Have you ever wondered how you could use holistic approaches to better understand yourself and how you can become a leader in your home and community? In this episode, Camille welcomes Neena Warburton, a trained child psychologist turned entrepreneur and creator of All Things Neena, where she helps women navigate health and wealth challenges through intentional parenting strategies.
Neena shares her journey from being a child psychologist to working full-time as an entrepreneur to focus on her parenting and help other women in mental wellness. She shares her advice on how women can develop quality leadership skills to create a safe environment for their family as well as some practices that you could do at home to plan for the summer.
If you’re looking for ways to enhance your leadership skills, tune into this episode to hear Neena’s tips on how you too can step into your role as an empowered leader in your home and in your business.
And here's the truth. Your attitude as the mother, as the CEO in the home will determine quite a bit of the cultural climate of the house.
CAMILLE WALKER [0:16]
So you want to make an impact. You're thinking about starting a business sharing 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.
Welcome back everyone to Call Me CEO. This is your host, Camille Walker. And today, we are talking about motherhood, not only motherhood, but how to be a leader in your own home and how that can develop into developing skills to be a leader in business or in your life in general.
And my dear friend Neena is here with us today. Neena Warburton is the creator of All Things Neena. Many people are attracted to her site because she is beautiful, you guys. People love to stare at her and her hair, but she's so much more than that. She is a trained child psychologist turned entrepreneur who has helped many hundreds of thousands of women in leadership and holistic approaches to taking care of themselves, understanding their own mental health, and the importance of being a leader in your community, and most importantly, in your family.
So, Neena, thank you so much for being on the episode today. You probably weren't expecting that intro, but we keep it real around here.
I love it. And I appreciate the accolades. As moms, we need that as much as possible. It's a little extra pat on the back like, yes, I'm moving towards something positive in my life. I've done some good things. We're just getting going. So I love it. Thank you.
Yeah. Neena and I met, I think it was actually at an event for mothers and daughters, which I love because we were there to support our children and to educate ourselves on being better mothers and connecting with our daughters. But you are also a creator and an entrepreneur. \
So right from the get, I was like, we need to be friends because there just was a lot of synergy there from the get-go. And you are such a beautiful person inside and out. And I'm just thrilled that you get to be here and share some of your knowledge today. So please introduce yourself. And we'll get a little bit more into the meat of it.
Sure. Yeah, absolutely. Super excited to be here. Thanks again for allowing me to be here. I've been a long-time podcast fan of yours. So this is pretty cool for me to be featured here today. And I'm excited to serve your listeners too because that's the point of us chatting today so that something can stick out, be a gold nugget for your listeners.
But yes, so long story short, I'm a child psychologist turned mompreneur. I really left that profession in the mental wellness space, not just really because of any other reason than my children. I was realizing I was pouring so much of my mental, physical, emotional energy into my clients that when I would come home, I'd have just about a tiny bit of patience left to offer my children, to offer my spouse.
And I thought there's got to be a better way. I know that there's creative mothers out there who are working from home, making an impact in the world, which is what I wanted to do, that weren't spending time outside of the home all day long.
So that really set me out on a journey to figure out entrepreneurship. I did solopreneurship for a long time, over seven years, until I found the current project that I'm working with in a group of mentors in the online, e-commerce space, mental wellness specifically.
And so it's been really cool to come full circle back to my mental wellness, mental health roots, and to be able to be home with my kids full-making the kind of impact that I want. And that's offered me an opportunity to connect with a lot of people online to develop an influencer space where I do just share wellness tips and help people really leave the page feeling more empowered. That's my goal.
Yeah. And you really do all of those things. And it's been beautiful to watch. I think that one of the most intriguing things that you said recently, I was watching your socials just today actually, and you were saying, "A lot of people are here and come for my hair."
But they stay for the mental tips and the help and where your heart is, which I think can often happen for a lot of creators where we might be sharing tips or help or something or even something that's viral that captures people's attention, but then what gets them to stay. And I think that that's what is so wonderful is that you do. You have both, which is an awesome package to have. Tell us about that journey a little bit because it's been fun to watch.
