Episode #45 with Brooke Romney
“It is really important … to have a few people in your life when your kids are teenagers that you can go to and be honest and know that they have your child’s best interest at heart and your best interest at heart …”
Brooke Romney is a writer, speaker, educator and connector. She published her first book, I Like Me Anyway: Embracing Imperfection, Connection, and Christ in October 2020. It has helped women all over the world find purpose and peace. She has been published in The Washington Post, The Deseret News, Scary Mommy and a host of other online publications where her pieces have been read millions of times. Brooke writes avidly on her blog and Instagram page where she has created a large, vibrant community of learning and growth.
She is currently on the Time Out for Women speaking circuit. Brooke touches audiences with her message of worth, empowerment and connection. She regularly uses her education and expertise to help individuals, online accounts, and businesses tell their stories through a compelling and inviting narrative that positions them for success.
Brooke takes us through some tips on how to connect with our teenagers. It can be tricky to navigate feelings, hormones and mood swings. It’s so important to make sure we are doing out best to take care of ourselves, our children and cultivating a safe place for them to be and live.
Brooke Romney Episode Transcript
[00:00:00] Kara: Hello and welcome to the today. I am enough podcast. I am so thrilled to have Brooke Romney with us today. She is an incredible author and incredible parent advocate, a teen advocate.
She has amazing tips on her website on her Instagram. She has lists for days I love we were going on. Soon. And I was looking at your website for audio book recommendations for kids. You had so many, I’m so excited. So brick is just full of so much knowledge and so much. Goodness. And I’m so excited to have her here.
Why don’t you go ahead and introduce
[00:00:34] Brooke: yourself? Hi, I am Brooke from me. I’m just so excited to be here. I just love like chatting with women and sharing our story it’s and so just grateful to be on your podcast. Thank you.
[00:00:46] Kara: So I’m going to turn the time over to Brooke and let her share her story and just like let you know more about her and what she is all about.
[00:00:58] Brooke: So there’s kind of a lot of pieces of me. One of the things that I’m really good at is not having an attention span. That’s long enough for just one thing. And so I have done a lot of things and I’m excited about a lot of things, but I would say like at my core, it’s helping like women feel like they have a purpose and that they’re needed and wanted and loved as they are.
And also, they have like incident possibility to like who you are today isn’t necessarily who you will be tomorrow. But one of the things that I’ve really focused on lately as teenagers. Currently, I have three teenage boys and I have a nine-year-old also. And so I kind of entered into that teen parenting world and I felt very alone and lonely.
And like I was in way over my head with so many things. And so. One of the things that I do, like on my Instagram is I really try and help other women feel like they’re not alone in this teen parenting situation. I just felt like once kids hit teenagers, nobody was talking about things and that a lot of it is to protect people’s privacy.
And a lot of it is just because there’s not nearly as many happy, fun moments to share on. And I just felt like when I was going through some really difficult times, I wish that there was a place for me to turn, or just, even for someone to say, Hey, like this happens at our house too, you know? And so I started doing things like, kind of sharing.
So my oldest now is 18, so I have a little perspective. And so a couple years ago I just started sharing some things that worked and some things that didn’t work. And then I also started realizing like the power of. And I do these mom to mom questions, which are some of the favorite things that I do on my, just for me.
So moms will send me questions and I will open those questions up to the community and people have been so awesome. And the thing that I love the most about it is you see that different things work well for different families. I think like sometimes for me, I was thinking like in raising teenagers, like there was a right way and a wrong way.
And one of my kids doesn’t really subscribe to. Either way, like, he’d just like, so push boundaries and things like that. And so I sometimes would follow advice and it would totally backfire on me. And I didn’t feel like there was anyone out there that was like, it’s okay. Sometimes things don’t work, you know, like sometimes you just keep trying and sometimes your kids don’t listen and sometimes they still break the rules and like, you just keep going and you just keep pushing forward and you keep trying, and.
It means you’re being a great month, you know, so I just needed someone out there. So I tried to do that a lot. And in the mom’s phone questions, the thing that’s my favorite is you have one family who has rules and guidelines that have worked really well for them and another family. Who’s done the complete opposite and it’s worked well for them.
And I just love that there’s a place for a community to come together and say, okay, this family sounds more my speed. So for instance, Really really structured. And so I think there’s lots of awesome ideas for really structured people. And I think they work. I’m not saying they don’t work, but like they wouldn’t work for me.
