Todd and Cathy discuss the importance and value of difficult conversations in partnership and parenting, emphasizing the two extremes: complete avoidance or overbearing insistence on discussing things. They explore how to find a middle ground—being approachable and open, but also willing to set boundaries and agree to expectations. This approach allows for a home environment where real conversations are encouraged and practiced, and where everyone feels heard and comfortable sharing.

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Navigating Difficult Conversations: Insights from Zen Parenting Radio Episode 771

Welcome to another insightful dive into Zen Parenting Radio! In episode 771, hosts Todd and Cathy explore the nuances of navigating difficult conversations. With their unique blend of humor, empathy, and practical advice, the duo offers listeners valuable takeaways for improving communication and fostering authentic connections.

The Value of Authentic Imagery
The episode begins on a light note, with Todd and Cathy discussing their podcast’s new picture. They share how feedback led them to update their image to one that was more up-close and personal, reflecting their growth and the desire to connect more authentically with their audience.

Discussing the Concept of ‘Difficult Conversations’
The core topic of the episode is introduced when Todd mentions Cathy’s Substack newsletter, “Difficult Conversations.” Cathy reflects on an email exchange about Scott Galloway’s thoughts on philanthropy, emphasizing authentic giving versus performative acts. This discussion seamlessly transitions into the importance of genuine, heartfelt communication in relationships.

Real-Life Reactions and Empathy
The conversation takes a brief detour as Cathy reacts to a headline about the Supreme Court’s decision, showcasing a real, unfiltered moment of how external events can impact our emotional state. Todd’s advice to switch to “Do Not Disturb” mode to avoid such disruptions highlights the reality many of us face—how to manage overwhelming information while staying present in our lives.

Infrastructure of Communication
Cathy and Todd delve into the importance of building an “infrastructure of communication” in relationships, particularly with children. Todd shares a personal anecdote where something as simple as acknowledging his daughter’s headache led to a deeper connection. Cathy emphasizes that while advice like “take an Excedrin” is practical, combining it with empathy (e.g., “headaches can be exhausting”) creates a more supportive environment.

Illustration from Pop Culture
To illustrate unproductive conversations, Todd plays a clip from the movie “Lady Bird.” The scene between the mother and daughter exemplifies how fear and miscommunication can escalate tensions. Cathy uses this example to discuss how our fears often fuel our responses, leading to defensive or hurtful comments rather than constructive conversations.

Continuous and Relational Conversations
The hosts stress that difficult conversations aren’t resolved in one sitting. They discuss how continuous dialogue, rather than avoidance or confrontation, can foster deeper understanding and stronger relationships. Through their humorous and touching banter, it’s clear that Todd and Cathy themselves navigate these dynamics in their own interactions.

Balancing Availability and Boundaries
Cathy talks about her tendency to be overly available, sometimes to her own detriment, while Todd acknowledges his propensity to avoid conversations. They agree on the importance of finding a balance—offering empathy and support while also maintaining personal boundaries.

Audience Engagement and Real-World Application
Cathy shares stories from her interactions with clients, illustrating how conversations can be both avoided and approached too strongly. Emphasizing small steps, she encourages listeners to recognize the spectrum of their responses and find a middle ground where real, meaningful dialogue can occur.

Episode 771 of Zen Parenting Radio serves as a valuable guide for anyone looking to improve their communication skills. Through humor, empathy, and practical advice, Todd and Cathy illuminate the path toward more authentic and constructive conversations. Whether it’s with children, partners, or friends, their insights remind us that the effort to connect genuinely is always worth it.

So, next time you find yourself in a tough conversation, remember Todd and Cathy’s advice: approach with empathy, maintain genuine connections, and be open to continual dialogue. Happy listening!



Todd: Um, Here we go. My name’s Todd. This is Cathy. Welcome back to another episode of Zen Parenting Radio. This is podcast number, wait for it, 771.

Todd: Three prime numbers. 

Cathy: And 71 is 17 backwards. 

Todd: Uh, that’s right. And I’m looking at our little podcast feed and we have our new picture up. Did you see that, sweetie? I did. Yeah, 

Cathy: we were given some, uh, advice that our picture was way too far away. So we used to have this picture, our original picture that we had for 10 years, which I loved, but we didn’t look like that anymore.

Cathy: Right? You know, you grow up. Um, and so then we did another picture, an awesome picture I love, but we were too far away. And so now this is [00:01:00] up close and I, I like it. Like it’s a much more formal podcast picture. I don’t, you don’t like your hair though. 

Todd: Uh, I don’t like my hair and it’s just too, let’s look at the camera.

Todd: I’m just a bigger fan of candid. 

Cathy: I know, but, and, and I really don’t care. Like maybe we’ll change it again in a year. I don’t know. But it also is like, if you look at all the podcasts, um, especially. like personal growth and parenting. You tend to want to see the people. Who are these people? You don’t want them really far away and you don’t want just a, uh, like a cartoon picture.

Cathy: You want to like, who are they? You’re probably right. Yeah. I don’t, these are things that originally I kind of fought. I was the one who fought getting rid of our first picture. I’m like, let’s just keep it. It’s like, and then, you know, you kind of do some reading and stuff and people were giving me feedback and I was like, okay, 

Todd: here we go.

Todd: Here we go. Um, so we’re going to talk a little bit about your sub stack, Difficult Conversations, um, but first What’s the 

Cathy: Dave [00:02:00] Matthews song? It keeps getting into my Typical Situations? Typical Situations. Thank you. Because you say, Difficult Conversations, and it makes me think Difficult Times. It makes me think Dave Matthews.

Todd: Maybe I’ll play that in a second. So I, so did you read my email that I just sent to you, um, regarding the Galloway thing? Yeah. 

Cathy: Oh my God. I’m sorry. It says Supreme Court grants Trump immunity from prosecution. 

Todd: Okay. You want to bring that into the podcast? 

Cathy: No, I just, the blood just drained out of my face.

Cathy: Okay. Uh, I don’t know what that’s all about yet. I’m going to read it, but I just, it just popped up on my phone. 

Todd: All right. Are you going to be able to shift? 

Cathy: Okay. I think so. 

Todd: Okay. 

Cathy: Okay. There’s probably more to it. It’s a headline. 

Todd: Yeah. And, um, what I do in order, this is Todd the fixer showing up. I do not disturb my phone so I don’t get [00:03:00] rattled with stuff.

Cathy: Whew. Okay. Um. All right. So let’s just. 

Todd: So my question I asked you was, did you read the Galloway thing that I sent to you? Yes, I did. Um, it was my idea to talk about it and it was just interesting take and I think he called it virtue versus signaling and it’s about, you know, philanthropic efforts to give back to our community with, um, You know, there’s that giving pledge thing that Bill Gates and Warren Buffett did, and I’ll include it in the show notes just so you can see it, but they talked about, remember on Oprah, Cory Booker and Matt Zuckerberg, uh, Mark, Mark, sorry, Mark Zuckerberg was on Oprah and they pledged, um, 

Cathy: It was Cory Booker, Chris Christie, and Mark Zuckerberg and they, they pledged a lot of money.

Cathy: Mark pledged a hundred 

Todd: million dollars to the Newark school system. Some [00:04:00] other guy pledged 25 million. 

Todd: Wow. 

Todd: And basically as, according to Galloway, not much really changed. Right. So in other words, they just threw a bunch of money at it. And you know, this is the part where Galloway says like, that’s just, um, you know, just A PR effort, because I think that Tim Zuckerberg was really struggling with some of his Facebook stuff.

Todd: It was probably right after Social Network came out or something like that. Um, so they just talk a little bit about how, you know, some of these men who are billionaires give this money, but they give it to, um, private foundations that billionaires have long used to avoid actually giving other people any money.

