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Dealing With Stress, Burnout, and Being A Mom During COVID with Dr. Sheryl Ziegler

Dr. Sheryl Ziegler, an expert on how to deal with stress and burnout and one of my favorite people who has so much wisdom to share with us – affectionately known as Dr. Z., she is an Author of Mommy Burnout™, TEDx Speaker, Podcast Host of The Dr. Sheryl Show, Media Contributor, Consultant, and Entrepreneur. 

If you’re feeling stressed and burned out dealing with remote learning, chaos, and uncertainty, you are for sure going to want to listen to this episode!

Scroll down to read the full episode transcribed.

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In This Episode You Will Learn:

  • The 6 hallmark Signs Of Mom Burnout (oh my gosh – yep, my hand is raised!)
  • What to do when you feel like your failing as a mom (been there!)
  • How to take care of yourself, especially when navigating remote learning and all that we are dealing with around COVID – what Dr. Z shares is soooooo helpful!
  • How to say “no” – Dr. Z shares with us a script we can use!
  • The choices we make that cause more stress and burnout for us as moms and what to do instead to restore peace and well-being.

Where to find Dr. Sheryl Ziegler:

Website: https://www.drsherylziegler.com/
Her Mother/Daughter Puberty Course: Start With The Talk
Her book: Mommy Burnout, How to Reclaim Your Life and Raise Healthier Children In The Process

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Sheryl also has an Inner Circle Weekly Parenting Program with a community of like-minded moms, personal coaching, and tons of resources to equip and support you to love well, navigate the challenges and meet your tween and teen’s unique needs during these pivotal years.

Get on the waitlist to get all the details and to be the first to know when it opens!

And here is the episode typed out!

Welcome to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. If some days you doubt yourself and you don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve ugly cried alone in your bedroom because you felt like you’re failing. Well, I just want to let you know you are not alone and you have come to the right place.

Raising tweens and teens in today’s world is not easy, and I am on a mission to equip you to love well and raise emotionally healthy tweens and teens that thrive. I believe that moms are heroes, and we have the power to transform our family and to impact future generations. If you are looking for answers, encouragement, and becoming more of the mom and woman you want to be, welcome. I am Sheryl Gould, and I am so glad that you are here. 

SHERYL ZIEGLER: Thanks so much for having me!

SHERYL GOULD: It’s so great to have you. And you are the number one go-to when it comes to talking about and dealing with stress, burnout, and mental health. And I’m so happy to have you on here today, especially with what we have going on with COVID-19.

And we’re quarantined, we’re overwhelmed. Moms are dealing with e-Learning—everybody’s home. There are messes everywhere. And then some moms are dealing with working from home and are stressed out. 

And today, I want to talk about both your book, with which I just want to say I am like a self-care junkie. I have so many books about self-care. And your book is one of the best that I have ever read. And honestly, when I read “Mommy Burnout, I was thinking, “Oh, maybe this is for younger moms.” And then I read it. And I’m like, “No, this applies to no matter what age your kid is.” And you share so many great stories and research about all the common challenges that we navigate as moms. 

What led you to write this book?

SHERYL ZIEGLER: First, I want to thank you for the kind words I promise people listening. I didn’t put her up to that. Truly the journey of writing this book, you know that it is a very long process for anybody who understands people’s journeys or has written books themselves it is a very long process. 

So I have three children right now. And at the time, I had my first child, and I write in the introduction, I share with people that I went through infertility struggles. And so it took me a while to get pregnant with my first, and then I had her, so that was for me, just this really lovely, glorious, amazing time I had been waiting so long for, and then I had a second. 

And throughout the process, I’ve run a private practice in Denver, and I had been hearing women say very similar things to me. So they would come in, and their initial session would be for their child, but they came in, and I kept hearing the same things over and over. They were things like, “I am so exhausted all the time.” They would say, “This is like the fairy tale. I got the husband. I got the kid and the house. Is this it?” And then they would cry. They would just say, “I’m just not good at this. I’m not a good mom. I don’t know what I’m doing.” 

