The Time I Got Yelled At By My Daughter’s Therapist

I started both of my children in therapy early on in their lives for a reason. Nothing was going on that warranted therapy at the time (aside from the normal social struggles), but I am adamant about getting rid of the stigma around mental health and therapy in my family. I go to a therapist, and my kids know her by name. It has always been an open discussion in this house, and always will be. I taught them early on that if we were meant to get through this life alone, we wouldn’t have 7 Billion people on this planet. I’ve drilled into their heads that our mental health is the foundation of how we go through life, and it should be cared for deeply and consistently. Ok, back to the blog…

“Mom? Can you come upstairs for a sec? Dr. A and I want to talk to you about something.” (it’s telemedicine, for the record.)

My stomach dropped. I felt like I was about to walk the plank. What could it possibly be? She’s not even a teenager yet! My mind raced with irrational and highly unlikely thoughts. Thanks to my OCD, this was nothing new.

I know she can’t be pregnant – too young.

Drugs? No – too young, and she doesn’t go anywhere. I’d know, right?

Fuck. She found a sex toy, and now I have to explain. No worries, Neen – you’re a Sex Coach – you got this.

Did she get her period? Yeah, maybe that’s it. It would make sense. But, why the hell wouldn’t she tell me herself? We are so open in this house! Or maybe we aren’t as open as I thought? Am I failing her?

The thoughts didn’t stop there, but for the sake of this blog, I’ll spare you.

I walked upstairs. I could hear my heart beating in my head (is that a thing?). I walked into her room. My adorable, spunky tween daughter was plopped down with the laptop across her legs. She had this look on her face as if she was unsure about how this was going to go down, which only made me more nervous.

Trying not to vomit, I sat next to her. My face was in full view on the telemed screen. I forced a broken smile and did what I do best…made some awkward joke.

“Is it my turn now?” I chuckled and waited to see how her therapist responded.

“Nina, calm down. I know you, and can tell you this isn’t a big deal at all – so exhale.”

Her soft facial features and smile were always so comforting.

“R wanted me to help her explain how she is feeling about something that has been bothering her lately.”

OH. MY. GOD. Get on with it already! I’m going to shit myself!

She began. “So, R is worried about you.”

Wait, what?! She is worried about ME? Is this some sort of reverse psychology magician shit?

R turned to me and had a smirk on her face. She knew I had been expecting so much worse. No doubt she enjoyed seeing me squirm, only to throw me a curve ball.

“Mom? You seem stressed. I see you running around all day long trying to get work done, taking care of the house, and helping us with school. You don’t do anything for yourself, ever. You go to the gym, and that seems to be the only alone time you get. I want to be able to help you with something, and I don’t know how.”

Damnit. Did she really feel this way, or was she just parroting the stuff I say out loud?

Her therapist chimed in.

“Nina, Mom to Mom here. Do your kids have chores?”

“Not really anything set in stone, but I ask them to put away their laundry. Does that count?”

She smirked. She knew it was all bullshit, and I clearly haven’t delegated half the things I should.

“So, Nina, when do you have your own down time?”

I paused. That was not a new issue for me.

My daughter chimed in and called me out, “When she goes to the gym, or when she scrolls social media or watches Netflix at…like…midnight.”

Dr. A looked at me, and I instinctively tried to look away. Was that shame I was feeling, or embarrassment? Both?

“Look, Nina. You’re not doing anyone any favors. Your kids are old enough to do way more around the house. You’re a family, and this is a joint effort. It’s a little ridiculous that they aren’t really doing anything to help.”

It hit me. Did I truly think these responsibilities should be a joint effort? Did I truly believe I should get more help around the house?

No. I didn’t. But, why?

Well, after my daughter’s…I mean MY therapy session, I did what I do best. Reflect.

Why haven’t I jumped on the idea of getting help around the house? My kids are absolutely old enough and capable. Why haven’t I asked?

Here are the thoughts I saw when I took a peek into my brain…

I work from home. Being self-employed is my choice. If I’m home, it’s my job to take care of all the shit that comes with it.

We’re in a Pandemic. These kids deserve to be kids, and enjoy what few opportunities they have to be play.

You’re lazy, Nina. You have the time to do it all, so why ask for help?

What if my kids think I’m lazy? What if my husband thinks I’m lazy? I want them to see how I can grow a business AND do everything else.

