Carla Naumburg, PhD, LICSW, is a clinical social worker, and mother. Carla completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Middlebury College, a master’s degree in social work from Smith College, and a PhD in clinical social work from Simmons College in Boston.

368 You Are Not a Sh*tty Parent

Carla Naumburg

Do you ever think that you are a sh*tty parent? If so, you are not alone. A combination of factors has led to this generation of parents being incredibly hard on ourselves.

Today I talk to Carla Naumburg, Mindful Mama Podcast favorite and author of the new book “You Are Not a Sh*tty Parent,” about how to turn around this judgmental mindset and how it (paradoxically) can help us become better parents!

You Are Not a Sh*tty Parent - Carla Naumburg [368]

Read the Transcript 🡮

*This is an auto-generated transcript*

[00:00:00] Hunter: You wrote a new book that we're gonna say the title. We're just gonna say it. I mean

[00:00:14] Carla Naumburg: Your regular guest. I haven't been on a little while cuz COVID in life, but your regular guest should know that I'm a little bit of a potty mouth. So I think we should just say it. Are you gonna say it or am I gonna say it?

I think,

[00:00:25] Hunter: You, you say the.

[00:00:27] Carla Naumburg: Okay. Cause I'm the potty mouth. Yeah. The book is called. You are not a shitty parent. How to practice self-compassion and give yourself a break and it's gonna be published on September 27th, 2022.

[00:00:43] Hunter: So excited to have

[00:00:44] Carla Naumburg: background noise. I want canned laughter. I want clapping.

I want little fireworks. Can you do that hunter? Yeah. Are you fancy?

[00:00:55] Hunter: Can you

[00:00:55] Carla Naumburg: hear it? That's a wait, you just did that. I dunno if your listeners can hear that, but like she just

[00:01:00] Hunter: she's matched. I think it's on. I think it's on, I did clapping we're in a new kinda studio that we can, I can do it. I can have a laugh track as well, apparently.

Wow. That's cool. I'm glad you heard it. That was my first test ever of my studio noises.

[00:01:14] Carla Naumburg: Your listener. If I had access to a laugh track, I would laugh, track myself all the time and it would be outta control. So I'm really glad I don't have that technology.

Did you just laugh? Track me? I couldn't hear it, but I believe, see she's actually laughing, so I don't need the laugh track people. Cause hunter is actually laughing. So I got like the real laughter. Okay.

[00:01:34] Hunter: All right. I'm gonna stop. I'm gonna stop with the media. I'm gonna hide that away. So I can't do it anymore, but Carla, I.

I'm so excited to talk to you. And we talk about, we've talked about, we talk about compassion, a lot of different ways here, cuz I think it's so important, but I think that what I'd like to dive in with you with is this idea of why do we feel so. Pressure Parenting pressure.

Why do we feel like we're shitty parents? What is going on that is just like pulling us deep into this.

[00:02:14] Carla Naumburg: Oh hunter. I am so happy. You asked that question, cuz this is one of my favorite things to talk about. So for this book I made up a diagnosis. This is not a syndrome, like a syndrome that I made up.

So it's not real, but it's my book so I can put whatever I wanted. So I called it shitty parent syndrome, which is a thing that I think many parents of our generation struggle with. And so let's talk about how did we get to this place? Where, so many of us are suffering and living with shitty parent syndrome.

Oh, I should explain what it is. First of all. Yes. It's the thought belief or perception that you are a shitty parent when in fact you are not, and this is the point at which you or your listeners might be thinking to yourselves, but Carla, what if I actually am a shitty parent then am I suffering from shitty parent syndrome?

And what I would say is you're not, you are not a terrible parent. I don't even know you. And I feel really comfortable saying that. I'll tell you why. First of all, every parent makes terrible Parenting choices. Every parent behaves in ways that aren't our best selves. Every parent interacts with our kids in ways that we feel guilty about later that are less than ideal or whatever it is.

And that doesn't make us terrible parents. That's just part of the deal. That's the package. That's the reality. That's like saying. I don't know, blaming yourself because gravity exists or something. So we all screw up. Now, some of you might be saying, okay fine. Maybe I can make mistakes and still be good parent.

But what about those parents that we've all heard of? Or we all know who are like legitimately awful parents somebody out there is thinking this right now. The ones who have an addiction or there's some kind of abuse going on or neglect. And what I would say is, yeah, those are terrible Parenting choices, but calling anyone a shitty.

How does that help? That doesn't do anything. That's just a label that leaves someone feeling terrible. That leaves them feeling stuck. And there's no ramp from that. There's no clarity or path to healing or growth. There's nothing. It's just, okay, you suck and good luck with that, buddy. So what I prefer to think is that every single parent needs and can benefit from information, support, and resources we don't have.

And some of us. Really need a lot more information, support and resources. And so if you are a parent who's really struggling and judging yourself, we're we can talk about this later, but let's try to flip that narrative. You're not a terrible parent. You're just a parent who needs more support and information and resources than you have right now.