So I just noted it. And I started working with a lot of moms at the time. And I didn’t personally resonate with what they were saying until I had my second, and then when I had my second child, I literally felt like I was underwater drowning. And I was just like, come up for air. I remember. I don’t know why I remember this. But I remember my son was maybe 15 months old. And I was on the phone with one of my girlfriends. And I said I can’t even unload the dishwasher. And I just remember I was standing in the kitchen and the dishwashers and was trying to unload the dishwasher, and I couldn’t. It was like he was over there taking things out of the dishwasher, crawling around the house, then my other daughters and my daughter was two and a half when I had one. My daughter was two and a half when I had my son. So they were both pretty young. And so it just was like, “oh my gosh,” and at the time, this was a long time ago. It was almost ten years ago. I cannot be the only one. I know I’m not because my clients are talking about it. But I don’t see this anywhere else.

SHERYL GOULD: Well, and you share six signs of mom burnout. And I certainly identified with all six, and I’m sure most moms will identify with them as well. What are they?

SHERYL ZIEGLER: So when we look at burnout, I want to tell people that I agree on the cover of the book and even saying mommy seems you know, like, if that were one thing I could change, it would be that the perception is I talked about people with kids going to college. So it’s not about young moms. First of all, it’s about all moms. 

I mean, it Docscally, so not just as a term, like I’m so burned out, but really, that came from the 1970s. When they started looking at employee burnout, they looked at ER, Docs, and nurses. I’m sure we’re going through a burnout crisis right now, of course, in our medical system. So what I did was essentially when my agent saw this book, she said, “This is great. We’re going to publish this, but you need to define the problem. What is the problem?” So I was calling it kind of like the way Betty for Dan called it in the 1960s. The problem is that it has no name, so I had to then search for what I was talking about? She’s like, “don’t just describe it, name it, what is this?” The best thing I can come up with, which I think is consistent, is burnout. And so when you look at classic symptoms of burnout, you’re looking at the physical, emotional, and sort of spiritual exhaustion from caregiving. 

People say they’re exhausted. That’s the physical part. The emotional aspect is also, “I’m not good at this. I’m not doing a good job at this.” Lots of us feel that way, especially right now; we might feel like I did a pretty good job. And some days were like, that was a disaster. 

One of the key things is cynicism. So that’s like nothing’s ever going to change. That is a hallmark symptom of burnout. So what happens in an employment setting, we get that we’re like, “oh, my boss sucks” or “this place is never going to change, I need to get out of here.” When you’re a parent, you can’t just be like, “I’m going to get out of here.” So what happens is we create the story that it doesn’t even matter what I do, it doesn’t even matter what I say, these kids are just going to do whatever they want. 

And so there’s this deflation, of not wanting to be invested anymore. So those are some of the Hallmark symptoms. There’s also a loss of motivation and passion and prolonged exposure to stress. Those are the proper definitions. And I think right now is a perfect example, this prolonged exposure to this stress. I mean, even my daughter last night was just lying in bed in tears. And I said, “I mean, like, I know what’s wrong. I’m like, “what’s going on? What’s wrong?” And she’s like, “When is this going to end? I can’t do this anymore. I need to see my friends.” And it’s like, “I get it.

SHERYL GOULD: I love what you’re saying. I hear in my community how moms feel like they’re failing. They’re feeling unmotivated and exhausted. Also, you talking about, “when is this gonna end?” That’s cynicism. And that has set in. What would you say to the mom right now that feels like she’s failing?

SHERYL ZIEGLER: The very first thing I would say is you need to lower that bar. We have all set the bar so high for ourselves. And now we got a new title to add to the cape, home educator, whatever you want to call us. And so we have got to lower that bar. And by doing so, because I just did it myself for my seven-year-olds in first grade. 

And last week, I just decided I’m not just lowering the bar. I am just totally shifting the bar. I’m moving it aside because what I was doing to myself in terms of trying to wrangle that’s what it felt like every day wrangling a first grader to pay attention to these online things as he’s rolling around the floor. 

And some days, I just was like, “you know, did you do anything today? Did you learn anything today?” And I was like, Whoa, that’s the thing. People always say, “Oh, you’re so good at handling stress.” I’m just good at knowing when I’m hitting the tipping point. And then I rein myself in. 

So I would say to the mom right now who feels like she’s doing a poor job, the best thing you can do is put everyone’s mental and emotional health first, and put yourself first. You have to come first. This morning, I practiced that I came first. I said good morning to everybody. And then I was like, I’ve got a couple of things I have to do because I knew, if I didn’t, they would be on my mind. And then I’d probably be more irritable trying to sneak it in. 

