Failing Motherhood

Detaching Your Journey From Your Child's with Ann Kaplan

July 19, 2022 Danielle Bettmann | Wholeheartedly Episode 73
Failing Motherhood
Detaching Your Journey From Your Child's with Ann Kaplan
Show Notes Transcript

Today on Failing Motherhood, Ann Kaplan is here to share a truly vulnerable story.  When her teen son dove head first down a path of substance abuse and depression, eventually requiring residential treatment, she felt like she had failed her son as a terrible mother, failed her other kids during that time, and failed professionally as a parenting coach to have a son in this position.

Over the past few years she's gone through a lot of growth, moved away from codependency and truly realized the power of the things she has taught for so long.

She's here to share what helped her heal through this hard time and the insight she's gleaned, including ways to reframe what is + isn't a "problem", the power of knowing "this is not about me" and what matters most.

Don't miss:

  • A big shout out to people pleasers 
  • How to be judged without FEELING judged
  • The 4 types of Parenting + how to grow based on where you are
  • The importance of releasing guilt + shame
  • What it feels like to embrace your intuition


// CONNECT WITH ANN KAPLAN //
IG: @annkaplanparentcoaching
annkaplanparentcoach.com

I believe in you & I'm cheering you on.
Come say hi!  I'm @parent_wholeheartedly on Insta.

Subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Write a Review & Share with a friend!

www.parentingwholeheartedly.com/unapologetic

Support the show

*FREE* MASTERCLASS: Learn how to CONFIDENTLY parent your strong-willed child WITHOUT threats, bribes or giving in altogether so you can BREAK FREE of power struggles + guilt
www.parentingwholeheartedly.com/unapologetic

www.parentingwholeheartedly.com

Ann Kaplan:

So when your kid is throwing a tantrum in the grocery store, or when you send your kid away to a treatment center, you are absolutely correct, the world is judging you. And all the things that you're afraid they think of you are right. That's not a problem. And that's the work to get to a place where it's not a problem that everyone's judging you. There's a very big difference between being judged and feeling judged. You can't stop people from judging you. But you get to decide how you feel, in the face of that judgement.

Danielle Bettmann:

Ever feel like you suck at this job. Motherhood, I mean, have too much anxiety, and not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. This is survival mode, we're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up. And you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is failing motherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week, we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her wins, we do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom, your kids need. They need what you have, you are good enough. And you're not alone. I hope you've happened ear buds, somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend, we're so glad you're here. Hey, it's Danielle. We all want our kids to turn out well, to be good citizens to be kind to people and to be happy. Right? That's what we all want. And we feel a huge responsibility and pressure to be the best parent we can be so that we can set our kids up for success. And check all the boxes and do all the right things. So that we create that outcome. And those things are closely correlated in some ways. And in some ways, we also still need to like, let them be themselves and be a kid on their own journey as their own person and figure out all these hard things and go through their own hardships. How do we balance that? What does that look like? And what happens if you are a parenting coach? That then when your child turns 14, they spiral into depression, self harm, substance abuse, and you eventually don't have the resources to give them what you need. How do you face that reality? How do you reconcile your parenting and how you showed up and maybe the some of the mistakes that you could have made and how they might be tied into where your child is at and why they're not thriving. That's the story that Anne reached out to me with her willingness to share. And I'm so so glad that you get to hear this now, some of the things that she talks about are absolutely foreign concepts that I would not have understood 10 years ago, when I became a parent, and was forced to learn through my husband's journey several years back. And it's hard. These are hard pills to swallow. But she gets to speak from such a place of wisdom and perspective and insight, because she has walked this road for the last three years of having to really wrap her mind around releasing shame and guilt and embodying the things that she has been teaching clients all along, when forced with really having to do this herself. And in this episode, she shares her story and the situation. She also shares more about her parenting coaching and her offerings. But we get to a place towards the end where I asked her, you know, what words does she have for you? If you have a toddler right now, if you have a preschooler and elementary schooler and you are just absolutely hoping to avoid the nightmare of what she went through, What advice does she have? How can you quote unquote, get it right? And she boils it down to the one thing that you have control over that is detrimental to your child. And I know that you will want to hear that because it's going to give you understanding. It's going to give you a certainty and your next steps forward. And it's genuinely still going to give you peace of mind and relief of Knowing what parts of what you do matter most. And I think that power informs our approach so much as parents so that we can have the perspective to prioritize our time and our money and our energy well, as well as we can, knowing that we are still human, we eventually hurt the people we love, because we are not perfect. And that perfection is not attainable. It is not the goal, like I say at the beginning of this podcast. But an story is one that I knew I had to share, because of her willingness to be honest and vulnerable, and allow us that peek into how much it affected their family as her son struggled, the stories that she started believing and telling herself and the ways that she sees it now, as he's back home. So please keep an open mind. Take it with a grain of salt, be able to process what you can now. And let this topic marinate as you continue to grow in your journey as a parent, realizing when you need to, and how you can, how you are one or one ingredient in the recipe of how your child turns out. And there are things that you can absolutely learn and need to learn and build your skills. But also, there is a part of the things that you're just going to screw up. And there are hardships that come to every family. And it's not fun. But the more what we can understand that the more that we can embrace of the good and the learning and the growing that comes along in that process. So an is a mom of four. She's a parenting coach based in Denver, Colorado. She has a unique holistic approach to parent work that includes emotional support home management skills and effective discipline that empowers children while improving behavior. And I think she uses love and logic. She refers to a love and logic concept in this episode, so that might be the particular discipline style that she recommends. Whereas I recommend positive discipline. But I will bring on anyone that I feel like you can learn from and you definitely can in this episode through her story. So she coaches, women, couples dads, anywhere in your parenting journey, and she will give it to you straight and lovey fiercely. Enjoy this episode with Ann Kaplan. Welcome to Failing Motherhood. My name is Danielle Bettmann. On today's episode, I'm joined by Ann Kaplan. Welcome, and thanks for being here.