[00:04:48] Hunter: Yeah, I, cause I kinda, what I'm hearing you say is like that we, If there's that, even if you are struggling massively even if you're struggling massively, like with addiction or incredible lack of resources or something like that, you are that. That labeling, that, that labeling of yourself as a terrible parent as I'm no good.

I'm useless. All of that. That is, that's just pulling us deeper down into a rabbit hole that's this like layer of judgment and recrimination. That is just not even at, in any way

[00:05:29] Carla Naumburg: helpful. Yeah. It just makes things worse. So let's not do that to ourselves or to each other. Go ahead.

[00:05:38] Hunter: No. Yeah. I like this idea that, we. Maybe a parent who's struggling, but regardless of how much we're struggling, it's really a matter of, do I need more information? Do I need more support? Do I need more resources? And I think that's, so I love this way of looking at it because I think this is so important because we live in a world where we don't get, we may be like overrun with information in some ways, but as far as support and resources, we do, some of us don't have the information.

A lot of us don't have a lot of us don't have support. And there are a lot of us that don't have resources either. Where there, we, we are the homo sapiens evolved to, to live in hunter, gather tribes of small tribes, where everyone new each other, and we were supporting each other.

Now we live in, we're in this nuclear family where we don't. Tribe of people around us supporting us and like even human beings wouldn't have even evolved to have this extended period of care that human babies need. If there wasn't this support, like we biologically neurologically evolved to have so much support and now we don't have that.

And I think that I think is so important to B to look at these pieces that support and resources piece.

[00:07:06] Carla Naumburg: It's hugely important. And, as you mentioned the support piece just got worse during COVID because we were all stuck inside our houses and unsure of when we could leave and who we could spend time with.

And, while there were some silver linings in terms of certain communities being accessible online, that weren't before, online's never as good as in person. It's just not. And also when I'm talking about resources, I'm not just talking about external resources, like money or health insurance or healthcare or family or educational systems.

I'm also talking about internal resources, right? We all come to Parenting with different levels of energy, of mental health and mental illness and mental wellness of. An understanding of kids and how they work, the ability to stay patient with them. We all come with these varying levels of internal resources.

And I have a friend, she has four kids and I've never seen her lose her temper with her children. And she's got this like internal stability and patience and calmness. That's just inherent to who she is. I don't understand at all hunter it's so not who I am. I'm like one giant button just waiting to be pushed.

And she doesn't seem to have any kid sized buttons at all. And I don't, she's amazing. She's amazing. So we all have these varying levels, of these external and internal resources. And there's so many factors that go into that. It's genetics. It's how we were raised. The fit between ourselves and our children.

And some kids are a better fit for their parents than other kids. And there's just a million factors that go into that. And so that's why I really don't think of anyone as a shitty parent. It's just, I don't think of that way at all. Except when I used to think that way about myself.

[00:08:55] Hunter: Okay, so let's go there to where you thought that way about yourself.

You had a couple of resources. I know, because maybe you didn't have that, that like calm resource being. just like me. I can relate to that, that, that temper, but but. You live a comfortable life, you have a Parenting partner you live in a Western, a comfortable Western for sure city, in new England, all the, you had some resources, but yet you were calling yourself a shitty parent.

So what can you take us back to that place and what was happening for you?

[00:09:35] Carla Naumburg: Yeah. So let's microscope out a little bit, cuz I realized you asked a really important question, hunter at the top of this that we didn't get to that is directly related to what we're talking about right now, which is why do we parents think about ourselves as shitty parents?

Why are we all suffering from this syndrome that I totally made up? So I think there's a few reasons. One is. We're wired to do this. Like you talked about way back when we lived in small villages let's go back even farther to the development of the human brain. And the number one purpose of our brain is to keep us alive.

It's not to think clearly it's not to make good life choices. It is to keep us alive. And so this part of our brain. Developed to be constantly on the lookout for threats and problems, and to remember them and anticipate them so we can stay alive. So the human brain that saw the squiggly thing on the ground and decided it was a snake and jumped back was more likely to.

Continue to stay alive, not get killed by the snake and pass along their uptight, judgemental, super freaked out temperament, right? Their genetic material. Then those parents who looked at this squiggly thing on the ground were like, oh, that's a sticker. I'm totally gonna pick it up. And then they got bit by a snake and then they died.

. So we're wired to look out for the bad stuff that happens in life. And the problem is. That part of our brain is pretty simple. It's not super discriminating. And so it's ready to judge everything. Even when the things that's judging have nothing to do with whether or not we're gonna survive a situation.

So we're wired to judge ourselves, to look out for the negative. It's just how the brain works. The other thing is that we're wired for comparison because as you pointed out hunter for so long and still now we need community. Way back when we really needed our little village cave people, happy family to keep us alive.

And one of the best ways to stay connected to your community is to constantly be gauging what other people are doing and make sure you're fitting in a good place. Because if you're not, if you're doing too much or you're doing too little, what if you get kicked out the tribe? So it's really a safety mechanism.

But it used to be that we would compare ourselves, excuse me, to members of our community, who generally speaking, lived near us and had access to similar resources and ideas and traditions as we did. And I'm not, I don't wanna glamorize or glorify the good old days when you know, it was all about keeping up with the Jones who lived next door to you.

