Do you put everyone else first before yourself? Are you stressed and disconnected on most days? Do you want to live a life that’s empowered and unapologetic?
In this podcast takeover episode, Veronica Cisneros shares an introduction to her story and steps to become empowered as a woman, wife, and mother.
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Meet Veronica Cisneros
Veronica is a licensed therapist and owner of Outside the Norm Counseling. She is also a wife and mom of three daughters, and she wants her girls to know who they are and feel confident about their future. She can’t think of a better way to help other women than by demonstrating an empowered and unapologetic life. So Veronica started Empowered and Unapologetic to be a safe space for women to be vulnerable and change their lives for the better before they ever need to see a therapist.
In This Podcast
- This used to be my life
- Steps to becoming empowered
This used to be my life
No woman should suffer silently, losing herself while trying to make a perfect life for her family.
So it’s 615am, we’re late! Really late. I wake up in a rush to get the kids up. My husband is still asleep as today’s his day off.
I’m running around like a madwoman trying to wake them all up. Making breakfast, prepping lunch, negotiating with the kids what they should wear and trying to get everything ready. I’m alone getting the kids ready, did I mention that? It’s an entire checklist that’s running through my head and I’m trying to get through it as quickly as possible. I run back downstairs, yelling at everyone, let’s go, let’s go!
Guess who meets me downstairs. My husband, who is showered, dressed and has his coffee in hand. Meanwhile, I look like the hired help, and I don’t even have a bra on!
I say to him, “It must be nice taking that shower and getting dressed.” He replied, “Why didn’t you wake me up, I would have helped?” Yes, sure! If you wanted to help then you would have helped!
Well, there goes the start of everyone’s day. It wasn’t a good one. But at no point did I stop and think, girl, put your bra on first.
I lived my life like this for so long because, well everyone else was doing it too. We’re slaves to the checklist and we don’t do anything about it. We shouldn’t have to do everything on our own and resent our families for it.
But why didn’t I just let them do it? Well, because they wouldn’t do it the way I liked it or I’d have to redo it. So instead, for years I would do everything and anything for them, and they knew it. They had the luxury of doing nothing for themselves because they knew mom had their back.
Steps to becoming empowered
1. Identify what it’s costing you to do everything by yourself.
It costs us our time, compromises ourselves and puts everyone else above us. What are you teaching your kids and your husband by doing everything for them and nothing for yourself? How is it impacting your relationships?
Perhaps you’re stressed all day, and feel resentful when your husband gets to focus on himself. If you have everything on your plate, the others are just there to take it.
2. How does it benefit you? You’re in control!
Yes, feeling like you’re in control and knowing everything that is needed to be done is done – that’s a benefit. Checking off the checklist feels good because of the control it gives you. But it’s actually an illusion of control. It’s an unhealthy benefit. We try to keep everything in line, but in managing it all, we’re stressing ourselves out.
3. Ask for help
This can take some time, but I promise it works. It might not be done the way you like but it’s done and that’s the point. And even better, it will continue to get done without you asking if you simply no longer commit to it being your task.
It’s not our fault that you didn’t make yourself a priority!
Do the things you need to do first so that you can feel connected to your family and not be angry and resentful towards them. Take care of yourself first and ask for help. I would rather feel connected to my family in the morning and start everyone’s day in a good way instead of acting like a monster. Do you decide to put yourself last and blame everyone else for it? The minute you let go of the task is the minute you let go of the cycle.
Until next time, keep pushing forward.
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Meet Joe Sanok
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This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok session number 473. Today, the podcast takeover continues, we have Veronica with the Empowered and Unapologetic podcast. Here we go.[VERONICA]:
Have you ever thought, how did I manage to lose myself? Being a mom is hard, especially when you are feeling stressed and disconnected. We exhaust ourselves trying to create this perfect life for our family. You deserve to enjoy your marriage and your kids without the stress perfectionism brings. I’m going to teach you how to identify who you are outside of all of the roles you play.
Hi, I’m Veronica Cisneros. I’m a wife, mother of three and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I am on a mission to teach women just like you how to become empowered and unapologetic. Welcome to our girl gang.
It’s 6:15 AM. It’s 6:15 AM great. We’re late again. We’re late again. I get up as fast as I can, so fast that literally my soul jumps out of bed before my body can catch up, run straight to my girls’ rooms and just start yelling, “Get up, get up, we’re late.” My husband is still in bed asleep. Want to know why? Because it’s his day off and this is just the way it goes in my household. Well the way it did go. So here I am running around yelling at the kids, telling them get ready we are late, run downstairs, start to make breakfast. In addition to that I’m prepping lunch. So here I go all by myself. Did I say that I am all by myself downstairs getting everything ready and again I can’t even see because I’m so tired and part of me is still asleep; making breakfast, preparing lunch, run upstairs.