Ann Kaplan:

Hi, Danielle. Thanks for having me. Of course.

Danielle Bettmann:

So I know we connected because you have a unique lens into the feeling of failing motherhood, which we'll dive into in a second. But I know I shared your bio in the intro go ahead and introduce yourself to my audience. Who are you and who's in your family?

Ann Kaplan:

Yeah, awesome. Yeah, so as probably everyone already heard, I'm Ann Kaplan. I am a parent coach. And I have four kids of my own. My oldest kiddo is 17. My youngest kiddo is eight. And I'm also married to my husband Mike. So our family is six people, our nuclear family anyway, six people, me and Mike and then we've got Elijah, River, Georgia who everyone calls Gigi and she will punch you if you do not call her Gigi. And our youngest is Skye.

Danielle Bettmann:

I have a kiddo like that at my house with her name is Annabelle. Oh, you call her Annie. Okay, and you will also get Yeah, exactly.

Ann Kaplan:

You will call her Annie or else. Yep, exactly.

Danielle Bettmann:

Love it. These are these kids that keep us in business, right?

Ann Kaplan:

Oh, yeah. I love it. I love when my kids just know themselves. So well. I'm like, right? Perfect.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yes. Never lose that, please. Yes. Okay, so go ahead and take us on the journey, a little bit of your backstory, maybe your introduction to motherhood or your introduction to your company. And I'll just kind of guide you from there.

Ann Kaplan:

Yeah, totally. So I feel like my journey to this particular iteration of my practice has been like coming from so many different avenues like my whole life, like starting with my own childhood and how my parents raised me which was extremely toxic and abusive. And even at a very young age, I just knew I just don't want to be like that. And then you know, when I went off to college was the first time but I didn't really realize it until looking back and I was like that was the first time that I went for like more than 24 hours without hearing like screaming and yelling and anger and just pointment and rage and all those things. And it's kind of like, you know, like if you live by the highway, and then all of a sudden you the car stop for some reason. And you're like, Oh, this is what silence feels like I didn't even know. That's how it was for me or I was like, Oh, wow, like so this is what it would be like if you just didn't have this constant influx and like input of negative toxicity. This is amazing. It was almost like I had discovered something that everybody else already knew. And I was like, on a crusade to be like, everybody, have you heard of like not being assholes? It's like a new thing I discovered. Everyone's like, yeah, we've already been doing that for a long time, man. How sad is that? Yeah, I know. But you know, it's like, what you don't laugh, you cry, right. And I think after all those time and my 40 years on this planet, I've done enough work to be able to just look at that and accept it for what it is, and be grateful I had that revelation, like, that's another thing. When you have that contrast, which many people don't, you do get to appreciate things in ways that, you know, I say that sometimes about my first birth was very traumatic. And if I hadn't had that birth experience, the fire in my belly about like how I wanted to have my kids never would have been lit up. And then my second kid was this like, amazing, beautiful redemptive healing experience. And I was just like, once again, on a crusade, like Has everybody heard about having a baby without being shamed the whole time? It's amazing. To try. Well, you know, if my first birth had just been like, easy peasy, no biggie, I probably would have been like, what's all of us? Like, right? Yeah, just have a baby, get over yourself. Right? Totally. I didn't understand. But because I had that adversity, I do that whole duality of nature and all that stuff. And then, of course, I had my own kids. So then it was like, Okay, time to put my money where my mouth is. And I sucked at it. Because I had been raised by monsters. Yep, that'll happen. So I didn't really know how to not do that. I knew I didn't want to do that. But I really didn't know what to do instead. And I never really saw anything else affected like work. I definitely had seen parents where they were kind of like, super, super permissive, and their kids were a little bit out of control or whatever. But I don't think that felt right either. I really had no idea. So that was all happening to me in my personal life. At the same time, I actually did speaking of my crusade about birth, become a birth doula and a childbirth educator. And so I was learning all of these techniques about how to manage yourself and your emotions and your anxieties and fears. And around birth, while my kids were growing up, and I started seeing like, all these lessons are true and parenting as well. And as my clients kids grew, my kids grew, I was fielding more and more questions about not birth, but you know, how do I sleep train my kiddo without using the cried out method? Or, you know, what about my kid doesn't want to go to school, or tantrums or picky eating. And then as the kids get older, it'd be like homework and schoolwork and friendships and bullies on the playground and things and it just kind of organically all came together. It's like my own personal quest to discover my own kind of pathway to being the parent, I want it to be, at the same time that I was shepherding the people that were hiring me to work for them, you know, through their journeys, as well. And it just kind of all came together about, I'd say, six years ago, is when I was like, I need to be working with moms. This is amazing. And then that grew into I'm not just working with moms, I'm working with dads, I'm working with couples, I'm working with non binary families like all of this stuff, and teaching both child rearing so like discipline, how to respond to kids how to stay calm, and the cornerstones of effective parenting, but then also the emotional support and psychological work that we need to do to actually be able to use all those tools. And he doesn't really do any good for me to tell you, Hey, give a natural consequence, use boundaries with choice in this situation. If you're so dysregulated, that steam is coming out your ears, you're not going to do any of the great stuff we talked about in our session. So it's a real holistic approach. And I always think like holistic I think of like the fact that it's multifaceted but also like the word hold always comes to my mind like these. I like to look for to give my clients the opportunity to really feel held and not alone and in a safe container and able to explore and experience themselves and discover what really is unresolved that's getting in their way. Yeah,

Danielle Bettmann:

I love that imagery of being held that because it's so comforting and especially if that is not so Anything that you grew up with, then that's a very foreign feeling. And it's very uncomfortable to kind of reparent yourself in that way. And allow that security to come in and to feel okay with being who you are, as a grownup, still very much learning and figuring life out when you're supposed to be, you know, putting together the car as it's driving down the interstate, you know, with your, with your family, it's a very overwhelming place to be. So for you to come in at that stage is is very needed.