We have to put our oxygen mask on. First, refuel that tank and then lower that bar. In my case, for elementary-age kids, the most important thing they can do is read. If my kid reads independently for 30 minutes a day, that is a home run to me. To check everything else is a bonus, right? 

My middle schooler, if they do most of their zoom calls, they’re doing what they have to do, even if they have to spread it out. I am always in the middle of the day, as soon as I’m off this call, we’re all outside, we’re just going outside. I don’t care what’s going on. That’s more important. 

To me, prioritizing that my kids will remember this experience is not as scary or overwhelming, but rather as this unique time, and I’m not trying to fluff it up. Like it’s also great. But what I’m trying to say is I don’t put academics first. It’s for us. It’s going into week seven. This is so long. I was way enthusiastic and zealous in weeks one and two. And after that, it’s been like shifting every week. So just shift and lower the bar. That’s what I would say to every mom.

SHERYL GOULD: And then in your book, you give a prescription, and there you do a lot of research. And then you give a mom burnout prescription plan. And one of the things that really struck me in your prescription plan is having boundaries. And I don’t think like moms. We’re very good at that. And so can you share? How do we do that? Where do we start, especially with what’s going on now? 

SHERYL ZIEGLER: It’s so interesting setting boundaries for women, in particular, is such a challenge. And a perfect example of this, I wish they were listening was, I had a family that I saw on telehealth last night, so I’m still doing all my sessions with my clients. And there’s a teenage daughter, and I was talking to her about setting some boundaries. And then all of a sudden, the mom came in and said, “I’m terrible at this, I am not a good model for this at all.” And I have found that to be such a huge task to take on for so many people. And it’s not just women. I think women more, but even men have a hard time. 

So right now, I can think of exactly where in the book I set up. I set boundaries for people. One of the first things that we have to get really, really good at is first asking for help—and then accepting help. That’s probably one of the biggest things that I see. Because it’s hard to set a boundary. When you don’t know what you need, you don’t know where the limit is to what you need. And then when someone gives it to you, and then all of a sudden, you don’t know, you feel guilty. 

We’re all in this, but everybody’s stressed out. How, how am I going to ask you to do something, you have your own kids and your own stresses? I hear that all the time. The combination of there are so many things that I could say about this, but the variety of learning how to say no, learning that you are still a good parent, you’re still a good neighbor or a good community member in your school. Right? 

How many women I know everybody listening can relate to this. You get stopped in a car line, or you’re stopped while you’re walking in the hallway. And somebody’s like, “Hey, I was just wondering, do you want to co-chair, you know, the auction? Do you want to start a community garden like?” And women are standing there frozen, right? So it’s stressful, and fight-flight or fear kicks in. And they’re like, “Um, yeah, like, I guess I could do that. Maybe if I had some help.”

Women who are proud themselves will say things like, “well, at least I said I would need some help. Tiffany Dooku talks about how she says no. And so that’s part of setting boundaries is learning how to say no. And she does one of these, like, “thank you so much for asking, I appreciate that you thought of me, right now I’m directing all of my time, or you know, most of my time to blah, blah, blah, whatever, like I sit on to nonprofit boards. So I can’t do that now. But once again, I appreciate you thinking of me.” She says no and sandwiches it with how she’s allocating her time, and thanks to the person and closes that up—end of the story. And I have been practicing that.

SHERYL GOULD: I love that. It’s like you need a script. I mean, that’s a great script. I also say if I’m thinking about saying yes, sometimes I say yes. If I feel my energy’s high, and then I regret it later. But I say, you know what, let me think that even having a response back is so helpful. 

SHERYL ZIEGLER: And I will say that “let me think about that.” I have found that we women do that, again, more than men. And so it leaves that door cracked, you know, and let’s say an assertive person is asking you to do that, we tend to cave. Within three seconds, we see whether we want to do something or not. And I will tell you, for anybody listening, even though I’ve talked about this, I’m constantly practicing it. And I feel so much more confident the more and more I do it. If I say yes to something that I want to do, I think that the people who are receiving the yes, think she’s passionate about this. So it also helps enhance the experiences that I do choose to get involved in.

SHERYL GOULD: Well, and when you said the three seconds, you know, if my guts telling me, huh, then I probably should say no and use that script that you’re talking about.

