice. My goal isn't that he never has hard emotions, that he never melts down, that like I never melt down. It's that we we know it's okay. 


00:14:42    Libby

I'm so glad you brought that up. Cause I think for me, even on my own self -development, self -healing journey, I thought that if I read enough books and I knew enough things and I intellectualized my experience, and understood my experience, and why I am the way I am, enough, that would stop the hard things from happening. Or that would stop me from having really negative or really big emotions. But instead it helps me to understand them more. And it gives me those tools, but it doesn't make my emotions go away. It doesn't make my kids' emotions go away. I can understand everything to a T of how children develop, and what their nervous systems are like, and what our nervous systems are like. But at the end of the day, I'm still going to have an emotional reaction inside to what is happening. They are still going to have emotional reactions. There's no way to limit that. 


00:15:34    Alyssa



00:15:35    Libby

I think the most important things that we've, that I've learned is the power of being able to apologize as well. There's this piece of okay we need to accept that we all are going to have emotions. There's going to be hard things that happen and just because we feel rage inside, it doesn't mean that we need to express rage in an unhealthy way. And one of the issues that I have with how we talk about "mom rage" on the internet is that number one it's not a condition you have. You don't have mom rage. You just are a mom who gets angry because all humans get angry sometimes. But secondly, we all mean something different. I can say I'm experiencing rage and it can just mean something I internally experience in my body and have to work through. Somebody else could say mom rage, and that could mean literally throwing a dozen ceramic dishes across the room, a foot away from their child's head. Those are very different different expressions of the feeling of rage. And I have been on the receiving end of the plates being thrown. And so that's very different. And so it's important to talk about it in the right ways so that we know what we're talking about. Like, yes, you're allowed to feel rage. No, you should not throw plates at your children. 


00:16:50    Alyssa



00:16:51    Libby

And let's go the middle ground. Maybe you're not throwing plates, but you're screaming in your kid's face, which I have done before. And I've had to realize that even though I'm allowed to have emotions, screaming in my child's face doesn't align with my value system, and it is so important to be able to repair after we express our emotions in an unhealthy way. Because they do just automatically self -blame and self -shame and so it's this important part of the conversation I think sometimes that's missed where we say it's okay to have feelings. It's okay to be angry. It's okay to say it's hard. But also, how you express those feelings is important. And if you express them in an unhealthy way, it's important to repair too. 


00:17:35    Alyssa

100%. And this is the like modeling part as well, that I think we often want self -control from kids, right? Like we want them to show up with certain behavior, we want them to show up with certain language or a certain tone, or pleases and thank yous and whatever. And yeah, you can feel mad, but like you can't hit your sibling or whatever. But then from ourselves, like if we take a beat, first of all, no one acts from a place of self -control all the time. Self -control requires self -regulation, you can't regulate what you're not aware of. When I have like had a long day and my husband comes home from work I'm not like you know what's going to be the most productive for me? To be sarcastic and snippy right now, like that's gonna that's gonna go the best here. But like when we're not from a place of self -control and I'm not regulated, when I'm not aware of like what's happening, I'm gonna be sarcastic and snippy sometimes. And then I'm gonna have to apologize and take accountability at some point and navigate that repair with him. And I think with kids, same thing where we like kind of, we expect certain things from them. We want them to have the self -control. And then when we don't have self -control, I think we can sit and this is where like shame or guilt can come in. For me, guilt is rad. It's one of my favorite emotions because it usually lets me know like, hey, Alyssa, you're outside your value system. Like something isn't in alignment here. And it gives me that opportunity to be like, okay, like who do I need to repair with? Where have I dropped the ball here? And then what does it look like for me moving forward? Like, is this something that's a habit or a pattern and I need to better resource in this area? Or like there's a little toy that my child has that makes this God awful annoying noise that drives me nuts that if it's like a part of my morning routine, as we're trying to get out the door for childcare, I'm not the parent I want to be. It's like adding up in the background so much for me. And so one of those for me was like, as I was seeing like every morning, not the parent I want to be when Thomas the train is in our space, great. Thomas is not a part of our morning now. Like at bedtime, I hide Thomas in the closet, comes out after school. Like that was a way to just like better resource myself in the morning. But I think when it comes to kids, this ability to be able to repair, not only is it crucial for our attachment relationship, but it shows them like, yeah, you don't have to be perfect. You don't have to do things perfectly all the time. You get to drop the ball. And accountability is a part of that, that we hold ourselves accountable in our household. And we acknowledge where we have made mistakes or dropped the ball and what it's going to look like going forward. And I think this is something that like in the, I'm going to put this in quotes, gentle parenting space, I don't love it because it doesn't feel gentle to me. Like doesn't feel like an accurate description of it. But in that space, I think it can feel like, oh yeah, kids just get to scream in your face. They get to throw things. They get to be out of control. And I don't agree. I'm like, no, I don't get to do that. They don't get to do that. And sometimes we're all going to do that, right? Like sometimes we're all going to lose our cool. And here's what it looks like to model that moving forward. But that if we, when we are out of control, don't navigate that repair part, then kids don't see what that looks like and how they can own their mistakes. 