Yeah. It has been a little bit strange. I had a social media platform that went from about 2,000-3,000 to 10,000 in one week. And that specifically happened when I did this story series called The Hard Talk series where I came on and did short tutorials on how parents could talk to their kids about some difficult topics, ones that they typically avoid, things like sex, pornography, online grooming behaviors, sexting. I eventually expanded it to include suicide ideation and just a few other things.
And it was a pretty novel component about five to six years ago in the online space. I didn't see anybody else really talking about it, especially with my credentials coming from a place where I was a child psychologist, working with kiddos that were experiencing these kinds of things and parents had no clue how to talk about it.
They had essentially offloaded these skill sets, educational experiences to the school system. And yet, it wasn't evolving the school systems' education to address those things. And it wasn't as frequented as research shows it needs to be.
So that was a really exciting time when at the time Instagram, you needed 10,000 to be able to get a swipe up. That was a big deal. And that bumped me into the swipe up time. And then it just grew from there.
I will say that the pixie haircut following is a loyal one. That has been primarily how people find me. I am not exaggerating when I say there's over 100,000 images on Pinterest of my hair alone that I have not put there. So they are shared globally all over the world. And people seem to come back and find me for that. But I don't oftentimes share too much about my hair because I've got a bigger passion to help people with their wellness. But that is some of my content.
I used to be a hair and makeup artist that transitioned into beauty mentoring. That was one of my businesses. So I do love educating people about how to feel their most confident self through beauty. I think that's an important extension of our confidence. So that's really more the take. I go with the beauty side of it. But if that's how people find me, I will take it because I love short hair and I love empowering women to step into short hair, if that's something they're feeling drawn to.
And again, it almost always comes back to, how am I going to be received from other people? How is my significant other or partner going to like it? And I'm like, who cares? Okay. This is the time for us to step into your personal power and help you understand that if it's an extension of you, it's your confidence. It does not matter what other people think. So that's more of the messaging around the beauty side of it.
And I'm so grateful that social media has offered me a platform to gather people that do have value and find value from what I share. But it's been fun. It's been a unique opportunity to grow and connect with people for sure.
Yeah. I think a lot of times, it's those outward, easy to identify confidence pieces that people are looking to find. But what's truly needed more than anything is that confidence on the inside to allow us especially as women to be comfortable in our skin and to identify what our power is and how we can be leaders in our families, in our homes, and in our communities. So that's what we're talking about today.
Let's do it. I'm so excited.
Let's dive into that. Yeah. How do you think women can develop leadership skills in the home so that they can create an environment that feels safe and where they are respected and where they can feel connected with their children?
I mean, that's a tall order, right?
That's what we all want. We're going to break it down. Yeah.
I think so too. And I guess I would just start with this framework, Camille. If I were to ask you do you consider yourself a CEO of your home or a leader of your home, what would be your initial reaction to that?
100%. And the reason why this is called Call Me CEO, I actually was going to have a subtitle, and I'm probably still going to add this that says, in home and business.
Because I consider every mother of a home a CEO. So without even batting an eye, 100%.
Yeah. See, and I love that you have that perspective. And I think your perspective is shedding light on the potential that many mothers can and should be looking to find. Because if I'm being completely honest, five and a half years ago, prior to me really stepping into my mindset development, my personal development, my leadership development, I would have said, I don't know. I really would have said, I don't know.
Because I look at "leader" as somebody who has some sort of personality trait, a commanding presence. They have a certain skill set to get things done to move intentionally through the experiences and to really force others to move along with it. That was my construct of a leader or a CEO.
And so for me, I didn't really relate super well to that. But then when I was able to again step into a little bit more of my self-confidence to really give myself a bit more validation, self-validation, I really realized that absolutely, I am. Absolutely I am, because what we do is we categorize these certain people to be certain ways. And we unfortunately diminish our personal value compared to a standard that we see in someone else.
So that's exactly what I was doing five and a half years ago. And so I would say the first step in stepping into that leadership power that you really do have as a mother is to first identify that that is an identity that you hold. In Atomic Habits, we learned from the author there.
