Todd and Cathy discuss the two types of messy conversations and explain why it’s important to know the difference if you want to connect with your kid. They discuss the awesomeness of Zen Parenting, 2024 and share some of the most important lessons learned. They also highlight the significance of knowing less, listening more, and discovering what ‘time well spent’ means.

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Time Stamps

(00:07:04) Messy Conversations

(00:12:52) Statements/behaviors/beliefs that happen in a “closed/messy conversation”

(00:28:26) Setbacks or failures?

(00:29:11) Join Team Zen Circle

(00:32:08) The good that comes from bad messy conversations

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Blog Post

Navigating the Waters of Parenting: Embracing ‘Messy Conversations’

Hello Zen Parents,

It’s Cathy and Todd here, coming to you post our recent and energizing conference. We are thrilled to dive into a topic close to our hearts and ever-present in our journey as parents and partners: the art of navigating ‘Messy Conversations.’

In our latest episode, “Two Types of Messy Conversations,” we peeled back the layers of communication challenges that often surface in parenting. These conversations are not just about words exchanged; they are the vessels for connection, learning, and understanding between us and our children.

The Two Faces of “Messy Conversations”

Counterproductive Conversations: Often, we find ourselves entangled in conversations that spiral downwards. They’re marked by frustration, a battle for control, or a desire to ‘win’ rather than understand. We’ve been there, reacting emotionally rather than responding thoughtfully. These moments don’t lead us anywhere productive. Instead, they create distance and misunderstandings.

Productive Conversations: Contrastingly, productive ‘messy conversations’ are those where we step into the realm of discomfort with openness and curiosity. These are the talks where we’re not afraid to ask questions, to admit that we don’t have all the answers, and to truly listen to what our kids have to say. It’s in these moments that we grow as parents and individuals.

Our Approach: Learning, Not Enforcing

Our focus in this episode, and in our own lives, is to shift from enforcing our perspective to learning from each experience. This mindset fosters healthier, more empathetic relationships, not only with our children but also in our interactions with other adults. We shared examples from our lives and various media to illustrate these points vividly.

Why This Matters

As parents, we’re not striving for perfection but for presence and consciousness in our interactions. It’s about being willing to adapt, to learn, and to grow for the betterment of our familial relationships. This journey isn’t always easy, but it’s undoubtedly rewarding.

Resources and References

In our conference, we were fortunate to have amazing speakers like Shefali Tsabary, Alexandra Solomon, Michelle Icard, Dr. John Duffy, Devorah Heitner, and many more. Their insights continue to inspire us. Also, the concept of ‘Shinrin Yoku‘ or forest bathing, as discussed in the episode, is a beautiful metaphor for immersing ourselves in the natural flow of conversations and relationships.

Join Us on This Journey

We invite you to join us in embracing these ‘messy conversations.’ They are the pathways to deeper connections and understanding within our families. Check out the resources mentioned in our show notes, and consider joining Team Zen for more in-depth discussions and community support.

Until next time, keep navigating these waters with love and mindfulness.


Cathy & Todd



[00:00:05] Todd: Here we go. My name’s Todd. This is Kathy. Welcome back to another episode of Zen Parenting Radio. This is podcast number 749. Why the Zen Parenting Radio? Because you’ll feel outstanding and always remember our motto, which is the best predictor of a child’s wellbeing. is a parent’s self understanding. On today’s show, uh, we’re talking about messy conversations.

[00:00:34] Todd: Correct. Two types. Two types. Uh, but I feel like we at least need to recap or say thanks to everybody who showed up for the conference this weekend. Wow. Um, it was a wonderful two day event. Yeah. Kathy and others, including me, just put on, uh, what I would say a really impactful Two days of becoming the best version of ourselves.

[00:00:58] Todd: What are your first thoughts about the weekend, sweetie? I

[00:01:00] Cathy: had a marvelous time and I thought it went really well. Like as far as like the planning and the speakers were amazing and I thought it looked good and it felt good. It’s always, there’s something, um, always about the conference. It’s very warm and kind and comfortable and it This is our sixth live conference and it always is like that.

[00:01:26] Cathy: Like it was, it felt the same because there’s always new people. Like Todd did this thing where he said, who’s new here? And there was a bunch of new people, but there’s also this group that always comes. Um, and so it’s like, you’ve got this solid base and then new people, and then we always have new speakers and, you know, they were amazing.

[00:01:44] Cathy: That’s why we asked them to come because they’re amazing. And, um, They, I feel like everybody leaves feeling very, lots of new information, but it’s not just about information. It’s about like connecting and it’s about feeling more inspired. [00:02:00] Um, and it’s about you. It’s not just go home and do this with your kids.

[00:02:03] Cathy: It’s about go home and, and remember yourself.

[00:02:06] Todd: Yeah. I just got an email from one of the attendees and she was a little nervous cause she, yeah, I saw that. From Michigan. By yourself. Yeah. I think it was from Michigan and she didn’t know anybody. I think she’s from

[00:02:16] Cathy: here. Well, I might be

[00:02:18] Todd: thinking about a different person.

[00:02:19] Todd: And she was like, you know, the, the minute I walked in the room, I felt welcome and connected and everybody I talked to was nice. So yeah, it’s basically just a nice convention.

[00:02:30] Cathy: Yeah. Well, conference. Nice conference. Todd goes to lots of conventions for his work. So the, um, what, that’s what I enjoy is one of the most important things to me at the The conference every year is that Todd and I are not inundated with a lot of like, things we have to do during the, I mean of course we have to speak and run the thing, but like I feel like I really could walk around and chat with people and things are ready to go, like we’re organized enough where we don’t have to be like, it’s not chaotic.

[00:03:00] Cathy: Do you ever feel chaotic at the conference? I mean moments, moments, moments, right. But for the most part, um, and we just appreciate everybody who came. So many people fly in. We, we laugh a lot because there’s these, um, people who fly in from all over the country and then we have people in our own hometown who don’t come.

[00:03:20] Cathy: And then later like, huh, I wish I would have come. I’m like, yeah. Like, and not, not because of us, but because I’m telling you, you will be, you know, one of the things that your sister told us was that she had talked to a lot of people about it. She was totally trying to sell the conference and people are like, oh, it just sounds exhausting and like a lot of work.

[00:03:39] Cathy: And I want to be like, you won’t feel that way. The goal is not to inundate you with information that feels overwhelming. It’s to relieve you. And to give you new perspective and fill you up, like, and that’s a hard thing to convey because so many other conferences do the opposite. Well, and just

[00:03:59] Todd: from the feedback [00:04:00] we get, now we don’t hear from everybody, but a lot of people are like, I just have this, you know, and this happens whenever I do a Men Living Weekend or Zen Parenting Conference, there’s this buzz that you get and it will go away.

[00:04:11] Todd: Actually, that’s the way it goes. But you know, for this week, uh, better part of this week, I think people are kind of on a high. It’s fun. Because they. Connected with human beings. So funny. Shefali, one of our speakers, who’s kind of famous, really famous. And she said in, I think her Friday night presentation that there’s, uh, people, there’s companies that come to her on a weekly basis saying, we want to make you into artificial intelligence.

[00:04:37] Todd: And what they can do is they could feed all of the teachings, all of the books, all of the conferences, all of her podcasts, all of her interviews into it. And then they could make a. Fake version of her. Fake Shefali. And she kind of, I think she laughs at it and I don’t think she’s interested in it. But I think that’s so interesting because that’s why we do these things.

[00:04:57] Todd: A lot of people are like, hey, can you record it? Sorry. Sorry. It is one of those things that you’re not going to be able to do from behind a screen.

