How to Become a “Mother of Influence” with Life Coach Susie Funk

As a life coach and a mother, I’ve often pondered the art of parenting beyond the high school diploma and the empty nest. That’s why I invited Susie Funk, a kindred spirit and fellow coach, onto the show for an eye-opening chat about the twists and turns of nurturing adult children. Susie, with her calming presence and deep reservoir of insight, joins me in a conversation that’s as much a balm for the soul as it is a guide for the heart. We share our personal stories of motherhood and the mastermind group that kept us anchored during life’s upheavals, including my own voyage through divorce.

Susie and I peel back the layers of self-narrative that often cloud our judgment as parents, discussing how coaching can illuminate the stories we tell ourselves about our roles and responsibilities. We address how releasing expectations for our children’s futures can lead to profound personal growth, and I open up about reshaping family life post-divorce. The dialogue is peppered with anecdotes and laughter, underscoring the importance of validating our children’s emotions and recalibrating our reactions to their life choices. Parenting adult children is a journey of self-discovery, and we highlight the transformative power of acceptance and the strength of the bonds it can forge.

Finally, we underscore that parenting with grace never goes out of style, regardless of how many candles are on your child’s birthday cake. Nurturing isn’t confined to the formative years, and recognizing that is crucial in fostering the trust and safety net our grown children still seek. Susie leaves us with a message of solidarity for mothers everywhere, reminding us that our shared experiences are a source of comfort and wisdom. Listeners will walk away from this episode with a sense of companionship and the knowledge that the adventure of loving our children through their successes and stumbles is a path well worth treading.

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Speaker 1: 0:10
Hi, friends, welcome to Happily. Even After I’m Life Coach Jen, a certified life coach that specializes in relationships. I’m a mom of four awesome kids and one amazing son-in-law, a home decorator, a remodeler, a shopper, a scrabbler and a snuggler. I want to help you with your relationships, mainly the relationship you have with yourself, your family and God. Thanks for listening and letting me share the tools I have learned that can help you live happily even after some of life’s greatest challenges. Hey, friends, welcome to today’s podcast. And today I’m so excited because this is my first podcast that I’m doing in my home office, and I decided to do that just so I could start having more guests on my show. And the first guest I decided to have is one of my dear friends, susie Funk, and this podcast it will be airing the day after Mother’s Day, and I just couldn’t think of a better woman to start my series of learning from all these amazing women than Susie.

Speaker 1: 1:17
And I’m just going to tell you a little bit how I met Susie. I probably met her at least three years ago and we had both signed up for a mastermind with one of our favorite coaches, jodi Moore, and it was a business mastermind and it was going to be a year long and it was, and at the time I was married. I remember going into the room and I immediately was like I like her because I love her style she always wears hats and is just super friendly and awesome. So we became friends during that year long mastermind and throughout the following years after that ended, and by the end from the beginning of the mastermind to the end of the mastermind I had gotten divorced. But throughout, you know, the past few years, we’ve always showed up at other life coaching events and just been able to keep our friendship.

Speaker 1: 2:10
So that’s just been really amazing. And what I love about her is she is such a great example and a woman who walks the walk and lives her best life, and she has done that how her coaching program. I coach women who’ve experienced betrayal and she coaches women who want to reconnect with their adult children, who are struggling with that, and so I myself have four adult children and I am learning to navigate that as well, because it is different. And so anyway, susie, what else do you want us to know about you? Like, tell us about your kids, your family.

Speaker 2: 2:49
Well, thank you so much, Jennifer, for having me on. I am so, so excited to be here and I absolutely adored you the first time. I met you, too, at our mastermind. We’ve had so much fun and connected on so many other occasions as well. So, yeah, I am a mother of eight. I have seven living and six of my kids are now adults, with kind of my seventh, sixth being just turned 18 and off to college. She goes and I just decided like this is becoming my passion, because as our kids get to be adults and they go have their own lives, we are as kind of a group.

Speaker 2: 3:32
Categorically, mothers don’t have any books on how to handle that pivot or what to do after and how to manage and navigate in-laws, and there’s no baby shower or there’s no adult shower for us. We need to have a shower when they leave. It’s just not talked about and especially in, I’m a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as I’m sure some most of your audience is or not, I don’t know, but any church member I think there’s a real huge emphasis on family and what I was finding out, at least for myself and a lot of other people, where we were feeling disillusioned with having done everything right. Read all the books you know was right, we’re righteous. And then our kids turn 18 and they make wrong choices. Maybe.

Speaker 1: 4:26
And then we yeah, at least what we consider wrong. Right, we’re like wait a second. I didn’t teach you to do that, yeah exactly, but then the problem stems from now.

