Parenting Burnout? Here’s How to Stop the Overwhelm

Self-care tips that help all 4 Types of parents to recharge

The Child Whisperer Podcast is back!

And it has a new format to better serve busy parents like you.

Carol Tuttle, author of the bestselling book The Child Whisperer, is now joined by co-host, Anne Tuttle Brown, a mom in the thick of daily parenting. Every Tuesday, they answer a question and give you a simple Parenting Practice to make your week easier.

Has parenting ever felt overwhelming—even after you read The Child Whisperer? Then this episode is just for you. Listen in for self-care tips for every Type of parent.

This week’s Parenting Practice

You can be a better parent when you’re taken care of. Choose one thing you’ll do to care for yourself this week. Put whatever plan or support you need in place and follow through. (Want ideas? Listen to the episode for a self-care tip for each Type of parent.)

Transcript of podcast episode

Carol: You can’t hope it happens. You can’t try and sneak it in, you have to schedule it, you have to be strategic, you’ve got to enroll the support so you get what you need.

Welcome to the Child Whisperer podcast. I’m your host, Carol Tuttle, author of the bestselling parenting book “The Child Whisperer.” I’m with my co-host Anne Tuttle Brown. We are excited to be back with a new format and a new co-host. Welcome, Anne Tuttle Brown.

Anne: Thank you.

Carol: The mom in the trenches, you are at it and that was my real intent in this, I’m the veteran mom. I’m the wise woman in the Child Whisperer world. I can help observe and give feedback, but Anne is actively raising her children and I really wanted to incorporate that into our experience with you. So, welcome. Our new format is, it’s shorter, 15 minutes. We know you’re busy moms, busy parents. We want to give you quality information in bite size chunks so that every week you have support. On the website, you will find not only the audio of the podcast but also a transcription if you prefer to read it, and when you opt in to our new weekly email, you’ll be given a parenting practice. One small practice each week that will support you in succeeding and raising amazing, cooperative, very capable children.

Anne: That’s the part that I’m most excited about is the weekly parenting practice because every day you get a chance to try again or to, you know, you put your homework to the test every minute of the day as a parent and so yeah, you will see as you put these parenting practice to test, you will see the results and you’ll experience more harmony in your home.

Carol: I like to see you and I as the parenting coaches that show up every week and say, “Do this one practice.” Are they going to take a lot of timing, Anne?

Anne: No, a lot of it will be a-has and noticing, and just really getting to a place where you can get more inspiration as a parent.

Carol: It’s like you’re… It’s just modifying what you’re already doing in a way. Doing it a little different so you get better results as a parent, so we’re excited for you to have that support from us on a weekly basis. So we are taking one question a week and we will respond to it and give you support and receiving those a-has, insights, and putting that to practice. So what’s our question for this very first podcasts of our re-launch?

Anne: Okay, this question comes from a type two mom. She says, “I’m a type two mom of three daughters, each different types. I’m frequently overwhelmed by trying to interact with them in ways true to their nature, but not as true to mine. For example, as a type one, my five-year old daughter needs fun social interaction each day. I constantly feel the pressure to come up with creative and fun things to keep her from destroying something or running off into the neighborhood. I try to plan fun activities and play dates in advance, but she’s very true to her random nature and prefers to do what seems fun in the moment. I know that honoring my kids’ nature does not need to be at odds with living in parenting true to my own nature, but I just don’t seem to be able to get there. Advice.”

Carol: We are type two mom, and in the Child Whisperer we designate the four types and you can grab the book at thechildwhisperer.com, and the type two energy presents as a more sensitive energy where there’s a benefit to planning. You have this gift to gather details and make plans and so when we read this question right away, I’m looking for, “Where’s her overwhelm?” And she even said it very clearly, she used the word “I’m over whelmed.”

Anne: Constantly, feel the pressure.

Carol: And I’m sure you relate to this, Anne, in your own nature that what I’m seeing in this question is that this mom feels the need to make sure she’s got all the plans for her children in place so they’re supported.

Anne: Yes, and I think it’s coming from a positive place of really wanting to parent The Child Whisperer way and honor them in all their unique natures, but she’s saying, “I’m frequently overwhelmed and it’s coming at odds.” For her it’s not working.