[00:05:03] Cathy: Thank you for saying that because I get so many emails, especially the week of saying, can you record it or send it to me or will it be videotaped? We never do that for multiple reasons.

[00:05:13] Cathy: Um, but. I, I don’t think you’d, I don’t think you’d enjoy it. Do you know what I mean? I think you’d be like, this is, I mean, sure, maybe you’d get some points from a speaker. It’s not like it would be completely invaluable, but I think you’d be missing kind of the essence of it. And I’m saying this as someone who’s an introvert, who doesn’t, who.

[00:05:33] Cathy: It takes a lot of energy to go out and be with a lot of people, but that’s kind of what I’m trying to say to you is as someone who sometimes avoids those situations, I don’t feel that way in this situation. And so it’s not, you don’t have to be Todd and be like, Oh, I want to go talk to a million people all the time.

[00:05:49] Cathy: It’s so anyway, I just would like to say to those who came, our speakers, um, who were amazing. Shefali. And [00:06:00] Alexandra Solomon, and um, I can do it, Michelle Eichard, Dr. Duffy, Devorah Heitner, Cassandra Townsall, Jay Alvarez, um, Kendra and Lisa from Lotus. Um, Lauren and Michelle from the Sister Project and, um, is that it?

[00:06:23] Cathy: I feel like I’m forgetting

[00:06:24] Todd: somebody. If we are, don’t feel bad. Well, no, I’m going to make sure. Oh, you’re going to make sure. While you do that, I’m going to say thanks to our Corporate or not a corporate, but the, the paid sponsors. Cause we had some ones, some tables that we gave away to some causes that we believe in, but I do feel, uh, the need to just say thanks to the paid sponsors who helped us put on the show.

[00:06:46] Todd: Uh, David Serrano from Ameriprise Financial, Greg Weigland from Plena Mind Center. Jason and Cecilia Hilkey from Happily Family, Casey Aurority from Joyful Courage, and finally Sandra McDonald from Navigate Adolescents. All of the links to these amazing organizations are in the show notes to this podcast.

[00:07:06] Todd: No, we got everybody.

[00:07:07] Cathy: Told you. You’re right. We got everybody. What are we talking about today? Okay. So one thing we did want to share is that Todd and I, we always do a talk at our own conference and we, um, we talked about messy conversations. Um, that was our, you know, topic. And we went to a lot of different places and we showed a lot of like fun videos, which we obviously can’t do in an audio platform, but we wanted to kind of just give you guys a gist of what we talked about, because I think it is what I kind of explained before we spoke was that.

[00:07:37] Cathy: It’s less about do A, B, and C and more about a mindset change. Because I think a lot of times we go into having conversations, um, with anybody because these are really universal principles. This weekend was about teens. Mm-Hmm. . So it’s like when we’re talking to teens, we often go into these conversations and if we are not being conscious of where we are, [00:08:00] they often end up very messy.

[00:08:02] Cathy: But not the messy we’re aiming for. We have two types of messy here. Okay, so let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about the two types of messy conversations. So, Todd, the first one. Well,

[00:08:12] Todd: and I, I would just say, and I don’t know if I’m going where you want me to go here, but the bad messy or the, um, not helpful messy is, are the ones that the problem gets bigger and there’s no conflict that gets resolved.

[00:08:25] Todd: And there’s. Things get worse instead of better. And then there’s the good messy, which is uncomfortable sometimes. But yet productive and connecting in the end. Yeah. And,

[00:08:37] Cathy: and that’s the thing is I think that the mindset change we have to have is what, what discussion is useful and I’ll use Todd’s word productive versus what kind of discussions are we having?

[00:08:50] Cathy: They’re actually causing more of a problem and creating more of an. Unresolved underneath issue where we start to really resent each other. And I think we have been taught through sometimes even things like TV and movies and other parenting ideas or the parenting we received is that we have to be overpowering, that we have to win, that we have to be right, that we have to give lessons, that we have to talk a lot, that we have to make our kid understand.

[00:09:19] Cathy: And all of those things. are very, um, can be very detrimental to the relationship overall and in a partnership. Again, I, I’m going to keep saying that because conversations with your kids don’t have to be that different than conversations with your partner or your friends. Or you know, you, you get to, you know, that’s the first mindset changes.

[00:09:42] Cathy: Your kid, and Shivali did a great job setting this up, so we could think about our relationships with our kids differently. Our kid is not ours. Like, it’s not someone we get to control or overpower, you know. Or fix. Or fix. [00:10:00] That’s not our job. You know, our kid is a human being who we happen to help usher into the world.

[00:10:07] Cathy: And again, Gibran, they are of us, but they are not ours. And our goal is, is to help this human being, um, come into adulthood with the tools and experiences and love and connection necessary to thrive. So our job is not to make our kid Play guitar. And it’s not to make our kid be a great athlete. And it’s not to make our kid get straight A’s.

[00:10:31] Cathy: All that is like made up stuff that we think makes us look like good parents. I mean, let’s be real. Yeah.

[00:10:38] Todd: Right. Um, so, uh, the way I wanna like frame it at least, maybe just double down, uh, double downing. Is that a verb? Uh, double down on good. Messy versus bad. Messy. Okay. Good. Messy are connecting conversations.

[00:10:51] Todd: That’s what I’m gonna use. And what is a connecting conversations? It means that you, the parent. are open. You, the parent, are conscious, like Kathy just said. You, the parent, are curious. You, the parent, are willing to learn something. You’re in this open, spacious place. Yeah.

[00:11:07] Cathy: And I’m going to do this, Todd, just because I feel like we just went all over the place in this last five minutes.

[00:11:11] Cathy: Two types of messy conversations. The first type is where everyone is acting from their needs and wounds and pain and need to win. Okay? Okay. Because the first type, we often create that, we start that, and our kids then I think that’s what a conversation is too, okay? So a lot of times when we’re unwilling to see how we’re conversing, our kids will reflect it back to us in the way they’re conversing.

[00:11:37] Cathy: They learn how to have a conversation by having conversations with us. Do other people You know, add to that, of course, do other people contribute positively, negatively, of course, but really, if we’re talking about us being the primary role models, so the first type of messy conversation is that closed place.

[00:11:54] Cathy: As Todd just said, the second type is where there’s a willingness [00:12:00] to not know. Like one of the, the things that we slides, the slides that we put in our presentation is why don’t you just know less? Quit thinking you know everything. ’cause you don’t, yeah, you don’t. And a willingness to start over, to start again, to to be quiet, to say, oh, you’re right, to be curious.

[00:12:27] Cathy: There’s nothing wrong with questioning where your kid came up with something, not question in a, I don’t believe you way, but like, tell me more about that. So we can actually go through Todd, our slides that we used and maybe just talk about them in that way. So two types. One, you’re pretty closed down having basically an argument.

[00:12:45] Cathy: Or you need to win and number two is the type that we really want to, um,

[00:12:49] Todd: address. So the closed one, there’s a slide I put up there. How does one know if they’re closed or open? Because I think a lot of times we think we’re open yet we’re actually closed. Okay. So. I put a slide up there that had statements, behaviors, and beliefs, and I’m not going to go through all of them, but some of the statements that we say to ourselves or others from this closed place is, you know, our child should be doing something, or our child is wrong, or you use always never statements, or you’re asking, why did you do this?

[00:13:17] Todd: Um, you know, from that energy. So those are some statements. Some behaviors, like, this is like bioenergetics, it’s, are you holding your breath? Are you like constricted and you’re like intense or are you relaxed and are you breathing, you know, full breaths versus the short, quick breaths. Um, you know, many times when we’re in this kind of closed place, we deal with conflict from this, um, Um, you know, not helpful place, which means we’re fighting, we’re fleeing, we’re going inward and we’re just kind of shutting down.