SHERYL ZIEGLER: Yeah, exactly. We talk like women are these processors. That’s what I talk about a lot in the marriage chapter. We like to process things, and then we like to talk about it from five angles, I could get off this call and then call you again and be like, “so Sheryl, what do you think about this, right?” And then I want to talk about it from all these angles. And we can talk ourselves in and out of things very easily. 

What I say to women, I just went through this last week with another woman who got asked to have more responsibility at work. And I know she’s in a great space in her life right now. I knew oh no, you’re flattered, but don’t take that job promotion right now. And so I just feel like we will often regret sure I’ll do that, but very, very little times do I ever hear, “I said no.” And I kind of regret it because that’s very unusual. And usually, if you say no to something, especially if it’s volunteering your time, they’ll certainly take your “yes” down the road. But it’s harder to reverse it to say “yes,” and then go, “oh, you know what, actually, I really don’t have time for that.” That just leaves a sour feeling with people.

SHERYL GOULD: And it causes anxiety for us. Oh, no, now I have to tell them I’m not going to do it. It usually creates a lot of drama too. I like the guilt part that you’re talking about. And maybe moms are relating to that because I know I’m looking at this as an opportunity during this whole thing to strengthen my asking for help muscle, and we have a new puppy too. 

I have to ask for a lot of help. But I always notice I have this little low-grade guilt feeling. It’s just there, and I have to coach myself around that. No, everybody you know, I include my family. This is what I can do. I can help with the puppy. Everybody has to step up. And it’s working well, but it’s strengthening the no muscle. It’s not listening to those guilt voices. It’s being able to receive. Those are all good points. 

SHERYL ZIEGLER: They are. We know we hear about it, we read about it. Mom’s guilt is so huge right now, and I still find it fascinating. I’m open to other people’s ideas. I’m trying to think of what the best word is that we could replace with help, because at the beginning of this pandemic lockdown, it’s me who instantly is like, okay, I will rearrange my schedule and figure things out so that I can be there for the kids. I value education. I like this kind of stuff. And so it was like what I had to say was, okay, so these are the ways that you can help me, it’s still the default, like, like, it’s a help to me, it’s not like, my husband wouldn’t really say to me, “I need you to help me out with the kids.” Like, I would laugh. You know, it’s still the default is all on me. And then I have to ask for help. Well, what I think about your puppy situation, I’m sure it’s not literally your puppy. It’s the family’s puppy.

SHERYL GOULD: Who is relating to this? Oh, my gosh. But that’s I think it’s it’s that belief, that core belief of like, it is my puppy. It is my responsibility to do this. It falls on mom, but we’re creating that. It’s like a co-creation.

SHERYL ZIEGLER: Yeah, I mean, this is a whole long talk, how families continue to operate, no matter how advanced we think we are. And it’s 2020. And really, there are still these gender roles that exist so much. And the reason why I’m even bringing this up besides the fact that we’re all trying to figure out how to quote, ask for help, and receive the help. That’s an issue. 

But the second huge thing is just when we think about burnout in parenthood. Let’s say I’ve had men reaching out to me and saying, why not daddy burnout? Why did you just write a book about moms and women? And the truth is, my experience of them is different. And it doesn’t mean that dads are not involved and don’t love their kids and all of that. But the stress that women feel in their role as mothers like, I don’t think right now if we were serving, you know, every parent in the country that dads would say they’re concerned about academic failures. I don’t think that would be one of their top stressors. 

But I do think it is a top stressor for the majority of moms. They’re worried, “Is my kid falling behind? Can I really teach math? What’s going to happen next year?” And that’s why we’re feeling so much stress because we feel we need to keep them up. The priorities in terms of stressors are just really different for men and women, which I find, and what the research finds.

SHERYL GOULD: That’s so interesting. And you talk about performance and our kids; you have a whole chapter on that, with how that can cause burnout for us. Can you touch on that? Because this is a time where we are feeling stressed around our kids getting their homework done, and what’s going to happen next year if we don’t. And yet, what I find is, as moms, we can be carrying that more than our kids. What would you say to the moms right now who feel a lot of responsibility around their kids getting their work done?

