Episode 16: How to Mother Like a Boss with Kendra Hennessy
Jacqueline Kincer 00:41
Welcome to the podcast. I have Kendra Hennessy here and she is this amazing individual. I’m so excited for you guys to get to know me today. She has this incredible mission where she puts reluctant homemakers back in the driver’s seat of motherhood through realistic routines and practical mindset shifts. And by the way, if you guys don’t know one of the pieces of my podcast title is mindset. So this is perfect.
And she puts a fresh modern twist on homemaking so that moms feel confident managing their homes and families no matter where they are in their motherhood journey. Her company mother like a boss is all about empowering moms through realistic and simplistic changes. So welcome Kendra!
Kendra Hennessy 01:24
Thank you so much for having me. I’m super excited to have this conversation.
Jacqueline Kincer 01:28
I’m just thrilled to have you here. And I wish I had you when I had my son seven years ago, because I became a reluctant homemaker, I left a high powered corporate job. And then I just kind of felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I was way too hard on myself. So I would love to hear a little bit about your story and how you got started doing what you do.
Kendra Hennessy 01:51
Yeah, absolutely. So I started to be a mother like a boss in 2016. But my story starts way before that back in 2006 when I was pregnant with my daughter. So my kind of story is that I dropped out of college in my senior year, like my last semester in college dropped out because I decided I didn’t want to do it anymore. My husband and I got engaged, and we were planning a wedding. And then I also decided I wanted to start a business, a cleaning business. And then I found out I was pregnant, this all happened within like three months of each other. So it’s kind of that crazy thing I started a business in all of that.
But I started a cleaning business. Never thought I would do that in my entire life. But it was a very long story about a friend of a friend who needed help in her business. And she got sick and couldn’t do anymore. And I took it over and sort of started my own rebranded it. And I knew nothing about business. And I knew nothing about how to run it or really how to clean, I don’t know what I thought I was doing starting a cleaning business. I didn’t know how to clean houses. I knew how to like, surface clean, but I didn’t know anything about that.
And so I became a mom and a business owner all at the same time. And then flash forward to 2016. I then had two kids, my son was born in 2013. So I had a daughter and a son. And what I found was that my cleaning business was really successful. But I was seeing this other side to what I was doing, which is that most of my clients were moms, most of them were families. I had a lot of single dudes too. It’s kind of a combination of like, families. And then some single guys who were like, I’m not cleaning, I work a lot, I travel a lot, please clean my house. But the families, I found that for a great majority of them, I kind of felt like I was just putting a BandAid on a bullet wound every week or every two weeks that I was there. Because cleaning is just an element of home management and homemaking or whatever you want to call it. It’s just an element of it. And if you don’t have things like daily routines in place, if you don’t have a culture in the home, where everyone has a job and everyone is working together, then the cleaning just becomes something extra that you’re doing but then it just by the next day it’s dirty again, it’s messy again.
And I was finding I was going to people’s houses and they were even more stressed sometimes with me coming like oh my god I didn’t get to clean up before you came and don’t clean that room. It was like they were playing with moving this stuff from one room to the next so that I could clean at different times that I came and I don’t know. I was also having this crisis of feeling like I wanted to do something bigger with my life and I wanted to help moms in a bigger way. I was listening to podcasts at the time and hearing that people were doing online business. It was like this perfect storm of wanting personal change and professional change at the same time. And out of that rose mother like a boss. And I didn’t even know what it was at first. I just knew that I wanted to help moms manage their lives and homes better. I didn’t even know how it was going to look. And then over the last four years it has really evolved into its own mission far beyond me.
I feel like my audience has taken that mission and brought it to that next level. And, I just like to help the reluctant homemaker, the person that’s a little more reluctant. And I feel like the majority of people these days, women and men feel very reluctant about the word, about what it means, about how to become that in your own home. And so I like to help moms and families through that journey through realistic and simplistic changes. Like I said, No, Pinterest, perfect anything. We like to make things really simple. And down to a level that works for everyone.
Jacqueline Kincer 05:37
Oh, I love that. And I’m like, wait, I actually think I need you in my life right now. Because yeah, I know that so many listeners, on some level after having a baby, you’re taking some time off, maybe it’s only two weeks, maybe it’s only three months, maybe it’s a year, maybe it’s forever. Or for five years, whatever it is. And if you’re brand new to this, I mean, not only did you just completely shift your life by bringing a baby into the world, and if it’s your first it’s sometimes a much bigger transition, you’ve never done it before. And then, you don’t have those routines in place, like you said.