[00:13:51] Todd: Um, or sometimes, you know, the last one is fawn when you’re just kind of like fawning your way into the good graces of the other, um, without [00:14:00] really understanding what the situation is all about. Um, and then some beliefs is that you have to be right. There’s not enough time. Whatever, not enough time, not enough money, not, you know, cause sometimes when I’m in this disconnected place, I’m worried that there’s not enough money to do this or do that.

[00:14:16] Todd: It’s usually about money. Um, there, I need to be in control of something or it’s either very, um, black and white. You’re either doing this or you’re doing that. And there’s this, all this gray area that we’re not even seeing as a possible, possible resolution to whatever is happening. And then lastly is. Is this really serious?

[00:14:35] Todd: Because think about what happens when things, you know, real things that are impactful, like illness and an accident, accidents, death. Yeah. Those can and usually are considered serious. Whether or not. My kid forgot their lunch and I have to go drop it off for them or not and act as if that’s a really serious issue.

[00:15:00] Todd: Their laundry isn’t done. Laundry isn’t done. Like can we bring, bring some levity, some humor, which is what Kathy’s so good at talking about. It’s our best hack for parenting is be light and humorous and comical versus

[00:15:13] Cathy: serious. I think part of the reason that we do feel like laundry is serious or not making their lunches.

[00:15:19] Cathy: not having a clean room is we feel like it’s on us to teach them. So when they are still not doing those things well, we feel like they’re making our job more difficult. And we have this misunderstanding about role modeling and talking about things versus a child. Um, what’s the word when you have it perfect, when they have succeeded, when they have perfected an art of something like doing laundry.

[00:15:45] Cathy: Like, it’s like we want our kids to, there’s this great, um, we actually showed these videos, but one of them is from the movie, This is 40, where she basically, their daughter yells at her and she’s like, you want me to be [00:16:00] perfect in everything? You want me to do everything right? And she’s like, and you guys are effed up.

[00:16:04] Cathy: You know what I mean? Like, you’re asking me to do everything perfect when you’re not doing that. And, and that’s often our expectation of like, my kid has a messy room, they have dirty laundry, and it’s like, that’s, I’m not saying you enjoy that, and I’m not saying you don’t say, hey, You’re not going to have any clean clothes tomorrow.

[00:16:23] Cathy: You can address it, but how big of a deal is that everybody? You know what I mean? Like, do we have to, do we have to connect that or can we, I’ll say it this way. Can you start to notice how you’re connecting that to your worth as a parent and maybe cut that string? Yeah. Where you start to recognize that this kid is learning, which means sometimes they’re going to do well and sometimes they’re going to forget and sometimes they’re going to fail and sometimes, and you just keep either addressing it in a funny way or sometimes saying, do you need help with a certain area?

[00:16:59] Cathy: Because if you’ve got a really busy kid who’s going to school every day and maybe has after school activities and a really important social life, because don’t misunder, don’t Like put down their social life, meaning that’s important to them too. Like going over to a friend’s house or whatever. If you have a busy kid saying, What pieces can I help you with so this doesn’t seem so chaotic?

[00:17:22] Cathy: It’s okay to help your kid. You know, we talked about that too because a lot of times we’re like, No, they need to learn

[00:17:28] Todd: everything. Can I give two real examples? Yes, please do. So this morning, uh, I woke up. My sophomore in high school, I wanted to make her breakfast. I made her breakfast. I made her pancakes.

[00:17:38] Todd: It turns out it turned out really good. Last week I tried to make pancakes. They didn’t turn out as, as, as yummy. Um, can my kid make breakfast and pancakes for herself? Yes. Am I doing it for her anyways? Yes, because I want to connect with her in the morning and I, you know, she’s busy and she’s got to wake up and blah, blah, blah.

[00:17:57] Todd: That’s an example of we have, [00:18:00] uh, taught our daughter how to be self sufficient in making their own breakfast. And we’re, and I have decided this morning that I was going to do that for her. So that is an example of We empowered our kid to do it, and we’re doing it for them anyways to kind of help them out.

[00:18:15] Todd: Well,

[00:18:15] Cathy: let me say this, like, cause Todd just said we taught our kid how to be self sufficient. I think a lot of people may hang on that and say, well, then how’d you do that? Because great that you made her pancakes today, but how’d you do that first

[00:18:25] Todd: part? I taught her how to make pancakes. Well,

[00:18:27] Cathy: right. But what I was going to say is in real life, when I had three girls here, and I was working, you know, part time, full time, some days, Todd’s working full time, there were no choices where she had to.

[00:18:40] Cathy: Make her own English muffin, and she does that most of the time, and pour her own orange juice and feed herself in the morning because there was a reality to our life situation where you have to, you know, be

[00:18:52] Todd: more on the flight. There’s no choice. We had the bandwagon. Exactly. I had the bandwagon this morning.

[00:18:55] Cathy: That’s the key, is that there are times when our kids, of course they know how to pour a bowl of cereal or to do whatever they need to do. And The big but is you can also come in and occasionally do something nice for your kid for multiple reasons. Number one, because one of our other clips was, I’m like all over the place with this presentation, but we talked about time well spent, um, which we took from a clip from the bear.

[00:19:21] Cathy: And to me, Time well spent is like having that opportunity in the morning. It’s like a 20 minute window where my daughter’s downstairs, you know, maybe packing her bag, looking at her phone, filling her water bottle. And I get to kind of hang out in the kitchen and help make her lunch or Todd makes her breakfast.

[00:19:39] Cathy: And we get this connecting time and then she’s off to school, you know, and we used to have a little longer because we used to then drive her to school. Now she can drive on her own. But that to me is time well spent. That’s a way that I wake up in the morning and go that I’ve already succeeded today because I made my bed and then came down and spent 20 minutes with my daughter.

[00:19:57] Cathy: Now those of you who have younger kids. [00:20:00] I understand that this doesn’t resonate as much because they can

[00:20:03] Todd: use their version of it. Correct.

[00:20:06] Cathy: I’m just thinking about when I was a mom with three little kids, I’m like, I need time away from this because I’m getting this 24 seven. So there are, I get that, but because this is more about teens, this discussion, you want to find creative ways to.

[00:20:20] Cathy: to do things that feel good and also benefit your relationship. So can I give

[00:20:25] Todd: my second example? And this is, so the first example, the pancake example, I’m open, I’m connecting. It seems easeful, um, an example that I am disconnecting or closed about and I need to Yeah. And the way we figure out how to do it is, um, on the way to the conference, our daughter Skyler was driving there.

[00:20:46] Todd: Yeah. Okay. And her phone sucks for GPS. It’s always like a minute behind. So I don’t know if you’ve ever messed with trying to track GPS and it’s a minute behind. It’s just, it just takes a while to catch up. So I wrote down the directions for her. And I texted it to her and I sent a video to her trying my best to explain how she gets to this hotel that she’s never been to in this town that she rarely goes to.

[00:21:10] Todd: And she didn’t get there. She um, she got lost. She ended up calling my other daughter and they got her there. I feel like I have not given her the tools to figure out how to navigate. Without a phone. Yeah, she’s like I said, I wrote it down when you turn left here. She’s like, I don’t know how to do that Well, let me

[00:21:28] Cathy: in real time tell you really what happened there Is that she is a new driver and when she has been when she is going to a new place She has always had a passenger who has helped her Okay So like she’s had a girlfriend in the car or one of our daughters or one of us who’s been like, okay Go ahead and turn here.