But there is something to be said about. Having a more constricted range of comparison because what's happening now is that we're comparing ourselves to celebrities and Uber wealthy people who we see online and they have unlimited resources and a whole different like world, or we're comparing ourselves to parents in completely different cultures.

French parents do a better Asian parents to a better indigenous parents do it better. And maybe, but they're also living in a totally different world. So I think that leaves us feeling worse about Parenting social media. Of course, like we could go on all day about the impact of social media and reality television on our own view of ourselves.

And we it's so easy to forget. I forget this all the time that we're comparing. Our worst moments, our internal experience to their best moments, their highly curated experience. And if you go by social media, everybody had amazing summer vacations and no kids ever lost their shit or threw up or, peed on the train.

Or I just look at these pictures and I have to remind myself that nobody had a perfect summer vacation. And. It's hard. It's hard to remember that. And then there's one more reason why I think we're all suffering from shitty parent syndrome. I would argue that we are the first generation of parents who has been told that it is incumbent upon us to have a super healthy, solid, flexible, warm, forgiving, all the things, perfect relationship with our children.

And I'm not saying. Previous parents didn't care about their relationship with their children. What I am saying is that for the first time it has gotten into the popular Parenting vernacular that our attachment to our children. And I'm not talking about attachment Parenting here. That's something different.

I'm just saying that the nature of our relationship with our children. Is a determinant of the future relationships they will have. So this is a thing that we parents are being told really for the first time, I would argue in the history of humanity in the past, it was like, oh, keep your kid alive so they can, run the blacksmith shop or become a nurse or a doctor like you were.

But really it was a financial investment. And as Jennifer Sr, the author of all fun and no joy, one of my favorite sort of books about Parenting says now it's really an emotional investment. And we've really taken it upon ourselves to feel like we have to have this ideal relationship with our children, or we're gonna screw them up for life.

And, oh my gosh, hunter. that's first of all, not true, but second, all completely overwhelming. All of a sudden you have this creature living in your house that you didn't necessarily pick. Even if you chose to have babies, right? Like I chose my husband because I like his temperament. We get along well and he is funny and he makes me laugh and he generally doesn't annoy the crap outta me.

And fortunately, that's mostly true with my kids, but what if you got a kid who's not like that? What if you got a kid who's temperament is really hard for you, right? And you're supposed to have this perfect relationship with your, with them. Ooh. So all these things conspire, I think to leave us feeling like really crappy parents.

Now I had all that going on for me when I was an a newer parent. But the one factor that I also had going on that I didn't realize at the time was I had a whopping case of postpartum anxiety. I'm a clinical social worker. And I went years before I realized that was what was going on for me. And one of the things, many parents don't realize, many people don't realize is that irritability.

is a symptom of anxiety. We usually think that anxiety is just about worry or fear and irritability can be a huge symptom. And for me, it definitely was. And so I was incredibly irritable with my kids. I was losing it with them all the time, and it's not hard to make the leap from losing your temper with your kids a lot to thinking you're a bad.


[00:16:04] Carla Naumburg: I know. .

Yeah. So that was that. That's my little soapbox stance about why we're all suffering from crappy parent syndrome. It's

[00:16:12] Hunter: fascinating because in a way, that's like psychology, is a new science and, or. And it's, I remember going to college and finally taking my first psychology class and then learning about attachment, being like, oh my gosh, you knows.

It's all my parents it's because mom went away when I was 16. Oh, we love the parents.

[00:16:36] Carla Naumburg: We love the mom shaming. It's all about the mom shaming that drives new banana pants.

[00:16:41] Hunter: I know. And, but yeah, now we, we are a generation of people who are looking at our own psychology. We're looking at the different, the differences in the way we relate to other people.

And then we're relating back to our upbringing and that is. That is putting this pressure. I imagine for you, even as a social worker, you felt like you had more pressure on yourself. Like there are people who come into Mindful Parenting who are like kindergarten teachers or social workers or, child development experts.

And they're like, I should know this. I should be able. Keep my temper. I should be, this, all this, like shoulding all over themselves because of . Because of your, what you should know and that's like your nervous system doesn't care. What you already know

[00:17:35] Carla Naumburg: in some ways your nervous system does not care.

It really does not care. It's also, yes, hunter. It is an incredibly humbling experience to have just finished a doctorate in clinical social work and sit down at your computer and literally type into Google. How do I stop yelling at my kids? That was a rough moment. And. Parent you think, lots of us, myself included think that if we had younger siblings or hung out with our cousins or did a lot of babysitting that were ready for our kids.

And just because you know how to change a diaper doesn't mean you are ready for the massive Internal shift that happens in our bodies and our minds in our psychology and our emotional state and all the things. And if you happen to be the bio birth parent, if you happen to be the one who gave birth to the baby too, then it just whatever destroys your body, but that's a different story.