Speaker 2: 4:36
we’re a failure and illusioned in life and not feeling good about ourselves, so that I became really. I didn’t want to have that happen. Our efforts were our efforts right.

Speaker 1: 4:51
Yeah, it’s so true, and I think anytime we feel like we failed as women somehow, we blame ourselves for it, and many times we can only control ourselves, which is one thing I love about coaching, because it’s like we think we control our kids and our husbands but we realize like, oh, we can only control how we show up and how we show up matters.

Speaker 2: 5:18

Speaker 1: 5:19
And yeah, so what? What do you see Like? What are your clients Like? What do you see Like? What are your clients Like? What do they struggle with? Like? What are they coming to you with that they’re having a hard time dealing with?

Speaker 2: 5:31
Well, mostly it’s this lack of control, right, and it’s this. I love my child, but now they’re making independent choices that I wouldn’t necessarily approve of. So how can I accept them and love them unconditionally? Because they’re always this is my favorite thing they’re always like. I love my child unconditionally, except for I wish he had a better job, you know if you just get a haircut.

Speaker 1: 5:58
Do these 10 things for me to love him more.

Speaker 2: 6:02
I really want him to change everything about himself to love him more.

Speaker 1: 6:05
I really want him to change everything about himself. Yeah, I can see that Like for me, maybe because I went through a divorce all while, like, my kids were, one of them got married and they were all becoming young adults. I think it really, I realized, like, if I, all I need to do is love my kids, regardless of their choices, and that’s been so freeing for me because and actually it’s brought our relationship closer, at least for me and my kids, I feel so close to my kids because we can have honest conversations. They, you know, they don’t want to go to church anymore. Okay, great, I’m going to go to church, I’m going to show up, I go to church, I’m the example, but I’m okay with what they’re doing.

Speaker 1: 6:53
I feel like, especially if you’re religious Susie and I are the same religion and teaching our kids to go to church every Sunday, at least in our family. We went to church every Sunday. To go to church every Sunday, at least in our family. We went to church every Sunday and then my life blew up, whereas their dad was doing something totally different and I’m like, oh my gosh, what am I doing? So how do you help women navigate, like religion and other things like that?

Speaker 2: 7:23
I’m guessing that’s a big issue. Yeah, a lot of women are really, really devastated when their kids don’t choose the life that we had laid out for them, that we had tried to make look attractive, and what I love to talk about to these women is here we are lamenting, we’re wringing our hands, we’re in our beds with our heads, you know, with our covers up over our heads, and we’re criticizing our kids for their choices and we’re like this is the plan of happiness, and yet we’re an example of being completely not happy, like come live this life and we’re, you know, a mess, right? Yeah, that’s something I really like to address is like we’ve got to get you, the mother, empowered and happy and confident so that you can go live your best religious life, so that it’s attractive to your children. And, jennifer, you also hit on something that I’m super passionate about is having an authentic relationship, and I call this like creating a safe space where they can come and tell you anything and you’re not going to be devastated or freaking out because that’s an inauthentic place where they can’t tell you what’s really happening.

Speaker 2: 8:40
And then your phone calls are like about the weather, because they’re not going to tell you they’re going to move in with their girlfriend or whatever, because that might devastate you. So what I want to help my women with is connection with their adult kid. It might not be pleasant, it might not be what you want to hear, but if you want connection you’ve got to be willing to control your emotional responses and that that sort of thing and you know, I think seeking to understand them is so key because the thing is, the world is changing the world.

Speaker 1: 9:15
My kids, the other day they’re like mom, why is life so hard? And they have so many challenges that we didn’t have, you know, in the 80s and 90s. I mean, things are just like coming at you 24, seven, and I think if you can be strong, a strong woman, and just show up in love, they’re going to want to come to you and have these conversations and you can guide them. But I think, holding loosely to what you want, because we all have a story in our head right, how our kids are going to get married, where they’re going to get married, who they’re marrying, what that looks like, what they’re going to do in their future, and I really, for me, I’ve had to let go of the idea of college. Like, is college the end, all be all? Not not necessarily right. There’s so many other options out there and missions or anyways.

Speaker 1: 10:11
I think I’ve let that all go and I feel great about it, but I know that’s hard for women because we have this story. I mean, I’ve had to do a lot of deconstructing of my own story because I thought I married my husband forever and I was wrong about that and so that didn’t happen. And my kids you know my family looks different than I ever imagined. And so I think, having coaching like I couldn’t have gone through my divorce, I couldn’t raise my kids without a coach, Like, don’t you think having a coach is so important to help clear your mind? And because we all have sneaky thoughts, we think our thoughts are like oh, that’s are we, and we label things bad and good and wrong, and sometimes our kids path looks a lot different than what we would ever choose for them or whatever we would have thought. But it doesn’t mean they’re going to be miserable and unhappy. They might be very happy living together.