Todd: And then he goes on to talk about there’s this woman who’s Mackenzie Scott. Any idea who Mackenzie Scott is? Of course I do. Who is she? It’s 

Cathy: Jeff Bezos’s ex wife. Okay. So Jeff Bezos’s ex wife, Mackenzie Scott, and then [00:05:00] Bill Gates’s, or Melinda Gates. Um. Melinda 

Todd: French Gates, isn’t it? 

Cathy: Yes. Yeah. They, those two women, are doing the kind of philanthropy that you would hope everybody would do.

Todd: And that’s what Galloway is saying. They practice below the radar approach to giving that’s inspiring. Operating with small teams, they vet recipients quietly, often without their knowledge, and make sizable grants with no strings attached, no PR fanfare. Like 

Cathy: literally, Mackenzie Scott, there is, every time she does a huge donation, We see one picture of her because it’s the only picture anyone has.

Cathy: Yeah. Like it’s this same picture and it’s a great picture. It’s not about that. It’s just, it tells you she’s just doing this because it’s the right thing to do. Yeah. And it’s, you know, like Scott said, it’s inspiring and it’s, you know, instead of being like, Put up 80 new buildings with my name on it. It’s like, why don’t I give this to people who know what they’re doing and let them move forward with, you know, their good [00:06:00] work.

Cathy: Well, and I’ll just read the last sentence 

Todd: in his blog. Uh, 85 percent of charitable giving decisions in affluent households are made or influenced by women. In some, women give differently. There’s more emphasis on the giving part. Mm 

Todd: hmm. 

Todd: And I’m sure that’s going to upset some people. people out there that say, yeah, but what about blank?

Todd: And what about blank? Yes. And I just thought it was an interesting take that, uh, at least in these two examples, McKenzie Scott and Melinda French Gates are really about making their dollars more impactful than say, Hey, look at what I’m doing. 

Cathy: Well, and I think one of the most important parts that in that, you know, thing about the Scott Galloway article, and I’ve heard him talk about it on the pivot podcast is you have to have an infrastructure available to give money to why I think that.

Cathy: Giving to people who are doing frontline work or giving to an organization that already has an established, you know, infrastructure rather than creating something brand new and hoping that you can make it work. You know what I mean? Like something that already has a [00:07:00] leader, a vision, you know, instead of just saying, I’m going to donate money to the school system.

Cathy: And I don’t want to be too flippant. I’m sure they had some kind of plan. I, but there are, the ability to give to people who already know what they’re doing, where they can increase their reach and continue the good work, makes the most sense to me. Now, somebody who wants to build from the ground up and needs financing to do that, I totally get that too.

Cathy: We have to start somewhere. Um, but I just, you know, when I see the giving that these women are doing and other people, plenty of other people, it makes sense. You know, let’s keep, let’s grow this, let’s make this bigger. And, but the infrastructure is already in place. 

Todd: I love it. Love it. Um, so now we are going to get into, uh, difficult conversations.

Todd: Yeah. Um, first. 

Todd: It’s a typical situation in these typical times, with too many choices, and yeah. It’s a typical situation in these [00:08:00] typical times. Too many choices, 

Cathy: what could you do? I just, the, it’s so funny, you know, when something sounds like something else, you just sing it that way. Yeah. And it just has the exact same.

Cathy: Difficult conversation. Structure. 

Todd: Yeah, same amount of syllables probably. 

Cathy: Difficult conversation. So, um. First of all, before we move into difficult conversations, I’m there with you, I want to do that. But I also want to connect something else to infrastructure. Sure. Um, I find, I don’t know if this is going to work exactly, but it’s kind of about conversations.

Cathy: It’s that sometimes we talk a lot about what we’re going to do or what we believe in, but we don’t apply it. 

Todd: Give me an example. 

Cathy: And that’s kind of what I mean about having an infrastructure to be able to do it. So I talk with, uh, women a lot and, um, they often, especially in a therapy session. And it’s funny cause you [00:09:00] and I were just watching some couples therapy.

Cathy: Does anyone watch couples therapy out there? Um, do is it on Amazon? Uh, I think we watched it on Hulu. I can’t remember where it started. Maybe it’s on HBO. I don’t remember, but you know, Orna is real good at what she does. She’s the therapist. And, um, A lot of times people can talk a really good game about this is who I am.

Cathy: This is what I believe in. This is what’s most important, but they don’t apply it. They don’t really have an infrastructure and I’m not, I don’t think they’re lying about that’s who they want to be, but they don’t have a way to really do it. You know, they don’t, and I guess this connects to conversations that a lot of people are like, I’m really open.

Cathy: You know, my kids can come to me whenever they want. Um, I’m available. I’m this, I’m that. And they’re, but their kids don’t know that. That hasn’t been established. They think it about themselves, but they don’t do the necessary work to make sure that that’s very clear and that their kids [00:10:00] know how to do that.

Cathy: You know, meaning ask for help. 

Todd: Well, and I would summarize what you just said, uh, with three words, talk is cheap. Yeah. You know, you say one thing, but can you do something else? And I’ll give you one tiny example. Um, connecting. So like, maybe there’s wrong conversations, like, Unproductive conversations, and I’m actually going to play a clip from a movie here in a second to, uh, illustrate that.

Todd: And then there’s connecting conversations. I’m going to give you an example of what you just did with our youngest daughter five minutes ago that was a connecting olive branch to having a, and you’re like, what are you talking about? Yeah, I don’t 

Cathy: know. 

Todd: And this comes very easy to you. Okay. And it doesn’t come as easy to me, and I say many other listeners, you just told our daughter, who has a headache, headaches can be so exhausting.

Todd: And you’re like, because they are. But that is, I’m guessing, our daughter’s nervous system about the day. [00:11:00] decreased as a result of you saying something like that. Now, now I was with her today and I, she was making her smoothie and I gave her a kiss on the head and said, good morning. Um, I didn’t get much more.

Todd: I didn’t ask any questions and I just went back to work. And you somehow figured out that she had a headache. 

Cathy: Well, she has had. For the last week, she’s woken up every day and there’s been kind of like a, a subtle headache. Like it hasn’t been full on like, you know, need to go to bed, but just it’s in there and then she can kind of through going outside or yoga or taking etc.

Cathy: or something. It’ll kind of dissipate, but then she’ll wake up and it’s there. And so she, I sometimes over the course of many days and I’ve had this experience, it’s so tiring, you know. So, You know, you’re, you’re so exhausted of waking up with a pain. 

Todd: Well, let me tell you what I probably would have said if she would have said, I got a headache.

Todd: First thing I would have said is, have you taken any medicine, which is important. And you probably said [00:12:00] something like that too. But what you also said was headaches can be really exhausting. And I just feel like that is a more full picture, a more way, an easier way to have a connecting conversation is because that’s empathy, right?

Todd: I mean, that’s. Empathy illustrated. And instead of me just trying to fix her problem, saying take an Excedrin, uh, I could, I could say, God, headaches suck, don’t they? Yeah. And it’s just so simple. And you’re like, Todd, why are you bringing this up? I think most of us don’t do that. Yeah. I’ll speak for most of us.

Todd: I think, take an Excedrin, now let me get back to my day. And you’re like, no. Headaches can be really exhausting, and you do that, not all the time, but you do that in a way that supports the idea of connecting conversation. And 

Cathy: to go to the chiropractor, that’s always, uh, I feel like, um, and that’s if you have a chiropractor, if that’s something that you, I grew up with that.

Cathy: So it’s very normal to me, um, and I love our chiropractor and so I’m like, go see her, get an adjustment. Cause sometimes you just need like [00:13:00] a new alignment, you know? 

Todd: So I’m going to play maybe 35, 40 seconds of a movie scene that you put, I think, in the highlight reel, uh, for the Zen Parenting Conference last year.