To all you expecting parents, it's a beautiful experience out there and it is the natural cycle. That's good. Don't listen to me, parents, if you haven't had your baby yet, do not. Listen to me. Talk,

[00:18:39] Hunter: we'll put that in the beginning, along with the, do not listen, if you have not already had kids,

[00:18:48] Carla Naumburg: but. Yeah, it's just it's hard when you have your own kids. It's a whole different level of internal pressure, unrealistic expectations for many of us overwhelming anxiety. And if you are a parent who did not suffer from anxiety, then. God bless you. That's amazing. Stick with that plan.

That's a better plan. Not anxiety is actually a better plan than anxiety. That's my deep thought for the day hunter.

[00:19:15] Hunter: That's interesting though. Cuz I had so much irritability and I definitely, I'm sure I felt anxious. I probably could have had postpartum anxiety that was never. Diagnosis as well.

I don't know, but anyway, I'm right there with you with the irritability and the frustration and the fear of, oh my God, this small human being, and I'm gonna mess up this human being, small

[00:19:40] Carla Naumburg: human terrifying, those little things. They're I remember being the hospital just scared outta my mind and the nurses like, oh, it's fine.

And she's like throwing the baby around. And I'm like, what the hell is happened a year? How are you not breaking that thing? They're Hardy little creatures though. I

[00:19:55] Hunter: feel like poor the first baby. It's the whole thing. Like they, you read all this stuff about like how the first three years is like this incredibly important years for imprinting and the brain and all this stuff.

And then you're just like, oh my God. And you have no idea because no one takes classes and no one, no, you've never done this before. You're totally in shock. And then those second babies, they they have to contend with an older sibling, but man, I feel like they've. The better road, as far as it goes with their parents most part time.

[00:20:30] Carla Naumburg: But so this is hunter. This is actually a perfect transition to the thing I would like to discuss with you today, which is self-compassion. And whether it's the first baby who you feel like, you totally screwed up with, or the second baby who, you feel like isn't getting enough attention or whatever it is, you are going to be an imperfect parent.

I am an imperfect parent. We're all imperfect parents and. Sometimes we can do a little better and often we just need to have so much compassion for ourselves. So much, especially when we're living through the nightmare of a global pandemic or whatever it is, we just have to hold ourselves and treat ourselves with grace and kindness and acceptance and all the things.

And man, that is so easy to say. And so stinking hard to do. It's

[00:21:17] Hunter: not something we were. That was modeled for us a lot. I feel like at least in my family there's a lot of I got a lot, there's some hardass, mom, I love you. It's it?

[00:21:31] Carla Naumburg: Hi mom. Hi, Hunter's mom. We

[00:21:33] Hunter: love you.

My mom was actually like actually when I was sick, my dad was the most compassionate one. He was very compassionate when he was sick. Cuz poor mom was a, is a, was a nurse. And so she was just like compassion, fatigue. By the time it got to my, whiny little seven year old tummy a or whatever it was, but but I think that this it's not something that was passed down through generations. There were certainly very little compassion shown to. As far as I know to, to my father, as far as the way from what I, the stories I've heard of, how. He was parented. There was a lot of if you do X behavior, you will get yelled at, or you will get hit right in, in past generations.

And I don't think that, and there's, we live in a very judgemental culture to it. It's a very, we're very hard on ourselves. I think that it's not something that's comes naturally, at least to people in the us is like compassion for ourselves.

[00:22:35] Carla Naumburg: This is so not a Western thing. And. No for sure.

I didn't grow up with this and my parents didn't grow up with it and their parents didn't grow up with it. So we're not, this is not about generational shaming. I tend to think of compassion, like a language. And if you didn't grow up with people, speaking it to you, you're not gonna know how to speak it.

And my parents didn't know about it. And really it's not until. A few years ago that it was part of, common lingo or at least common lingo amongst us social work, Parenting nerds, but Kristen Neff and Christopher Germer and Susan Pollock and you and other Parenting people and psychologists and clinicians and researchers are now talking about this.

And it's huge. It's been a game changer for me, but again it's definitely not a language. I grew up thinking and after spending. What four decades judging the crap outta myself. My little judgment neurons are like firing on all cylinders. That's my native language. That's what I default to when I'm stressed and I have to work hard and it's taking a lot of practice and a lot of trips to the language lab of compassion.

That's like the dorkiest thing I've ever said. I'm loving it. Like practicing. This new language to get to the point where it's starting to come naturally to me. But it's hard. It's not an easy thing to do.

[00:23:53] Hunter: I agree. And I really like that analogy of a native language versus a language that you're learning.

Cause you may understand it intellectually, but then to get it to come out of your mouth and off your tongue is like a whole different scenario. And especially if you are. Immersed in it in the culture of where people speak that language. And when we don't, we're certainly not immersed in that culture here and now.

[00:24:25] Carla Naumburg: No, not at all. And if you were to nail me down and make me say, or make me choose the one practice or idea or skill or strategy that has been the most powerful in Parenting It's gotta be self-compassion and I feel so cheesy saying that, it feels really cheesy to me.