Yeah, James Clear. I was thinking. I'm like, I've got so many. Yes, James Clear. Love you. He talks a lot about how we build our habits around our identities. And so when you can start as a mother believing I'm a leader, I'm a CEO of my home, instead of just setting yourself aside to be a "employee," whether that's to the breadwinner in the family or worse yet to your children, which I think inadvertently many mothers do.
But instead say, hey, what would it look like for me to identify in this? Again, identification. And then. what would my habits look like because of that? I think that we would change a lot about the way that we approach systems in our home, that we approach communication in our home, we approach relationships in our home, organization in our home, thinking, I'm the CEO here. I'm the one that's making all of this go.
So I think when it comes to anything related to relationships, motherhood specifically, we've got to go back to understanding that firm sense of self. And what is it that I do to self validate myself in this role so that I can step into the appropriate power despite what interactions, what feedback I get from other people in the home?
So going back to your question. First, you’ve got to identify that you're the leader in the home. Okay. Really step into that. And then maybe you could take a bit to journal out, what would that look like? If I was truly a CEO of my home, if I identified as the top dog leader in this home, what would that look like for me?
That would probably look like I'm setting up systems in the areas that are creating stress in my home. That's what normal leaders would do, right? They're streamlining processes. I would come up with an HR team to help me manage problematic situations. I would maybe set out a communication standard with which we do resolve issues or we come up with fun ideas for tasks that we want to complete. How can we creatively problem solve through some of these sticking points in my home?
I think you would approach things very differently versus a, I'm just going to step day by day into motherhood and see what it throws at me and be very reactive. I think it creates a ton of intention when you think of yourself as a leader and you approach home ownership, home,organization and establishment like a business. Honestly, like a business. Most moms don't know those standards. So that's I guess what we're here to help lay out. But it's as simple as what you're already doing, but maybe just putting some intention behind it.
Yeah. I think that what's interesting about this concept is that one characteristic that can be very common among women is that we wait for permission. We wait. We wait to be given permission or someone to tell us that perhaps you don't have to ask permission and that we can show up as the leader that we can be and we grow into that.
I remember when I was first a brand-new mom and I had one kid at home. And my sister has seven children. And I had been taking care of all of her kids as the aunt and had come home and I was exhausted. How could I ever have more than one kid? I can't even get the laundry done. Just feeling that sense of like, oh my gosh, how is this even possible?
And what's really wonderful about what we're seeing right now, Neena and I together, is that this is something you can learn and grow into and create a process around, but it's really knowing that you are capable and that you don't have to ask permission. It's already there. It's just taking those steps to create the systems and see yourself in that position of influence and power, which I love that you said many times moms can put themselves in a position as an employee.
I had never thought of it like that before. And I think you're spot on. I think that happens by default when we are in the habit of being the nurturer and especially from infancy doing and getting and responding immediately to reactions rather than creating those systems. So I think that that was really insightful.
And how many times have you heard or maybe you've said it yourself too like, the baby's the boss or the three-year-old is the boss around here? I realized that I was doing that when my kids were little. And I immediately caught myself saying it.
Because when you start saying these things, they're a reflection of a subconscious truth. It always is. And maybe it could be catchy and potentially conversational. But there is something powerful with our words or taking those thoughts and moving them forward into words.
And so maybe I would just challenge any of our listeners here today to notice if some of your words are reflecting that. And it's in a self-diminishing way. And, again, I think what we're coming up against is a mindset block potentially where people are thinking, I don't want to be a selfish mom. I don't want to be throwing around demands like a "boss."
And I just want to make the distinction early on. A boss and a leader are very different. A boss tells you what you have to do. A leader inspires you to change. If we think about real leadership, a wolf pack, right? The leader leads from the back. It's like trying to push a noodle, right? You can't push a noodle. You've got to show the way first, inspire people, see the best in them, and then offer them the opportunity to follow you.
So I think maybe releasing the construct that you're running the home like a boss, somebody who has to be cranky and grumpy and your people are walking on eggshells, and just know that you can be a leader. Even if you were to just take a beat and think about people that you have followed in a leadership position, what is it that you love about those leaders? Likely they're warm. They're communicative. They listen to you. They're responsive to the situation. They're creative problem solvers. The best leaders out there don't necessarily assert themselves.