And then I think there is kind of this mad scramble of, where do I go to find this information? And you go on Pinterest, and there’s this beautiful little chart, it’s all color coded. And, it’s got your day outlines, like in 15 minute increments, and, I’ve seen some of those going around now, in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Here’s your schedule for the day. And then now there’s like a backlash of memes, where people are like, my schedule for the day is keeping my kids alive. And yes, also, I think there’s a balance and for a lot of the time what I see when I work with clients is like I go to their homes. So I go into homes , and I help this family breastfeed. And one of the first things they always say to me is Kendra, I’m so sorry. My home is a mess. And I’m like, you just had a baby. I want you to have a clean house. But like you said, it was like putting a BandAid on a bullet wound.
And yeah, that house, you have the cleaner come in the next day. It’s messy again. So what are some of the biggest things like you said, it’s not about cleaning the house. But when you talk about routines and things I think some people may have a little bit of an aversion that like, oh, I don’t like routine, but it is very beneficial. And I’d love to hear more about routines.
Kendra Hennessy 07:30
Yeah, absolutely. First of all, I know exactly what you’re talking about with the schedules. One of the things that I’ve talked about is that we have an ad running right now that actually talks about that, about how if those color coded things make you very anxious, it’s because that’s not a routine, that’s a schedule. And a schedule is different than a routine. A schedule is a plan. It’s a stacked plan. And it’s something that’s based on a specific time of the day. And micromanaging every moment of your day.
Routines are instead a cluster of tasks that you do that you then anchor into different times of the day. So for example, I have a morning routine, it doesn’t matter if I wake up at 5am or 9am, I’m still doing the same morning routine. It’s not locked in to this micromanagement of every moment of my day. And it’s more anchored in. It’s like an anchor point. Because you’re always going to wake up, you’re always going to go to bed. And that’s how I feel about routines is that I look at the things that are always happening for you.
And so that’s why people like when they do their cleaning routines, a lot of people will do Mondays, they do one thing Tuesdays they do another because the Monday is going to come around no matter what. So even if you miss it, even if you’re sick on Monday, even if you’re on vacation Monday will come around again. And so you get to have that you don’t have to feel like oh my god, I’m not getting anything done, or I skipped this 15 minute increment of something. And now I’m behind, you’re never really behind with routines because it always comes around again.
And you can always pick back up where you were. And I have an entire course on cleaning like teaching people to clean. So cleaning is important. But cleaning is important whether you’re a mom, or a dad, or a child, or a single person living alone or a restaurant owner or anything, we need to clean because it keeps us healthy. And it keeps us less stressed. And because it’s just something that we do, it’s just a part of life just like we shower. So cleaning is important. But I think sometimes we overemphasize what cleaning is and how important it actually is. It’s just an element of our lives.
And we’d have to do it whether we had kids or not. So routines for me are all about not feeling the level of chaos that so many of us feel when people have an aversion to routines. I often ask them when I’m talking to somebody one to one or when I’m conversing with them in DMS, for example. And they’ll say yeah, I’ve just tried routines in the past but I don’t know, I just don’t like that feeling of like, I have to do them. And I say, Okay, well what does your morning look like? And so they’ll tell me and I say, does it look like that every morning? Yep. And I’m like, you have a routine, then it’s just called Chaos.
It’s just a routine you’ve lost control of. But if you’re doing things over and over again, you’re doing things in a routine way. And so we have to get out of the mindset that says that a routine is a schedule, because I think when people hear routine, they’re actually thinking of the myth that it’s more of a schedule, when it’s actually not. It’s just something that releases you from the need to have to make decisions all the time. That’s why I like cleaning routines, because then I don’t have to decide what to clean every day. It’s just part of my routine.
Jacqueline Kincer 10:42
Oh, that is such a powerful reframe. I love that. And it made me think about how I’ve read a lot about Steve Jobs’ life, for instance, and how he wore the same clothes. And Mark Zuckerberg does that too, because it was just one less decision they had to make.
And when you’re a mom, especially a new mom, even if it’s your third or fourth baby, you get that Mom Brain kind of going on, right? The last thing you need is to devote more mental energy to figuring out what you’re going to do with your day. If you just knew Monday was XYZ day and Tuesday’s this. You didn’t have to give any thought to it. It’s like I don’t think about brushing my teeth. To the point that I even go to bed and I’m like did I brush my teeth? Oh, okay. I did yeah, you kind of like, my mouth smells minty. I did it. Okay, because it’s so routine, I don’t even think about it, I can’t complain about it. It doesn’t feel like a burden. So it makes total sense. I love that.
