Busy Mom? How to Run Your Home on Autopilot with guest Carrie Olsen, LCSW

About this Episode

Are you a busy mom feeling guilty that you can’t seem to juggle everything? Do you feel like you SHOULD be able to manage kids, your home life, your social life, your kid’s schedule, and your job or volunteer work? On this episode of Brainy Moms, Dr. Amy and Teri discuss all of this with licensed therapist and clini-coach, Carrie Olsen. 

Carrie talks to us about taking the word “should” out of our vocabulary so we can enjoy being a mom!  We discuss the phenomenon of decision fatigue, how it creates stress for moms, and how to minimize it. She gives us practical tips to help us run our home on autopilot, freeing us up to focus on what’s most important.

About Carrie

Carrie Olsen, LCSW a licensed therapist and a certified clinic coach. She helps moms stop “shoulding” on themselves, to bring peace and laughter back to “momming”. To help moms better understand the ways that anxiety, chronic stress and sometimes trauma impacts their daily lives, she aims to provide concrete tools and resources that even the busiest mom can incorporate into her daily life. 

Connect with Carrie

Website: carriemolsen.com
Social: @carrieolsenlcsw

Mentioned in this Episode

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Link to get your free guide from Carrie: Five Ways to Run Your Home on Autopilot

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Read the transcript for this episode:

Busy Mom? How to Run Your Home on Autopilot
with guest Carrie Olsen, LCSW

Dr. Amy Moore:

Hi, and welcome to this episode of Brainy Moms. I’m Dr. Amy Moore, here with my beautiful co-host Teri Miller, coming to you today from an unseasonably warm Colorado Springs, Colorado. We’re excited to introduce our guest today, from Atlanta, Georgia, where she is probably also warm, Carrie Olsen. Carrie’s a licensed therapist and a certified clinic coach. She helps moms stop “shoulding” on themselves, to bring peace and laughter back to “momming”. To help moms better understand the ways that anxiety, chronic stress and sometimes trauma impacts their daily lives, she aims to provide concrete tools and resources that even the busiest mom can incorporate into her daily life.

Teri Miller:

We are so glad you’re here, Carrie. Thank you so much for joining us. It’s a great topic we all need to learn about. And before we dig in, I want you to tell our listeners a little bit about your story, kind of, your history, what brought you to where you are today, really focusing on this as your passion.

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. Well, thank you guys so much for having me. I’m excited to chat with you guys. So, like you said, I’m a licensed clinician, so I’ve been a licensed social worker for about seven years now, and mom of two little ones that are about to be three and five in the next couple of months. And so, for me, how I got into where I am now with coaching is, I think like a lot of people, the pandemic shifted a lot of things for me, and as somebody who thought I was doing really well at the juggle of being a working mom and having two little ones, all of that changed for most of us and trying to figure out how we did that. And I think that some really big things happened for me just personally, of kind of having to change the way that I thought about things as a mom, changed the way that I thought about the role that I wanted to fill with my kids.

Carrie Olsen:

And so, a lot of big things happened for me and got into a much better place with that juggle, and really wanted to be able to do that for other moms as well and take the skills that I have learned as a therapist, but then also in my own personal journey and help moms figure that out, because I think we all know being a mom is the hardest job in the world and we all are working so hard to do things right and well and whatever that looks like for us. But it can be really overwhelming, and it can be lonely at times and it can be scary at times. And so I really wanted to help moms with specific tools so that they don’t have that same, kind of, constant overwhelm burnt out feeling, but they can enjoy being a mom like we wanted to.

Teri Miller:

Yeah. Oh, that’s so good. I am resonating with everything you’re saying, burnt out and exhausted and yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And I’m sure most moms are, right?

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Yes.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And so, one of the things that you talk about that can really overwhelm us are the sheer number of decisions that we have to make as moms. I read a statistic yesterday that said something like we make 221 decisions a day just about food. Just about food that’s a lot honestly.

Teri Miller:

Yeah. For our kids, as moms, that was a moms statistic.

Dr. Amy Moore:

No, no, that was not for [crosstalk 00:03:21] that is for us, right? So, then you can multiply times the number of children you have how many decisions you’re making about food. That’s just crazy talk. But anyway. And so, you share a lot about… And you do a lot of work about decision fatigue. So, talk to us about what that is and why we should care about it.

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. And the statistic that I have, they did a study in 2019 that said adults make over 35,000 decisions a day, which is just this mind boggling number, but then when you think about, it is, and some of those are unconscious, some of those are small and insignificant, but when you really think about from the moment we wake up, we’re thinking, “Do I snooze the alarm clock or am I going to get up? When I wake up, am I going to work out or am I going to skip my workout? Am I going to shower? Am I going to wash my hair?”, all these little things-

Teri Miller:

Skip the shower, just dry shampoo.

