Gear up to supercharge your mom skills with the incredible Kendra Hennessy, the founder of Mother Like a Boss! She's not just your average advice giver – she's here to revolutionize the way you handle cleaning and routines. Tune in as we dive deep into our connection with cleanliness, conquering self-sabotage, battling overwhelm, and banishing that all-or-nothing attitude. Kendra's no-nonsense, authentic style will have you hooked, ensuring this episode is an absolute must-listen jam-packed with wisdom and inspiration!
Find show notes at bicepsafterbabies.com/292
- Kendra’s credentials 06:17
- How to avoid being overwhelmed by cleaning 10:50
- Tangible hacks in cleaning 15:07
- Self-care and setting boundaries 22:30
- How to prioritize self-care and boundaries 32:38
- Kendra’s favorite routines 38:12
- How to remove judgment 42:46
You're listening to Biceps After Babies Radio Episode 292.
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 the episode of Biceps After Babies Radio. I'm your host Amber Brueseke and I'm very excited because today on the podcast I have my friend Kendra Hennessy. She is the founder and owner of Mother Like a Boss. Side note, isn't that like the best name? I just love her brand name, but we have a fantastic conversation, one that needs to be had around cleaning, routines, boundaries, self-care and removing judgment when it comes to you and your home and the cleanliness of it. So, one of the things that I love about Kendra and you'll see this very quickly in the episode is that she is known for teaching about cleaning in her teens. So, if you go to her Instagram, you'll learn a lot about cleaning and how to have a clean house and how to build routines and things like that. But it's, she doesn't just stop there, she goes a lot deeper with it, and you'll see that in the episode as we go beyond just how to clean your kitchen into our relationship that we have with cleanliness. The judgments that sometimes come up when we have not a clean house. How a lot of times we sabotage ourselves in when we are trying to keep things clean or create routines and how we get into overwhelm, and how we have a lot of All or Nothing thinking when it comes to cleaning. So, it's a really fun conversation because a lot of the same themes that I touch on in MACROS 101 or in my coaching or in here on the podcast, show up in this other realm of cleaning and it's just it's such a fun experience to be able to hear somebody else talk about not judging yourself in a realm that's totally outside the realm of fitness, because it's something that I teach a lot. Same thing with, like breaking through overwhelm, you know, it's just fun to hear it in a completely different context. So, Kendra's phenomenal, she tells it like it is, she's one of my favorite people on Instagram because of her ability to just say it how it is. And I really think that you're going to love this episode, so let's jump into the interview with Kendra.
Amber B 02:56
All right, I am super excited to invite my friend and fellow podcaster Kendra onto the podcast. Kendra, thanks for being here today.
Kendra Hennessy 03:05
Thank you for inviting me. That was such a great text message to get when you asked me to come on. I was like absolutely, I'd love to come on podcast.
Amber B 03:11
Oh my gosh. So I was telling Kendra before we hit record that I just love listening to her. And I love listening to her stories. Because she's one of these people who just like. Well freaking say it as it is. And just like all the all truth bombs all the time. So, this is gonna be a fantastic conversation because I know Kendra’s like not gonna hold back. It's just going to share all of her wisdom with us today.
Kendra Hennessy 03:32
I am going to try. And as I've gotten older, I've realized that that can be a good thing because I think when I was younger, I was thought like, oh, I shouldn't say the truth. I shouldn't say how it is because you know of the way that girls kind of did it always felt bossy or something.
Amber B 03:45
Kendra Hennessy 03:45
And now I'm like, I make my living doing this now. It's fine.
Amber B 03:48
It's fine. I have a free pass to do it.
Kendra Hennessy 03:51
Amber B 03:51
OK. So, for people who are just now getting introduced to you, tell us a little bit about you.
Kendra Hennessy 03:56
Yeah, absolutely. So, I'm Kendra Hennessy. I'm the founder of Mother Like a Boss. And what I tell people I do is that I make house cleaning more doable for regular moms so that you're spending less time tidying your space and more time actually enjoying your life. So, I'm very passionate about teaching folks out there all the cleaning and sort of home management skills they didn't learn growing up, but they're the thing that that really is most important to me is that it's done from a very nonjudgmental place in a very understanding and compassion based place because I am all about bringing a lot of neutrality to cleaning. I'm a big believer in that cleaning is a neutral act. It's just a thing we do. We are people that observe messes. We are not messes ourselves. And so, if you can learn skills and methods that make cleaning and managing your home much easier then all of a sudden it becomes easier for you to just manage those day-to-day things and you're not also feeding into the tropes of what it means to have a messy house or a clean house or anything like that. So really kind of come from a very judge, non-judgmental space of just neutral methodology of managing your home. So that's kind of what we do at Mother Like a Boss.
Amber B 05:10
I feel like there's like, so much to unpack there. Then we could like spend like so much time just on this idea of, like, that's a mess. Not I am a mess of like, identifying with our home. I think that like there's so much there and so much programming that happens that we do start to internalize, messaging around our home is a reflection of us, and mess is a reflection of us. And I know as a young mother when I was up to my, you know, neck in babies and messes. And things like it weighs on you, of like this expectation of how your home is supposed to be. So one of the things that I love about Kendra, it's like, yeah, I could invite a cleaning expert to come on and just talk about, like, what, laundry detergent to use, but what I love about how Kendra approaches that is, it's much more holistic and it's like a deeper dive into why we do what we do, how we can break free from some of these unhealthy patterns that we get into. And that's really what we're going to kind of cover today. Will you give us a little background like, I like want to say this nicely, but why do you have any, why are you telling people how to clean their house? Like what credentials do you have?
