Have you ever wondered how you can become a better parent to your teens? In this episode, Camille welcomes Brooke Romney, the best-selling author of I Like Me Anyway: Embracing Imperfection, Connection & Christ and 52 Modern Manners for Today’s Teens, and a speaker and educator who aims to empower women and teens to connect and be the best version of themselves.
Brooke shares her journey from being a writer to finding her niche in building a community for mothers with teenage children. She gives her life tips and the best practices that can help you create habits in your family so that your children are raised to be better humans. She also shares her advice on how you can become a successful entrepreneur while also being a mother.
If you’re interested in learning more about how you can raise successful teens, tune into this episode to hear Brooke’s advice on how you can connect and encourage your teens to reach their full potential.
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BROOKE ROMNEY [0:00]
Being a teenage mom is hard or fun. It’s both all at the same time because I really feel like those intense moments that are really difficult, when we do them well and when we do them with our heart, they bring about the most beautiful connective relationship.
CAMILLE WALKER [0:23]
So, you want to make an impact. You’re thinking about starting a business hearing your voice. How do women do it that handle motherhood, family, and still chase after those dreams? We’ll listen each week as we dive into the stories of women who know. This is Call Me CEO.
Hey, everyone. This episode is extra special because we’re talking to Brooke Romney all about teens, how to parent teens, how to best direct teens, and how to create teens that want to spend time with you. I’m just kidding. You can’t create a teen, but you can encourage them to be exactly who they are and the best version of themselves.
And Brooke Romney is the expert. She is the author of the book I Like Me Anyway, which is a book that focuses on embracing imperfection, connection, and your relationship with Christ. And she is also the author of The 52 Modern Manners for Today’s Teens: Volume 1 and she just came out with the Volume 2. And I can tell you from experience in my own home that these are practical life tips that will help you and everyone in your family create habits that make better humans because hey, we did create them. And she is going to show you how this can be doable with simple weekly lessons that are relatable and wonderful. Let’s dive in.
Welcome back everyone to another episode of Call Me CEO. I am your host, Camille Walker, and I swear to you guys, every week I am bringing you incredible women. Thank you for showing up because I know you’re going to really enjoy today’s episode. We are with Brooke Romney, who is a best-seller and author of The 52 Modern Manners for Today’s Teens, which she just came out with Volume 2.
And I am so excited to have a conversation with her about motherhood, raising teens, and how she’s been able to build such an impactful business through her voice and the insight that she has with loving and understanding our teens. So, Brooke, thank you so much for being on this show toady. I am really looking forward to our conversation.
Me too. Thank you so much Camille for always just celebrating women and for the unique ways they impact the world. This is going to be super fun.
Yay! Okay. So, tell everyone about yourself, how you got started. You’ve been influencing and creating and writing for a really long time. So, tell us about yourself and your family and how you went into this special niche.
So, I’ve always been a writer. So, after graduating from college, I worked for a congressman on Capitol Hill and started to see the impact that words could make. And after that, our family jumped around. My husband and I had different jobs and back to school and through that, I always continued writing whether it was for a newspaper or a magazine.
And then, when blogs came on the scene, I was really fascinated by those, but didn’t feel like I had anything all that interesting to share. Just on my own, I’d always report about other people and their stories and things like that. And so, we were living in Michigan and I saw these really awesome bloggers helping families know where to go for fun, things to do, and how to have more meaning in their regular home moments. And I thought, nobody’s doing that in Michigan and I could do that. So, I started a small blog called Mom Explores Michigan and it was a fun way to help people who are moving there and help us just explore around us a little better.
And then, we moved to Utah. And when we moved to Utah, I realized there were people that were in that niche and doing it way better than I ever could. I wasn’t a photographer. I wasn’t a designer and I was really just getting information out. And so, I put that on hold for a little bit and trying to figure out what I was going to do.
And then, one day, I had this thought about an article. And I had never really published anything on my blog that was personal and that was a little bit scary because it’s ways easier to help people like fun things to do than it is to share your heart with them. And I had always reported on other people and never about myself.
And so, just was this really strange phase, but I wrote this article and it sat on my blog draft space for about a month. And finally, one day, I just got brave and I get published. And it really, really resonated with people. People started sharing it. It was called “Why we are taking the FUN out of life.” And people everywhere were reading the article and sharing the article and discussing the article. This was back when Facebook was really big and before Instagram. And I guess not before Instagram, but before Instagram was anything more than sharing pretty pictures.