Well, fuck. Now I get it. Once again, it’s an ego issue with me. God forbid someone – yes, even my own family – thinks I’m not some damn superhero. Is it possible that my self-worth is tied a bit tighter to outsiders’ perception of me than I care to admit? Seems so, no?

Ok, Neen…what did you do about it? (FYI, that’s you, the reader, asking me.)

The next day, I asked my kids to empty the dishwasher – and refill it. I asked them to clean up the snack wrappers on the couch from the night before. Instead of doing things for them when they conveniently “forgot” to do it, I asked them again…and again…until it was done…by them.

These things may seem like minutia to some, but like most things in life, it goes deeper. You see, we tend to avoid things that create emotions inside of us that suck. When things suck, we don’t want to do it, right? The trick is not to stop there. Figure out why it sucks. For me, it was clear once I took the time to reflect. I have a set of beliefs that state that in order to be seen as a productive, successful, and worthy woman, I need to do it all. Alone. If I ask for help or take time for myself, I am selfish and lazy. So, I flipped the script in my head to challenge myself.

Is this the set of beliefs that I want my daughter to have? Is this how I want my kids to gauge their worthiness as a human being? If my daughter becomes a Mom, do I want her to do it all simply because she can? Absolutely not.

My commitment to myself is to continue to ask for help, and train myself not to see it as selfish, but rather necessary. To see it as an effort to make sure my kids don’t ever attach their value to being overworked and overwhelmed – two words that seem to carry an oddly positive connotation in our society today.

Productivity over self-care. That’s the message, right? Hustle harder. Work longer. Make more money. Post more viral content. Get more likes and follows.

Ya want to know what my thoughts are on that? It’s bullshit. All bullshit. You can make all the money in the world, but if you’re not mentally “available” to enjoy it, it’s meaningless. Relationships are struggling HARD right now. Parents are breaking down. Children are feeling isolated and confused. You want to make more money? I don’t blame you. Money gives us options, and pays the bills.

You want to work hard at something, though? Look in the mirror.

Oh – and when your kid’s therapist yells at you…listen.

So much love,



I wanted to freeze when she asked. Instead, I leaned in…

Talking to your kids about sex can be insanely uncomfortable. Period.

“Neen? How the hell do I talk to my kids about sex?”

Ugh. Makes you wanna barf, right? Look, I’m a Certified Sex Coach and I talk about this for a LIVING – and I still get sick to my stomach when my kids ask questions. I wrote a blog on this that you can find here…/when-do-the-birds…/.

I’m also REALLY big on sharing REAL stories to connect and help others. So, here’s a true story that happened last night in my house…I had been preparing for my sex drive workshop for a few weeks. Well, the other night, my curious daughter saw the title of the workshop. I knew she saw it, and my first instinct was to avoid the conversation and quickly click off the tab. Instead, I leaned in. It went like this…(I used a teasing/sarcastic tone, because that tends to ease awkwardness in my life.)

“You don’t have to pretend you didn’t see the title of the workshop, Miss. Nosey!” (she smirked). “Well, yeah…I did see it. I can’t help looking at what you’re doing.”

“It’s totally ok. It’s not a bad word. The word sex doesn’t mean JUST what we talked about before (note: she knows what penetrative sex is). It means so many things to so many people. The bottom line is that it has to do with different types of affection in relationships – kissing, hugging, making out, etc. This is important in relationships to feel connected. Ya know how Mommy and Daddy smooch sometimes, and you get grossed out? (she laughed) Well, that’s one way that we love to connect. Sometimes, though, in relationships we can feel disconnected. We can be fighting over something, stressed over something, and overly busy, and we don’t WANT to be affectionate. What do you think happens when couples don’t WANT to be affectionate?”

She paused for a sec. “Well, I guess you guys would probably not be happy together, and not want to be around each other. That probably feels bad and can cause other problems.”

“EXACTLY!” I smiled. “So, Mommy is giving a workshop so people can understand what makes them WANT to be affectionate, and what makes them NOT want to be affectionate. If we know these things about ourselves, and can explain them to our partner, what do you think can happen?”

“You can get along better and be happier.” She seemed almost bored at this point (mission accomplished – LOL). “Yup! So, that’s what this is all about. So, when you see the word ‘sex’, understand it can mean a million things to a million different people.”

That was it. That was me. Talking to my kids about sex.