Kendra Hennessy 11:38
Yeah. And it also happens with things that other people might consider like a negative thing, like a negative habit. Those things are also routine, we just don’t notice them, because we’re just doing them. And so the same way that says you might like to snooze your alarm 25 times and end up being late. That’s a routine. And it’s something you don’t even think of, because it’s just become routine, and then routines over time become habits. So if you continue the routine, then you now have to brush your teeth, right before I go to bed, I get a glass of water, and I do this and I do that, and I brush my teeth, that’s your routine. But now the brushing of teeth has become a habit. You don’t have to think about it. And
so routines are, especially for new moms, are just all about creating a normal for you, that suits your home that suits your life, not somebody else’s, that’s why I’m not really a fan of done routines. Because if I am the creator of the routine, the leader at mother like a boss, I say, Hey, guys, I just created this amazing cleaning routine, where Mondays you do this and Tuesdays you do that, and so on. Well, that works for my life. But I have a 13 year old and a seven year old, and I work from home. And my kids are at school during the day, normally not right now. But my life looks different than a brand new mom, or a mom who works outside the home, or a single mom, or a mom who lives in New Zealand and not in the United States. Like we’re all living different lives. So why not learn the framework of creating routines and then fit it in with whatever works for you?
Jacqueline Kincer 13:16
Hmm, yeah. And as you’re saying this, I’m realizing that I guess I have actually, I know I’ve made at least a post on social media about this.
But when I’m teaching moms about breastfeeding, I never teach a schedule. It’s super rare. I mean, there’s maybe some high risk scenarios where occasionally I do introduce a schedule. But for the most part, I always say it’s not about a schedule, and it’s about a routine. So you’re going to nurse on the side and nurse on that side, and then you’re going to burp and you’re going to do tummy time and then there’s going to be a nap and then they’re going to wake up and be hungry again. And like you just go through the cycle throughout the day. And it’s when I work with moms who don’t have routines, and they just feel all over the place, then what happens is that like breastfeeding gets the blame. And then when they don’t have a routine with breastfeeding, they probably don’t have these great routines elsewhere in life. So cleaning, cooking, all these other things, right? So it’s like they’re always feeling chaotic, they’re always feeling stressed, and then breastfeeding tends to get the blame. Yeah, if I could just do a bottle then you know, that will alleviate the problem.
And for some reason it’s like inherent with bottle feeding that there’s a routine because it’s actually more complicated than breastfeeding where you prepare the formula and or you heat up the milk and then you put it in the bottle you measure it and you temperature check it like we all know there’s a routine with it.
But it’s like we’re not being taught routines or how to create routines and other areas of our life. And like you just said no one breastfeeding mom is going to have the same exact routine if that was the case, I really wouldn’t have a job. I love that you said we’re all so different because I was thinking too you could have someone who has like a 13,000 square foot house? Well, their routine is going to look way different from me in like a 1300 square foot house. So yeah, I think just giving ourselves some grace there to just take a step back and go, you know, doesn’t really compare, right? It can seem like this thing where social media or you go to a friend’s house, you’re like, wow, she has it all together help. I really need to do more. And that’s just so unhelpful. When we start to create that negative talk towards ourselves.
Kendra Hennessy 15:34
Yeah, because you have no idea what’s going on inside their home, you don’t know how she could have stayed up till 2am cleaning, because she knew someone was coming over. And then she just makes it look effortless. Like you don’t know, she maybe has a cleaner that comes once a week or once a day, you know, just people who are in different seasons of life. And I think it’s really interesting that you said that, like breastfeeding gets the blame because I see that even in my community, with new moms as well. And I was a mom that nursed both of my kids. And what it taught me to be honest, was the importance of delegation, the importance of, I’m the only one with the boobs. I’m the only one that can breastfeed. But guess what my husband can do everything else, he may not be able to breastfeed, but he can cook, he can clean. When it was my second, he could take my daughter and go do something. They can, all the people that are coming over to visit that baby, my thought was always like, Okay, well, you can visit and you can also help me with a load of laundry, you can always help me.
With those other things, because I’m the only one with the breasts. I’m the only one that has those. But I think that actually is a whole other conversation in itself, which is that women tend to find it very difficult to let go of control. So it’s like if I can’t control what’s going on around me, if I can’t be the one folding the laundry, and I can’t be the one doing all of these things. If I’m not in control, then what does that say about me? And I’m the mom, I really shouldn’t be doing everything.
And it’s like, well, so then if I can just bottle feed, then maybe someone else can also bottle feed, and then I can do this stuff. And I’m like, but somebody else could be doing that. You are the only one with the breasts. That’s why you say I’m the only one with the food. And so everyone else can help me do everything else.
Jacqueline Kincer 17:25
That is so true. And I love when I get to work with women or teach them when they’re still pregnant to already create this, I kind of call it the breastfeeding plan, like you create a birth plan. But like let’s create a breastfeeding or postpartum plan. And it is about that delegation.
