Episode 83 is an interview with Kristen Goodman, a mom to four daughters as well as a life coach. Kristen shares how to deal with overwhelm and perfectionism, value connection over control and seek intention to see God’s guidance in motherhood.
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Give Up Overwhelm + Perfectionism
Kristen shares her early experiences in motherhood with everything she thought she “should” be doing.
She talks about an epiphany where she realized the feelings of overwhelm weren’t from the Spirit.
We discuss how overwhelm and perfectionism are tools Satan uses to target mothers.
Kristen also shares how prayer, therapy and finding life coaching helped her to realize she wasn’t responsible for others’ thoughts and feelings.
She reveals how she discovered she could only be responsible for her own thoughts and feelings and recognized that motherhood was a choice. Both of these things helped her let go of overwhelm and perfectionism.
Connection over Control
Kristen discusses how once she learned she wasn’t responsible for others’ feelings, she could also let go of trying to control her kids.
She shares how the result of letting go of control also meant she was letting go of conflict.
We talk about the balance of pushing your kids versus allowing them to make their own decisions.
Ultimately, Kristen shared why you have to go with the Spirit and know your child. She shared the belief you are the mom to your kids for a reason and you have to trust yourself.
Through her own journey, Kristen talks about how she has learned to truly connect with her daughters. She offers advice to any parenting wanting to connect and build a better relationship with their child.
Using Intention to See God’s Guidance
Kristen’s overall message is that you can see the hand of God in your life every single day. She shares how being intentional is key to seeing your heavenly parents as your partners in motherhood.
- “I knew my feelings I was having and being overwhelmed weren’t coming from the spirit, and that’s not the way Heavenly Father wanted me to feel.”
- And that ultimately led me to the thought that was creating all of my overwhelm, which was that I could control, and I was responsible for my kids and how they felt and how they succeeded. I felt like I could control and be responsible for them in that way, which wasn’t true. “You can’t control your kids, especially as they get older, which is why I love talking to parents of teenagers. I really feel like that is a hard stage of life where you have to let them figure things out. And I’m so glad that I don’t feel like I need to have that control over them anymore because it really creates such a conflict.”
- “Creating that space where I feel connected to them has just really changed the way I parent because I really want to keep that relationship.”
- “I really feel like I intentionally look at the things going on around me in my life and I can find things every single day where my heavenly parents are leading me in the direction that I need to go or helping me out with one thing or another every single day because I’m looking for it.”
Book Kristen Mentioned: How to Talk So Your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish
Scripture about overcoming the natural man: Mosiah 3:19
Listen to Related Episodes
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SMM 037: How to Create Thoughts to Love Your Children Better || Lisa Funk
SMM 049: How to Pursue What Will Really Make You Happy in Motherhood|| Richard and Linda Eyre
SMM 052: How to Really Define Success in Motherhood||Chantel Allen
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Intro: You’re listening to the Spiritually Minded Mom podcast. This is episode 83: How to Give Up Overwhelm and Value Connection in Motherhood with Kristen Goodman.
Darla: Hi, this is Darla Trendler and welcome to Spiritually Minded Mom. My goal is to help you gain confidence in your ability to hear and follow God’s voice in motherhood and in life. Listen to hear interviews with all kinds of moms who are learning to navigate motherhood by partnering with our heavenly parents.
Darla: Welcome to the Spiritually Minded Mom podcast. This is Darla. Thanks for joining me today for another episode. I am really excited to be welcoming my guest today. Her name is Kristen Goodman and she is a wife and a mother to four girls and they’re ranging in age from 10 to 16. She and her husband have been married for 20 years and they live in Mesa, Arizona and love the warmth and sunshine of the state. And I could not agree more. Her family is her greatest joy and she loves being a mom and learning how to create more meaningful relationships. And she says that she practices, succeeds and fails at this almost every single day and she’s learned to say that that is okay. So Kristen, I’m excited to talk to you today. Thank you so much for being here.
Kristen: You’re welcome. I’m so happy to be on your podcast.
Darla: This is great. So, all right, let’s dive in. So you said that you’re in the bio, it said that your kids are 10 to 16, so that means that you have a lot of, you had kids fairly, there’s four of them and you had them fairly close together. So, I know there was a time when you had four kids under the age of six, which was probably kind of crazy. I’m sure many of us can relate. I know I can. But how, what was that time of life like for you? Paint the picture. Tell us about your early motherhood.