And I thought, wow, maybe I do have something to say. And the article got picked up by a different couple newspapers. And so, I started writing for newspapers. And that was really fun. And then, I started sharing some things on Instagram. And really long story short, moved from a blog to sharing ideas on Instagram, just doing it here and there. I was busy with my family, busy with my kids. Some needed me a lot more than others.
And then, about probably four years ago, I transitioned into the teens space. After having my first teen and feeling really alone and there was nowhere to get advice or perspective or even a community to be a part of that was actually talking about the real things that were going on with teens, I decided to create it. And it grew really slowly, but today, it’s a really incredible community for parents that are wanting to learn more about teens, find support for teens, and just share also the joys and excitement of having teens. So, it’s a space that I love.
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I love that so much. Remind our audience, what are the ages of your kids right now?
So, right now, I have almost 20, almost 18, almost 16, and then 11.
Okay. So, you’re still right in the thick of it of having the teens, having the discussions, and those important questions. And I can tell you I recently saw, gosh, I think it was a mom with two young children and she said, “Will someone please tell me that motherhood isn’t complete drudgery as being a teen mom? Because all I ever hear is how teens are so hard and how enjoy it while they’re little because that’s the end of it.”
And I thought there really is such a gap of that messaging, even towards motherhood too, that’s another soapbox of mine, but that you can have joy and growth in all phases of motherhood. And I think that that’s something that you’ve captured so beautifully with what you’ve written and also with your Modern Day Manners.
Tell us about that and how that’s something where you’ve really been able to bring this community around that idea that mothering teens doesn’t have to be horrible. It’s hard. I have teens right now too. So, we can get into that a little bit more, but talk to me about the reception of that where you say that you felt alone.
Yeah. So, it’s really interesting. I have always been someone who wants to find the joy in whatever we’re going through, wants to find the purpose, wants to find the meaning and I think that’s something about being an author, looking for that meaning and purpose even in the hard times.
And I really wanted people to know that it’s not an “or” thing. It’s not being a teenage mom is hard or fun. It’s both all at the same time. I really feel like those intense moments that are really difficult, when we do them well and when we do them with our heart, they bring about the most beautiful connective relationships. And I think that’s really worth celebrating.
And sometimes, being a teen mom is so fun. It’s crazy fun and it’s fun to have similar interests and ideas and be able to talk on this awesome level with these kids and help mold them and prepare them to become the people they were meant to be. That’s really exciting. It doesn’t mean that it’s not hard. It’s really fun and it doesn’t mean it’s not work.
All of those I feel like exist in that teen space and in that motherhood space. And I think the more we can embrace it, I look back at being a mom of young kids and it certainly wasn’t all fun. But it was also really, really enjoyable at times and I just think that’s how every part of motherhood is.
The thing that I think maybe one of the problems is that we’re unprepared and no one’s talking about it. And so, everybody just feels like they’re in this little silo. And when they’re looking across the street or on their neighbor’s social media and their teens are rocking it and all these friends, they’re doing all these fun things and they’re snuggling with them and love all the same shows and your teen isn’t there, you’re like, wait, what’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with my teen? What’s going on?
And I just wanted there to be a place where parents could say, there’s nothing wrong. Your teen is going through this or you’re trying this or they’re different or you’re trying to find ways to connect. This is all part of a really lovely journey. And I have kids who run the gamut and at every age have been hard or easy and we’ve had some incredibly difficult, difficult challenges. And we’ve had some really easy celebratory moments with all the different kids.
And I think just remembering that it’s all a part of parenting and the more that we can go at it with this view of, yeah, so today is a hard day. Awesome. That’s part of life. That’s part of the plan and what can I do to connect through it? What can I do to help through it? Or sometimes, what can I do to just be okay with this is just a little bit of a hard stage.
Yeah. I think it’s interesting because being a blogger and a writer and a sharer too over the past decade, I feel like there becomes a gap in sharing as a creator or a writer, at least there was for me where in early ages, I was writing about bedtimes and toddler tantrums and parenting tips and tricks and blah, blah, blah. How do you get your kid to sleep?
And then, you get into the teen years and you’re like, this is not my story to share anymore and yet this is a time more than ever that we need community, we need connection. We needed to hear that we’re doing okay or have resources to know what do I do in XYZ scenario?
So, I’m curious what your advice would be to parents that are listening and seeing themselves going through maybe a similar situation where they feel like they need resources, but they’re feeling silenced into, for me especially as a creator, my son, I want him to have privacy. And I want to him feel safe in sharing things with me.