I'm such a snarky person to get on here and be like, self-compassion is really my jam. It's it's weird, but it's true. It's like my it's like my daughter's favorite national geographic books, the like gross, but true facts. That's how I feel. It's weird, but it's true that really this it's like it's become foundational for.

[00:25:13] Hunter: I agree completely. I talk about mindfulness a lot and in Mindful Parenting, we talk about mindfulness. We talk about self-compassion, but self-compassion underlies every single skill or thing we teach there because, and I'll let you explain this because you're, I'm the one interviewing you today. But I wanna hear about this because it, it tell us why this is so found.

[00:25:39] Carla Naumburg: This is such a good question. Okay. Here's what I'm gonna say for me. Mindfulness feels like this north star, like mind being in a Mindful, a state of Mindful awareness feels like something I'm always. Reaching towards, but I'm never gonna get there. Like not in any sort of permanent way. I'm just not, but it's when I don't know where to go.

I can turn to mindfulness. I can turn to the present moment. I can turn to this awareness, but inevitably I don't wanna use this word. The word that comes to mind is fail, but it's not really failing. I'm let astray. I get distracted. My thoughts, careen all over the place and self-compassion feels like the solid ground.

That I can always come back to. So when I make wait. Oh, yeah. Was this a deep thought? Am I having a really deep thought there's clapping? Oh, there's clapping. Oh my God. Turn up the clapping. Yes. I got, hear the

[00:26:41] Hunter: audience better. Hear it. That's amazing. I hope so. I hope find

[00:26:46] Carla Naumburg: out I but self-compassion really does feel like.

The solid ground, like when I have lost sight of that north star, when I've totally made a mistake, when I've said things, I regret when I hit send on a message, I shouldn't have sent, when I snap at my kids, when I start beating myself up for all these, how easy let's just take a minute hunter without even thinking about it.

My brain instantly could roll off all these things I do wrong. Because I'm so good at thinking that way. Cuz I've been practicing it for so long. Self, like you can get so easily swept away in that sea of terrible thoughts of really shamey blamey thoughts. And self-compassion just this awareness that I'm doing it.

This reminder that it's just part of human nature doesn't mean there's anything inherently wrong with me. It's what we all do. Remembering that Parenting is hard for everyone, no matter how good you look on Instagram, no matter how many Parenting books you've written, Parenting is hard for all of us. Yes.

And knowing that I can make mistakes and still be a good parent and I can screw up in pretty significant ways and still have a relationship with my kids and still be connected with them. That's the solid ground. I can't, I don't know where else to go from.

[00:28:03] Hunter: and the paradox, your listener for you, if you're like, oh, that's nice, but I don't wanna make tons of mistakes with my kids and be compassionate with myself.

Good luck with that. People you're, if you're listening to this and saying that is that the Val is the paradox of self-compassion. Is that how we practice to be kinder to ourselves as we practice to give ourselves more understanding and grace, when we inevitably do mess up, because we will. It becomes, we soften a little and the paradoxes that Parenting does become a little easier when we are judging ourselves less, we're less, we're holding.

We're just softening. We're not holding as tightly. We're able to give more compassion to our kids. We're able to have greater perspective. All of those things that we need to be able to. In a more positive manner with our kids. They come from starting with ourselves and offering ourselves this soft landing, this grace, when we do mess up, would you agree with that?

[00:29:09] Carla Naumburg: Carla? I think you should give yourself a laugh, not a laugh clap. I was trying to serious there. I screwed it up. Clap track. Yes. A hundred percent hunter. Look here. Here's how I think about it. I, a hundred percent agree with every single thing you just said and. When, okay, let's talk about, so I've had a bad moment.

Maybe I've had a sort of prickly brutal interaction with my teenager and we've snapped at each other. And it's not the way I wanna be with her. So instead of either berating myself or being such a crappy parent, or like running to Amazon and searching for books on how to parent teenagers or calling up my friend and talking relentlessly about how much I'm screwing up Parenting.

I just take a moment. Okay. And here's what I do. And it's become for a long time. It felt like a struggle. It was hard to do it. It felt weird. I felt like I was Stewart smiley from Saturn, live, sitting myself in front of that stupid mirror being like, I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And gosh, darn at people like me, but that's not what this is.

So I take a moment. I take a few deep breaths and I just remind myself, Parenting is hard. And just because it's hard, doesn't mean I'm doing it wrong. This is part

[00:30:21] Hunter: of the deal. Wait, say that again. Say that. Okay. Exactly what you just said again.

[00:30:25] Carla Naumburg: And then I want a clap track. Oh, Parenting is hard. And just because it's hard doesn't mean you're doing it wrong.

It's like a marathon. We say Parenting is like a marathon, right? If somebody, yes, ran a marathon and got to the end of it and was like, oh, that was really hard. You wouldn't be like, oh, you totally screwed it up. Cuz marathon should be super easy. You'd be like, yeah, it's a freaking marathon duke. Of course it's hard.

Parenting. It is hard. It is hard. It is always hard. It's. Thoughts.

[00:30:55] Hunter: No. And I did try to put a, I put cheering behind you. So I want the cheer, the cheering read the cheering, but I kind was saying that I wanna read it what you said, cuz I hope they could hear it behind the cheering that I messed up and then tried to stop.