Brooklyn is still asleep. Of course, she’s still asleep. So, I have a 17-year-old, a 13-year-old and a nine-year-old. Brooklyn, my nine-year-old, she swears she’s like 25 and she just got this. So here I am trying to negotiate with her on what to wear and she’s really picky. She gets on me because she thinks I’m trying to dress her like a five-year-old girl. “Girl, get it together. You’re nine.” So, we’re too late to go out and have this argument. However, get ready, run back to the room, trying to go ahead and find whatever sock they’re missing or whatever article of clothing that is somewhere in this big old pile of clothes that I have yet to fold and put away. You get it. If you’re a mom, you’re totally here with me.
We do all the laundry. It’s folding and putting the laundry away that’s a pain in the butt. So here I am looking through this big old fricking huge mountain of clothing, trying to go out and find that one article of clothing that they’re missing because of course they don’t have any jeans to wear. They don’t have any jeans to wear. Why not, especially on a day we’re late. I’m doing all of these things. I run back downstairs because guess what? I’m burning the food. Of course, I’m burning the food. So, all I do is scrape off as much as I can of whatever burn-ins are on there. And I’m making it with cheese. Everything is good with cheese. Well for the kids it is. So here I go, put it in Tupperware, this breakfast is to go and head towards the door.
The minute I’m at the door, guess who’s there waiting for me? My husband. My husband is showered, dressed, he smells good and looks like a damn GQ model with coffee in hand. Meanwhile, I’m standing right next to him looking like the hired help. I have this mom button going on, sweats, tank tops, oh, did I forget to mention? I didn’t put a bra on so I totally looked like the hired help. He looks like a GQ model. I’m a mess. He’s put together. Story of my life. Story of my life. Brooklyn runs downstairs, Aliyah and Aubrey run downstairs and that’s what I forgot to do. Brooklyn’s hair. So here I am. Get me the spray bottle, get me the brush, get me your bowl because we gotta get this done.
So, I’m doing this all wild, yelling at the girls to pack their lunches and put whatever I made for them in their bags. “Don’t forget your homework folder. Don’t forget this. Don’t forget that.” It’s this entire checklist in my head that I’m going through as fast as I can because again, we’re late. Finish up on Brooklyn’s hair, we all run to the car and so the minute I get in, I look over to my husband and I tell him. “Must be nice to be all dressed. Must be nice to have taken a shower. I haven’t even put my bra on and you’re all dressed. I don’t even think I have matching shoes.” I don’t know if you ladies have ever done that where you’re in such a hurry, you grab the shoes thinking that they’re both black flip flops but in reality, there’s one blue and one black. They don’t even look like. I don’t know how I missed it, but it happened.
And so, I’m so upset and they’re, all of this anger, all of this resentment continues in the car and I hate to admit it, but the kids are there and I’m mad and I’m mad because, did you even think to help me? Like did that even cross your mind when you were in the shower hearing me yell at the kids or were you totally trying to avoid me again? Were you trying to avoid me so you didn’t get yelled at? Is that what this is? Am I going to be running this household all by myself? And what does my husband reply with? “I would have helped if you would have asked. All you had to do was ask.” “You’re kidding me. Yeah, of course you would have helped. You see me running around and you did nothing. You did nothing.” My kids get dropped off like this and they’re going to start off their day and they’re going to start me and my husband’s day.
It’s his day off and I’m already at my wit’s end. I haven’t even showered. I haven’t even had breakfast. Everybody else has except for me. Does this story sound familiar? Girl, get ready because I’m on a mission to help you. At no point did I stop and think, “Girl, put your bra on first.” At no point, you know how, I’m sure you guys have heard this whenever you’ve boarded a plane and if you haven’t, here’s what it sounds like. If you’re traveling with children, adults, please put your mask on first. And I’ve heard that over and over and over again. And I remember being on a plane thinking, “How dare this lady say this?” She must not have kids. And I was so upset because it’s like, “What are my kids going to do?”