00:20:48    Libby

Right. And I want to talk about this mom guilt piece. 


00:20:52    Alyssa



00:20:54    Libby

Because again, on social media and short form video, we use it all of the time and we mean something totally different. And I love how you said that it was your favorite emotion because for a lot of people, they're like, mom guilt is the worst. First off, I'm really not a fan of calling anything a "mom feeling" mom rage, mom guilt, mom, whatever. But, we'll just go with it for now. We use that term for absolutely everything. And in my journal, I actually have in my guided journal, I have this section that talks about guilt, where it's like, at the end of the day, I want you to reflect on something that you feel guilty about. And from that thing, you need to choose one of these four options or a few of these options. And what you notice when you do it is a lot of times we're feeling guilty for things we don't need to feel guilty about. So true guilt is when you feel bad about something that you've done wrong, something that's out of alignment with your value system, those sorts of things. And that guilt is like a little siren that's like, hey, something's wrong here, you need to do something different. And so the choices are, you know, apologize and repair, give yourself grace and try again tomorrow, look for tools and resources. Ideally, you're choosing all three, but you should choose one of those. So you're giving yourself grace, but you're doing something different. But then the fourth one is actually this is not guilt. I need to not feel guilty about this. Because so many times oh I feel guilty for going out with my friends, I feel guilty that I missed bedtime, I feel guilty that I work outside the home. I have mom guilt that I ate the last slice of pie. No, no. No you don't. No that's not guilt, it's not guilt, it's society's messaging that mothers should be martyrs and give of themselves 100 % and never have needs and never have wants, and that you should only ever live for your children. So I think it's so important to talk about guilt in that way, because guilt can be incredibly useful, not in just making us delve into a shame spiral and hating ourselves, but in saying, if I've actually done something like out of line with my value system, what can I change? What can I do? But also, if this isn't guilt, let's stop calling it guilt because it's not helping anyone and it erodes our self -esteem. To anything that's remotely negative, we just enter into a shame spiral. It does not help. If you haven't done anything wrong, let's not call it guilt. 


00:23:16    Alyssa

I love this. I love this conversation. I think that it's the deducing, have I done something that really feels outside of my value system? And that's where that like awareness component to dive into what is societal messaging? I actually, at the very beginning of our book, I had said to a friend of mine, I was like, oh, she's such a good mom. And she was like, what does that mean? And I was like, you know what? Thank you. What does that mean? And I ended up outlining these three questions for myself in motherhood of like, what does it mean for me to feel like I'm a good mom? And because I would get into the like comparison, like, oh, I'm not cutting my kids food into shapes or I'm not like, I'm never ever going to be the human who like makes the homemade muffins and they're all like veggie loaded and protein packed and whatever like it's just that is it brings me zero joy is not how I like to show up in the world, and I believe that I'm still a good mom if I don't do those things but when I am scrolling it's real easy for me to get into the like oh I'm like failing at x y and z because I'm not not doing all these things. Last year, actually, I was like, okay, we've never done holiday cards. And I was like, all right, I feel like as a mom, I should be doing this. I should be sending out holiday cards. And so we put them together and I sent out 15 and hated it. And now we just have a box of holiday cards that live in my house. And I'm like, I'm never doing that again. It brings me zero joy. It felt like an additional task that was largely inconvenient. And there was no like net positive from that. Right. And when I, when I outlined those questions, it like helped me get back to what does it look like for me to say like, yeah, I'm a good mom. Like I'm doing enough. And it really helped me unpack the like, what is guilt? And what is the societal messaging part of you should be doing X, Y, and Z-- otherwise your kid's not going to have of a secure attachment with you or they're not gonna whatever like if you travel for work if you would have like all those things that would come up for me that were in that guilt category it helped me separate them out when I had kind of like these guiding questions to go through because otherwise it's like it-- they can feel muddy they can like mix together of like what is the value system alignment, and what is something that somebody else's values?


