The first thing that’s helping me overcome burnout and overwhelm

This is the latest in my summer-long series, taking you on my journey of recovering from overwhelm and burnout and learning ways to sustainably keep going. Click here for the first installment, “Feeling guilty.”

Hi Friends,

I’m still shocked and amazed by how much better I’m feeling, after a weekend of doing just one simple thing!
Well, simple to conceive… But not easy to implement.

If you remember, last week I sent a newsletter sharing that I was feeling incredibly guilty, overwhelmed, and burned out.

The first thing I did to address it:
I dropped off the Internet.

Not completely – but almost.

What that mostly meant was I didn’t “obsessively check.”

(I decided to leave off what I’ve been obsessively checking… because, while I obsessively checked some things, yours may be different. But the point is we are all obsessively checking something. What helped was cutting that out!)

I can’t tell you how much better I felt, not obsessively checking. Continue reading “The first thing that’s helping me overcome burnout and overwhelm”

337: Addressing our own burnout, AND beloved parenting author Audrey Monke is my guest today!

As a child development expert, I want to help you keep going in our new reality!
This conversation, recorded during March 2020 (in other words at the very beginning of the pandemic here in the US), I know will be super helpful for that.

I am excited to bring you my conversation with the author of one of my favorite parenting books (it’s called Happy Campers) – Audrey Monke of is today’s OkayCon 2020 guest!

Audrey shares:
– How to stay positive, even while everyone is cooped up together
– Some great family-focused activities you can do to make your stuck at home time more enjoyable
– What lessons Audrey, her family, and counselors and campers (who attend the summer camp Audrey owns and runs) are learning from this time

Learn how to keep going:
In my (free) Weekly Parenting Newsletters I am taking you on my journey of recovering from burnout, exhaustion, and huge feelings of guilt.
I am working to feel at peace with myself – to keep going, raising my kids, keeping our household running, and feeling happy inside – and if you want some tools to help you accomplish those miracles, click this link!

NPC Summer Camp registration ENDS Wednesday 7/1
One way parents have been feeling way better, recovering from exhaustion, handling their kids’ fears, clinginess, and potty training issues: the Ninja Parenting Community.
Get access to everything in the community and enjoy a summer camp program created just for you, if you are looking for connection and positivity in our new reality!
I am closing registration to NPC on Wednesday, July 1 at 9 PM EST – enroll today, and take that first step toward being able to feel at peace with yourself and (sustainably) keep going!
Here is the link, jump in while there is still time:

(go to for notes to this episode)
We will get through this together!
Cheers –
Continue reading “337: Addressing our own burnout, AND beloved parenting author Audrey Monke is my guest today!”

Feeling guilty

In a (pre-pandemic) live storytelling event, I looked and felt in my element. There was no guilt or imposter syndrome that day! In this post I outline how I plan to get back my mojo, and I share how I’m taking you along on this journey with me. (Photo by Jennifer Provost)

Hi Friends,

Just a quick note today, wishing you well and sharing a discovery I’ve made about myself:

I’m feeling guilty.

Guilty that I haven’t been as good a parent as I wanted to be in the pandemic.

Guilty for not doing enough to address systemic racism and other injustices.

Guilty that I dove into our emergency chocolate, and finished it all within a few days.

Guilty that, no matter how much I do, it doesn’t feel like enough.

Guilty for thinking “I don’t want to deal with this now” when someone in my family needs me for something.

Guilty for only doing my strength training once, in the last whole month.

And the list goes on.

It’s only just dawned on me that all this guilt comes from a couple places: Continue reading “Feeling guilty”

Instilling values, throwing rocks, and how I screwed up with the WTOO Book Club

Hey Friends,

WTOO Book Club: I screwed up last week, and prevented some of you from being able to attend last week’s Book Club meeting.
My error was due to the administrative nightmare I created, trying to move as quickly as possible to get the book club open and get you the link, if you wanted to be a part of it.

I am SO sorry!

If you want to be a part of the WTOO Book Club – even if you attended last week – please click this link to sign up for this week’s, and future meetings:

This week’s WTOO Book Club chapter is all about “the Why of the parent ninja.”

It’s about values, and how we instill them in our children.

In this week’s meeting I’ll share a story about the time I was invited to throw a rock through one of my school’s plate glass windows, and how the values instilled in me shaped the way I acted that day.

(To read a little more on my thinking around instilling values in children, read on.) Continue reading “Instilling values, throwing rocks, and how I screwed up with the WTOO Book Club”

Teaching young children to feel good in their body means feeling good in our own

Happy Monday!

FYI: at 5 PM today I am closing the Ninja Parenting Community to new members. Current members: you’ll have access to the forums and everything in them! But no one else will be allowed in after that time. Details below.

