If you are feeling tired today and weighed down by the daily grind of being a mom and all the responsibilities.
Or you’re feeling like a bad mom or here because you need some encouragement today. I’m so glad that you’re here listening because
My special guest today is Meredith Ethington, and you are going to feel super encouraged and reassured after listening.
Today, we get into the real, honest, and humorous about the job of being a mom.
Meredith is an award-winning writer and is here today to talk about her recently published book, The Mother Load, Surviving the Daily Grind Without Losing Your Ever-Loving Mind.
Her blog, Perfection Pending, and her writing are viewed by hundreds of thousands every day that want to see the real side of motherhood and know that they are not alone. She is the co-owner and editor at Filterfreeparents.com
In this episode, we talk about the mental load we carry as moms and the expectations we put on ourselves, as well as challenges with depression and anxiety and how to be present and show up for our kids.
The nuggets of wisdom Meredith shares will help you to feel a little less crazy and a whole lot less alone.
Let’s dive in!
Where to buy Meredith’s book and find her:
- The Mother Load, Surviving the Daily Grind Without Losing Your Ever-Loving Mind
- Perfection Pending Blog
- Filter Free Parents Website
What you will learn:
- The mental load we carry as moms.
- Nuggets of wisdom to make us feel less crazy and a whole lot less alone.
- What our deepest roots of desire are, and how that affects our parenting.
- The expectations moms put on themselves.
- The taboo subject of struggling with mental illness and challenges with depression and anxiety.
- Understanding what our capacity for parenting is and how to set realistic dreams as a result.
- What our kids really want from us and how we are missing it.
Find more encouragement, wisdom, and resources:
Sign up for our Moms of Tweens and Teens newsletter HERE
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: Meredith, welcome to the Moms of Tweens and Teens Podcast. I am so happy to have you on the show today.
MEREDITH: I am thrilled. Thanks so much for having me.
SHERYL: I’m so excited. I know you and Jen, on my team, have known each other for so many years. When you reached out to me, this book was coming out. I will show the cover for The Motherload, your latest book, “Surviving the Daily Grind Without Losing Your Ever-loving Mind.”
Your book is raw and real. I was laughing out loud. I’m still reading it. I can’t put it down. And I also was crying during parts. It’s such a touching block.
MEREDITH: Thank you so much. That’s music to my ears.
SHERYL: Yeah, and it touched my heart. I read it, and it resonated so much. I’m so excited to talk about it. And I know that the listeners will have so much comfort from what you have to share with us from all the wisdom you share in the book. Before we talk about that and launch in, I want you to share a little about yourself with our listeners.
MEREDITH: Okay, well, I’m a mom to three. I was born and raised in Texas, but I live in Salt Lake City, Utah, that’s now home to me, and my kids are in their teenage years. So I’ve been around a little while as a mom.
But I started writing in 2007 when everyone had a blog and just started expressing my feelings about parenting. And it was kind of just a way for me to work through my stuff, but I started realizing that what I wanted to see more out in the world and on blogs was more of that real story or the real-world look at what parenting is.
So not just this sugarcoated glossed-over type of look at motherhood but sharing all of it, the hard stuff, the good stuff, and the messy stuff. And so I started doing that. And people started paying attention and listening to me. So kind of I never really set out to write books.
And it just kind of morphed into that over time. And this book, in particular, is so near and dear to my heart. And it’s something that I felt strongly needed to be out in the world. So I’m thrilled to be able to be here and talk about it.
SHERYL: Yeah, it’s like you talk about the good, the bad, the ugly, all the things we don’t discuss, and to help us feel less alone. Anyway, though you talk about the real stuff and the stuff that we don’t want to, we don’t often feel safe enough to talk about.
MEREDITH: Yeah, that was important to me. And to be honest, I got some backlash for doing that in the beginning from people that I knew in real life and people in my own family. And not my husband or kids but more extended family.
Didn’t we ask, why are you putting all that out there? It looks like you’re dwelling on the negative parts of parenting. And I can kind of I can see how someone might look at it that way. But to me, it was a two-parter.