Ann Kaplan:

Hmm. Yeah, I'd like to say I'm healing families by helping parents.

Danielle Bettmann:

Exactly. Exactly. That's thrown in. So how has that evolved over the last few years?

Ann Kaplan:

Yeah, well, that's a good question. Most people don't ask me that. So when I first started, like I said, I was only working with moms, and I was only working one on one. So my clients would come to me and we would just do one on one sessions, kind of like how you and I are talking right now, except we would have visual and video as well. And then I sort of like grew with my business. So I started, I created a curriculum for my clients so that instead of me using our sessions to have to, like teach them skills, they were already able to learn those skills through my videos in the workbook that they get. And then when they come to a session with me, we use our time to help them overcome whatever is getting in the way of using those skills, whatever's happening right now, in this moment. So I'll start every single session just being like, it's so good to see you. What are we coaching on today? Instead of me coming into the session with like, Hey, this is what we need to learn today. It's you tell me, what are we doing today? What's coming up for you right now? And where do you feel stuck? Or what's on the horizon for you, oh, my gosh, summer break, or Oh, my gosh, my in laws are coming to visit. Or it's time for us to get this kiddo out of a crib, and I just don't know how to do it. Or if we're talking about teenagers, like I found a condom wrapper in my kid's backpack or a vape pen or whatever, right? And now all of that stuff isn't necessarily in the workbook, the principles, the skills, those are there. And then it's like, okay, well, how do I actually do that boots on the ground, and that's what those sessions are for. And then about a year and a half ago, I decided to launch a group program. So that program is only for moms. And it's phenomenal. It's the same curriculum. But instead of us working one on one together, every week, I host an hour and a half long coaching call that anyone can log into who's in the group? I coach on everybody's questions, whatever they bring, and it is so amazing for these women to just be in a sisterhood, and hear everybody else's questions and get amazing information that they probably wouldn't even realize, oh, I actually have that question too. Or oh, I hadn't even thought to ask that. Or, an often happens, especially like, let's say you've got a toddler, and someone with a 15 year old is asking question, it's probably going to be your knee jerk reaction to think, oh, this doesn't have anything to do with me, because we're talking about a boyfriend, girlfriend situation. But hey, all of a sudden the conversation is about choice and consent and body autonomy. And how do we teach that from early age? And wait a second, this is applicable to me. Wow. So it's just it's so awesome. And we just all love each other so much. And so that inspired me to host my first retreat. So in October, right, where I'm talking to you right now, which is my own lake house that's in northern Michigan on a lake near Traverse City, I'm going to be hosting a retreat this fall, where the peak of color change, it's like, mind blowing the colors up here at that time of year. And we're going to be doing tons of coaching work, but also just like spiritual work about like releasing old blocks and calling in new energy and just so much connection and so much fun. You know, I think that's really missing for a lot of moms. So that kind of evolution from like, one on one to let's create a community to like, Let's get together and actually do more than just coach. It's so exciting. And in the meantime, I also, like I said, started working with dads. I love working with dads, I was a little intimidated at first, but oh man, I just love it. And I feel like I get a little window into fatherhood that most people never see. And it's so just touching and touching honor. And working with couples has been incredible to same thing. I was a little anxious at first, like, do I have the chops for this, but it's been amazing. And what I really see when I work with couples is how their relationship heals and evolves and it completely trickles down and gets them to this place of like transcending blocks in their relationship with each other and with their kids. And it's just, you know, it's magic, really. So yeah, that's the story of my business. Oh, Okay, and

Danielle Bettmann:

I absolutely love working with couples and dads. It is like my favorite. And when I talked to the colleagues that I went to college with in education, and they're in classrooms, and I tell them that I work with parents, and you know, couples and especially like dads are like, was by choice. Yeah, but I love it. I absolutely. It's such an honor to work with families in such a intimate, like vulnerable way where they can really be honest about the hard things and find validation and find new answers and things unique to their family and their struggles on their kids. Yeah, there's nothing I'd rather be doing. I love it. Hey, if you're new here, I'm Danielle. My company, Wholeheartedly, offers one on one and group coaching programs to help families with strong willed kids aged one to seven, prevent tantrums, eliminate power struggles, extend their patience and get on the same page. It's kind of like finances, you can read lots of info about what a Roth IRA is and how the stock market works. But if you really want to get serious about paying down debt or growing your wealth, you go see a financial advisor who can give you very specific recommendations based on all the unique facets of your situation. I'm your financial advisor for parenting. And I've designed the way we work together to give you nothing less than a complete transformation. While we work together, I am able to help you figure out why your child is losing their mind and why you are losing your mind and guide you to master effective long term solutions through three main focuses. Number one, my cultivating cooperation guide teaching you the tools of positive discipline. Number two, managing your mind by working through my triggers workbook. And number three, establishing your family's foundation by writing your family business plan. My coaching is comprehensive, practical, individualized and full of VIP support. So if you struggle to manage your child's big emotions, if you and your partner's arguments seem to center around parenting, especially if one of you is too kind and one of you is too firm. If you struggle to stay calm and be the parent that you want to be, it's possible to stop feeling like a deer in headlights when a tantrum hits, effortlessly move through simple directions and care routines without an argument and go to bed replaying the way you handled the hardest moments and feel proud. If you have a deep desire to be the best parent you can be, and your family is your greatest investment. Find me on Instagram, send me a message that says sanity. And I'll ask you a few questions to see if we'd be a good fit to work together. I can't wait to meet you back to the show. So are you then a perfect parent. Do you have it? Oh, yeah, together. Your kids have never misbehaved. Yeah.