Kristen: Yeah. For some reason, I never really loved babysitting when I was a teenager. I wasn’t this woman who just wanted to have a bunch of kids and wanted to have them fast. But as I had my first baby and then two years later I had my second, I just loved being a mom to them and had so much fun with them. It was just such a joy. And then it just naturally happened to where I ended up having four under six and I was really having fun in this time in my life. Also it was really hard. I had four young kids. My house, I just felt chaotic and a lot of the times like I wasn’t doing it enough and that was the underlying feeling and thought that I had and I came to carry that with me through most of those years. I can look back and see I did a lot with them and I enjoyed them and I loved them. But it does make me feel sad that I did have this underlying thought that I should do more, I should be better at this. I should have it all together. And it really hindered the way I showed up. I’m sure with my husband and with my kids looking back, although it was, that’s a great time in my life. It was really hard as I’m sure anyone can relate to. As you have young kids, it’s really hard because you’re pulled in so many different directions and you don’t get a lot of time for yourself.
Darla: So you’re going through this time and I, I think you’re describing it perfectly because I’m sure a lot of moms or out there, yep. I get it. Like it is such a wonderful time and it is such a hard and challenging time to have little kids that need you and you are being pulled in every direction. So you told me that you felt like there was this thought that you just had to have it all together. So was there an epiphany? Was there a moment or was it a gradual process where you realized, “No I don’t, I really have to have it all together.” And was there something that helped you kind of come out of that and realize there was more to this?
Kristen: Yeah, it was an epiphany and it was also a process. So I remember specifically, it was in November. It was 2011 and I just had this that that we have so much potential as children of God that we can do so much. And so I knew my feelings I was having and being overwhelmed weren’t coming from the spirit, and that’s not the way Heavenly Father wanted me to feel. I knew that and I knew that through the Savior and through the gospel, we have so much potential. And so that was kind of an epiphany moment, but I also still had these thoughts that I had to do things perfectly. I had to read my scriptures perfectly every single day. I was kind of this all or nothing perfectionist mindset. And so that’s where I felt like I was guided slowly. Heavenly Father knows my desire to learn and to grow and learning about how the brain works where I was led to coaching because he knows my strength. Right? And He knew my weaknesses, so He led me there. But I did have that epiphany where I knew we had so much potential and I knew that the feelings I had weren’t coming from God, but I didn’t quite know how to, to balance those two thoughts.
Darla: Yeah. I think, I think those two things that you’re talking about, the overwhelm and perfectionism are some of the hugest tools that Satan uses against women in general. And especially, and it’s easy with mothers, like it’s easy to make a mother feel you know, to feel overwhelmed. Like, yeah, we have a lot. So I think those are totally tools of Satan. And so you have this recognition like, wait a minute, I have more potential than this. So what was your next step? What did you do to kind of pull out of that?
Kristen: Well, when we talked before, and I told you that I had this thought that, well when my kids are all in school, I had like three at home and then two at home. And I thought when all of them are in school all day, I’m going to have all this time and I’m going to totally get it together. And I just had this picture, perfect idea of what a stay at home mom looked like with all of her kids in school. And I’ve talked to friends who who have this same idea, and I don’t I want to burst their bubble. And I am hopeful for them. I hope it works for you. But it wasn’t until my, my youngest was in second grade that I’m like, I still don’t have it together. I still feel super busy, pulled in all of these directions. And so I still felt that same way as I did when they were all home, which was super interesting to me.
Darla: Yeah. I think, I think when you’re a young mom like that and you have all those kids all day long with you and you think, Oh, if I can just get them to school, but really then you get there and it is kind of maybe bursting someone’s bubble. But it’s true. Like it’s different and things shift, but you’ve still got to figure out how to deal with the overwhelm and the perfectionism and all that. So how did you do that?