[00:21:44] Cathy: You’re going to a new place This was literally her first experience with going to a new place by herself. So she didn’t have the tools yet to, because again, her GPS is behind cause I think everyone would say, well, just put it into Google maps. Got it. But hers, her phone [00:22:00] isn’t working perfectly. Um, She was like, how do I hold this piece of paper, go to the next thing, like that’s a new experience for her.

[00:22:09] Cathy: So it wasn’t that you didn’t equip her, it’s that she’s still learning how to do that.

[00:22:13] Todd: Right. But I also saw, I have 16 years to equip her, hey, go south on Route 83. She doesn’t know what that means. God, neither do I. I mean, I don’t know that. I know you don’t, sweetie, but I think it would be good if people knew which way south, west, north, and east is and how to follow directional signs.

[00:22:28] Todd: I

[00:22:29] Cathy: understand. Well, directional signs, amen, like you have to be able to do that and we can all do that. But I think something that comes easy to you doesn’t come easy to

[00:22:37] Todd: everybody. Which is why I didn’t say go south on 83, I said turn left at this intersection. Correct. That you’re familiar

[00:22:42] Cathy: with. Correct.

[00:22:43] Cathy: Like, this is not a, I’m not trying to condemn you. What I’m saying is that I think sometimes we are like, what you’re saying is I have an equipped her with Go South on 83 and my dad tried to equip me with all of that as well. And that doesn’t, my brain. Doesn’t work well with that. So what you can equip her with instead are the other tools.

[00:23:03] Cathy: It’s like me teaching yoga, not knowing my left and right. I had to learn how to do something different with my hands.

[00:23:09] Todd: Right. But I’m just using this as an example of how I’m in this closed place, because I find myself saying she should know this by now. Got it. Right. I’m right, she’s wrong, she’s 16, she should have known, she should have figured this out.

[00:23:22] Todd: Got it. Um, I’ve asked her so many times to let me update her phone so that maybe she, um, so the phone will start working. So the always never, I, I always ask her and she always says no to that ask. Do you know why? Because she’s worried that she’s going to lose her phone. Right. And I’ve said, we can back it up.

[00:23:43] Todd: So like, this is my always, never, I’m way, way below the line. I’m just giving people a version of this. Um, this is serious. Like if we don’t figure this out. What are we going to do? What are we going to do? Um, I even feel like, uh, my nervous system kind of [00:24:00] going up a little bit, thinking about, and then I start not condemning her, condemning myself.

[00:24:04] Todd: How could I raise a kid for 16 years and she can’t follow simple instructions that I text her. Turn left here, turn left there. And she couldn’t figure it out. Um. And look at you, sweetie, I’m, I’m outing myself for being in this closed defensive place. I mean, no,

[00:24:20] Cathy: it’s, it’s not about

[00:24:21] Todd: you. I’m just reading your body language and you’re like wanting me to.

[00:24:24] Todd: Because I want to

[00:24:24] Cathy: say something. Okay, go ahead. I, I, it’s not about you. What I’m saying is that I get what you’re saying. You’re in a closed down place and so you’re giving examples of how it, it gets more intense. And the thing that I wanted to say is what is, I’m saying this to parents, all parents, not to Todd.

[00:24:41] Cathy: is sometimes the things we want to teach that we think are simple, they don’t translate. And then you blame yourself because, or you blame the kid, you know, like, how do you not know this? Like my, my example is that in this driving thing, like I remember when I first got my driver’s license and I was supposed to meet everyone at McDonald’s.

[00:25:02] Cathy: Okay. And in DeKalb, the McDonald’s was on sixth street or whatever. And I was like, Oh, I know where the McDonald’s is. Cause I’ve been there a million times. And then I got my car and I’m like, I have no idea how to get there. I didn’t know any of the major roads. I’m like, I’m just going to basically drive around and find it.

[00:25:17] Cathy: And I tell that story because I remember when Cameron got her license, middle child, I was like, go, you know, you’re going somewhere, go straight down York road and then you’re just going to take a right. And she’s like, York road. And I remember being like,

[00:25:28] Todd: Cameron. Yeah, we’ve been on it a bazillion

[00:25:30] Cathy: times.

[00:25:30] Cathy: That’s the road in our town. It’s like, you know, people in the Western suburbs, it’s like Randall and you know, and, and I had, and I was grateful. that I remembered that McDonald’s story. If it’s like, sometimes you, kids aren’t paying attention to the things adults are paying attention to. And I also think I’m saying this to you, Todd, in a, in a positive way.

[00:25:51] Cathy: I think you, maybe it’s because of growing up in Chicago, but I think you read, it’s that thing, you have what my mom had, which is like, [00:26:00] you know where you are at all times. Like you seem to understand. I have

[00:26:04] Todd: a decent sense of

[00:26:05] Cathy: direction. You have a really good sense of direction where you’ll be like, you know, North, South, East, West.

[00:26:09] Todd: My brain works in a way that, that yours does not.

[00:26:12] Cathy: Right. It’s great. I’m trying to give you a compliment.

[00:26:16] Todd: I know I’m, I’m appreciating you for it. Yeah. Do you think I’m criticizing your

[00:26:21] Cathy: No, I just think that you’re intense right now.

[00:26:23] Todd: I’m, I’m totally intense because I wanna get, take a breath because I wanna get to where like, so now I have this opportunity.

[00:26:30] Todd: Got it. With Skylar, yes. To have one of two different types of messy conversations. Right. And at this moment, I still don’t know how it’s gonna go. ’cause there’s a part of me that’s like, I gotta fix this kid’s phone. Right. Because that’s by far the best tool. But I also am like, she’s gotta figure out. How to be better with directions.

[00:26:47] Todd: And, and if I just text you, turn left, turn right, she should be able to do it. And you know, should is one of the words, like those are some of the statements. She should be able to do it. So I have not had a conversation with her about this yet because I need to make sure I’m in this grounded centered place.

[00:27:01] Todd: Cause if I come in, you know, in this like heightened state, it’s probably going to go

[00:27:06] Cathy: poorly. Or if you think of, if it’s about you as a dad, like you have to learn this. So I feel good about myself as a dad.

[00:27:13] Todd: Yeah. Or a combination of both. Combination

[00:27:16] Cathy: of both. And I think what’s interesting though is, is not to get too absorbed about directions, but her learning turn left here, turn right here, don’t you think that also teaches us how to get places?

[00:27:28] Cathy: Like just because I’m following directions on a piece of paper or it doesn’t mean I’m not learning it, right?

[00:27:35] Todd: Um, all I know is I gave her the very specific directions and if you’ve gone, if you’ve hit this street, you’ve gone too far. Like, so I even built in, um, a scenario where she missed the turn. Right.

[00:27:45] Todd: Because she was on the right street. I’m like, if you see these street signs, you’ve gone a little too far, so turn around. And she, she’s like, I don’t, I don’t know where I was. I’m like, what does that mean? Did you not see that I said, if you’ve hit this street, you’ve gone too far. She’s like, [00:28:00] I don’t know.

[00:28:00] Todd: I’m in Hinsdale. I’m like, okay, I don’t get how that works.

[00:28:03] Cathy: Right. And, and all of that, I love this as an example, because all of this is the messy conversation because she probably does have more information than you think, but she also feels in that moment. By you or anyone else judged, where she’s like, I don’t know.

[00:28:18] Cathy: I’m just here. Whereas if you really were like, Hey, what’s going on? Or if she had a friend in the car, she’d be like, well, I noticed this street. Like she’s not oblivious. She’s not, you know, ignorant to what’s going on. She just doesn’t even know where to start. Right. And, you know, going to Michelle Eichardt’s talk, um, you know, cause Michelle Eichardt was at our conference and she talked about, you know, Failures.