And so, there have been so many things that I’ve gone through now as a teen mom that I don’t write about and I don’t share and yet I know in the back of my mind, I’m like, man, this would really help someone. And so, that creator side of me is like I wish I could share this, but I can’t. It’s just not mine to share in this way. So, I’m curious what your advice is for resources for that and also for that sense of community where you feel like there is a way for parents to connect.
Yeah. So, as a creator, I think it’s really hard because for me, my relationships with the people in my real life are much more important than my relationships online. And I say that with all the love and joy and gratitude in my heart with people that are online, but I never want to sacrifice my real life relationships for what I do online.
I’ve been really, really blessed because I’ve created a space where people talk about teens that I get messages all the time about teen problems. And so, that’s allowed me to share thoughts and ideas with people in a way that isn’t as personal to my family. And then, being on my platform, people feel really safe to share struggles and things that are going on because you’re a little bit anonymous with your Instagram name. Even if you wanted to create a totally random anonymous name to comment on a teen helpful site where you’re asking questions or you’re sharing a problem, I get a lot of DMs that I try to help people because I see that there’s really not a place where a lot of people feel that they can share the really hard stuff that is going on in their life.
On a personal level, I advocate for everyone to have people in their lives that they can share things with. While you’re right, it’s your teen’s story to share, it’s not your story, it actually is partially your story. Their story perfects your story and if you don’t feel like you have someone to go to where you can ask for advice, ask for questions, believe it or not we’re not the source of all knowledge and all wisdom.
And so, it’s really, really important to have people in your life that you can turn to when you have teenagers. And I applaud people who are like privacy’s important and I believe that 100%, but a mom crumbling with no help or support is also something that’s not going to help your teenager. And so, I think it’s really important to have someone who’s a step removed from the situation. So, while we all love our moms and our husbands and our sisters, sometimes they’re so close that sometimes their ideas can feel hard to handle or attacking or they don’t believe in us or think we’re doing things right.
Finding a friend that loves you, that loves your teen that is a step away that can have different eyes, I love suggesting someone like five to seven years down the road who’s been through what you’re going through in some ways and can give you some perspective. She didn’t get asked to the dance and it is so hard, but guess what? She will be okay. You will be okay. She will be okay. My kid didn’t get asked to the dance and she’s thriving and happy.
Just having some of that perspective is so important. And if you don’t have that, looking for a coach or a therapist that you can pay to help you get perspective if you really don’t feel comfortable or have anyone in your life that you feel like will keep your confidences and really walk you through what the right thing to do.
The other thing when you’re choosing that special friend or person is to just to make sure that they have the perspective you want. I love people in my life that can be cheerleaders. Sometimes, you just need someone to just rile you up and be on your side, but it’s really important with teens that you have someone who lets you take a step back and gives you perspective and doesn’t say like, “Yeah, I’ve totally called their parent and tell them all about it.”
It’s like, no, no. I need someone with good perspective, sound advice that can help me and my teen progress through difficult situations, not make the situation worse. And so, whoever’s listening, if you don’t have someone like that, I encourage you to try some people out, to feel it out, to see if there’s someone in your life to help you walk through some of those harder stages in parenting.
I think that’s really good advice, especially when it comes to that either bird’s eye vie or that five to seven years down the road where I think especially with teens, there’s so much emotion and everything that happens is such a big deal and everything is very charged because it is their world. Decisions that are made in school or the way the friend’s treating them, like you said, being asked to the dance or mental health or sexual identity, it goes on and on. So, I think that that’s such good advice because I think as a parent, it can be easy to get wrapped up in the emotion of it and feeling like you don’t have the resources to maybe give them exactly what they need. So, I really like that advice.
Yeah. I think it’s really important and I think it will help parents feel a lot less alone.
I would love to ask you because you’ve been focusing on this area for the last four years, what are some common questions or struggles that you get from teen parents that you feel like are repeat questions that maybe our audience might have in parenting teens?
So, one I get a lot is how do I connect with my teen? My teen’s just not interested in me. We have a difficult relationship. That’s one I get often and I could go on for 45 minutes talking about this, but I’ll just give the piece of advice that I usually start with first and that is to start seeing the good and vocalizing it in your teen and be really, really deliberate especially if you have one of those relationships that’s really on the rocks, you feel like you can never do anything right and they can never do anything right.