Kristen: Yeah. So at my lowest point, I mean I had really struggled. I think looking back it definitely was form of like anxiety or depression. I was never diagnosed with it. I didn’t at the time know that was something you could do. Like go to a doctor for it. I really felt like it was me like I was the one struggling and if I was better I wouldn’t struggle. So that’s where I, I prayed and I was doing all of those things. And I really felt like Heavenly Father helped me to see this isn’t normal, this isn’t how you are supposed to feel. And so that’s why I decided to go to therapy. I thought, I’m going to go find a therapist and I want to talk to someone so that I can figure this out. I know what I am capable of and I know what I want to do, but I just don’t the way I want to do. And so as I searched for a therapist, I ended up finding life coaching and that was the perfect solution for me because learning about the brain and how thoughts create your feelings, I was really able to dial into understanding that I was responsible for the way I felt and it wasn’t the people around me and it actually really helped me to understand that I wasn’t responsible for my kids’ feelings or my husband’s feelings. And that ultimately led me to the thought that was creating all of my overwhelm, which was that I could control, and I was responsible for my kids and how they felt and how they succeeded. I felt like I could control and be responsible for them in that way, which wasn’t true. Like you can’t control your kids, especially as they get older, which is why I love talking to parents of teenagers. I really feel like that is a hard stage of life where you have to let them figure things out. And I’m so glad that I don’t feel like I need to have that control over them anymore because it really creates such a conflict.
Darla: Yeah. Well, you know, I am on the same page with you on that. We’re like, we’re like in the same stage of life with teenagers. And it really is like, I kind of thought, Oh, I’ve got this all figured out. And then they become teenagers and you are like, Oh no, I don’t have this figured out because you have to let go of so much control and their agency really kicks in. It’s always been there, but it really kicks in when they’re teens. So I would love to know, you know, kind of backing up and talking about overwhelm and I know I’ve fallen into this trap before to say out loud, Oh, I’m so overwhelmed when you found yourself saying that or if someone out there is saying that to themselves, what do we do instead? Like what did you do to, to not say, Oh, I’m so overwhelmed. Change your thoughts, you know, have a different outcome.
Kristen: Yeah, it was, it was really being present with myself I think at first and really noticing why do I feel overwhelmed? What is overwhelming me right now? What do I absolutely have to do? And then it was recognizing that I don’t have to do any of it. I don’t have to do anything. I am choosing to do the things that I am doing. And that was really helpful for me because when I was putting my kids first over myself or over my clean house, I was choosing that and that felt good to me. I wanted to choose my kids, taking them places, doing things with them instead of cleaning my house. So I think it’s different for everybody, what you will choose to do, but it wasn’t feeling like I had to do it all. It was like the things I was doing right at that moment I was choosing to do and then I could let everything else go.
Darla: I really like that. You know, even even the whole general, broad sense of thinking of motherhood, you could say, I chose this. Right? And if you can say, I chose that, it kind of gives you back, let’s go the overwhelm for me, this is what’s happened and it’s, it’s may help me feel empowered. Okay. Yeah. I did choose this. I could walk away from this if I really wanted to, you know? I mean, there’s always a choice. And so I think, I love that thought of being able to choose, you know what the situation is going to be for us?
Kristen: Yeah. It really does make you feel empowered and not that everything’s happening to you and there’s nothing you can do about it. It just empowers you. It is, it just empowered you to like take exactly what you have, where you are and move forward and what, what do you want to do?
Darla: Okay, so I really want to know. You kind of went from this mom who felt like you were responsible for your kids, their happiness. How did you make that shift to now you know they’re responsible for those things and you’re just going to be responsible for how you feel about them. How did you that?