[00:28:37] Cathy: She actually said because her book is eight setbacks, um, and that can make your child a success, but she really wanted to call it eight failures, but her publisher wouldn’t let her. Isn’t that interesting? Um, but so let’s, let’s just call her, uh, our daughter’s ability to get to the conference initially a failure, but you, then she has to backtrack and figure it out.

[00:28:58] Cathy: So then is it a failure or it was a failure? Yes, we can use that word, but then did you get something from it? Yeah. Which is now she understands. Cause you know what she said to us? What? She said, cause she was talking about she had to drive, she has to drive to Naperville later this week. And she goes, now that I did that whole thing, getting to the conference, she goes, now I know I can do Naperville.

[00:29:16] Cathy: Yeah. So she

[00:29:17] Todd: built some muscle. Yeah. Yeah. For sure. Yeah. Um, okay. So that’s kind of just one scenario of a bad messy versus a good messy, and I’ll keep you updated to let, let the audience know how it goes and, uh, but you know, my goal is to be in this open centered place before I engage. I think where most of us parents get into trouble is when we’re.

[00:29:38] Todd: In this, we’re not available. Yeah. Not to recite, uh, John Duffy’s first book, The Available Parent. I’m not available if I think that they should, or I’m right, or I need to cling to this opinion that they should be something that they’re not, or whatever. And it’s to notice. And when I notice that I’m in this bad place, if I’m [00:30:00] lucky, then I know that now is not the best time to engage with

[00:30:02] my

[00:30:02] Cathy: kid.

[00:30:03] Cathy: Yeah. And just recognizing. That I’ll say this again, because I think it’s worth repeating that the reason we’re not in that place is because we’re not feeling worthy because our kid doesn’t know something and we’re annoyed that they’re not demonstrating to us that we taught them something and therefore we’re a good parent.

[00:30:20] Cathy: I mean, it may not be that. Clean, but it may not be that obvious. It’s just, I think anytime my girls will say, like, let me be obvious. My girls will say something like, you never told me that. And I know for a fact I did. Not only did I tell you, I put it on a, in a text, I put a, you know, note on your pillow and they’re like, you didn’t tell me that.

[00:30:39] Cathy: I get frustrated that they’re not recognizing my effort. And so that shows up in a multitude of ways, like. You know, I’m not doing well in math, but I helped you with math, you know, and it’s kind of like It

[00:30:52] Todd: touches on something deeper. It does. One of our speakers talked about how it’s not about the omelet.

[00:30:56] Todd: It’s, it’s never about the thing. It’s never about the thing. For Skyler’s driving, this has nothing to do with Skyler’s driving. It has to do with what type of parent am I? You know, I’m just making something up. What type of parent am I that my kid can’t follow simple directions? And how did I, and how did I screw that up when I was a little kid?

[00:31:14] Todd: What, what baggage do I have from getting lost? And

[00:31:17] Cathy: then bringing it back to being a dad, what does that mean about her? Will she be unsafe? Will she not be able to get around and then something could happen to her? And it’s in this, in the end, it’s my fault somehow. Like there’s so many strings in what our kids are doing or not doing and the ability to recognize that.

[00:31:37] Cathy: It’s the key to having the second type of conversation, which is a more, the messy conversation that’s more curious, because the curious conversation doesn’t mean that that’s going to resolve everything. It just keeps, like, the thing about messy conversation number two, which is the Staying curious and open one is that it allows the conversation to continue because [00:32:00] if you’re only engaging in messy conversation number one, where you’re kind of telling and expecting and always and never and everything, your kid’s not going to come to you about these things.

[00:32:09] Cathy: That conversation is gone. It’s shut down or it’s going to be very hard to reopen that door. It’s possible.

[00:32:16] Todd: Can I, can I interrupt you real quick? Sure. What’s great about the, the bad disconnecting messy conversation. Number one. The good news is it gives you an opportunity to repair in a healthy way. So even when you screw it up, even when I screw it up, which I will, and so will everybody that listens to the podcast, because we as human beings are flawed and we get reactive.

[00:32:35] Todd: Even those bad ones create an opportunity for you to repair from this kind of conscious, wholehearted, loving, compassionate place.

[00:32:42] Cathy: Yes, exactly. That’s so true. I mean, that is really, um, a big part of the next thing we’re going to talk about. But before we. Before we jump to that, because Todd just said repair, our second slide was about, like, less talking, you know, like, more listening, more reconnecting, more creativity in how you reconnect, and some of the language that, you know, we wrote down that you can use, you can really use this verbatim, just try and be clear with your tone, try not to have a condescending tone, is like, You know, tell me more, or go on, or, um, totally, I hear that, you know, uh, I say to my girls, like, probably, you know, every time I talk to them, like, totally, I totally get that.

[00:33:26] Cathy: You know, just recognizing what they’re saying without having to add my two cents about how it should have gone or what should have happened.

[00:33:34] Todd: Well, I don’t know who said this, but I think it was one of our speakers. You can validate somebody’s perspective without agreeing with them. And I, I feel like that most of us, including me says that, well, if I validate what they’re saying, then, then I’m like giving up my side of the perspective, but you’re not, you can actually say from your perspective.

[00:33:55] Todd: That makes a lot of sense. Why you might think that, and that doesn’t necessarily mean that. And you don’t have to say this out loud, [00:34:00] like you can just be like curious. Allow them to have their perspective, validate their perspective, and without dismissing your own perspective. Well,

[00:34:08] Cathy: Todd, we talk about all this, this all the time with couples, you know, with you and I, like, how many conversations have we had on this show or in real life about Just because you’re listening to my experience with something doesn’t mean you have that experience.

[00:34:22] Cathy: It doesn’t mean, you know, the, the opposite of that is where someone’s like, well, that doesn’t bother me, so it shouldn’t bother you. That’s not helpful in any relationship because there’s no truth to that. Just because something doesn’t bother you doesn’t mean it doesn’t bother me. And your ability to say, yeah, I see, I understand that that bothers you.

[00:34:38] Cathy: It’s not you saying me too. It’s you saying, I see you as separate from me. And I understand that because of your experience, history, who you are, the way you’re made up, that bugs you. Yeah. Period. Boom. And so that’s kind of with our girls or our sons, our daughters, our, our children, um, that’s exactly what we need to do with them as well.

[00:35:02] Cathy: Um, so now let’s talk about the, you actually had more than, than I just said, as far as things we could say. You wrote down like four more things. Uh,

[00:35:11] Todd: that makes sense. That makes sense. Uh, you can share your feelings from a conscious place instead of telling somebody else how they’re feeling. Like, Oh, I’m feeling a little scared right here because we’re in this conflict or I’m feeling But

[00:35:23] Cathy: would you really say the sentence, you can share your feelings?

[00:35:26] Cathy: Would you say

[00:35:27] Todd: that? I would say I’m feeling, right now Skylar, I’m feeling a little scared because I feel disconnected. Got it. So share our feelings because that’s inarguable. You can’t say, you’re making me angry, but you can say, I’m feeling some anger right here. Or you can’t say, you’re scaring me right now.

[00:35:43] Todd: You could say, God, I’m feeling a little afraid because I’m worried that you’re going to be 25 and you’re not going to know how to get around town or something like that. Which is like made up,

[00:35:51] Cathy: but I get it.

[00:35:52] Todd: Um, and you could also, and you could say that sucks. Which is the best, I think, two words in parenting, like when they complain about [00:36:00] their friends or school or homework, just say, that sucks.

[00:36:03] Todd: And then the last thing I’ll add is just when you have a role in this situation, if it’s a, if it is a conflict, own your piece, own your part. You’re right. I did do that. Yeah. I told you I was going to text you back and I never did. I dropped the ball. I dropped the ball. Yeah. And, uh, I, I would say us parents aren’t really good at that.