I know your mother-in-law is gonna come stay with you for six weeks, but she’s not gonna be like holding the baby the whole time. And maybe she will for you to shower. But there’s got to be other people picking up the tasks. And now, I think it’s something super relevant for anyone who’s listening who has more than one child.
Now, if our kids are home because of the pandemic, right now, we now our routine just got changed. Because while suddenly we’re homeschooling if we weren’t before, and just all these things.
I know, at least with my son’s school, they’ve done a really good job of creating a routine for us to follow when they’re not very prescriptive other than like, the times we have live meetings. But it just helps me as a mom to let someone else take the time to create a little bit of a routine for me, but I’ve had to learn a whole new reset in turn. And I think it’s almost like becoming a mom again, because I’m learning how to delegate things.
I have a seven-year-old, he’s really capable, he can mop the floors at home. Why am I doing that? And then for anyone who’s been following me, I also was in a serious car accident, I’m still recovering from some serious injuries. So I had to let go of a lot of stuff there again, felt like a brand new postpartum mom, where I’m like, I actually can’t lift stuff. I can’t pick those toys up off the floor. So I had to get creative and start thinking, Alright, great. Well, what tasks are we going to accomplish today? And who’s going to do those tasks?
And I really feel like if you guys are listening to this, at least, one big takeaway that you could have is that you have permission to not do it at all. And I think that’s a big part of your message too Kendra. Like, there’s no way we could possibly do it aIl.
Kendra Hennessy 19:28
Exactly. And then the other thing, like, I don’t want to do it all. I don’t want to do all the things all the time.
I want to rest! I like to rest and hang out and watch TV and, you know, just not be doing anything. I don’t want to be the mom, that’s doing all the things and I definitely in our home do not want to be the mom that’s teaching my kids that for 18 years that they live at home, somebody is going to take care of them and then they’re going to be booted out into the world and then they’re going to have to learn how to do this on their own. That’s the reason I have a business.
Now it’s because there are so many people, that’s what we do. And, I think it’s because moms just are so nurturing we want to do things for our kids. I have a 13-year-old daughter. And it’s hard for me sometimes to not because I want to control what she’s doing. But because I just want to do stuff for and because I don’t get to do as much stuff for her anymore because she is so independent. I feel like, well, I’ll do that for her, and it’s like, no, I need to teach her to do it.
So that she feels not only valued in the house, but so that I don’t end up becoming resentful of the fact that I’m doing this stuff. And that she also learns how to do it so that when she does get out on her own, whenever that is, she understands how to do it. And I am a big believer that homemaking is a family’s duty, not a mother’s duty. So mother, like a boss is the name of my business because that’s who I speak to.
But homemaking, in general, is something that everyone in the family is involved in, like we’re all making our home, we’re all creating together, we’re all creating a culture of the kind of house that we want to live in, and the kind of home that we want to live in and the home that we want to carry outside of the four walls when we leave. We’re all creating that.
And so I’m a big believer in not just teamwork, with chores, but also teamwork in the way that we all just like to work together as a family, and what we’re creating and what our values are. So it’s a huge element of what we do in mother like a boss. Homemaking is not just a mother’s duty, you’re not going to get any of the servitude stuff for my business like this. are you serving your family? This is all of us serving each other in our house.
Jacqueline Kincer 21:47
Yeah, honestly, you just said that so well. And I think that can be a really big eye opening moment for a lot of people to hear that.
Kendra Hennessy 21:57
Yeah, for me at first too, because part of my story is that I never associated with the word homemaker because I had this really antiquated view of what it meant. I thought it just was like this 1950s look of a mom and a dress and like making her husband a Scotch when he comes home from work and all that kind of stuff. So I didn’t actually even like that word, but it’s because I had this misconception of what it meant. And now I’ve redefined it.