Speaker 2: 11:15
However they’re living right, that’s right, and the actual truth is is they might actually be miserable and unhappy. And how can we love that miserable and unhappy version of our child instead of wishing he was a happy, loving, excited and successful child? Yeah, so that’s all good points and having a coach. I just want to also reiterate that it’s so important, because we all have human brains that are going to immediately react and go to this place, especially for women, that it’s all my fault, there’s something wrong with me and all is lost.

Speaker 1: 11:56
Yeah, I wasn’t a good enough mom. If I, when they were five, I wouldn’t have yelled at him, then they probably wouldn’t have turned out this way. I mean, we go back to like. We think we have to find like oh, it’s because this happened, that’s why they’re like this and we blame it, we blame women, we’re hard on ourselves, we are so hard on ourselves and we don’t need to be.

Speaker 2: 12:17
Oh, and it’s so nice to have someone point a few things out that even I, as a coach, have a coach so she can point things out to me that I know intellectually but I’m not seeing in myself, and so it’s been really important to actually become aware and actually work on myself. Become aware and actually work on myself. I, like I said, I have eight kids, seven living, and my relationships are all amazing, and I’m not saying that because they’re great kids, which obviously I think they are. But we’ve had challenge after challenge after challenge. But I have taken the time and I will pat myself on the back for this, because I think we all should pat ourselves on the back more often than we do.

Speaker 1: 13:04
Yes, but I mean our best. That’s why I love the idea I’m the world’s okay, it’s mom, because I love that, I just it’s. It’s been so freeing for me because some days I suck and then. But then I have the opportunity to say sorry to my kids and you know what? I really didn’t show up that great yesterday.

Speaker 2: 13:23
And they’re like yeah right, mom, you didn’t, but yes, but what I’m patting myself on the back for is I am putting in the work, because this is important.

Speaker 2: 13:33
In this day and age, like you were talking about earlier, about our kids, have issues that we’ve never been faced for. They need us still as their mom. We want to be able to influence them, but in order to be able to influence them, we have to be trusted. We have to let them fail and live their life and then have them come to us because they trust us, not because they’re trying to prove something to us. We’re like this is the way you should have done this or that. So putting in the work of becoming, you know, really skilled at at maintaining I know you’ve done this too at controlling your nervous system, calming it down when someone comes at you like your adult kid, really activated, and we can calm down and we can validate at that point which, in essence, you know is really hard because we don’t want to validate anyone If they’re like yeah, I’m doing this because you did this. And we were like, oh, yeah, tell me more.

Speaker 1: 14:34
That’s a skill, it is, oh, my gosh, and I’m glad you brought up the nervous system because I know you and I thought in a super healthy marriage and life and in a lot of aspects it was great. But then there were some things that I really didn’t show up that great as a mom because I was dealing with my marriage, of my husband having affairs, and so I realized that and we’ve had to do a lot of repair and they’ve come to me and said some really hard things to hear and I always like to say to myself like, okay, what part of that is true? And it’s obviously true for them, but okay, I’m going to own the part that I believe Absolutely. I showed up like wrong or you’re right, I handled that terribly and how could I do it better?

Speaker 1: 15:45
Having the conversation with your kids, I feel like, is the greatest gift, and kids, I mean we say like kids are adults at 18. I don’t know how we came up with that, I don’t know when that happened. I mean maybe in like World War II or something, world War I, when we’re sending these young kids off to war. But nowadays I just I mean they say your brain doesn’t even develop fully till you’re 25. And so we need to give a lot more grace and compassion to our kids and ourselves, don’t you think? And so, yeah, I just think 18, like our kids, like I still I talk to all my kids almost daily, you know, and they live all throughout the world and country and some of them do live with me, but I think they just need a safe place to come.

Speaker 1: 16:42
And I think women were given that gift from God. I feel like I mean for sure, men have those qualities, but I think women, most of us like I think we’re given some special gifts that absolutely help. And if we can learn and hone and get better at those gifts and not make it mean something’s wrong with me or like, oh, I just suck, I don’t know, I think women also have a lot. We have a gift for negative self-talk, don’t you think?

Speaker 2: 17:14
Yeah, and I really, really like to remember when I’m talking to my adult kids, whenever I’m feeling attacked or I’m a fail, I have to remind myself. You know, not everything’s about you, Susie.

Speaker 1: 17:25
Yeah, that’s a great.