SHERYL ZIEGLER: I actually titled one of the chapters, “I Just Want What’s Best For My Child.” And it’s all about all these choices and how choices are making us feel more stressed. And that’s the one thing I have found that people are calling this generation, which probably will be like a kind of lawn mower, snow plow parenting generation right now. But I know that these places come from love, these positions come from love. However, they’ve gone awry. And so what I would say right now is, if you’re stressing out about your kid falling behind, and that’s keeping you up at night and causing you anxiety, you have to remember, it’s like you have to go back to the basics. What does my kid need right now? And am I providing it? Number one, they need physical safety. That’s number one. We’re in a pandemic, right? We’re all trying to avoid spreading and getting COVID-19. So are you doing that job? I mean, it’s not foolproof and perfect, but are you sheltering in place and doing all of that so you can for the majority of parents. 

Number two provides a loving, calm home environment, right because we have to manage their anxiety. I think many parents are sometimes to the detriment of themselves because we give this whole “I want what’s best for my child” because of the martyr syndrome, where we’re like, oh my gosh, I’ll give you my last waking breath. Like, I’ll do everything for you. I’ll work till three in the morning.

But, you know, and I’m not exaggerating in many cases, we feel this overwhelming sense of I will do everything like the amount of flashcards, academic workbooks, and all of those things is through the roof. Now, I even noticed that target. There’s a section now in the book section. That’s all, workbooks. And that’s because they’re flying off the shelves, right? Because we want what’s best for our children. But I would say if we evaluated right now what’s best for our children, their academics would fall somewhere, maybe four or five, even six, you know, it’s not a top priority. But yet mentally, that’s what we’re focused on.

SHERYL GOULD: We’re all in the same boat. Every kid. And there’s going to be, like you said in the beginning, good days and bad days. And it’s also going to be such a mix of good stuff that’s happening and challenges around all this and normalize that.

SHERYL ZIEGLER: Absolutely. I think it’s much more important that you spend some time talking to your kid about how they’re doing and if they’re connecting with friends during the day. Rather than, maybe saying, did you do it? Did you do your math? Did you do that math packet? 

Every kid’s in the same boat. And even the ones that started off strong, they’re losing steam, the ones who started slower, maybe they’re getting a little bit better. I think in the end, we’re all human. It all balances out. There are different peaks for some people, and I find the trajectory I talked to worldwide is the same week by week helps. Some weeks people are angry; some weeks, people are depressed. Some weeks people are like, forget this, I can’t do this anymore. In the beginning, lots of us had great intentions. It’s all going to wash; it’s all going to be even in the wash. I really believe that.

SHERYL GOULD: And it can change from hour to hour. What is one thing that you would say right now? I mean, that’s so encouraging what you just shared. But do we have any other encouragement for moms right now?

SHERYL ZIEGLER: Yeah, one other thing that I would add right now is that we are all in this grief cycle stage. And I want people having that terminology. Because it’s so helpful. So if you’ve got four or five people under one roof, and when we talk about the grief cycle, we’re talking about at first denial, and denial still comes and goes. 

So we’re talking about denial, then anger, then bargaining, then depression, and acceptance. And then they’ve recently added finding meaning, which I think comes the next year 2021 2022, we’ll find some meaning we’ll make meaning of this. But I want people and moms, in particular, just to remember that. I believe we’re grieving the lives and all the experiences. Every time I look at my calendar, I get that sinking feeling. You know, it was supposed to be regionals in gymnastics, oh, it was supposed to be the talent show the other day. Oh, you know, and there’s that feeling of what we’re missing. And so I think if people can, first and foremost, think of it as grief, it allows you to be a lot more empathetic with yourself and with other people.

And number two, know that we can go in and out of grief cycles. Under one roof, people can be in different stages. So if you’ve got a senior in high school, they’re all over the place with you. They’re bargaining, “oh, gosh, please, I promise I’ll stay home if we can just have a problem this summer or if I can get to graduate across the stage.” Just knowing that we might be in different stages even though we’re all experiencing the same things. And just slowing down to pause and think about what stages my kids are in. What stage am I in today? What stage is my partner in today can be really helpful with reducing tension and increasing empathy.