Ann Kaplan:

It's all about here to talk about right now. I'm a unicorn you discovered know I am a giant walking failure constantly. And I Yeah. And I love it. And it's that's what's meant to be so yeah, no, I'm definitely not a perfect parent. And I actually was interviewed on a podcast recently where we were talking about specifically about my eldest son, Elijah, who has given me permission to share his story. And when he was about 14, he just it was like, a switch was flipped and this kid went from like, really happy. well adjusted, you know, eager to please successful in school kiddo, too. So depressed, belligerent, angry, failing all his classes. He first day of high school, dumped all of his friends he'd had since kindergarten got all new friends that probably weren't the best choices. He started using drugs, he started self harming. When he was his sophomore year of high school, we finally had to bite the bullet and see that he needed residential care. So he went away to wilderness therapy. And then he lived for a year in a residential treatment center. He just came home permanently, about a month ago. Oh, wow. And so that was this whole journey of me grappling with whatever I had done that contributed to Elijah struggles. Also grappling with the fact that like, Yeah, you really want to just sprinkle shame on top of your whole life right now like a candy topping. That's actually a lie, and it's a total waste and it's stopping you from doing what you need to do right now. So a lot of that, you know, just real looking yourself in the mirror stuff and really reckoning with the things that I taught my clients all the time. And I thought I had really already embodied about releasing shame and not carrying around this guilt that parents love so much. And you know, not owning my kids journey or making it mean something about me. But then you know, when the you know what hit the fan, all those things that I thought I had resolved came up, they were really only superficially resolved, like I could deal with that and use those skills in those minor parenting moments. But when the rubber hit the road, I still had a lot of work to do, for sure. And what was interesting, and this is always interesting, I would say this is the big reveal. Because as you can imagine, I spend a lot of my time talking to people just like you, Danielle, who are running a business or sharing a message about releasing shame and really not having this like codependent emotional ownership over other people's troubles or struggles or journey or whatever. But the big reveal always is in conversations with these people, I would say at least half the time, someone says to me something like, well, and it's just so amazing that that happened to Elijah, because you're such a good parent. And I'm like, that is how we give ourselves away. Because think about it if we really truly believe that our kids journeys are separate from us, that we're not the monsters that are destroying their lives, that when they struggle, it's really not about us, then why would it be a surprise that a kid raised by an amazing parents still had depression and suicidal ideation and addiction? Right, but we do we do it. And so that was the major reckoning that, you know, while Elijah was going through his journey, doing so much deep work to be able to be healthy again. You know, the family had to do it too, including me. You can bet your butt I was like, I don't need to do that I already know how to parent for can teach people that all day long. Okay, this is not about me.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yes, but I know very well how substance abuse is a family disease. It absolutely affects everyone close to the person struggling. And so what did that look like for your husband? Or your kids? If you feel comfortable sharing? No,

Ann Kaplan:

yeah, I know, it was a total family trauma. And that's an experience that we all have to recover from. Not just Elijah, and not just me or not just Mike, right, like our other kids at the time. So this started when Elijah was 14. So it's been kind of like a three year journey. So that means that my two next youngest kids, were let's see. So Gigi is 13. Now, so that means she was like 11, when the started are 10. And river is 15. Now, so he was 12. So think about that those are formative years between the ages of 12 and 15, between the ages of 10 and 13. Like you're really doing your own journey through adolescence and puberty and what happens to the kiddo who is going through their own natural adolescent feelings of rebellion, and maybe anger and rage at their parents and all that individuation and emancipation vibes that happen when you're a teenager, except you have an older brother who's completely destroying your family. So you can't afford to be a problem right now? Right? So some kids experience things that way some kids experience it, and the total opposite way where it's like, this is not fair. And I need attention to so watch this, everybody. And you know, so everyone's got their own way. But there's absolutely no way that living in an ecosystem with several other people, whatever each person's going through isn't going to affect everybody else. That's just, it truly is an ecosystem. So absolutely, it affected all of us. And you know, and then as a parent, it's very easy to decide, well, I really need to get, you know, get this under control, because it's hurting my other kids. So now I'm a bad mom to the kid who's struggling and I'm a bad mom to my other kids. And like, I'm just gonna go hide in a hole because I'm a bad mom. And that's the beginning and end of that story. Whereas really, it's, you know what, this is just where we're at right now. And every single human has their grab bag of hardship, and this just happens to be ours. It was the hand we were dealt. Yeah.

Danielle Bettmann:

How are those first few months of kind of seeing that shift in him? No, in like the freshman year of high school, like what did that look like for you?