Carol: Yeah, I’ve seen this before, and parents that take on The Child Whisperer approach to parenting that now they’re aware of, “Oh, wow, I have children that I knew are different, but now I know… that I know why and their unique natures. Now I’ve got to put everything in place and get all these systems running so they’re all supported,” which I think that’s backwards. You need to create a healthy home environment that has enough structure and opportunity for children to live their truth, to live their natural movement, but they bring it. You don’t need to be the one to evoke it. You see what I’m saying? It’s different, it’s like, “I just support my children and being able to be who they are. I don’t have to create scenarios so they will be who they are.”

Anne: And you don’t have to as a parent, be that. You don’t have to know. If you have a type one child, be that type one light fun. You support them in being them and the child, your family dynamic is perfect and you’re the type of parent for that child for a purpose.

Carol: You could see where this type two mother who has a more subdued, gentle energy is trying to match her daughter’s upbeat, spontaneous, more random bouncy energy. That would be exhausting, that’s not the preference for the child either.

Anne: And then turn around and, you know, bring it all down for your type four child and then it’s, yeah, that sounds very exhausting. And so I think let’s go back to how she says, “I’m trying to plan or I feel the pressure to come up with creative and fun things for her in an effort to avoid her destroying things or running off into the neighborhood,” sounds like she’s that very high energy. “I try to plan fun activities and play dates in advanced, but she’s very true to her random nature and prefers to do what’s fun in the moment.” So what would you say to that? Do you think the mom should continue to plan those play dates and try? It sounds like she’s exhausting herself and the daughter’s saying, “Nope, I don’t want to do that anymore.”

Carol: There are some variables here because we don’t know how the… What environment is she in, are their children in the neighborhood? Can there be more spontaneous play dates versus planned in advance? I mean, that’s just a dynamic you have to deal with depending on your living circumstances in the community you’re in. So let’s just say there is a place for planned play dates and, yeah, that child’s letting that mother know, “What I want is to be spontaneous and I’m very, very good at that. I just want to be able to in the moment to make a decision and go, ‘This is what I feel like doing.'” Are things over-planned for this child so she’s not able to be spontaneous? Because she’s the creative one. She’s got the imagination, she has resources in her home. There’s toys, there’s… maybe you need to move him… You point in the right direction, get them to use their own capable talents that are natural to them to enroll themselves that they have this quality of, “I’m gonna go do this because that’s what I want to do.”

Anne: One other idea I just had was, “Is the mother nurturing her type two nature? Or is she working so hard to support her children that her type two nature is not being nurtured and so that overwhelm comes much quicker and she has a shorter…?” She just doesn’t have that quiet time to herself in the morning maybe as a type two, I really value that, and so looking now, all types of mothers, how can they make sure that their bucket is full so then they can give to their children?

Carol: Right. That your children need from you. So there’s really two things we’re talking about, let your child lead you. Your children have their own movement and so in this case is, you know, there’s an hour for this child to just figure it out on her own, what she’s going to be spontaneously doing with her toys or with a sibling or maybe a playmate that could be invited over at the last minute. For the mother, the second consideration that you’ve just mentioned is that this mom is losing herself to her children’s energy types. They need her type two nature to be a constant, and she needs to nurture that, as you’ve just said, in order to show up and be stable in that so she’s not being pulled to match whatever child she’s dealing with, and so is this mom really what I’ve used in the example of my Monday show on Facebook, the energy profile with Carol. I did a show recently on, “Are you rooted in your own nature?” Or, are your root shallow so that you get overwhelmed easily? Because if you’re a constant and who you are, that’s the greatest gift to your family and that invites them to be true to themselves as well.

Anne: Yeah, I think that’s a really good insight. I think oftentimes as moms we think, “Well, if I’m not there for my kids all the time then… or if I’m taking care of myself then I’m not taking care of them,” but you need to be healthy and well so you can take care of them. And as you learn about your types, the first, you know, if you’re coming into this and you’re learning your type, and then of course your kids all at the same time, you’re wanting, I think as a mother to like, “Okay, I want to focus on my kids and make sure that they’re living true to their nature to create more harmony and to create cooperative children.” But take that time, too, to notice how what you need and focus it inward on yourself. So that’s our parenting practice for this week, is notice where the overwhelm is coming from, and do one thing this week that honors your true nature as a mother. Can you give us some examples of what that would look like for each type of mom?