And so when I see an idea that has like a little bit more flexibility, Okay. So that one might work for our family.
[00:04:20] Kara: To me, it reminds me of like, if you’re talking about it with little kids, it’s like, we’re, we’re always like sharing, like, oh, let’s do this job, turn this reward system. And like, it’s not a one size fits all.
And that’s absolutely how teenage rules are as well. And even like you said, with one of your kids, It doesn’t even work with every child. Right? Totally. One teenager. That’s always like, well, I didn’t get to do X, Y, and Z. And I’m like, that’s fine. Like, that was cause that’s what you needed. And that’s not what this one needs, you know?
Like it’s just differently. I think it’s super important to remember that because there, the there’s so much more their own person when they’re a teenager. You learned that you can’t control them? Like you could control your three-year-old at least to some extent, right? Like you can pick them up and take them to their room and time out because they’re like towering over you.
They became these like grown-up people.
[00:05:13] Brooke: Totally.
[00:05:14] Kara: You have to learn to reason with. Yeah. Sometimes it feels like I’m reasoning with a giant two year old
[00:05:21] Brooke: Well, and sometimes like, you’ll have to there’s. Things, I didn’t think I would give up right. For certain situations. And sometimes you give in and you know, those are the things that like when I was a young mom and like, Why does that person never make her teenagers do X, Y, or Z.
And you know, and it’s like, oh, okay. So now I’m that person that people are probably saying that about, but
[00:05:42] Kara: You have to pick your battles.
[00:05:44] Brooke: Yeah. And working really hard to just preserve those relationships.
[00:05:48] Kara: And I was going to say, you got to pick it out so you can have that relationship with your child.
And so they can trust you and you can trust them and grow that relationship because.
[00:05:57] Brooke: That’s for sure. Well, and there’s one of the things too. That was a good reminder. I was with my husband and I had had a really busy work week and I had made some big mistakes, like things that should have been easy, like had I had better perspective.
I really could have done a lot better job that week with my work stuff. And I was beating myself up and I’m like, I am just so stupid. Like I’m so dumb. You know, looking back that was such an easy fix, like, and he just looked at me and he was. You’re not so stupid. You’re new at this you’re inexperienced.
And he’s like, there’s a difference between being so dumb and inexperienced. He’s like, this is the first time that you’re trying to juggle, you know, this type of work. And it actually like really turned a light on for me with parenting because I realized I’m literally always new at what I’m doing. Like it’s a new age, it’s a new stage.
It’s a new kid. Um, maybe like our family situation is different and. Giving myself, a lot of grace for understanding that I am literally new at this every single day. And I don’t have a lot to fill on.
[00:07:05] Kara: I love that perspective though. Like, and I think like that’s what I try and teach with Today I am Enough. It’s like, you’re enough in whatever stage you are. It doesn’t mean you stay there. It’s not a stagnant state, but today it’s just how you are.
And today might be different than tomorrow. And you might be more productive today than you were yesterday, but that’s okay. Because it’s what your body needs or what your soul needs are, what your kids need and taking, like, just noticing that I think in and naming it and understanding it changes.
[00:07:37] Brooke: It’s so true.
And just being, being able to be okay with that and, you know, just, it was such a nice perspective shift for me just cause I. I didn’t do better cause I actually didn’t know better. And now I do. So it’s, you know, it’ll be easier next time. Not that I will always make the right choice the next time, but I will have some more perspective and some more life experience.
And you know, just like we’re talking a little bit about teens going at them with that same perspective too. Like they are new at this and like they’re tackling new things and you know,
They’re just like us, they’ve never been 16, 17, 18, 13, whatever age they are. They’ve never been that before they haven’t ever had, you know, the freedoms that they’re given or they’re, you know, just they’re growing personalities and mindsets and different things like that.
And we have to be gentle with ourselves and gentle with our kids in all the things
It’s really interesting too, because I, you know, I’m here and I give a lot of advice. So I do teen tips, every. And they’re called common sense, teen tips. And one of the, you know, people are like, oh my gosh, you’re so great.
How do you come up with all those? I’m like, because I watched my kids not do them, you know? So it’s really like one of those interesting things. Sometimes people I think will look at me or even another person and be like, oh, you’re so good at that. You’re such an expert at this. And it’s like, no, like everyone is still just like plodding along.