Todd: Okay. Opening scene of Lady Bird. Uh huh. Okay. Okay. Which is such a funny example of, and, and sad mother and a daughter not being able to connect. Yeah. You ready? Mm-Hmm. . 

Todd: You wanted that? Miguel saw someone knifed in front of him at Sac High. Is that what you want? So you’re telling me that you want to see somebody knife right in front of you?

Todd: He barely You thought that? I wanna go where culture is, like New York, did I race? Or at least Connecticut or New Hampshire where writers live in the woods. Get into those schools anyway. Mom can’t even pass your driver’s license. You wouldn’t, lemme practice it out the way that you work or the, or the way that you don’t work.

Todd: You’re not even worth state tuition. Christine, my name is Lady Bird. Uh, well actually it’s not, and it’s ridiculous. Call me Lady Bird. Like you said, you would just, you should just go to City College, you know, with your work ethics. Just go to City College and then to jail, and then back to City [00:14:00] College, and then maybe you’d learn to pull yourself up and not expect everybody, everybody.

Todd: So that noise you heard is what sweetie? She jumps outta the car. She sure does. And then doesn’t she like in a cast for the first section of the movie? Yeah. Yeah. 

Cathy: So first of all, the most important thing. Okay. First of all, Greta Gerwig wrote this movie and directed this movie and she loosely based it on her own experience with her mother, but also just talking to girls about their moms, which is interesting.

Cathy: Cause I’m writing a book right now about this and, you know, about how to have conversation and communication with our girls. And um, The thing that I’m going to go toward first in that scene is that what is the mom really feeling? I’ll just call her Christine. Well, no, I’ll call her Lady Bird because she goes by Lady Bird.

Cathy: Lady Bird is saying, I want to go to college somewhere else. I want to go to maybe New York or something like that. And her mom is terrified. Because A, she’s not going to, she’s going to leave home, which is hard. Number two, she’s going to a big city. So instead of saying, wow, I’m going to miss you, or wow, that’s scary [00:15:00] to me.

Cathy: It’s, you’re never going to get in anyway. Why are you such a snob? The same feelings are, it’s not that she’s feeling anything different, but the way she’s communicating what she’s feeling is in a, Blaming, cruel, making you feel bad so you change your mind kind of way. You know what I mean? And, and it is, I think that is so common.

Cathy: And I think we do that to our spouses. I think we do that to our children. I think we do it to our friends and I think we do it to ourselves. 

Todd: So in this example of this movie, which is awesome. Was it, did it get awards? Was it nominated for best picture or something? 

Cathy: Possibly. I know that, uh, Saoirse Ronan was nominated.

Cathy: Greta Gerwig, I don’t think was. Here’s 

Todd: the question. Does the mom in that movie know she’s afraid? Or is she not even aware that she’s afraid and instead just. Trying to make her daughter small to protect her from losing her daughter. Well, 

Cathy: I mean, [00:16:00] you know, no, you know, I’m going to be a therapist here. No, K N O W is relative.

Cathy: Does she know? Yes. Is she being honest? Is she conscious? Um, probably, probably not. Um, because She learned, again this goes deep into her psyche, she learned to not show that because in her childhood probably, making this up but it’s usually connected, in her experience you didn’t show that kind of fear. So instead you just made people feel bad about things or you, um, what’s the word I’m looking for, you, uh, blamed and so it was never your fault or was never your feelings, it was what everybody else was doing.

Cathy: Yeah. And unless you have someone talk to you about that or point that out or deal with that in therapy, you’re going to continue to do that because you don’t know how to take ownership or responsibility for your own feelings. 

Todd: Yeah. Um, in your blog, you have, uh, an illustration. Did [00:17:00] you make that one with the arrow?

Todd: I did. Yeah, that’s good. And on the, so think of it as an arrow going in, Opposite directions. And on the left side, it’s avoiding conversations. Right, completely avoiding. And on the right side, it’s coming on too strong. Yeah, or like that hovering around. And I think we as parents are guilty of both and probably also sometimes find that sweet spot in the middle.

Todd: And I just wonder if you want to talk a little bit about, uh, the avoidance versus coming on too strong. 

Cathy: Well, um, you know, difficult conversations. When we’re talking about our kids, um, We are the leaders, we are the parents, and so when there’s a difficult conversation to be had, um, there’s a lot of different layers to this.

Cathy: If we are aware that there’s a difficult conversation to be had, we, we lead. We say, I think we should talk about this, or I’m available to talk about this, or would you like to talk about this, or I’m noticing this. There’s lots of different ways to bring it up. We also need to, if our children bring up a difficult conversation, we need to be [00:18:00] able, capable, willing to have that conversation.

Cathy: So sometimes we don’t know something’s going on, but our kid comes to us. A lot of times what we end up doing, and the first paragraph of the difficult conversation sub stack that I wrote is about how I spend a lot of time with women who are talking themselves out of having a difficult conversation.

Cathy: What I mean by that is they’ll be like, this thing is going on, you know, I’ll just make, you know, make something up. This thing is going on with my spouse. They’re really pissing me off. They’re not, you know, helping me with what I need to do. Um, you know, I just don’t know what to do about this. And I’ll say, You need to talk to them or what have they said when you’ve said this?

Cathy: And they’ll say, I haven’t talked to them about that. There’s no point. And I don’t even know if I should bother because, you know, we’re going on a date. I don’t want to ruin the date by having a deep conversation. And even if I say something, he’s going to get mad. Or maybe it’s just he had a bad week last week.

Cathy: It’s not always going to be like this and they spend all their energy talking themselves out of the [00:19:00] necessity of the conversation. We do this with our kids too. My kid seems depressed. Um, but you know what? All kids are feeling depressed. You know, all kids are struggling. So I’m not going to really say anything cause it’s normal.

Cathy: And I’m just going to not bother my kid or worry my kid with these kinds of questions because they’re just angsty. You know, they’re just, And we’re talking ourselves out of just the one second, you know, approach we could make to our kid where we say, Hey, I’ve noticed you’re feeling down. Are you all right?

Cathy: You know, I’m watching you and I’ve noticed that you’re just kind of dragging a bit. Is there anything I can do? Like that takes, So much less time than the process of talking ourselves out of it. 

Todd: And, um, if you do say something as simple as, Hey, I noticed you’ve been a little, you know, low energy, whatever, um, you got to be ready to have the conversation.

Todd: And my guess is most parents, like if I could just get away with saying that one thing and then get out of Dodge, because I think what happens, at least for [00:20:00] me, is that if I, um, open up that conversation, it’s really scary because think about that. Like, let’s say one of our kids is depressed and she, and she comes back and says, actually, I am really depressed, like terrifying.

Todd: Like, how do I deal with my own emotions around that? How do I fix their problems? How do I connect with them through their depression? And I think I think one thing parents might say to themselves is it’s just easier to numb out. It’s easier to hope it gets better. And sometimes it does, that’s the problem.

Todd: And then sometimes it doesn’t, and that’s even a bigger problem. 

Cathy: Well, and I would even push back a little bit on the sometimes it does. I think that, yes, you’re right. Sometimes things resolve and we don’t get involved and our kids figure it out or it passes. That’s true. But I also think we missed an opportunity for connection that when we’re noticing something going on, we may say [00:21:00] to our kid, Hey, do you need help from me?

Cathy: And they’re like, no, I’m going to do this on my own. But thanks for asking or no, I don’t need anything, but I know you’re there. Or maybe they don’t say any of that, but you asked. And so they know that you care. I think that yes, things can resolve and not everything is going to come back with. Yes, I’m depressed.

