Get ready for a front-row seat to the ultimate parent-teen adventure! Joining me on the podcast is the amazing Brooke Romney, a writer, speaker, educator, and connector. With her wealth of parental wisdom, Brooke spills the beans on practical tips for ace communication, conflict resolution, and nurturing independence during those wild adolescent years. Don't think this is just for parents of teens – even if you're not in that boat, tune in! We're dishing on everything from body image and aging to banishing all-or-nothing thinking and becoming the awesome person you dream of. Let's dive in!
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/303
- Words of wisdom about living in a body that changes over time 06:23
- The reason I stopped using filters on Instagram 09:31
- All or Nothing Thinking 17:04
- Teaching All or Nothing to Teens or Kids 23:27
- Balance of Rules and Boundaries 37:47
- Becoming the type of person you want to be 42:03
- Brooke’s Personal Growth 51:12
Brooke Romney’s Instagram
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio Episode 303.
Hello and welcome to Biceps After Babies Radio. A podcast for ladies who know that fitness is about so much more than pounds lost or PR's. It's about feeling confident in your skin and empowered in your life. I'm your host Amber Brueseke, a registered nurse, personal trainer, wife and mom of four. Each week my guests and I will excite and motivate you to take action in your own personal fitness as we talk about nutrition, exercise, mindset, personal development and executing life with conscious intention. If your goal is to look, feel and be strong and experience transformation from the inside out, you my friend are in the right place. Thank you for tuning in. Now, let's jump into today's episode.
Hey, hey, hey! Welcome back to another episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host, Amber Brueseke, and Oh my gosh, today's episode is such a good one. I mean, I have some fantastic guests, but Brooke is definitely up there with just one of the most uplifting, of the most fun and the most helpful and educational interview that I've had for a while. This one is definitely one you won’t want to miss and even if you don't have a teenager, I know that there's teens in the title. We do talk a little bit about parenting teens, but we talk about so much more. So even if you don't have a teenager, this episode is a must listen because we also address body image, how our bodies change as we're getting older. We talk about all or nothing thinking, we talk about becoming the type of woman that you want to be, and Brooke has some amazing insights from some story and share some stories and some experiences about each of those topics, and it's just such a great, great conversation. We also talk and a little, do a little like teasing, we talk about filters and filters and why I've stopped using filters on my stories and came from her, so she did it first, I saw that she did it and I've stopped using the filters on my stories and you have to listen to episode to hear why that is.
Also, at the end of the episode, we talked about the four books that Brooke has written. I wanted to let you know that they are all linked up in the show notes, so if you go to bicepsafterbabies.com/303, just the episode number, we have her four different books that she talks about all linked up. I've seen these books before. My friends have them. My sister has them and Brooke was so kind to send me her books, so I've got to play around with the books and I say play around because they're these, like, board books that sit up right on a table, and then they have, like, a coil that you can turn the pages and they're kind of like a display book as well. They're really cool. And we've already had some really good conversations with our kids around the different manners. And it really has opened up a new thing to talk about around the dinner table. I don't know if you're like me, and sometimes it's like, OK, how's everybody’s day? I feel like I don't know what we're talking about today. And this has just been a fun new thing to be able to introduce to our kids and do a little bit of education, do a little bit of conversation around each of the manners. So, I highly recommend checking out her manners book. She has two manners books that are like the board books that I talked about. They have 52 manners and they're, you know, basically meant to do kind of like one a week over a year long time period. And then she has one for kids as well. And then she also has a spirituality book that she also talks about. So anyway, we've linked up all four of those books in the show notes bicepsafterbabies.com/303, and you can go and grab those for yourself. They would make a great Christmas gift just saying. If you have somebody in your life who is a parent of either a kid or a teenager, these would make some fantastic Christmas gifts. How are we already thinking about Christmas? I don't know. Alright, without further ado. Let's dive into the interview with Brooke Romney.
Amber B 04:01
All right, I am very, very, very excited to welcome to the podcast, Brooke Romney. Brooke, thanks for being on the show today.
Brooke Romney 04:08
Thanks for having me. I have been excited about this since you first emailed.
Amber B 04:12
I was telling Brooke before we hit record that we've been wanting to do this podcast for like a year and I just like haven't made, I haven't done the thing of like asking the person and so finally I was like, dang it. We need to have her on the podcast because I was telling her beforehand that a lot of my listeners are just in the right age and time frame of where this topic that we're going to talk about is just, it's so pertinent to your lives right now. So, I'm very excited that you said yes.
Brooke Romney 04:38
Amber B 04:39
Okay, so first if someone hasn't met you, doesn't follow you yet online, tell us a little bit about you and and what you do and how you do it.
Brooke Romney 04:47
Okay, I'll be quick because I think your topic is way more interesting than I am. So, I am a mom of four boys. My oldest is 21 down to 12. I have also a daughter-in-law, and a grandbaby who's a girl, which is so fun, my first girl. I am a writer and I'm a speaker. I run an amazing community online called Brooke Romney Writes where mostly parents of tweens and teens come together to learn with each other, to feel inspired, to get new perspective. I think it's one of the best communities online and I've learned a ton from just being there, not only as a creator but also as a consumer of the content. And the comments that people share. I have four books. I published 4 books. The first one was a spiritual self-help which was I Like Me Anyway and most people are most familiar with my 3 next books which are Modern Manners For Teens Version one and two, and then my newest one came out in October which is Modern Manners For Kids.
Amber B 05:49
That's so awesome. And I will say I do think that you do a really good job as a content creator, not only creating content as an authority, but like you said, really engaging your community and helping to create that content alongside of you. I think a lot of not very many content creators can kind of pull off what you have created online, so I definitely echo the work that you've done to be able to build such a vibrant and vocal and like just thoughtful community in your little space of the Internet. So that's really awesome.
Brooke Romney 06:18
Thank you. It's been a huge blessing to me too, so I am just grateful every day that this is my job.
Amber B 06:23
It's so fun. Okay. So we're going to kind of hop around a couple of different topics, but they're all going to be really juicy. And really, I'm just really curious to hear some of the thoughts that you have around these topics and the first one that I really want to start to tackle is our bodies and the ideas that our bodies change especially over the years, especially as we age, and especially with having kids and so I would just love to hear from you what words of wisdom do you have about being in and living in a body that changes over time.