So it served a purpose for me to work through my angst and struggles with early parenting. But also, I just wanted other parents to know they weren’t alone. It’s such a lonely place to be, especially if you’re a stay-at-home mom and your whole world is that baby in the beginning.
And you’re so wrapped up in that, that maybe you don’t quite, you’re kind of out of touch with the outside world a little bit. It can be very, very isolating. And I was just craving to hear about the real raw parts of parenting because that helped me feel less alone initially, and I wanted to give that to other moms too.
SHERYL: Yeah, Did you feel in the beginning when you started being vulnerable and putting it out there in the early days? You still feel like this today because you must be courageous and vulnerable. But were you surprised by the response?
MEREDITH: Absolutely. I think what drove me to write this book was that when I would start writing about my mental health struggles, moms would admit that those would be deposed, the ones that were maybe kind of sharing the real raw, ugly truth about something.
Those are the ones where moms would send me a DM and say, Thank you for being the person to say this out loud because this is how I feel too, or I’ve had that same experience. Or I’m just glad to know that I’m not the only one.
And so that made me think people are craving this. They want to talk about this hard stuff. Because not many people talked about it a few years ago, I think we’re getting better. But I would say ten years ago. Nobody was talking about mental health and parenting and how those two intersect.
SHERYL: Yeah. And you struggled with postpartum depression.
MEREDITH: It was, yeah, the first with my daughter, who’s my oldest. I didn’t realize what it was, which is funny to me, in a way, because I knew I had a family history of mental illness. And, I kind of, in the back of my mind, always knew that that could happen to me. But I didn’t recognize it.
When I was in it, I was just trying to survive the day-to-day tasks of figuring out how to be a new mom and how to do it perfectly. Because I was, I’m a perfectionist at heart. And so I was trying to get everything right, maybe just not thinking about how I felt.
And then, probably when she was about four months old, I realized, I was not crying daily. Wait a minute. I think I had some postpartum depression going on. And I was weepy. Everything was stressing me out.
And also, postpartum anxiety, which often doesn’t get talked about as much as the depression part of things, but just not sleeping, and imagining all these horrible things happening to my child, really anxious thoughts that were almost pervasive and hard to get out of my head. All of those things were happening.
But it wasn’t until those hormones settled down a little bit that I could look back and go, Oh, that’s what that was like. That’s what was going on there. So it’s kind of a sneaky thing when it’s going on in your brain. And you think, Oh, this is just because I’m tired or because of whatever you might make an excuse for it. When in reality, there might be something more serious going on.
SHERYL: I’m so glad that we do have more information about that today. Me too. Where we’ve been shining the light on the postpartum depression piece and mental health and anxiety and depression, which you want to write a lot about in your book?
But you did split your book into four sections. And I just want the listeners to know a little about where you go in the book because we won’t touch on all of it. After all, there’s so much good stuff. But you broke it into four sections. How did you decide what those sections were going to be?
MEREDITH: Yeah, well, initially, when I wrote the book, I thought it would be just about mental illness and motherhood. But what I realized pretty quickly is that even women that don’t struggle with diagnosable mental illness struggle with some sort of mental health issue, whether it’s the mental load, or the expectations society puts on them, or maybe just kind of this pervasive culture that we’re in right now of toxic positivity.
So that’s how I divided up the book because I think every mother reading this will see herself in one of these or multiple sections. After all, I certainly saw myself in all four of them. So it’s divided up into the mental load that all moms experience, the little lies that society tells us about what motherhood will be.
And then, the toxic positivity in our culture and what we see on social media influence our expectations of what we think motherhood should be. And then last, what it’s like to parent with a mental illness, and how that can impact your parenting and your marriage and all of it, so I really, I think that no matter where you’re at in your parenting journey, you can take something away from this book.
SHERYL: For sure, most definitely. And I saw myself in each year part of it; they can even overlap even the mental illness part. I think many moms can relate to our beliefs, which are causing pain and suffering for us. Yeah, in our in carrying our mother lode. So I, there’s so much good stuff.