Cathy: Um, but why wouldn’t we, I, I think that, and I, I actually know the answer. You just said it, which is we’re already overwhelmed. We’re already feeling scared. We’ve already got our own issues. We don’t want to open that door, but that’s kind of my whole point about the We talk ourselves out of it is we don’t want to open that door, but it’s still behind that door Yeah, so it’s not like probably not going away correct And and it’s or it’s something that you know, I’ll give it lots of different levels a we missed the chance to connect Which is the most basic level?

Cathy: B, we missed the chance to help and maybe our kid then has to go to somebody else or has to go to their peers. And while their peers can be amazing and loving, like peers are great, but they’re, they’re not. They’re not [00:22:00] adults. They’re not mature enough to often have the right kind of support or advice. Um, or worst case scenario is it’s something that’s ongoing that we continue to turn a blind eye to and we miss the chance to maybe, you know, deal with something in its earliest stages like, you know, a relationship that they’re feeling uncomfortable in and we can talk to them about it.

Cathy: It doesn’t mean, this is the thing that’s, um, Most important when I talk about discussions or real conversations, which is how I describe them in my book. One conversation doesn’t resolve anything. It might, I guess it could, but it’s the ongoing nature of conversation that makes a difference. Like, you brought up, you know, that I said to Skylar upstairs, like, I am, you know, like, Headaches are exhausting.

Cathy: I’m sorry you have a headache today. That didn’t solve anything, but what, what did it do? Right? It’s, it’s acknowledgement. It’s, I see you. It’s, I’ve been there. It’s, I’m feeling for [00:23:00] you. It’s, I care for you. So it’s not, not everything is about problem solving. Some things are just about, let’s keep this open.

Cathy: Like I just, right before I came down, I just wrote this paragraph for this last part of the book, and. It’s about how our girls write something for the book and they write about their challenge. They’re, they’ve had many, but they write about a challenge that they’ve had. And the, you know, the most important thing is the ongoing nature.

Cathy: They actually did the deep work. It’s not like we did it. But what we did is kept the conversation on the forefront. We didn’t, we didn’t try and hide it or put a blanket over it or pretend it wasn’t there. It was always there. Um, it was always welcome. in the room. Like if, if our girl was, you know, if they’re struggling with something, you can bring it up and it’s not like, Oh, do we have to talk about this again?

Cathy: You know, like, especially if it’s something that they’re really struggling with. It’s a form of, it’s a form of grief often. 

Todd: Do you want to tease, [00:24:00] uh, what they wrote about and their challenges or are they going to have to wait for the book? 

Cathy: Yeah, I think they should wait for the 

Todd: book. Um, This, uh, may not fit into this category, but on the one side of the arrow we’re talking about avoidance and on the other side of the arrow you’re talking about coming on too strong, or what do you say here?

Todd: It’s, uh, yeah, coming on too strong. Um, I don’t know if this fits, but last week, um, mostly you, but you and I were having a conversation with one of our kids, really trying to help her through something, and then lo and behold, her sister comes along and says like, Four words, and then a lightbulb went off in a way that it didn’t in the way that you and I were trying to support her.

Todd: Would that have been, do you want to share more about that? Or would that have been an example of you or us coming on too strong? 

Cathy: No, I don’t think, so the way I saw that was because she was coming to me to talk about it, right? Like my daughter was struggling with something and she was like, let’s talk about this.

Cathy: And we kind of, that whole day that was just on and off because every time she’d walk by me she’d be like, But what about this? And we’d like keep talking about it. And I said to her a number of times, you should talk [00:25:00] to your sisters because they’ve both gone through this, right? Like I’m all, I’m here and I’m in, but her sisters, because we’ve always talked about everything in this house, are also very well versed about how to do this, you know, depending on their mood.

Cathy: Sometimes people, especially teenagers or young adults, aren’t in the mood to go deep, you know, but for the most part, they’re pretty good at it. Not to mention that while I know my girls love me and that I’m important, sometimes Hearing from an older sibling, or a sibling, doesn’t matter, younger or older, or a cousin or a friend, makes it more impactful.

Cathy: Because it’s somebody their age. So, we were having this deep talk at dinner, and just the ability to have that talk brought it out in the open. So my other daughter said, Oh. I know exactly what you’re talking about. I’ll, I’ll never do that again. This is what I learned from it. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Cathy: And my, you know, my daughter was like, that’s it. That helped me more than the last 

Todd: hour of talking to you guys. 

Cathy: And she said that she’s like, that helped me more than everything. And we kind of laughed. And by the 

Todd: way, I don’t think The, what our one kid said to [00:26:00] the other kid was really that profound. 

Cathy: I know, but you keep missing the boat on this.

Cathy: You’ve said this like three times. It’s not about what she said. It’s about the attention and the understanding and the relating to and the normalizing. Were we doing all that? Yeah, but we’re not their age. We’re, you know, it’s like if my, if they come to me and they’re like, mom, make a playlist for me. I’m going to make a really great playlist, but it’s my playlist.

Cathy: Whereas if they go to their sister or their cousin and they get a really good playlist, they’re going to be like, okay, this is new, this is modern. This is, this is more up to date. Well, I feel 

Todd: like we are going to be like the go to’s for when our kids struggle most. But I think, and what, this is something you slash we have.

Todd: tried to do for ever since they were little is we’re not the only ones you can go to. Right. And hopefully last week’s experience will help the one kid trust her sisters more to say that they can be just as valuable if not more than us. 

Cathy: Well again, simplifying, she [00:27:00] knows that. Think about how many times the girls have gone to each other for help.

Cathy: This isn’t like a new experience. They know this, but there is a, okay. I’m going to bring this all together. Yeah, bring it all together. Infrastructure. We were talking about infrastructure with money. You have to have infrastructure in your home so things are accessible. What I mean by that is you and I were already having conversations with her.

Cathy: It was open. It was on the forefront. We were discussing it. It was coming up here, there, everywhere. Then at dinner it came up, which allowed my older daughter to give her input. 

Todd: Yeah. Yeah. 

Cathy: If we didn’t talk about these things, if you and I hadn’t started the conversation, there would have been no infrastructure.

Cathy: Sweetie, as 

Todd: long as I get the credit, that’s all I care about. 

Cathy: Yeah, you’re, you are, and again, way back when, when Todd and I started this podcast, our tagline used to be a logical and practical dad and an emotional and spiritual mom. Yeah. Which we don’t say much anymore. No. That was our tagline. Yeah. And you still, you are very emotional and spiritual now, and there’s all, hopefully we’ve blended, and [00:28:00] I’m more, I don’t know, I’m not very practical, but I, um, I’m rational, um, you know, whatever, I’ve become wiser, but I think you’re too practical sometimes, you’re too literal.

Cathy: You’ll be like, they said these words. I’m like, yeah, but what, why was that valuable in what, what allowed it to be said? What made it impactful in that moment? There’s more going on, just like the ladybird scene than what’s being said. Why is it being said? And what it, It, it was a connector for them where it was less about here’s the problem.

Cathy: Here’s the solving of this problem and more about I relate to you. Right. And that’s what made our daughter go, huh. Cause having her 52 year old mom go, I relate to you. That doesn’t help. Right. But it starts it. It opens it. So yeah, we were a team. Correct. The family was a team. It would be, and I’m using the word infrastructure now only because [00:29:00] you did, The difficult conversations in our home are welcome.

Cathy: That’s what it is. Yeah. I, I often see, I was just talking to a girl the other night, a 14 year old or no, 15 year old girl the other night. And she was saying, I don’t bring things up because her parents always do that deep side thing. You know, like, another bad day. Or, um, that’s, that was kind of her acting it out.

Cathy: But she also was like, you know, she knows those things are not welcome. Right. Like they annoy people. And where sometimes this is, you know, again, my sub stack doesn’t have all of this intricacy. But the, the thing you got to remember is there are times that you don’t have the time or patience to talk about something, but you don’t then scold them for bringing something up you are honest about.