It’s amazing what happens when you change those negative interactions into positive ones. And sometimes, you have to start super small and sometimes, you don’t even really want to compliment them. If they take their plate to the sink and you’re so bugged because you’ve asked them a million times to put it in the dishwasher, being able to take a step and back and say like, “Thank you so much for taking your plate to the sink,” is hard. But when they see the positivity, when they feel that coming from their parent, what I’ve noticed is that when it’s consistent, they start to open up and there starts to be a little crack where there is an opportunity for relationships to grow.
The thing that’s especially powerful for me with this is, as a parent, it’s really easy to get stuck in that negative cycle and seeing everything that’s wrong with your kid or with your teen and also that makes us feel a little insecure like what have I done to create a teen who’s so unaware and so unhelpful and so grumpy? What did I do? And then, it becomes very personal.
And so, I think one of the biggest gifts of seeing the good in your child and vocalizing it is it changes your heart and it changes your perspective. And once you start to see one good thing, you start to see others. Even recognizing in them traits that you think are hard, but that actually could be beautiful. So, when they’re being super stubborn, saying like, “I am so happy that you are such a determined person. I really look at you like that. I don’t have that. I’m not somebody who’s always determined. I let people change my opinion for everything. So, I love that you’re so determined. That is really great about you.” Instead of like, “How did I get such a stubborn person who’s so not open to any suggestion?”
Looking for those good things and trying to vocalize them, you will see their heart soften and your heart soften so much that you can start to build a relationship. So, that is usually my first piece of advice when people say there’s not connection.
I love that advice. I think that it’s very easy as a parent to feel like you in a way become not a drill sergeant, but very much the reminder of all the things like make sure you’re doing this and do your laundry and your homework and get to work on time.
And if any of your teens out there are like mine, they have a lot on their plate and there’s a lot going on where there’s high demand and high-paced world and so many distractions and expectations in social media. And I think that that reminder of gentleness and love is something that can be something that we really have to step back and think, yeah, let’s with change the narrative.
Because when they’re little, I feel like the physical affection and natural love giving is so much more spontaneous and natural because they need us physically, we’re with them all the time, we’re giving that love. And one huge thing that I noticed right before the pandemic was that I had stopped hugging my son. And at the time, he was 12, almost 13 and I stopped and thought, I am not hugging my son very much anymore and I want that to change.
So, when he came home with the pandemic, I started making it a point to give him a hug at least once if not a couple times a day. And it was really interesting because when we first started, he was doing this thing where he would hug me and he would go like a pretend sob like this is so precious to then really giving me a hug over months, and then to the point where he was initiating the hugs. And it became so much more natural.
And it was this progression of, yeah, you can still hug me. You don’t have to all of a sudden be a man. Because I think what’s really interesting especially with my kids and my experience is my husband is 6’ 6” and they mature in height very quickly. And so, it went from let me hold you, hug you, take care of you, to all of a sudden, you’re getting close to passing me and now, you’re taller than me.
Just that physical connection and making it a point to love him in that way and to hug him and as small and as simple as it was, it changed our relationship. And it made it so that that physical connection translated to more talking and more connection and, just like you said, looking for those positives. And so, in my own experience, that was something that was really fascinating was that transition because, as a teen, I think without noticing it, those transitions happen. Would you agree?
100%. And in fact, I’m not just by nature a very touchy person and I have the same experience as you did. I have all boys. So, as they got older and bigger, it just became less natural. And I had to remind myself and I truly had to set goals to hug my kids and it wasn’t natural.
And it is important actually even you talked to me about that, I realized I’ve pulled back again, just because it’s not natural. If I’m not thinking about it and making a goal and really focusing on it, it’s easy for me not to. And physical touch for a lot of people in general and especially for boys is one of their love languages.
And so, when you’re withholding that, it can be really detrimental to your relationship even if they don’t realize it, even if you don’t realize it. I love that you said once you started doing it, you realized how important it was and it’s a good reminder for me to get back to into those routines.
And even if your kids don’t love to hug or if it’s especially awkward, one thing that I realized rubbing their back or choosing to sit next to them, things like that can start to open up those ideas of physical touch and kids being more open to it. And even just being really upfront and I had to say to my kids like, “I am not a good hugger,” eight second hugs are worth it. They increase our mood. They help us feel connected.
So, this is something I’m going to try doing and just being really upfront like you want to be better. You’re going to try it. You need everybody to participate, even if they joke around and think it’s dumb for a while, they do love it. So, I love that reminder. It’s a great reminder.