[00:36:23] Cathy: Well, you know, it’s funny. Two examples. Number one at the conference, actually, Skyler, she came from school and she had had something happen at school. It’s kind of a long story with schedules and stuff. And she was kind of telling me how it went down and this happened and this happened. And I was like, that’s ridiculous.

[00:36:36] Cathy: It’s ridiculous. Like I was joining her in her emotion because I agree. I wasn’t acting. No, it was true. I was like, that is ridiculous. And I’m like, that’s

[00:36:44] Todd: insanity. Will you say what it is in general or no? It was just about

[00:36:48] Cathy: a scheduling thing. Like there was a class that she wanted to take and then somebody said that, Oh, I don’t know if you can handle that class and I don’t know if you can do this.

[00:36:56] Cathy: And it, and, and again, I, the thing is, is. I can put my adult hat on and I can look at the adult who said that and be like, I’m sure there’s many reasons that adult says that. Like, it’s not about there’s a good person and a bad person. But in that moment, I am with my kid and I’m going to say that. Is ridiculous.

[00:37:20] Cathy: Because the truth is, to her, it, the person, the adult who said that did not have all the information and was making a broad, um, assessment. Yeah,

[00:37:29] Todd: and what I would say is don’t let any other person tell you who you are or what you’re capable of doing.

[00:37:33] Cathy: Correct. And there, and that’s actually was our first one about knowing less, you know, I’m going backwards, everybody, sorry, but.

[00:37:41] Cathy: Really, the point we were trying to make was that, which is, we like to tell our kid who they are, what they can do, what they’re good at, what their skills are, what they look like. Quit doing that. Let them tell you who they are. Quit telling, that is one thing that, you know, [00:38:00] with my girls, um, obviously there’s no way we did this perfectly at all because I’m sure there were plenty of times I told them things about themselves.

[00:38:07] Cathy: Um, but for the most part. I, it was very much like, Oh, if you like that, do it. If this sounds interesting, go ahead. I wasn’t like, no, you’re not tall enough or you don’t look this way or you don’t act this way. Like just go do your life and they’ll figure it out. And a lot of times what I thought. Maybe initially when they told me they were going to do something.

[00:38:28] Cathy: I was a hundred percent wrong.

[00:38:30] Todd: Can I play that part from Lady Bird? Yeah, go ahead. Which I think is perfect. So this is a clip we played at the conference and it’s from a movie called Lady Bird. I want to go

[00:38:40] Cathy: where culture is like New York or elite Connecticut or New Hampshire where writers live in the woods.

[00:38:45] Cathy: Get into those schools anyway. Mom. You can’t even pass your driver’s test. You wouldn’t let me practice enough. The way that you work, or the way that you don’t work, you’re not even worth state tuition, Christine. My name is Lady Bird. Well, actually, it’s not, and it’s ridiculous. Call me Lady Bird like you said you would.

[00:39:01] Cathy: You should just go to City College. You know, with your work ethic, just go to City College, and then to jail, and then back to City College, and then maybe you’d learn to pull yourself up, and not expect everybody to respect you. She jumps out of the car. She’s fine by the way. She just breaks her arm. Um, I have to tell everybody that because it looks so

[00:39:18] Todd: scary.

[00:39:19] Todd: It does because it looks like they’re going like 25 miles an hour. Um, is that how the movie starts? Yeah. Very

[00:39:25] Cathy: beginning. Very beginning. So basically the very beginning, they’re in a hotel room. They were just, I can’t remember if they were visiting a school or something. And then, then they’re in the car and they’re listening to an audio book together and they’re very connected.

[00:39:36] Cathy: So they’re like both crying. They have to break that up and she just loses it. So why I love that is it has everything. She tells her who she is. She tells her she’s not going to call her by the name that she wants to be called by. She tells her basically, here’s how your future is going to go. And that is mom’s fear, her life experience, and [00:40:00] her.

[00:40:01] Cathy: You need to win that conversation. And so what I love about Lady Bird opening the door and rolling out the door, she’s literally saying goodbye. Yeah. I am out of here. It’s like a, it’s like, it’s not even a metaphor. It’s a reality. It’s like, I’m not even gonna sit here for this if you’re telling me who I am.

[00:40:19] Cathy: Yeah. Um, so. The second one we already talked about, which was, you know, tell, you know, tell me more everything. The third one, um, I loved this. We, we talked initially about calling it order disorder reorder, which I talk about that in my book, but it sounded too formal. So Todd suggested, um, disconnection.

[00:40:38] Cathy: rupture and an unresolved

[00:40:39] Todd: issue. So those are the different types of conflict, not necessarily cycles, but different ways in which conflict can happen. And

[00:40:48] Cathy: the clip we played was from, as I already said, from This Is 40. And in that clip, All these things happen, where sometimes it’s just one thing, like for example, just to go through them, disconnection is when maybe you haven’t been talking to your kid for a while, or they’ve been gone, or they’ve started to shut down, or you just don’t really know what’s going on with them anymore, or they seem mad at you or whatever, so you feel disconnected, like you don’t even know how to begin a conversation.

[00:41:15] Cathy: Rupture is where something literal happens. There’s the fight. There’s a fight. Like you are fighting like in this clip. Argument. This clip that we had, she’s like, you read my texts. Like you, you, you know, you’re not respecting my privacy. And then an unresolved issue is that undercurrent of Things are just not good in this house and nobody’s talking about

[00:41:35] Todd: it.

[00:41:35] Todd: Things that we don’t want to face and we kick the can down the road and it gets worse and worse until it

[00:41:40] Cathy: explodes. Or we pretend. Yeah. You know, that’s very common in a family where there’s addiction or there’s some kind of secret, you know, there’s something where, because, you know, I keep talking about this clip.

[00:41:50] Cathy: Do you have it by any chance? Which one? This is 40. Uh, yeah, but it’s got a lot of F bombs. You’re right. I’m sorry. There’s too many F bombs. Everybody had to come to the conference to see it. But there is, [00:42:00] there’s a part in it where she actually says, you know, they’re like, she swears at them and, and her mom’s like, you, you know, we don’t talk that way in this house.

[00:42:09] Cathy: And their daughter’s like, yes, you do. You talk to each other like this all

[00:42:13] Todd: the time. What a disingenuous statement. Yes. Do not tell me. You’re saying the opposite of the truth. We don’t talk like this to each other. We’re actually. That’s their way, main way of connecting the, the husband and the

[00:42:25] Cathy: wife. And she says, and when you’re not talking, you’re not talking to each other at all.

[00:42:29] Cathy: Mm-Hmm. . Which is even worse. Yeah. So this whole idea that we’re gonna be holier than vow with our kids and be like, this is the way you need to be when you are not even attempting to practice that modeling modeling model. Now again. You’re never going to be perfect at any of these things, but that in itself of being like, yeah, that I didn’t do well, today I did a little better.

[00:42:48] Cathy: Like that’s called human behavior. But when we tell our kids, you need to be perfect, but I’m not even going to attempt to like try new things or be conscious of where I am in a conversation. So that’s a problem. So Again, disconnection feeling where you’re just not being creative and reconnecting with your kid.

[00:43:07] Cathy: Rupture is a literal issue that you need to resolve. And then the unresolved issues that underlying.

[00:43:13] Todd: Well, and I think the unresolved issue is the one that probably needs the most attention. Like we’re just, we’re too tired, we’re too exhausted, we’re too scared and we don’t want to deal with it. And I think that is the worst one.

[00:43:25] Todd: I almost feel like ruptures are healthier than unresolved issues because at least. It’s being faced, right?