Kendra Hennessy 06:17
Why should people listen to me?
Amber B 06:18
Why should people listen to you Kendra?
Kendra Hennessy 06:21
Yes, that's a great question. And I say that a lot I'm like, why should you listen to me? I'm not just someone to like showed up on the scene yesterday. And I'm like, I'll just teach you how to clean and in fact not to throw any shade, but this is at an actual problem that I'm trying to help people with, too is that now with TikTok, we're seeing a lot of this clean talk of people giving really bad and dangerous advice to people like dangerous, bad advice that can actually do damage to themselves in their homes. So that's like now I'm trying to undo some of that. So, flashing back many years, I went to college and in my last semester, I dropped out. At the time, I didn't think I was dropping out. I thought I was just taking a break.
Amber B 07:01
Kendra Hennessy 07:01
Which a lot of people do. Just taking a break. Because I realized I did not want to go into teaching like I thought I did. And so, I was trying to find my way and a friend of mine had a neighbor that had just moved there and had a cleaning business where she lived like 20 minutes away and she was trying to then kind of like start it more here, bring some, you know, have clientele in this area and she needed someone to work with her. And I was like, well, I like cleaning. I'm good at cleaning. I've always been kind of like I was always that kid that, like, liked helping their friends clean their rooms and stuff. So, I thought this would be a good thing for me to do to just make some money. I was also waitressing just for the next couple of months till I figure out how, what I'm going to do when I go back College and I did that for a while and I loved it. I really enjoyed doing it. I learned a lot from this woman I was working with and she had a chronic illness and she just realized, like, this wasn't something that she could be doing a lot. And so I kind of just took over and started my own cleaning business like I put it under my name and did all the business-y things, and this was back in 2006. Now what I didn't say is that I also was pregnant at the time. So, it all happened at that I did not intend to start a business. I also did not intend to have a baby. My husband and I got engaged about four months later. I found out I was pregnant. Sometimes these things happens, so it all sort of happened at the same time and which was great. And in hindsight it taught me a lot. So, I ran the cleaning business for, you know, many years and what was great is that back then we didn't have YouTube and social media and all of that stuff. So, I thought I was really good at cleaning. And then I realized, as I was doing my cleaning business, I'm like, I'm not as good as I thought I was, and things were taking me way longer. And so I started to do a lot more research and I got on like cleaning forums and I got on cleaning business forums and I was learning tactics and methods and what to use and what not to use and why to use certain things and why not to use and like all I was doing so much research and then testing things and doing things in my own home and learning things from clients that like they would use a product and I was like, oh, that's interesting. Like, why do you do that and just developing that over time. And so, I did that for 11 years. So, I was cleaning. We also did a ton of clean out, so like residential, you know a lot. We live in like a very, in the summer, it's a touristy area. So, we did a lot of like weekly turnarounds of cleaning and we lived near the Navy housing, so I had hundreds and hundreds of cleanups there. So, the whole point being that I learned a lot and I got really good at it. And I became fast and efficient and effective. And so that's where my education comes from was that I literally ran a cleaning business and also I'm a mom. So right now I have a 16-year old and a 10-year old, so you know, I was also then at home cleaning my own house, managing my own house, running a business and had kids. So then that's sort of where the Mother Like a Boss part came in after I, you know, when I started Mother Like a Boss in 2016 it was merging those two things together. Like the cleaning is great. But if you can learn how to clean but if you're also tending to all of the other things in your life, the kids, running a business, a job, your spouse or partner work. I mean, so much of the other stuff I wanted it to be, as you said, holistic. So it was the methods that you can learn, I mean you can learn that anywhere, you can go on YouTube and and just search how to clean the kitchen. Well, you can get a lot of answers for that, but how do I incorporate that in my day-to-day life? How do I shift my mindset around what it even means to have a clean kitchen? How do I not care when there are messes? How do I decide what's important to me to even clean? All of that stuff. So, that's kind of where my expertise lies.
Amber B 10:50
OK. That's so good. So you touched on something that I would love to elaborate on and that is, you know, as moms, as people who clean our own houses, it can often feel like it never ends like, it is a mountain without a top. It can feel overwhelming. And just like it's never gonna end like things are always gonna get dirty, things are always gonna need to be cleaned. And that can be a hard thing to swallow sometimes. So how do we adopt a realistic approach that doesn't feel super stressful, doesn't feel like we're on this treadmill that's never going to stop and get some satisfaction out of a thing that never will end?