But I see several chapters that I wanted to focus on because I see them as a struggle. It’s been a struggle in my own life. And I see a lot working with moms in the chapter if you try hard enough. And I resonated with trying so hard to get it right.
We have a membership now. And I just absolutely love every mom that’s in there. And it’s interesting because the mom said sign up are the moms trying so hard to get everything right.
MEREDITH: Right. Exactly. Those who worry the most are probably doing the best job because we’re trying hard.
SHERYL: Yeah. And yet, there’s a cost to that which you talk about striving and talk a little bit to this.
MEREDITH: Yeah, I think, as I said a minute ago, I was a perfectionist going into motherhood. And I had all these expectations for myself that I thought. I’m not going to be like my mom. I’m not going to do that.
In my book, I talk a lot about yelling, which was a big thing for me, and I will not be a yeller. Because I grew up with a mom that was a yeller, and it was hard for me as a kid. And so I wanted to do it differently. I wanted to give my children what maybe I didn’t get as a kid, which was this calm, peaceful home with a mom that never yelled, right?
And so I had these kinds of expectations for myself. And then, when I failed at those expectations, it was really hard on my mental health because I felt like I was screwing it all up and wasn’t good enough. I felt like my kids would grow up and hate me one day.
And I laugh about it now because I’m 16 years into parenting. I’ve worked a lot on the yelling, but I’ve also come a long way in my mental health journey and been able to find the things that have helped me just be calmer and collected like I want to be, but I have also realized that I’m not that Mom, that’s gonna be the commonly collected mom all the time.
I’ve got a fiery, passionate personality. And I think we have to look at ourselves and determine our hopes, dreams, and goals for myself as a mom. And then also look at what’s my capacity. What’s realistic for me? Am I able to do that? Because some people don’t ever yell, and that’s great.
But then there are those of us who are a little more passionate about how we speak. And maybe we’ve got a sensitive kid that’s gonna think anything we say is yelling at them, right? So I think it’s about this kind of way of balancing what our desires and hopes are and what our capacity is.
SHERYL: Yeah, I loved that in the book, the expectations we put on ourselves, and then we had this desire, but it doesn’t meet our capacity. And can we be okay with that? I love it. You say it’s not in my DNA toolbox.
I often hear from moms that their friend looks like she has it all together. Her house is so clean, and she has five kids, and they’re all on schedules and in bed at a good time. And I’m just a mess over here.
And then we compare, and then what happens is, is we’re frustrated with our kids, and they’re not getting with the program. So, maybe you talk about that. Washing your floor. What do you say something about washing and mopping your floors? I’m the mom that avoids mopping my floors often.
MEREDITH: Well, there’s probably a mom out there who mops her floors religiously every week, and that’s fine if that works for her and makes her happy. That’s great. But for me, I have to constantly balance, okay?
I think every mom is like this. You need to figure out where your priorities are and where your values are as a mother. And what’s most important because you cannot do it all simultaneously. It’s impossible. And so you have to.
Motherhood is a constant balancing act between figuring out who we are, staying sane, being good parents, and recognizing that our kids love us no matter what. And if you have to yell after the 34th time, you’ve told them to put their shoes on to get them to listen. It’s not ideal, right?
That it’s not parenting abuse by any means, either. It’s you knowing your family dynamic, what works for you, and your kids, and your kids will love you regardless. They are.
SHERYL: How did that help you when you started embracing more of your motherhood in yourself? Like, what started shifting?
MEREDITH: Let me think about how I want to say this. I think that understanding that we all have our capacity of what we can do. And for me being able to understand that I’m not my mother, I’m not going to be like she was, I’m gonna get some things right and get some things wrong. But I’m trying my best. And I think being able to understand that.
I might give myself and my kids some of those things that I didn’t get as a kid to an extent. But at the same time, that shouldn’t be our goal. Our goal should be trusting our gut and instinct and knowing what’s best for that kid. Because I know I have three children, they’re all very different, and they need to be parented very differently, which means I’m constantly having to ebb and flow and figure out what works for what kid and embrace their needs and my needs.