And that’s what we’re doing. We’re just trying to redefine that for moms so that they understand that it doesn’t matter if you are a stay at home mom. And that’s what you plan to do. Because that’s your mission. And that’s your calling in life, or you work outside of the home or anything in between like you can still be a homemaker and serve your family because that’s what you love to do. And also want to embrace teamwork and delegation and say, I’m not going to do all of this myself. Like there’s a good in-between,
Jacqueline Kincer 22:53
oh, I absolutely love that. And I won’t name names here. But as a kid, I had a family member who had a lot of kids. And she did everything for her kids so much so that they were kind of disabled, like her oldest didn’t potty train till he was six because the school was like he has to be potty trained. Yep. And there were just a lot of things like that. And, and she would just drink like a pot of coffee a day and just do I mean, pick up all the toys. And so I think maybe I was 13 or something. And her and her husband went to dinner and I gotta watch her kids. And like my mom didn’t pick up after me. She was a single working mom. So I had you know, we had our routine. And I told the kids to pick up and they were like, No, my mom will pick it up when she gets home. And I said that is so rude. Let her go enjoy her date night and like to have a night to relax, whatever. And I just got creative. I helped them pick it up. And it was so funny because they got home and I could tell she was stressed. Like she came home and she thought I’m gonna have to, like go clean everything or whatever, right? And she was like, You did such a good job putting all the toys away and everything. And I said I didn’t put any toys away. Your kids did it. She was like, What? No, they didn’t. And they just it’s not that they disrespect their mom. But they had a lot of respect for me because I kind of included them in this process. And I remember that moment so much. And it’s bringing it up for me now. Because like you said, what kind of values and things and how do we model our children, what kind of humans they’re going to be in the world. And you know, these kids have grown up to be great kids. But it just spoke volumes to me that I didn’t ever want to be that parent who was afraid to even go out on a date because of the aftermath that would exist when I came home. How do you even relax and enjoy yourself if you’ve created that kind of environment?
Kendra Hennessy 24:58
Yeah, and that speaks to this overarching theme that I talk about a lot of martyrdom moms have, bless our hearts, but we just have become these martyrs. Like the sufferers. It’s like we have to suffer when we become a mom. And as the mother of a daughter, who may someday become a mom, may not I’m not really sure, she can choose whatever she wants in life. But if she does become a mother, do I want her to take on that role? No, I would never, looking at a 13-year-old right now and going boy, you know, 15 years from now, do I want her to take on this role of having to suffer to take care of someone else? No, I want her to take care of herself as well.
And so I look at that for myself, sometimes when I start to fall into that, like martyrdom, because we all do, like we all fall into, like, I’m the only one who does anything. Oh, I’ll do it. I’ll take care of it. That is martyrdom. It’s like being the one to fall on your sword for your family. But what is that actually doing to them in the long run? And how is that going to serve them in the long run, and I don’t want my children to ever feel like a burden to me. And martyrdom gives off that vibe, it gives off the vibe of like, my children are a burden. My family is a burden. Everything is a burden. But I do it anyway. Because I love them.
Like it’s this boat, why don’t you say I love them. And I help and I do what I need to do in my house. But they also do too. And part of how I serve my family is by helping them to serve themselves. I also have a grown man that I’m married to who is perfectly capable of doing a lot of things. So he grew up with a mom who also married and divorced a couple of times. And they didn’t have the luxury of just mom doing everything for them. They had to learn how to do their laundry and cook and clean and they were in it together. They were a team and so he just I don’t touch my husband’s laundry and I can cook and do things. He’s hanging out with my son right now while I’m on this call. So I just think that there’s an element of letting go, that needs to happen too is just moms letting go of the expectation that they need to be doing it perfectly and letting go of the mindset that it’s their job to do it perfectly. Because perfect just exists in your mind and doesn’t exist anywhere else.
Jacqueline Kincer 27:34
Oh, it is so true. And I can see how, I definitely have been the martyr at different stages of my parenting journey, especially early on. And I think like you said, I just never viewed my kids as a burden. But there are times where, you know, when I just think there’s so many just sad, unfortunate memes out there too about parenting, right? Like that we can’t get through it without wine or something. And you really shouldn’t be having that hard of a time. I mean, I’m not saying parenting is easy, but we shouldn’t need drugs and alcohol to cope with being a parent. And not that everyone does that. But when I work with the mothers I work with, I see these elements of anxiety and depression just in even postpartum rage is now a thing and there are books about that.
And, we don’t have to have so many people suffering from those reasons that don’t have to do with anything we’re talking about as to why you may have those things. But a lot of the time, it’s this martyrdom, coupled with the self-created lack of support, because you don’t let anyone support you. So now you’re just like, I don’t have any support. And you’ve kind of pushed it away all this time unknowingly. And I just see that it creates this overwhelm which creates anxiety and it’s just this like, oh, just a tangled knot of emotion and if we let that not grow and start rolling down a hill it just becomes this recipe for trouble in your marriage or your romantic partnership. Resentment towards your children, resentment towards yourself. And we’re just not serving anyone. And I think like you said, it starts with good intentions, right? We’re mothers, we love to nurture. But generally we do, we want to help, we want to serve, we want to do these things, but you’re redefining what serving looks like. And it’s so beautiful. Like I actually think for anyone who’s listening to this if you’re kind of like zoned out a little bit in your car right now or you’re cooking and the kids are screaming. Go back and listen to this episode again with a little bit more intention because there’s so many nuggets in the things you’re saying to everyone Kendra. I just think it’s really beautiful. I really do enjoy So needed and refreshing.
