Hi Friend, and welcome to today’s show. I’m so glad you’ve joined me.
If you have a tween or teen daughter, you know just how challenging these years can be. Filled with insecurity, self-doubt, and self-criticism, it’s easy for our girls to lose sight of their own worth and potential.
I’m thrilled to introduce Katie Parker, the President and CEO of Bloomfully. Katie is truly passionate about building the confidence of young girls, tweens, and women. Her mission is to empower them to grow beyond the traps of comparing themselves, constant criticism, and overwhelming self-doubt. She firmly believes that every girl and every woman is unique and absolutely essential in this world.
Today, we delve into the topic of helping our daughters grow in self-confidence and empowering them to believe in themselves. It’s a conversation that holds tremendous importance in today’s society, and Katie brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to guide us on this journey.
This episode will equip and encourage you and your daughter to embrace the incredible individuals you truly are.
Without further ado, let’s jump right in and welcome Katie to the show.
What You Will Learn:
- What are some suggestions to stop the negative self-talk and the comparison game?
- What is the “Grow and Share” living pattern? And how does this create a happy tween?
- What can we do to build up confidence in our daughters that will help her now and in the future?
- Why are habits important, and how can moms start to teach habits to their kids?
- When friends are mean and drama starts – what is the best way to handle it?
- What are some things a mom can say to her daughter when friends are being mean?
Where to find Katie:
Find more encouragement, wisdom, and resources:
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And here is the episode typed out!
Welcome to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. If some days you doubt yourself and don’t know what you’re doing. If you’ve ugly cried alone in your bedroom because you felt like you were 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’m on a mission to equip you to love well and to raise emotionally healthy, happy tweens and teens that thrive.
I believe that moms are heroes, and we have the power to transform our families and impact future generations. If you are looking for answers, encouragement, and becoming more of the mom and the woman that you want to be, welcome. I am Sheryl Gould. And I am so glad that you’re here.
SHERYL: Well, welcome Katie to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. I’m so excited we’ve been talking. I think we could just go on and on. I’m floored because I was so excited about your energy and all you do. So welcome. I’m excited for our listeners to hear you share your heart.
Thank you so much for having me. Yes, I am so excited to be here. Because I’m just so excited about what you are doing and about your amazing listeners, I just keep thinking about these wonderful mothers who tune in to your podcast; some mothers have amazing hearts that want good things for their children so much that they will listen to the things offered out there that will help them do that. I just – hats off to all you mothers. I just think you’re amazing. And it just warms my heart. This world is a better place because of moms.
SHERYL: Yeah, I love that. You’re saying that because we need to hear that, moms; you need to hear that you need to take it in. We are so hard on ourselves and take that in. Katie was saying to me before I hit record how just that you’re showing up here and you’re listening. It just speaks volumes about the kind of mom you are. And yeah, you add to that, Katie, because I loved how you said it.
KATIE: Well, it just gives me hope for this world. This world needs so much hope and so much light right now. And I believe that a huge portion of that light comes from mothers. And I, just any way, I’ve even teared up just because I know you feel that.
And I feel that like the power of moms is real, the sense that mothers have about our surroundings, what’s happening in the world, what they want for their kid, children and like, just what our children are facing moms know what to do, even though they might not think in them like exactly what to do at the moment.
Their hearts know we have. I was thinking. You hear sixth sense all the time. I think moms have seventh, eighth, ninth, and ten senses.
That’s why I’m seeking answers. Because my heart is saying something’s off with this social media stuff in this world. Something’s off with this friendship with my child and their front life, and the fact that these moms are here listening means the power inside them is strong. And it’s real.
And oh, I love you, mothers. I love you, what you were doing with your families, what you’re trying to do, and your goals for your families of happiness and peace and building your child up.
Yeah, I love your listeners. I don’t know them. But I am just thinking about them this week in preparation to come and talk to you. I’ve been so excited. I’ve just been thinking; I want these moms to know they’ve got this. They’ve got it. They’re making this world need them more than ever right now. So keep on keep fighting the good fight.
SHERYL: Yeah, your energy. Katie, we need that. Thank you. And you have to tell them about yourself. And you were telling me before the ages of your kids, all that you’re doing, and if anybody’s like totally got a lot going on, it’s you. You’re at every stage right now. So tell them – six kids.
KATIE: I will. Okay. All right. You’re ready for it. I think moms will be like, okay, she’s straight-up crazy. But I am. And I have to say. I’m crazy about being a mom. And I know you’ll hear as we talk more, you’ll hear about the businesses I run and the programs we’re putting out into the world right now.
And I told you earlier that I’m a mom first; I will always be a mom first. And I’m most proud to be a mother because my heart knows that my best efforts to make a brighter light in this world are in my home. And even though I’ve taken it further than that, I start my day being a mom before 9 am; I’m doing laundry. I’m prepping dinner. I’m getting kids out the door.
I wake up super early so that they have breakfast. My mom did that for me. So I’m just doing what I was taught, but I felt that as I pile on new activities, I love being a mom, so I’ll start with I have six kids. I’ve been married 25 years this year, and my youngest is three. My oldest is turning 22. And I have three boys and three girls, and I am still doing all ages.
So I would say I’m not perfect, far from it, but I am an expert on motherhood. And then I also have a company singers company that I started in high school, but we franchised it 12 years ago. And so I run that and see over that, and then we that morphed and turned into a middle school program that we’ll discuss more because that’s why I’m here.