And it’s just a huge balancing act being in a family with all these personalities and different needs and then trying to heal your childhood wounds. It’s craziness, right? So you can only do so much.
I think once I kind of let go of that idea that I was never going to be that mom that never yelled at her kids or I was never going to be that mom that did it all perfectly or kept her floors mopped every week, or whatever it is, the expectation I had put on myself was I became a much more peaceful parent, and a much more just a parent that could forgive herself easily.
And it would naturally be morphed into a parent that could apologize easily, embrace my mistakes, and go to my kids and say, Look, I was overwhelmed at that moment. And I’m sorry that that came out in this way towards you. And this isn’t about you. And just having those conversations with my kids, as they’ve gotten older, has been very healing for me to know that I am doing it differently than how I was raised. And I’m doing a good job. It’s not perfect, but I’m doing a good job.
SHERYL: Yeah, I love that you articulated it so well in the book. You’re articulating it so well right now with how I often feel letting go as I think of my oldest. Bless her heart, and I read your story about potty training. I was so relatable.
Yeah, painful things, like, I just go in the bedroom and cry like, I wish I hadn’t done that. Still, I feel like the more that I’ve let go of that perfectionism, been more embracing, and done the hard work on myself and the therapy, yes, it’s been this beautiful healing journey to accept more of myself. Yes. I’m not going to do it perfectly. Neither are my kids, and you bring that up in the book, and like they’re learning, and we’re learning, and it’s gonna be messy sometimes.
MEREDITH: The beautiful part is that you’re teaching your kids it’s okay if they’re messy. It’s okay. If they screw up, it’s okay if they’re not doing it perfectly. Because I’ve noticed in my teens, they put so much pressure on themselves.
There’s so much pressure from society to take all the AP classes. It doesn’t get into a good college, has successful careers, and do all these big things. That’s not something I was ever drilling into my teenagers. But somehow, they’ve internalized it, right?
So by being an example to our kids that sometimes things don’t go as planned, that’s okay. And you learn to make mistakes, pick yourself up, ebb and flow and change, and figure out how to do things differently than that’s life. That’s what it’s about.
SHERYL: Yeah, there’s more acceptance of ourselves and our kids, right? You talk about what our kids need from us. And, it’s not to be that perfect mom. Can you share a little bit about what you did? Have you touched on it? But what do you feel our kids do need? And we get off course.
MEREDITH: Yeah, I don’t think this is in the book. But I remember that there was one summer that I had my kids make a bucket list of what they wanted to do with me that summer. And I imagined, like, going to Disneyland or the zoo every day or whatever, all these big things.
And they returned with the cutest, sweetest little list of where they wanted to spend time with me. And they, they were perfectly content, doing things at home. Like, I remember my daughter. I don’t know if she was maybe 10 or 11.
And she said she wanted to have an art show at home. And I asked her what you meant by an art show, and she wanted us all to draw pictures, put them up on the walls, judge them, and look at us like we had our little art show. And it was just the easiest, simplest idea.
And so I think we often think that needs to be these grand gestures for our kids, for them to remember that I think they just need us to be there and show up. And to give some undivided attention every day.
And that doesn’t mean that you’re never looking at your phone or that you’re not distracted with dinner, homework, or anything else. It just means being intentional about and being in tune with when they need you and being able to give five minutes here, 10 minutes there to kind of tap into what their needs are in that moment. And I think that’s what it’s all about. Honestly, I think it’s pretty simple what they need from us.
SHERYL: We make it so much more complicated.
MEREDITH: We do. Yeah, absolutely.
SHERYL: Yeah. Interestingly, you bring that up because I remember asking one of my kids, and I said, What’s one thing that I do that you like? And I might even ask, what’s the number one thing I do that you like the most? And she said when you laugh at my jokes.
MEREDITH: Oh, I love that.
SHERYL: And yeah, it was so simple when you laugh at my jokes, but she loved to think when she felt funny and like I was laughing. And she does have a great sense of humor.