Kendra Hennessy 11:27
Yeah, and I this is one of those things that I've mulled over for years and years and the answer lies within the question, because the truth is that cleaning is a process, not a project. And when you start to adopt that mindset of, this is a process, this is maintenance, I am going to maintain that and I know that you talk about that in your own business too that everyone approaches even like weight loss and nutrition. It's just like one and done, I just do it right if and can you just tell me how to do this in six months then I never have to worry about it again. And it's like, No, there are different things. There are times where you're going to be focusing on maybe Spring cleaning your house, you're going to do it all, but guess what? That's only going to last so long. And then you're gonna have to maintain it so the answer a lot of times is in the shift in thinking and recognizing that this is a process. It's not a project that I have to do. I have to do all the time and I often say to my students. Like the fact that I know that there's always going to be another thing to clean now is freeing to me, it's a very freeing thought because I don't focus on it being all done. I just go. I'm going to focus on the priorities right now. And there are ways to do that. And I talked about, you know, route to having a really good routine is really the crux of it is having a realistic routine that works for you in your season of life. But a lot of the overwhelm comes from the fact that we are always viewing things from like I am obligated to have a spotless home all the time. And so, if it's not all clean at the same time, then it's not even worth doing at all versus, well, this is maintenance and I'm going to have to continue to do this and letting that be a little bit freeing that's just a simple shift.
Amber B 13:09
How do we start to let go of feeling like our home is a reflection of us? Because I think, I mean, I think that's what you're speaking to is this idea is like if my home is not all clean at the same time, then if people come into my home or visitors come, it's a reflection of me and they're going to think I'm a bad housekeeper. They're gonna think I'm a bad mom. They're gonna think I'm sloppy and whatever judgments come up. So how do we let go of that connection that we have to in our living space?
Kendra Hennessy 13:36
Yeah, this is so, I actually think that there's a part of me that would almost want to say that your home should be a reflection of you, but not in the way you think. So, a lot of times we're trying to project what our home that it's supposed to look a certain way. It's supposed to be a certain way versus allowing your home to be a reflection of your priority. So, what I mean by that is, you know we have students sometimes that have said like we really, really love doing, just like projects in our home, just craft projects and art and we home school and I always feel like I shouldn't have this stuff all over the place because that's kind of cluttered and I'm like but that's your priority, your value lies in the fact that you have. These bookcases full of, you know, little cubbies that you can your kids can always pull up because that's the value of yours. If I came into your home and took all of that away and instead put some really nice Wayfair furniture in there. Well, that might look nice, but is that serving you? Is that really a reflection of you and your values and your priorities? No, what people have to do is they think that they're supposed to project a version of themselves that is palatable to someone else.
Amber B 14:52
Kendra Hennessy 14:53
And so my truth ‘bout me thing is to say, stop inviting people over to your house that have judgments about your house.
Amber B 15:00
Kendra Hennessy 15:00
Stop inviting people over, they don't belong in your in your home. This is my home. And if you have a judgment about it, you can go to your own home.
Amber B 15:07
That's right. No, that's so good, it is so true though. I, yeah, I love that reframe. OK, so for the never-ending household chores that we have and the cleaning. I know people are always looking for hacks and tips and things to like make it manageable and feel like you can get things done in a short amount of time and you don't spend all of your day cleaning. So do you have three like super tangible hacks that people could use to be able to like, OK, I'm gonna actually put this into practice. Kendra taught me this. I'm gonna put into practice and see how it goes.
Kendra Hennessy 15:40
Yeah, I'm. I'm a big fan of hacks being more like methods because a lot of times people will, they'll go searching for hacks on like Pinterest because that's like the big thing now. It's like, you know, hacks for everything, laundry hacks and it's like, well, the best laundry hack is to like do your laundry like the best hack. Like you can get a better laundry system. You can get a better a hamper, like people always looking for like the thing. And it's like at the end of the day, if you don't put your clothes in the washing machine, it's not going to do your laundry for you. So, for me, I kind of narrowed down three things that I am always telling my audience. The first one is create a routine around the life you have instead of around trying to fit your life into your routine. So, what a lot of people do as they go online, and they search like cleaning routine for stay-at-home Mom, and they think I'm going to get this. I'm going to get this printable, I'm going to buy it from Etsy, I'm going to download it for free. Whatever it is and then they try to squeeze that routine into their or I'm sorry they try to. Yeah, squeeze that into their life. They try to take their life and they take this principle, and they go. I'm going to jam my life, right into this routine.
Amber B 16:54
As if every stay at home mom is exactly the same.
Kendra Hennessy 16:57
Yes, correct. As if everyone's schedule is the same, as if everyone’s home is the same, as if everyone’s like energy levels are the same or capabilities are the same and so what I am a huge promoter of is creating routines around the life you already have and it is such a small thing, but your cleaning routine can literally be 5 minutes at a time. The greatest cleaning hack, the greatest hack that I have for people is to do things 5 minutes at a time. Just set a timer for 5 minutes and do it because what a lot of times we're waiting for and I know many of us and I fall victim to this, too, is I'm like, well, I don't have an hour so, I'll do nothing like I'm sure people do that with working out, right?
Amber B 17:40
Yeah. There’s so many correlations.
Kendra Hennessy 17:41
Well, I don’t have an hour to work out. I’m not going to work out at all.
Amber B 17:45
Kendra Hennessy 17:46
Because I do that sometimes, I'm like, well, I only have a half an hour. And I really should do like 45 minutes, so I guess I'll do No minutes, I guess that.
Amber B 17:54
That's sounds better in my mind.