Kendra Hennessy 29:23
Thank you so much. And I tell people this all the time that what I wanted to create too, was a space that wasn’t coming from a place of judgment. So nothing that we ever talked about is from a place of judging others or judging yourself, I like to say that I’m just a mom who found a flashlight and just happens to be a little further ahead in the tunnel than you. Because I did stumble and fall, and I just don’t want you to trip over the same things that I did, and I want moms to thrive, I want them to feel the liberty that can come with letting go of control. And with working through their mindset and working through the identities that we’ve placed on ourselves, like being a hot mess, like that’s an identity, an identity that a lot of people have built in their lives because they don’t feel worthy of anything better. They don’t feel like they’re allowed to be something better. And they’ve made this all or nothing where I’m either a hot mess, or I’m this perfect Polly on Pinterest.
It’s like no, there is a great in between, there’s a wonderful in-between where you have your stuff together in a way that feels good for you and your family. And then, you know, some days are messy. And some days she had got it together kind of like we were saying before we started where, you know, some days right now, especially during this COVID stuff like I today is a perfect example, calls and videos and I’ve gotten worked on and productive. And three days from now that could be right down again, where I’m like, nope, pajama city today, that’s all I’m getting done. But it’s a choice that I’ve made. And I don’t have to identify with either one, I don’t have to say my identity is wrapped up in what I get done or what I don’t, because moms in general tend to throw themselves into getting things done into busying themselves up, and they create worth around that.
And your worth is not found in how much you get done, your worth is found in you and who you are as a human being before you became a mom during mom, when your kids grow up and and move on. Your worth is inate. And it’s not based on how much you get done every day. So I think that that’s been a huge journey for myself, too, with two kids, especially now that the oldest one is getting older and doesn’t need me as much anymore for certain things, that feeling of like, what if I’m not needed with those kinds of things? Like, am I still worthy, it’s because we find our worth in doing things. And so I’ve had to work through that myself releasing those things.
Jacqueline Kincer 32:31
That makes total sense. And you know, for anyone who’s listening to us right now, you can’t see what we see with each other here on video. Or saw me navigate outside my bedroom to my outdoor patio, because my daughter was knocking on the door very loudly, and I didn’t want to have to edit that out of the podcast. So like this is real life. And if I were to get upset about that, because I wasn’t having the perfect podcast recording for you all right now, then this episode would probably never come out. And the content here is just too good to not put it out because it’s not perfect.
And I have had to learn as a mother as a business owner, who’s a mother that I had to let go of so much perfection along the way. And there were moments where it was really painful. It felt like I was you know, like you said, I think it was tied to identity and, maybe that’s where we can kind of finish off here. Because for me in my journey, I was this high performing stockbroker when I became pregnant with my son, and I have my eye on the CEO seat like I really was like, I’m going to the top and there’s nothing that’s gonna stop me not even having a baby. And then I had a baby. And I was like, oh, Uh huh. Well, I’ll take a year off, and then I’ll go back. And a lot changed for me during that time. And so I made some life decisions that I didn’t want to have my identity wrapped up in my corporate career. But then it was like, I felt this need or something to like, suddenly latch on to another identity, which was then being a mom. And I was so immersed in that, but in a lot of ways, I really sort of excluded my husband from parenting or my own inner personal changes I was going through and I pushed him away, we grew apart during that time. And it’s really sad. And it’s something that we’ve spent years working through and are still working through.
And, this idea that we have to have this identity, you know, or the things we do create our identity. And for me it was like, Well, what am I doing all day? I’m with my son all day. So it must mean that now my identity is stay at home mom, and everybody has like a different sort of definition of what that means, right? Like you said the word homemaker and that has meaning, different meaning according to different people. So what are some things that you see when people come to your company or like you said there, this reluctant homemaker, I love that you defined that. Because, yeah, I definitely felt reluctant about it like I wanted it. But I’ve missed things before of my life “before that.” And so what are some of these identity things that you’re seeing? You kind of touched on a couple, but I mean, how do you think that’s really impacting moms who are making this transition?
Kendra Hennessy 35:26
I so identify with everything you just said to So speaking of identity, identity with everything you said, like the feelings of pushing other people away. And I think we become hyper-focused on what we’re doing that we don’t see the other things going around us like other relationships, or taking care of ourselves, even our relationship with ourselves, we end up losing. And that’s happened with me, in this last couple of years of realizing that, that we really aren’t going to have more kids. And I’m 36, my husband’s 40. And we kind of decided by this point, like we wouldn’t, if we hadn’t had more, we weren’t gonna have more than it was this weird feeling of like, I were good. And I’m super happy with where we are right now. But it was getting rid of this identity of like, but if I’m not going to have another baby, and I never go through that period of like, having a baby and a toddler and all of those like identity things if this is it? What am I going to do them? Like, what am I going to do when Evan starts to get a little bit older, and he’s seven now and what happens when he’s a teenager. And then what happens…. It was like I was going through all these, cases of what’s going to happen if that’s no longer my identity.