MEREDITH: It is it’s so simple. I think if we all went to our kids and asked what’s something that you like that I do? We’d be surprised at the simple answers; I could almost guarantee my boy’s answers would be hugs and snuggles because I’m good at that. I’m good at giving hugs and snuggling them.
And even my 14-year-old sometimes still lets me snuggle in. So I think it is that simple. And I think my daughter would probably answer just like sitting down and talking with her and spending time with her. She’s a time person. That’s what she wants and needs. So we can do that.
I think just showing up and loving our kids is all we need to do. And that’s something that comes naturally to all of us.
SHERYL: Yeah. So good. Meredith, you have a section in the book surrounding your mental health journey and struggle with anxiety and depression. And why don’t we talk about that? Why did you write that chapter? Let’s just go there.
MEREDITH: Yeah, I mean, I’m a kid of the 80s and 90s. And so I grew up with a family history of mental illness, and my mom struggled, and cousins, aunts, and uncles were on that side of the family. And so I saw things as a kid, but I don’t remember anyone talking about it.
And so I want to change that with this next generation of kids. And they’re already so much better talking about it than we were. And that is certainly more than our parents were.
My mom read my book. And I was nervous about that because I have a good relationship with my mom. But at the same time, there are some things in there that I was worried she would look at and think she was a failure as a mom.
And she sent me the nicest card this week, that just said, was asking you these questions like, Well, how did you feel as a kid when that was happening, and I’m, I’m so sorry that I wasn’t there for you. But I know that I did my best.
And I could see from her perspective that even though they didn’t discuss it, every parent wants the best for their kids. And I think by talking about this more. We can break down the stigma of this idea that there’s something wrong with us or broken if we struggle with mental illness.
And that was my whole goal just to say, Look, I know, we haven’t discussed this in the past, but it was there. It was real for me as a kid. And, sure, I wish I maybe had gotten help earlier. But it doesn’t change the fact that I was loved. And my mom cared about me.
I think by giving our kids more tools in their toolbox of how to deal with these hard things and how to deal with the pressures that they’re facing, they’re going to be 1000 times better off than we were as kids.
And so that’s just what I hope that we can do is just change the narrative around that and around how mental health impacts our parenting, and how it impacts our kids because they’re under so much pressure and kinda scary things in the world today that we need to be talking about. Mental health has to be a part of that conversation.
SHERYL: Absolutely. I just have to say I love that your mom read the book and that she responded like that. And that is scary. Our healing journey can bring so much healing to our family. It’s really difficult to heal if we don’t talk about it.
MEREDITH: Right, exactly. And I think I’ve gone that route with my mom of not talking about it. But as she’s gotten older, and as I’ve gotten older, we’ve been able to kind of have these hard, uncomfortable conversations. And, it’s not all sunshine and roses, I’ll tell you, but it is a way that she can yield to because parenting isn’t easy for anyone.
And we all come to the table with our strengths but also flaws and our insecurities, and for myself, anxiety and depression as we come to the table. And we’ve got to just show up and be authentic about who we are. And I think if we can be authentic about mental illness with our kids, it will only heal and help our relationship with them.
SHERYL: Yeah. And it does start by taking that healing journey ourselves. Yes, you talk about that. You talk about being in therapy, talk about EMDR, which I love that you talk about that. How has that happened? How has that changed and helped you to heal?
MEREDITH: Oh my gosh, it’s been life-changing. I tell people that I was a different mom ten years ago than I am now. I was a mess. We’re all a mess, and some in some way.
That is, by not prioritizing my mental health. I was doing a disservice to my entire family. And that’s just the truth. I am so much more. I’m not a perfect parent. No one is, but I’m so much more accepting and authentic, able to recognize when I need self-care, say I’m sorry, and recognize when I need self-care.
I just think there’s just more balance to all of it since I have gone to therapy. And I went through a whole journey. I started going to therapy, which helped for a little while, and then my therapist gently told me, Yeah, Maybe it’s time to try medication.
And I fought against that, and then decided, okay, I can do this, and took the plunge and did it. And I saw a change in myself. And honestly, it’s been a night and day difference for me personally to have my mental health under control and parent and be the kind of parent I always want it to be.