Sometimes (well…a lot of times…), the more fear and taboo vibes we instill around the subject, the more damage we do – and consequently, the more challenges we have later in life around the subject. Again, every child is different, and you know your child best. I just thought I’d share one way of handling these things, in case it helps 😊

Difficult Conversations with Our Kids…

I realized something today.

Well, I should say that I took ACTION on a realization today – I’ve had this realization long before today.

Despite the fact that my career is based on uncomfortable conversations, there are moments in my life when I do my best to avoid them. I’ve also noticed a pattern with my avoidance. I avoid difficult conversations with my kids. I know the impact that I have on their development as human beings, and frankly…it scares the shit out of me sometimes. Actually…all the time.

How do I explain, in the midst of an already unpredictable and emotionally chaotic time, that the Corona virus isn’t our biggest hurdle to jump right now as a country? As an entire world! So, I took my own advice this morning about the importance of HAVING the hard conversations.

I was eating lunch with the kids, and casually said, “I’m glad there’s a march happening downtown today,” as I scrolled through Facebook on my phone. To be honest, I set that up because I knew one of them would be curious and ask what the march was about. And they both did – almost simultaneously. So I began…

I asked if they knew what racism was. Their answer was, “Yeah, that’s when people say bad things for no reason about people who look different.” Mind you, they are 8 and 10, and I was content with their answer. However, I knew I couldn’t couldn’t chicken out and leave it there – and I didn’t.

I asked if they remembered learning about slavery. They said, “Yeah, that happened like…so long ago!”

“Yes,” I agreed, “…but unfortunately, people still believe that people with different colored skin are less than, or beneath people with white skin.” I waited…

“What?! Still?! But, I’m friends with (listed some of their friends who have different colored skin), and I don’t treat them bad!”

“Correct. You don’t. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of people who do.”

I started to get a knot in my stomach, because I knew damn well I was avoiding the event that sparked the most recent worldwide march. So, I leaned in and told them. I told them about George Floyd. I told them how there are bad police officers, just like there are bad people who aren’t police officers. I told them that even though we, as a family, just see human beings, the truth is, some of their friends will be treated differently SOLELY based on the color of their skin.

They stood there sort of blank faced – probably wondering what this had to do with them since they aren’t racist. Then, I remembered a post I saw about the difference between “not being racist”, and being actively “anti-racism”. Like most kids, they needed to know specifically how this impacts them.

I explained that it’s one thing not to be racist, and another to stand up AGAINST racism. I gave examples of how they can play their part in this world by speaking up if they hear someone make racist comments, or make assumptions about someone based on race.

The hard truth in all of this? I’m not sure who learned more from the conversation – my kids…or me…

I Guess I Wasn’t a Good Mom…

mom guilt wine crayons

I guess I wasn’t a good Mom.

Snow days on social media would wreck my soul. I would see parents doing arts and crafts, sleigh riding, and all of the other things that “good Moms” do. I couldn’t stand the thought of having to get all dressed up in a snow suit, only to come back in 5 minutes later. 

I guess I wasn’t a good Mom. 

Parents taking kids on vacations and day trips, and posting about how amazing it was. I would get stressed at the thought of even packing for a vacation, let alone actually enjoying one. I stressed about the possible car sickness, the fighting in the back seat, the 800th “Are we there yet?”. 

I guess I wasn’t a good Mom. 

Article after article about screen time and how “horrible” it was for brain development, yet that is how I was able to get work done, cook dinner, and frankly – exhale for a bit. 

I guess I wasn’t a good Mom. 

Kids going to the local beach every day in town, and I made up some ridiculous reason why we couldn’t. I didn’t want to deal with all that went along with the planning and execution of a beach trip with two young kids on my own (my husband was working). (side note – much easier now that they are older!)

I guess I wasn’t a good Mom. 

I was drowning in Mom guilt to the point where it was impacting my relationship with myself, my kids, and even my husband! I was a mess, and something needed to change. This couldn’t POSSIBLY be what was expected to be a “good Mom”. This is not how I grew up, yet I had fallen into society’s expectations of how I should Mom, and it wasn’t matching up with how I NATURALLY Mommed…you feel me?

So, I made a huge shift. I dug deep. I went to therapy. 


I woke up to how I wanted to Mom. I woke up to accepting how I showed up as a Mom, even though it may not look like anything I saw on social media. I woke up to the CRITICAL ways my own parents showed up for me, and saw that I am showing up exactly the same for my kids. And…I turned out pretty Ok.

Much love,