Which is that it is a marathon. It is, it's not a sprint, it's a marathon and that. No, one's going to, laugh at you and say that, oh, marathons are easy. It's incredibly hard.

[00:31:25] Carla Naumburg: It's hard. And here's the thing is that popular culture and social media would have us believe that if you are Parenting well, it should be easy.

I am obsessed with this reality show, cuz I'm obsessed with reality shows about this family that has 16 kids and in every episode, They never yell at their children. The dad's like happily making dinner and all the kids are involved and they're all like happy around the counter. And I'm like, dear God, man, you look so freaking happy, but you have to cook for 16 people every stinking night.

And the kids are like happily involved and nobody's screaming and nobody's throwing tantrums and nobody's throwing flour. And the mom isn't in the corner like sobbing and questioning all her life choices. Like she never does that. And so the message you get from this is. If you are a good parent, it's gonna be easy.

And that is total baloney. It's not true. But, and the other message we get is that if it's not easy, it's because we, parents haven't worked hard enough to find the right strategy or the right expert or the right solution. And that drives me. Do you hear my voice hunter? I'm getting very agitated here because that drives me nuts.

It's just not true. Parenting is always hard. It's hard in different ways for different people. And at different times, like I have friends who love having toddlers and I thought having toddlers was a total nightmare and I love having teenagers and I have friends who think teenagers are the worst. And it's hard in different ways for all of us, but Parenting is hard. Okay. And so it used to be that in those really painful, hard moments for me, I was like, so this moment was horrible and it's clearly because I suck. And now the story I tell myself, and some days I believe it more than others, but I always remind myself is that this moment was hard.

Cuz Parenting is hard and life man, hunter, look, I am grateful every day that I have a roof over my head. As you pointed out that we have enough food to eat that, we have access to health insurance and healthcare and all the things. And I am aware that there are millions of people around this globe who don't have that.

So I just wanna take a moment to acknowledge that, but I don't care what resources you have. Life is hard right now, right? There's this pandemic there's transitioning out of the pandemic, there's politics and climate change and all the things. And it is so stinking hard. And so what I try to remind myself, Snippy moment with my teenage daughter, I take my deep breaths.

I remind myself that I'm not alone in how hard this is. It's hard for everyone just because it's hard. Doesn't mean I'm doing it wrong. And then I try to get curious with myself, what do I need? Do I need to pee? Have I not peed in four hours? Cuz really I've had two children and I'm a middle aged woman.

So I need to pee every 45 minutes. Let's be honest, but what's going on? Am I hungry? Am I worried about work deadlines? Am I stressed about a bill? I thought I paid, but I didn't. Is it like, is my toenail hurting? My toenails hurt sometimes. That's annoying. Are there family conflicts that I'm worried about?

Is there something going on with my daughter's school? That's unresolved, like what? What's the bigger picture? What do I need? What's going on with my kids? What do they need? And then I try to listen and take myself seriously. So if the answer I get is I need a freaking break. Is there some way I can give myself a break for a few minutes?

Can I say to my kids? Yeah, you can have an hour of screen time. I wasn't planning on giving you, but I'm so freaking depleted. I have nothing to offer or can I say to my Parenting partner cuz I'm fortunate. I have a Parenting partner. Can I say to him, can you tag in here? Cuz I can't do this right now.

I need to go sit and stare at the wall for a while. I need to go wander the aisles of staples, which is absolutely my happy place. And if they would like to start paying me for saying this, I would be really happy staples for you to pay me for this. There is something about office supplies, hunter.

They're just so relaxing. If I find the perfect notebook, I swear to you hunter. When I find the perfect notebook, my life will be amazing. that is the message of this podcast. Anyways, the point is what do I try to get curious about what I need and I try to take myself seriously. And if I'm really suffering and I can't come up with any of this, then I call my native compassion speakers.

I call my sister, I call my friends. I call the people in my life who are gonna speak to me in that language of compassion when I can't summon it myself, which happens sometimes it happens to all of us. Yeah. And then when I do all that, I am calm. I can see the situation more clearly, cuz I'm not caught in this swirl of like self contempt.

I can have more confidence as a parent. When you're not constantly beating yourself up, you feel more confident and I am more competent. These are my two words that sound the same confident and competent. And. When you can see things clearly, and you can parent from a place of calm confidence, you're gonna be a more effective parent.

It's just what it is. And even if you don't have the right answer, that's okay. There's no right answer. I don't have it. I don't know who has it, but it's gonna be more effective empathic Parenting.

[00:36:33] Hunter: Okay. I. I couldn't agree more. I love the way you talked, you gave this beautiful example of how this works right.

Of how this practice, which can feel uncomfortable and it can feel like a foreign language and it can feel like strange and weird. At first, how this practice, as we start to speak, this language can make a help us to. Recover get back on our feet, have that ground beneath us to then begin anew to begin again.

Because it's, we're always just, it's like we're gonna fall down and we have to have processes and practices to help us get back on our feet and begin again and open our eyes and see clearly and let that. Storm pass, whatever that is, it's I really like how you explained that you did it very beautifully.