I believe in myself, strengthening the confidence of middle school and tween girls. And then I’m married to Matt Parker. He started that company. He shaped surfboards. So we serve in the summers as a family and are snowbirds in the winters. And we love what this earth has to offer. It’s a playground, and we play hard. But we also work hard. And that’s kind of our mentality.
And anyway, I love life. It’s what I say; I love motherhood. And I’m a mother first. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, hands down. Every child is so different. You think you’re doing good one night, just this week. I think I’ve got it all to go, okay? We have crazy. We’re renovating our kitchen, we’ve got we’re leaving town.
We’re running businesses. I’m going on the podcast; everything’s going crazy. But I’m still calm. I’ve got this. And then I have a child that comes home from baseball practice. He’s my junior and just loads. And I thought he was doing okay, and he is doing fine. But it was just a bad day for him. And we stayed up late, just trying to sift through, okay? Is this a really big issue? Like, how deep does this go for this one right now?
Because it kind of unleashed a little bit, and so just when you think you’re doing good, and you’re balancing all the crazy, a child just suddenly creates a huge need.
And I went to bed that night, not thinking about my businesses, the renovation, or the trip coming up. I went to bed thinking about my Max. So that’s a mom, right? Your mom first, and that’s what keeps you up at night more than getting out your taxes on the business tomorrow or whatever.
SHERYL: Yeah. When he opened up, he felt comfortable enough to talk to you and open up. That’s what you want, even though hearing the different struggles and challenges that they are going through is so hard for a mama’s heart. We just want to protect them; they’re going through ups and downs, but hearing your kid struggling is painful.
KATIE: It is, and at that moment, like, I know, we’ll talk about it later. But there was a moment in that conversation that this a couple of nights ago that I was like, okay, really, he wasn’t opening up, I could just really sense that he was, he’s kind of yelling out, and he wanted me to react a little bit.
And I just was sitting there going, Okay, I need to keep him talking as long as possible. I’ve got to see what this is stemming from. And I was sitting in the family room, and he was at the bar with his back to me, eating dinner and starving after baseball. And I just got this feeling again; we’ll talk about that seventh, eighth, ninth sense from your mom. I kept saying, you can turn around so I can hear what you’re saying. And then I just felt, Wait, no, I can go to him.
My mama’s heart just knew it. My heart and mind connected, and I’m like, I’ll put my laptop down. I’m gonna walk in. And I did. I just went around the island. And I saw I could see his face and not but not make him come to me. And I was grateful.
I’m grateful for that mom sense. How do you be a mom without it? You gotta trust the power that’s in you. Those are guiding lights that are inside; you got to trust that. And that helped me, and the details came out as soon as I could face him. And I could dig a little bit deeper into the root of this, at least one of the roots. I’m sure there were multiple things. I think that’s why he was kind of erupting a little bit.
SHERYL: Yeah. Well, I love you leaned in. And sometimes we get a little scared like, oh, I don’t want to miss this. Maybe I know; I’ll speak for myself when my son especially was going through that. I’d be like, oh, maybe he doesn’t want to talk about it.
But I think to find that instinct to lean in and allow him to talk about it if he wanted to talk about it was good that you did that. You followed your intuition there and thought, I know something was going on, and you’re curious, and you leaned in. Did you listen to yourself?
KATIE: Yes. And I think, yeah, that Mama intuition – everyone is special. We do; I felt that we have something else, and everybody has it, and these women are listening; that’s why they’re here because they want to hone in on those moments and make a difference in guiding their child.
SHERYL: Well, you started Bloomfully. And, for those who can’t see her, she has this beautiful flower shirt on. It’s so pretty. Oh, yeah, it’s just all the beautiful pastel colors. It’s a lot like, so you’re wearing that? I’m sure because that is you, Katie, you use a lot of visual visuals around flowers when talking about the growth happening in our daughter’s lives. So explain that to our listeners. And to me.
KATIE: I look for, first of all, I love being in the dirt. I am not a Master Gardener. If you look at my garden right now, it’s all dirt. I think my oregano is still growing. And that’s about it. I talked a bit about our first company, the Singer’s Company, which is strengthening the confidence of elementary girls. And those parents have loved it over the years.
But then these girls grew up, and they went to middle school. And so Sheryl was referencing that as far as middle school girl growth goes, these parents were asking for a program that would strengthen the confidence of girls similar to Singers Company, and I was working in my garden one day digging in the dirt. I would keep thinking, Okay, I love these girls so much. And we’ve fine-tuned this and made strong elementary girls, for sure.
But then we send them to Middle School, which is like the lion’s den, right? And my heart was hurting because parents have been asking for it across the country when a senior is compared to a middle school program. And I knew it couldn’t be the same format. These girls in middle school need something different.
They’re starting into the tween, like pre-pre-adult years; they’re starting habits that will last a lifetime. And what could I give them, and it just came to me. It came to my mind and my heart while I was gardening. So many garden themes and analogies are there for us with life. And I think people, even your listeners, could probably come up with their own immediately, right?
Flowers are growing, flowers blooming, but it was in my mind, and thinking about these middle schoolers. We have created this program with this garden mentality to paralleling their lives and decisions and establish foundations for their life.
It rings true; it’s easy to digest for them. It’s easy concepts, and I’ll share them with some of them today with the moms that they can take and use in their homes because we talked about your garden of life and how every girl is different in the world. And those differences are what make us beautiful. And we talked about how we like to think about a garden. My favorite flower is the Daisy; what’s your favorite flower?
SHERYL: Probably lilies because I have a Lily. Oh, my daughter’s Lily.