Yeah. I’m curious because I have an 11-year-old daughter and I know you said you only have boys. I have three boys and a girl, but a common struggle that I’ve seen and now my daughter, she’s in 6th grade, she’ll be going into junior high soon, what is your advice for the mean girl vibes? If you have a daughter who’s feeling left out, if you’re worried your daughter might be a mean girl, the way that my sons interact with their friends and the way my daughter interacts with her friends, it’s different.
And so, I think that I would be really curious to hear about your insight from what you’ve heard from other parents of teens and what you’ve experienced in helping other teen moms. What would you suggest for a child who is feeling left out? And that happens to boys and girls. It’s not just a girl thing and/or a situation of bullying or purposefully leaving someone out?
Yeah. This one’s hard. And like you said, it definitely happens to both boys and girls. Being left out absolutely, so I’m going to talk about that one first. So, one of the manners in one of my books is find new friends.
Now, everyone gets left out sometimes. That’s part of life. And just a little tangent on that, helping your kids understand that’s part of life is really, really important. Bringing to their remembrance the time when they could only bring three people, and so they had to leave out three of their friends and it doesn’t mean they hated their friends or they didn’t want to be friends with them anymore, it just meant that they could only bring three people. The car could only fit three more.
Helping them understand that everything’s not personal and when our kids have a little bit better perspective of that, when they can walk through life believing that people like them instead of always looking for evidence that people don’t, I think friendships become a lot easier. When they give people grace and the benefit of the doubt when somebody doesn’t include them or when they can honestly say, yeah, that’s okay.
There’s something really powerful about raising a kid who says, “I didn’t get invited and that’s okay. I’m going to find something else to do. I’m going to call somebody else today. I’m going to make a different plan this weekend.”
And I know that can be hard and mature, but I do think they can start our kids from a very, very young age, helping them to take personal responsibility for their happiness. That’s something that I absolutely believe in.
But that’s not helpful when they’re being left out. And so, helping them work on their perspective, finding someone else to call. And then, if it’s habitual, I think it’s really important that we help our kids know that they need to be around people that bring them up, that make them feel good about themselves and they also need to be the type of friend that does that.
I think as parents, we, every once in a while, have blinders on and assume that our kid is out there being inclusive and being kind and always the nice kid, but chances are that every single one of our kids is going to be on the other end of that every once in a while. And so, just being aware that that happens, and then helping them walk through difficult situations and also turning the situation on them, helping them say, “Okay, so who would you want to be friends with? You have power with this. Who do you want to be friends with? Let’s give them a call. Let’s invite them over next weekend. We have extra tickets to the movie. Let’s see if they want to come.”
Helping them realize that they can be the person that makes a new friend, that they can be the person that includes other people, that yes, it’s scary, that sometimes, changing friends means staying home on the weekend and you’re happier to have them. You’re happy to have them home on the weekend. You’re happy to go to dinner with them instead of having them go out with friends. You’re happy to support them in that transition of finding the right people for them.
Sometimes, I think we hear stories or we assume that every teen is a horrible person or they’re so rude or they’re always trying to exclude. And in all honesty, there are a lot of really, really great teenagers out there who are being good friends, who are doing good things, who are willing to include and invite and trying your best to create a kid in your home that that’s person I think really goes a long way for kids in general and teens in general.
When it comes to having a kid who is mean or is the one that’s doing the excluding or being a jerk, being aware of it is obviously really important. And then, doing the things you can to teach them in ways that don’t feel shaming, that help them see another side. I believe that most kids want to do good things. I believe most kids want to be kind.
A lot of kids don’t know how to do that and feel good about themselves at the same time. And so, remembering a lot of times when you see a kid doing that they’re feeling really insecure. And trying as a parent to see if there’s anything you can do to help them feel secure, to help them feel loved, to help them feel good about themselves and the way to do that is it’s just say, “You’re so great and you’re so pretty and you’re so amazing.”
It’s helping them find purpose. It’s helping to define themselves behind things that can’t be easily taken away by other people or by situations. It’s helping them to start understanding who they really are and the power they are and being the type of person that aligns with their values.
When kids are being jerks, they don’tt feel good about themselves because they know that they should be kind. So, helping them understand when they’re a jerk, it actually makes them worse about themselves. And that when they can be kind, that’s going to align with who they really are and they’ll see the dividends of doing that.
You can’t see me right now, but I’m just nodding my head over and over. I agree with this so much because I feel like there’s that saying hurt people hurt people and I think for our kids to understand that and to see that whether if someone’s treating them wrong or there’s at a junior high, we’re all in that place where I was explaining to my daughter, “You’re not in junior high yet, but there’s actually a term called the center stage syndrome or something along those lines.”