Cathy: I don’t have. You know, it’s 10 o’clock at night. I don’t have the energy to talk about this, but the actual conversation is [00:30:00] important. So why don’t we get up early and go for a walk? Why don’t we have breakfast together? Okay, you don’t want to get up early? Why don’t I pick you up from school and we’ll talk about it on the way home?

Cathy: You make it a priority, but you can prioritize your or own energy. Like, for I think sometimes when we talk about these things, like, be this way for your kid and be available for your kid. Parents think they need to do it 24 7. Right. And you can establish some boundaries around, okay, now I’m ready for this conversation.

Cathy: But making them feel bad about wanting to have the conversation, that’s where you start to shut down even their, their 

Todd: willingness to open up to you. You say in the blog, I can’t. Now, the number of times a parent has said to me, my daughter knows she can come to me if she’s struggling, but then when you work with a daughter, she doesn’t know that.

Todd: She doesn’t know. Yeah. She’s like, no, I can’t. 

Cathy: Parents, again, this is the thing. This is the infrastructure thing. They like to think of themselves. They’re like, I love my kid [00:31:00] inside my body. So they just must know that. And it takes more than just being, I’m your parent. I love you. It takes a relationship. It takes allowing difficult conversations to happen.

Cathy: It’s, it also takes being willing to not know sometimes. Like there are plenty of times when my girls are like, you know I’m trying to think of a question where I’ve been like I especially when they’re doing things I know nothing about you know, like my older daughter travels and she’ll ask me questions about travel or certain countries I’m like, I don’t know But at this point, you know more than I do.

Cathy: Like, you need to go find, you know, my friend Jess, who travels all the time. Go talk to her. Like, I don’t know everything, and I think that is good for a relationship, too, is where you’re honest about your own limitations. Because 

Todd: your kids start seeing you as a human being versus, 

Cathy: yeah. And we have different interests.

Cathy: I mean, let’s be real. Like, we have very, we do have a nice Venn diagram in our family of, of many things that intersect, you know, where we find things that [00:32:00] we all like, you know, but there are plenty of things that, that don’t and that’s okay. 

Todd: Well, and I agree with you that it’s important to set up healthy boundaries when you just don’t have it in you to do it.

Todd: At the same time, rarely is the timing that I’m going to be ready and they’re going to be ready the same time. And I know you just tried to set it up, like, how about after school? How about I take you to lunch? Blah, blah, blah. But I do think we, as parents need to be like, have our radar up and say, Oh, there’s an opening here.

Todd: for me to connect with this kid. There’s some vulnerability. There’s some heart centeredness. There’s she’s, she’s struggling and she’s open. And I feel like, um, there’s times when I metaphorically have my headphones on and I’m simply not aware of what’s happening. 

Cathy: Okay. So you know that in the sub stack, the picture that you’re describing of the arrow.

Cathy: Okay. So you tend to be, if we’re going to put ourselves in these extremes, you tend to be [00:33:00] someone who avoids. 

Clip: Yep. 

Cathy: And I tend to be someone who hovers. 

Clip: Yeah. 

Cathy: So for me, me setting boundaries is important because what I have tended to do and what I’ve had to do some therapy of my own around is not being available 24 7.

Cathy: That a lot of times if my girls are like, like, you know, I remember last summer we talked about like I was getting ready to go for a walk cause I really needed it. And one of my girls came out and said, you want to go get coffee with me? And I’m like, yes, I’m going to not go on my walk and I’m going to go get coffee with you.

Cathy: Well, Hearing that, most people may think, well, that’s no big deal, but you don’t understand. I do that all the time. I always will drop everything I’m doing and make sure I’m there for other people. That’s really lovely that, you know, like I, I don’t want to put a lot of flowers around it because it’s really not that great.

Cathy: Because what that means is that I’m not paying attention to myself and I’m getting, I could end up more resentful, I get depleted, and then I’m not available to people and I’m not role modeling very good boundaries. Right? So, um, I tend to need the boundaries of, you know what, I can’t do it [00:34:00] right now, but I can do it when I get back.

Cathy: You tend to be on the other side where you need to be scanning more. 

Clip: Yes. 

Cathy: You need to be looking around and going, is everybody okay? Because I think you have historically depended on me to do that. Or you’ve thought to yourself, Cathy’s gonna notice if something’s wrong. 

Todd: No doubt about it. Yeah, and that’s my work.

Todd: My work is to turn the dial up on my radar Yes, I’ll say and maybe yours is to turn it down a little bit and it’s funny Terry real Who’s one of my favorite psychologists? He has a similar thing and boundary lists would be you so we’re talking about The hoverers. Yeah hovers Boundary less and love dependent are all in the same thing.

Todd: Me, I’ll call myself an avoider, walled off, love avoidant, or an avoider. Okay. So that’s kinda, and of course there’s times when I’m the opposite and you’re the opposite, but our center of gravity. So as we talk about this, and my guess is if you’re listening to this podcast, you have kids, figure out where you are on that scale.

Todd: Because my work is to move [00:35:00] towards the boundary less, not all the way over, but move in that direction, and yours is weirdly To wall yourself off a little bit more. 

Cathy: Well, and it’s, you know, and it’s not weird. There, it’s, it’s, we’re at the, those are the extremes. And we’re trying to find a place in the middle.

Cathy: The, your, so, like, the example you gave. In the morning, When one of our girls is maybe she has a headache or she seems quiet or something’s going on or she just seems off because that’s the other thing. Just paying attention when someone’s off. You don’t have to be like, what’s wrong with you in an anxious way.

Cathy: It’s just more like, Hey, how you doing? You are, you know, how you feeling? Like don’t say to your girls, you look tired or you look, you know, because don’t focus on appearance. Cause that then can provoke defensiveness. It’s just more like I’m feeling something from you. And I. There is your ability to do that and maybe stop what you’re doing to listen.

Cathy: Okay, because you want to [00:36:00] keep going and I’ve got a job and I’ve got a call and I’ve got, you’re so on your own schedule that you don’t have a lot of space for unpredictable, um, things that aren’t on the clock. Yeah. So 

Todd: for example, today, um, I woke up, I was making my smoothie and then she started making her smoothie and I said, how was your night?

Todd: She said, fine. I gave her a kiss on the forehead and then I need to get ready for this podcast. So that was it. So I was kind of like, just quickly checking in with her and, you know, and I think about it stuck around and, and, you know, try to open up a bigger conversation, I quite honestly, I think she’d be like, I don’t think that you actually have the space for this dad.

Todd: She wouldn’t be saying this, but you know, it’s the trust has to be built over time. And of course, do my kids trust me? Of course. Do my kids trust me enough to be able to hold space? Stop what I’m doing and really engage and listen with them. Me compared to you, heck no, there’s no way. 

Cathy: I also, I feel like our worldview is [00:37:00] very different.

Cathy: Um, and, and there’s not a right or wrong again, Todd and I tend to be. Like live on two different sides of the binary. Okay, because my worldview is the most important thing is how people are doing Meaning that like you just said I asked her how she was doing, but then I had to get ready for this podcast Yeah I don’t find doing this podcast more important than what she’s doing and I don’t mean that in a That can come off sounding like I’m what’s the word where you’re like?

Cathy: Oh, I Like, I, I’m, I really believe that, I really, and, and to my own detriment, meaning sometimes I just completely push, work things off and don’t 

Todd: make them a priority. Well, there’s times, there’s times when you’re like, I got a lot of writing to do today, and then it’ll, and it’s summertime right now in Chicago, and our kid will be, come down and have something big to share, and I’m off.