You know? I mean, really most of my team tips. From moments in my life where I’m like, how do you not know that? How did I not teach that? How did you not catch on, you know, just realizing like you have to be really blatant and we’re like, I’m coming out with the teen tip, book
[00:09:21] Kara: so fun
[00:09:23] Brooke: mostly for us. So that like, those are displayed one a week so that they like get that reinforcement.
Like, yes. When you open the door, You say hello? Would you like to come in? You know,
[00:09:35] Kara: I think you, did you just do one on answering the phone?
[00:09:40] Brooke: Yeah,
[00:09:43] Kara: because I was like, oh my, my 13 year old, I was like, okay, well you call his mom and you ask if he can hang out with you. And so he just calls and just stands there. And I’m like, say hello!, you never seen me on the telephone before.
And I think cell phones have shifted that where they just don’t know how to answer the phone, but it was just so funny. Like, just ask, ask for your friend or ask if he can hang out, say goodbye.
[00:10:14] Brooke: Well, it’s so funny. Cause I think like new technology has. One of the reasons why I felt a need for these things is because like, as kids we used to observe our parents all the time, there was nothing else to do.
Like we weren’t distracted, we weren’t looking at a phone. We, you know, we like had to go with our parents places and, you know, things like that. And kids just don’t have that today. So they don’t observe as often. And so they’re kind of missing out on some of these life lessons, but, you know, it’s just, it’s funny because when I started the tips, I wanted to make sure that people understood, like I am not like the teen Manor police. Like if you know me in person, I’m not like, Ooh, your kid is not, you know, complying here. It’s like, I know that most kids aren’t doing this, but even just as I share these, just giving them the opportunity for knowledge. And it’s funny. Cause I’ll still like, watch them sometimes not do it.
But one of the awesomest things is when they’re not with. I do see them do it. And so they are like taking in the information. Sometimes they don’t like want to pat you on the back and be like, thanks so much for teaching me this awesome tip, like forever. I’m going to be so good at this. When they’re on their own and when it matters, I think it kicks in and they’re like, my mom, my mom told me that when I’m at a restaurant, I should put my phone away or I should clean up the plates before we leave, or I should leave a tip or I should look the server in the eye when I’m ordering, you know, things like that.
[00:11:34] Kara: Absolutely. I love that so much. And one thing I love that you’re doing is bringing awareness to teenage moms because as my kids got older, I noticed that same thing you talked about. It’s just this different world where it isn’t talked about a lot.
And a lot of it is because of the privacy of your child. Like, I can’t just start rambling off what’s going on with my 14 year old daughter, because she’s her own person and she has her own life. And it’s her things that she’s figuring. And it’s hard because when you have a four year old, you’re like, oh man, like she peed all over the house today.
Like, you know, whatever, she’s throwing a tantrum and we can share that. And so as little kid parents, sometimes it feels lonely. Cause you’re in the trenches of like a lot of physical doing and you can’t necessarily get out, but you can, like, you can go to the park and play. And yeah, you don’t have teenage play dates.
You don’t get together with teenage moms. And you’re like, yeah, look at, you know, my little 14 year old and she’s just struggling with this. And that has been really eye opening. It was really, it’s really hard because you can’t just go to your best friend and be like this is what my kid is struggling with and it’s hard and I don’t know how to help or what to do.
[00:12:48] Brooke: I, um, so that is also something that I felt really strongly about because while it is our kids’ stories, you know, and, and we have to respect their privacy, we also have to realize. It’s also our story. So when there is something you can’t broadcast it, you can’t go to the park and just shout it out. But it is really important.
It’s like, I think it’s crucial to have a few people in your life when your kids are teenagers that you can go to and be honest and know they have your child’s best interests at heart and your best interest at heart. You can trust them to keep things in confidence because I would have fallen apart if I wouldn’t have had people to go to and at least ask for support or help or information.
And so just really know, you can’t share everything in like a large setting, but making sure, like, being so, so sure that you have some people that have your back, because sometimes you can’t talk to your kid about it. Sometimes they’re completely irrational. Sometimes your husband doesn’t understand the worries of a mom.
You know, like there were times when I was like super worried and my husband’s like, Hmm, feels like something you shouldn’t be worried about. Oh, okay. Actually like realistically, yes, you’re correct. Like this is not the end of the world, but like I need a little more, like, I need someone to be like, that is super hard.