Brooke Romney 06:57
You know that I think is one of the things that is the hardest for us. I think as soon as we get settled, you know, in our body, you know, after you go through puberty, as is teenage years and you're getting settled and then there's a change and then there's another change. And I think being comfortable with consistent change is something that's really important. I feel like it's important for me to share this, but I had a period of time when I really suffered with an eating disorder and it was really hard and looking back it was really physically difficult for me, but it's also allowed me to put a lot of work into the mindset that comes with that and I think a lot of it, you know, swirls around perfectionism and lofty expectations that are not realistic. My body is never going to look like someone I may see on Instagram. Because my body was created differently than their body was created, and as I've gotten older, I've really been able to embrace that. I think when I was younger, I thought there was an ideal shape and an ideal size and something that I had to try to attain which was physically impossible for me to do that. And so as I've gotten older and just come to terms with the fact that that my body is going to change, that underneath my arms is going to be a little bit flabby, even if I do all the work and after having kids, for me it was the middle section and I was probably never going to be the person who could wear high waisted jeans and not have a bump from the bum, you know from the button down that wasn't going to be something. And so I had to figure out, if I was going to be OK with that and live or if I was going to constantly obsess about it and one of the things looking back that I think I learned the most is when I was obsessed with my body and trying to turn it into something that was unrealistic. The saddest part of that for me was that it consumed my thoughts. And I wasn't allowed to grow and progress like I really wanted, like, spiritually, emotionally, socially, because my mind was so busy worrying about my body. And I think more than anything that I'm grateful for and usually one of the ways I check myself is, is my body getting in the way of me living? I want my body to be a tool for me to live my best life, not something that holds me back from living the life I'm hoping to live.
Amber B 09:31
Yeah, it's like the difference between, am I spending all my time thinking about my body? Or am I you living in my body like and I using my body for the things that I want to be able to do. You had a post. I don't even remember when it was, I think it was a post maybe was a story. I don't remember, but you talked about how you stopped using filters, we should. Because this was really powerful to me because when I read it and I read kind of like why you stopped using filters. I did the same. I was like, yeah, I'm with you. Like Brooke. I'm gonna stop using filters, and I haven't been using filters on my stories, because of what you wrote. Will you share that with people cause I just thought it was so powerful.
Brooke Romney 10:04
Yes, OK. So, when I got on Instagram, I'm not someone that's really comfortable sharing my face. I love to write. So yeah, words are what I want on Instagram. But as Instagram, as the platform changed and they introduced stories and things it was, it was important to me to continue to grow my community, which meant that I was probably going to have to show my face on there. And I think, you know, dialing back to me like wanting to look perfect. And not have flaws and things like that. Having yourself on a camera all the time really.
Amber B 10:35
And like looking at yourself.
Brooke Romney 10:37
Yes. And often in, like not good light and it just magnified everything, and I didn't love that and I think too I was looking at people online who seemed like they were close to my same age and they had no flaws. Well, I'm not very tech savvy, so I couldn't figure out how to do like those special filters, but then someone introduced me where you could just swipe over and use that Paris filter on Instagram stories. And all of a sudden I became very, very comfortable because it just erased all the things I didn't love about my face, and I rationalized it where like, well, I'm on camera. You know, this is what I do for my job, this is important. It allows me to not have to wear makeup all the time. That's a bonus for me and I rationalize that and I use filters for a couple of years. Just the Paris filter because I don't know how to do the other one so. So, you use Paris filter for a couple of years and I started to notice that I was looking in the mirror at my face a lot more than I've ever done. And when I was looking in the mirror at my face, I wanted it to look like the Paris filter. So, I wanted like the line to be erased and I wanted like a little bit more in my cheeks. And I just wanted everything to be smoothed out. And I've never been like that into, you know extreme skin care, but I started thinking about ohh, you know what do I need to do? I'm researching like skin stuff and then I'm thinking about well, maybe I need Botox. Maybe this is something that is very important because I like the way I look in a Paris filter. So I started going down that rabbit hole. And one day it just kind of hit me that I had always been OK with the way my face looked until I had put a filter on it and I thought it was almost more dangerous. For me to see a better version of myself than it was to see a false version of someone else, because all of a sudden I wanted to be an unattainable me, it wasn't like, oh, it would be really nice to look like, you know, Heidi Klum. Like, I know that that's not a possibility. But looking at myself through a Paris filter, I thought, well, maybe it's a possibility to look like this best version of me. And I didn't like that feeling. About that same time, I ran into somebody out and about who I had only known from Instagram, and when I ran into her, I thought Ohh like you look like 5 to 10 years older than I thought you were. And I thought it's so funny that I'm willing to sacrifice my well-being to look like someone in a virtual world instead of hold on to my own well-being for the first name in the real world, and so right then I just decided to stop using filters and it was really hard like for a while. I would only film in the best sunlight and I would only film if I had all my makeup on and had you know done myself up and it took a while for me to just accept. You know there's wrinkles here and there's wrinkles there and I have age spots and this is what my face looks like. And it's interesting because I've been so much happier about the way I look. And I've spent so much less time worrying about the way I look. And the less time I'm worrying about the way I look, the more time I feel like I can fully engage in the life that I have.
Amber B 13:59
Yeah, that's really awesome. I talk a lot about this. So, you brought such like an interesting concept of how much more damaging it is to compare to a version of yourself versus even a comparison of someone else and I see that a ton with my clients where they're comparing who they are today or what they can lift today or how they look today or what they weigh today to a prior version of themselves. And I do think that that comparison is, is more damaging than the comparison with someone else because we have this false sense of like, no, I should be able to be the same person I was 12 years ago, 15 years ago, 20 years ago, I should have the same body. I should have the same, I should have no wrinkle like I think that comparison with our self is the most damaging type of comparison that we can do.