Kendra Hennessy 17:56
It's better in my mind. Ohh, wait until I have that time. We're never gonna have that time, so creating the routine around the life you already have versus trying to squeeze your life into a pre-made routine is the is number one hack that I have. The second one is to keep your supplies where you use them. This is the simplest cleaning hack that I have had more people messaged me over the years and be like this changed my life and changed the way that I did things. A lot of us grew up in an era where you're like, cleaning supplies stayed in one space in your house. Like for me when I was growing up it was under the sink, under the kitchen sink. That's where there was like a bucket of cleaning supplies. Right. Or laundry room. Well, the problem with that is I'm going to take you through a quick scenario. Say you're upstairs in your bathroom and you're like you know what, I got a few minutes. You're like, I'd listen to that, that podcast episodes. And I'm going to take Kendra's advice, I'm going to clean for 5 minutes, I'm just going to clean the vanity, but you're like crap. I don't have the cleaning stuff. It's downstairs. What is going to happen in the time it takes you to walk from your bathroom upstairs to the kitchen?
Amber B 18:59
You're going to find something else to do. You're going to get lost. You're going to start scrolling on your phone. It's like anything else, but actually get that thing and go back to
Kendra Hennessy 19:07
I'm going to make myself a snare. Yeah, I'm going to notice something on the TV.
Amber B 19:09
The kids are gonna need something like you're not going back.
Kendra Hennessy 19:13
Yes, so set yourself up for success by keeping supplies where you use them. So, an example of this is in each bathroom in our house, we have 3 bathrooms in our house. I just keep a couple of things. I keep, you know, whatever I'm using to clean. So, it's all-purpose cleaner. I leave some rags, I leave a magic eraser and I leave some glass cleaner. Something like that. I have that in every bathroom. And then you can also do it floor by floor. So, if you have say, a two-story home, you could keep dust supplies upstairs and downstairs. You don't have to keep each individual thing you use in every single room of your house, but more in those sections of where you use them. We have, like we have all hardwood floors throughout our house. So, I have, you know, a Swiffer dust floor cleaner upstairs and downstairs. So that when I see, oh, I need to clean my floors upstairs, I just do it real quick. It takes me 5 minutes, but I know myself and if I have to walk downstairs, I will get distracted by something. Or I will lose in the 60 seconds it takes me to do that, I'll lose momentum. I will lose forget it. I'm not going to do that. So keeping your supplies where you use them is a game changer.
Amber B 20:25
That's good. That's so brilliant. Yeah, number three?
Kendra Hennessy 20:27
Number three, get rid of more of your stuff, declutter as much as possible. I know that that's a separate beast and of itself. Decluttering and editing is what I call it more than decluttering. Just because it puts more of a positive spin on it that is separate than cleaning, so even just the definitions like cleaning is the removal of dust, debris or dirt. Like, that's what cleaning is. Decluttering is kind of the removal of your stuff, but the less stuff you have, the less you have to clean. And when I was cleaning people's houses, the people that had more clutter, it took me sometimes twice as long to clean their house, which meant they were spending more money just for me to work around their stuff. But the houses that had less stuff, if you think of a countertop, a countertop that has less stuff, can be cleaned pretty quickly. A countertop that has stuff all over it, you have to move things. You have to put things away. You have to maneuver. It just takes longer, so it's get incorporating editing into your even into your cleaning routines, which is what I advocate people doing can really save you a lot of time, over time.
Amber B 21:36
That's really good. I love those. Those are awesome. I'm definitely, I'm going to, I'm with you with the like if I have to go down the stairs and come back up the stairs, it's just not going to happen. So I like the idea of having things on two levels because I don't know, the stairs are just like a boundary. I'm like not going to come back, not going to come back up the stairs.
Kendra Hennessy 21:53
Yeah. You feel like you've entered another world I feel when I leave my upstairs or my downstairs. I have now come into a different world and my set of priorities have completely changed, so just to have it right there, it's so easy for me to just grab something and clean it really quick. That's why I say it's so easy for me to clean my bathroom like twice a week, people are like, Oh my gosh, I don't think my bathroom twice a week. Like, you don't have to. But if I notice, there's stuff, I have long hair, if I notice there's a bunch of hair on the vanity. It takes me 60 seconds to clean that off versus if I had to go get the stuff for it, it wouldn't happen anyway.
Amber B 22:27
It wouldn't happen. Yeah, amen.
Kendra Hennessy 22:28
Amber B 22:30
One of the things that you talk a lot about and I think is something that will be really awesome for my audience and I think it women in general, we really suck at this. And so I love to talk about setting boundaries because I think that is essential for our well-being, it's well essential for our mental health, especially as women and especially as mothers. And yet I find so many women resistant to self-care and setting boundaries. I want to talk about both. They're a little bit different. So how do we set boundaries to be able to prioritize ourselves and avoid the inevitable burnout that comes when we don't set boundaries?
Kendra Hennessy 23:06
Yeah, this, I love this topic because I love the topic of boundaries. This is something that in my own life I thought that I had really good boundaries and then I realized, as you know, in adulthood, as one gets older, like, oh, I don't think I have this kind of boundaries as I thought that I did. So, something that I think is that the first thing to do, it may sound silly, but it's decide the boundaries you actually want and need. It's kind of like setting goals where it's like a lot of people skip that step. They even, they skip the step of even asking what do I want?
Amber B 23:39
What do I want? Yeah.
Kendra Hennessy 23:39
What are the areas that I even want to set boundaries in, you know if it's with family, if it's with friends, if it's with yourself, I know that's where I struggle the most is boundaries with myself. I'm really good at kind of setting boundaries with my children at this point, but it's the setting boundaries with myself. Sometimes it's difficult, so it's really.