And what I had to realize was and what I try to teach people, when we’re talking about the mindfulness and the mindset, part of it, is that we have to separate what we do from who we are, like, I’m Kendra, and I was Kendra, the day my parents named me. And I was that in all of the different stages of my life, I wasn’t an elementary school student, I wasn’t a middle school, I wasn’t like all these things that I did. I was still Kendra, and then I got married. And then I had kids, and then all of a sudden, when you have kids, and you become a mom, like you’re just a mom, it’s becomes your identity.
And what I’ve had to realize is that being a mom is just something that I do. It doesn’t have to be who I am just like being a homemaker or being a wife, it’s part of me, it’s part of the greater sum. But if I was thinking of it in circles, I’m in the middle, and everything else is just an element of who I am. Obviously moms aren’t the only people that fall into that category. I know, my husband now not being able to work as much because of all the COVID stuff. And some of his suppliers shutting down. He’s had to deal with that, too. If I’m not working, who am I? If I’m not producing, who am I?
We all do this. But we have to start to separate what we do, the actions we take, the relationships that we have, from who we are as a person, again, because your worth is not in what you’re getting done, or what you’re doing. Your worth is found in you and innately and who you are as a soul and a human being.
So that’s been something huge for me is to just not only help myself with that, but then how can I help other moms sort of remove themselves from this feeling of identifying, what they do as who they are, like, meshing them together. Because then what happens is, when those things start to change, you feel like you’re losing your identity, you feel like you’re losing who you are. And that happens when we become moms a lot of times, right? It’s when you hear that all the time, I just feel like, I’ve lost who I am. And the reason is because we have hyperfocus and started to put all of our worth into what we do, instead of just who we are.
Jacqueline Kincer 38:56
Hmm, so true. And I can’t help but just tie that straight into breastfeeding. Because when I see when moms have their hearts set on breastfeeding, and it doesn’t work out, or it’s not going well. And the amount of grief that they experience, which I think some of it is happening on a physiologic level in terms of hormones and things like that, but it just it’s like what we’re wired for as a species.
But at the same time, it’s like they’ve tied themselves to it so strongly, and it becomes this thing where they just like have a hard time moving into a place of acceptance of what is and it doesn’t mean that you’re a failure of a mom like they’ve actually started to define being a mom as being a successful breastfeeding moms.
And it’s like you can be a successful breastfeeding mom but that’s not an identity, that isn’t your whole life even though you’re taking like 40 hours a week of doing it, it can feel like it but that definition of who you are is not what you do is something I think people need to hear more than ever. And on the flip side of that if you’re a formula-feeding moms. That’s not your identity. That is not who you are. Yes, you feed your baby formula. Yes, you breastfeed your baby. Yes, you do a bit of both, like whatever it is, that’s just part of your mothering journey. And, by the way, breastfeeding, formula, whatever, they’re gonna get to an age where they don’t need any of those things anymore. So then what right? Now you’re what sippy up mom? You can’t define yourself by how your child is fed. And I just see it so much women become not all women, but like, so many become really obsessive around feeding, and it causes this heartache. And, sometimes I love working with those women, because they’re like, I’ll do anything to make breastfeeding work. Same time, I also have to be like well, you know, maybe it’s okay, if it doesn’t, or it doesn’t 100%. And, oh, it just, it’s so good. I’m getting chills just what you said. Because, yeah, we cannot define ourselves by what we do.
Kendra Hennessy 40:58
No! Or sometimes circumstances that are out of our control. I mean, that’s the thing. It’s like, sometimes just things just don’t work out. And it’s not within our control. And I felt the same way I had with my son, I had a home birth. And there were so many people that would even to this day, it’s been over seven years. And when someone asked, you know if it comes up in conversation or something, and they’re like, they hear there are people that hear that I had a home birth, and they immediately have to go, oh, I had to have a C section. And I’m like, I wasn’t home birthing at you. It’s okay. I’m not judging you for how you had to birth your baby. Like, I don’t judge, any like, this was just a choice for me. But we feel this need to justify ourselves, because that’s our identity is like, Well, I had to, if she did it this way, and I couldn’t do it that way or didn’t want to do it that way, then I have to justify.