Ann Kaplan:

This is where I would say, in the topic of failing this is where I would say I can honestly say I really, like you're gonna have to put an explicit on this. I'm like, that is where I can say I definitely shit the bed. The first like six months to 10 months of Elijah's descent. I threw out everything that I was teaching my clients and I knew to be true. Oh, I stopped really being the authoritative parent that we all know is what kids need. And I became so permissive, because I was afraid that sticking to my boundaries and following through and having those consistent consequences, which was what I know, kids need, would push Elijah over the edge. What if he killed himself? Because I grounded him or something? I mean, I don't actually ground on my kids, but you get the idea. You know, what if he hurt himself because I took his phone away? Or what if he hurt River, which he did do, because he didn't have his phone, and he wanted to use reverse phone to call this dealer, you know, shit gets real. And I totally, like I became way, way, way too permissive, because I was afraid. So instead of my intuition, my authenticity, my adult self, my true evolved aligned person, being in charge, my fear was in the driver's seat. And so instead of doing what I knew, was right, and felt right, even though it felt hard, like holding a boundary, for example, I didn't, I completely was overcome by my own, you know, panic, really, and wound up being so ineffectual as a parent to my son, and to my other children, who needed me to actually hold a line. It was really not great. And then also, you know, as it became clearer and clearer, like, he's not safe here, we're not safe with him here. And also, it's not even about safety. It's about like, what does this child need to get? Well, well, we don't have it here. It would be like saying, my kid has cancer, well, I'm just gonna give him radiation in my bedroom, you don't have a radiation machine, you cannot give your child what they need. At home, they have to go to a hospital. And the same thing is true when kids are suffering with this degree of mental illness. They can't get what they need at home, they need a different container. And that was becoming clearer and clearer. And I just didn't want to face it. Because once again, fear, what if he never forgave me, or also, what if me sending him away meant that I had just totally failed. Like, if I had just been a better mom, he never would have gotten this bad. And he we wouldn't need to send him away. Or maybe sending him away was giving up on him, you know, which now as someone who's gone through this process is all of those ideas are just almost hilarious. To me. They're just such nonsense. But they're very real at the time, they're very real for us. And one of the reasons they're very real is because they're very real for people who don't know what your life is. So like one of the things that's really helpful and important in the coaching work I do with parents, it happens all the time, or someone will come to a session. And it doesn't have to be about this extreme example of my I sent my kid away to wilderness therapy, and everyone's judging me, it can be something as simple as my kid threw a tantrum in the grocery store, and I was humiliated. This idea that everyone is judging us. And for a lot of my clients, I'm the first person to say to them, you're right, they are judging you. Because human beings are judging machines, we are designed to be able to take very little information in in a situation and come up with a conclusion right away. That is judgment. And so when your kid is throwing a tantrum in the grocery store, or when you send your kid away to a treatment center, you are absolutely correct, the world is judging you. And all the things that you're afraid they think of you are right. That's not a problem. And that's the work to get to a place where it's not a problem that everyone's judging you. There's a very big difference between being judged and feeling judged. You can't stop people from judging you. But you get to decide how you feel in the face of that judgment. And that is the work. And to me, that was kind of what came to my mind even when I just saw the name of your podcast. Because it's the same thing with failure, that if you come to me trying to be the perfect parent, so that you don't fail anymore, you're barking up the wrong tree. And when you come to me and say I screwed up, I'm probably gonna say, Yeah, that sucks. How does it feel? What comes up for you when you realize that you've made a mistake? And how much of this parenting work that you're doing is about trying to control the world around you so that you don't have to be in situations that feel gross? Like the situation where you made a mistake? What if you didn't have to control that? What if making a mistake was just not something you had to try to avoid? Because it wasn't painful anymore? How would you parent if screwing up wasn't a problem?

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, And what's the path to that? Like for the listeners, like, Yeah, I'm on board, I would love to feel that way. I don't even know where to start with that, because I have no tools.

Ann Kaplan:

Well, so tools exactly as you say, like I always tell my clients if you work with me, and we're going to be doing this two fold approach, it's a parallel process of on one track, you're building skills, you don't really know how to use an enforceable statement, for example, which is a love and logic tool, you don't know necessarily how to set boundaries of choice, you don't know what to say, instead of the stuff you're saying now, or what to do, instead of the stuff you're doing. Now, you don't know how not to give punishments or keep things as a consequences set of a punishment. So you need to learn. It's just a learning curve, and talk about failing, guess what happens when you learn something new, you suck at it. I guarantee every single person listening to this podcast, who is thinking about working with me, I promise you, you are going to suck at this. And that's just how we learn. And then that's the message that we're giving our kids too right? Failure is not a problem, you made a mistake. No biggie. There's absolutely no shame or judgment, I'm totally neutral about the fact that you've made a mistake. Here's what happens when you make this mistake. So if you throw your food at me at the dinner table, dinner's over, I love you, I'm not upset about it at all. And if you're sad, I'm sad for you, because it sucks to miss out on dinner. So I'm totally neutral about the fact that you've made a mistake. And you did make a mistake. And this is what the outcome of that mistake is. Right. So if you want to give that message to your kids, you need to give that message to yourself first. So you definitely need to learn skills, and you definitely don't have those skills, which means you're really bad at them for a while, until you're not anymore. And then so that's that one track and at the same, like parallel to that we're doing all this emotional work. So when you say like, what is the path to that? Number one is skill building. And number two is the emotional work, which if you had to boil that down in a nutshell, I would say processing your emotions, and holding your boundaries. That's it, when your kid does something that upsets you. Literally, How is this not a problem? Well, it's not a problem for me to be upset, I'm a human being, I came into the world with the capacity to experience the full range of human emotions, and meet experiencing some of these unpleasant ones. It's not a problem, it's really actually nothing I need to do anything about, except to just feel it. And know it's not my forever place and do whatever kinds of skills I know to, you know, regulate my nervous system, which is also stuff we learn, you know, all of that stuff, but it's not necessarily even a parenting moment. Anyone listening? Who has teenagers, what if your kid deciding to have sex for the first time wasn't actually a parenting situation? That doesn't mean you're not going to have a whole ton of emotion about it, especially depending on who they did it with, and how they did it and how old they are, and blah, blah, blah, all the stories, right? So what if those emotions are actually not a parenting situation at all, they're just a use situation. You don't actually need to do anything about those feelings at all. You just need to have those feelings. And then when you're done, you can come back with a clear head and fresh eyes and look at the situation and maybe then decide, okay, well, I guess I need to make some decisions here about maybe what are the rules of our house, for example? Or what information do I want to give my kid about safety or, you know, whatever, and that the answers to those questions are very private or individual, I'd say, but the emotions you feel about your kids, those aren't parenting problems. Those are emotional problems.