00:25:47    Libby

 And it all just gets tangled up into this big negative ball that is hard to work through I've always been someone who's like, I don't have time to journal. Like I'm too busy. I am not going to sit down and write things out, but there is something incredible, there's actually research that shows the power of journaling because you're sitting down, or maybe you're not sitting, you're reflecting, you're intentionally looking at these different areas of your life and it helps give you perspective. And that's why I made the journal to like help moms to stop and look and and say are my expectations for my day, for this season of my life, actually realistic. If they're not how can I reprioritize things. What are things I actually have to do, what are things I could or should do, and what are the things I get to do that I could maybe like change my perspective on like being grateful for them as opposed to just being like oh my gosh I have all these things to do today... okay well like do you actually have to do all those things? Because so often we're just looking at what everyone else is doing being like well they're doing that so I should I should write notes in my kids lunches every day. I don't want to. They know I love them. I say I love you every morning, I love you when they get off the bus, and we talk at bedtime, all these things, I don't want to write the stupid notes. And like they are not going to be traumatized that I didn't write the notes and that is not something that I value so I don't need to feel guilty about that. And actually sitting down and writing down like I feel guilty for going for a walk makes you realize how stupid that is, not how stupid you are, how stupid it is that you feel guilty for literally going for a walk. And there's something about seeing it written down that makes you go, maybe I don't need to. And then the more you do it, all of a sudden, the less you start feeling bad about things you don't really need to feel bad about. and then to the accountability piece, I love that part of the guilt section because so often like what you're talking about before we hold our kids accountable right? Like you don't talk to me like that, you don't say things like that, you don't you can't yell at people, all these things, we hold our children accountable for things-- but who's holding us accountable? Often we do things that maybe don't align with our value system and we enter shame, and we enter blame, and we enter judgment, but we don't do anything with that. We just let it eat us alive and makes us feel awful about ourselves and erodes our self -worth and our self -esteem and all the things, but I like that if you're writing down something that maybe you actually should feel guilty for it prompts you to be like what are we gonna do about this. Oh, I'm gonna put Thomas the Tank in the closet instead of just like eating yourself alive, you're like I'm actually gonna do something differently. I'm gonna like take a course or go to therapy or I'm gonna put Thomas in the closet. Like there's things you can do, and so I as we're talking about this I'm like it's almost like this idea of accountability versus shame.


00:28:44    Alyssa



00:28:45    Libby

It's like you can choose to go into self -shame and self -blame and not do anything with it and just feel like a horrible person, or hold yourself accountable and that actually for me it helps me to move through it. Like if I'm feeling guilty about something that that I should feel guilty for, and then I hold myself accountable, somehow the shame and blame has gone much quicker. And I'm like, okay, there's something about it. You move through it. 


00:29:10    Alyssa

It also helps me set boundaries for myself. The accountability part where I'm like, okay, maybe if part of it is I have not taken that five or 10 minute walk, or I am always eating breakfast on the go instead of sitting down and giving myself three minutes to just sit at the table and eat breakfast, like then it's leading to like, I'm losing it as we're trying to get out the door or whatever. And then it helps me set boundaries without shame or blame or judgment of like, well, this helps me show up as the human that I want to be. And this is a boundary that I'm going to set for myself. And that accountability piece is like a part of that for me when I see that it serves a purpose that like, I want this boundary and literally every single boundary I think I've set for myself, it's, it nourishes me. And it also then, by proxy, helps me show up to my husband, or my friends, or my co workers, or whatever, in a different way. So I think that like, that's a huge part of it. Because boundaries, I think, you highlighted, and I dig this that like, there isn't there aren't just like mom emotions. But that I think that one of the things that that is interesting is that we do experience different emotions because of the societal messaging, right? That I was just having a conversation with my husband about this. I've been on this book tour, so I'm traveling a bunch, whatever. And he sometimes travels for work. And I was like, how's it feel for you? And he was like, yeah, I mean, I would rather be home. I like being home, but like, sometimes it's kind of nice to just like get away for a couple of days and like watch trashy TV on a TV in a hotel room and whatnot. And I have to like, that's one thing where I'm like, oh my God, am I away too much? Am I traveling too much? What's happening? Am I taking care of, am I, am I momming enough? Right. And he literally doesn't experience that. Like isn't a thought process that goes through his head. And so I think part of the like mom component here when we're looking at hetero relationships specifically is that we do have different societal messaging for moms versus dads that feeds into it.