And it’s okay to admit that we might need help. And that we can’t just pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and hope for the best and white knuckle our way through it. Sometimes we need extra tools, like you said, that DNA toolbox as I come by the depression and anxiety.
So maybe some things aren’t as natural to me as they might be to another mom. And that’s okay to admit that. Seek out help and become the best version of yourself. You deserve that as a parent, and your kids deserve that, too.
SHERYL: Yeah, I love your Instagram posts by how you put them up. I don’t know how long ago it was, but are you all around the acceptance piece?
MEREDITH: Absolutely, and we need to radically accept that we need help. Because I think accepting you need help is going to come because you’re gonna hit rock bottom, in one form or another, you’re gonna feel, like, I am not handling this well, and I need help.
But radical acceptance is getting that help and not judging yourself for it. And I think that’s the piece I was missing for a long time. I begrudgingly took the antidepressant and fought against it for a long time. And then now I’m writing this book and shouting it from the rooftops, like, do what you need to do because you deserve to be the best version of yourself.
And if that means therapy, medication, a combination of both, or whatever that looks like for you. I mean, there are countless ways out there to seek help. Do it because you will not regret it. You will not regret putting your mental health as a priority.
SHERYL: Yeah, I love that, like radical acceptance. It’s not just asking for help. It’s not. I don’t remember your exact words, but judging yourself. Yeah, not criticizing, judging, or shaming ourselves when needed. Where do we get that message that we shouldn’t need it?
MEREDITH: Yeah, I think that message comes from the fact that we never used to talk about this. And so it used to be the thing that our parents and grandparents kind of hid from the family when there was somebody that was taking medication or an alcoholic or that was hospitalized or whatever it might have been in your family history.
That was usually hidden. And so I think bringing some of these topics out in the open will remove that shame around it. I love Brene Brown; she discusses shame, vulnerability, and putting it out there. And being authentic because that’s the only thing that’s going to get rid of that shame.
And I think not everybody has to write a book about their mental health journey to eliminate that shame. But maybe just get rid of that shame in your own home. Talking to your kids, spouse, and immediate family about what you’re going through will eliminate some of that shame.
SHERYL: And it will allow them to talk about their struggles and not feel something’s wrong with them. Thank you for being courageous because we come with those beliefs from our family and don’t talk about it, right? And just hearing from whoever that was friends or family say why you would want to put that there.
There’s that little message I grew up with, don’t put it out there. And I understand it brings up a lot of different things. But we have to investigate those beliefs that we have and don’t talk about and go, no, that’s not true. You talk about the belief I’m broken.
MEREDITH: I used to believe I used to think that about myself. And I used to just have so much self-loathing around this idea that my brain was broken and, therefore, I was not good. I will never be the kind of wife or mother I want.
And I push against that narrative now because what is normal? These days, I mean, honestly, we all struggle with something. That’s what this book is about. Maybe you don’t have clinical depression, but you’ve probably been depressed.
We all go through these big emotions, and some of these emotions, like anger and rage and sadness, are things that society considers shameful, things that we shouldn’t talk about, or maybe for some people, things we shouldn’t even have.
And I’ve pushed against that now because that’s part of the human experience, is feeling all of these emotions, working through them, and figuring out, I mean, life isn’t about never being unhappy. Like that’s, that’s not the goal, and unhappiness, sickness, all of it is part of the journey, right?
And so, if we can’t get to a place where we accept that it’s part of the journey, it will not be good for us mentally. We will continually fight against what is a natural feeling and emotion for all of us, those natural highs and lows we have in the human experience.
And don’t we want to pass on to our kids that it’s okay? It’s okay to feel sad. Sometimes it’s okay to have disappointments. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to have anger. Like that’s what I want for future generations is to pass on to them that some of those feelings are okay.
There’s nothing to be ashamed of about it. And by doing that, I think, honestly, so much in our world can change just by destigmatizing some of those feelings that are portrayed in society as negative.
SHERYL: I love that. Like the ugly cry, our greatest desire is to be accepted for who we are, but you won’t run away from me. And disgusting, which I used to believe, don’t show that because people will reject you. And we all longed to be accepted.