In psychology, I’m sure you’re familiar, but it’s that idea that everyone’s looking at me. Everyone cares what I wear. Everyone cares how my hair looks today or what I say. And I was telling her, “If you can turn those arrows of me, me, me, of this is what people are thinking of me, this is what people are saying about me and you can look and point those pointers outward to what can I say to include, what can I say to love, what can I say to make someone else’s day better?”
Defining that purpose and I love that so much that you said that, that it has to be deeper. And darn it, as kids, I went through it, you have to go through it. It’s this passage that we have to go through of figuring out who we are.
And so, I’m curious about as you’ve advised parents with teens and defining that purpose, is there a route of how to do that? Do you have some tips of how parents could help their children to discover that? Because I know that sometimes kids will say, “I don’t know what I like. I don’t know what I want.” Do you have ideas of how people or parents could help their children through that process?
So, one of the reasons why I wrote my Manners books, my 2 Modern Manners books was because I felt like kids and parents, so teens and parents, needed some really doable strategies to help them have these conversations.
And in my Manners book, in the front is a manner, but on the back is the why. And when we say manners, it talks about things like finding new friends. It talks about knowing yourself. It talks about know yourself, discover the things that you love to do. In my new one, it talks about trying new things. It talks about how to have a conversation like how to start a conversation with someone.
These things, I truly believe in my soul that when our kids have learned better and start to do better, they have the confidence to be able to be their best selves and to be able to reach out to other people who aren’t quite sure how to do that yet. I think the pandemic really, really hurt our teens in a lot of ways. And these manners were basically my step-by-step how-to for how to get them back to the types of people who can have enough confidence to love themselves, but even more importantly, to be able to love others.
And so, just think that if our kids get to a point where they know themselves and they’re okay saying, “Yeah, this is what I like.” And they’re okay introducing themselves to someone new or they’re the type of person when they’re talking to a circle and somebody walks up, they open that circle instead of make it tighter. Those are the things that make our kids like themselves when they can be types of people who are improving the world, who are improving themselves, and who are making the world a little better for other people.
I think as they do that and as we, as parents, model that, one of the things about the books is that there’s the thing. This is something I forgot or this is something I’m not doing or this is something I never learned. I had a mom send me a message that said, “I didn’t have great parents. They didn’t teach me almost anything and these books are teaching me so that I can teach my kids.”
And I think as parents, we want to do well by our children naturally. We don’t always do that. We are human. And I think our kids want to learn how to be successful and I think that one of the ways we do that is helping them see outside themselves, and then also get to know themselves on the inside.
One of the tips in the new Modern Manners book, the volume 2, talks about not defining yourself by things that can be easily taken away. And as parents, we can reinforce that by instead of telling someone like, “You’re such a great basketball player.” That can be taken away in an instant. So, what happens when you don’t make the high school team? Then what? Who are you?
So, instead telling them things like, “I really admire your work ethic. You work so hard or you are an incredible team player. You are such a great teammate to the people on the court. I really admire that.” Being a great teammate can’t be taken away. That is something that can stay with you. Having a relentless work ethic, that’s something that stays with you.
Instead of telling your daughter she’s so beautiful, you can say, “You have such a fun eye for fashion.” Whether people like what she wears or whether she’s in the cool crowd or not, she can still have a fun eye for fashion. She can be someone who you love the way that she cares about other people. Whether she has one million friends or one friend, she can still be someone who cares about people.
So, really focusing our compliments and our focus on things that can’t be taken away from our kids and things that can’t be defined from the outside world, I think that does a lot for helping them understand not only who they are, but what we as parents value in who they are.
I love it so much. I feel like your work needs to be shared beyond teens and I’m glad that you’re doing teens. But as you say, as the parents and as humans in general, I feel like there are so many I guess let’s call it social grace that has been lost in our age of technology, of everyone with their face in their phones and not knowing how to communicate or how to date.
I was talking to my older son just this week and saying, dating has been something that’s becoming harder and harder because people don’t know how. We don’t know how to hold meaningful conversations. So much is done through text. And that it’s an even worse pandemic to me that I’m like these kids and even as a society as a whole, there’s just social grace that is being lost. And I feel like that is what your handbooks so beautifully illustrate is very seemingly simple acts that create beautiful human beings. And I’ve just been so impressed with it.
One of my favorite things about this is that when kids do these things, it creates a positive feedback loop. When you’re the kid that stays that puts the chairs away, I’m going to guarantee you 100% that there are multiple adults who are like, “Wow, thank you so much for being so helpful. You’re incredible. Thank you so much for sticking around. You’re the best.” That’s not a parent telling a kid, “Wow, you’re so helpful.”