And then I’m on the plane thinking, “This is ridiculous. I’m going to file a complaint because there’s no way somebody is going to put, I’m going to put my mask on before my kids. Like there’s no way.” And I had some time to think about it and I realized, “Well, what good would I be to my kids if I didn’t put my mask on first? How would they survive?” If I put their mask on first and they see me struggling, well, guess what they’re going to do? They’re going to take their mask off and so now it’s not only one person dead or gone or struggling, it’s two, three. Maybe I should ask for help. Maybe I should put my damn bra on first. I didn’t realize this was a problem. Like I said, I lived my life this way for a very long time thinking this was the norm. My friends did the same thing, right?
Ladies, we are slaves to the checklist. No time for ourselves, feeling all alone with no one to help and none of us say this out loud. We might say it out loud by yelling at our family, we might say it out loud in a car ride. However, we don’t do anything about it. We just continue to live life this way and it’s a problem because we shouldn’t do things on our own. We shouldn’t lose our families because of it. No woman should suffer silently losing herself while trying to make that perfect life. The effects of this problem, if I’m being completely honest, for me it was me feeling stressed and disconnected every single day. And it impacted my life because I secretly resented my husband and my daughters and I am going to tell you right now, I hate to admit that.
I hate to say that out loud. I resented my family and I had so much guilt. I remember having so much guilt surrounding that, that I resented them. I secretly resented them and I just wanted to run away to a damn hotel where nobody can find me because I just wanted to relax. I didn’t want to make any more decisions. I wanted somebody to make the decision for me. I wanted somebody to take on a task. But would I even let them? Well, no, because for one, they wouldn’t do it the way I wanted them to and I’d have to redo it. So instead I did everything. And unfortunately, my kids knew that and so did my husband. And so, they had the luxury of doing whatever they needed to do for themselves because they knew mom had their back. And I used to wear that as a badge of honor. Not anymore. Ladies, I’m about to teach you how to go ahead and live your life empowered and unapologetically by following these steps.
Step number one. And if you haven’t grabbed a pen and paper yet, girl, what are you doing? You’re about to learn a whole hell of a lot. So, grab a pen and paper because it’s about to go down. Here we go. Identify what it’s costing you to do everything by yourself. It costs us all a whole hell of a lot. It costs us our time, we compromise ourselves and if we take it even further, we have low self-esteem because of course everybody’s put before me. And where did I learn this from? Well I learned this from my mom. I remember her doing everything, everything for everyone. And sometimes she would go without eating and she would go without eating because we just didn’t have enough.
I’m wondering what my life would have been like and my mom taught me something different. Would I be suffering silently? Would I be on this damn hamster wheel? What would have changed? Would I have this relationship with my husband and my kids or would I have a healthier one? So being able to identify what it costs you is so crucial because it goes into the next part of this. What are you teaching your kids? What are you teaching your husband? And if you have everything on your plate, the others get to just take. I remember being stressed all day. Everybody else got to focus on themselves, everybody else had their own routines and their own routines involved putting themselves first. Meanwhile, I put myself last not only for my family, for my friends, for my siblings, for everybody. Even strangers, if I’m being completely honest.
Is that the life I want to live? Is that the life you want to live? Well, if your answer is no, here’s step two. How does living this way and carrying that badge of honor of doing it all, how does it benefit you? You might’ve put your pen down and thought to yourself, “What do you mean it doesn’t benefit me? You just said it yourself. You resent your family, you’re compromising your self-worth, you’re compromising yourself over and over and over again. It’s not benefiting me.” Well, here’s why I’m going to challenge you. It is. Think about how in control you feel when you have that checklist and you’re checking every single item off. That is control. Well, to be honest, it’s an illusion of control. It’s control we really don’t have. And so, because of that, we try to keep everything, everything in line. We manage it all. However, by managing it all, we’re also stressing ourselves out. Yes, feeling like you’re in control and knowing everything that needs to be done is a benefit. It’s an unhealthy benefit.
Step three, this one took me some time and I really had to process this one so it might be the same for you. So, the third step, ask for help. One of my friends had said something to me and when he said it, I didn’t know how to react. I remember being upset. I remember thinking, he has no idea what the hell he’s talking about. And also, I remember being offended. I remember being offended by what he said because it’s like, “Dude, do you have any clue what we do as women? Do you have any clue what we put ourselves through just so we can make our family’s lives better? Like you don’t even get it.” Let me go ahead and share what he said. “It’s not our fault that you didn’t make yourself a priority.” I want you to listen to that ladies. I really want you to listen to that. And for other ladies that I’ve shared this with, they were blown away and they were mad, but I want you to hear it again. It’s not our fault that you didn’t make yourself a priority.