SHERYL GOULD: That is so helpful, because even yesterday, my husband, he’s not a yeller at all. And he raised his voice. I went into his office, and I said, “I can’t take the puppy. I’m working on going to a call right now.” And he was like, “I’m working too!” We were both in that anger and that frustration. It wasn’t just a puppy. It’s like, we’re all packed in together. I just can feel that and then my daughter when she’s feeling sad, and it’s, yeah, that is so helpful to look at it that way rather than “gosh, she’s so grumpy. And I can’t believe he just yelled at me,” I mean, we can’t get away. We’re all stuck together.

SHERYL ZIEGLER: Absolutely, and you can, on a surface level, say, “oh well, you were stressed at that moment, and your husband was stressed at that moment and just move on.” But really, what you were both grieving at that moment was your freedom—the freedom to simply work. Like I just cannot simply work. And I think everybody can relate to this.

If you’re a mom, remember, when you brought your newborn home, you’re so excited. But then I can’t even take a shower. I cannot even finish a meal, or my body is not mine anymore. 

So when there are changes and transitions, we just have to mourn what we’re leaving behind. And we eventually accept what’s coming, whether that’s positive or negative. And that’s where we’re at right now. We’re not really in full acceptance, but for some people, they’re trying to accept, okay, this is my new normal, okay. And then things happen. And you’re reminded, I can’t even work. I cannot even type off an email without some kids screaming something walking into my office, whatever it might be. So it’s not just stressing irritability. It’s also just grief. 

Those are all the things, so I would tackle it not just from an “I’m your parent, let’s set the rules,” but also from a logical place. We’re in a pandemic. It’s not just our jobs to sit at home and binge on Netflix all day and play video games. That’s not part of it. Also, a part of it is to keep ourselves as healthy as we can be. Should we be exposed that we are in the healthiest position we are, you know, we can be in to fight it. So I would position it that way. I’ve said that to a couple of kids who stared at me through the camera and said, “Oh, I never thought of it that way.” So that’s my angle on it. Just teach them from a public health perspective why the rules are there. You’re not just being cruel, and you don’t understand? Nope, I do. I really do understand. But here’s the limits. And here’s why.

SHERYL GOULD: Absolutely, you got to stick to your guns. I mean, I’ve had lots of examples of parents saying, “what should I do?” They did sneak out what, what am I going to do about it. This is punishment already as it is. What could I possibly do? And so I said, You’re right, I mean, you’re probably not going to take away their technology. You could limit it, but you’re not going to take it away fully. But I would present it if anyone’s in the situation with kids pushing boundaries, is just to say, let me explain to you what would happen if daddy or I, in particular, were to get COVID-19, let me explain to you what that would look like. 

Either scenario, one where it’s so bad that you’d have to go to a hospital and the impact that it would have on the family. Or scenario two, you might not be in the hospital, but you’d have maybe 10 to 14 days to feel it being so sick and then quarantined in your room. 

So what would life be like, without maybe a parent who can’t generate income or a parent who can literally not take care of the family? Teenagers will get that we sometimes don’t give them enough credit. They will get it but talk to them that way straight up. Let me tell you how devastating it would be to our family. I’m not talking about death. But if I got COVID-19, this is what our lives would look like. Are you willing to take that risk? Because you cannot resist the temptation to hang out with a friend for an hour? So that’s the way I would put it to them. 

SHERYL GOULD: I love that, Sheryl, thank you. Because I know moms are reaching out to me and saying my kids snuck out, what do I do? So it’s very helpful. Thank you for talking about what to do about that. 

Here’s another one: how much should we be telling the kids about how dangerous it is? 

SHERYL ZIEGLER: Yeah, I’m pretty comfortable with this because, since the week of March 4, I’ve been practicing with not just my own kids but lots of other kids. And I’ve been doing a lot of segments on this. I haven’t wavered from where I started, which is, first and foremost, if a kid is asking you more questions, right? Like, even if today, they just say, “well, how many more people are infected? Or what’s the death toll?” The first thing I would say is, “so what have you been reading? What do you know? What do you know about it?” Always start with turning that question right back around on them. Because a lot of times, kids, you know, adults might ask big picture questions. But kids generally have some sort of agenda, like they actually want to know one particular thing. So I would first say, “It’s a really good question. What have you been reading? What did you hear? Did you hear something?” Because they’re likely to say, “Well, I was on a zoom call last night, and someone said that a million people have died in our country. Is that true?”