Brooke Romney 14:45
I agree, and I've seen that too with bodies and times where you're just wistful for, you know, the shape you used to have or you know, I've seen a lot of people where, you know, they've done something extreme or they've had a reason to be extreme, you know, maybe they're getting married or something like that and understanding it's not realistic to be able to live in that type of, you know, control all of the time and being able to being able to say goodbye to that is something that's really, really tricky.
Amber B 15:13
Yeah, and like I always hear women talk about this too, where they look back wistfully on the body that they used to have, or the skin that they used to have or whatever, and yet if you ask them well, were you happy back then with the skin that you had or the body that you have? The answer is invariably no, like they weren't happy now, but now they just wish they could get back to that place where they were so unhappy in the previous time and I just think it is this idea of like when we can just let go, kind of like you were talking about when we can just let go and just be in our bodies and let them be what they are and not spend time hating ourselves or what we look like or all things like in 20 years when you look back. You're gonna be so happy that you were happy with the body that you had compared to the body. Yeah. You know what I mean like now and just being grateful for what you have.
Brooke Romney 16:01
Yes. And I also love that you brought up, you know, do you want to go back to that person and that time of life like now. Because one of the things that my friend told me that her mom always said is if you think you want that person's life, you have to take all of it.
Amber B 16:17
That’s so good, that's so good.
Brooke Romney 16:19
So if you want that, you know, let's say we're talking about bodies. Like if you want that person's body. That's fine, but you gotta take all the rest of what she's going through and you've got to take her job and her kids and, you know, figuring out her mind. You gotta take it all and it doesn't come easily. And I think that's really important for us to remember, you know, even looking back on ourselves. Like when I go back to, you know, that body when I was like 22. Yeah, I would love to have that, you know, mark that right here. But then I'd have to go back to being 22.
Amber B 16:49
I’d say I don’t want to go back to being 22. I want everything else that comes with it.
Brooke Romney 16:53
Exactly. And so reminding myself. Like then I have to go back there and that erases all the growth and all the intelligence and things that I've gained so.
Amber B 17:04
Yeah, such a good point. You had a really fantastic post over the summer that was about a woman who was in her workout gear and had her headphones on. You know she was walking, pumping her arms, doing her exercise and then you stand up and you see that at the same time she's also smoking a cigarette. Can you share just that story and that experience? And then your, what you pulled from that, I thought was so poignant. Will you share that experience?
Brooke Romney 17:31
Yeah. So I was, we were on a walk and this woman was in front of us. And you know, like you said, just pumping her arms and workout gear. And I could, you know, air pods and all the things. And then I saw that she was smoking a cigarette. And my first, my very first instinct was well, why are you walking if you're smoking a cigarette?
Amber B 17:51
Yeah. Like canceling it all out.
Brooke Romney 17:54
That cancels it all out, yeah. And upon further reflection. I realized that I should have been cheering for her, that she was doing something that was good for her, and I think so often we have this all or nothing mentality of it doesn't matter that I ate 5 fruits and vegetables today because I ended the night with an ice cream sundae. So. So that was all.
Amber B 18:18
It like negates it, yeah.
Brooke Romney 18:18
Yes, and I think it's so important for us to remember that every good thing we do moves us forward. And so if you would have not eating any fruits and vegetables all day and then eating the ice cream sundae. You're in a worse spot than eating fruits and vegetables all day and eating ice cream sundae. I think it sets us up for something that's completely unrealistic to live a life where we have no faults, where we have no weaknesses, where we have no time, where we're going to let go. That's not a possibility. And so looking at my own life, you know, sometimes I'll think, well, if I can't have a certain amount of scripture study and meditation time in the morning, then I might as well not do it. Well that means I'm not doing it at all, as opposed to listening to a few verses on my phone in the morning. Right? Like. That's still better than nothing. Sometimes I think, oh, I don't want to. I don't have time to be at the gym today for 45 minutes, but a long time ago I realized something better than nothing. So, I will stop in for 20 minutes, 20 minutes of exercise is a victory on a day where things are really busy and I was watching. I was driving down the road and I saw this guy who was eating an apple. And in my mind, this is a funny thought. I was like, I wish I were a person that snacked on apples. That was my first thought like I wish that's who I was. Like, I'm more of a person that snacks on chips, you know? So I thought I wish I was a person that snacked on apples. And I went to the grocery store. I was actually on my way to the grocery store, and I see this guy snacking on apple. I go to the grocery store and I'm like, why in the world did I say I wish I was somebody who snacked on apple, that is the easiest thing. So I bought an apple and I ate it in the car like I can be a person who snacks on apples. It's like it cost me $0.80 and the decision to put an app it doesn't in my mind, it's like, oh, if I snack on apples, then I also run marathons, and I also drink 2 gallons of water. And it was like, no, I can just eat an apple and like one step forward from where I was.
Amber B 20:26
Well, what I love about how you framed that that I think is so powerful is you put it, you put it onto the identity level, right? So the way that you phrased it is I want to be the type of person who eats apples. That's very different than I want to eat an apple. Right. That is an identity level. And when we change on the identity level, it's a much more powerful and longer lasting change. Right? When you become a person who eats apples, that is an identity. It is like and it brings other things with it. And so I think when you know when I'm working with clients, I always am trying to work on that identity level because the type of person that we think we are changes the actions that we take. When you are a type of person who eats apples like you changes your actions, it changes your behavior more deeply than a just like a I eat. You know, I ate an apple like a one-time action. You framed it in the like the identity space, which I think is a powerful way to start to make changes in our lives. I'm the type of person who, you know reads my scriptures every day. I'm the type of person who, you know, goes to the gym every day, is like I'm the type of person who. And then we embody that in the actions that we take.
Brooke Romney 21:29
I love that you brought that up because on the other side of that is I think we so often limit ourselves on who we might be able to be.
Amber B 21:38
100% yeah, so good.
Brooke Romney 21:39
And so to say like I want to be a healthy person. Sometimes that's too big.
Amber B 21:45
Brooke Romney 21:45
I don't know that I can be a healthy person. And what does a healthy person even mean to me, right, but like I love that you broke that down like, but I can be someone who eats an apple as a snack and that totally doable and I think for me finding small doable things that fit into the new identity that I want to have is so important.