I’m so sorry about that. And so finally I need just like a little small support group, of people that you can trust, I think is so important. And there are times when my kids have done things that maybe are like harder or bigger. You know, I’ve just said, you know, like you’ve made this part of my story, you know, like, I’m sorry, this was part of my story too.
And I need some help and support. And that’s, that’s also a consequence of, of actions so
[00:14:38] Kara: We’ve had a few things with our kids cause I have three teenagers now, but there has been like a specific incident where. I did. I like, I was like, we just have to talk to someone like I have to, I have to make sure I’m not being crazy.
[00:14:51] Brooke: Right. Totally.
[00:14:52] Kara: It is interesting. It’s an interesting perspective that it is part of our story. And I think being careful of that boundary.
And being careful who you tell, like
[00:15:02] Brooke: for sure. Yeah. There’s like, there’s definitely, yeah, definitely people. Yes. Yes. And finding those, like, especially as your kids enter those teenage years, is really, really important for moms of teens.
[00:15:15] Kara: Yeah.
So what is something that you have found, um, helpful? I don’t know how to word this. Some that I don’t know, like as a mom of teenagers, what is like your best advice to other moms? I don’t know, keeping that relationship, creating that relationship, helping them. I don’t know, whatever, like whatever advice you might have.
[00:15:35] Brooke: So there’s so many things, cause it just sort of depends on your kid. But one thing that I. Super proud of is being able to hold a relationship through really good times and really bad times. And that means that there is sometimes more give than take on our part usually. It means like celebrating things that even like, so sometimes if your kid is really hard, it’s hard to celebrate the good things because they’re bugging you so much.
And so like really like finding the positive and focusing on that. Making sure your kid knows that you like them, even if they’re hard or going through a tough time or just being kind of difficult. And you know, there’s a lot about like letting kids have their space, which I agree with, but also like not letting them have too much, like helping them understand that you want them with the family you want to be with them.
They’re still, even when they’re not enjoyable, like sometimes you just gotta pretend, you know, sometimes you just have to act like. For a little while so that they felt loved and wanted in their family. I, you know, there’s been like some really big ups and downs for some of our kids. And I just felt like for me, the victory is at the end, like, do we have a relationship where we love and respect each other?
And sometimes that means understanding that they have differences of opinion and honoring those different opinions. And then sometimes it means helping them understand that even when there’s a difference of opinion, sometimes as a family, we sacrifice for each other and, you know, do things that other people like that we don’t and show up when we don’t want to, because we’re a family.
And then also just enjoying it. I think sometimes people get really. Like reticent about these teenagers. And there is so much joy and there’s so much fun. Even, even if they’re like in a tough stage, like you can still enjoy the same movies. You can go with it to the same things and have a good time.
You can root for the same team. Like, it’s so fun for me to just sit down and like chat with them about what’s going on. And, I have all boys and a lot of people are like, how do you get them talking and opening up and you just, you gotta be there when they’re ready. Like that might be a midnight that might be over food that might be in the car, but just be there when they’re ready and be willing to be present whenever they’re ready to talk and help them understand like that you care about their feelings, you care about their ideas.
You care about the way they think you don’t just sometimes I think with teens, Kind of like brush off their opinion. Like let’s say they give you a political opinion. That is totally uninformed instead of being like, oh my gosh, like, where’d you even hear that? Who are you listening to? You know, being like, oh, that’s super interesting.
Tell me about that opinion. Like how did you come to that? Like, is that something like you, you know, agree with in your soul? Or are you just like saying it and just, you know, validating who they are and how they. When I think about teenagers, like you said, they’re just adults, they’re just mini adults.
And so treating them like I would want to be treated, is a big deal.
[00:18:40] Kara: I think that that is a huge deal to help them feel important and heard. And I think a lot of times you need just, just want to be heard.
[00:18:48] Brooke: Yeah, I think you’re right..
[00:18:49] Kara: And so giving them that opportunity, to be heard, especially in a conversation where there might be conflict, to make sure that they know that you honor their opinion, even if they’re going to have a consequence.
And so their opinion isn’t going to happen, just letting them, just letting them be heard. And I think also explaining why in a situation to any age child is actually like especially teenagers. Like if they know the why behind it, it’s amazing how it’s just changed some conversations or some conflict even just to be like, you know, this is the reason, like, I don’t know, my, my son wanted to go hang out with his friends when I, and I just, like, I literally just didn’t feel good about.