Speaker 2: 17:28
I like that. I really do like that because can I put my ego aside for just a second and listen? And? And, like you said earlier too, it is so freeing when you can just own that you are a flawed human. I think so many of us are trying to protect this illusion of like I can’t be a failure, I don’t want to be viewed as a failure, I don’t want to be seen as flawed, but if you just own it, you’re totally free. And they’re like you did this and you’re’re like oh yeah, that’s my bad, you know freeing it is and connecting because you’re vulnerable.

Speaker 1: 18:06
Right, you’re like admitting to your child, like, yeah, I’m not perfect, because I think as kids, we sometimes put our parents up on pedestals, yeah, and which isn’t a. You know, we as parents could do better at like acknowledging our humanness. Right, we have made mistakes. Sometimes I think parents were like, well, we’ve never made any mistakes, but let’s think about it Like think about when you were in junior, high and high school and college, like right, like we kind of ignore those. Well, you know, we did it, but our kids shouldn’t do it, and so.

Speaker 1: 18:43
But that’s how we learn and grow and I my coach, always tells me like envision your. Sometimes we get focused on what they’re doing right now, but I always like to look a little bit out and like I know my kids are going to end up successful, whatever that looks like for them, because I think success I might view it differently than someone else whatever that looks like for them, they are going to get through it. Just because your kid is having a hard time today or for the past year doesn’t mean their life is like ruined and you know they’re going to make bad choices the rest of their life.

Speaker 2: 19:23
It actually might mean that they’re on the exact right path that they need to be on. It’s their journey. And it’s so interesting because my eldest is 33 and I look back at his life and I see you know where I always lost right In my, in my view. I’ve seen so many things that has happened, you know, in in my kids’ lives that I’ve thought to myself oh my gosh, this is devastating, it’s going to derail his whole, the whole plan I have for him. And actually it’s so interesting when they end up in the most beautiful of circumstances and you’re like how did that happen? Oh, because of this that I thought was terrible and that because he thought was terrible, you’re just like, wow, it’s.

Speaker 2: 20:06
It’s like the country song, the broken road, and and I really love to address this with with parents and mothers, especially because we have in our mind’s eye these expectations and I really like to get rid of expectations oh yeah, expectations are terrible. I don’t and I like the word ideals Like I have this ideal. I like to reach for things. I have ideals that I’m striving for. I don’t even like the word expectation because of the I agree.

Speaker 1: 20:38
I think it leads to frustration. Every time when you expect something of someone, you’re just getting frustrated because there’s like the gap between what you expect and it just a lose-lose situation.

Speaker 2: 20:49
So if you think of kind of things that you’re wanting for yourself or your family, and you have have ideals and goals. I don’t like to use them against myself. I like to think of them as and I think I heard this in the book of the Gap and the Gain but it’s like thinking of ideals as just lights ahead of you on your journey. Right, they’re just right in front of you. You’re never going to quite reach them, but they’re lighting your path. They’re lighting your way on your journey toward what you aspire to be and what you want for your family and what legacy you want to leave. And this is so important because we can have wonderful and beautiful and lofty ideals for the legacy we want to leave for our family and how we want our adult kids to perceive us, even if they don’t perceive us. That way, we can start now on. Well, I want to be a type of mom who does this. Well, you can do that, whether they like think you’re a crazy woman or not. It’s so true.

Speaker 1: 21:52
It’s so true I do. I always think like who, who do I want to be today?

Speaker 1: 21:57
Mom, and I I want to be a mom that loves her kids and is a safe place for them to come. That is going to try my hardest not to freak out when they tell me certain things, to be the soft landing that they need, because there’s not a lot of places in the world that humans, kids, have to go Right and I don’t necessarily to go look on the internet to see to get their questions answered, and so you want your kids to come to you.

Speaker 2: 22:33
And that’s how you become influential in their life. Is you be that soft landing? And yet we’re, we’re thinking it’s no, we’ve got to have, we’ve got to, you know, criticize and we’ve got to fix what’s wrong. And we’ve got to like fix and we repair. Like I really want to touch on this repair thing that you said earlier. You know the older generation, my parents, are like well, I did the best I could and I’ve been guilty of saying the best I could, I did the best I could and I think it’s fine to say that because it can alleviate some of our guilt that we’re going to put on ourself. But I just take it just, this is just a funny thing. I take it a little bit farther. I’m like I know that on any given day while raising my kids.

Speaker 1: 23:17
I did not do the best that I could. Maybe in that moment.