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. Dry shampoo, right? That’s the easy button. And then on top of… Just, kind of, the daily functioning, then we think about the world that we’re living in right now, and we have so many decisions each day that have so much more pressure on them. And so we’re deciding about sending kids to school back or not, we’ve been deciding, “Well, mask or no mask?” and wherever you land on those decisions, they’re high pressure, intense decisions. And so, when we talk about decision fatigue, we’re talking about that just sheer exhaustion from making decisions all day long. And the image I always think of is when you’re standing at the fridge, and it’s funny that you mentioned the food decisions, we’re standing at the fridge at the end of the day, and it might be full of food, but you’re thinking, “I just can’t even decide what we’re going to make for dinner tonight, I don’t even care. I’m so tired of having to make one more decision, eat what you want.”

Carrie Olsen:

And, I kind of describe it with my clients as, let’s say, you have a cup of water, and every morning you have a full cup of water and every time you make a decision, you’re pouring a little bit of that out, if it’s “What am I going to wear today?”, that might just be a little bit, if it’s those bigger decisions, you might be extending a lot of that, and each of us, gets to a certain point in the day where there’s no more water left in the cup and we are just done at that point. And that feeling can increase that burnout feeling of just, kind of, being emotionally exhausted, physically exhausted, constantly stressed out. And there are things that we can do, I can’t help with those huge decisions, those are always going to take up a lot of the water out of your cup, but from kind of automating some of the smaller decisions so that you’re not having to think about those kinds of things, to other bigger ideas about… Just trying to make decisions easier for you so it doesn’t take quite as much energy to make the decisions, and it takes longer for you to get to that empty cup where you feel you’re completely burnt out by trying to make decisions all day long.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And this is a neurological phenomenon, right? I mean, that cup of water is like how many neurotransmitters you have, so every time you make a decision, it’s like a neurochemical switch flips in your brain, and you use up more neurotransmitter. So, it’s, you don’t have an infinite number for the day, you have to sleep in order to regenerate that number of neurotransmitters.

Teri Miller:

And Amy, I don’t know if this is true, I’m just thinking from my own experience, aren’t there things that we can do during the day to, sort of, refuel, reset our neurotransmitters or that decision making process? Okay. So listeners, maybe you’ll get this, I’m going to give you a little story, a little example, that I was packing to leave the house, and I had… It was only midday, it wasn’t even quite midday, and I had taken kids to school, and “Which one do I take first here? And who’s going to be a little bit late?” if they’re running behind, and then I had a kid sick at home, but he had a choir concert the next day, and then “Do I call the school and say sick or is it just a personal day?”, all these stressful decisions, and then I’m working and I’m trying to pack for a week away, and I ended up on the floor in the hallway, in front of the linen closet, literally paralyzed. Carrie, you talk about this on your website, you talk about that paralysis, paralyzed, looking at two different blankets to take for this bedroll, and I couldn’t… I was almost in tears, “Well, this one’s softer.”

Carrie Olsen:

It’s a life altering decision, right? The blanket, yeah.

Teri Miller:

“This one’s bigger and softer, this one’s more compact and… Oh my gosh, I’m going to cry, I can’t handle this.” But I was able to be, “Whatever, throw it in there.” and then I literally took five minutes. I went outside, sat on my deck in the sun with the sun on my face, and I did feel more calm after five minutes, more able to make decisions. So I’d love, Amy, your input on the science of that, and then Carrie, your input on how we as moms can handle that when we’re in the middle of the day and we can’t just go to bed. What do you think Amy, the science of neurotransmitters, is there a way to kind of refuel them?

Dr. Amy Moore:

If we don’t have enough neurotransmitters to make it through the day, it could be for multiple reasons, right? And so rest is the biggest way that we can regenerate that neurochemical production, but some people, particularly people who are suffering from depression, they might need meds in order to help recycle the neurotransmitter in the brain. But I think we’re a little bit off track here, so I want to talk about from a practical standpoint, I really just wanted to say that this is a neurological reason why that cup empties. But let’s get back to what we can do about it.

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. So, the first thing that I really like to talk about is creating systems that just run things on autopilot for you. So, obviously there’s going to be, “The child is sick and now we have “… You can’t plan for that. But there’s so many things that we can plan for and we can, kind of, automate that helps to where… Again, we’re running on autopilot and we’re not having to make those basic level decisions. Going back to food, because that’s one of the biggest things that I work on with moms, is meal planning and meal prepping, because when I have energy on a Sunday morning, I can spend the hour or two hours to think about what that’s going to look like for the rest of the week, and then that way when it’s Wednesday and I’m exhausted because work was much harder than it was supposed to be or whatever was happening with the kids has made it even harder, it’s one less thing I have to worry about and decide about because I’ve already made those decisions for me.