Amber B 22:06
Yeah, that's really, that's a really great way and to get over, I think circling back around to what you what you know brought this around is this like all or nothing thinking is this idea that like I have to be all in. Like you said, I have to not only eat the apple but run the marathon and drink the water and get the sleep and well, you know, do yoga and whatever it is and that does it becomes well I can't do all of those things. So I won't do any of them and you were able to break yourself out of that and say no, I can eat an apple like I can do that one step. It doesn't have to be all of the things. It can be just that one step. And I think the one thing that I think is really important to point out about all or nothing thinking is that it like doesn't ever go away. I think sometimes people think that I can just like fix all or nothing thinking and I can just never have it happen to me. And even you know, you're saying I recognize that I do it. I've noticed myself doing it and I still do it. And I notice myself doing it in this instance and I had to work myself through it. I had a really similar experience this last week, whereas like I needed to record a podcast episode and I had like 20 minutes and I can't record a podcast episode in 20 minutes, they're like an hour. And I caught myself of doing the Dang thing of saying, Oh well, I'll record it later. I'm like, no, I have 20 minutes now. Like I'll record 20 minutes now and I'll record the rest of it later. But it was just like as much as I coach on all or nothing thinking as much as I pointed out to my clients as much as I mean it still happens and it still comes up and and learning to work yourself through I think is the never ending, never ending quest for a lot of us.
Brooke Romney 23:25
I love that reminder.
Amber B 23:27
Is that something that so I do want to bring in this conversation because you are an expert. We're calling you an expert. We're owning that identity for you. I'm owning that identity for you, an expert in teens. Right. So turning this conversation to teens, this idea, both that we've already talked about body image and all or nothing thinking, how can we help to facilitate help to teach, help to educate, help to work our kids and help them learn some of these lessons cause I feel like I didn't really learn about all or nothing until I was like a grown adult. How can we start to help our kids maybe get a head start on some of this stuff?
Brooke Romney 24:04
I think just bringing up, when you see it in yourself so they understand that this is something that we talk about, that it's something, one of the things that I think is so important, just with the human experience is knowing that you're not alone.
Amber B 24:16
Yeah, that's good.
Brooke Romney 24:17
I think when we think we're weird or something's wrong with us, it's very hard to be able to tackle things. And it's really hard to do it alone. So if you are a mom of a teen and you notice that in yourself, you share that. You know it was so funny today I noticed that I had you know, I decided to eat a candy bar for lunch instead of eat my lunch, and I was busy and it just is what happened. I noticed that I thought my whole day had to go downhill from there. But I realize like I can still make a really healthy, delicious dinner and I can eat that and it doesn't mean that just because I ate a candy bar for lunch, but the rest of my day is toast and then open it up, do you ever do that? Do you ever think like one? You know, one bad grade on a test? Do you ever do that? You know, open that up. Have you ever thought that way? Do you ever feel that way? Or even like observing the woman who was smoking and sharing. You know lesson and saying it's hard sometimes, isn't it? We think we have to do everything right in order to progress. But she was walking and she was getting more fit. And even though she was smoking, you know, like we can do both now we don't want them to smoke. But you know we can do two things.
Amber B 25:34
Brooke Romney 25:34
And then just be a place where you can observe that in them. Hey, I see that you missed that assignment and you feel like your grade is unsalvageable. It's just one assignment, you know. Yeah. Or, you know, talking about bodies and really praising them for great choices. Hey, I've noticed how serious you are about getting a good night's dress. Do you feel like that's helping you? How are you feeling about it? Does that make a difference in your mood and how you feel during the day, giving them opportunities to reflect and notice their help. Notice how they're feeling that it's not always about How do you look, you know. Did you lose weight? Do you fit in that size? A lot more about how you feel you know what you think and kind of coaching them to move on to something that's a little bit more important. And also less variable.
Amber B 26:30
Brooke Romney 26:31
I mean like we talked about at the beginning with body changes like that's one of the things that's really hard for teens is going through puberty and maybe you are a little rounder for a while, or maybe you know one of the things that was actually really hard for me is I lost weight unintentionally and ended up getting a lot of attention for it. It was, it was more about my body just kind of grew into itself and I started exercising because of some of the activities I was doing. I didn't necessarily even notice it until everyone else started noticing it, you know? And so making sure that we're not making such a big deal about the changes and just being very like factual about body do change.
Amber B 27:10
Okay. I want to back up because you were so natural with the way that you communicated with teens. And I've heard you talk about this. So I want you to speak to it because the like format that you used was so brilliant and it started with, I noticed. And I know you. You that's like a great way to start. Something like I'm noticing. Or I noticed this thing and then, you know, you said the stuff and then you ended with a question, you turned it back to them like have you ever felt that way and what a brilliant like sequence of a way to talk to your teen. So, you will you talk a little bit about why you start with that. I notice and then why you end with a question towards them.
Brooke Romney 27:45
Yeah. So one of my favorite phrases, like you said, is I'm noticing that. It's really hard for a child to argue that you're noticing something, and it also doesn't feel too personal or like rude,
Amber B 27:58
Brooke Romney 27:59
like you're judging something, yes. So if you say I'm, I'm noticing that you're doing really well with your sleep, your or I'm noticing that you're making some really great choices. You haven't always been a vegetable eater. You know. I'm. I'm noticing that. And then turning that question like how does that feel? Like or sometimes like, why did you decide to do that? What are the differences that you see? I think by doing that it allows them to own their experience instead of you telling them what their experience is or should be. And I think it's always more powerful for every human to be able to feel like they own their experience. Otherwise, when we feel like we're just someone to be acted upon. We often lose our motivation and our control, which means you just kind of whatever happens, happens and that's a really difficult place to be. It's really hard on confidence. It's really hard for someone to be able to be excited and willing to progress if they don't think that it's going to matter anyway.
Amber B 29:06
It's like that human need for autonomy, right. And the ability to control the things around us instead of being acted upon. Yeah, it's so valuable. The two examples that you gave were both, like, positive reinforcements, which I can see like. Probably most of us need to do more of. Right.