Speaker 2: 23:20
But there were times where I was just like I can’t do it, I’m out, I’m out, like there were times that I did really, really, really good yeah. And there were times where I didn’t so. So sometimes I think, when we say I did the best I could and therefore, all you know, woe is me, I’m just like no, you didn’t. You know, not to be mean to myself, but to just be honest.

Speaker 1: 23:43
It’s important to be honest and address the reality of the situation. Like, some days it’s hard, it is a lot, no one, no one tells you. And you had eight kids, I had four, and it’s hard, right, there are some days it’s like, oh my gosh, I don’t know how I’m going to get through the day. And you know, we do put a lot of extra stuff on ourselves and society puts a lot of stuff.

Speaker 1: 24:07
And, you know, hopefully, as it’s like I feel like our pendulum swings, like you know, goes back and forth with our society, I think now we’re coming to the realization that’s okay to you know, we don’t have to have this 1950s, you know, look of our house doesn’t always have to be spotless. And you know, our kids don’t have to have a bow in their hair and a perfectly. You know my kid, my mom used to make my clothes like sew my clothes like that. I can’t imagine like if I had to sew my kids clothes like they would be naked, I don’t know Like it’s like oh, you need a new dress, Let me just make it for you. So, yeah, I think that alleviates the pressure, right, because we don’t need any more pressure on ourselves.

Speaker 2: 24:57
I like this imagery of like, maybe in the 50s or whatever you’re referring to is kind of we thought life if we obeyed the commandments and we did everything right. It would be like this primrose path, yes, strolling through it right With our little parasol or whatever Through the rose garden. It’s more like a spartan race okay, you’re bloody, you’re dirty, like you are just trying to get through this obstacle course. And you know, I did have eight kids and one of my. What I did learn through motherhood that I think is imperative for every mother listening is that so one of my babies died at a week old and what my I was worried about, oh no, my family’s going to be derailed. You know this is going to be crazy because it wasn’t the perfect family thing that I thought was happening. But what I want to reiterate is grief and sorrow and tragedy and overcoming that’s all good for people. I think we have to keep that in mind. Adversity and trials if we can remember that’s good for our kids. That will help change our attitude toward that as well. And then the second thing that I learned is that not only is grief and sorrow and challenges of faith and adversity. Good for us and our kids is that.

Speaker 2: 26:24
And then my last baby has special needs and now he’s 13. And I, what I learned from him was that I love him, even though he hits me, pulls my hair sometimes and poops in his pants right, I love him unconditionally. And what happened was that transfers, oh, and he also can’t speak and he’s 13. But what that does to me, or has taught me over those 13 years, is how can I transfer that unconditional love to my kids, who are like I don’t know, sleeping through Christmas in the afternoon, yeah, yeah, or not picking up their plates or eating, or all the things that annoy us about our typical kids? I’m like, well, I’m really good with my special guy. I love him even though he can’t speak.

Speaker 2: 27:13
Yeah special guy. I love him even though he can’t speak. Yeah, and I transfer that to my, my struggling college kid who’s failing his course and going out and I don’t know, while they’re struggling too. Yeah, I think that’s a great analogy, because that’s true, unconditional love is they’re limited, every person is limited and every person deserves to have that, that love from their mom and and so that transferred a lot. And I just wanted to mention that because those are two lessons that I learned that make me really a great advocate for loving adult kids who are not doing what you want them to do. If they’re not texting you back, if they’re not, you know, if they’re marrying someone you don’t like or dating someone you don’t like, it’s like hey, this is just something that is their struggle and we can still love them through it, just like my special guy struggles.

Speaker 1: 28:09
Yeah, I love that so much, susie, it’s so true. Well, I could talk to you all day, but I think our time’s up. But tell us really quick how, if someone that listens to me is also struggling with you know, having a relationship with their adult children, like, how can they find you?

Speaker 2: 28:30
Yeah, well, so I’m on Instagram at mother of influence and I also have a website, suzyfunkcom, but I’m transferring that over to motherofinfluencecom.

Speaker 1: 28:41

Speaker 2: 28:41
I just love that so much because it’s mother of influence, not mother of control, mother of manipulation, mother of it’s mother of influence, and there’s so many nuances and things that we can still do even though they’ve turned 18. Yeah, Turned out a perfect kid at 18. And I think that’s the illusion we have.

Speaker 1: 29:05
Yes, oh good. Yeah, go follow Susie. She’s super cute on Instagram. Lots of great content and thanks so much, susie. I appreciate you and for all those mothers listening, just know you are loved, we get it. It’s hard work, but you can definitely be able to influence your kids. If you want to learn how to live happily even after, sign up for my email at hello at lifecoachjenwith1ncom, follow me on Instagram and Facebook at happilyevenaftercoach. Let’s work together to create your happily even after.

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