KATIE: Perfect. And see, I love it that reminds you of your grandma. See, you’re all so different. So let’s take that. So if my garden only had my favorite flower daisies in it, it would be pretty, but it’s not going to be beautiful because we need our differences next to each other to complement each other.
If my shirt was only this green flower all over, you wouldn’t like it as much, and you wouldn’t have mentioned it, right? I have pink, yellow, blue, white, big, and smaller clustered blooms. It makes us beautiful, and so that’s what we tell these girls when they are part of this program. This world needs you and needs the colors that you bloom and needs the way your pedals go.
It needs your talents, it needs your gifts, if we all, and that’s where social media like and just the world in general, what they offer these girls is you have to look like this, you have to be like this, you have to act like this, you have to. And if we all molded into that same cookie cutter, it would take away so much of the beauty of our different gifts and talents.
And so all the tools that we give these girls and even moms like and in our households, and one of our favorites is routines are the roots, meaning you think about your household, and it’s true for a household. It’s true for these middle school girls. When you get your roots solid, things are steadier, calmer, and operate better, and when the winds come in, the storms come, blow, and affect you.
And things can get crazy for a minute, but it won’t knock you over because your roots are deep. And so as we’re teaching these girls, and obviously, we’re talking to moms, today, the routines of your household, your morning routine, your evening routine.
I know all the moms nod when your routines are, and you will try again; no one’s perfect. You have bad days; you have crazy days, boy, me, I know. Like where you don’t exercise, it’s just life, that’s okay. But if you have established routines, you can always fall back on them. And those create steady days and calm interactions.
Think about the morning when your kids go off to school, your daughter, If I’ve gotten up, if I’ve had a minute for me to read, this is what my routine looks like; I wake up early enough to have some quiet time; I need that quiet time as a mom. And if I’ve had that stillness where I think about my day, I can think about spiritual things. I can think about where they are found, like, what’s the stay unfolding?
I want to control this day, thinking a minute, 15 minutes, sometimes a half hour, sometimes two minutes if I’ve got two minutes, but just something quiet where the house isn’t alive yet. Then I prep breakfast, do my routine, and hope my children do theirs up there.
But when I’ve set that stage, I’m better at waking them up if I have to. Hopefully, I don’t, but if I have to. I feel I’m not rolling out of bed frazzled. So my routine, and usually it’s throwing one load of laundry and making sure that the lunches are prepped, so that when they come down my side of the bargain, not bargain as bargains probably a bad word. Still, my side of the responsibility of the household is calm.
And if they are crazy that day, I can calmly help them through that. But I think as much as possible; leading by example teaches so much without saying one word.
SHERYL: Yeah. It’s always good. It’s always a good starting place. Like thinking about Okay, where am I asking my kid to do something? Where maybe I’m not doing it? Like I’m asking them to clean up their backpack. But meanwhile, my dining room table, it’s like an explosion of papers.
KATIE: I want their room – I want them to get clothes off the floor. And then you walk into my closet. And it’s like, oh, yeah, sorry about that.
SHERYL: And so yeah, sometimes it’s like, Okay, I’ll clean up my mess first, then I can come back and support you.
KATIE: Well, one of the routines of the roots is an example of the garden imagery of how we have so much to teach these girls, but also, like, we just talked about it as mothers. But we must remember that my morning routine is for my children and them, and my tasks are for them. And these kids are smart; they might treat you poorly one day, be ungrateful, and take their folded clothes in there. It’s gone.
They might not even take the breakfast you made for him. They’re running late, and you’ve made this little egg sandwich for them, and I’ve had plenty of times, and my son just leaves it, and I could take it as a slap in the face, but I don’t because it was still visual.
He’s still wrapped that, not knowing I already had that little sandwich for him in that paper towel. And he knows, and to me, that’s love. I won’t ruin that by saying, I made that for you, and you didn’t take it. And I’ll eat it myself. But what do I mean? I think the visual; they can’t say their mom wasn’t there.
They can’t say you’re not there for me. You don’t understand. It’s showing love, a huge part for me, only that I’ve seen in my house. And I know everyone’s different and has different responsibilities, different jobs, different hours, different schedules. But for me, making breakfast for my kids every morning before they leave, no matter what time it is, does so much beyond nourishing them with food.
It tells them every day; I’m up early for you; I’m doing my routine to make your day smoother. And it’s not that they don’t know how to make their egg sandwich themselves. They know how to do that. But it’s morning. I’m a mom; I do this for you. I want to do this for you. I love you. I want to set you up for success today.
And so the repeated routine of that. For a lot of moms, mornings are hard. But I think magic in the morning; there is magic for mothers. If we can do that and get it going, that’s my experience. There’s magic in the morning, and it might take a while, and they might throw everything back in your face. But just don’t get offended. I have no regrets as a mother. I’m not perfect. But I know I’ve been there. And I can say sorry when I’m not and adjust. And I can bet there’s magic in the mornings.
SHERYL: What I love about what you’re saying is asking ourselves, who do I want to be? Because I think it’s easy with tweens and teens if they’re not appreciating what you’re doing, we can feel resentful.
But if we can say, this is who I want to be; this is kind of Mom; I want to wake up, have some quiet time in the morning, and get grounded before the day. So I can show up, like that routine you’re talking about, and be grounded before they get up, and things might get kind of crazy. And I’m gonna make them something because I love them. And I want them to know I care because that’s where I want to be. I mean, that speaks volumes to our case.