[00:37:34] Carla Naumburg: Thank you. And the other thing that I think about hunter is that I am the mother of two daughters, as I know you are as well. And I can't speak about the male experience cuz I'm not a man and I don't have sons. And but I know. Women. We really tend to beat ourselves up and blame ourselves.

And I'm sure men do too. This is a human experience, but the other day I screwed something up. I don't know what it was. It doesn't matter. And one of my girls looked at me and she said, mom, it's okay. We all make mistakes. Oh. And I was having one of those emotionally unhinged days, hunter that I have from time to time, I almost burst into tears because I was so grateful to hear those words just flow out of her mouth.

We all make mistakes. And I was like, Amen child and how I wish I had grown up speaking that language. So I know that my daughters are growing up in a world of judgment and comparison and all the enemies of joy, but I'm hoping that with this practice that I am. That I'm doing IM perfectly, but I'm not giving up that, my self-compassion practice and that when my daughters hear me talk myself through a difficult moment with compassion.

And when I try so hard to talk them through difficult moments with compassion I think they're starting to learn this language a little bit. And that's, that feels like a real gift that maybe you and I, and everybody else practicing Mindful Parenting and practicing compassion can start to raise some native speakers, which I think would be amazing.

[00:39:08] Hunter: I'm not gonna overuse the applause and do it again. but that's what I would do right here right now. Cuz I think that is exactly that like that idea that we can raise these native speakers. So I just wanna go over what Carla said. Just to. To recap for the listener that this practice was to maybe rec to recognize how you're feeling.

To be aware of oh, I'm feeling overwhelmed, I'm feeling. I just did something that I didn't like. I'm hearing myself maybe think, recriminating thoughts. And so that's when. You take that moment, you just, and it, sometimes it doesn't take a lot of time. It, and as you practice, it takes less time.

It really doesn't take that long, but you take a moment. And for me I put that hand to my heart cuz that for me, the touch really matters a lot, but just that acknowledgement of that basically that's Mindful awareness. Oh, like this is happening right now. I'm feeling like a shitty parent because of X, Y, or Z.

And then the also. There was that acknowledgement of this is hard. This is a moment of suffering, right? Acknowledging that I'm feeling this difficult feeling and this is hard. And she also acknowledged that, like that, it's hard for all of us, like being a human being is hard. Parenting is incredibly hard.

This is really hard. And then. And then that coming to that place of kindness how can I offer myself some kind words or, and if I can't, can I reach out to somebody else? Who can, is that a good summary for you?

[00:40:47] Carla Naumburg: Garla? I, yes. I love that. And what I wanna point out to our listeners and one of the reasons I love being friends with hunter and I love learning from hunter and coming on her podcast is she and I have such.

Dramatically different ways of practicing this dramatically. I don't know if it's dramatic, but we have different ways of practicing this. And I won't even lie hunter. The first time I was in a mindfulness based stress reduction course, and we were learning about loving kindness. I like almost throw up in my mouth cuz I was like, this is so freaking cheesy.

I can't handle it. Do not talk to me about happy wishes people. I need to plan. I need a life plan. I need a plan and happy wishes are not my plan. Oh, how I. How the mighty have fallen. What am I saying? I dunno, but really I've come to understand and obviously sing the praises of self-compassion. But what I will tell you is that I love that hunter pointed out that she actually does put her hand on her heart, which is a practice that many people do and many people teach.

And to be honest, it's so not resonant with me. It doesn't like it's not meaningful. I feel cheesy. It totally doesn't work. And what I encourage your listeners to do is. Find your authentic way of speaking this language, right? It's gonna look a little different for everyone, but the fundamental ideas behind it, about connecting with what Kristen ne calls common humanity, which is this reminder that you're not alone.

No matter what you're suffering is, I promise you're not alone. This real sense of curiosity about what's going on, about what you need, and then treating yourself with kindness. Those are the fundamental aspects and this Mindful awareness. These are the fundamental aspects of compassion and practice them in the way that is authentic to you.

So use Hunter's words, use my words. Use Louie's words. Louie's parent. Oh my God. Do you know about Louey hunter? No. I think I've heard of, this is the, oh, it is this Australian animated show for preschoolers. And each episode is six minutes long. And if you just wanna feel better about humanity, go on YouTube, Google bluey, sit and watch it.

I made my teenage girls watch it at first, they were horrified. And then they were like, this is pretty awesome. And I was like, yeah, it is. take the words. If you wanna take the words from Mr. Rogers I don't care where you find. Your native speaker of compassion. But as long as you have these fundamental aspects of connection, curiosity, kindness, you can't do wrong, but you need to speak it in a way that you can, that feels authentic to you.

[00:43:22] Hunter: And if it doesn't feel authentic right away, that's normal too. Like it's normal that this is to feel weird. And especially maybe if you're like a snarky person who's allergic to loving kindness. Who that

[00:43:39] Carla Naumburg: be? Yeah, for sure. So there's this loving kindness meditation, and the first, which I think is it is literally.