Carrie Olsen:

So, we talk about meal planning and meal prepping, I like to talk about even themed meals, and what I mean by that is, lots of people do taco Tuesday, but even doing something like that for every night, whether it’s taco Tuesday, whether it’s leftover Thursday, in my house growing up Friday was always hamburger night. And it has fond memories to me that I remember Friday night with hamburger night, but I also know as a mom think about, it’s just so easy, right? You just know no matter what else is happening, Friday night is burger night and I don’t have to plan anything, I just have to make sure that we have the things ahead. So, little things like that, that if you could spend a little bit of time on the, kind of, create a habit or create a system, that’s going to take some of that weight off of those daily, kind of, nonstop decision making that we have to deal with as moms, with all of the various things that we have to do.

Teri Miller:

I love it. So, you have a guide about that? Tell us about your guide.

Carrie Olsen:

I do. Yeah. So, I have a guide that you can download and it really looks at a couple of different areas. So meal planning is one of the big ones, I also look at a chore schedule, and that’s not to be… That kind of sounds so punitive, like you’re a kid with chores again, but even something as simple as deciding what days I’m going to clean what things, that just makes the system and it’s one less thing and so you know Tuesday is laundry day, Wednesday is the kitchen day, Thursday is bathrooms. And then you can also look at… There’s all kinds of guides about… Like a monthly cleaning schedule too, so you can have a daily cleaning schedule, you can have a monthly cleaning schedule, an annual cleaning schedule, that way you’re not having to remember, “When did we do the air filter? Have we replaced… When’s the last time we did that? When’s the last time that I cleaned the ceiling fans?”, those things that you’re not going to do on a regular basis.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Or the batteries and the smoke detector. So they don’t wake you up at 02:00 AM.

Teri Miller:

That’s so good, yes.

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. So, creating those systems, even for people who aren’t super organized or type people, I think can be really helpful. For me, I do a lot of that as reminders in my phone, again, it just takes the weight off of remembering, we think about keeping track with what size shoes your kids are wearing, dentist appointments, pediatrician, there’s just so much to remember, and the more that you can take that out of your own brain and put it in a paper system, a phone system that works for you, it just gives more and more space to when you do have those things that come up like a sick child and you’re having to make more intentional decisions than what you’re used to having to deal with, you have more space for that.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And you talk about another way to… So, your guide is called Six Ways To Run Your Home On Autopilot, I love that title, it’s so sticky. [crosstalk 00:13:26] you talk about getting a capsule wardrobe, what does that look like?

Carrie Olsen:

Yes. So, this concept… I feel like I’ve known it for years, but the idea is, again, think about if you ever had to wear school uniforms or a uniform at work, it was so easy because you knew what you were wearing the next day, right? “I have to wear black pants and a collared shirt and I’m done.” So the idea with a capsule wardrobe is to kind of create your own adult version of a uniform, and everything is simple and everything matches. If you want to get really intense about it, you can make a calendar scheduled, some people do that and you can find Pinterest would have stuff like that.

Carrie Olsen:

But for me, it’s more about a handful of pieces and everything goes together, and I kind of rotating through. And so whether it’s… I wear a lot of blacks, this is a unique color for me to be wearing today, but I wear a lot of neutrals and then I can just do cute headband or earrings, so I use my accessories to make things look different, but I can walk into my closet and I know exactly… Everything [inaudible 00:14:37] everything’s easy, I’m not focused on having to put an outfit together. Obviously we still might have those days where we’re, “No, this doesn’t feel right today, I don’t like the way that this feels.” but it’s not that standing in your closet and looking for 20 minutes thinking I have nothing to wear because I just can’t think about putting pieces together, that they all kind of go together and it’s just, “Do I want to wear pants? Do I want to wear a skirt? And then long sleeve, short sleeve.” It’s much more streamlined. Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. I used to work with a guy who only wore crisp white t-shirts and the same blue jeans. So, he owned 30 of the same t-shirts and 20 of the same set of blue jeans, and I asked him one day, “Why do you only wear that?”, and he said, “So, I don’t have to think about it.” [crosstalk 00:15:29]

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. It’s one less thing. My husband, I think every button down shirt that he has is in a shade of some sort of blue so that he can wear blue pants, so he picks a different shirt every day but the framework of his outfit is the same every single day, and it doesn’t matter and he just doesn’t even have to think about it, all the sock match, the shoes match, “We’re good to go.” and he just picks a different shirt every day.

Dr. Amy Moore:

I love that.

Teri Miller:

So smart. Yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So, we had a client with a traumatic brain injury several years ago who couldn’t put her own clothes together anymore. It was one of the things that she really enjoyed, she was very fashionable but could not make those decisions. And so what we had her do was to spend some time with her husband who helped her putting outfits together and then she made herself a digital catalog of outfits. So from the shirt to the pants or the skirt to the shoes, to the accessories and everything. And so she would take a photo of each outfit and she had this digital catalog, so that then she would know what to put together. And while we did that because she had a brain injury, anyone could do that.

Teri Miller:

Yes.