Kristen: Yeah, so my favorite question that I started asking myself was, what am I making this? So, so I remember doing this with one of my daughters when she was in third grade and she went to tumbling and she didn’t want to go to tumbling. And I would feel this like conflict. She’s supposed to go to tumbling and I’ve paid for tumbling, you need to go. She didn’t want to go and it was a struggle. The natural, I think as moms we’re like, okay, do we let them stay home? I don’t want them to, I don’t want to to make them do it if they don’t want to. I’m not trying to force them. You know what I mean? So I had this conflict like, do you let them stay home if they don’t want to go and then they can do something else or do you force them? That was kind of a battle I had for myself. I’m not a super controlling ,forceful parents. So it was hard for me to know when to push and when to step back and allow my kids to be scared and do it anyway or be scared and be like, okay, it’s okay. You don’t have to do that. And so this is a situation that I just remember thinking, what am I making this mean that she doesn’t want to go to tumbling. And it wasn’t that this particular situation was an easy shift for me to think it’s okay that she doesn’t want to go to tumbling he’s going to go anyway. Get on your shoes. Get in the car we’re going. And once I started doing that, she knew she couldn’t get out of it because I wasn’t going to give in, we didn’t struggle because I wasn’t arguing with her anymore. Before I was trying to convince her why she should go, why she should like it, why I wanted her to go because I loved her and she was good at it. But I can take all of that away. I didn’t have to convince her to go. It was just nope, get in the car and we’re going to go. And so that’s simple example of how I was able to just say, no, this is what we’re going to do. Get in the car and not make it dramatic. So it wasn’t a big deal. And so I kind of can apply that to my teenagers too. When they want to do something. If the answer is no, I don’t make it a big deal. It’s just, no, I don’t feel comfortable with you doing that. The answer is no. I don’t have to convince them why. I don’t need them to say, okay mom, I understand. They’re going to be mad about it. They aren’t going to like it, but the answer is no. So that kind of helps me.
Darla: Yeah. And I have a follow-up question for you. So, so how do you balance like…this is something I think about all the time. How do you balance like wanting to push your kids because you can see their potential probably a lot better than they can see it, right, especially a teenager. How do you balance pushing them or just letting them make their own decisions? Do you know what I mean?
Kristen: Yeah. You know, because it’s like I don’t think anyone has the answer because each kid is different too. And so, so it is. So I think that’s like the biggest struggle as a parent to figure that out. And it’s like you’re always going to be figuring that out, but it’s really just trusting yourself. Yeah. You know exactly what to do. You’re the perfect parent for them and they’re going to be just fine either way. Like I really try to practice that trust in my kids. They’re going to be fine either way. Like there’s no one right way. So I’m trying to think of a specific example. But, I think I just feel like as mothers we have this internal wisdom, you know, and when we know our kids and when we can take the drama out of it, of our worry, why is this a problem for me and get really clean in how we feel about it, we totally know and that’s when the Spirit can help us. So when we know this is what we need to do, then we can do that and help steer our kids and sometimes it is stepping back and watching them and hoping and praying for them that they will figure it out.
Darla: Yeah, I totally agree with you. Like there’s not one formula and you can apply this with every one of your kids and then you can look at your friend and judge them because they’re not applying the formula. You can’t do that. I’ve had a recent conversation with someone about about how much to push your kids and I know that I’ve had experiences from my own growing up and from my own past that I am a certain way. I have kind of a certain philosophy about that and, and the way that I do it. And I think that my kids came to me because they needed me and somebody else has a different background and might have a different way of thinking about it and their kids need what they have to give to them and so it kind of, we can kind of just take all the judgment out of it. And look at it as, you know what really the way I push or the way that I guide one, kid is going to be totally different then the way I do it for another. So I like your question. This is the point I’m getting to. I like your question about what does this mean? What am I making this mean? Because you can apply that in any situation and it will help you to figure out what to do. Does that make sense?
Kristen: Yeah, it definitely does. It definitely does. That’s why I love the question because it really helps you to find those thoughts where you’re like, yeah. That’s not the way I want to think about that. Or you can kind of see, yeah, those thoughts are very judgemental, either judgmental for other people or you’re judging yourself a ton as we judge ourselves. And so when you hear those thoughts and you’re like, those are really detrimental thoughts. You know those aren’t the thoughts that you want to have. So how do you want to think about the situation? How can you get to where you feel trust and love for your kid? And then you can find your own answers. And I love that you said that you’re the perfect mom for your kids. And that’s going to look different than the way I parent my kids., Even though we’re both members of the church and we had the same values, we’re going to be different. And that’s why I feel like there’s not one right way. It might take some longer to get there than others and that’s okay.
Darla: Yeah, and that’s why if you’re feeling as a mom, if you’re feeling guided and prompted to do something, then do it because it’s okay. It doesn’t have to look like what everybody else is doing. Just trust that and go with it. I think that’s great. I would love to know, so you’ve made this shift as a mom and I would love to know, what kinds of things have you seen in your own kids? How it’s affected them, the way that you have seen yourself and the way that you’ve approached motherhood. How do you think that’s affected your own daughters?