And, of course, it has to be with safe people. But I think that is why you are messaging your book. It’s so important for us to know it’s okay. You’re not broken. I have asked God, why did you give me this brain?
MEREDITH: Yep, I’ve said that same thing.
SHERYL: It’s like puzzle pieces are missing. I feel that way. I have one friend I call and cry when I feel that way. Like, what’s wrong with my brain? And she’s like. It’s not broken. Ultimately, this beautiful connection happens when we can just like be. We’re not broken. We all have different things, like loving and accepting each other.
Well, for the mom that is listening, that’s feeling discouraged. She’s just feeling like she’s failing, like nothing she does is right, spending a lot of time worried and anxious at night. What would you want to say to her?
MEREDITH: Yeah, I guess my biggest thing would be to try to figure out a way to recognize the wins that you do have because we all have them. We are sure we can. It’s easy for us to list all those failures. And all those times when we screw up or don’t know what to do about a parenting issue. But we’ve got a lot of wins in there too. And I think so often, we gloss over those.
And we’re just thinking, Oh, I’m glad I made it through that, instead of slowing down and saying, Hey, I did that well. I can do some things well. And also just a plug for self-care. When I was a new mom, I didn’t know how to make that a priority. I don’t even think I knew what self-care was. And just finding things that make you feel alive again, apart from your children, makes you feel human. And it’s different for everybody.
For me, being able to write about my parenting journey is a healing thing. It helps me process my emotions, and it helps me feel like I’m doing okay, like at the end of the day, I’m doing okay. And so I think everybody needs to find that thing that lights your fire and makes you who you are because the kids will leave and move out.
We’re still going to be moms, we’re still going to worry, we’re still gonna have stress, but at the same time, they will. We have to keep ourselves alive in all of it. And that’s a struggle, especially when they’re in those little bitty phases.
But I think for your audience, moms of teens and tweens, you get to this point, probably in midlife, where you’re going, Oh, crap, you see the writing on the wall, you see that they’re gonna leave you. And maybe you’ve devoted so much to them that you’ve lost yourself a little bit. And so it’s time to figure out where that self went and find her again.
SHERYL: Yeah, I love that so much. Yeah, that’s ending on such a good note and finding her, and it’s okay if you haven’t found her yet.
MEREDITH: Absolutely. I’m still finding myself, and I’m 45 years old. I am going back to school in my 40s. I don’t know if you know that. But I am getting my master’s degree right now.
And so that was a big scary thing for me to go back to school as a 45-year-old woman and think, here I am doing another pivot again. And that’s okay. It’s what life is all about.
SHERYL: Yeah. And you’re going back to school to become a therapist, right?
MEREDITH: Yeah, I’m getting my master’s in mental health counseling. So yep.
SHERYL: I am excited. I just love it. Meredith. Yeah. Good for you. Very excited. And we can all find those things, start that journey and play with different things. And yeah, see what fits and lights us up, like you said, exactly. So tell them where to find you. When is your book? It’s on preorder now.
MEREDITH: It is. It’s coming out soon. It’s April 18. It is available for preorder on Amazon, on Barnes and Noble. Anywhere you buy books online, you can find “The Motherload,” I’m at perfectionpending.net. That’s my kind of home base. You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest everywhere. You just Google my name, and I’ll pop up. So I’m pretty much everywhere.
But I love hearing from moms struggling or having been through some of these issues. So for sure, reach out. If you’ve read “The Motherload,” I want to hear from you and hear how it’s impacted you because I feel passionate that this book can be a balm for our souls like we’ve been through a rough few years with COVID.
And everybody, I think, has seen some sort of mental health issue manifest in their life the past couple of years. And I feel like this can be a healing balm for moms.
SHERYL: Absolutely. And you talk about “The Motherload,” and then by reading it, it will light your motherload.
MEREDITH: I hope so. That’s it.
SHERYL: So thank you, Meredith, so much for coming on and being with my listeners and me.
MEREDITH: Thank you so much for having me.