It’s true. This statement is a hundred percent true. It’s not anybody’s fault except for our own and it’s our fault because it’s an active choice we make every single day to go ahead and be a slave to this checklist, to go ahead and put everybody first and yes, I hear you ladies, if you don’t get it done, no one will. I get it. And if I would have run straight to the shower and showered and gotten dressed and put the damn bra on and did all of the things for myself, well we would have been more late, right? We would have been so much more late. However, I would have rather have been very, very late to drop off my kids at school feeling connected so they knew I loved them, so they knew I didn’t see them as a burden versus yelling and screaming the entire morning and picking a fight with my husband.
I don’t want my girls to see that. What type of mom am I? Not only that, but my kids think my mom’s a monster when I dropped them off and I’m the villain. Meanwhile, my husband’s a hero and all you did was take a shower and grab his coffee, right? Like I did all the work and he gets credit for it. Well, he gets credit for it over and over because of the decisions I make. And I also thought to myself, “Well, wait a minute. How is it that the minute Willie gets up, he gets to automatically go straight to the shower, brush his teeth, get dressed, make his coffee?” Like why is it that he gives himself permission to do it and I don’t? Like how is he better than me? Or is it even that because he’s not better than me? We’re both equals. We’re both equals. However, I decide. I make that decision to put myself last and I blame everybody else for it. So, ask for help. I promise this works. It might not be done the way you like it, but it’s done. It will continue to get done as long as you continue to ask. Ladies, the minute you let go of the task, you break the dysfunctional cycle. I’m going to share with you something.
Ever since I decided to go ahead and you know what? Nope, Nope. Put the damn bra on first or go straight to the shower, if you haven’t showered the night before. Go straight to the shower. I like to shower at night. My husband likes to shower in the morning, I like to do it at night. Anyway, get up, go straight to the shower, take your shower, wake up. Wake up, brush your teeth, put your bra on, put your clothes on, get yourself ready to go. So, the minute you’re around your kids, you’re not this mad woman, you’re not going crazy. You’re able to connect with them. And don’t get me wrong, this isn’t like Betty Crocker. Like all of a sudden, you’re going to skip over to your kids and birds are going to sing and like you know it’s going to be this harmonious event. No, hell no.
We have kids. Like let’s just be honest. We have kids and our kids, they’re going to say something, they’re going to do something. Something’s going to happen and it’s going to irritate us. However, if they do irritate us after we’ve taken care of ourselves and after we’ve asked for help, let me tell you something. You’re not going to be so quick to yell. There’s not going to be that feeling of regret and guilt that you have carrying around your entire day trying to come up with some great apology so when you pick up your kids, they won’t look at you as the monster. So that’s what I started doing. I started asking Willie for help and the minute I asked him for help, he was happy to help. He still got up, got himself ready, however, after he would grab the kids, he would help them out, we would do, he even got to a point where he could do Brooklyn’s hair.
Brooklyn’s hair, my daughter’s hair, both Aliyah and Brooklyn have crazy curly hair and it’s ridiculous trying to brush those knots out. I’m not even telling you. I’m not even going to it. We’ll save that for another episode. However, he’ll take Brooklyn, she’s nine and he’ll go ahead and comb out her hair or he’ll go downstairs, prep breakfast while I help the girls get ready. And so now we have this tag team going on and I’m not resentful towards him. He knows how to do the girl’s hair, he knows how to get them ready, he knows how to go out and match their clothes and do those things. However, I kept him from doing that and I kept him from doing that because I wanted to have this sense of control because I wanted it to look a certain way.
And as I started to release more and more of that control and just allowed myself to have that help, well so much changed. My relationship with my kids changed because I no longer looked at them as a task. And my relationship with my husband changed because now I can connect with him and I look at him as my partner versus the enemy. And for so long I did that. I looked at him as an enemy because he wasn’t helping me, but he wasn’t helping me because I didn’t allow it. So, ladies, I want you to think about that. How often do we wake up to the checklist? How often are we slaves to wanting this perfect life, this perfect life that doesn’t exist? Put yourself first. Put yourself first so that you can enjoy your family, so that you can enjoy your relationships without that level of resentment.
Okay, ladies, I hope this encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone and pursue the life you want to live. If you’ve loved this episode, remember to share it with a friend and rate and review it. Until next time, keep pushing forward. Thank you. Thank you for listening to another episode of Empowered and Unapologetic.
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Many women lose their own identity in the shadow of being a mom and a wife. We are a community of women who support each other. We leave perfectionism behind to become empowered and unapologetic. I know you’re ready for the next steps. If you want to become empowered and unapologetic, get my free course Unapologetic Me over at empoweredandunapologetic.com/course.
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