Kristen: Well, for sure. I know that they feel safe talking to me more because I am not telling them how I think they should feel. I’m not. There is a book, my favorite book, How to Talk So your Kids Will Listen and Listen So Your Kids Will Talk. That was a book that I read that really helped me to, to be quiet. So that when I wanted to convince them. I had to coach myself through that because I thought, no, they need to know this. Every moment is a teaching moment, but then no, not every moment has to be a teaching moment. You can allow your kids to feel their feelings and express their opinions. And even if you disagree with them, you can get curious about them and ask them questions and that was something that through coaching and like being competent in my own parenting and my own self, I was able to take a step back and really let my kids talk to me and listen to them. So I feel like our relationship has shifted in that way where they feel safe talking to me and our relationship is closer.
Darla: That’s a great benefit. I mean really, for your kids to know that they have a safe place to come. That’s amazing. Are there other things that you feel like your kids have benefited from, from you making this shift in your motherhood?
Kristen: It’s funny because I know a lot of the, you know, thoughts, create your feelings, create your actions. So in the beginning I wanted to coach my kids all the time and I wanted to tell them, Hey, let’s talk about this with your friend situation and let me help you. And they’re like, mom, don’t coach me. Stop. They are totally on to me. But as as time has passed and I have created that connection and that relationship first they will come to me and ask me for help but it is always when I’m quiet it’s never when I’m the one going to them saying, Hey, let me tell you what I think about this. I mean that does work sometimes when you get a good moment that you’re like, Hey, I’m going to talk about this, but most of the time it’s waiting for them to come to me or saying, Hey you, you want to talk about that I’m here. And then I found that they do, they do talk to me. And that relationship is just everything for me. Creating that space where I feel connected to them has just really changed the way I parent because I really want to keep that relationship.
Darla: I think, I think most moms really want that. We want those strong relationships. But there are lots of struggles and especially with teenagers. So what, so what would you say to a mom who really wants to have those relationships like you described but are just don’t know where to start, they’re just struggling. Things aren’t going well. What would you say to that mom? What’s the first step that she should take to start building that connection?
Kristen: I think it’s really believing that nothing has to change for you to feel better. A lot of times, I know for me, when my kids were growing up, I felt like if I was a good mom, my kids would do X, Y, and Z. Or They would love to go to church, they would love to go to seminary. And if they didn’t, that was my fault. I didn’t teach them enough. I didn’t. That was where I got into all those judgments of myself. I’m not doing enough. And then that created this anxiety in me. But when I can clearly about it and know that this is just their experience they’re having. How can I show up best mom I can be for them and I can get curious and say hey why don’t you like seminary or have this conversation. What’s going on? Is there anything that you liked, you know, just kind of create a dialogue about it instead of this is a huge problem.
Darla: So, so what you’re saying, so if, if I’m the first thing I’m really intrigued by this because you’re saying the first thing that a mom can do if she wants to have more connection with her child is to just say nothing has to change to be able to do this?
Kristen: Yeah. Nothing has to change. Yeah. Nothing has to change. Yeah. Nothing has to change for me to feel better. And so for me when I’ve shown up in that way to know that I am the perfect one for my kids. How do I want to be? How do I want to show up as a mom in this situation? I feel like inspiration always comes to me. I can always access the Spirit when I am in that mindset. I’m not judging my own parenting. I’m not judging my kid or having their experiences. So nothing really does have to change for you to feel better. Your kids don’t have to do anything different for you to show up and be the best mom that you can be for them.
Darla: Okay. So nothing has to change. Is there anything within inside of you that you can change to help the situation? Like you can’t change your kid? Do you understand what I’m saying?
Kristen: Yeah. Yeah. And I feel like it is just a mental shift to make and noticing those judgments that you have on yourself.
Darla: So there’s a mental shift that has to happen, not just, okay, nothing’s going to change and I’m just going to be happy about it. Like you can have a mental shift.