Going to the language lab to learn a new language. Because the first time I tried to practice self-compassion I had come home from my mindfulness-based stress reduction course. And I was like, this is stupid, but I don't know what to do, so I'm gonna do it. And I was like, oh, I just had a terrible moment.

I was supposed to be nice to myself. And then I literally had no words, hunter. I couldn't like, I'm a nice person. I've been nice to other people a lot. And when it was time, how sad is this? How sad is this? Now? We're gonna be all Wawa wa when it was time to be nice to myself, she's looking, I can see what I'm looking.

She's looking for. Like the sad

[00:44:26] Hunter: voice. I only a drum. I only have a drum roll left, so I'm

[00:44:30] Carla Naumburg: sorry. I don't think we should do a drummer roll. No. So this is like sad Panda time that I literally couldn't find words to console myself in a painful moment. And I was like, oh fine. I'll do the stupid loving kindness, because I am in case any of this has escaped your listeners.

I am a ENT child at heart. So I found these other words and I was like, oh, may I, whatever what? And, but then eventually I found them and I was walking around saying to myself, may I be happy? May I be healthy? May I be safe? May I live with ease? Those are my words. Everybody's words are a little different.

You can, Hunter's got all sorts of words for you. Go to Hunter's words. She's got all the words, she'll tell you where to get 'em, but there's lots of different ways to practice loving kindness, but literally that's what you're doing. You're practicing. It's like going to the golfing course and hitting the ball over and over again until you can do it without it feeling so hard.

And so I was like walking up and down the street being like happy, healthy, safe, live with ease. May I be happy? May I be healthy? May I be safe, live with ease? And I was like, what is the point of this? But then. In the hard moment. All of a sudden I was like, I just need a little ease right now. And that word came to me and it was like a start.

So I was practicing when it was easy. Cuz you can't practice things in the middle of chaos, it doesn't work. And then in the chaotic moment, I was like, I just wanna live with ease and what would help me do that right now? So that was my entry. And if you walk around saying to yourself, Parenting is hard for everyone and it's okay.

That it's hard. And you just repeat that to yourself a million times. That's fine too. So you're right, hunter. It's not gonna feel authentic at first and if it does for you, that's great. But if it doesn't, that's normal. So try out a bunch of stuff. Try putting your hand over your heart. Try giving yourself a hug, try having maybe a beaded bracelet or a necklace that somehow reminds you like a physical touchstone that reminds you to have some kindness and forgiveness and acceptance.

There's a bunch of different ideas out there. And so I have a ton in my book, Hunter's got ideas, but there's a lot of different ways to sneak into this and then you just need to keep doing it. And eventually it will feel more authentic and normal, and you'll be able to speak this language fluently.

[00:46:48] Hunter: All right. Last time. Yay.

[00:46:52] Carla Naumburg: Club track for hunter club track for Carl. Yay. Carl, she's getting herself a round of applause people

[00:47:00] Hunter: I'm so maybe for me, so excited I love your book. You are not a shitty parent. I blurbed it. And got to check it out before everyone else in the world. I was very lucky, best blurry.

And I encourage you to go. Dear listener and it can be found everywhere books are sold. When this it's available

[00:47:23] Carla Naumburg: for preorder until September 27th, and then it hits shelves on September 27th.

[00:47:29] Hunter: Carla, thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Mama podcast. Again, Mo you know, returning guest extraordinaire.

And thank you for doing this work and being the. Hilarious writer that you are and relatable in all the different ways, which I really love. Where can people reach out to you and talk to you more about your first?

[00:47:53] Carla Naumburg: So people can find out more about me on my website, which is Carla and hunter.

I just wanna take this moment to thank you for all the wise kind, loving, skillful advice and support you offer to parents. We need to clone you. I want a lot more of you out there talking to parents. So that's our next activity. Hunter cloning

[00:48:13] Hunter: as my daughter, not creepy weight. Wait, what does your daughter say?

She says, she used to say when she said you have received an eye roll. Mommy.

[00:48:25] Carla Naumburg: wait, did you just eye roll me hunter. My daughter used to stand in front of the mirror and practice rolling her eyes. Oh. Which is really hard to do. Cuz you can't see yourself rolling your eyes when you're rolling.


[00:48:38] Carla Naumburg: away, that's hilarious.

Do your listeners. Thank you. Carla hunter, just eye rolled me. let's just acknowledge that I'm still treating her with kindness though. Oh, I love you.

[00:48:54] Hunter: thank you so much for coming on and I can't wait to talk to you again about your next 10 books. Come back on the Mindful mom podcast. Whenever you want, just let me know. I

[00:49:04] Carla Naumburg: will come on anytime. Anytime you and your listeners are

[00:49:08] Hunter: amazing catch new episodes of the Mindful Mama podcast and other free resources, including the Mindful mom guide at Mindful Mama

You can listen to every back catalog episode, including interviews with Dr. Dan Siegel, Yala, Vanzant, Sharon Salberg and get meditations. Join our private Facebook group and more. Go to Mindful Mama Now I'll see you there.

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