Danielle Bettmann:

But we live in a very emotion phobic society. So that's not modeled for us.

Ann Kaplan:

Absolutely. And also, especially for so I feel like there's too, like, if you look at the maybe this is getting a little too deep into this stuff. But you can tell me, you can just cut this later if you don't like it, right? Yeah, we'll figure it out now today. But you know, if you've ever heard of like the four types of parenting, and that's really about like your degree of connectedness and emotional intelligence with your child and your degree of control and leadership that you have in your family, and an authoritative parent has a high degree of both of those. What most parents tend to fall into is their weak in one area and strong in the other. So I'm really really good at my emotional connection with my kid, but I'm just a pushover. So that's that permissive quadrant. Or I'm really, really great at holding boundaries with my kid, but I have a lot of like detachment and anger when I'm disciplining them. So now I've become authoritarian instead of authoritative, meaning I'm kind of a bully, when I'm upset and when I'm parenting when discipline my kids. So both of those kinds of parenting are damaging to children, because kids do You need boundaries and control and leadership, and they do absolutely need that emotional connection and that, you know, emotional intelligence with their parent. Right? So when you are in this situation where you find yourself being the quote unquote pushover or the quote unquote, bully, it's very easy to say, Okay, well, I know, just based on what I just heard on this podcast, even if I find myself being the quote, unquote, pushover parent, then that means that I don't have the degree of leadership and control that I actually need to give my kids. So that's an area that I need to strengthen. And if you can say, I know that I'm the bully, unfortunately, I'm the dictator, when I'm disciplining my kids, that means I don't really need to new learn necessarily, you might probably need to learn some new parenting skills in terms of like how to say that without yelling, or how to give a consequences set of a punishment. But what really actually needs to happen is a lot more emotional connection. But speaking as a so some of these parents fall into the permissive category, some of them fall into the dictator category, but I can say I'm the more of the dictator if I'm not careful. And I like what you said about our we have this emotion phobic society, especially when your emotions are explosive like that dictator, parent, you and I, if you're one of those people, and the same for me, we have received messages our entire lives that it is absolutely not okay to be angry. And especially not to be angry in this like loud way or an aggressive way or whatever. And conversely, the pushover parent has probably been given messages their entire life, which is great, do this more be a people pleaser? This works out really well for everyone around you. So, you know, once you get to a place where you're ready to kind of do this emotional work, while the dictator parent has to do the work of actually being okay with the fact that they have a lot of anger, even though society has told them and that makes them a piece of garbage. You know, one of the best things I can do to stay calm with my kids is be totally fine. When I'm enraged. I don't need to stop myself. Now, that doesn't mean I get to rage at my kids. But I don't need to judge the fact that I'm angry. It's okay, I'm angry. This is how I feel. I wish I didn't, but I do. And that means I need to go off and let myself be angry, not calm myself down and talk myself out of it or, you know, shame myself for losing my temper. None of that. You just have to feel your feelings. And meanwhile, the work that's cut out for the permissive parent is to actually start setting boundaries and saying no, and probably really disappointing and upsetting all the people that have come to depend on that parent of being the dumping ground. Right, all of a sudden, mom saying no, or dad saying no, I'm not going to do that anymore. And it's not only women who are people pleasers, I can tell you that I actually just had a session yesterday with a dad who was really coming to terms with this part of his work. And I said, you know, God bless the people pleasers who do this work, because they are the real heroes, people like me, we've been given messages our whole lives, that there's something the matter with us. So coming to the table with the idea that we need to fix something and you know, that's old news. But a people pleaser who decides to get over that and resolve that has had to come from only their internal compass, because they probably didn't get any feedback or support around them to say, This can't go on. That's so true. It has to come from within for them. Those are strong people. Yeah,

Danielle Bettmann:

to really see the value in needing to change when it's only going to basically benefit you.

Ann Kaplan:

Have you come to me as a people pleaser ready to overcome that aspect of yourself or to bring it specifically related to parenting. If you come to me as a permissive parent, really ready to do this work? hat's off to you. Because that means that you have such and strong inner wisdom and guidance that you were able to actually listen to that in the face of everything else. And that is the work. So like I said, with Elijah, my big fail was not staying in my adult align true inner guidance, intuition, inner wisdom, inner wise mama, whatever you want to say. And instead of being consumed by that egoic fear that I had, and the work that all my clients do is about releasing all of those inner critic and egoic messaging so that you can actually hear that inner wise voice that says, You know what you need to do right now. You know what feels right. You know what feels wrong? You know who you are. That's all you need.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, but we need help finding it. It feels so simple to be like, just let Listen to your intuition. You know, like, you're a mama bear, you know what to do. But we've been conditioned our whole life not to listen to that voice. So