00:31:31    Libby

We do and, like even in our social circles, like sometimes I don't feel guilty about something and then as soon as everyone in the circle says I feel guilty about that I feel guilty about I feel guilty about that then I go oh maybe I should feel guilty about that. So it's like broader social norms and social expectations but then it's like like our inner circles as well. And it's a little comment that different people say like, oh, I could never, I could never leave my kids and go on a boat tour. And you're going like, but like, what is that supposed to mean? Like, what are you saying? 


00:32:05    Alyssa

But I can. 


00:32:06    Libby

Yeah. And, and I think about like, so my husband is a shift worker. He's a police officer. He works a continental shift, which long story short means he has worked every other weekend of our children's life. So for nine years, we have not had him half of the weekends of our lives. And half is a lot. Half is a lot of weeks. And it's incredible the difference I feel being away for a weekend versus what he feels. 


00:32:29    Alyssa



00:32:30    Libby

Where like, now that I have this job and this career, I have more speaking engagements, things like that, I might be gone two or three tops weekends a quarter, like not a ton in comparison to the amount that he works. And yet I'm here going like, oh my goodness, I'm missing out on all this stuff with my kids. Are they going to remember me like all these insane things, and I'm like he's literally been gone for half the weekends of their lives, and their relationship is great. Their attachment is great. He is involved with them, he doesn't seem to feel guilty, they have a great relationship, and as a mom it's like but why do I feel different. There is some biological level to it of like even like the hormones that we produce, like after we have the babies, like it really there is something about being a mom-- there is something. But I don't think it's as biological as people say it is. And it just gets all messed up in our heads and it's, and it's hard. And I feel like we experience different emotions, but we also just experience them to a more extreme degree, because the pressure too. It's like, sure, other people, you know, if you go to work, your work is important. Sure. There's other relationships in your life that are important, but like a child parent relationship and like your child's development it is the most important work and so there is not screw it up. You know it's not just like if you screw up your relationship with your boss and you get fired you're just getting other job. Like you know, this is somebody's life is literally in your hands. So there's a bit of pressure there.


00:34:02    Alyssa

Sure. But I think those messages also are-- one of our SEED team members-- her oldest is just about to turn nine, and similarly her partner's in law enforcement and so his schedule's just been all over the, it's not a nine to five. And he just switched to a job in law enforcement literally a month ago that's a nine to five and she was like I didn't realize how much I've just been holding, until that switch happened, and it was like oh. You're home for dinner at night? Like we're all together on weekends? And she was like all these things that are so many people's norms, and she was like, I just had this like huge exhale that I didn't know I'd been holding all of parenthood. So I was thinking of her when you were sharing that. The comments are so real and grating. I was in Panama for work for like five or six days. And it was not long after Sage had turned two. And then I was coming home. And the next day was a work day and a school day. It was like a Thursday. And someone close to my life, in my life, was like, oh, you're going to go to work? Like you get home on Wednesday, you're going to work on Thursday? And I was like, uh, yeah. Every time my husband has ever traveled for work, it's never been questioned that if the next day he gets home is a work day, he's going to go to work. And then all of a sudden I was like, should I feel guilty about that? Like I've been gone. I'll be gone for like five or six days and I'm coming back. We're going to see each other in the evening and like have dinner and do bedtime. And then I was going to bring him to school in the morning. And I went through that, like, should I feel guilty? Like I hadn't, I hadn't felt guilty until the comment. I had to like really sit with that, but I think you're right. It's not just the broader societal messaging, but our like close circles that can trigger these, like, wait, am I supposed to feel guilty about this one? 