Carrie Olsen:

Oh yeah. I love that. And then on the days that you’re tired, on the days that you don’t care, on the days that you’ve got other things on your brain that need more space and energy, you can just flip through that and be “Oh, okay, yes, this is easy, this is done.” And I’ve even done not with the pictures, but my sister is significantly more fashionable than I am, and so I’ll have her come and be “I’m bored with what I’m wearing, so help me kind of style it a little bit differently, help me…”, and it’s not buying new clothes because I have the clothes that I need, but she’ll come and she’ll put them together in a way that I wouldn’t have done it before and it’s, “Oh, that’s so good.” And then now I can wear it the way I would’ve worn it, and then I’ve got my sister’s way too, and then that feels fresher and it doesn’t feel you’re wearing the same three things over and over, because [inaudible 00:17:29] I guess, wearing things different all the time, that’s another way that you could do that.

Teri Miller:

You’re going to have to repeat that, we had a little bit of a tech issue. So let’s give it a second, make sure you’re-

Dr. Amy Moore:

You say that sentence again.

Teri Miller:

Yeah, just the last thing you said.

Carrie Olsen:

It was about, so-

Teri Miller:

Your sister… You redid outfits and that gave you a peace of mind and you were talking about that and then we kind of lost you.

Carrie Olsen:

So [inaudible 00:18:00]

Teri Miller:

Okay. Nope. We may have to-

Dr. Amy Moore:

Okay. How about you log off and log back on and we’ll just keep talking while you reset.

Teri Miller:

Yeah. Our listeners understand, tech glitches happen, even Brainy Moms have tech glitches. Amy, I love this idea, I was just thinking about what she’s talking about, because with packing recently, with trips and things.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Weekends and so many trips and… Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Yeah. Okay. So, with packing, I’ve been realizing that I have a lot of blues in my wardrobe and then… But then I have to have my blue boots in the winter time. So then I’ve got blue boots and then I’ve got my blue socks and then… But wait a minute, I want to wear my blue leggings and my black boots, and I’m like, “Wait, I can’t pack for a trip and have my blues in blacks. I’ve got to decide, I’ve got to go with one theme.”, and say, “Okay, for this trip”… And I think that’s what we could do to simplify our lives, “What if I got rid of my blues? Would I die?” I think my life would be so poor if I just went with the black base, and then my life would be so much easier.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Right. I agree. [crosstalk 00:19:18]

Carrie Olsen:

Hi. Sorry about that.

Dr. Amy Moore:

That’s okay. So we just kept talking about that whole idea of-

Teri Miller:

Yeah, simplifying.

Dr. Amy Moore:

We could also apply this to our kids as well, right?

Teri Miller:

Oh my goodness, now we’re talking.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And what would that look like?

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. And I think it’s the same thing, you’re buying in the same kind of color schemes and so again you know that everything that they could wear it’s going to match, and it takes some of the fight away. My son started pre-K this year and they had uniforms and I was “Hallelujah.” because he has the drawer that, “These are the pants that you’re allowed to wear to school.” and there’s the drawer that feed you the shirts that you’re allowed to wear to school, and you just pick one of each and I don’t care. My daughter-

Dr. Amy Moore:

Oh, go ahead.

Carrie Olsen:

No, I just was… My daughter is completely opposite and I just don’t even fight that fight with her, she wears whatever she wants, none of it matches and it makes her happy and I don’t care.

Dr. Amy Moore:

[crosstalk 00:20:18] She’s totally okay. My mom used to say to me… I will never forget, I was probably in middle school, and I would come down the stairs and she would go, “You look like a rainbow.” because I’d have… And this was in the ’70s and ’80s, and so I’d have on purple pants and a pink shirt and a green sash and yellow shoes and scrunchy socks in two different colors or whatever, and she’d go “Look like a rainbow.” like it was a bad thing to have those colors on and I’d say, “Well, I like it.”

Teri Miller:

Or “You look like your dresser threw up on you.”

Dr. Amy Moore:

“But it’s okay. All righty.” Who’s it going to hurt? Right?

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. Right.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So, what do you think of those, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, kind of closet organizers for kids where you work with them and choose their outfits on Sunday for the whole week? Does that work or does that end up being an epic failure?

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. I love that idea. I think it’s so kid by kid, and I think… Again, thinking about my children, my son would be totally fine with that, he would love it and he would… To know exactly what he’s doing and have all of that plans. My little lady is quite spirited and quite opinionated, so for her it’d be something that we would try and then she’d probably just each morning she’s going to wear whatever it is that she feels like. But I think for me that goes back to that kind of values-based decision making that I think we’re going to talk about some, and I just don’t care, so I don’t have this mom pressure to feel like she has to be dressed a certain way, if that’s what she wants to wear, if that’s what makes her happy, it doesn’t impact me and so we let that go.