Ann Kaplan:

that's right. Absolutely. We get messages all the time, do not listen to yourself. And I mean, we can go off on a whole nother tangent about like women and the messaging we've been given about, don't listen to your body, you're hungry. No, you're not. That's bad. Don't listen to that. It's the soup we're cooked in, right? But that's why this retreat that I'm doing in October is called awaken the wise mama. And it is exactly this work it is, what is your inner wise mama? Where is she? And what do we need to release and resolve so that you can actually hear her not just for these three days or four days in this retreat? But when you go home? And the noise comes back? And how do you communicate with your children from this place? How do you discipline your children from this place? So each morning, we have coaching circle, and that's Topic number one is connecting with your intuition. And then it's Topic number two, communicating from intuition, Topic number three, day three, disciplining from intuition. So that by the time you leave this experience, well, first of all, you will have a blast and like, laughed until you're peed your pants, because I already know the women are coming on this trip. There's three spots left. But I already know the group of women who's booked already and these women are magic. But also when you leave this retreat, you are going to know, in a whole new way, a way deeper way. Just how to get like almost like flipping a switch, like hang on a second. Let me ask myself what to do right now. In any parenting situation.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yeah, we all want to feel that way. For sure. So going back to was overcoming the feeling of failing, I know, I'm gonna say a majority of my listeners have younger kids preschool age, early elementary toddlers. And so they're looking down the road. And definitely still feeling like there is a strong correlation between their parenting toolkit and the outcomes that their kids are going to have. And, you know, seeing their kiddo on the path that they don't want them to be on, feels like, you know, worst nightmare type scenario. So for them, to be able to really learn from the wisdom that you've gained over the last three years, give us a couple examples of some reframes that you can see now of like a thought or a story that you're telling yourself and like the early early descent, and then now how you can see that differently?

Ann Kaplan:

Oh, yeah, totally. I mean, I can give you a novel of fails from when my kids are little. So like, this is my personal opinion. Not everyone will will agree with this. And that's absolutely fine. But for me, I felt like it was a big mistake, the way that I parented my Elijah, my oldest kid around sleep, I was afraid to let him sleep in my bed, because everybody told me that, oh, once you get him in your bed, you'll never get them out. We'll have like, 11 year old sleeping with you at night. And I was like, Whoa, no, I don't want that. And so I from the day, we had him in our house, he slept in his crib down the hallway from us, and it was horrible. And I remember saying to a friend of mine, why is it that all the things that feel good and right are actually wrong? And I wish I could go back there and be like, they're not wrong, if it feels good and right, it is good and right. And doing things from intuition and following your inner guidance, doesn't feel like that it doesn't feel gross. And like you are doing this, you know, wearing a hair shirt all the time. You know, we get so much messaging, like, don't take the easy way out, you know, anything worth doing is hard. You know, success comes from hard work. Life is supposed to be hard, and it's really, really hard. And it's supposed to feel horrible the whole time. If it feels good, it's probably bad for you, right? You're probably like sinning in some way. So I wish that I could have gone back and said, you know, no, you're drowning out your own compass here that's showing you you know, you have your north star and you're just clouding your vision here. But at the same time, you know, the fact that Elijah slept in his own bed wasn't like this trauma that he never got over or something. And the other thing is, and here's something that I think is so profoundly important, especially when I work with parents going through divorce or things like that, or even just parents who are frustrated because their partner is not on the same page as they are and they feel like they're parenting in a great way but their partner still hasn't gotten on board and they start to be anxious or what's going to happen to my kid. The most important thing you can do for your child is to be healthy. The, because the most important thing for your child is a healthy attachment to at least one parent. That is the single most protective factor in any child's life. It's not about how much food they had, or even the stability of their home, or their education, or what kind of food they ate, or what kind of discipline you use. The healthy attachment that your child forms with you is the most important thing. And that suffers when you put your focus on being perfect and beating yourself up because now you're not healthy. And it's impossible for your child to form a healthy attachment to an unhealthy person. It just can't happen. There will be attachment challenges, which are surmountable, it's not a problem. So probably the biggest quote unquote fail that I did to Elijah was have postpartum depression, which was out of my control. But I did. And so for the first like two years of his life, he was working his ass off as every new human is to form an attachment to his parent, and he had a wounded parent. So that is a such a great example. I can weep right here and now on this podcast about how sad that is, that because of my own lack of wellness, I hurt my son. And that is true. That's not me just beating myself up or whatever. But it's also such a great example of you will hurt your kid because you are a human being who's going to go through the arc of your relationship with your child, you will never be perfect, you will always be messing up. And also things will happen that are out of your control, like you have postpartum depression, or I have a client who had a brain tumor when her kid was eight months old. And so he lived for a year of his life, basically, without a mom, because she was had had brain surgery and everything, you know, things like this happen. And guess what, that mom who had zero people on this planet would blame for what happened to her son feels like she can never forgive herself for getting a brain tumor. She didn't do that. It just happened. Right? So what is the true damage that this person is doing to her child? It's not releasing that guilt and blame because now not only did her kiddo miss out on that year, you know, it was a tumultuous year, and it wasn't like traditional viously. But this kid's, like, 10 years old now. And he's had eight more years of a parent who's consumed with guilt and shame. Right? Yeah. So the guilt and the shame. I know, it's so hard to believe, because our society tells us that it's really, really good and important, and that that's what makes us do the right thing. Right, which is completely false. The guilt and shame is the thing to release. I feel so sad for Elijah that he had that year and a half of depressed mom, that sucks. And I love him so much. So anything that sad that happens to him, I will wish didn't happen to him. Whether I'm the one who did it to him or someone else, but me feeling, you know, like a horrible failure as parent is honestly self indulgent. In a really weird way. You know what I mean? So of all the quote unquote, mistakes I made, the biggest was something that wasn't even something that I did. And the reason why I brought that example up is to say that your most important thing that you can do is your way of being with your child. All the other things that we fret about are really just nothing they're just gravy on top. Should you get your kid all wooden toys, you should you homeschool them, you know all those

Danielle Bettmann:

things, breastfeeding, organic food, absolutely

Ann Kaplan:

make those choices from intuition, do what feels right and good to you. But not because that's going to determine your child's outcome. But because the fact that you did something that felt right and good to you, determines your child's outcome, the confidence it gave you. Yeah, the person you are the self actualized person who feels fulfilled and is following her path, or his path, depending on who's listening to this, right? The person who is self actualized, and well and whole and healthy. That is the biggest influence you have on your kid. And even that still doesn't determine what happens to your child. So it's your biggest contribution to your child. But you're just one of a million ingredients that go into what your kiddo is experiencing and doing. So that whole like blame game we play. It's so self indulgent. Oh, okay. So I'm in charge of everything, right? Like, something bad happens to my kid my fault, right? If my kids going through something, I own that, you know, well, maybe not maybe a kiddo at school was so said something to them or maybe their boyfriend broke up with them. Or maybe they stubbed their toe like you don't own everything, mom. Yes. Not about you, necessarily. Yeah,

Danielle Bettmann:

yeah. Cuz I never want any of the listeners to take away from this episode that if they had postpartum depression, then their child is absolutely going to struggle in the same way.