KATIE: And it’s speaking, I hate talking at my kid, like my children, because I feel like, once you’re 30 seconds into talking, they almost tune you out. So I feel like I can show them without speaking and saying I’m doing so much for you.
Yeah, if I can show them regardless of the reaction or treatment of me because if, let’s say, you want to introduce this, let’s say this is a problem in your house. And this rings true to your heart right now. And you’re like, oh my gosh, can I do that? Can I wake up earlier than them? Yes, you can.
First of all, I think it’s, like you said, a desire like, Who do I want to be? Do I want to do this? It might make sense for you. It might not make sense to you, but if you want to do it, do it because you want to as a mother. Don’t, like you said, don’t do it for their reaction because if it’s something new to them, they might even reject it for a few weeks.
What do I mean? Until you show them that you are consistent and that you’re showing up every day no matter their attitude, no matter what time they wake up, no matter if they botched their packing or backpack or their lunch and they’re running out the door, and it’s crazy. No matter what, you won’t budge. You’re waking up. You’re making the eggs. You’re putting out the cereal bowl.
Mama’s brains are powerful, showing them daily that you are there for them. You care about them; you care about their day; you care about setting them up to be successful in their day. And they can’t deny that and when you do it again and again and again. You become that constant.
You almost become their routines or their roots. You start to show them what routines the roots look like. And they have confidence in you there and in their mind thing about their mind. It’s like, oh my gosh, my mom’s not going away. She’s still making, oh my gosh, she made French toast this morning.
But anyway, I even got to the point with businesses because my life has gotten crazier and crazier scheduling-wise, and I have a routine in my office. I mean, this is crazy. But if I’m throwing it out there for any mom, that would help.
Mondays, we have scrambled eggs and a muffin. Tuesdays, we have pancakes, Wednesday’s oatmeal, and Thursday, some sort of egg dish. It could be an egg sandwich; it could be an egg burrito. Fridays. We do fancy pancakes. These are German pancakes. One of my younger kids is named fancy pancakes.
My brain can only hold so much by taking that brainpower of what I will fix for breakfast this morning. I already know. I already know that my kids know it’s Tuesday at Pancakes. Mom, can we have this kind of pancake? Sure. Or, no, I don’t have time.
SHERYL: Oh, I love that I was not that way. But I do see how food speaks to love and kindness to your kids. And in demonstrating just that.
KATIE: As a mom, it can be like you with your strengths and talents. It could be something different that you consistently do every morning or after school every day that your kids can depend on that shows them you’re there for them. You love them.
I mean, maybe it’s more wrapped. I feel like, again, the power of moms is inside them already. And they don’t share those things. I don’t want any mom to say, Oh my gosh, I haven’t.
Take that concept of showing your kids a routine that creates steady calmness. Most of the time, it’s a morning routine because that starts the day. But other parts of that morning routine could share that calmness with it, such as handing them 20 grams of a protein shake every day and a banana handing it to them before they leave. And with a hug. I know it doesn’t have to be like, again, my mom did the pancakes and everything for me. And that helped me growing up. It was a study for me.
SHERYL: Yeah, I love that. Yeah, I think it’s really good to be in the question; what does that look like for me? And my family? And what would speak love to my kid that I can create? That I can create that? What were the word – habits, and routines?
KATIE: Yes. Like maybe it’s after school, right? When they walk in the door. You’ve already set up cute little wheat, cheese, and cracker packs. Maybe you’ve got that out because your daughter loves cheese, and you sell it on the counter. You didn’t have to do anything. You just had to pull it out of a fridge, but that was consistent. Hey, how was your day?
SHERYL: And it speaks kindness and love to them? Yeah, I love it. So sunshine, you talk about sunshine, water, soil? What are those? What are those symbols?
KATIE: Okay. And this, again, everything I’m going to talk about is how we teach these tween girls and how we coach them. And 120% of it applies to women and mothers.
I could talk all day because I’m passionate about it. This world is getting crazier and crazier. And in some ways, it’s getting darker and darker. But I feel like there’s just so much light, opportunity, and sunshine to be had that I believe dwells inside mothers because if we have sunshine and can share that sunshine with our kids, then our kids learn how to take those interactions with people daily.
So in a girl’s world, being the sunshine, it’s that final step of social interaction where you reach beyond yourself to that person you see who might need a little extra love, whether at school or in your own family.
And so when we say to be the sunshine in our program, I believe in myself; the girls know it means reaching beyond yourself and that one of the massive messages and themes we share with these girls is growing and sharing the growth and sharing mindset.
It started in Singers’ Company by sharing their voices, learning what their voice is, and knowing they can be used for good. It translates into I believe in me. As growing your gifts and talents, I’ve talked about different flowers.
You’re growing the unique talents that you have and sharing them with the world to bring sunshine to the world, to be that sunshine, and in that, grow and share the pattern and grow and share the mindset that I have something to offer that is good, that brings light that brings happiness and the world needs me, that creates a foundation of solidarity of I know who I am.
I know what I’m good at. I know what I want to be good at. I know I can work hard to achieve that. And for the intent of sharing it and building others. So when we say to be the sunshine, we introduce it in social introductions. We teach the girls like the beginning of school, the beginning of a new activity, you’re doing a new team you’re on. How do you talk to people? We go from the very shyest girl-like, and we give them levels. So maybe for you, it’s just a smile and a wave.
So level one of being the sunshine is looking at someone and smiling. Maybe it’s the first day of class; maybe it’s the girl sitting next to you; you just look and smile. That’s it. That’s it. No pressure to talk, nothing.