Also, the title of this post refers to the second of this week’s goals. It’s very newsy newsletter today, so I wanted to let you know where you could find it in here : )

In case you’re struggling to keep track of what day of the week it is… Today and every Monday while we are all spending so much more time at home and out of our normal routine I’m sharing something that always keeps me on track: my weekly intentions.

Each week I determine what I’m going to focus on on a Monday, and then on Friday I look back at how I did.
And during the pandemic I’m bringing you in on that process!

Here’s what I focused on last week:
Continue reading “Teaching young children to feel good in their body means feeling good in our own”

325: Your most important asset in times of trouble

How, you might be wondering, are we actually really going to get through this time?

You’re not alone in wondering that. I have been wondering about it too.

I’ve also been feeling terribly guilty, any time that I forget we are in the midst of a worldwide pandemic and find myself enjoying something, or laughing at a joke, or feeling contented.

So today I want to bring you an episode that defines our most important asset, the single most important thing we need to get through this (or any) time of trouble.

I hope you find it helpful! (Click here for this post in your browser.)

Here are all the links I share about today:

1. Click here for the poem that brought me to tears, and also gave me permission to not feel guilty, but to embrace good feelings.

2. Click here for episode 188, my conversation with Mark McGuinness of the 21st century creative podcast.

3. Click here for the McElroy Family YouTube channel, where you’ll find the wonderful series Stories From Your Gaffer, read each evening at 5:30 PM Eastern by Clint McElroy, one of my favorite podcasters ever.

4. Click here for The Adventure Zone, where I first heard Clint McElroy – but please, not with kiddos around!

5. Click here for my conversation with Audrey Monke, broadcast last Friday (in real-time) at Audrey’s Sunshine Parenting Facebook page.

6. Click here for episode 273, my second We Turned Out Okay conversation with Audrey, about her wonderful book, Happy Campers.

7. Click here for my conversation as a guest on the wonderful #Am Writing Podcast; I share about my experience doing everything digital by voice, after losing the ability to use my hands to accomplish digital – and lots of analog – tasks.

8. If you are a Ninja Parenting Community member, click here for member Jen’s success story, about helping her daughter overcome fears about coronavirus and house fires. She did this in such a cool way (I read out the success story today in this episode).
Not a member? Click here to become one.

9. Click for OkayCon 2020, the FREE Virtual Summit going on right now here at We Turned out Okay!

10. Click here to join the Facebook group – that way you can be part of the OkayCon 2020 watch parties every Monday and Wednesday evening at 8 PM Eastern!

11. I share HUGE news today, about the Happy-in-Place Challenge going on in The Ninja Parenting Community (it starts on April 16, my birthday : )
Right now you can join NPC for just $1 for your first month and each consecutive month thereafter at 50% off the standard monthly rate! You can cancel at any time, so there is no risk… Only the hope, support, and accountability that membership brings.
Go to for details and to sign up!

What direction is your family going in?

I didn’t feel like I had control over the direction our family was going in.”
– Jen, NPC member and Mom of two

When longtime NPC member Jen came on the podcast in spring 2019, I asked her the question “what do you like best about being in the Ninja Parenting Community?”

I thought Jen would say “I love the courses,” or “I get so much out of private parent coaching calls with you Karen,” or even “I love that your parenting e-books are included in membership!”

I thought Jen would share about some individual aspect of the community, some tangible piece that she found helpful.

Instead, her response showed me: it’s not just the courses, or the e-books.
It’s not just the private coaching calls.

The Ninja Parenting Community gives parents the ability to take control of the direction their family is going in.

That is SUCH a big deal!

Imagine having that kind of control.

Imagine knowing how to use positive discipline to get your child to:
– Stop writing on walls
– Speak to you respectfully
– Work out arguments with siblings (instead of screaming or lashing out physically)

Imagine knowing how to overcome issues with school or day care.

Imagine successful potty training.

Imagine knowing how to treat yourself with compassion, how to forgive yourself when you slip up.

These are all hallmarks of a family that is going in the right direction.

And, these are all the things that I work on every day with ninja parents.

If you’re struggling with the direction your family’s going, I hope you’ll join the community that helps parents truly enjoy family time.

Click here to join the Ninja Parenting Community today!

Let’s get you the control over the direction your family is going!
The quote I live by: “The opposite of play is not work. It is depression.” – Brian Sutton-Smith

Valentine’s Day with kiddos

Valentine’s Day is a bit different when you have little ones running around, isn’t it?

In my dating years I was never a fan of Valentine’s Day. I was much more likely to band together with a gang of college buddies and listen to a lot of Melissa Etheridge…

Until I met Ben (the 22-time winner of the Husband of the Year award – that’s how you’ll know him if you listen to my show.)