[00:43:32] Cathy: And I think what’s hard about an unresolved issue is you’re not, again, remember messy conversations number two, the good ones that you don’t always resolve them initially. They’re an ongoing conversation.

[00:43:44] Cathy: They’re an ability to re engage with the same issue. And an unresolved issue is often something that isn’t resolvable, but we need to keep discussing. For example, you have a sibling who has a lot of challenges and we can’t resolve those challenges if it’d be [00:44:00] an addiction or they have significant special needs or the family is, or they’re sick and the family is engaged in that.

[00:44:06] Cathy: You can’t solve that, but you can talk about it. You can keep it as an open dialogue. Like, Anytime in our family, um, when there has been someone who is sick, or someone who is struggling, or someone who is in the midst of a crisis, my goal, and I think Todd would agree with this, is to keep it front and center.

[00:44:28] Cathy: Not in a, let’s all look at this all the time, but this is not off the table. We can, like, with all the people who have died in our family, we talk about them all the time. We are not putting these people away. We are not going to stop talking about grief. We are not going to feel bad if we’re sad about something.

[00:44:47] Cathy: Like, you know, yesterday, um, It’s really hard for Skylar when her sisters leave again. They came home for the conference, so my two daughters in college. She’s getting a taste of what it used to be like. And they come home and she’s so happy and we’re kind of all together again. A lot of energy. And then they leave and they leave her with us, you know, she loves us, but it’s not the same when you’re the only kid with your parents.

[00:45:13] Cathy: And you know, she just misses them regardless of, you know, and she really has to grieve that over and over.

[00:45:21] Todd: Every time they show up and bail.

[00:45:22] Cathy: And we have to really keep that conversation going. Not like, why are you sad? You know, they’re coming back. Or

[00:45:28] Todd: what’s wrong with us? Aren’t we enough? Right? Because there’s a part of me, it’s like.

[00:45:32] Todd: We’re fun. Yeah, what about us? Like, we’re so great. So, uh, it’s true and it, and you know, she’s a feeler. Skylar’s a feeler. She is.

[00:45:41] Cathy: It’s sensitive in the best way, right? All of our kids who feel that sensitivity, I give them, I don’t mean sensitive in a demeaning way. I mean, it’s No. It’s so awesome. Beautiful way.

[00:45:52] Cathy: And so we, and, and her sisters manage that really well cause they’ll be like, Oh, I know. It’s so, it’s so sucky. Like they’re not like, stop [00:46:00] it, you

[00:46:00] Todd: know? Well, and this is the same kid who we talked about in this podcast 10 years ago when we’re making her waffles and then she gets sad and she would say, I just need to get my sads out and she’s still doing it.

[00:46:10] Todd: I’m so, and I’m so impressed with her because she could do that. And then

[00:46:14] Cathy: you know what she did? She, because the sisters, um, Michelle and Lauren, they, they’re, um, What they spoke about at the conference is she loves them. She loved them way before, but they talked about, you know, breathing and getting outside, even when it’s cold and moving and lighting a candle and creating a hygge comfort experience.

[00:46:33] Cathy: And she did that. Yeah. She took a shower. She took a walk outside. She lit her candle. She read her favorite book. Like she has good tools. It’s a great

[00:46:42] Todd: tool. I didn’t put that together, but she did exactly. That’s exactly what the sisters said

[00:46:46] Cathy: to do. I know they, she totally filed, she literally stalks them on Instagram.

[00:46:50] Cathy: She loves them. And so that’s the thing that we need to understand is that her being sad when her sisters leave and her having all those feelings, we don’t need to resolve that. We actually can let that be what it is and then support her. in finding ways to move through it and, and not have to be over it and not have to talk her out of it.

[00:47:13] Cathy: And actually we didn’t, she’s older so we didn’t really, she knows what to do now. But when we have a younger kid, we may, we may sit with them for a while and say nothing, but they may be like, I’m sad, I don’t know what to do, and we can Help them come up with a list of what makes you feel good when you’re feeling sad, like, is it soothing?

[00:47:30] Cathy: Did I take a bath? I take a bath with baking soda and Epsom salt. I really believe that that gets toxicity out and allows me to like, process emotions. It’s good for

[00:47:41] Todd: me. Well, remember my last week? It was crazy because I was in Vegas and I was at a funeral and I was prepping for the conference. I thought you were gonna get sick.

[00:47:49] Todd: And um, I said to you, I gotta move. Yes. I gotta go swim. And I really, and I, at this moment, I still don’t know if I made whatever. There’s no right choice, but there’s a [00:48:00] part of me that really wanted to go swim and move. Yeah. But instead I took a bath. Now I’d, and I watched a show with you. I was, I just kind of chilled out.

[00:48:09] Todd: Yeah. And. Because I just feel like my default is to go move. Yeah. I’m like, all right, I’m going to do something a little bit different. I’m going to take a bath and I’m going to watch a show and I’m going to go to bed early. And that’s what I did. And to me that sounds amazing. And uh, just as an experiment and, and you know, five days later, did I, would I have been better off if I went swimming?

[00:48:30] Todd: I have no idea, but I just wanted to like experiment or explore, investigate a different way of doing it. So anyways.

[00:48:38] Cathy: Well, it’s interesting because I will, you know, call myself out in this. So Todd, like he said, he was gone all week. Um, and he, because he, you guys, Todd’s January was insane. He had like a huge men living event, like one of their biggest of the whole year.

[00:48:55] Cathy: And then he had to be in Vegas for work. And then he had, like he said, unfortunately he, he had to be at awake. One of his best friends, younger brothers passed away. And it was completely. Out of the blue and it was just a rough month. Okay. And he’s going through all these things. And especially that week, um, we were so busy and he was, he had a lot of energy and he came into the kitchen and was like, he was saying that he’d already worked out.

[00:49:24] Cathy: He had already done all these things. And he’s like, I’m going to go swim. It was like seven o’clock. And I said, Do you really need to go swim? And, and part, let me, I, I want to own something. Part of that was I, I wanted you to stop moving because I, I wanted you to be home. Mm hmm. And I said, you really need to go swim.

[00:49:41] Cathy: You’ve already worked out today because I get the moving and that you need that. But I also felt like you’ve been gone. Like, relax. Then I kind of stood there for a while and I realized that that was about me. So I said, listen, I’m going to take that back and say, if you really feel like you need to go swim, I totally support it.

[00:49:59] Cathy: I [00:50:00] just feel like you have a lot of energy, you know, and, and that’s the way to do it. Is that how you remember me doing that? Yeah, that’s exactly.

[00:50:07] Todd: I remember you saying, you know, I’m fine. Go do it. Yeah. I’m like, I’m not mad. Here’s my thing. And this is, I remain confused about this idea because in my coaching program, They talked about hero moves, and a hero move is sometimes anything to numb out from a feeling.

[00:50:22] Todd: Right. And as healthy of a decision as it sounds like to go for a run or go for a swim, that is a hero move that sometimes is at the expense of my well being. Right. So instead of feeling a feeling, and I was feeling a lot of different things because I was at a funeral and awake the night before, um, I, my best Hero moves are working and exercising and I’d be like what possibly could be wrong with working and exercising and the answer is If it’s avoidance, it could be avoidance of what you’re feeling now Are those two hero moves better than smoking weed and getting drunk?

[00:51:01] Todd: Of course they are but Let’s call it for what it is. There are times when I don’t want to feel something and I’m going to go move. Right. So, and did I start crying in the tub? No, I, nothing came up for me, but I at least gave myself an opportunity to breathe and relax and allow anything to come up that happened.

[00:51:21] Todd: And I don’t know, maybe things came up without me being conscious of it, but I just had a normal night.