Brooke Romney 29:24
Amber B 29:24
It's like we tend to I notice you're not cleaning your room. I notice you're not doing your homework and so I love that you led with two things that you notice that the child is doing good and reinforcing that behavior and then asking how it impacts them. The way that I like too that you phrase the question is like you know. How has that impacted you or how is that making you feel? It's a presupposition that it has a positive impact on them, right? So you almost like implanting that in them that it like it has a positive impact on what has that positive impact been and then they have to think and come up with and realize oh, it is has had a positive impact. How would that conversation change, if any, and maybe it doesn't change at all. If it's more of a if it is a negative thing that you're bringing up, they haven't been cleaned the room or the into the home or they walk the dog or whatever it is. I'm noticing that like would you change that conversation structure any differently?
Brooke Romney 30:13
So let's say you look online and they have 5 missing assignments, so you say hey I'm noticing that you're having a hard time getting your homework turned in. What could we do? Well, I mean first you could say like is there a reason? So maybe there's something that you're missing, so maybe they're like yes, I'm super overwhelmed. We've had really late practices. This is, you know, or this class is really hard for me. So maybe they open up and that would be great because that allows you to both start working on a solution. Often they will be like I don't know right? Like. Well, yeah. And then you can say well, what could we do to make it easier for you to get your homework done? So and then you could offer up, you know, ask them for suggestions, and if they don't have any, you could say I think I'm also noticing that you're spending a lot of time on the Xbox, so I think what we're going to do is we're going to move the Xbox so weekend only until you can get caught up on your homework. That shows like, I mean, they obviously have some boundaries which teenagers need. They need to be able to push against them. They need to be able to say, Oh my gosh, my parents are so annoying. They are going to make me only play Xbox on the, you know. That's important. That's an important part of growth, they're not going to like everything you do, but it's important that they know that you have values that are very important. That they don't just get to hang out and play the Xbox and never turn their homework in and I will say that everyone has different kids, everyone has different struggles. This sounds very simple in a podcast conversation, and it can come with like highly emotional moments and yelling depending on who your kid is. And so there's a lot more work through, but if you have a relationship with your child, that's fairly decent and they're not on the edge of something, that's very, you know, hard or a stage that just feels impossible. Usually these conversations can produce something good.
Amber B 32:12
Yeah. I really liked how you started. You know, you started with a question you started with, like including them in, you know, why is this happening? And then you included them as well in like what could the solution be? And yet you didn't just stop there. Because I do think a lot of teenagers are like, even when presented with that, they like. Uh, like? You said Ohh well the solution is mom like so you you included them in that. But if they couldn't come up with anything you helped with presenting a solution. And I think what you're teaching the child is that process to get to, to get to a solution. So eventually they can start to do that themselves, but sometimes I feel like, you know, when I'm trying to have these conversations with my kids, I want them to develop that skill, but it's not there yet. And I feel like I can't hop to that place of modeling it for them, a little bit of now I feel like ohh I failed because now they can't do it and I have to do it for them. But I think what you're showing is you're modeling that experience for them well. I'm noticing that you're playing a lot of Xbox, so you know, perhaps if we play a little less Xbox that would help with the homework situation. What do you think about that? And so like, just again, we're trying to model for them that problem solving, that solution-oriented thinking to be able to help them in the long run. Be able to solve their own problems.
Brooke Romney 33:24
Yeah. And I think too like bringing up to them that like you don't want to solve all their problems. Like, I don't want to. I'm not interested. I have plenty on my plate, you know. So, I don't. I don't want to do that. But because I'm your parent I will so that you can have a more successful you know path like you're young. You don't know everything yet. You might need help with controlling certain things or having parameters put around certain things, and I'm fine to do that and I'm also thrilled to let that go when you feel like you can do it for yourself.
Amber B 33:59
And you said something about developmentally, the teenagers need something to push against, right? They're trying to figure out those boundaries, trying to figure out the world. And obviously that for us as parents, that doesn't usually feel great to be pushed against, but it is. It does sound like a necessary evil. We just talk, talk to us a little bit about that. So maybe I as a parent of the teen, can feel a little better about these experiences.
Brooke Romney 34:21
Yeah, I think that's something that I've learned as I've read more about teenage development is they have a real need to differentiate themselves from their parents, which means they're going to have to not like some of the things that you're doing. Parents who give and nothing to push against can often have kids who push against something that's much bigger than something like get your homework done, come in on time for curfew, you know. They're like someone noticed that when I differentiating myself right like that, I'm not just. Like my parents. I also think it's really important that they have an out. I think a lot of teens want to do good things, but sometimes don't want to be seen as the kid who's doing good things all the time. Like that's a hard place to be.
Amber B 35:04
Brooke Romney 35:04
So, it's great for them to say my parents make me come in for curfew. Instead of. I don't know, like my parents never care when I come in. It's just whatever. You know, they're so cool and it feels good in the moment. But I like to give a little bit of an analogy. So if you've ever seen someone skydive. And there's a free fall moment, and they have absolutely no control in that space. They all they're doing is like gripping and holding on for dear life, hoping the parachute opens well, the parachute opens, and then they get to look around and they get to flail their arms and try to do like a little flip. And it's really they get to fully enjoy it. And I see that as parents who have some boundaries, so the one the kids who have parents without boundaries, they're just free falling and it's very hard to enjoy a free fall. It might be thrilling. It might be fun, but it's really hard to be able to fully enjoy that or be present or think about anything else. But basically survival, having that parachute open and you're like, OK, so even if I do something really stupid, I'm still safe. There's something that's still watching out for me and I don't think that having relationships and having boundaries is mutually exclusive. So you can do both and I think sometimes parenting, but if I do this then my child won't like me and we won't have a good relationship and that's just not true. That's an all or nothing way of thinking. You can have a great relationship with your child and still require them to clean their bedroom. You have a great relationship with your child and still say you need to turn your assignments in, or you need to wake up for school. Those are all very rational things and I will always say they're exceptions to every rule, and there are kids who don't play by these rules, so I don't want a parent listening to think, oh, yeah, you know. She doesn't. You know,
Amber B 36:56
Easy for you to say, yeah.