00:35:55    Libby

Yeah. And it's the littlest, littlest comments that they just say it in passing and it just just eats at you. Like, what am I doing wrong here? And I had to do a lot of deep work and ask myself, this is what I'm writing about in my book right now is asking myself, what is important to me? What is valuable to me? What is my value system? Because I know when I became a parent, I kind of just looked at everyone else and I was like, what are they doing? What are they doing? What are they doing? What's important to them? And I tried to be the best of all of it. And, you know, not ask myself if I wanted to write those stupid notes in my kid's lunch. I was just like I do what all the other people are doing. And then of course you realize you literally can't. So important step and realizing what are you going to allow yourself to feel guilty about? What are you going to feel bad about? How are you going to spend your time is not looking at what everyone else is doing, but asking yourself like what matters to you? Like what is valuable to me? And so many of us skip over that part and just get busy doing all the things. 


00:37:00    Alyssa

Well, and I think for those of us that didn't grow up in like secure attachment relationship homes, it does feel like we're floundering, especially at the beginning of the work of like, yeah, it wasn't modeled for me of the parent that I necessarily want to be. And so now I'm like in the trenches trying to figure out what does it look like to be the parent that I want to be? How does this play out in 15 years, right? Like also our joke in my household is not like, will Sage be in therapy, but like, what's he going to be in therapy for? Like what I want him to know is like therapy is an option, right? Like that's great. And if you need to process the ways that I'm going to drop the ball, I'm happy to fund your therapy and support you with access to it, that that's okay. Like that it's also okay if we, as we're trying to learn this while we're doing it, aren't perfect at it and that there are things down the road. I also think it's a part of progress, right? That if in 30 years Sage is like, yeah, we've changed nothing and learned nothing about how humans exist in the world and how we show up with each other, et cetera, then I'd be like, what have you been doing for 30 years? I think a part of progress is saying, we've learned some things and we're tweaking some things. And that it's not a reflection on like, oh, I didn't know that 30 years ago. I wrote in the book that like I saw a picture of myself at my my mom's house, in the car seat as a baby. And I was like, oh, wow. Thank goodness we didn't get in a car accident because it's like a bucket with straps. And she was like, I don't even have a car seat. It's not like she, and now Sage is rear facing till he's 18 in this fortress. And it's not like she had access to Sage's car seat and was like, I'm actually going to choose this one. She didn't have access to that. And I think if we can truly say like, yeah, we're doing the best we can with the knowledge and tools that we have right now, that that's really enough. 


00:39:00    Libby

And it has to be enough. Because no human, parent, non -parent, child, no human is ever going to figure it all out. And we are never going to learn enough that we're not going to experience emotions. And we're never going to know enough or be prepared enough that we will tick all the boxes. There's going to be research that comes out in five years that we didn't know now. There's going to be things that we learned later that we didn't know now. We're going to have access to things later, we're going to have maybe therapy that we go through that teaches things to us that we didn't know, and we need to be okay with not being okay sometimes. And I think part of the hard thing right now in this like social media landscape and a self -help self -development perfect parenting landscape is that there's this idea that if you just know enough you're gonna figure it all out and you're not going to traumatize your kids. I call myself a cycle breaker because there are cycles that are toxic and damaging that I am trying to break. I am not someone who is going to break all of the cycles. Now there's going to be some cycles that I break. There's going to be some that I change a bit. And to be honest, there's probably going to be some cycles that I'm not even thinking about that are toxic that I'm starting like that. I'm not even aware of, you know, and so if I can equip my children to say, I am not perfect, I will continue to be accountable. I encourage you to get help from other people, like therapists, to process what I've done. And if you've ever come to me and say you did this, and it hurt me, I promise you that I will see you and that I will say, I am sorry, and that I will be accountable for that, and that I will prioritize your experiences and acknowledge and validate your experiences and still be able to apologize for that. It's like, I feel like so many of us were raised with this generation of parents. We're like, well, I loved you and I did my best. You know what? Like sometimes simply loving someone isn't enough, and we can acknowledge that we've hurt them. And so similar to you, I'm like, sweet. If my kids go to therapy, then I've done my job that they feel comfortable going to therapy. 