Just smiling at people, and even a smile, brings sunshine to people’s days, and your teacher’s day even makes your day better because you’re smiling, like just smiling to smile and say a little something or waving.
So you just smile and say Hi, smile, and wave. Like how are you or smile at your teacher after class? Thank you. Little level three. It’s a formal introduction. Hi, I’m Katie; what’s your name? It’s nice to meet you. Are you new this year, whatever? I like your backpack. Just engaging them in one extra little piece of conversation.
And then, in level four A, the sunshine reaches above and beyond, sitting next to that girl at lunch that is alone. Inviting someone who looks like they need a friend to sit with your group, talk, and reach out to someone.
So when you’re reaching out and sharing your gifts and talents and even sharing the sunshine you have inside you as moms as girls, you’re making this world a better place. And there’s the confidence that comes with that.
Yeah, because when you see someone else’s face light up because you have said hello or you have invited them in, that gives you your light gets brighter. And that light and your heart getting stronger. It seems cyclical, and I think so much of the world is now on our phones individually, and we keep going deeper and deeper into this.
I feel like it’s dark when you’re blooming and sharing yours. There’s more sunshine in your garden; there’s more light. So working towards that light. So that’s a huge section of our garden analogies. But how that translates to girls, it’s easy for them and us to digest. Okay, yeah, be the sunshine. I got light inside me. And if I share that, I’m gonna get it. Things are gonna get brighter around me. This world is going to be a better place. I’m going to be part of the happy.
SHERYL: Yeah, yeah, I’d love that too. Because so many studies have been done on the brain and how that impacts our brain that when we’re so self-absorbed and focused, which so much I believe we can be in today’s age, and especially when you have all that social media like you were saying, it’s always like, I’m not enough, right? I’m looking at this girl. And gosh, she’s gorgeous. And she’s beautiful. And I wish I look like her and look at her. She’s got it all together.
Meanwhile, you don’t even know what’s going on by cutting that comparison, which you talked so much about. It does suck that light, and that, and that joy, but getting outside of yourself is so empowering. And so that is a big part of your program.
KATIE: It’s huge. I would say it’s the focus that, well, it is the focus of our program growing and sharing. We talk about the dark parts because the girls need to be aware and prepared for what’s coming their way, especially in middle school and beyond, and set those habits.
What do I do when I feel that comparison? We call it the four C’s. These are the things I don’t love talking about it, but we have to talk about it. Because it’s our day and age, and it’s just how girls’ brains work.
And it’s don’t compare, don’t complain. Don’t criticize, and don’t compete. And as a mom of girls, I know every mother listening should be nodding like oh my gosh, yes, girls compete. They want to put someone else down because that makes them feel bad. Better, but it doesn’t, but they think it does.
They criticize themselves. I’m not like you said; I’m not pretty enough. I don’t look like her; I have to look like and compare with the criticism. If I don’t dance like her as she’s a dancer, I must not be great, or boys aren’t gonna like me, whatever you like. And it’s an don’t complain. Complaining like that will just suck that light so quickly. And we know that as mothers because we get a lot of complaints. Right, It sucks. It sucks to enter positive energy right out just in two seconds.
In all the brain studies, we reflect on him regarding this part, how grateful Dr. Amon was and all his work with the brain, and how gratitude is a huge way to keep light in your garden. That and we have it.
We give these little girls planners when they start the program. And in the planner, every day is a place. You hear it a lot, even as a woman; I have a gratitude journal, and you combine them, and it’s a thing where gratitude is the best medicine for those four C’s.
When you’re thinking, I’m just grateful I have legs today. So I’m grateful for the sunshine today. I’m grateful that I got through today. I’m grateful for enough energy to make it through the day. And tonight, I’m just grateful for my pillow, turning those exhausting days and ending it on a positive note by thinking what we’re grateful for is a huge way for sunshine to stay in your garden, a huge way that you mentioned the soil.
One of the first things we teach as we introduce this garden mentality. And this is huge – this like where I think the mama power, like mom’s already, you’re gonna get this immediately when I share, we explain to the girls, that the soil of your garden is the most important thing because if you don’t have healthy soil, you the garden flowers can’t grow.
You think about rock, like a soil of rocks, that it’ll grow for a minute, but it will immediately die because the roots can’t get deep enough. Your soil, like when any gardener knows – I mean, you can do like people come in and like will check your soil like the pH level and the nutrients.
And yeah, I have to put worm growth in my soil to get it. Yeah, there’s stuff; you’re constantly making sure that your soil is okay because that’s for optimal growth. So we teach the girls that your soil is your mind and your heart, constantly checking in to ensure that it is healthy and feeling good enough; it’s not going to be perfect all the time. So progress, not perfection, we are never seen.
But you’ve got to check in, and it leads into something called soil checks. So this is huge. And this is where we and moms, you don’t even realize it, but you’re doing soil checks a bazillion times a day, especially with your kids; not only are you doing soil checks for yourself and your family, but for every individual child, like how she is doing like and in.
And it’s like so, for instance, in the girl’s level, it would be like, let’s say, friendship, okay. You can teach these girls to check in with their minds and hearts in all the different areas of their life. Friendships, school, social media, what they’re bringing into their garden, on TV, and in movies, on their phones, fashion, what they’re choosing to wear to show like you can do soil checks in every area and how you perform a soil check is you ask two questions.