Well, let’s talk about what you know, so you don’t have to go rambling about every aspect of everything. Like, they heard X, Y, and Z, and you’re going to clarify that I would stick to the facts. I would stick to what they want to know and do not overshare. That is where most parents go awry. They overtalk, and they overshare. So answer their specific questions pretty factually, and I think it’s really important right now to find sources that are comfortable for you, that you can even share with your kid. Whatever it is, if you’re comfortable with the New York Times, the Washington Post, or CNN or MSNBC. Maybe it’s just universities, like Johns Hopkins, or we’re only going to listen to Dr. Fauci. I would just say to them, “we’re going to get our sources from these public health experts.” And kids shouldn’t be scared because if you’re doing what you’re saying and what they’re telling us to do, your probability of getting infected is very, very low. 

So if we do these five things that they’re telling us to do, the probability of us getting this is extremely low to not even possible. Like if I go to the grocery store, and I don’t want to wear a mask or gloves anymore, I’ll sanitize. Like those little concessions we make, I’ll see, and I’ll be good. I’ll stand on my hands. 

So I would give them real-life examples. If daddy goes to work, and he starts allowing more employees to come in, and they don’t take these precautions, all of a sudden, our probability goes up. So I think at any age, a kid from probably five and up can hear some version of this. And it is good because it gets them bought into why it’s important to listen to this and not have to go through a second wave. And I’ve already started talking to my kids about where we’re sticking to this. And we’re doing this because I don’t want to be a part of the problem with this second wave that they’re predicting, which could come at the end of this year. I want to do this once and hopefully not have to do it again. They’re pretty on board with that.

SHERYL GOULD: Exactly. That’s another one you could say to your kid if they’re sneaking out. Like, “Let’s just be done with this. And if we’re sneaking out, we’re not taking precautions. We’re just making this go on and on.” So that’s a good motivation. I love that, Sheryl. Tell them where to find you.

SHERYL ZIEGLER: So you can find me just at my website, which is Dr. Sheryl  Ziegler, https://www.drsherylziegler.com/. And there you can find I have a podcast called Dr. Sheryl’s Pod Couch. And I have a newsletter that only comes out like twice a month. And I will say people really love it because they’re just called notes from the couch. And they’re my session notes essentially made into, you know, a story that we can all relate to. So it’s great because they’re usually a mix of a bunch of people, but they’re really what’s happening in my therapy sessions week to week, so a lot of people relate to them. So you can sign up for that newsletter. 

And throughout this time, I’ve wanted to take this class that I teach called “Start with a Talk,” which is a mother-daughter puberty class on the social, emotional, and physical changes.

SHERYL ZIEGLER: My podcast was released, and Sheryl is my guest. And so she and I had a great conversation about social media and managing that even during a pandemic. So for anybody who wants some really good ideas around what to do, you can check out my podcast today because Sheryl’s my guest.

SHERYL GOULD: Yes, thank you for sharing. It was so fun. And I’ll share all the information, also your book, I’ll share the link for that as well. And thank you that you’re going to be doing that for moms and daughters around puberty because that is so needed. 

SHERYL ZIEGLER: And your daughter’s are not asking you the questions that are on their minds. So that’s why this class is so special to me, and I’ve been doing it for almost seven years. And the girl’s questions are the sweetest part of it all. The most significant thing is that now that it’s something you could have at home, they’re there by segments. So it’ll be like hygiene. So you could just watch hygiene with your kid, it’s maybe 20 minutes, and then you could be done. And then there’s, you know, female genitalia, menstruation, and then bullying and friendship issues. So I try to take all those things that I’ve gathered from all these years of doing this, and then they’re just 20-30 minutes segments. So I feel like it’s going to be great. And it’s called “Start With The Talk.” Because I always tell people, it’s just the beginning. You got to keep these conversations going and going, you know,

SHERYL GOULD: I know, and give the tools to how we have them providing all that we can because if we didn’t have our moms or parents talking about it, we don’t know, even if we did, it’s so uncomfortable. So that’s great. Thank you so much for being on here and sharing all your wisdom. And I love all that you’re doing to help us navigate through parenting.

SHERYL ZIEGLER: Absolutely. Well, thank you. I love being on, and I hope everybody stays healthy and sane. And we all get through this. We will all get through this.

SHERYL GOULD: We will get through this together. So thank you, Sheryl.

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