Town Talk Features

The Honest Truth: Back-to-School Savvy

I am a busy mom of three, and my youngest just started school. I thought things would get easier around here, but I’m feeling overwhelmed and finding it hard to get motivated. Tips?

beth: Every parenting phase has its own exhausting challenges. As you know by now, you’re naturally better at some phases than others. The mom who is great at managing the Girl Scout cookie drive may not be so good at wrangling all 25 scouts. Have a little grace with yourself as you traverse your kids’ ages and stages. In the areas where you don’t feel like you measure up, hang out with people who can help you see the humor in the chaos.

jill: I think you’re showing signs of burnout, which the World Health Organization just officially named as a bona fide health issue. We think of it as a workplace problem. But, your home is your workplace. The demands can be overwhelming. Get a group of other moms together to read and discuss the fantastic book, Mommy Burnout: How to Reclaim Your Life and Raise Healthier Children in the Process by Dr. Sheryl Ziegler. It could be powerful medicine for you.

My college daughter texts me daily with every single dilemma and challenge in her life. My husband says it’s too much and she needs to figure stuff out for herself. I want to be supportive. Who’s right?

jill: This might be a great time to wean you and your daughter off the constant contact (and strengthen her problem-solving skills in the process). Try this: When you get a text asking for your help, say, “What are your best ideas to solve this?” Then, let her know you’ll get back to her in a few hours to see how it’s going. Inserting a pause before you jump in with an answer will fortify her confidence (even if she freaks out a little at first)

beth: It’s so easy to fall into the trap of becoming your child’s ‘college concierge.’ A couple of texts here and a few questions there all seem innocent enough, but the risk is that your daughter will begin to rely on you, rather than on herself, to handle all of life’s little complexities. Think about it: Who wouldn’t love their very own well-trained and wildly dedicated problem-solver? There is a fine line between being a supportive parent and over-parenting. You need to find that line so your daughter can fail safely in college, rather than have you make college fail-safe.

Jill Farmer is a master certified life coach, author and time management aficionado. Beth Chesterton is a master certified executive coach and an expert in organizational development. If you have a question that needs an honest answer, email