And moms, this is for you to have. It’s absolutely for you. How is my heart feeling? And the mind part of it because your soil is your mind and your heart, so the heart part of it. The question is, how’s my heart feeling? And the mental part is, does this make sense for me and my age?
And that is where moms it’s a little bit different because I’m constantly doing soil checks, like, Okay, this app that my kids are talking about? It’s not making sense to me. Suppose that picture that they share immediately goes away. What’s the purpose of that? I don’t see darkness. Why would you ever want to post a picture if that goes away? Oh, probably because it might be a bad one. I’m sure that’s not the only reason. The only pictures are posted, but I like the purpose of that app.
So there are certain apps that I’ve been like as a mom that immediately my soil, my hearts, my brain goes, Ah, my, and then my heart goes, yeah, this isn’t gonna lead to anything light and happy. Can they connect with their friends on a different app, through texting, or in person? And so I’m like, alright, that’s out.
I’m the master gardener pitch that we’re not doing that one, so for girls, like in a French dip, the same situation with this friend is just kind of sour. And my heart is not feeling it, and I don’t feel good after I’m with them. I don’t feel good after I talk to them about the text they’re sending me. They’re not nice. This is sucking away some of my sunshine and my garden of life. I decide what goes in and out.
And the soil checks I just performed say, I don’t have time for this; I will be nice to her. But I need to remove myself and maybe adjust some friendships, or at least take a break from that friendship of giving time and energy to that. So anyway, I talked a lot about that.
SHERYL: You’re helping them to become more self-aware. How does this make me feel if I feel icky? Is this making me feel icky? And if it’s making me feel icky, I need to pay attention to it.
KATIE: I think soil checks remind them of the power that, like, when I just feel checks all the time, like all the time. And as a mom, again, I mentioned that you’re doing it for every individual kid. Like I’m sensing, just over the past week, this child’s something’s off, and I start to think about that, in my mind, logically connecting the dots, like, what’s their week like? Are they overloaded? Are they like, where were they this week? Like, who are they hanging out with?
I’m trying not that I’m trying to make assumptions and make up stories. But I’m trying to think of what I will ask them. What am I going to ask my child? And most of the time, with one child, that’s parallel to their media use of their phone. It’s as if she’s just connecting with her siblings, or she’s kind of feeling distant. If we don’t see her often, she’s doing homework in her room all night, and it turns looking too long. We’re having some time management issues.
Almost 100% of the time, it’s the phone. It’s getting distracted during homework; all the notifications – bing bing, bing, bing bing come in from the group texts, and, usually, I just start to observe a little bit more. I’m continuing to soil-check as a mother. I’m observing and know I’m talking with my husband.
Okay, so what I’m thinking about this one, what do you think, and he’s like, Oh, totally to that. And then we intervene and might have to pluck that weed out pretty hard and adjust that way. But for these girls, soil checks are empowering. As you said, soil checks remind us, as mothers and individuals, that the power to choose is inside us.
This phone doesn’t have power over me; this friend does not run me or rule over me or control me; I have the power and my soil checks that I’m constantly doing, all the time, every day. That reminds me that I choose what comes in my garden gate, what stays, what I’m going to grow, what I will give time to in my brain and even my actions, my physical time.
We want these girls to always remember your happiness is grown by you. No one is responsible for your happiness, or should it be never put your happiness and someone else says I’ll be happy as a mom. I’ll be happy if my child thanks me for doing the daily laundry I spent four hours on. Well, they’re not going to most of the time. Am I going to stop doing the laundry? Because I didn’t get a thank you from my kid. Oh, you’re gonna mean I might like to remind you in different ways.
When I asked them to vacuum the floor, I thought you might not get dinner tonight. Like, I need help. I just need help. I would love it if I could get a little help.
They might not react to that well the first time, but for them to see the why behind stuff. It’s more motivating for kids when they know the why behind a rule, the why behind a request that you have of them, and why our family does it this way when everyone else seems to be doing it that way. It helps them digest it in their mind and heart.
SHERYL: Yeah, I love all those analogies and getting them to think about soil, like, what am I planning to have? How is it making me feel and what I’m doing, and then just being able to check in with themselves? And even my daughter, I was telling her, I would always notice when she was on her phone a lot, just recently, just saying to her, how do you feel after you’ve been on your phone? This is kind of what I’m seeing. And she’ll say, yes, it makes me feel bad.
KATIE: That’s the sort of check you’ve been doing. I see everybody doing. And I, we had the same conversation, just last week, because I was kind of like, I get to the point where I’m impatient. I’ll let a few days go by. When my kids come home to unwind, they’ve been going to school hard all day, and then they come home.
And sometimes I do want to get on their phones and scroll or just BeReal or whatever, and that’s okay. Like, I don’t like to do that. I do that myself. I’m renovating my kitchen. I’ve been on Pinterest way too much. And I hate it. But I need to see some things. I get ideas. So I understand. I don’t want them to feel like you are so bad.
Because but when it starts to change how they treat people, and they’re at, like you said, how does it make you feel when you’re feeling icky after being on the phone, then that means that little brother or sister that comes running in your room, chances are you might snap at them a whole lot more, because of the way you’re feeling not because of my sister did something bad.
So to have that conversation to help them understand why the phone bothers me. As I know, it’s a part of life. I know. It’s the way the world goes around. Businesses have to have a presence on social media. This is how the world works. We can’t just ditch it even as much as I want to as we can.