Amber B 23:58
Can I pause you there because I want to hear from you, how do you know when you need to set a boundary? like, what is an indication to you that like, here's a place that I need to set a boundary, whether it's with your kids or yourself or your spouse or who family, whatever, I want to know what that indication is to you cause I think sometimes women even struggle like, knowing where to set a boundary because they don't know what the indication should be that a boundary is needed here.
Kendra Hennessy 24:22
Sure. For me the number one emotion that I feel that I lean into his resentment. If I start feeling resentful, that is an automatic, like, oh, this should have been a boundary almost like this should have been a, No, you don't. If you think about it, we all have been in the situation where we've been. Something has been asked of us. We've been asked to do something for someone else. It could be that and you reluctantly say yes, you, you and you're like I really don't want to say Yes, but you're like OK. Yeah, and this that can't you say yes. You're like, why did I say that?
Amber B 24:58
Why did I say yes?
Kendra Hennessy 25:00
How can I get out of this? right and so to me and then that also, that's not only momentarily, but it can happen over time, so if you lack boundaries with say, your mom, you know, then that something that can brew that resentment over time so that almost like each interaction you have with that person. It's like that resentment is coming up in that situation. So, like every time they text you, you're feeling resentful because there's not a boundary in place, and when we start to like feel resentful, we also start to then blame the other person, but it's like, well, they can't honor or respect the boundary they don't know exists. If they don't know that that boundary is even in place, how would they know to respect it or not respect it? So, for me, I'm sure there are other answers, but for me the indicator is resentment. I know that that's a place I need to dig in and kind of create a boundary when I feel resentful.
Amber B 25:55
Is that the same for when you need to create a boundary with yourself?
Kendra Hennessy 26:00
Yes, I think we're, for me because my self-sabotage, my like top self-sabotage of all time is avoidance. So, when I'm starting to feel very avoidant of something, I realize that there is probably a boundary in place, either with time or energy that I need to put into place. Because it's usually some kind I mean, there's a lot of layers to that too, but that's usually for boundaries myself as avoidance because I know that that is my self-sabotage.
Amber B 26:32
Yeah, so, so knowing yourself of like, where, how do you typically self-sabotage can be an indication that hey, maybe there's something to look a little closer here. Maybe it's the boundary that needs to be put in place.
Kendra Hennessy 26:43
Amber B 26:44
So, how do we do that? So, we have identified, Hey, maybe I'm feeling some resentment. Maybe a boundary is needed, but for someone who feels like they've never created boundaries and I talked to a lot of women who have literally never created a boundary in their life. How do we walk them through effectively setting that boundary so that they can maintain their sanity and their peace?
Kendra Hennessy 27:02
Yeah, I think that much like a lot of other answers out there. It's just smart, start really small. You know, much like a lot of things where we're always like wanting to jump in like head first. Like well, I don't have any boundaries, so I'm going to go from no boundaries to like being the boundary Queen. And that's like a huge jump. So how about we try just saying no to one thing like one small thing that where maybe the the stakes are not very high. You know, just something like really simple, like a request that somebody has of you, it's also maybe to I think that the greatest place to start is with a trusted person in your life. So, like if I were struggling with that, it might be like my sister, who is my best friend, and she also respects me and honors me. I trust her, so that might be a place where I might start that. Because I know that there's really not going to be pushback because she respects my boundaries. But say there's someone else in my life who does not tend to honor or respect to the people's boundaries. And that might be like that might be a next step to go to.
Amber B 28:09
Like level 10.
Kendra Hennessy 28:10
Yes, that's like we're building up here.
Amber B 28:12
Kendra Hennessy 28:12
I think another part of this, too, is understanding before you even go into it, that there are going to be people who don't like your boundaries. But one of my favorite quotes that I've heard said in many different ways is that the people who are going to get the most mad about your boundaries are the people that need it the most because for instance, if I have someone in my life that I respect and they sort of set a boundary with me with and we didn't even talk about like what boundaries are. But if I ask them to do something, if I ask them for something they're like, oh, actually I'm not available to do that. They know that I'm not going to be like you never do anything for me. You know, like it's you're so selfish. I'm gonna go, Oh, well, thank you, thank you so much for answering. And that's gonna like we're gonna be on our way. But someone that doesn't, you're going to say that too. And they might have those reactions, and realizing that that doesn't mean you should have said yes.
Amber B 29:07
Kendra Hennessy 29:07
I think that's one of the biggest problems with boundaries is that when people get pushed back, they automatically think they were wrong. Oh, I shouldn't have done that, no, actually that's an indication you should have Yes, because that's an indication that there is a lot of struggle within either that interpersonal relationship or in that situation and a big part of this is recognizing that other people's emotions are theirs to manage, and they are not ours to manage, especially disappointment because a lot of times, boundaries and disappointment go hand in hand. Kind of like the resentment. And for me it's, I had to learn that it's not my job to make other people happy. And it's not my job to micromanage their emotions, and people are allowed to feel disappointed. Sometimes we say no and they are disappointed and both of those things are allowed to exist at the same time. People say no to me sometimes and I'm disappointed. It doesn't mean they should have said yes.