All of a sudden, that kid who was feeling a little unsure about who he was is like, you know what? I’m helpful and people really like it when I’m helpful. So, when he goes to school the next day and his teacher asks for something, he’s the one that does it. And the teacher says, “Hey, thanks so much for being so helpful.”
All of a sudden, this kid instead of defining himself as a total dork says, I’m a really helpful person and people really appreciate that about me. You start to define yourself by things that matter, by things that you can hold onto, by things that make the world better. And I think that’s one of those things that it’s not just about everybody thinks you’re great. It’s about, wow, this is who I am.
And it's really, really valuable for teens, and like you said, for adults to understand who they are that who they are actually matters on a daily basis. And I think that that can solve a lot of the problems that our teens have is just by understanding that they are someone that matters and the actions they take matter because who they are matters.
That is so powerful. I need that. I’m like I can just see the quote being written right now because at the end of the day, that’s what we all want. We all want to feel like we have a purpose and that we matter and that we are contributing to the world. Period. We want to be loved. We want to be seen and we want to know we matter. I feel like that is such a relatable feeling for us all and what a gift to be able to give that to your kids.
I’ve got to tell you. This book, would you call it a handbook, the way that it’s designed is it can be set on a table which is so helpful because it also can flip like almost like a calendar would because it’s 52 weeks. And where I have put mine, you’re going to laugh, is inside my pantry because I’m like that’s a place they’re always coming to. So, I will do my best to try to make it new again.
But it’s such a visual that as it’s somewhere they frequently visit, I’m like we will see this and discuss this because it’s something that’s so easily to see. And I would love to know in this work that you’re doing and what you’re doing moving forward, what is it that you hope your children are learning and how has this affected your family in this business that you are now pursuing? Tell me about that a little bit.
So, I went from pretty much full time staying at home to almost full time working in some weeks feeling like I’m working two jobs depending on what’s going on. And I have seen some really beautiful things in my family because of that.
My husband has been incredible at figuring out how we can shoulder the burden at home. My boys have been able to watch that firsthand, seeing a couple that is a true partnership in all the ways. When one of us can’t do something, the other picks up the slack. And there have been bumps in the road and times when it didn’t work out quite so well because everything’s a learning curve. But after the last couple of years, we’ve really found a good rhythm and I love that they get to watch that.
I love that they see a married couple that supports each other in their dreams and not just dreams for themselves, but dreams to improve the world. My husband has a really busy full-time job, but also has a lot of passions for caring for others in this country and in other countries too. And they’ve been able to see us support each other in our passions and that while they might not always be the same, we do our best to be able to support each other and what the other feels called to do.
My boys have spent nights stuffing books and sending them out and being a part of just the nitty gritty. They’ve had to do their own laundry and sometimes get dinner on the table. And I love the way that this has made our family feel so much more like a team. We’re all in something together.
I would say that I support my kids with so much love and energy and having them be able to do the same for me every now and then has been really good for our relationship. I think people need to be needed. They need to feel, like we said, that they matter and for them to be able to contribute has been important.
There was a time when I was at my wit’s end with way too many things to do and just my senior came home for lunch and I just was so honest with him. And he’s like, “Hey, mom.” He’s like, “How’s it going?” I’m like, “I can barely keep my head above water. I am drowning right now.” And when he came home from school that day, he just picked up slack in small ways. He’s not always someone that’s willing to do that. He’s pretty busy himself, but to just see him notice because I was honest with him, because I wasn’t trying to be like, “I’m a perfect full time working, full time home mom.”
I let him see the stress and the hard times that came with that too and he was able to really step up. And I think when we let each other into our lives, our relationships become so much deeper. And so, I’m grateful for that opportunity to be able to do that with my kids as a mom who now has a job that she wasn’t completely planning on. There have been some really great bonuses.
I always like to remind my kids that when we’re doing something fun that it’s partially because I do work, that we’ve been able to go on that vacation and have them be able to celebrate with me and with my husband for the hard work that we do. I think it’s important for them to see that effort often equals reward.
And sometimes online you see people with these fabulous lives and it seems like all they do is go on vacation and for them to see that that’s the reality for very, very few people that most successful businesses and successful lives take a lot of work and a lot of engagement and a lot of sacrifice and that they are also at the exact same time a ton fun and incredibly rewarding and come with beautiful relationships. So, I love for them to be able to see those things together.