But I always say this; I want my kids to be Master Gardeners; I want them to control the device and learn to do that under my roof. Because if I withhold that chant when they leave, they can go crazy with it. You only mean to learn self-control under our roof, like your book is about the guidelines we as parents need to help them learn before they’re on their own. It has to be a little bit of give and take. But last week, I was saying, my kid’s eyes about had it. I was patient, but like I’m like, I’m so sick of the time that you spent on these phones and the attitude that comes posted that we had to deal with as a family.
And my two teens right now are like Mom, why don’t you just set limits? I’m like, yes, yes, we can do that. And those are good things. But I told them, I want you to know; I want you to see it for yourself. I want you to understand why you shouldn’t want to default to any spare extra minute you have; I want you to figure that out. I want you to see can you see that?
Can you see that? If you have a spare minute? Or do you like to get distracted if you’re just sick of doing math and taking it in? You just default to that all the time. Yeah, what my husband always says, What do you have to show for that time? Are you better? Are you stronger? Are you nicer? Are you happier? Are you more productive? Are you more efficient?
No, it’s almost always the opposite of that. So it’s okay to be on it, but how will you control your garden? This part of your garden? Like, what are you going to do? If you could, I just want you to see it. Like, I don’t want to babysit you.
Yeah, that’s why I want you to see and want to not want to be on it. Because of the effects, studies show that everything is like connecting the dots in your brain. And, like, that’s how I talk to my kids. Like the same conversation, these words are coming out of my mouth. That’s the conversation I’m telling my kids; I want you to see it. Can you see it?
Like, how like you talk with your daughter? How do you feel when you’ve been on? What are you looking at? Does this device control you? Do you want that to control? Like, where does that lead? Can you stand up for yourself in a social situation and be strong standing alone if you can’t get away from this device enough?
SHERYL: Yeah, got it. I think sometimes it’s good if we can even use ourselves as an example. I can sometimes get on stuff because I want to see people like you and how you’re growing your business. So what you’re doing and then what somebody else is doing, but suddenly, I fall into this pit. And I’m like, well, look at what third doing, and I’m not doing that yet. And I want to be doing that yet. And oh my goodness, I better hurry up and get with it today. I was like this anxious mess before it.
KATIE: Do you think anyone in the world hasn’t felt that? Does everyone feel that when they go on there for too long? I always laugh. I chuckle at my kids when they say, ” Oh, the popular kids.” I’m always laughing because what’s so funny about that term? Popular kids? But when we say popular kids, it usually means the mean ones.
SHERYL: Yeah, the ones that have the most power.
KATIE: I’m like, No, the ones that are liked, the true popular kids are the nice ones. I don’t care how many followers they have. And, so, it’s just interesting how everyone feels those feelings. And those same ways, everyone, and even the ones that we think don’t, probably feel it the most because I’m the most insecure, so it’s just getting yourself grounded to have control of your life, or what we say your garden of life where you decide, you time set a timer if you need to.
Okay, I’m gonna go on Instagram and scroll. It’s fun. Sometimes, I’m gonna do it for five minutes. So because that’s the only amount of time that I’ll give that because I’ve got other things to do in my garden, I need to stretch for the splits. I’m sure tryouts are coming out. I want to read this book. I had a goal to finish this book. It’s way better. I have way more to show for it. If I finish a book or an hour on Pinterest, so it’s making those little decisions and doing.
SHERYL: Decisions. Yeah. You talk a lot about habits. Instilling habits at this age. So what else I maybe want to speak to that the program that you do with the girls, it’s a year, and how do you set that up, you do it.
KATIE: It’s a membership subscription program. So it’s girls can become members. And it’s where they instantly belong. It’s so much fun. It’s with girls their same age, tweens, 10 to 13, that are going through the same things.
But it’s an individual little online adventure and a private site. So the videos are there, their episodes, it’s called planting the seeds. So you moms would appreciate every single lesson we have; we don’t call them lessons; we call them episodes because if we call them lessons and they’re like add check out, we’re super fun. But it’s planting the seeds that are the meat of our programs.
So when a girl becomes a member, she gets her little private login, she logs into the site, and every week she’ll get to view an episode, and she can choose which one we give a suggested order because we build upon each little thing.
But, and those are that’s the meat, those are the things moms that you want them to hear from someone else besides you. We are your backup. This program is a major backup for mothers. I would say that ideally, we’re preventative; we want to grasp these girls before they start the habits on the phone before they even get a phone, if possible before, but if you’re already there. It’s awesome. But these girls love it, but it’s just planting the seeds, and then you also have shorter little videos called Bloom videos, which is kind of what teaches the girls.
Suppose we have hair, makeup, fashion, crafts, and cooking experts. We have one expert who is all about starting your period and dealing with that, so they can learn in the little privacy of their own home. In their own time, they can click on a little four-minute video about what to look for, like the signs that show that you’re gonna start your period soon or if you’ve already started ways to like to cope with PMS and what PMS is, and so it’s kind of set we tackle some of those harder topics that moms if you don’t want to explain it, we do it.
Still, we have some girls that moms watch with them. And so it’s a conversation, and it’s fun, or they go in, moms go in separately and watch on their account. So they can see what they’re viewing, and they can have those, or a girl just does it, and, then, we have monthly gatherings where it’s optional.
The meat of it is what the girls view individually, and it tracks their progress, and they get little badges and things. But it’s, but we also have a monthly gathering where we tackle topics like we just did one on soil checks we did when we even had guests on. We’ve had BJ Fogg with tiny habits because we are huge on habits he came on. And he helped the girl talk through what habits would look like in their life, how important they are, and how they lead to more sunshine in your garden because you’re grounded and your roots are deep.