So I think we can identify what are the ideal leadership qualities that I want to exemplify? And build that into my homemaking, into my establishment of culture in my home, and know that you absolutely have massive influence over that, a massive influence over that.
Just a simple example, again, looking at a boss versus a leader, look at how a boss responds to a mistake made at a job site. You're probably going to get scolded. You may get pay docked. You may have the risk of losing your job, right?
Whereas a leader who approaches a mistake says, "Hey, let's talk about it. Let's reflect back on any pivot points where we could have made a different or alternative decision. What would that have played out to look like? And let's set a standard and accountability so that next time this comes up, I'm here to support you, so we can avoid that problem."
So different, right? And doesn't that second example sound so much more nurturing? Which I think it's what mothers want. They want the opportunity to really truly teach and expand their children's abilities and to see that potential within them. And you don't have to do that in an assertive, grumpy way.
I think we can break out of that cycle, even in the mothering culture, that you do have to be a grumpy ornery mother to get things done or to get the house to be running a certain way or your kids to behave a certain way. I think there's a beautiful connection in true leadership and nurturing effective motherhood.
Yeah. I totally agree. I'm just nodding my head over here like this because I'm gonna bump the order of this recording. We're actually doing this in mid-May. Summer is just upon us. For us, it's in a week and a half. And I think that for me, I actually just went on a walk with my son right before we started recording this episode. And I was asking him what he wanted to do through the summer. And he said, "I just don't want parents telling me what to do or that I'm in trouble." And I said, "I want that too."
I want that too. Yeah.
"Let's talk about that." And I said, "What happens with this summer," and the reason why this conversation came up is because we were talking about what activities he wanted to do through the summer that we couldn't just do nothing, so to speak.
And I said, in the first few weeks, I really back off. I don't demand a certain wake-up time. We don't do chore lists really. We're just letting the season flow, detox from the school year. But after that, we have to get a routine going or things for kids at home during the summer. They get on each other's nerves. There might be too much screen time, whatever the thing is.
And so I explained that to him. I said, "In the beginning, it probably would be really great to just do nothing all of the time through the summer. But you and I both know, because we talk about this, that if we don't create a system or some kind of a routine that we do that's productive, we're not going to be having a very good time at home. And I want to have a good time at home with you. So let's figure it out together." And I think he was like, "Okay. What does that mean?"
But I really want to step into asking you, Neena, about the summertime because I feel like each season, whether it's starting a new school year or doing a summer routine, what are some things that we can do to implement a healthy culture and environment at home during the summer? Because that's right upon us.
Yeah. I love that. I think that's such a great thing because I don't know about you, but I actually get a bit of summer anxiety because I do work from home. I enjoy now that all of my children are in school, I can really make the schedule my own.
So having my kids here, knowing that I do need to organize and orchestrate their playdates and their entertainment a bit, it creates quite a bit of anxiety for me. And here's what I know about anxiety because it takes us fully out of the present every time, either throwing us back into the past to rerun some scenarios that maybe didn't go as we had hoped or it's cultivating and spiraling through potential scenarios in the future.
So when I have moments like that, I like to just sit in the present and say, I can make a plan moving forward. But I've also got to make the plan that I can be flexible. So I think that's probably my first mindset component when it comes to approaching summer.
And here's the truth. Your attitude as the mother, as the CEO in the home will determine quite a bit of the cultural climate of the house. If you're stressed, if you're anxious, if you're feeling put out from having your children at home, they're probably going to be pretty grumpy right back at you.
So when I realized that most of my parenting control was around my own mood and my own emotional regulation, I think I found quite a bit of peace and empowerment there, knowing that when I could take a beat and just figure out my own crap, then the house ran quite a bit better.
So I would say what's my expectations that I'm managing here? What's my primary stressors that I want to create systems and structures around so that I can get those main trigger points addressed? So I would say that's probably the first thing that you as a mother should do.
Again, if you assume that you're in the leader role, leaders have what we call the conductor's perspective. In an orchestra, you have literally 30 to 40 different instrumentalists or instruments that are all playing their own sheet of music. They don't see anybody else's moving parts, but the only person is that conductor that can see every single moving part. Who needs to play here? Who's resting? Who's playing over here? And how they can come together in a beautiful orchestration.