00:41:11    Alyssa

Correct. Yeah, exactly. And I think you're right. I think it's the, I think a lot of us don't have parents who were supported with tools for what does it look like when someone turns to you and how do you hold yourself accountable? And so then if we turn and we're like, I'm struggling with anxiety here from this or whatever. And they say the like, well, I did my best and yada, yada. That was just the times. For me, it's just that lack of skill, and ability to say like, oh man, I feel uncomfortable with what's happening right now. I'm having an uncomfortable emotion and I can regulate that and hold myself accountable and also give myself the grace that my child doesn't have to give me. It's not my child's job to give me that grace. It's my job to give myself the grace of like, yeah, you used all the tools you had, 'Lyss, and like all the resources that were available and your kid, it's not their job to be like, what were all the resources that were available? Can you tell me all of them so that I can analyze if you did the right job with the tools you had? Like that's not a kid's job to figure out. And I just feel like a lot of like this idea of like the self -awareness and accountability piece, and what's our job, and what's their job, is pretty new for our generation. And I'm jazzed about it. I'm jazzed about like, what does this mean down the road when our kids do come and say like, Hey, here are the ways you dropped the ball. Here are things that hurt me that we can say like, Oh man, totally. I'm so sorry that that's how that played out. That that was your experience of that, and be able to be present to them and hold space for that. I'm jazzed about that. 


00:42:54    Libby

Yeah. And how much healthier relationships will be with that. Right. Cause I think often, you know, in our parent relationships, if we're like looking to the older generation, because there isn't that accountability, it breaks the relationship down even more. And so they might be thinking, well, I don't, they're not even consciously thinking of it. It's like this inability to be accountable and apologize. Maybe they're thinking, well, if I admit that I did this, or I admit that I hurt them, they're not going to want to be in a relationship with me anymore. But actually so many of us as children desperately, we want that relationship. We want to be connected. We just want to feel seen. And I also am so excited about this new generation of parents who can be accountable, because I think it's going to not only impact like our well -being and our children's development, but our relationship with our kids when they're grownups, say like, yeah, I screwed up and that hurt you. And that must have been hard for you. That accountability versus shame of like, if I can then be accountable and apologize, then maybe the shame that I carry around every day will be less. 


00:44:06    Alyssa

Yeah. Totally. And I'm super jazzed for folks to snag your journal, because I think it's a huge part of this, is like, if our kids are nervous about coming to us and saying those things, because they're nervous that we'll feel shame around them, then they won't come, right? And so when we can do that work to be able to show up and show accountability over shame and live those values out, then it can open up that avenue for them to be able to come and say those things to us without fear of us then living in shame or expressing shame. Like, oh my God, I'm the worst, blah, blah, blah. Yeah, I dropped the ball so much, that we can make it about us, if we don't do that work. And so I'm super jazzed for folks to have access to tools. I know your book's a long time coming, but I'm excited for that. I think it'll help people dive even deeper into this. But for folks to be able to snag your guided journal to start doing some of this, like the the reflection piece and parsing out the accountability versus shame. Can you tell people where they can find it? 


00:45:12    Libby

Yeah, they can find it on Amazon. So it's called The Honest Mom Journal: The struggling moms guide to struggling less And it's available on Amazon, UK, US and Canada right now. 


00:45:25    Alyssa

Awesome. Yeah, thank you. 


00:45:27    Libby

And like your book is going to change so many people's lives and like generationally change lives and I am just so so excited for you, and for this book it's probably gonna change the world. 


00:45:40    Alyssa

Thanks. It changed how I got to show up in the world and I'm stoked to get to share it with others now. Libby, you're a gem, you're a gem in the social media space, especially where yeah there's so much scrolling and comparison and perfection. Where can people find you follow you learn more about you?


00:45:59    Libby

 Yeah, you can find me @diaryofanhonestmom on all the platforms, tiktok, instagram, facebook, that's my website find me there, come say hi, I will be probably dancing silly or crying on the internet, so may the odds be ever in your favor in how you find me.


00:46:19    Alyssa

I love it. Thank you so much for hanging out.


00:46:22    Libby

Thanks have a good one.


00:46:23    Alyssa

Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at, S -E -W. Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans.


50% Complete

Two Step

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.