Brooke Romney 36:57
You don't know my child. Yes, and I've had. I've had those kids. Which is why I'm very sensitive to that. But I think for most children and teenagers having some structure, knowing that there's a parent that they can push against is very helpful for their development. And then having a parent that's willing to help them down a path that leads to future success is truly invaluable. I think we often think we're doing our kids a favor by requiring nothing. But as a parent, as an adult, I need deadlines. I need requirements. You know, if I'm going to write a book, I need somebody say this is the date you have to have it in because human nature is to do as little as possible to get the results that you want.
Amber B 37:42
Brooke Romney 37:43
So they need that.
Amber B 37:47
That’s really good. Yeah. Do you have any? And I recognize that like obviously everybody is a little bit different. So it's like feeling this out, but that balance, right, what you're speaking to is a balance, it's a balance between freedom and allowing. You know, cause as kids age and become teenagers and onto adults like, they need to differentiate, like you said and they need to have that freedom. So how do we balance that? Like allowing them that freedom while still creating the structure and the boundaries to allow them to enjoy the ride? I feel and I feel like I kind of think back to when my kids were really little and you know, they were taking a nap or whatever, and I finally figured out the whole nap schedule. And then I felt like they got like 3 months older and it was like, throw that out the window. Now we gotta refigure out this new nap schedule. I feel like it's the same thing with teenagers, where it's like, I feel like I found that balance and like, we're doing, really good. And then three months later it's like, oh gosh, now we gotta, like, reinvigorate, refigure this whole thing out. But it is that back and forth balance of rules and boundaries, alongside of freedom, do you have any insight or you know suggestions of how to navigate that as a parent as it's constantly changing through those teenage years?
Brooke Romney 38:51
You know I think it's just a lot of trial and error. I think it's staying really in tune with your family and with your kids and you know, I make a million mistakes this summer. Things were really busy. It was chaotic. We had a lot going on and which meant that some of my kids had more freedom because there was just a lot going on and as we hit September, I was like whoa. Like, that's too much freedom, right? Like, I was realizing that, like, a lot of the things that had been important because I hadn't paid attention to them were no longer important. We were consistently late for curfew, mostly because in the summer I was often so like distracted, that I didn't even notice that it was past time like people would be gone a lot without checking in which be when, life was just, there were so many moving parts. I was just like, well, I'm glad you're safe and my life, you know, yes, it's fine. And then so we often will have like little family meetings where we as parents will apologize for either like letting go too much or maybe not getting enough freedom. You know, maybe like micromanaging things more than we should. I always not always. I often give my kids an opportunity to prove themselves. And when they don't, then step in. So, we maybe we say something like you have a little bit more free time right now then I think is healthy. So here are some options for you to be able to fill that free time you know, and we talked about, you know, jobs. You could join this club, you could look at this sport, they hear some volunteering opportunities. These are all of your options. And I'm excited to see what you do with them. And then we give them some space and some time to make that decision and then hopefully they make those decisions and they fill their own time. If they don't, then we reconvene and say, hey, we gave you a shot to be able to fill your own time. Looks like you weren't able to do that. So this is what we've decided. This is what's going to happen. And sometimes they'll be like, hey, actually, I was just going to apply to this job tomorrow. You know or whatever.
Amber B 41:12
Brooke Romney 41:12
And then they'll take on some of that responsibility. And sometimes they're like, great, I couldn't figure out anything anyway. Sounds awesome if you want to sign me up for that, you know, and sometimes they'll bite and say this is ridiculous. I hate this. And then you going to sign them up for something anyway. And they're going to be grateful because either they're making money or they're making connections or you know. They're enjoying a new sport, whatever it is. So, I think so far for me that has been the formula that's worked the best. And I've had some kids that have done really, really well at like jumping in and owning their life, and some who haven't done as well and need me to do a little bit more of that for them, which I will say it's fine. Their kids, their teens. They don't have to have everything figured out yet I am happy to still be the parent that can help them figure that out.
Amber B 42:03
Yeah, that's great. And I just appreciate like you allowing this allowing yourself and you know giving permission to us to like make those mistakes and then do that repairing. And I think that, I mean what you're modeling is such an important skill for kids anyway is like you're going to make mistakes in relationships, in work, in anything, and it's like that. What matters is that repair process and so sitting down your kids and doing that repair process and showing them that I think is such a valuable skill. So it's all. Like, it's almost a good thing to fail sometimes, and they're because it allows us to teach yet another thing that they're going to have to learn is to how to fail gracefully and how to fail and fix it and things like that. So yeah, I just appreciate that balance that you're speaking to. It's really, really, really, really, really great.
OK, I want to read one of your posts. So if you follow Brooke, you know that she is a magnificent writer. And I just love the way that you just craft with your words. So I actually wanted to read this post because I thought it was just so profound. And then I want, I want you to just kind of speak about the experience and kind of some of your takeaways from it. So this was posted in January. She said, one day I was at a community pool with a friend and our kids. We stopped for a little snack break and watched as a very fit mom in a sporty 2 piece with chiseled arms, visible abs and perfectly toned legs walked by. We looked at each other knowingly, silently thinking the same thing. Must be nice to be so genetically blessed. How lucky to be a person with all the time in the world to just live at the gym. Then we saw her go to the side of the pool and lift a very heavy child with a severe special needs out of the water. Wrap her in a towel and lovingly carry her back to their blankets and chairs. We looked at each other guiltily, embarrassingly put in our place for our quick judgments. Isn't it easy to assume you know the full story from one look, a filtered photo or from someone Sunday best, yes. She was fit and strong. But those muscles had been earned through work and love and service. She needed those muscles. She needed that strength. We only saw the end result, not the hard work behind the scenes. I thought about how often I want things the quick and easy way. I want the muscles without the lifting. I want the humility without the heartache. I want the success without the sacrifice. I want the forgiveness without the repentance. I want the wisdom without the work. But that's not usually how life goes. That instance at the pool reminding me that those who are spiritually, physically, professionally, or emotionally great have most likely paid a price to get there, sometimes the price is forced and the only option, sometimes the price is deliberately chosen over what might have been an easier alternative. Sometimes the price is higher than others have to pay, but there's always a price to grow to strength, to greatness. I've decided I want to be more willing to pay the price to be the woman I was meant to be. And I just thought that that was such a well worded, well thought out post and I just wanted to ask the question, you know, what does it mean to you when you close with that to pay the price to be the woman I was meant to be like what does that mean to you?