And I see that with with breastfeeding. I’m sure you do all the time, where it’s like people have to justify why they’re bottle feeding or breastfeeding. It’s like, Don’t justify it, just do it. Just do what feels good for you. And, it’s also because we have this weird Shamy Society of like shaming other people for what they’re doing. And if we all just stopped that collectively when I made my choice, because this is right for me. And I’m going to get the support that I need for that. And then that’s okay. But yeah, I saw that a lot with breastfeeding. And with the home birth, my friend who homeschool says people will do that when they hear that she homeschools. They have to justify that she’s like, I’m not homeschooling at you. It’s okay. Like, you don’t have to justify why you’re doing what you’re doing. It’s fine. This is just my choice.
Jacqueline Kincer 42:39
I love that. I had a home birth with my second as well. And I also do here where people mean, well, I think but they also kind of make that comment, like, wow, I could never do that. Or in homeschooling too, I could never homeschool my kids or, you know, I could never run my own business or, you know, it doesn’t matter what it is, we can all fill in the blank. But I think that just one part that makes it easier for me is like as a healthcare provider, and you fill out an intake form, and you say what kind of birth you had, like, this is a judgment free zone. And I don’t find that my clients are ever trying to like stand up for what happens.
But in the general conversation, like you’re saying, it’s just so pervasive, and you really don’t need to explain yourself at all. You don’t exactly, like I said, early on in the episode, you don’t need to explain to me why your house isn’t clean. You know? You do not have to justify anything you’re doing or not doing like, you live your life, do the best she can. And I really think that’s your message to so many moms out there. And I’m honored to just have you here and what I don’t want to do is leave the listeners hanging because you’re like this. I mean, Kendra’s got a podcast, you guys. I mean, it is like just it’s so good. And her listening to her podcast, just lets me know what I…. not to compare or whatever. But I’m like, and she’s really good at this. I’m gonna work my way up to that. So I love her podcast. She’s got a lot of other resources. Would you just mind sharing a bit about those?
Kendra Hennessy 44:19
Yeah, absolutely. Well, first of all, thank you very much. We’re also on episode 200 and something! I don’t even remeber.
So listen to some of the earlier episodes is rougher. I listened back when I have to maybe pull a clip from something or and I’m like, oh, boy, some of those early things. But we’ve learned and we’ve grown so I really appreciate it.
So the mother like a boss podcast. Definitely go listen to that. Like I said, we have over 200 episodes. You can find that on all the podcast places. If you’re listening to this. Right now you can find the mother like a boss podcast, but we have a free On-Demand training. Right now it’s called rockier routines. And so we talked a lot about routines today. It’s a very simplistic and realistic jumpstart to just like a one on one training. And it’s all about creating your days with purpose, so that you can stop living to do list to do lists, like stopping living with those endless lists, stop the decision fatigue every day, just get really practical routines into your life that fit your schedule and your home and your values. And you can just go to mother like a boss.com/routines, and it’s on demand. So you can choose the day and time that works best for you. It’s a little over an hour, and it’s it’s really a super helpful resource for moms out there in any season of motherhood that you’re in.
Jacqueline Kincer 45:47
I love that. And we will link everything up in the show notes. So everybody can just make an easy click on there to do that. And I have to say, I just think this is so needed to have these kinds of conversations if you guys didn’t know that there are people out there like Kendra, who have this kind of a mindset and are there to help encourage you along your journey. Now, you know, and like I said, I wish I had you seven years ago in my life. But I’m glad you’re here now.
And I just want to say thank you so much for taking the time to share your incredible wisdom, your incredible strategies, and just so much compassion with our listeners today. You’re a beautiful person. And I thank you so much.
Kendra Hennessy 46:31
This has been an honor. Thank you so much for having me.
Jacqueline Kincer 46:33
I know I say this with each new episode, but this interview with Kendra Hennessy is my new fave! Kendra is a home management expert and positive motherhood enthusiast. She’s also the founder of Mother Like a Boss and host of the podcast by the same name. She’s on a mission to redefine homemaking in the 21st century and make the difficult and tedious parts of running your home smoother through systems, routines and mindset shifts.
In this episode, we dive into the importance of routines and making the transition to motherhood smooth as butter! Even more importantly we discuss how to embrace the role of “mom” without losing your identity in the process.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
- The difference between routines and schedules (and why you don’t need a schedule!)
- How to be a homemaker in the current world environment
- What “homemaker” really means and why you’re getting it wrong
- Real talk about being a mom, running a house, being a wife, and still making time foe yourself and your own work
- Rock your Routines Free Training: creating your days with purpose so you can stop living by your to-do list (on demand, so you can choose the day and time that works best for you)
- Kendra’s website
- Kendra’s Podcast
- Kendra on Instagram