Todd: Continue with my day, and 90 minutes later you’re sitting there talking to her. Of 

Cathy: course. And that is more important to me. Like, that’s what I mean about my worldview. Now, [00:38:00] I may go back to you that night and go, I didn’t get anything done that I was supposed to be because A, B, and C. And then you try and problem solve why I didn’t get it done and how I should do this.

Cathy: And you don’t understand that I think the other thing is more important. Yeah. Or you do understand. But I don’t, and, and like I said, that can be too, you know. That can be too open. That can be too, like, um Yeah, can 

Todd: you be too available. Yeah, 

Cathy: too available where then, like I said, that can lead to resentment.

Cathy: That can lead to me not taking care of myself. That can lead 

Todd: It could lead to them not being able to get resilient or whatever, right? 

Cathy: Yeah, I guess so, but I, yes, I think there are times if they know I’m always available. Um, but really a conversation is not about me doing the work for them. Yeah. They still have to do it.

Cathy: I think I’m pretty good at not getting involved in saying, well, I’ll call that person then. Like, I’m usually like, what are you going to do? Yeah. 

Todd: So in other words, you help them or we, but more you. Help them process what’s [00:39:00] going on inside of them. And then they 

Cathy: take 

Todd: action, whatever it’s about school or grades or boyfriends or girlfriends or whatever.

Todd: Like they got to do the work, but they’re using you as like, can you help me figure this out? 

Cathy: Or just, can I tell you something that happened so I can say it out loud? Like, here’s the thing. This it’s almost unfair because I do, I’m a therapist. That’s what I do. And, and part of it is training and part of it is just what I like to do.

Cathy: So. I don’t have any desire to solve everybody else’s problems, but when someone comes and says, let me lay this out, why therapy works, you know, when people are like, why would I bother going to a therapist? It’s because you’re able to tell a story, get it all out of your body and find coherence in it.

Cathy: Find like, find history in it, find a pathway in it, find an aha in it. You need to say it and get it out. And having somebody hold the space for it and witness it and ask continuing questions about it. That’s what allows you, like, visualize you have [00:40:00] stories and experiences that live inside of you and therapy is an opportunity to get them out.

Cathy: I am not doing therapy with my kids, meaning I’m not their therapist. I’m their mother. So we can have more, you know, familial type, you know, conversations. But I am utilizing that whole concept of why don’t they just say it all out loud and see what they can figure out. But sometimes we don’t have patience for that.

Todd: I was, uh, talking to a friend of mine recently, and he’s talking about some, um, arguments, debates that he and his wife have, and the content is not that important, but one thing that he shared that I thought is pretty interesting, and I think it fits into this discussion, she says something, it upsets him, And in his history, his pattern is to reactively come back and tell her why he thinks she’s wrong.

Todd: And he’s like, that’s not a good idea. That’s not helpful. So what he said was, if I, if I respond immediately, I shut her down. And then he said, but if I wait [00:41:00] too long, To share or not share at all about his experience of whatever it was, I shut me down. And I just thought that was like a really interesting way to deal when somebody says something that uh upsets us because they’re talking it’s all about um Honesty, uh, candor, uh, transparency.

Todd: And if we, if, if Cathy, if you say something to me that I think is wrong and I all of a sudden get reactive and just tell you why you’re wrong, that’s a completely disconnecting conversation. And at the same time, if I just never bring up kind of like how you said, like some of these moms that you work with, they just never bring it up because it’s not worth it enough.

Todd: They like 

Cathy: quietly seethe about it. 

Todd: Yeah. And. That shuts them down, right? So it’s that, once again, we’re talking about this binary, like the space between walled off or, you know, too much. In the same way, can we find that sweet spot in between where we can hold the space for somebody who happens to [00:42:00] be saying something reactive and at the same time, not just completely Bring it up ever because then you’re just like, I don’t know.

Todd: I feel like there’s something that resides in your body that just won’t come out. 

Cathy: Well, I think we forget how change happens. Like, change happens over time through like an effort to make progress. And what, and why I’m saying that so like with those words is because I think a lot of, I’ll just again speak of women, is they’ll say, It could be a parenting thing.

Cathy: You know, I told my kids to put their shoes away and they just won’t do it. Or I told my husband that it’s hard when he travels, but he just doesn’t care. And it’s not just one conversation. It’s a willingness to continue to address something, not necessarily in a way where we, you know, and it does get tiring to say the same things over and over, but we find new and creative ways to have this discussion.

Clip: Yeah. 

Cathy: You know, honey, how I told you last time. you know, [00:43:00] when you traveled, it was hard for me. I want to tell you that this time when you traveled, what happened was there was a lot of things that went on that day while you were gone. And it was again, really hard. And I want to just be able to share with you, you know, that same issue, not necessarily so you stop traveling, but so you can relate to me better.

Cathy: And that, that, and they may still have the, you know, like, well, it’s hard for me to travel to that defensive posture that comes out, but the more you find ways to talk about it is when things start to change and maybe that what changes is not the travel schedule, but the compassion for each other, where the next time your partner travels, He or she says, you know what?

Cathy: I know these times are hard when I travel and I just want you to know I’m thinking about you. Um, I went to the grocery store before I left just to be helpful and just text me if you’re just having a rough time so you can just dump it out. And there’s like a, it’s less about I’m gonna change everything for you and more about I hear you.

Cathy: Yeah. But that takes, why we [00:44:00] call them difficult conversations is, This is the part that people don’t understand. You know, I’ll just use Todd and I, we have the same difficult conversations over and over and over and over again. And because we have the same issues and we continue to, so there’s like the underlying issue, deep, deep, deep issues.

Cathy: I don’t feel heard. Todd’s afraid of conflict. You know, using those, those are just some of ours. And then the things that happen above that and what gets triggered is what’s below, which is, I don’t feel heard. Todd doesn’t like conflict. And, but we’re dealing with something. in the moment. And so it’s really about the deeper issues, but we’re talking about what’s in the moment.

Cathy: But the more that we talk about what’s in the moment, the more we get to the core of our deeper issues. It 

Todd: reminds me of, and I think we’ve talked about it in the podcast, that I think it’s at Sculptured, every man of the two adults fighting and inside each of the adults are these, um, toddlers, I guess, kind of turning away from each other, like feeling really sad.

Todd: Do you remember that [00:45:00] one? Yeah. And then inside of it 

Cathy: is, Two people hugging, isn’t there? Isn’t it the opposite or trying to reach for each other? I 

Todd: don’t know. I got to pull it up, but it’s just, it’s one of those things like kind of your point, the surfacy stuff is all our reactivity. 

Cathy: It’s present day stuff.

Todd: Um, one quick example about, so one of my friends at Men Living said something to me that I, he was questioning some things that we were doing. I shared this with you. It doesn’t matter what the content was, but, um, I started defending a position and we were having a debate. And, you know, as we were kind of checking out on the phone call, I just said, I’m just feeling really defensive right now.

Todd: And, That’s as much as I could bring up in that moment. And instead of like, I was proud of it. I wasn’t like trying to minimize him or make him feel smaller. Uh, but I certainly wasn’t so grounded and centered saying, you know what? You’re right. Or I need to look at this and see it from a different place.

Todd: The best I could do at that moment is like, Hey man, just so you know, [00:46:00] I’m feeling really defensive right now. I’m not going to react from that. That defensiveness, but I could feel it in my body and sometimes just that honesty and, and, and he held it. He’s like, yeah, I get it. I understand. It’s cause you care and blah, blah, blah.

Todd: So, um, Well, and the, 

Cathy: the ability to, like, I was talking to one of my daughters about this person who just keeps annoying her. She keeps coming home and talking about how annoyed she is. She’s like, I’m not mad at this person, but I’m so annoyed because they’re doing this or this or this. And we talked about how this person is challenging her core beliefs in their behavior.