Carrie Olsen:

So, I think it’s definitely something that you can try and it’s just going to kind of be how your kid’s personality… But I do love the idea, again, of setting it up to where there’s a system of organization, right? That the child knows this is where you can pull your clothes, this is where you get these outfits from, or again, doing it on a Sunday when you have the decision-making capacity or whatever day that is, and then that way again, you’ve set yourself up to where it’s not something we have to think about in the midst of the chaos of getting out the door every morning.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Absolutely. Yeah. So, I do what going to talk about values-based decision making, but I want to finish these autopilot ideas before we move on. So talk about putting things on monthly subscriptions.

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. So, this is just… Again, my reference is always, I love Harry Potter and I always think of dumb door talks about the pin C than the things that he can pull out of his brain and then he doesn’t have to worry about them anymore. So, anything that you can think about that can become a monthly subscription, an auto bill payment, anything like that you’re able to do, so it’s one less thing to remember. Amazon like subscribe and save is genius, and I just remember I didn’t have that with my first born, and then when I had it for the second born, it’s diapers, diaper wipes, all those things that you know you’re going to have to get on a regular basis, just put those on monthly autos and they just magically arrive in this wonderful world that we have.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And you save 5% on them too.

Carrie Olsen:

Because you know you’re going to need it.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. Cat litter, toilet paper, paper towels, all of them.

Teri Miller:

Toilet paper. And I know some listeners might be… Like my older kids, they’re, “Don’t use Amazon.” and they’re just… And we’re not… This is not a Brainy Moms perspective, I’m just saying if there’s a concern, there are other companies that do this. Walmart and people are “Don’t use Walmart.”, well Target, there are other companies that do consistent subscription purchases for those basics, shampoo, toilet paper, like you’re talking about. So, just there are options people, there are options.

Carrie Olsen:

Right. So, whatever you choose, but the concept is still there of things that you’re going to consistently need, it’s one less thing. Again, when you’re at the store looking at your grocery list and you’re brain dead at that point, and then you get home and realize you didn’t get diapers, and we can’t function because we don’t have diapers. Instead, you’ve got them coming every month, and we got to the point where we kind of ran over and so that was fine because then I had an extra supply, and if crazy things happened, it was not something that I had to be worrying about, “Do we have this when we get home?”

Dr. Amy Moore:

Well, and I’ve noticed that many of those subscription programs let you adjust the delivery schedule too, so if you find you’re not using it as quickly or you do have surplus that you can delay the next shipment for a week or so. So, it’s not like you’re going to have this storage house-

Teri Miller:

Right. Yeah. You’re not stuck into it. And it really is… I’ve had friends, I’ve had young moms, and they’re afraid of it, “Oh no, but then the way my finances work, what if I can’t afford it that month and I get charged for it?”, and there are so many companies that do it very flexibly, I have had different subscriptions with many companies and you always get a text and email reminder several days in advance, you can cancel it, you can change it. It’s very flexible, we don’t have to be afraid of these newfangled ideas, we can do them.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Yeah. And I love it, particularly as an adult with ADHD who has to juggle a whole lot of things, that is one less thing that I have to worry about, one less that I have to make or remember. So, I’m a big fan-

Teri Miller:

Me too. Absolutely.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Prescriptions. Yeah. So, and then you have one more idea for running your home on autopilot and that’s outsourcing.

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. I think this is one of those that challenges the moms, and we have to kind of think about that, but I really challenge moms to think about, what’s that thing that you just really hate or that just really is a big stressor in your life and can you find a way to outsource it? So I think about my sister-in-law, she’s a teacher, her husband is a teacher, they are not rolling in money, but she has somebody cleaning her house once a month. And they have found a way to budget for that and so for them that looks… They cut out cable and they switched to a stream service and they made a couple of other tweaks so that they could afford that. And for her mental health, for her daily stress, that has been a huge game changer for her.

Carrie Olsen:

And so, thinking about services like that, I think about people who send out their laundry, if laundry is that huge nightmare task to you and you just can’t stand it and so you put it off and you put it off and then it just gets worse. Is that something that you can sit down, work with your finances, if that’s a challenge, and budget accordingly? And again, make some other sacrifices and say that “This is worth more to me, I mean a world without laundry, if I could really spend the time and energy to get that figured out, I can’t imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t spend Sunday morning three hours worth of laundry. So, I am listening to myself, I’ve got to take my own advice, this is something that sounds like it would make a really big difference for me.”

Carrie Olsen:

But just thinking about what is that task, what is that thing, and can you find a way to have somebody else do that to take the pressure off of you and to just give you a little boost with mental health and all the stress that we’re dealing with. There’s always some way, to me, that you can make it work. You might have to make the sacrifices, we might not do Uber Eats, only once a month, or whatever that looks like for your family, but finding a way to outsource those big task, those mental drains, emotional drains, whatever that is for you individually.