[00:51:28] Cathy: Yeah, and I think I would like to be, I would like to say that I understood all that in the moment, but the truth is I was really thinking about, you haven’t been home, stay home. And then when you were then contemplating of what to do, I, I actually didn’t remember that you took a bath, but I was glad that you

[00:51:51] Todd: didn’t.

[00:51:52] Todd: I don’t

[00:51:52] Cathy: think I told you. Okay. Yeah. I was glad that you didn’t run out the door and do the next thing because I do think you were sad. And I [00:52:00] think that they’re, to your point, this is so nuanced because of course there’s nothing wrong with exercising or swimming. Sometimes that’s a way to release it, but to your point, it’s very, it’s all relative.

[00:52:10] Cathy: That’s what

[00:52:10] Todd: I was going to say. It’s possible. It’s possible. It’s possible. If I went swimming, more would have come out. Maybe. More could have moved through my body. Maybe. Or less. Right. I do not know.

[00:52:18] Cathy: Yeah. And so that’s the thing is, again, it’s another, it’s not a conversation, but it’s a messy experience, right?

[00:52:24] Cathy: It’s like there isn’t a right and wrong. Like I, I, I’m, um, you know, I’m writing another book and I, it’s, I’m using the word messy. I hope it stays in it. I’m not quite sure how it’s going to all work out, but the whole idea of like taking back that word messy is being okay. Right. You know, like. Even having a, you know, having a messy experience doesn’t have to be negative.

[00:52:48] Cathy: It can be a learning experience, a curious experience, an open experience. I think

[00:52:53] Todd: what you’re trying to do is redefine what messy means. I think I am. Messy has a connotation of negative. Right. And what you’re saying is messy could be

[00:52:59] Cathy: beautiful. It, it, it is beautiful. Like sometimes when I think about. You know, something that’s kind of in vogue now is, um, I shouldn’t say it’s in vogue.

[00:53:08] Cathy: That’s the wrong way to say it. Something that’s very respected and honored in, in horticulture and people who are like, you know, deal with plants and life outdoors. There’s a word for it, but I can’t remember what it is. Um, where instead of like planting flowers in a certain way where they’re lined up and look perfect and they’re too aesthetically pleasing to us, we instead create an environment that actually, that create, that they, the plants like.

[00:53:32] Cathy: lean on each other and they’re supposed to be by each other and they’re supposed to blend with each other and they’re less perfect. There’s a natural, like more foresty kind of, people who do this for a living are like, Kathy, you are not crushing this, but it’s there. I noticed even in my own hometown, there are people, their front yards are natural and not about they didn’t mold their lawn.

[00:53:53] Cathy: That’s not what I’m talking about. I mean, it’s purposefully natural and it brings butterflies and it brings, um, bees and it [00:54:00] brings, you know, all these birds and. When things and to some it may look messy, but it’s actually exactly how it’s supposed to

[00:54:06] Todd: be. Well, and you know, we’re 54 minutes in, but I feel the need.

[00:54:10] Todd: So, um, I, my favorite example of that, and I’ve probably shared it a million times in this podcast is the forest. Like, cause the forest is so, I just love the forest. One is it’s usually quiet, even though we live around an airport for some reason. I don’t know if the trees soak up the noise. And it’s also chaotic.

[00:54:28] Todd: Like, some trees have fallen down. Some trees are dying. Some trees are growing. Some trees are burned. Some trees are burned. Some trees have leaves. And it’s just like this mess. It’s just a total mess. Yeah. Yet at the same time, it’s perfect. It’s perfect. Yeah. And I just feel so. open when I’m in a forest.

[00:54:48] Todd: I’m actually taking a walk with my friends through the forest on Saturday and it’s intentional. Like I love the energy of a forest and, um, the Japanese have a term and I think it’s shinrin yoku and it’s called a forest bath. It just means bathe in the forest. It doesn’t mean get naked, keep your clothes on, but just allow the forest to Just penetrate you and be, give, allow the energy to just be a part of you.

[00:55:12] Todd: And it’s such a beautiful thing. And be among it. And it’s like, even more so than like a lake or a mountain. I just think the forest is so amazing. Anyways, that’s, that’s my own personal Is it be

[00:55:22] Cathy: amongst it? Or among it.

[00:55:24] Todd: I heard that you can use those terms interchangeably, but I could be wrong.

[00:55:29] Cathy: Yeah. Words.

[00:55:29] Cathy: I love words. I love learning how to use them. I can hear when they come out of my mouth and it doesn’t feel right. Um, I, uh, on that note, Michelle, uh, from the sisters, she was talking, because again, they were talking about these things like finding at the conference, they were talking about finding ways to find peace and to slow down.

[00:55:48] Cathy: And she talked about how she like lives in the forest. She like goes in there all the time. Her son, who’s 15, ended up going out there with some of his friends. I think she said they went ice skating or found a place. And then when he, he came out, he’s [00:56:00] like, do you ever go in there? She’s like, all the time, don’t you see me coming out of the forest?

[00:56:04] Cathy: And he said, we should go in there together sometime. Like what a beautiful thing. And again, she didn’t say you have to go in the forest. You must go in the forest. He found his way. Right. Instead of forcing your kid to do it. Yeah. It doesn’t. Todd, Todd tried forest bathing with the girl. They

[00:56:18] Todd: went with me a few times.

[00:56:20] Todd: I got Cameron out there once. Uh, Jaycee will go out there whenever just because she’s a nature freak. And Skylar’s been out there with me every now and again. So, yeah. Um, so we’re an hour in. Can I make some announcements on Team Zen? Sure, babe. Um, so, uh, Team Zen, it is, oh, where’s my stupid cheat sheet so I don’t screw this up.

[00:56:38] Todd: You should just read those

[00:56:38] Cathy: 10 things that we had on the card. That’s a lot

[00:56:41] Todd: of things to say. Instead, I’m just going to say, join the circle. The Team Zen membership platform. It’s an app with Zen Parenting Radio’s complete parenting content collection plus live talks all in one place. So I’m just going to tell you what we have coming up in the next few weeks.

[00:56:57] Todd: Women’s Circle on Wednesday. Today, Tuesday, January 30th, there is a micro community of people who connect with one another through the lens that they all have loved ones dealing with addiction. Okay. Tomorrow, uh, Wednesday. You have a women’s group. Uh, February 13th, we have a Zen Talk number 181. And by the way, when you join Team Zen, you get access to all the previous Zen Talks.

[00:57:23] Todd: So this is like a bunch of podcasts. 181. Yeah. And then, so that’s February 13th. And then we have a Zen Finance micro community on February 15th. Yeah. So please join

[00:57:32] Cathy: us. You get to pick and choose what you do on Team Zen. You can be a voyeur and just look at everything and be part of the app and just Listen on your own time, or you get to do these things live, like you get to choose.

[00:57:42] Cathy: It’s really kind of our favorite thing. And I know some, you know, some people come and go and they come back, but for people who are looking for community, I just don’t, I think it’s amazing. So, and not just because we created it, but because of

[00:57:55] Todd: the people who are there. Um, and I want to give a shout out to, uh, Jeremy [00:58:00] Kraft.

[00:58:00] Todd: He could not make the conference, unfortunately. He went to the forest himself with his kids. He went out to the cabin. He’s got a cabin somewhere. Uh, but he has been our partner since the very first day of Zen Parenting. Uh, he does painting and remodeling throughout the Chicagoland area. And his website is avidco.

[00:58:16] Todd: net. So check him out. I’m going to play our outro music. Any last parting words,

[00:58:20] Cathy: sweetie? No, just thank you to those who showed up this week and we loved seeing you. Giving you getting to know you, what a gift, um, it is to have this community. So thanks for listening and just thanks for being you keep.