Conscious Parenting Toward a Better Future For Us All with Dr. Shefali Tsabary

In this episode of our For the Love of the Middle series, renowned clinical psychologist Dr. Shefali returns to the show to discuss her concept of conscious parenting. Those of us in the middle of life who may still be parenting kids at home, or adjusting to parenting adult children who have just launched out into the world–or in any season of the parenting journey, really–will find much to learn as we look back (and forward) at our parenting patterns. Dr. Shefali provides a step-by-step roadmap to help free parents and their children from toxic patterns and expectations, while building a lasting meaningful bond with them. Using her book as a guide, she will introduce us to the five patterns of ego, show us some varying parenting styles (including helping Jen unpack her own parenting style), develop a mindful focus on self-control, and tips on how we can encourage our adult children to parent themselves. Jen and the good doctor will hit some big topics that will inform not only parents, but those of us who wish to discover how we were parented, and how it impacts us now; including: 

  • Walking through the definition of conscious parenting and the three stages of the parenting map
  • Debunking the notion that as parents we are supposed to create happy, perfect superhumans by following traditional parenting rules
  • Dismissing the notion that there are good kids and bad kids—and how to avoid using these labels  
  • Revealing the five ego patterns parents that parents might not even realize inform their quest to raise amazing children
  • The three reasons why children act out or misbehave and how you can learn not to shame them for it
  • The results of over-parenting and how it shows up in your adult children

It’s never too late to become a mindful parent and set an intention to allow your children to become centerstage in their own lives.

Not A Burden: Michelle Boyaner on Showing Up for Aging Parents

Continuing in our For the Love of the Middle series, we’re having a conversation about something that may impact us as we hit those middle years (or sooner)–caring for our aging parents. With us to be our guide through this sometimes difficult journey is Michelle Boyaner, the director of the documentary film “It’s Not a Burden: The Humor and Heartache of Raising Elderly Parents.” As a storyteller, Michelle felt compelled to talk about this particular stage of life, and decided to film her own journey through it with her mother to help others embrace this unique time in a family’s evolution. Jen and Michelle explore the highs and the lows of caregiving for aging parents and how to stay sane and open hearted during the process. 

Michelle Boyaner is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, and educator who founded production company Greenie Films with her wife, Barbara Greene. Together they have written, directed and produced a variety of short and feature films that tell stories of caring for aging parents, living with HIV and the challenges of mental illness–all told with their signature humor and deep capacity for compassion. 

Join Jen and Michelle as they discuss: 

  • How to know when it’s time to step in with your aging parents
  • Honoring and managing your parents feelings of not wanting to be a burden
  • Finding humor in the challenging moments 
  • Why caregivers feel so lonely, even when there are so many in the U.S. 
  • Moving from anger and frustration with difficult parental relationships to forgiveness 

We hope you’ll feel less alone on your caregiving journey as Michelle provides practical advice and encouragement as well as some tough love for those in the middle of this common but not often discussed major life experience.

Loneliness and Empty Nesting in the Middle Years with Dr. Jim Burns

We’re back in the middle of life with another installment of our “For the Love of the Middle” series. This episode marks the return of the amazing Dr. Jim Burns to the show. He is an author and founder of HomeWord, a non-profit organization aimed at helping families and individuals strengthen their relationships. Dr. Burns has over three decades of experience as a speaker and is the author of books such as “Life With Your Adult Children” and “Finding Joy in the Empty Nest”.  

With his typical humor and self-awareness, Dr. Burns draws from his own experiences as a father in the middle of life–and also shares insights from his vast experience working with families and individuals. In this interview he touches on topics like loneliness in older adults, coping with post-divorce friendships, and enabling versus helping your adult children.

Join Jen and Dr. Jim Burns as they discuss: 

  • Navigating the loneliness felt by those 50 and older and how to prepare for that early on.
  • Finding meaningful friendships as a single person in a coupled world.
  • Giving advice to adult children without sounding critical.
  • When helping becomes enabling with adult children.
  • Easing the burden of the Empty Nest by investing in hobbies and community.