So I think of myself that way, especially when it comes to summer. Each of my kids literally only see their own sheet music. It's very difficult. Even if you're working with teenagers and young adults, it's very difficult for them to be other-centered. It's just not part of their specific developmental milestones or perspectives.
So for me, I'm like, okay, knowing that I have the full sheet of music, and overall, that sheet of music is going to be lovely. It's going to be playful. We're going to have cool experiences. We're going to have much more flexibility and time to connect together. I want this to be a beautiful orchestration, knowing that sometimes somebody's going to have a little mix-up or mess up. And it's going to maybe affect the whole production, that's okay. But we can have room for error and still have an overall beautiful concert.
So I think thinking about that in a whole perspective is really helpful, then it puts a little bit less pressure on the day to day. I think generally speaking as a mompreneur, that has been a huge component for my success is looking at when I'm trying to time block, knowing that I can have flexibility.
For instance, if I got two hours to block for kids, two hours to block for business, and the two hours for the kids ends up going three, then the next day, I'll do three hours on my business and one hour on my kids. So I just adjust it based on the needs.
When you're looking at the overall goal, how can we be flexible in the day to day I think gives us a little bit of that grace and acceptance around things not necessarily going the best. So when it comes to, coming back to your question, healthy culture around it, you set the tone mommas. You really do. Have we had a conversation about what we'd like summer to look like as a family? Has everybody come in and shared maybe a couple of ideas of what they'd like to do?
But I like to ask, how do they want to feel? How do you want to feel every day? Do you want it to be pretty chill? Would you like us to orchestrate a couple of things every day? What are you willing to put into that process so that I'm not the one that's consistently entertaining you? That's a big part of what brings me peace and happiness.
Maybe as a mother, you love being an event planner. Maybe you love being the playdate organizer. Lean into your strengths and speak up. Speak up. That's a huge part of mothering is this letdown of expectations. If you've got an expectation, speak to it.
I was just thinking about this with my kids because we have a plan this Sunday to talk about summer. And that's just one thing that we do on Sundays, we have a little family pow-wow on the things that are upcoming that we need to all get on the same sheet of music for, going back to that analogy, and summer is on it.
And so I've started jotting down this week, just in a note on my phone, some things that I really want to get out of summer. And for me, I want one-on-one time with each of my kids at least once every week. So I call it like Monday, fun day for my littlest one. And I have a list of things that we can do. Some of it's arts and crafts. Some of it's playing outside. She just loves rough and tumble play. So that's something I like and enjoy with her.
For my older kids, they're a little bit more interested in reading next to each other. We're not even necessarily talking, but I'm sitting there spending quality time. We're reading our individual books. It works for me. I've got another little one that just loves going out and adventuring. So we're planning hikes and bike rides, things like that.
So for me, that's something I want to get on the schedule for summer so that I know I am investing into their little love tanks, into their little love bank accounts. And it's going to feel genuine and organic and wonderful and loving for me to fill up my love tank just as much as it fills up theirs.
So I think setting out some intentions, actively asking those kiddos to communicate with you to help you create a plan, and then knowing too that you get to be flexible. You get to just enjoy the fact that maybe you don't have as much structure. You can sleep in on some days and bump something that you had planned to the next week. It doesn't really matter. But I think that can be a stress if we look at it one way like, we didn't get done what we wanted or it can be a gift and a blessing depending on our perspective.
So I think, again, comes back to your attitude. How am I approaching my relationships? Am I looking at this as an opportunity for us to grow together? Am I feeling the weight of needing to plan at all? And have I clearly communicated my expectations around it?
And I think when you can have those things come together, self-reflection, journaling, writing it out, expressing what you need, and then gathering the opinions and perspectives of the other people that are also sharing a home with you, I think you can lead out into a really fantastic summer.
Yeah. I love all of those tips. We do similar things in our home as well where I need to get back to doing more consistent Sunday we call them family meetings because I feel like if there's communication happening, not only as a group, but also individuals where we will talk to the kids one by one, you connect and the flow of the week goes so much more smoothly.