The first Valentine’s Day we were dating, I was offered a housesitting job in a sweet, tiny little hill town in western Massachusetts.

Mostly, I was dog sitting, for this great big dog named Susie. Before the owners left they told me “we’re expecting snow, so feel free to crank up the wood stove, use the snowshoes in the mudroom, and if you’re dating somebody they are totally welcome too!”

The expected snow turned into a massive blizzard – and somehow, Ben found his way through it, driving all the way from Boston, scraping snow off street signs in the tiny little hill town, and ultimately finding the house’s dirt road by almost sheer luck.

And we had the most romantic, fun, and memorable Valentine’s Day!

Fast forwarding a few years and two kids, it got a little harder to cultivate that same sense of romance.

But we enjoyed the heck out of our Valentine’s Days with little kiddos, and I wanted to share some of what we did, so that you can enjoy your Valentine’s Day, with your family!

1. Make it as un-commercial as possible.
Try to get yourself back to the basic elements of fun time with family: the coziness of spending time together, snuggled up and reading books on the couch in pajamas. Or bundling up and spending time outside together, in a snowball fight or snow fort building, or just a walk to a favorite place in nature (if you don’t have any snow).

2. Bake something together.
Heart-shaped pretzels, banana bread, sugar cookies, or something else that feels a little celebratory.

3. Put the kids to bed early.
One great thing about little kids: they totally can’t tell time! So if 730 is their usual bedtime, back it off by an hour and give yourself some extra grown-up time, whether with your honey, with old friends listening to Melissa Etheridge, or cozy and quiet time with yourself.

I wanted to get you thinking about Valentine’s Day a little early, so you’ve got a chance to plan.
Because if you don’t plan, oftentimes a special day feels rushed, or is gone before you know it.

Also! This coming week I have a Valentine’s Day gift for you!
I will share details in the midweek newsletter. I am very excited about it and I bet you will be too : )

Wishing you a great weekend!

PS – Will you be my Valentine? I have a special Valentine’s gift exclusively for newsletter subscribers… You can get newsletters just like this one directly into your inbox, too, and it’s all free… Click here to subscribe!

316: Beliefs create reality. So, what do you believe?

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll down to the very bottom of this post and hit the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!
What we believe influences everything: our thoughts, our interactions, our relationships, and in the end our reality.
But it can be really hard to nail down what we actually believe.
In today’s episode I take you into my beliefs, show you how I figured out what they are, and most importantly help you clarify your own.
It’s a master class in getting the reality that you want most – both as a parent and as a person. I hope you find this episode helpful!

Click for a cheat sheet on how to define your beliefs, and on the links that come up in today’s episode.

Also – Throughout February, in Instagram, I am posting my beliefs!
Click (or find @weturnedoutokay in the app) to see them!
Thanks for listening!

Sign up for my Weekly Parenting Newsletter

Each week I send out a couple parenting newsletters, to help you stay sane while raising your kiddos. (In today’s episode I talk about the most recent newsletter, on the role kindness plays in improving my health, as I have lived with a tendon disorder for eight and half years.)
We’re doing a series right now on “Kids gone sideways,” so you can learn what to do when even the basics are a challenge!
Useful stuff.
Click so it zooms right into your inbox each week!

Today’s episode is sponsored by the amazing Janine Halloran, expert in teaching kids coping skills, who has created some great resources to help your child handle it when the going gets tough!
Listen to today’s show to find out how to get 15% off your order, and then
Click to check out Janine’s Coping Skills for Kids Cue Card Decks.
Continue reading “316: Beliefs create reality. So, what do you believe?”

Kindness and conversation from the perspective of a curmudgeonly Bostonian

I should revise the title… but “formerly” curmudgeonly Bostonian seemed like something of a mouthful 🙂

This Parenting Newsletter is about the value of kindness, and how kindness has changed my life in ways I could never have foreseen.

I started thinking about this thanks to Robin Abrahams, the Boston Globe Magazine columnist (who writes under the alias Miss Conduct, and has been a guest on my show as well).

Recently Robin wrote “How to be kinder in Boston, America’s 5th rudest city,” an article I got a lot out of, and I highly recommend you go and read!

One part especially was compelling to me, about how conversation – simple conversation with the people around us – can make us feel better.

Robin’s essay helped me extend my thinking in a different direction: the importance of being kind to ourselves.

I have a tendon disorder. I’ve lived with it for eight and half years, and it started with my right leg.

I used to tell that leg mean, horrible things.
I would say how much I hated that leg. I would tell it how useless I thought it was.

And much worse.

But what I failed to see was that my poor leg was just doing the best it could!

It was only when I started treating my right leg well, treating it kindly, that I started to feel better.
Continue reading “Kindness and conversation from the perspective of a curmudgeonly Bostonian”