And I was like, I don’t know why, like I have no good reason, except I just don’t feel good about it. And I know about lame, but I do let you go to like 99% of your friend’s houses when you ask. And so this one time, and so I, you know, like we just talked about it for a while and he was super bummed and he’s like, it’s okay it’s not your fault. And I was like, oh, we’re good. Like, you know, just reassuring that. But yeah, teenagers, I feel like it can be scary and sometimes it’s still feels scary.
[00:20:08] Brooke: Yeah, for sure.
[00:20:10] Kara: I was sitting several years ago in a relief society meeting the women’s congregation, our church, and one of the women just was like asking questions, like, well, how do we help our teenagers? And what did we do? And teenagers are so much harder than toddlers. And I have six kids in seven years and I, my oldest was still in primary, so he was less than 12. I left almost in tears because I was like, I’m going to have five teenagers.
And she’s telling me that it’s harder than what I’m already going through. And I already cry all the time. I can hardly handle it. So that was really scary. So it’s interesting to be here and, just learn that it can be okay. And that they can be really fun. Like you can have really engaging conversations with teenagers.
[00:20:54] Brooke: Oh yeah.
And vacations are the best, like with teenagers. They’re so much fun and there’s a lot to look forward to, there are certain things that are a lot harder and there’s certain things that are a lot easier. And I just think there’s like really beautiful feedings at each stage. And I also think that some of us are like meant or programmed a little bit, really loved those toddler phases or really connect with teenagers.
But it doesn’t mean that we can’t learn and grow and try and still really enjoy whichever stage we’re in. Absolutely.
[00:21:24] Kara: And I think that’s key. I remember like once I didn’t have two year olds anymore, cause I basically have like every age for like six years and somebody at the time we were done with too, I was like, oh, I’m glad I’m out of that.
But my next door neighbor’s little girl that’s two. I’m like, oh, come play. Yeah. Like come over to my house. And, but there is there’s good in every single stage. Finding that in recognizing that where you are and where your kids are, will just help make it. So you like them better and can show them love and respect in whatever way that they need at that time in their lives.
So I think that’s huge.
[00:21:59] Brooke: Absolutely.
[00:22:00] Kara: Awesome. Do you have anything else you want to share?
No. I’m totally good conversation.
Yeah. Just making sure. Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being here.
[00:22:10] Brooke: Actually, could I just tell about my books?
[00:22:12] Kara: Yes. I would love for you to tell about your book, that her book is your book.
That one, the pink one. Yes. That one, I will actually put that in the podcast I have under my nightstand. I was going to grab it and then I get reach it.
[00:22:26] Brooke: You’re just like, yeah. A lot of the lessons that I’ve learned through my life up to this point, I was able to put in a book called “I like me Anyway. Embracing, Imperfection, Connection in Christ.”
And in there, I feel like there is so much information that really relates to your podcast that today I’m enough and in like learning to love who you are now, and then being able to. Reach for who, you know, you want to be without ever beating yourself up about it or feeling badly about it. And so if, you know, if some of your listeners are thinking like I’m struggling with this, I’m struggling for comparison and competition.
I’m struggling trying to connect with other people. Like. The words that I wrote there, you know, kind of sum up my experiences and the important lessons that I’ve learned up till now, and really have allowed so many women to have a perspective shift, because I think until you start liking and loving yourself, it’s really difficult to progress.
And so kind of cementing that first and then like allowing yourself to move past, like onto the next stage is a really powerful way to go about the rest of your like motherhood or life or whatever you’re tackling.
[00:23:37] Kara: Yes. I love that. And it’s a beautiful book. It’s so well written. I have loved reading it and it’s available in lots of places.
I got mine at Costco. I was so excited when it showed up.
[00:23:47] Brooke: Yes. Yes. So still Costco, Amazon audible. I read it. So if you would, rather less than it’s on there too.
[00:23:53] Kara: Where else can listeners find.
[00:23:56] Brooke: Yes. I’m really active on Instagram @BrookRomneywrites. And then a lot of the things that I’ve written, you know, I’ve been writing now for almost 10 years.
So I have a website brookeromney.com that has tons of material and all the lists that you were talking about, where readers can go and find things really in an easily accessible way.
[00:24:13] Kara: Wonderful. Okay. I’ll make sure to link to her book and everything else in the show notes. So you guys can find it really easily.
Thank you so much. Brooke.
[00:24:20] Brooke: Awesome. Thanks Kara. We’ll see ya.