So I love that you talked about that because when we're communicating with our kids about what they want and what we're hoping for, that we can gel and they know that we value their opinion. We actually call it a summer bucket list meeting where I'll go through and ask the kids, what was your favorite thing we've done in summers in the past? What do you want to make sure that we do this summer? And we make sure that everyone has at least two turns and we'll plot it out on a calendar. So we actually make sure that it physically is on a calendar.
So otherwise, there are things like my husband will say, “I really want to go fishing.” But he's not much of a planner. So I'll say, “If you want to go fishing, let's plot it down because look at the weekends.” I don't know about you guys, but our weekends in the summertime fill up so quickly, like so quickly that if we don't plot out what are priorities for each of our kids and as a family, it just fills up really, really quickly. And I love that you say, how do you want to feel? Because an idea that I had was doing like a once a week card. We have a card table that It was like someone passed down a casino table.
I know. It has the drink holders. And we don't play poker. But I'm like, how fun would it be if we did like Wednesday Uno day? And Wednesdays at noon, we had a game and we ate some pizza or something where it's like traditions within the home that are fun just for us.
But I love that you say, how do you want to feel? Because I think that really changes the conversation from what are we going to do, but also includes, how do you want to feel? Because that really is a beautiful question.
Yeah. I can just think about in the mommy graveyard of all of the things I would like to just bury, just have it die and bury memory-wise. Almost all of the time, it’s centered around us trying to go do something fun as a family and somebody has an emotional trigger and the whole memory is just pretty tainted because somebody’s in the back crying or somebody’s disappointed or worse yet, I’m the one who's leading the charge and the bad mood.
And so for me, it’s just checking in, hey, if the emotional climate isn’t ready for this event right now, what’s our flexibility to bump into another day? Because we want this to be fun memory making.
And I’ll tell you that we have planned elaborate trips, not elaborate, but you know what I mean, ones that take a bit of planning. And then, we've done just things on the fly and I will tell you that some of those things that were on the fly were just as meaningful. So it is so much less about what you’re doing and more about the memories that you’re creating, the emotions that you’re eliciting, the connections that you’re having, the sharing, the communication, the joy in it.
And I think if that’s what we’re seeking is joyful connection, memory making, love enhancing, then that’s what we can create. We can set that intention and create exactly to have that, no matter if it’s little and free or a little bit more elaborate and uses some of our money in that useful way. Yeah.
Yeah. I have a perfect example of what not to do. We’re going to our family cabin over the weekend and it was just like a one-night stay and we have a rule in the house where if we’re doing a road trip or a long travel day, our kids get tech because it helps the time pass. This is a side note, so I'm going to put a pin in that.
But it created this environment where they were fighting over this one device because they didn’t have their own. But what was really interesting is once we did get there and things settled down and people were fed, that’s a big part of happiness, feed the people. We actually went on this road trip just up through a canyon. And we had planned to go fishing. And it was full of snow. The whole canyon was chuck full of snow banks and we probably shouldn't have been driving up there, but we were.
And we came upon hawks and there were these beautiful cranes that were out and we pulled over and watched them play. And my son in the back who’s 15 said, “I love doing this. This is better than Disneyland.” And I was like, “Wow.” This, to him, drive, this spontaneous drive that costs nothing and was a bit of a mess and still was beautiful to him, it was that feeling of this is better than Disneyland because of him, theme parks are just not his thing.
He loves spontaneous nature exploring. And if anyone knows me, I’m a Disney fan. Bring it on. I am there. For him, it’s not. And so I think that illustrated perfectly what you’re talking about of, it doesn’t have to be this perfect elaborate expensive experience to be meaningful and to fill up the cup of the person who you’re trying to connect with. And so, I think that that's such a beautiful illustration of that. It just popped up in my mind as you were saying that.
I love that. And how cool that he was able to articulate that to you in the moment because I think sometimes I know that our children are building a construct that we create. Because I’m pretty active, my kids are out and about with me a lot, being active. My husband has a very high interest in media, so that’s actually a big part of how we connect, watching movies and talking about movies and really enjoying the media production side of things.