Cathy: My daughter believes this daughter happens to believe very much in like justice and authority and we follow rules. It’s just kind of who she’s always been. You should see some of her artwork from when she was little. It was very much about justice. Like she just kind of came into the world this way.

Cathy: When this person is behaving in like this grown adult is behaving in kind of like a toddler like way it, it hits her core beliefs of this is not [00:47:00] okay. And her just understanding that like she has been able to share things with us where she’ll start by saying, Hey, I know that this is like my thing or that I’m very territorial, but listen, this is why it annoys me.

Cathy: And she has some self awareness. and a recognition, a realization of why this person is affecting her this way. So it’s less about this person needs to change and I’m right, and more about wow, they’re butting up against my core belief. I just told you that story, um, I was listening to a podcast with Simon Sinek.

Cathy: Um, and he was talking to Adam Grant and Brene Brown, and he said that when he goes to a restaurant and there’s like a ton of tables, which happens all the time now, because I don’t think maybe people have enough staff lately. I don’t know. We ran into them last night. Yeah, we were at all these restaurants that were around each other and all of them had like two hour waits, but they had a million tables available.

Cathy: We’re like, it must be a staffing thing, you know? But anyway, Simon Sinek was like, I go to a restaurant and I’ll say, [00:48:00] can we have this table? And the restaurant will be kind of empty. And the person will be like, no, that’s a table for four. You can only have a table for two because someone may need the table for four.

Cathy: And he’ll look around and be like, okay, nobody’s here. So he’ll say, how about. I take that table for four, and if somebody comes who needs it, I will move. Can we make that agreement? Because there’s nobody here. Now, it sounds like a jerky thing to say, and he’s not a jerk. If you know Simon Sinek, he’s an optimist, and he’s a, he’s a, he’s very kind.

Cathy: What they were able to kind of figure out is, This customer service or focusing on lack of customer service and focusing on practicality butts up against his belief that all people are trying to help each other. So he was trying to like make these people help him. Like let’s make a plan because I believe people are good and want to help me and the fact that you’re going to force me to sit at a table that I don’t want to sit at goes up against something I believe about people.

Cathy: Yeah. So. You know, I kind of just [00:49:00] dove back into, but what you were saying is that your, what your friend brought up to you in men living, but up against something that’s really important to you. It’s something that you hold very, like you value. And someone saying, Hey, do we really want to value this anymore?

Cathy: And you were like, yes, because this means so much to me. And now you have to, you know, we talked it through, you have to figure out why it means so much to you. Like, is it because it’s something you’ve always done or is it because it really holds value in this place and time? And I think you found kind of happy medium in there.

Todd: We sure did. Sure did. Yeah. I’m thinking back about the dinner and last night and how it was such a. Well, Cathy and I went to go see Nate Bargatsy, Bargatsky, no, Bargatsy, Bargatsy last night 

Clip: and 

Todd: had dinner plans. And it was one of those things where tables everywhere, bunch of people waiting for a table and they’re just not filling the tables and it has to be a staffing order [00:50:00] of cooking.

Cathy: And in that case, we might as well pretend the tables aren’t there because they’re not going to be able to serve us that many people. Right, it’s 

Todd: almost frustrating, like hide the tables so we can’t see them. 

Cathy: Yeah, pretend those tables, like put a blanket over them and act like they’re not there because everyone’s like, there’s so many tables.

Cathy: Um, two things I wanted to bring up about Nate Bargatze’s show. So, people may know who he is, he’s a comedian, he’s all over YouTube. He was on, you know, Saturday Night Live, he did one of the, uh, Funniest skits in Saturday Night Live I’ve ever seen. Um, he’s super funny. But there was a comedian that came on before him.

Cathy: They had like three or four comedians. And one of them, they were all pretty good, you know, but one of them happened to say something and it was kind of, you know, old school. I wouldn’t call it sexist, but you know, focusing on that women get their periods and that his, his daughters had like synced up with his wife and you know, and how his son is like, what’s going on?

Cathy: You know, he’s getting like. It’s like old school humor, right? Where you’re kind of like, yeah, yeah, yeah. But one of the things he started to focus on, which I really appreciate, and [00:51:00] I started clapping, is he’s like, do you understand that like women’s cramps are like similar to, what did he say? He’s, what did he say?

Cathy: They’re similar to a certain kind of pain. You know, that this is a research. Oh, a mild heart attack. Yeah, a mild heart attack. Okay, because what they do and how they kind of, you know, and women listening who are like, well, mine aren’t, you might be just used to them. Do you know what I mean? Like, not everybody gets bad cramps.

Cathy: I don’t want to, you know, we’re not a monolith. We all have different bodies, but you know, some people are bedridden and some people don’t notice it’s a little like birth, but still we have. These, you know, cramps and we, and he’s like, and they just keep going, they just keep going to work. They just keep doing what they’re doing.

Cathy: And he’s like, and you know, men don’t do that. And I really started clapping because I have explained to Todd, and this is more, not so he does something, but so he understands not just me, but women there. I went through almost two decades, not only like either pregnant. or [00:52:00] having my period, or nursing, or in body pain, but also with chronic migraines.

Cathy: And I kept going. Like, yes, some days I hit the floor, and I’m sure some days I was really crabby. Like, it’s not like I was perfect, but I don’t think that, especially, and maybe they do, men, if you’re listening, maybe you do understand, but women deal with a lot of pain. 

Todd: I’m guessing some men understand. I’m guessing most men don’t.

Todd: And to understand, I can’t say that I I completely understand because I don’t. Yeah, you don’t feel it. I have menstrual cramps. I can guess, but I can’t know. 

Cathy: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, and it’s less about knowing and more about do you have, there’s like an appreciation of like right now. I can barely see, my head hurts so bad, I have cramps, my body hurts, I’m taking care of three children and I’m also working and I’m about to go to the grocery store and that there is like a, nobody needs to bow down and give me, you know, praise for it, but do you see it?

Cathy: [00:53:00] Like, because I sometimes think we’re comparing apples to oranges with what we’re experiencing internally. And men who have chronic illnesses, who are sick, they They, they know what it’s like to not feel good. It’s not like women are the only ones. Um, you know, we know plenty of men who have aches and pains and problems.

Cathy: And, but there’s just this thing that women usually starting around the time they’re 12 until menopause that they deal with and, and I don’t think it’s a curse and I don’t have that negative kind of feeling about it. It’s, it’s beautiful. It’s what. You know, allows us to be who we are, but there’s a reality to it, which is it can be challenging.

Todd: Mild 

Cathy: heart attack. 

Todd: Um, can we close ish this show with just a quick minute from Nate? Sure. Um, I’m guessing you know who Nate Bargatze is, but in case you don’t, he’s A really clean and funny, not that I even need clean comedians. I think the guys who swear are, you know, I don’t know. It’s, it’s not like I’m high on, [00:54:00] you know.

Todd: Yeah, 

Cathy: you’re not looking for a clean. 

Todd: Right. But, but it is kind of nice. So I, I just, that’s it. If you YouTube him, there’s a bazillion clips and this one happens to be about him and his baby sister. 

Cathy: Before you play it, and I just, one of the things he said last night that also made me laugh because again, it was about men and women.

Cathy: He was talking about how when they used to go to county fairs, one of the things, uh, in the nineties or not in the nineties, in the 1900s, he kept saying when, you know, way back when, before PETA shut it down, people, men used to be able to go into a room and fight an orangutan. Okay. It was like, Okay. One of those things he’s like, he’s like, basically it’d be like, you know, the show, the rides, fight an orangutan, get a funnel cake, you know, it’s funny.

Cathy: And then he’s like, yeah, men will go in there and he’s like, if you put, you know, he goes, you could put a hundred women in that room, a thousand women and none of them would think to fight that orangutan. He’s like, but you put three men in there, two of them would say, I’m going to fight that orangutan.