Ann Kaplan:

No, absolutely not. And also, you have no idea if they're going to struggle at all, or if their struggle looks different, or their struggle might come out. But you know, it's not a problem that we, this is the weirdest. Don't use this as it is not a problem that we hurt our children. That's the point you absolute, just like I said before, like you definitely suck. You don't have to worry, do I suck? You don't have to worry, are people judging me? They are. And you don't have to wonder, Am I hurting my kid you are, you absolutely are in a relationship, we hurt the ones we love, we help the ones we love, we love the ones we love, we have an amazing time with the ones we love like it, you and your child will absolutely hurt each other many, many, many, many times over the arc of your relationship. And it's designed to be that way. Even what's happened with Elijah. He was he's a human being and he was designed to experience hardship, including the hardship of having a depressed mummy. And it's no good to tell anybody being depressed isn't a hardship for other people? It absolutely is. And that's okay. It's absolutely okay. Just like you being in a bad mood is a hardship for the people around you, or you forgetting to buy milk at the grocery store was a hardship for the people in your family or when you have a cold, it's a hardship for the people in your family hardship is not a problem

Unknown:

at all. That's kind of a hard pill to swallow. It is.

Ann Kaplan:

And that's the real work. So well a lot of people think, Oh, I'm going to you know, take a parenting class or hire a coach or read a book or whatever and, and that's going to teach me how to be a good parent. So I'd be the best parent I can be. And the real motivation behind that. If you get really deep isn't so I can because I love my kid and I want to do right by my kid. But it's because the thought of not being the best, and not being perfect is so painful to me. And I really want to do everything I possibly can to avoid that pain, that tough pill to swallow. And my approach is, let me help you swallow that tough pill. Because you're chasing after a unicorn, which is if I can just make everything around me not painful, then I'll be happy.

Danielle Bettmann:

That was definitely a huge piece of growth that I had to endure as my husband was an alcoholic. And I went to Al Anon the family support group. And that was the whole lesson, right there was like you didn't you can't control this. You didn't cause it. You can't fix it. You just have to sit with it. And it hurts.

Ann Kaplan:

The only thing you can do as we all learn as codependence is to set boundaries and process our emotions. That's all we can do. And it's so blatantly obvious when you're in a relationship with an addict that that's true.

Danielle Bettmann:

Yes. You have to You're forced with making that revelation. Yes,

Ann Kaplan:

yes, it's become Stark. But the truth is that that's the case in every single relationship. The only thing we can ever do, including with our children is set boundaries and process our emotions. Yeah,

Danielle Bettmann:

the earlier we learned that the better. So if you're listening to this, and this was a foreign concept, then consider yourself lucky to be realizing it now.

Ann Kaplan:

Yeah, yep. And even if every cell in your body is screaming, no, I hate you. I won't listen to this. That's okay. It's getting into your subconscious and it's just gonna sit there and marinate until you're ready. Yep.

Danielle Bettmann:

So good. I'm so glad that we got to such a deep place because I feel like that could marinate, Oh, absolutely. years, and just really inform the whys behind our motivations as parents or let's just allow us to sit with more of our side of the equation than fixating on controlling and stopping the behavior and you know, not allowing our kids to be themselves and be a kid and figure life out and have hardship. So being able to gift them that path without that really tangled codependency that sees them as our direct report card. You know, immediate gratification and needing that control is a lifelong journey. I think that they allow us to be taught to that lesson.

Ann Kaplan:

I agree. Totally.

Danielle Bettmann:

So tell our listeners more about how they can connect with you after this episode.

Ann Kaplan:

Yeah, And the best way to find me and information about all the different offerings that I talked about couples were individual work group work, the retreats, which anybody who's listening to this doesn't sign up for that retreat, too crazy. Like I said, three spots left, all that stuff is on my website. So it's really easy to remember it's an Kaplan parent coach.com. Ann Kaplan is spelled with a K, and no E and N. Okay.

Danielle Bettmann:

And I'll have that linked in the show notes. So they won't have to

Ann Kaplan:

Yeah, you don't have to remember that. But you might be able to. Yeah. And then

Danielle Bettmann:

the last question I ask every guest that comes on is how are you the mom that your kids need?

Ann Kaplan:

Because I'm me. The more me I become, the better I am. And the more I'm offering them literally the best. And only thing I can give them which is my unique magic that no one else can ever give them. They are lucky to have you. Yeah.

Danielle Bettmann:

Thanks and so much for your honesty and your willingness to reach out with this story and connect with us and share from that place of just being able to give us a look of what that looks like down the road so that we can better prepare and heal among our parenting journeys behind you. But thanks again for all your work. It is so needed, and we just appreciate your time.

Ann Kaplan:

Yes, awesome. Thanks, Danielle.

Danielle Bettmann:

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Failing Motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms know they're not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong willed child, and invest in the support you need to make it happen. Schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes. I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on!