Kristen: Yes. What kind of mom do I want to be in this situation and really believe that you’re the perfect mom for your kids. So a lot of my struggle came from my own judgment of myself that if I were a better parent, my kids would be better. And I just took that away and I thought my kids are having the experience they are supposed to have. They’re learning the things that they’re supposed to learn. And so how can I show up to be the kind of mom I want to be? What do I need to improve because there might be things I need to improve on. And so and so it’s very, it’s, I focus on the things I can control and I can’t control my kids. So what do I need to improve on? What do I want to improve on and how do I want to show up for my kids?
Darla: Yeah. I like that. It’s just focusing on what you can control and you can’t control your kids. And you can’t control the outcome of their situations and their circumstances. You cannot control that.
Kristen: Right. And we want to so bad. We do. And it’s okay.
Darla: It’s like, yeah, it’s the natural man, right? I was just reading that scripture in Mosiah about the natural man is an enemy to God. But if you look at the last half of that scripture, it tells you all the things that you can, that you can do. You can be submissive and meek and humble and full of love, and that’s, that’s a great clue of how to switch that mindset and not let the natural man take over, not be falling into the traps that Satan is setting for you and taking control for yourself.
Kristen: Yeah. I love that. It’s really to feel guided and to that next step. It’s not that you have to change everything overnight. Like a lot of times I’ll just ask, what’s the next step? What do I need to do right now?
Darla: I really like how your story illustrates that it’s a process. It’s not like, you just snapped your fingers and all of a sudden you were this mom that was completely different. It was a process. It was the Lord guiding you to things like coaching and I’m sure there were people probably in your life. It was all that guidance and then you’re able to slowly over time, and I’m, I’m sure you would agree that you’re probably not done, right? None of us are.
Kristen: No, absolutely. And that’s one of the hard parts I would say about being in a parenting space. While I love sharing parenting tips and how to connect with your kids. There was a part of me like I don’t want to appear like, Oh, I have it all figured out because like you said, it’s a process and none of us have it figured it out. And this just happens to be something that I love to learn about and I love to implement and apply. And so I’m going to share that. But yeah, for sure. I have a lot to learn and it’s a learning process every single day.
Darla: Yeah. And we can’t look at it. Other people like in the realm like that where you are and think, Oh, she’s such an expert, I’ll never get there because we’re all just learning and growing. We’re all in this together and by sharing it helps us all to become better. Even the person that’s sharing it. So I love that. That’s so good. Well, Kristen, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your wisdom and everyone should know that Kristen is a life coach and she does help parents of teenagers. She has a great Instagram account. I will link all that up on the show notes and also all the information if you want to contact her to talk to her about that. But I do have one final question for you, Kristen, and that question is how have you seen and felt your heavenly parents as your partners in motherhood?
Kristen: I love this question and I love the way that you asked it. I really feel like I intentionally look at the things going on around me in my life and I can find things every single day where my heavenly parents are leading me in the direction that I need to go or helping me out with one thing or another every single day because I’m looking for it. One of my favorite questions is how it’s kind of similar to yours. How do you see the hand of God in your life every single day and when you are intentionally looking for that, you will find it. And so just trying to be in that space of knowing that they are watching over me and they’re directing me no matter what’s going on in my life, I am being led and directed and I find things all the time. A time when I’m really overwhelmed in the day and really stressed out and then something happens where I feel peace. And I think that was the hand of the Lord in my life right now. I look at my kids and the things that they’re going through and I can see where the hand of God is touching their life as well. And I was listening to something a couple of weeks ago where they were talking about angels and the people who have passed on in our life that are guiding us and helping us and I loved that so much because I recently lost a father in law and I’ve lost some grandparents and I was really close to my grandma. And so that’s another way that I’ve been really intentionally looking for ways that my heavenly parents are directing me, but also these people in my life that have passed on that they are leading me and guiding me and also leading and guiding my children where they are from the other side of the veil and I just love that thought. I just feel such a peace when I think of that every single day.
Darla: I love that and that you said the word intentional. I love that because if you’re wondering where is God in my life, where are my heavenly parents partnering with me and you’re not seeing it, if you just will look for it, you’ll find it. If you’re just intentional to say, I want to see it today. That’s how you find it. I love that. So thank you so much for sharing that. I really like that. It’s a great way to end. Thank you so much, Kristen. I appreciate it.
Kristen: Thank you. I loved being on your podcast
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