Amber B 30:03
Right. That’s a such an important distinction. Brené Brown says that boundaries are the distance which I can love both you and me simultaneously, and I love that explanation. It is a distance that needs to happen so that I don't have to self-betray and I can love you like I can love you better at XYZ distance and I can continue to love myself. Because what happens for a lot of people pleasers is they don't set boundaries because they want to love other people and they think it's more lovable to not have boundaries, but at the cost of self-betrayal. And then that's not a healthy relationship either. So, I love that explanation of boundaries by Queen Brene.
Kendra Hennessy 30:44
Oh my gosh, Brené, that is the best quote. I love that when she said that I was like, that's exactly what it is, because a lot of times people and I had to explain this to a couple of people, like people see boundaries as like a really tall like wall, like an impenetrable wall. And I'm like your boundaries, I mean, we have picket fences around our yards. Those are boundaries, doesn't mean someone could hop over it you know what I mean? But it creates sort of a visual boundary of a space. And so your boundaries with different people are going to look different like my boundaries with my husband are going to look very different than my boundaries with my daughter or my boundaries with my sister like they're all going to look a little bit different and it also depends on like the trust factor too and something I do want to say about people pleasing because I know that this comes up a lot and around boundaries and mom guilt. And all of that stuff is like there is a really tough truth to people pleasing and that it is often it has nothing to do with other people because people pleasing is very often about avoiding discomfort. I want to make you happy and not necessarily because I want to make you happy, but because I don't want you to be unhappy with me, because if you're unhappy with me then I have to deal with the confrontation and the discomfort of how that makes me feel. So, notice how many times I said me.
Amber B 32:08
Kendra Hennessy 32:08
And not you in that situation, but we view people pleasing. It's like, no, I can't have boundaries because then I'm not pleasing them and I'm like, but you're not doing it for them. You're doing it for you. So, you're avoiding the discomfort of how you will feel in that situation and that was a boon one for me learning as being like well, am I really a people pleaser or am I really am me pleaser? just amusing other people as me because I'm trying to avoid again, avoiding discomfort.
Amber B 32:38
Yeah. That's super good. Really, really insightful. So, in a society that really, I feel like we're told in so many ways that especially as moms, that we should prioritize everybody else's happiness, mostly our children's and our spouses above our own. And that makes us a good mom, right? That's the hallmark of a good mom is like, the selfless woman who just gives everything for everybody else. How do we start to prioritize self-care and boundaries and things that we need to be healthy ourselves? I think so many women struggle with that guilt, that mom guilt of feeling like I can't do anything for myself because it means I'm taking from my children. And that idea of again wanting to be selfless, wanting to get to everybody else, how do we start to help moms to break free of that?
Kendra Hennessy 33:24
Yeah, I think that one of the biggest parts of this is realizing that it's not a zero sum game. It's not like if I take care of myself, then I'm not taking care of my children.
Amber B 33:34
Kendra Hennessy 33:34
And in fact we all know the trope of like fill your cup so you can pour to other people, and I'm like but why don't you fill your cup just because you're worthy of having a full cup like I'm just, I'm worthy of having a full cup, even if that doesn't pour over to other people, because at the end of the day, everybody is responsible for pouring into their own cup. Now, as a mother, it is my responsibility to create a safe and empowering, good, healthy environment for my children and also teach them how to pour into their own cups and I love that my kids watch their mother take care of herself, especially as a mom of a daughter and knowing that if she gets older and chooses to have children or not. But even a woman in a society that doesn't have children knowing like you know what I saw my mom really take care of herself and take care of her needs and set boundaries and say no when things didn't, you know when things didn't go in the direction of her values. And I'm, I know that I can do the same, but often we're kind of passing that same thing down like the selfless mom, the mom that doesn't eat any food until anyone else is eating, she eats cold food and stuff and it's like, but then we're just passing that same thing down to our children and that's not helpful. I also think that we have to choose self-care that feels good for us, because self-care is going to look different for each person, you know self-care isn't always about the really, really fun good things like taking a bath or getting a manicure like those can be great, but self-care can also mean going to therapy. It can also be the difficult things we do, but they are caring for ourselves. And overall, they will make such a huge impact. So, each person I think realizing like, what does self-care look like for me? What would help me to feel better? Is it a time out? Is it like a time away? Is it those like fun really nourishing things that I do for my body? Is it nourishing things I do for my soul? Yeah, choose what works for you.
Amber B 35:46
Gosh, I just want to like, say Amen to the like you said why can't I just fill my cup because I'm worthy of having a full cup. Not because I like have to pour to other people. I just think that that is such an important reframe because I think it's sneaky in the way that we use that analogy, which I'm sure most people have heard. We use that analogy as still an enabling way to say that your most important thing is to pour into other people, but in order to do that, you have to pour into yourself. But it's so sneaky that the end sum is to then pour to other people. And I'm not saying that we shouldn't be helpful and good citizens and like, be good to other people like that I'm not. That's what I'm not saying. I'm not saying that, but you are worthy to have a full cup, even if you don't choose to pour into anybody else. And I think that's a missing piece for a lot of a lot of women. So man, I want all the amens.