And so we have to understand that our children are people. They’re their own person. And while they’re existing in a climate, in a scenario in which we literally have completely orchestrated for them, the older they get especially, I like to do it when they were little too, but as they find their preferences, it is a really great practice to actively be asking, “Hey, what would be the most meaningful for me to do for you today? How can we connect right now that would really fill your cup,” something like that?
I think about how I do that with myself. That’s my self-care. Each day, I check in because I’m a different person everyday. And so are our kids. By coming in and asking, “Hey, what is it that you need today? Do you need some sunshine? Do you need a good run? Do you need a nap?” Every day, we’re a little bit different and our needs are a little bit different. And so, addressing that to our kids too especially in the summer when we’re going to have more shared experiences together I think could be really fruitful for both parties to feel a bit happier in the process.
I really like that. I love that direct question. And because this is taking a summer theme, what I wanted to come back to was screentime. I’m curious about how you handle that in your home because summer for us, it becomes a challenge. I have a house full of tech-friendly video game loving kids, which I think is fine. I think that that is totally fine.
Does that mean I have to create boundaries around tech and that I have to create limits and help them understand why we set the limits and why we try to create a healthy pattern? Absolutely. So that’s a whole conversation in and of itself, but I’m really curious about your take on that.
Yes. And I feel like this is a bit of a can of worms in the parenting world.
Yes. Yes, totally.
Here's the truth. This climate is a necessity to have children have access to technology. The usage of that I think is very unique and specific and personal to each family. I will just say I’ve had a hard and fast rule against screen pretty much my children’s entire life.
To me, I ask, what is the purpose? Why are we using the screen? What’s its tool in the function of what we're trying to accomplish? If it makes sense for us to use screens, yeah, let's use screens.
We’re like you. When we travel to Bear Lake, we have a family cabin up there that we like to go to at least twice a year. It’s about a 3.5 hour drive. I’ll spend the first hour talking, but then the other 2.5, I’m like, yes, absolutely. Let’s put on a movie. Let’s all watch it together. Let’s laugh in the car. Let’s do it. And that’s just something we can depend on.
But when it comes to being at home, especially when the weather is nice, I almost never let them on screens. I’ll say, “Go play. Go be creative. Go outside. Go connect.” But then, in the summer evenings, we’re relaxing as a family. Let’s sit down and watch a movie together. Let’s find something that we can laugh at or we can learn a lesson from.
And we oftentimes in our home find ourselves pausing it and saying, “Okay, did you just see that little exchange that was not a healthy relationship?” I literally watched Freaky Friday, the Lindsay Lohan one, with our family and I was in so much anxiety the whole time. I paused it no less than 20 times and I said, “Did you see how that mother reacted to her? That was an inappropriate response.” And so, I’m talking to my kids about proper relationship skills in any of the media that we're watching. But the same thing goes even for silly cartoons like Bluey or something, which is one of our favorites for our little ones.
You can talk about how their relationships are going, how they’re portrayed in the media so that it’s purposeful. There are times that we, gosh, just sit there on our tushes and eat popcorn and just relaxing and being together is a great purpose and function for media. It is.
Likewise, my husband has a great time playing video games with my kids. They sit down and laugh. That’s probably the biggest belly laughs that we’ll get out of our kids is when they’re playing video games together. But we have a pretty tight limit on what that looks like in our home, specifically around 30 minutes for any video games. And it’s got to be with someone else. You have to be doing it with someone else so that it’s a connective activity.
Again, it’s very specific to each family, but to me particularly, that’s what I want the function of any media to be is not a recluse. It’s not an avoidance. It's not numbing, but it is instead an opportunity for us to collectively join in watching something purposeful and celebrating the aspects of it that helps us stay connected versus divided.
Man, I need to figure out what to say to my 15-year-old because then they get their own phones and it’s like a whole new ball of wax with them playing with their friends. So they’re like we are playing together, but they’re apart. It’s a really interesting time to have teenagers. That’s a whole other thing.
I know. I feel like we could have a whole another episode on that. Yes.
Episode two, yeah.