Teri Miller:

That’s such an important idea. And I think that is… I feel like from people I talk to and myself and what you’re saying, that is absolutely the hardest, that’s the hardest one, because the biggest fear is, I think maybe two things, I don’t deserve it, “Who do I think I am to hire a housekeeper? What? Am I so lazy I can’t clean my own house, what’s wrong with me?” And then second thing is, “I can’t afford it, it’s too expensive.” And so what we’re saying is, I’m telling myself when I say this, “I’m putting a price on my mental health and my peace and my quality of”, what’s your word, moming? I love that.

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah.

Teri Miller:

Moming. “I’m putting a price on the quality of my moming, because the quality of my moming is going to increase if I can invest the money to have somebody to come in and clean my house once a month, I could do it, I need to do this.”

Carrie Olsen:

Yes. And it’s so hard to convince moms to do that sometimes, but it really is… Try it a month, try it for two months, and see that difference in how you show up for and with your kids, and it’s going to make a difference.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And you talk about that we should stop shoulding. And that’s one of those areas, “Well, I should be able to handle it. I should be able to do it all. I should be able to get all of this done myself.” And so we have to… Well, who says? Who wrote that rule?

Carrie Olsen:

Yes.

Teri Miller:

Yeah. I love both of those phrases, moming and stop should… And I’ve said that for quite a while, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to stop shoulding on my myself.”, and of course that’s [inaudible 00:30:22]

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. We do it all day every day, I think mom’s more than probably anybody else, we… And it’s… Like you said, “According to who? Who made this rule? Where did this come from? What makes you think that that… ” It’s crazy to me. And it’s one of the biggest things that I feel like I talk to moms about, is “According to what? According to who? Where did this come from?”

Dr. Amy Moore:

Right. So, let’s go back to the idea of preventing decision fatigue and managing decision fatigue by looking at values-based decision making, talk to us about what that means and how we do that.

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. So, this is like part two, the other thing that I really love to do with moms. And the idea is that we spend some time really thinking about what are our values, in various aspects of our life, what really matters, and use that information to guide decision making. And when I say it, it’s like “Duh.” but lots of people aren’t really functioning in that way. When I ask a lot of people “So what are your values when it comes to your family life?”, we can kind of start talking about that, but most of us haven’t spent intentional time really thinking about, “Okay, what are my values in this area? What are my values for me personally? What are the values that I have for our family?” And so I have a… There’s another guide where it’s just 10 days of going through, kind of, each aspect of your life, so spiritual, community, job, intimate relationships, family, parenting, all these different areas, and really spending some intentional time thinking about what matters to you in that area. And that’s where when you establish a strong foundation and what really matters to you, that’s what helps you let go of the shoulding, and that’s what helps you… It makes decisions easier and it makes you more confident in the decision making process.

Carrie Olsen:

So, if I go back and think about my daughter and her clothes, people who knew me five or 10 years ago would be aghast when they see what my daughter wears to school, because they would know that five-year-ago-Carrie had this image of what her daughter would wear to school, and I’m from the south and we wear these precious, smocked beautiful things and giant hair bows, the bigger the bow the better the mom, that’s one of phrases that you’ll hear in the south. And so that’s what I had envisioned for my daughter, right? Well, my sassy, little opinionated lady, yesterday, she wore a t-shirt, floral leggings, rainbow sock and two totoos, because one totoo is not enough for her, she needed two, and pink sunglasses. So, that’s what she wore a pre-K yesterday, and, I don’t care.

Carrie Olsen:

And because, to me, it’s more important that I’m raising a daughter who’s confident and who values her own opinions and feels respected about her opinions, and even if she’s not even three yet, I’m laying that framework for her by saying, “Wear whatever you want, that makes you happy.” That’s not a fight that I need to fight. And if the pre-K teachers or parents of other children have something to say about what my daughter is wearing to school, I don’t care, but that’s because I’ve done that work to think about what really matters to me and because of that I can feel really confident in letting her go looking like… Part of me wants to cover my eyes and pretend I can’t see what she’s wearing, but really it doesn’t matter to me.

Teri Miller:

That’s so valuable.

Dr. Amy Moore:

And so you have to adjust your expectations. And why would you value that? You have to ask yourself, why is that important? Is it worth the stress?

Carrie Olsen:

Right. The other example I always think about is, when my son turned one, I made a homemade from scratch, vegan, organic sugar-free cake for his birthday party. I am not vegan, organic, sugar-free, any of those things in our normal life, he probably had processed chicken nuggets for lunch that day and then he had this very special cake. That if you are vegan, organic sugar-free, all those things, it’s wonderful, but I am not, but at that time in my life, I felt like that was what I needed to do to prove that I was a good mom, to make his birthday special, because in some crazy world, I was worried about what other people would think, that I gave my one year old sugar, which we all did… Looking back, it’s so crazy, that I was that concerned about what that was. And honestly, if I think about who was at my party, I’m, “None of them would’ve judged me for that.”, and if they did, they probably wouldn’t have been invited to the party, like those bunch of people that were in that group anyway.