Carol: Well, I’ll mention type one, but I want to hear what you say, you’ve mentioned this with type two, but let’s review that with more details. Type ones have a need for spontaneous social interaction. Now, that’s not a constant like, “Every day in my life I need to be socializing with people,” but there needs to be a frequency of it, so that might look like once a week. Maybe that’s getting out, going for a walk without the kids, with the friend being able to chit chat and connect, setting up a lunch date, going out to an activity, that’s something you’ve enrolled in a class, but it won’t… You know, maybe it’s a fitness opportunity. There’s a lot of ways to meet that need, but it’s that, “I get to go refresh myself.” I like that word, I’m refreshing myself.

Anne: I would say, even beyond like the social interaction I’m thinking of Julia, who she always has something to look forward to, whether it’s people or whether it’s by herself, so plan something spontaneous, if it’s going out to lunch that day or going to the pool, and so there’s something on your calendar that you’re looking forward to. That does so much for type ones, I’ve really seen that. They put that in their calendar, even if just a few days away, that that propels them and fuels them until they get to that point, so always have something to look forward to.

Carol: You know, life’s full of a lot…. Most of life is routine which can then get mundane which then can turn into drudgery, and so are you letting for a type one mom who has that upbeat, bright nature… if you’re letting the routine turn into mundane drudgery, you’re not taking care of yourself because that looking forward to something that has those features of connecting with others, getting out and being with just yourself or a friend or a group of friends, that will help you keep the routine routine, and not experience it as drudgery because you have this thing to look forward to.

Anne: Or bring forward the randomness in where routine would benefit you.

Carol: There you go.

Anne: Because if you are not… Like, because that’s the nature as a type one. If you don’t have something random and spontaneous planned or like you have it, an outlet for anyone, you have to really plan it, you know, but…

Carol: Maybe you have this dinner planned and you decided, “I did not even…. Just can’t even do the cooking in the kitchen tonight. Get in the car, kids, we’re going to go eat off the dollar menu.” I’m not a big fan of dollar menu foods, but in this case I’m all for it for a type one mom if it’s infrequently, because that’s just… That’s an example of being spontaneous and saying, “Yeah, we’ve got $15, you know, $10, what?” And you get to…. And that’s kind of fun, what can we get off the dollar menu?

Anne: And if you’re not getting that, that spontaneity, it will bring randomness to where you need that structure like I said. Okay, so type two mom, it’s very important as a type two for me to get quiet time.

Carol: And how do you achieve that?

Anne: Early mornings usually because I have three young kids right now and so they… If I get up before them I can get some quiet time.

Carol: Is this a daily practice that you’re able to commit to?

Anne: If I get to bed early enough?

Carol: That’s the key.

Anne: Which I’m finding is important.

Carol: You need to sleep with… and I used to have… You need to create your adult blanket that draws you to bed. Do you have a blanket?

Anne: I have a body pillow that I really like to use a lot.

Carol: You need something that’s drawing you. Because Anne is known, and she has a… from her childhood, she was the most connected with her blanket. She had a great affection, but I believe…

Anne: Yeah, I still have it.

Carol: Ah, you might adapt and create that again.

Anne: And so in the evenings I’m usually with my husband and so I enjoy that time as well, but having time in the morning where I can be by myself and make a plan, and so for me that’s happening early mornings because young children… If you’re able to get… And then I go to work and so if you’re able to create that time in the afternoon while your children are at school or in the evening, I just… That’s a really nice quiet time where you can just collect yourself. I find the times where I’m running on overdrive is when I haven’t had a minute or a half an hour or 30 minutes to collect myself and make my plan for the day and that’s really valuable. And also, opportunities to connect with people. Someone close to you that haven’t connected with that can be very energizing as a type two.

Carol: I would say, to remind, here’s a trick to get yourself too bed. You’re tempted to experience that quiet time in the evening, but then you’re compromising that opportunity the morning to tell yourself, “Getting to bed now supports my quiet time in the morning.”

Anne: And how many moms are like, “This is the only time I have by myself,” and you’re up so late and then regretting it when your kids wake up in the morning.

Carol: I think 9:30 is a great bedtime for everyone.

Anne: Well, I need some maybe room for improvement there.

Carol: Well, you know, you’re getting up about 6:00 AM and so…

Anne: Yeah, 5:30 is…

Carol: You feel complete with your sleep. Now in my world, type three. And we’ve shared this many times and yet reminders are great. The opportunity, I think one of the most refreshing, supportive things that can happen for a type three mom is for all the kids to be removed from the home, whether that’s with arranging with a friend, having an older babysitter that you trust with the ability to take the kids to a park or another facility. I know there’s nannies that drive and…

Anne: Have the husband take care of them.