Cathy: And the third one [00:55:00] would say. Hey, are you going to fight that orangutan? That’s right. And it just, that is like that kind of humor, like understanding our mindset, like a thousand women would not, none of us would be like, yeah, let’s fight that monkey. 

Todd: Yeah. 

Cathy: But anyway, that made me laugh. 

Todd: Well, and we are different from you females and there’s exceptions on both sides.

Todd: Some of it is chemical and how we’re brought into this world. And I’d say even more of it is cultural and societal. 

Cathy: Yeah. 

Todd: But it’s both. It’s not one or the other. But here’s a quick 60 seconds or so. Of Nate talking about his baby sister, 

Clip: a sister, 

Todd: and 

Clip: she is 10 years younger than me and apparently was raised by her best friends.

Clip: She has no fear of them. I mean, I’m scared. My dad’s gonna show up tonight. She’ll tell ’em they suck to their face. I mean, just. And I’m like mortifying me. You can’t talk to them like that. She does whatever she wants. She turned 18 and got a tattoo. And I said, I mean, I was like, well, you’re going to get in pretty big trouble when they find that out.[00:56:00] 

Clip: And she goes, I’m 18. I can do whatever I want. I go, yeah, well, I’m 28 and I’m still hiding wine. So I don’t think you can. And she ruined them. You know, that’s the thing that bothers me the most. She’s a bad influence on them. She got a tattoo. Then my dad went and got a tattoo. Yeah, I guess he figured no one’s in charge anymore.

Clip: I recently found out my mom got a tattoo. They tried to hide that one from me, but I found out. And I was livid when I found this one. I mean, I sat them all down together and I said, I don’t think y’all should be hanging out anymore. How about that? Pardon my language, but I think it stinks what’s going on.

Todd: Oh my God. He just is so great. And the tour’s ending. I think last night was one of his last ones. 

Cathy: He said it’s like they’re, well, and it’s funny cause our friends went to see him. He was in Milwaukee like six months ago. So he like came right back around Chicago. Um, but yeah, it was really good. And you know, We [00:57:00] need to laugh.

Todd: Oh, it’s so important. And I was like, I wasn’t laughing the whole time, but I was smiling the whole time. It’s enjoyable. Getting ready for the laughter. Yeah. It was 

Cathy: like watching. That’s the thing is like, I don’t think any comedian or any show is going to make us laugh the whole time. It’s more about just enjoying watching somebody say something, you know, just something light, you know, considering how we started the show.

Cathy: And now I have to go back and read this article about the Supreme court ruling. Gosh, when Supreme court hang hands things down for the last couple of years, it’s like, I need a month to recuperate, you know, it’s so hard and it’s so painful. Um, you know, based on my core beliefs, that’s basically how I’ll say it, you know, um, but sometimes we need to laugh because there’s more going on than what the Supreme Court is saying.

Cathy: There’s people everywhere supporting each other, people laughing, laughing, people coming together, seeing each other, um, you know, being good to each other. And I just don’t. I can’t lose sight of that in this more complicated [00:58:00] time that we’re in. 

Todd: Well, one, this is, I guess, an admission in, uh, regard. So I don’t know if you and I have ever gone to pay to see a stand up comedian, at least not a famous one.

Cathy: I mean, like we said, we’ve gone to Second City and we’ve gone to ImprovOlympic and stuff like that. 

Todd: So last night, uh, we went and spent 20 minutes listening to the opening guys who each gave five minute little spiels and then Nate for an hour and then we’re out of there and my admission is even when I’m going to see a band, not, not every time, but most times even when I’m going to see a band that I see, I mean, it’s such an investment and I could, I even know that some of my friends are going to make fun of me for saying this and I’ve shared this with you.

Todd: Like there’s times when. Yeah. I’m a half an hour into my band that I’m going there, that I paid money to see. And I’m like, you’re done. When’s this going to be over? Yeah. Sure. I think everybody thinks that. I never know when I should stand up. Like, I know I’m, if I’m a real fan, I’m standing up the entire concert.

Todd: My feet [00:59:00] hurt. So then I’m a lame old guy sitting down. I went to a Niall Horan concert. He was in One Direction with Cameron. And it was great. I love the guy, actually, because I watched him. And I stood up for most of it. Uh, but there’s a few slow songs I sat down and I was okay with that, but, uh, 

Cathy: well, and I think we don’t want to define ourselves as I’m a true fan.

Cathy: If I’m standing up the whole time, I’m not a true fan. If I’m sitting, you can do a mixture of both. And it’s not even really about age. You know what I mean? Like those are the kind of defining things that like a long time ago, you would have been really fixated on for sure. You would have been like, this is what real fans do.

Cathy: And now it’s like, I don’t go to a concert unless I’m a real fan. And I’m there, so I’m already a real fan. I’m already taking out my night, spending money, sometimes driving through crazy Chicago traffic. Like, I am a fan. I’m here. 

Todd: Didn’t Madonna get in trouble for telling certain fans in the front row to stand up and they were in wheelchairs?

Cathy: Um, [01:00:00] I don’t know if that’s exactly the story possibly and someone maybe can look it up. I think that Madonna has, um, over the years been very vocal about how high profile people or people with money get front row seats and how as the performer it’s really hard to play to those people because they’re often not the real fans.

Cathy: Like they are people who are like You know, their priority, their VIPs for some reason and she’s like, why are you in these seats? Because that’s all she can see. Right. Do you know what I mean? Now, she could be wrong, like your story may be correct, but I don’t think it’s as simple as what you just said.

Cathy: Yeah. There are people like, I think Bruce Springsteen or somebody else is known for Bringing fans from the back to the front. 

Todd: Well, that’s what I say. Yeah, Billy. Did you just say Billy Joel? Uh, no. I said Bruce Springsteen. Billy Joel loses thousands every night by giving away front row tickets. Yeah. I think what he does, I’m not going to read, I’m looking at Reddit.

Todd: I think what he does is he doesn’t sell those seats and then he has his people go [01:01:00] find people from the back, back and bring them up. I think that 

Cathy: makes a ton of sense. You know, I know Taylor doesn’t do this anymore because her concerts are too big, but when we used to go see her, you know. The concerts from a long time ago, like the Red Tour in 1989, they would, if you had like a sign or were dressed up, you, her mom would kind of wander around or her people, and they would pick people to come to the front and sometimes even go backstage.

Cathy: So there are a lot of people who do that, which to me, it makes sense because you, when you’re performing, you want energy. Like for example, Todd, I’m a teacher, you know, you and I are both presenters. When we’re on a stage or when I’m in front of the classroom and my students in front of me are falling asleep, that’s not really helpful to my teaching.

Cathy: Doesn’t 

Clip: really help. 

Cathy: Um, when you and I are presenting and the people in the front rows are talking or like not paying attention, that’s not helpful. And not that they need to be helping us, but you’re kind of like, why are you in the front row? Yeah. Go hang out in the back. Um, and you know, because you want people who feel engaged cause it engages [01:02:00] you.

Cathy: I think that’s just natural performance desires. 

Todd: No doubt. Yeah. That’s human nature, right? Yeah. Um, so two last things. One is, uh, check out, uh, Team Zen. It’s Zen Parenting Radio’s complete parenting content collection plus live talks in one place. We also have a bunch of micro communities. It’s 25 bucks a month.

Todd: Cancel at any time. And if you sign up this month of July. I’ll give you either a free ed parenting, t-shirt, water bottle, or socks. You get to choose yay. So check it out. And then finally, Jeremy Kraft. He’s a baldheaded B Baldheaded beauty. He, uh, paints and remodels throughout the Chicagoland area. Uh, his phone number is (630) 956-1800, and his website is avid co net.

Todd: Uh, any last words sweetie? No. See you next week.