Jen and Dr. Burns offer practical advice for maintaining and cultivating adult friendships and how to move through the challenges of parenting adult children with grace.

Psychologist Mary Pipher on Flourishing as We Age

It’s here! Our next series, “For the Love of the Middle” kicks off this week. Many of us are at that middle stage of life, and if we aren’t, we’re going to get there eventually. This series brings life, hope and humor to a period of life which can at times be surprising, confusing, but ultimately, steeped in the wisdom of years lived and the harder work of our 20’s and 30’s behind us. We’re ringing in the start of this series with an amazing first guest; Mary Pipher, a clinical psychologist, anthropologist, and author. In her full scope of work, Mary has pioneered important conversations around motherhood and raising girls. 

Mary was the first to bring the effects of culture on mental health to the mainstream, especially for women and girls. She has a deep understanding of how culture can shape our thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Her most recent work has focused on aging intentionally, peppered with her own experience and her work has inspired many people to rethink the way we approach mental health and aging within our society.

Join Mary and Jen as they discuss: 

  • Pipher’s background in psychology and how she became engaged in the cultural conversations about girlhood.
  • The importance of cultivating personal resilience and adaptability in aging.
  • How society impacts the mental health of girls and women at different stages of life.
  • The cultural scripts that influence girls’ body image and sexuality, and how they differ from reality.
  • The role of caregivers and the challenges they face in taking care of aging family members.

Mary Pipher’s work is groundbreaking in exploring the connections between culture, mental health, and their impacts on aging. Her insights are instrumental in shaping the way we approach mental health issues and caregiving, and her activism and writing continue to help women all over the world.

Who’s the Most Important Person In Your Life? Dr. Corey Yeager On Why That Matters

This episode of our What If Series asks; what if we looked inward to discover what makes us tick, who are the voices shaping us, and why are we choosing them? We also consider the question; who’s the most important person in your life? The answers most people give are what you’d expect, but our guest this week proposes that we dig deeper to find a different answer that will ultimately change how we approach life. 

Our guest, Dr. Corey Yeager, is a psychotherapist for the Detroit Pistons, a life coach, and an author. He appeared in the documentary, The Me You Can’t See, by Oprah and Prince Harry, and recently released a book that poses 40 questions we should be asking ourselves as we create a roadmap to discover our purpose and explore who we want to become. 

 In this episode Dr. Corey and Jen discuss:

  • Becoming a psychotherapist for NBA players
  • How self talk affects our outlook
  • Why asking intentional big questions can reframe our life
  • How the timing is now for a love affair with yourself

The most important conversation you can have is the one with yourself. Dr. Corey gives us the guidance and encouragement to do just that. Join Jen and Dr. Corey in an insightful discussion of self love, self talk, and staying curious.   

What If You Fail? Kendra Scott on What She’s Learned from Failure

This episode of our What If Series asks what if you have big dreams and what if you didn’t let failure stop you from trying?

Our guest is entrepreneur Kendra Scott, an intrepid businesswoman who built a billion dollar business while carrying her baby boy to sales meetings. She started with $500 and eventually created her dream, a 97% women run business that gives back to the community in meaningful ways. She breaks down the “why” and the “how” of building a jewelry empire and that asking for help from her people was key to her success.

 In this episode Kendra and Jen discuss:

  • Failing at her first business with a kid and no college degree
  • Where her “Why” came from
  • Intentionally building a woman and mom-centric business
  • The importance of asking for help

The What If’s of our past can bury us under, so we never dream of our next things. But some of our next steps can be found in the rubble of our failures. Join Jen and Kendra in an honest discussion of entrepreneurship, motherhood, and community.   

What if We Lived in a World Built by Women: Builder & Designer Extraordinaire Emily Pilloton-Lam

In this episode of the What If Series, we are asking some big questions around using your experience and skills to start something completely new or get imaginative on how you can positively affect your community with what you already have. What do you bring to the table with the whole totality of your experience that could be a force of good for your community or for the people around you?