For sure. With my 14-year-old, we do have a time limit on her phone. So, she can only be on it total 2 hours a day and I do regulate how much of which apps she’s on. And again, it’s really great. It’s a good conversation starter because she did have a community-centered gaming app. I don’t know what it was exactly.
She said, “Hey, my friends are on this. I’d like to have this on my phone.” And I said, “Let me look through it. Is there any messaging features on it?” That’s a key aspect of any app that you have. And I said, “Who can play with you? What’s the access between interplayers?” And she explained it to me and I said, “Okay. What would you do if you got on this with friends or next you guys want to play, let me watch.” So I just give them an opportunity to showcase it.
I want to offer my children an open mind, an opportunity for them to expand and to enjoy things with their friends digitally because that’s a big way that teens are connecting. And if it works within the construct of connection, I don’t actually mind it. So that’s how we’ve approached it.
But I’m very particular about which apps that is and how long she can spend on it and I do very much over communicate that. Why am I doing this? I’m not just putting the hammer down and saying, “No, only 30 minutes. No discussion allowed.” I say, “Listen. This is what I need you to understand about dopamine and technology. It gives you a false dopamine hit just like if you were to go to the mailbox and see that there’s a letter there for you, but you can have it at a moment’s notice and you can get addicted to it. You can. And that's okay. It’s a good hormone. But we want to find other ways, alternative ways to seek it out. Walking in the grass, looking at your little sister, holding your kitty, something like that.” So give them alternatives to be able to get that same emotions response without needing to get it from technology.
Neena, that was good. I’m just like I need to definitely share that piece with everyone I know. I hope those of you who are listening, this is gold. This has just been such a wonderful conversation. Is there any other piece of being a leader in the home and we didn’t even dovetail into how that looks in entrepreneurship, but is there a piece that we haven't covered yet that you would like to?
I think that if we just break down the barriers between a leader and being a mother, then that would be the ending message I would want to offer. They can be very fluid. I think when I stepped into my power and understanding that I am truly a leader in my home, that I set the culture for if it’s okay to mistakes, what our communication looks like, what our problem-solving looks like, what our organization looks like, all of that, then I started I think treating my home like it was potentially a successful or unsuccessful business. How would I rate myself today? How much would I pay myself today, that kind of thing? It’s a good way to mitigate that line.
And then on the other side of it, transitioning into entrepreneurship and more importantly into leadership development which is really just being influential. That’s all that leadership really is and having a heart to facilitate growth in other people, then, gosh, I could see so many skill sets that I had inadvertently developed as a mother that translated beautifully into expansive leadership and entrepreneurship.
So I think see the potential in yourselves, momma. Really you have a great skill set. You’re not just a homemaker. You’re not just a stay-at-home mom. I talk to so many mothers that say, “I don’t have the job. I’m just a mom.” I’m like, “Are you kidding me? You are an incredible professional and a powerful leader and influencer in this world. And so quit with that garbage identifiers in your life and just step into that power that you are a leader in your home. You do a lot of things.” I will say that.
You complete a lot of tasks. But you exemplify a lot of powerful qualities. People that go to school and through training programs that don’t even have the opportunity to learn just by navigating everything that you need to as a mother and more importantly, an intentional home, a happy home.
So if that's what you’re working on, then you can cross that line into leadership and entrepreneurship easily. And then likewise, if you’re in the corporate world and you're wanting to improve your motherhood, think about what it would be like to be a quality leader if you’ve done that in the past or seen a quality leader in that professional arena, and then translate it into your motherhood. Translate it into the culture of your home and I think you’ll find a lot of joy and self-appreciation in that and a lot of validation that you’re doing a really good job.
Yeah. This has been so good. Neena, we need to have a part two because I feel like there’s so much to unpack here. But tell everyone where they can find you online and learn more from you.
Yeah, absolutely. You can find me on all social channels @allthingsneena. And that’s N-E-E-N-A. I also have my website, www.allthingsneena.com. But across all platforms, you can connect with me. I love connection on social. So that’s the best way to find me.
Wonderful. This has been so great. Thank you so much for being on the show today.
Thank you so much for having me. I sure appreciate you and I love the opportunity to talk, especially with you.
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 in 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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