What a cool answer. I’m over here like, yeah, girl, this is so good. What advice would you give to a mom who might be listening who has an idea of something they might want to do but is feeling that feeling of I don’t know, I don’t know if I can handle this? What advice would you give them?
So, there’s a couple things that I think are really important. It’s okay to go slow. I dabbled in writing and I was inconsistent but wanted to get my ideas out there. And whatever you’re doing, I did that at a really lowkey level for quite a few years because I felt called to be at home and be available for my kids. So, I think that’s an okay way to do it.
You don’t have to not do something because you can’t go full throttle. Go ahead and put things out there. Work on a dream. Work on a plan so that when you do have time that you’re able to start way ahead. Sometimes, we think if I can only work five hours a week, does it even matter? Should I just wait? Should I just stop? Should I just wait for a better time?
But honestly, five hours a week for 52 weeks is a lot of hours that you don’t have to do later on. And so, starting small is beautiful and totally worth it. It also gives you time to test ideas out that you haven’t committed so fully to and see if there’s traction with that. See if people are interested. And then, for those who are wanting to dive in, it takes a lot of work.
I have so many people who have come to me and go like, “Hey, I want to write a book. Hey, I want to start an Instagram account. I want to do this.” And then, after six months, there’s no traction. And so, they’re like it’s not worth it. And just when I think about what I’ve been doing, I don’t know. I’m probably 14 years in and I didn’t make a penny until 4 years ago.
So, I always like to say, entrepreneurship is a long-term game. So, if you are the type of person that needs an instant reward, work for someone else. You will get a paycheck. You will get benefits. Those things can be very important, but if you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to play that long-term game and be willing to put in the time and the investment. You have to be willing to celebrate other people and support people with so much energy that sometimes you don’t think you can.
Sometimes, people will write a book and they say, “I don’t want to have to post about it online. That’s uncomfortable for me.” I’m like, “Awesome. Then write that book for your family and feel really, really satisfied about it.” Because if you’re not willing to post about what you love and what you’re doing, other people won’t be willing.
Some say, “I don’t know. I just don’t have time to network or support other people or share about what other people are doing.” I’m like, “Awesome. Then you don’t have time to be an entrepreneur.” Because one of the biggest things in this space is being willing to take the time for other people, being willing to support other people, saying yes even when you feel like I don’t know if that’s really in line with what I’m doing, being willing to say yes.
I think for 18 months, I said yes to every single thing. Before I published my first book, I said yes to every single thing. I said yes to every opportunity, every meeting, every podcast, every launch, every event because I knew that it was important to have that kind of support and return. And that’s not something that’s sustainable for a long time. But if it’s important to you, then you need to be able to turn that support to other people too.
Yeah. Wow, great advice. Brooke, this has been fantastic. I want to be your best friend. You just are so level-headed and I think your advice is spot-on. I think we’ve been so richly fed by you and I know our audience is dying to get their hands on your book. So, please tell everyone where they can support you and, of course, we’ll put these links below in the show notes.
Awesome. If you want to get to know me a little better, I’m on Instagram @brookeromneywrites. I write there three times a week and lots of past stuff is searchable on my website at www.brookeromney.com. My first book, I Like Me Anyway, is on Amazon, Modern Manners 1 is on Amazon, Modern Manners 2 is on Amazon, but it’s also available in Costcos in Utah, Idaho, and Arizona.
That’s so cool. How exciting. Thank you again. This has just been so wonderful and I know so many people are feeling that way that this was helpful. And I want you guys to reach out to her and thank her personally. Send her a DM because I think that means so much when you hear from someone that you helped because I know I felt that way when that happened. So, thank you so much for being on this show and I really appreciate you.
Thank you, Camille. Your questions were awesome. And thanks for letting us have this conversation today.
Thank you so much for listening to this episode. If you found it helpful, please leave a rating and review wherever you are listening to this episode. That is the lifeblood of a podcast. And if you can subscribe and write a review, I would love it so much or share this with a friend. If you have a friend or a family member or someone with a teen, which I’m sure many of us do, please share this episode with them because that is what I am here to do is help spread the word of these incredible women and mothers building businesses that mater. So, thank you so much for tuning in and I hope you have a wonderful day.
Hey, CEOs. Thank you so much for spending your time with me. If you found this episode inspiring or helpful, please let me know in a comment and a 5-star review. You could have the chance of being a featured review on an upcoming episode. Continue the conversation on Instagram @callmeceopodcast. And remember, you are the boss.
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