Kendra Hennessy 36:38
Oh, well, thank you. Yes, that, that's I do it is so sneaky. You're right. That's the word. It's very sneaky because again, it makes it sound like it's all about you, but it's not. And the interesting irony there is that when I am able to fill my own cup, so to speak, when I am able to care for my mind, body, spirit, for me I am a way better mom. Way better wife. Way better friend and business owner and citizen in this world because I feel full. You know it almost reminds me of, like, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, where it's like. But when you are not like fed. You know when your basic physiological needs aren't met. You can't get to self-actualization. You literally can't think because your belly is hungry. And the same goes a lot for just the way that we act and like, like, think of how it feels when you're a new mom and you're exhausted. You're just exhausted because you're not sleeping, a lot of times like we don't have any control over that cause babies just don't sleep. But think about how we are literally doing that to ourselves for years and years and years after our babies and children are sleeping, we're just exhausting ourselves in other ways that we can control, and then we're not able to be our best self. We're not able to make really good choices and I just I would rather take care of myself and know that because I am then passing that on in some way to other people and being a better person for the people in my life.
Amber B 38:12
Super good. It's really good. I know you are the queen of routines. And I there's probably some people who are listening, who struggle with routines, and it feels really constrictive and they want to be a free spirit and all these things. And so sometimes I feel like hearing other people’s routines at least like trigger something or can give us ideas. So, what are some of your very favorite routines that just, that work for you. Not because they will work for somebody else, but because maybe it will spark an idea for someone of like, Oh, I've never tried that. Or maybe I could riff off of that a little bit. So, what are your very favorite routines that work for you?
Kendra Hennessy 38:46
Yeah. First of all, I do want to say too that about routines, especially if there's people listening that are. That like free spirit. And no, I don't want to be restricted and stuff. We all have routine. Every single person in the world has routines. You just may not notice it. If you can predict what you're going to do, how you're going to do something tomorrow morning? You have a routine. I've often said chaos is a routine, you've just lost control of it. Like if you were late to work every single day,
Amber B 39:11
That's your routine.
Kendra Hennessy 39:12
That’s what, that’s your routine and there's nothing. It's not judgmental. It's just, it's like people who go, Oh my gosh, I never even thought of that. Like that is the routine. So, the way I like to think of routines is like a palm tree, where if you've seen a palm tree during a storm, it can sway, but it doesn't come out of the ground. It's still rooted in there and that's I like my routines and the way that I teach them to be very flexible, very like that you can always kind of flex them a little bit, but they're there to support you. So, one of my favorite routines is just having a nighttime routine. Having something that I do each day or some things that I do each night that really set up my next day for success. Because we have this theory in Mother Like a Boss of like your future self of the different person and always recognizing that person as like worthy of being set up for success much like you would a friend. It's like if I knew my friend would, could be set up by me doing 10 minutes of work, right now I would do it in a heartbeat. I'd be of course I'm going to do 10 minutes of stuff to set up my friend. She's my buddy, I want her to be set up. We don't do that for ourselves, we're like, no, no, tomorrow morning me will be much more motivated to do that.
Amber B 40:19
Kendra Hennessy 40:21
She won't. She's not only gonna be not motivated. She's gonna be angry that she you did not do this for her. So, doing the stuff at night, I started doing that, I feel like I really leaned into that after I had my son, my second, because I went through a lot of postpartum anxiety after him and we were struggling more financially than ever before, and I had a six year old and now I had a new baby and it just all these hormones and I realized there was so much out of my control. And I started to do things at night, like just to set my next day up for success because it felt like control to me. It felt like in this out of control world, I could at least control everything I did at night and that started the habit of like oh, I can do that. No, I and I had done that in younger years, but I feel like it wasn't as habitual and now I still continue that and my kids are 16 and 10 and I don't have to, I work from home, I don't have to set up a lot of the things I do. I could do it in the morning. But I love that we now have adopted this sort of as a family that we just set things up. My daughter does things now to set herself up for the next day. She comes home, she makes her lunch for the next day, puts it in the fridge. It's also that the next day is set up for success because the and the reason I choose the nighttime and many of your listeners will probably understand this is my evening is within my control, but my morning often is not, because my evening, the only thing I'm up against is going to bed. But in the morning, you don't know how you're going to sleep at night. You don't know how your kids are going to sleep at night. You don't know if you're going to accidentally snooze through your alarm. You don't like there’s so much that you're up against in the morning, you're more. You're more tired, but in the evening. I'm so much more in control of that time period. And if the evening doesn't work for you, I often tell people to do it in the afternoon or right after they get home from work, where they still have the momentum. Like get home when your kids get home from school, packing their lunch for the next day immediately, filling their water bottles immediately, doing that stuff where you have the momentum already. So that you're just doing it right then. So for me, it's the evening, for you it might be right after school, but finding those almost like those times where you're setting your future self up for success has been huge for me. And it might only take 5 minutes or so. It doesn't have to take very long. It's really.
Amber B 42:46
It’s really good. Awesome. You've mentioned judgment a couple times and I'd love to hit on that, maybe it's our last topic, because I think there's so much overlap in a lot of the things that I teach around food and food not being moral and removing judgment from yourself when you're eating and a lot of times people find that really difficult to if they've been judging themselves and the food that they eat in their body for so long, it's really hard to come back to a non-judgmental place. So, I think a conversation around how we remove judgment and in this case, you know, talking about judgment about our house or cleanliness of our house or whatever. How do you help clients to get to a place of non-judgment when they've been conditioned in a lot of levels for a long time to feel judgmental about themselves in their house?