Carrie Olsen:

So, I use that as an example because his second birthday was a Strobo chocolate cake that I didn’t make, I didn’t spend any time on, it was cheaper and everybody loved it, because by then I was at the point where I was, “This doesn’t matter.” Again, if that is a value of yours, that you are vegan, that you are sugar-free, I’m all for it, but it wasn’t a value of mine, it was something that I was trying to be or portray because of what I felt I should be doing, not who I really was on the inside.

Teri Miller:

Yeah. I think that’s such a big point, that as moms, we worry so much about what other moms will think, what the preschool teacher will think, what the church pastor will think, the people that we work with. I mean, we’re always worrying about what other people think, and so we overcomplicate our lives because, here’s the truth, they are thinking about us way less than we think they are thinking about us.

Dr. Amy Moore:

But they’re thinking about themselves.

Teri Miller:

Exactly. Yeah. But we’re all so, sort of, naturally egocentric that we think people are thinking things about us that they’re not thinking. And so, if we can throw that out of the window, we simplify our lives and nothing really changes, nobody’s thinking anything different, because we’re all worrying about ourselves.

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. It’s so freeing to get to that point where I just am “I don’t care.”, and I don’t mean it in a mean way, I just don’t care… If you are going to judge me for how I’m parenting my children or how I’m raising them, I don’t care, that’s your problem, meaning that’s not about me, that’s about you. But it takes work, I think, to get to that point, it takes the intentional thinking about what matters to you, doing that work so that you can become confident and secure to be in a place where you’re not worried about what other people are thinking or saying about you or your kiddos.

Teri Miller:

So, beautiful.

Dr. Amy Moore:

[crosstalk 00:37:41] We don’t have to post the cake on social media with the ingredient list. Exactly. So, speaking of digging in to decide what values you actually have and what you do care about, what if you don’t feel like you have a clear understanding about what your values are?

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. So there’s so many values, inventories, Brene brown has one that I love, that you can start just by Googling. Like I said, I’ve got one that’s more journal-based and so that’s another guide that you can get on my website. And I like that one because there’s more time consuming, so you’ve got to set 15, 20 minutes aside and really think about each area and it has some questions that prompt you. But like I said, you can also do some of the kind of check mark type inventories that are online and really start to guide that conversation.

Carrie Olsen:

And then the second part that I encourage my coaching clients to do, is have your partner do the same, and have them do the activity, whether it’s the journaling or the inventory, and then come together and look at “Where are we on the same page and where are we not?”. I think a lot of relationship conflict, as we become parents, comes from that, whether it’s conflicting values or not understanding each other’s values. And they also could change, so what was important when our kids were three and five might not be what matters when our kids are eight and 10 or 15 and 17, and as they grow and we evolve and change it can be really helpful to have that check in with your partner too, and think about, “Well here’s what mattered to us when we got married, here’s what mattered to us when we decided to have kiddos. And then now that we’re actually doing it, are we in the same place?”

Carrie Olsen:

And so things like how you choose to discipline, that comes from personal values that you may not have ever really sat down and thought about, and it might you’re acting in a way because it was how you were raised, or because it’s the opposite of how you were raised and you’re trying to do something differently. But really thinking about “Where does this come from and am I doing it because it’s what I was shown or am I doing it because it’s what matters to me because of the values that are important to me for my role as a mom or as a dad or as a partner.” And things like that.

Teri Miller:

Such good intentionality, I think that’s so beautiful.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So, I’m imagining some of our listeners saying right now, “Well, what if I don’t agree with my partner? Or what if my partner and I aren’t on the same page about how we should feed the children?” What are your recommendations then on how to start that negotiating process?

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. Yes, very common. And I think the first thing is… So then maybe we scale it, and we think of how important is this to me on a scale of one to 10 or one to 100 and we’re looking at, “Wow, okay, this is kind of important to me, but not really, but it’s really important to my partner. Okay, so now we can start to kind of negotiate what that looks like.” I think the harder parts are where it’s very important for both of us and we’re kind of at a standoff, standstill, and to me, that’s when we have to go to therapy and bring in somebody else and have a therapist really, kind of, help mediate that conversation and talk through that. Because the challenge is there are going to be certain things that people are going to have non-negotiables about, and hopefully you haven’t gotten to this point without realizing that there are those non-negotiables.

Carrie Olsen:

I think what’s more common is that once we get into it we realize, “This is more important to you than I thought it was.” or “This is more important to me than I thought it was and now that we’re in this moment, I’m really realizing what this looks like.” And so, for me, if you aren’t able to do that together, then I think that’s where you look for a coach or a therapist that can help, kind of, guide through that process, because it can get really touchy and emotional and it… When we think about our values, that’s the stuff that matters the most to us, and so that’s going to be sensitive, hot topics typically. And then when we think about our values when it comes to how we want our children to be raised, that’s even more important to us.