Carol: Have transportation, have your spouse to take them, and everybody’s out of the house and you get to move to your own beat, your own rhythm, your own pace, and you get a lot done. You just knock off your list.

Anne: I actually, I see that in my husband on Saturday, so I’ll say I’ve got the kids for five hours and he’s in the yard and he’s just doing his projects, and that is energizing again.

Carol: So that’s either in the home or there’s a bunch of stuff you got to run around and get done in your car, you know, errands and that without telling anybody around and you’re like, “I’m moving and there’s nobody interrupting me.”

Anne: And guys move fast. You can get a lot done in a few hours.

Carol: You do.

Anne: What about the type four mom?

Carol: The type four mom really is supported by that being isolated, being in solitude on a regular basis, and so that can be to the point that, you know, this is the bigger scheme of that or the strategy is to I think couple times a year it’d be smart for you to, you know, rent a quality inexpensive hotel room, and check yourself in overnight and be completely by yourself. That is like therapy and yet what comes up for a type four mom, is this sort of sense of guilt or, “I should want to be with my family.” And I’m like, you know, you ought to remember that as you take care of yourself and nurture yourself to prevent overwhelm, everybody’s nurtured and benefited by that, that’s really the key here. So aside from that being the more extreme opportunity, it’s really setting it up so that you can go into a space that’s known as, “This is mom’s alone time. This is like her privacy.”

Anne: How many type four moms really take long bathroom breaks or long showers?

Carol: That’s a little tricky…

Anne: No, I’m saying…

Carol: You’re trying to squeeze it in.

Anne: Exactly, and you probably do it and don’t even notice it, and so scheduling that time, you’re going to have… be able to like get that focus.

Carol: Give it to yourself, don’t try and sneak it in. You’ve got to be upfront about all of this. You can’t hope it happens, you can’t try and sneak it in, you have to schedule it. You have to be strategic, you got to enroll the support so you get what you need. And don’t wait for someone to show up and say to you, “You want to do this? Here let me help you.” No, you’re in charge of this.

Anne: You’re that person, you just gave them lots of ideas. So if you’re waiting for someone, there you go.

Carol: Well, I remember in your… Again, my recollection was that there’s that guilt that surfaces that somehow if I don’t want to be with my family 24/7, I’m like, guess what? There’s just some kids that are not in your best interest to be around 24/7, because you’re so different.

Anne: More likewise with the children, they probably could use a break from the mom.

Carol: Exactly. Yeah, I could have used a break from my type two mom, it would have been glorious if she’d, you know, drop me off at the baby setter, I’m like, “See yah.”

Anne: Totally. So, changing the belief from “As I take care of myself, my children are neglected,” to, as you take care of… “As I take care of myself, my children benefit.”

Carol: So back to the original question where this mom was in overwhelm, that was the key thing we were looking at in her question. She’s trying to match… Our sense is she’s trying to match the energy of her kids, not taking care of herself and also kind of probably over-planning to make sure her children are engaged in things that support their nature. So our takeaways from this show are, one, let your children lead you. They bring this energy, support them, don’t think you’ve got to be the one to lead them in that, you just get to support them. What does that look like in your family?

And the biggest takeaway is take care of yourself to avoid overwhelm. We’ve given you four great idea, full of ideas for the four types. So this week’s practice. What are you going to do to care for yourself? Make a choice, make a point, make a decision, get the support in place and follow through on it. Are you gonna do that this weekend?

Anne: Oh, yeah, 9:30 bedtime, here we come.

Carol: 9:30, you just. Oh, man, you’ve. I think you really… Maybe I need to buy you the adult blanket. I just want to go and lay down on my bed with my blanket.

Ann: I do love my bed, it’s so cozy.

Carol: Yes, you’ve got to really… Just know that that’s just… So put it to practice this week. Take care of yourself, you’ll be blessed, your family will be blessed and remember, you’re doing a great job as a mom. You’re always doing better than you think you are. I’m convinced of that. You’re your own toughest critic.

Thanks for listening. For more support to go to thechildwhisperer.com, where you can purchase the book, subscribe to our weekly parenting practice email, and find a transcription and audio, of The Child Whisperer podcast.

Anne: If you’re listening on iTunes. Thank you for leaving a review. If you have a parenting question, please send it to [email protected].

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