Brooke Romney 44:56
I think it's so easy for me to assume that everything comes easy to everyone else. And nothing that has been good that I have in my life has come because it was easy because you don't appreciate the easy stuff. And I think so often we, as women assume that somebody just got lucky. And they didn't do anything for whatever they have. And like I said in the post some people have to work harder,
Amber B 45:30
Yeah, for sure.
Brooke Romney 45:30
That's definitely true. Yeah. And some people start from much further behind, but if someone is great, they have put in the work to be there. And so that instance really helped change my thinking from you know, being jealous or discounting what someone else has achieved to either being curious if I really care, like if it's something that I'd like. Hey, you know how did you do that? Like share with me what you've done to get there. Or just to celebrate them and say good for them, good for them, for being that person and it's and it's OK if I'm not. You know I have different strengths. And there's other things that I'm willing to work hard on that others are not. And so and even in different seasons of my life, there's seasons when I'm going to have the time and the discipline to put into something that's important to me and there's going to be times and seasons where I might say I wish I had it. I wish I had the time and discipline for that right now. But right now, all of my energy is going into raising a child, starting a business, you know, whatever that is. And it was really helpful to, especially on the, on the physical side, you know, since I know that's what you talk about, but it's really easy to just assume that we know, assume that we know what someone's doing and to think that I should have what someone else has when I'm not willing to do what they do. It's slightly irrational. And it just sets me up to be disappointed because, you know, for instance, a friend who is very conscious about what she is consuming so she's careful and getting all of her, you know, vegetables and fruits. And she's drinking the water and she's working out every single day. Is that even rational for me to think that we should look the same when I go to the gym twice a week and I drink a cup of water in the morning and don't remember till bedtime to drink anything else and then eat trail mix mostly most of the day like that's not even rational, so it also helps me to be OK with where I am and be willing to say these are the choices I'm making right now for my life, and I'm OK with that. I can't expect to have a multimillion dollar business working 5 hours a week. That's not rational. You know when you see someone that's, you know, you think, oh, she's so successful, I don't know how she does it? Well, she's doing it because she's sacrificing other things in the moment, so we all have to decide what's most worth it and then have a lot of peace with the fact that this is what we've chosen for now.
Amber B 48:16
Yeah, I think it comes down to that idea that like you can only have so many priorities, right? And I think that you're speaking to is like we have to prioritize. Not everything in your life can be a priority and yeah you go through phases where one thing might be a priority and another phase or another thing, but I think we do ourselves a disservice and we rag on ourselves when we kind of feel like everything can and should be a priority at every stage of every point of our life and that is really discouraging because it like is just not possible. And you know I this was like, a really dumb moment for me but a really important one. I was reading something and they were talking about, you know, what are your priorities in your life and making the point that oftentimes there's a difference between what we say our priorities and then where we actually spend our time and the point was being made that like where you spend your time is actually, it doesn't matter what you say, your priorities are. It's where are you spending your time that you know that's what your priorities are. And it was kind of one of those like, you know, aha moments for me of saying, do if I made a list of what my priorities are and then I looked at the time I spent on things, would those lists match? And if there is a mismatch currently like what am I doing about that to actually put into place? What is the priority and spending my time on that and I think the more intentional we are about that, the more peace we can have because like you said, we can let go of saying this is a priority, this isn't, and I can let it go, and maybe I'm not going to get the, you know, the results that I would get if that was a priority. But I'm making that choice intentionally to have these other things be a priority. And I think that that helps us again have that autonomy, help us feel in control. And like, we can dictate life rather than life happening to us.
Brooke Romney 49:59
I really love that. I read something similar, but they used attention instead of time and it was a really good exercise for me too because I was getting a lot of attention to things that I didn't want to be my priority and so it was good for me to say OK. Like where? Like you said. Where am I off and what can I change and sometimes they're habits that are difficult to break. And sometimes adding the good things in our life takes some serious discipline and I think realizing that like this is going to be hard , like this is not going to be as fun as scrolling on my phone or this is you know, this is going to be much more difficult than that, but the rewards will be greater.
Amber B 50:43
Yeah, yeah, that's so good. So important. Oh my gosh, I mean we could like talk forever. Like I feel like there's so many things I want to like pick your brain on. Let's kind of wrap up with any personal story. Maybe you have about and it can be from a parenting perspective it can be from your own like growth perspective of where you had a challenging situation and how you addressed it. How you worked through it, and maybe some lessons that we can pull from it, I know it's a really broad question, but I feel like you have something.
Brooke Romney 51:12
I'm actually gonna share something that was really profound to me, so my first book is called I Like Me Anyway. And like I said, that was a spiritual self-help book and it took a lot of my heart and a lot of my creation and I put a lot out there about me and it was really hard and there was a publisher that said they wanted to publish it and I was really excited. And then they held on to the book for about 3 months and then said they were going to go in a different direction. And so I worked really hard to figure out the self-publishing world and overall, I'm very grateful for that opportunity but the part of the story that I want to share is I had been working for a year to get this book ready and I was so tired of it. I was tired of spending money I didn't have on it. It was just really. Really a lot. And so I had finally finished it. It was ready to go, type, set and I was going to send it in the next day for printing. And I got a phone call that day from an author that I respect so much. She's a friend, but I would have never asked her to volunteer. She's out of my price range. I would have never asked her to volunteer to read my book or help me fix it. And she said, hey, are you still self-publishing? I said yes. She's like, I would love to take a look at your book and see if I can help at all. And my first reaction was, oh, my word. That would be amazing. And my second reaction was, I want to be done with it like it's going to print tomorrow.
Amber B 52:46
Brooke Romney 52:46
So I said, well, I will. I'll stop the print. Like I'll stop the press. And I sent her the book. And I truly thought like, I thought it was great. I thought the book was great and it was ready and I was like OK, this will be fun. She's going to read it and just tell me how awesome it is.