Carrie Olsen:

And so, you’ve got to both be willing to do the work, which I know is sometimes difficult. And then if you feel like you aren’t at a place where you can really do it together, I think that’s when you bring in a third person that can help kind of create some space and some mediation between the two and challenge perspectives and things like that.

Dr. Amy Moore:

So, that’s a great segue actually. So, we’re going to take a break and let Teri read a word from Learning RX, our sponsor. And then when we come back, let’s talk about what that looks like, to work with a third person. You are a coach for this type of thing, and so we want to hear more about that.

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah.

Teri Miller: (reading sponsor ad from LearningRx Brain Training)

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Dr. Amy Moore:

We’re back, talking Carrie Olsen, therapist and clinic coach, about preventing decision fatigue and making values-based decisions. And so, Carrie, talk to us a little bit about your coaching practice and what that looks like to work with you if our listeners are interested?

Carrie Olsen:

Yeah. So, I offer individual coaching for moms, and so if we’re thinking about kind of couples that are struggling, that’s not my area of expertise, but I’ve got friends that could help with that. But I really start one on one with moms and our first session is a lot of those inventories. So, values inventories, self care inventories, really thinking about what’s working for you and what’s not working for you, whether it’s burnout, decision fatigue, just stress and distress tolerance in general. And then we make a plan. And so we… I’m really all about hands on tools and resources, I think a lot of times people just don’t know where to start, and so, we’re going to look at what are those tools that you need so we can build up your toolkit so that when you’re in the moment of decision fatigue, when you’re in the moment of feeling completely overwhelmed and stressed out, and you’re losing your mind because you’re overstimulated, what do you have in your back pocket that you can pull out so that you can handle that the way that you envision handling it instead of the way that the moment kind of brings out in you?

Carrie Olsen:

So, my coaching is anywhere from four to eight sessions, it really just, kind of, depends on where the mom is, what the issue is that she wants to start with. And so, we’ll do a free discovery call, we’ll just chat about what’s going on and then we, kind of, look at the timeframe and, kind of, level of commitment given what she’s going through, where she is in her life, what she has time and space for, and what she’s willing to prioritize, I think it goes back to that idea of outsourcing and self care and really finding moms that understand that they need to invest in themselves as much as they invest in their kids and their families, and that can be, kind of, a difficult conversation sometimes. But when you think about it, like you put it Teri, putting a price on your mental health, putting a price on your wellbeing, your ability to be a mom, you can’t put a price on that.

Carrie Olsen:

And so, I think so many of us are not at the point where we need to go to therapy, but coaching can be that, kind of, in between of “I’ve got everything covered and I’m fine.” or “I’m full on speaking therapy. Coaching is a nice place to sit where I just need some other ideas. I just need some other tools and I need an accountability partner or a guide to help me walk through that process.”, and that’s where I come in.

Dr. Amy Moore:

Okay. So, what would you like to leave our listeners with that you haven’t gotten to address today?

Carrie Olsen:

I think the last thing would just be about finding your group, that’s kind of on the same page with you. I think one of the conversations that I had recently with a mom is that none of her friend group moms parent the way that she parents. And so, when we go back to that feeling secure in your decision making, when you’re surrounded by people that do things differently than you, you’re constantly going to question if you’re doing it the right way or the right thing, and it goes back to that shoulding on yourself and being very, kind of, confused about things. And so, really trying to, whether that’s a coach, a therapist, an online support group that has similar beliefs to you, but really making sure that you have that support system that has similar values to you, so that you don’t feel crazy when you’re doing things that everybody’s doing something differently or you don’t feel like you’re constantly questioning your own decisions, because you’ve got other people that think similarly and care about the same things that you do. I think that is so important. Again, it’s so hard to be a mom and there’s so much conflicting information and there’s always 16 sides to every issue, and so really making sure that you have those people that have those same beliefs as you, I think, can be really important to make you feel supported in the hardest job in the world.

Teri Miller:

Yeah. The hardest and most valuable job in the entire world.

Carrie Olsen:

The most amazing, yeah.

Dr. Amy Moore:

All right. So, we are out of time and need to wrap up, but we just want to thank you today, Carrie Olsen, for giving us your time and sharing such fantastic usable, actionable tips for moms today. If you would like to read more about at Carrie’s work, you can visit her website, again, my contacts have gone blurry on me [crosstalk 00:48:57] Carrieolsen.com, and you can find her on social media at Carrie Olsen, LCSW, that’s Licensed Clinical Social Worker, so Carrie Olsen, LCSW. And we’ll put those links and your hand handles in the show notes, as well as a link to download the free guide that you spoke from today, Five Ways to Run Your Home on Autopilot.

So, thank you so much for listening today. If you like our show, we would love it if you would leave us a five star rating and review on Apple Podcasts. If you would rather watch us, we are on YouTube. And you can find us on social media on every channel at the Brainy Moms. So, look, until next time, we know that you’re busy moms and we’re busy moms, so we’re out.

Teri Miller:

See ya.

Carrie Olsen:

Bye.