Kendra Hennessy 43:32
Yeah, we do an exercise called the Neutral Observer, where you kind of walk into a room so you can, your listeners, you can do this today, if there is an area of your house you felt like is very overwhelming when you walk in. So, say you wanted to like clean out a playroom and you want to clean out the toys there. There's an area that seems really messy and dirty and you haven't gotten into it. And every time you walk in, you're just all of a sudden, the judgment starts. Like I can't believe you still haven't done this. Like they're so lazy. Like, how do you know? How are you not on top of this? Your mom would have had this done when you were a kid. Like all of those nasty thoughts would that make you retreat, noticing things like a neutral observer would. So instead, so looking at a room and literally going, there are 10 books stacked up over there. That's a neutral observation, that is not has nothing to do with the judgment. It's a person. What would a person walking in who had no emotion of judgment, what would they observe about this room? And what happens when we do that is now all of a sudden, if I see that there are dishes piled up in the sink. We'll see a neutral observer could say, ohh there's dishes in the sink, time to put them in the dishwasher. Time to wash them or I will wash those dishes in the sink at 5:00 PM. Now, we it's just a neutral observation that we're doing and this takes practice. It definitely is a practice, but I encourage people to do it with one small thing today. Maybe it's the dishes, maybe it's laundry. It's just a mess that is left around that you've been like avoiding. Like we all do is seeing it through the lens of observation. Like how, and I think I started to do this because as a house cleaner a lot of people would tell me they were really scared to have me come and do an estimate, which we would do before I started cleaning because they were really embarrassed about the state of their home and I always really tried to reassure that my job is to help you. My job is not to offer judgment. That is the last thing you need. I am going to come in and I'm going to observe so that I can give you the best quote of how much it's going to be so that we can see if we're the right fit for one another. If I can help you, how long it's going to take, just for my own schedule. I need to know how long it's going to take, but it's not done with the judgment of you as a person. It's an observation of the space, and that's where it started. And then I just started to do it in the teaching that I do now is to just see everything through like a neutral observer’s standpoint.
Amber B 46:11
That’s so good. That's so good and I can imagine for a lot of women that it just takes the emotion out of the whole experience. It makes it less of an emotionally draining experience to be in your space, to clean your space, to interact with your space. And I you're just dedicating less emotion to it. We can spend our emotion and energy and efforts elsewhere instead of beating ourselves up about something.
Kendra Hennessy 46:34
Yeah, and I like you said, with the food being like more like we've moralized everything like our society has made everything a moral issue, a good or bad, everything falls on this side of the spectrum or this side of the spectrum. When there is a full spectrum of things in between. And also it's not more, it's because I feel the same way about food, and especially as someone that's struggled for so long with, you know, eating issues in my younger years, because I grew up in the 90s and diet 90s culture with, you know, seeing people with diet culture and stuff and I started to even say like with my son. It's like my son has food allergies. He is allergic to nuts and it's like, so you can sit here and say like, well, nuts are good food, but they're not good to my son. Like, that's such a silly word to use because good to one person is not good to another and the same goes for like so many things we do in our life. They're morally neutral, but we create this like moral like it's good to have a clean home and it's bad to have a messy home and it's like, well, the two it's not either or it depends on what your priorities are and what you care about.
Amber B 47:42
Yeah. And then we take it one step further. It's not only bad to have a bad house, not a clean house. But then it means I'm bad, right? I think that's what you're speaking to is like. Then we internalize it and it not only is bad to have a clean house, but now I'm a slob. I'm messy, I'm unkempt. Like whatever you know, judgments we start to place on ourselves. It's not like, it's not only that you think you're just judging the space. But then that judgment gets reflected back on to you for so many women, at least. And it's super damaging.
Kendra Hennessy 48:10
Amber B 48:10
Well, this is fantastic. I knew this was going to be a great conversation and you blew me away. So, thank you so much for coming on, you tell people about your podcast. So, if they're wanting to hear more about you and from you, then they can follow you and listen to your podcast as well.
Kendra Hennessy 48:22
Yeah, so if you're listening to this podcast and you know how to find podcasts, you can just go to the search and you can search for Mother Like a Boss and we'll come right up. So, it's Mother Like a Boss Podcast, we have like 370, I don't know what we're at, anyhow I've lost track of them.
Amber B 48:35
Lots and lots of episodes.
Kendra Hennessy 48:38
It's so many episodes. It's the backlog of episodes that you can listen to on all of these topics. So yeah, we come up with weekly episodes so you can go subscribe to that. And then I'm on Instagram @motherlikeaboss. That's really the best place to follow along is the podcast and Instagram, because that's where I hang out the most.
Amber B 48:56
Yeah. And Kendra has lots of courses and helpful things that you can investigate as well to if you want to learn to clean better, you want to learn to have better routines. Like she's your gal, she's going to help you out.
Kendra Hennessy 49:06
Yes, thank you.
Amber B 49:07
Awesome. Thanks for coming on the podcast Kendra.
Kendra Hennessy 49:09
Thank you for having me.
Amber B 49:12
I hope you are walking away from this episode with a few new nuggets of information in your head. And maybe even some new tips that you're going to try out when it comes to creating routines and cleaning and you know, finding something that works for you. I think I love Kendra's focus on this idea, that there's not one right cleaning routine. There's not one right way to set up your household, but really leaning into who you are the, you know, space that you have right now, what you want to prioritize in your life, and then making that process work for you. I think I preach that all the time when it comes to creating a health and fitness plan and the same thing applies when we're talking about creating a routine for your cleaning. 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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