Amber B 53:02
It's totally awesome.
Brooke Romney 53:02
And maybe find a period or a comma or, you know, whatever that's out of place and she called a couple days later and she's like, hey, can you come down to my house? I just, like, want to go over your book with you. And she sat it out on her ping pong table chapter by chapter. And she said so be like whenever I publish a book, I want every chapter to be great, not just good. And you have three good chapters. They're not great. So I think you should cut those out. And then she's like, and your primary theme is not your strongest theme. Your secondary theme is your strongest theme, and you need to make your secondary theme your primary theme and weave that into the book and I'm like well, that's like a full rewrite.
Amber B 53:44
Brooke Romney 53:44
Like that's a full, that's a full rewrite of this book and money was tight. I had paid editors and it was paid a typesetter, all this was going to have to be redone and in that moment, I thought I can either publish anyway and just go with it or I can do the work to make it great. Like take it from good to great and I chose to do the work and looking back from the original to what it had become. It was the most incredible blessing to have taken feedback and to be humble enough to realize that I don't know everything and that I need people. It was amazing to have somebody that loved me enough and cared about me enough to share hard things with me so that I could become better. And I think feedback is something that most of us have a really difficult time taking. We don't like to hear the things that are not great about us. And I resonate with that completely. But I also have seen that when we choose not to then we stayed good when we could be great. And it was the most profound experience for me to realize that this wasn't just about the book, this was about me and who I am and how I can improve and how I can become like a great version of who I already was and there was nothing wrong with the book but the changes allowed it to reach the people that really needed to be reached. It allowed it to touch the hearts of people who maybe would have read it and said that was nice. And as I think about that, I would like to be the type of person who's more than like ohh, that was nice. I'd like to be the type of person who could touch someone, who could change someone, who could make someone like feel very connected. And I think we can only do that when we're willing to listen to sometimes what is not so great about us right now and then being willing to take those really small steps like eating the apple, taking the walk, apologizing for something we didn't do well in parenting like these are small things. But those small things are really what take us from who we were to who we really want to be.
Amber B 56:11
Oh, that's awesome. That's really great. Will you pitch everybody on your books? I want to hear a little. Just like a little snippet about each book. And so that people who are listening can, like, either buy them all or like, figure out which of the books should I? Which of the books should I start with?
Brooke Romney 56:28
I would love to. So, my first book that I just talked about is called I Like Me Anyway. The subtitle is Embracing Imperfection, Connection and Christ. And I think that gives a really good overview of what that book is about. I talk a lot about parenting, but mostly my journey through accepting who I am and being willing to be less than perfect and really leaning on connection to Christ to fill in those gaps from where that perfectionism left me. My second book is well, there's two 52 Modern Manners For Today's Teens, versions one and two. And these are, you know, much less, much less serious, but they are tips for teens. They're in stand up books. All these books are stand up books and they have a manner on the front which is something like, you know this one says like introduce yourself. Things that seem like your kids should know, but we're finding that most kids don't know this.
Amber B 57:27
Never taught. Yeah.
Brooke Romney 57:27
Yep. So it, like, tells them how to introduce themselves. And then on the back, the why behind that manner. Parents can do these like one once, one every week. I love these books because they're displayable, so for teenagers who are less interested in learning from their parents, they can take it in on their own terms and feel like autonomous when they're learning about this. I found that teens really want to figure out how to be successful and some just need to know what that looks like, they just don't know how to do it. And these books break it down. So if you buy both books, there's 104 kind of life lessons. It's not about, like, table manners and things like that. It's really about teaching our kids how to be aware, connected and kind, which allows them to live much more successful lives. And then the last one is really similar. I just published it in October. It's called 52 Modern Manners For Kids. It's very similar, but this is for an age group between like 4 and 12 and really, really similar. But the manner actually. So there's a manner and then it breaks it down. And then because this is for younger kids, it gives you the why like a very succinct why. And then on the back it says, let's practice. And it gives some role plays so that you can work through those as a family, it helps them understand nuance, and then it allows you to make sure that they know how to put the manners into practice and they have all just been really successful for families. My goal was to take things that so often we learn from books or podcasts, and then we don't implement the things that we've learned and I wanted something where this was, this went beyond that was a nice idea. I wanted these to be ideas that changed families, that gave kids and parents confidence to live those connected and successful lives. And so really in less than 5 minutes. And for I think they're like $22.00. You have a whole year's worth of great table discussions that empower kids like we talked about to be more autonomous and to own their story and to be able to live a life that they're really proud of.
Amber B 59:34
Oh, how cool. OK, so we will link all of those up in the show notes. So we'll if you want to go and get any of those books, we'll have the links that you can do that. Brooke, this has been awesome. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing so much with my audience. I just have just really enjoyed this conversation. And I know the people listening will as well, if they're wanting to connect with you, where can they find you?
Brooke Romney 59:55
Yeah. Come on Instagram, really active over there, Brooke Romney Writes. I think you will love the community and just thank you so much. This has been a really interesting conversation. Allows me to really reflect and I love what you do for your community and helping them, you know, be healthy in every way.
Amber B 01:00:12
Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Brooke.
Wasn't that such a fantastic episode? I mean, Brooke is so eloquent and well-spoken and just a wealth of knowledge, I told her after we hit, you know, stop on the recording that I was just excited to have my husband listen to this episode and kind of pow wow together about some of our parenting that we're doing. Because we're in the thick of it as well. Our youngest is 9, our oldest 16. We have two teenagers. We're definitely in that like parenting phase and kind of like to talk about on the episode where you feel like, yeah I got this parenting thing figured out. And then two months later, you're like, I don't know anything. Everything changed as the kids all you know, change and grow and need new things. So parenting is definitely one of those wild rides that, you know, we just get to hang on for dear life and try to enjoy through the different phases. As a reminder, I've linked all of the books that Brooke talks about at the end of episode up on to the show notes. So if you go to bicepsafterbabies.com/303, just the episode number. Then we'll have all those links easy and available, and you can get all those books on Amazon. That wraps up this episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm Amber, now go out and be strong because remember my friend you can do anything.
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