Our guest is leader and teacher Emily Pilloton-Lam, an inspiring thinker and author of several books and creator of the nonprofit – Girls Garage. She’s taught thousands of gender expansive youth how to use power tools and to dream of a world built more equitably and sustainably, and she’s dreamt about what it would look like if girls/women were empowered to facilitate the surroundings in our world differently–with an eye toward thinking more communally and factoring in the lived experience of the people around them. 

In this episode Emily and Jen discuss:

  • The shocking statistics around gender imbalance in Architecture, Engineering and Construction Worlds
  • Why power tools can make you feel superhuman
  • How it takes messy courage to change course and start something new
  • Dreaming of a world built by women

Emily gives us insight into the big “what if” question we might all ask ourselves: what if we could affect our world with the skills and experience we have right now? 

Regret: Our Most Misunderstood Emotion and a Gift to Move Us Forward with Daniel H. Pink

We’re knee deep in our What If Series and we’re bringing a twist to the conversation. This powerful interview is a note-taking worthy one; a revealing conversation on one of the most misunderstood emotions we have as humans: regrets. How can we harness our regrets toward momentum instead of drowning in them?

Our guest is writer and researcher Daniel H. Pink, a fascinating thinker and author of several books–five of them New York Times bestselling works. His latest book is The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward. 

 In this episode Daniel and Jen discuss:

  • Basic neurology behind regret
  • How age can affect regret
  • The four main types of regret we all feel
  • How to vaporize the negative effects of regret through practical to dos

Daniel teaches us to confront our regrets, listen to our regrets, use them as data, as feedback, and draw lessons from them. He shows us the evidence from social psychology, that if we deal with our regrets properly, we can become better problem solvers, strategists and ultimately find more meaning in life. 

Jenna Kutcher on Taking Your Dreams Off the Shelf and Embracing the “What Ifs”

It’s our first episode of the new year and we’re kicking it off with a brand new series as well. Jen’s always been fascinated by people who take risks, reinvent themselves, or chase a dream that might seem lofty or impossible. What’s the secret sauce to putting our dreams into action, and “what if” we actually get to that thing we always wanted to do in life? 

To start our series off in a powerful way, we’ve got a guest who has lived out her “what If” moment in the face of fear, trepidation and potentially walking away from a more “sure” thing. Podcast, author, and digital marketer Jenna Kutcher excelled at her first corporate job, where after just a few years, she was looking at a big promotion and more money. Jenna couldn’t shake the feeling that this move for more money and responsibility would be a tough trade off for long hours and time away from the things and people she cared about. Jenna shares the surprising decision she made, what it cost her and how it planned out—while posing questions that maybe we’ve all considered at one time or another: What happens when money doesn’t necessarily bring you the quality of life you’re longing for? What happens when the dreams you have just won’t take a backseat to the practical plan you had for your life? Jen and Jenna give their takes on what it’s like to realize the career or life situation you’ve chosen (or maybe that chose you) isn’t quite the fit you you thought it would be, and they give us permission to chase the thing that brings out the best of who we really are.

Going Solo, Finding Yourself, and Keeping Hope Alive: Jen’s Thoughts on 2022

It’s our anticipated annual solo episode where we get to spend time with Jen reflecting on the year and the changes that have occurred in her life and our collective lives. And whew, have Things™ happened! We are still in the cyclone of massive change that launched out of 2020. Jen recently entered an empty nest phase this year and began a new relationship (an LDR relationship to boot) for the first time in years. She opens up about her relationship with Tyler in a completely new way and offers some hope for those navigating the waters of being single or testing out tough relationships. Whatever comes in the new year, Jen is committed to trying new things and believing that things do get better. It might be messy and wildly nonlinear but there is hope and there is progress and there is a future worth fighting for. I mean, Jen is still shocked she wrote a bestselling cookbook at age 47. If you had asked her in her twenties if that was her future, she would have laughed in your face. Whether you want to overhaul your own life or dip your toe into a new venture, Jen’s with you and cheering you on. We end this episode with Jen sharing what’s on her mind for the new year and what’s to come on the podcast and beyond. We hope you go into your new year feeling like you have a community that gets you, supports you, and that you have permission to try new things. Happy new year, pod community!