So it’s just we want to be cheerleaders for moms, to back them up with their daughters, to help instill in them the habits that set for life, the things we’re teaching them and introducing to them and helping them set up their little garden of life and how things operate, the way their brain operates, the way their days operate, the way their schooling, like how much effort they’re giving in their schooling.
We are here to back parents up; everything we’re telling them is what parents are already telling him. And so we’re just another, we’re just backing him up. We’re just another voice of hopefully a fun, happy motivation.
SHERYL: Yeah, motivating voice. And you’re so fun because I watched an episode that was so good, the one on your website. Yeah, and they need third-party voices. And that’s what you are. And to encourage them and motivate them and build their self-confidence. This is what I love about what you are doing; you are part of the solution.
KATIE: We talk about the hard things in life, even if I believe in myself, like a garden analogy. Another one that we use is we talk about how everybody has worms, okay? Everybody’s got worms. And what I mean by that is, when I’m digging in my garden, and I see an earthworm, you’re like because they wriggle and they and, and it takes you back.
So we call worms the unexpected things in life that happen. And it’s like when you have to move; maybe your parents are getting a divorce, or maybe there’s an illness or even a death in the family. Maybe it was just something you didn’t make the team; you thought you were gonna make it, but you didn’t.
Something unexpected happened in your life beyond your control that is just there. And you have a choice at that moment. How do I deal with that? And so we talked about these girls who were turning worms into butterflies. So when you have a worm they like, and you think about what it does for a garden, it helps the soil and makes it stronger and healthier.
And so these things in your life leave these holes, and you, as the Master Gardener, get to decide, am I going to fill this with light and good things? Or am I going to fill this with darkness and sadness? There’s sadness and darkness that comes with some of these experiences. And that’s okay; it’s healthy. It’s normal.
But how long am I going to let that stay? And how do I get rid of that darkness and take them back to routines that are the roots? You must get out of every day, make your bed, and keep moving forward. You’ve got little literally physically moving forward. One of my colleagues is a co-creator of the program, Becky, and I know she wouldn’t mind sharing me sharing this because she shares it with the girls in the program.
She lost her brother. I don’t want to get too emotional at a young age, and she watched her mom lead her family through that, and it was routines are the roots. Even though there were moments of absolute heartache and amazing emotions, getting up daily, getting breakfast as best you could, and making the house move and operate in that direction. Even though you don’t realize it fills that huge wormhole that experience left in their family with light.
It’s making it okay; here’s a new day. Okay, let’s just keep physically moving forward. And as we physically move forward as best we can, maybe it’s super slow today. That’s okay. Maybe it’s just a little bit of our routine. That’s okay. But we’re moving, and little by little more light comes, and the stability, you realize, oh wait, my roots are still deep. I’m going to be okay.
And then you’re able to; after more time goes by, you’re able to continue to grow and realize as you get further away and that more time goes by, you look back can go, Whoa, the growth that happened during that time, my garden, shot up all sorts of blooms.
I’ve helped this person go through this; I’ve now helped my kids; I feel stronger even though I have a huge hole still that will probably never get full because that child was part of our life.
SHERYL: Yeah, well, and it’s also part of, I imagine that her mom probably had some support in her life; you’re offering support to these girls so they have a sense of belonging and are not alone. And if we can connect with others dealing with worms, or whatever it may be, which these girls Middle School, you got a lot of worms, maybe not dealing with death, but things that are going on and not be alone in it.
That can help, too, just through that time to get through it. I just love that. And I want you to tell them, Katie, where do they find you? Where did they go? Tell them about your social media platforms and things they can connect with.
KATIE: So they just go to bloomfully.com. That’s a place where girls grow. You’ll see I believe in me; that’s our middle school program. And that takes you right there to the website; the website is the best place to get the most in-depth information to watch an example of an episode.
And there might be some older girls that might be if you’d like to check this out, that might look too young for me. And maybe that’s the case at first, but we have a lot of girls of all ages that want it because they can do it on their own.
We’ve had girls that have stayed with us, even though it’s a year program, and as soon as the year is over, you can continue, but they have because they love gathering and talking with other girls and realizing I’m not alone. And even though my friends are physically at school today, or I can go to my, I believe that these threads, I can message in anytime there’s a part in our, in our program called How’s it growing? And that’s a place where we can chat back and forth.
And girls, will they email me and like, what do I do? This girl did this today and said this. And we remind them of our tools, remember three strikes; you’re out; if the same friend is bringing you down three times, have the power to go; I need a break; I’m going to be nice to you. But I’m not going to give you more of my time or energy; I’m going to go find other friends or go be with this friend or, not to be mean to you; so it’s like reminding them of their tools when they’re so they’re so amazing. These girls are the future; they have so much light to offer. We just want to help them shine that light brighter.
So bloomfully.com That’s where I’ll send you if you go to Instagram. I believe in me, girls, and there’s much information there. But clicking on I Believe in Me will give you the most in-depth. If you’re interested in it, it seems like after listening. It’s it would be a good fit and support for your daughter. And that’s the best place to go.
SHERYL: Okay, wonderful. Well, Katie, thank you so much for coming on. And thank you for everything you’re doing to support these girls and moms. And yeah, it’s we need it so much, so thank you.
KATIE: Oh, it has been my pleasure, and what you’re doing, I just believe in all these moms listening. I mean, I don’t know them, but I love them. I love what they’re doing. I love what’s inside them. They are the magic of a brighter world. So go fight the good fight today, Mom.