Parenting of a Kid with Depression.

dptBeing a mother is a gift that is unimaginable to any woman who does not have a child in their life. It’s a connection that is unmatched and insurmountable in any form or other relationship. It’s a love that grows continually, a love that always wants more and better. It’s being terrified that you can’t prevent pain, injustice, heartbreak and at times even death. It’s laughing at jokes that aren’t even funny, but the way they say it makes it’s hilarious. It’s listening to stories that go on and on without a point. It’s always being available for the “Mommy watch me!” yells and “Mommy I need you” pleas. It’s drowning out the word MOM repeated over and over in attempts to get your attention. Its songs sang out of tune and settling squabbles with siblings. It’s being mean, and teaching hard lessons, that hurt you inside so deep you want to cry, but you must stand strong with resolve. It’s being strong for them when you are weak. It’s smiling when you want to cry, and crying when you’re smiling with pride.

The day our kids come into this world, we see this perfect baby boy or girl.  We are overjoyed and see so much going forward.  We have our expectations, and ideas all formed in our head for this perfect childhood and motherhood.  We start to dream of our family vacations, of our kids future and so much more.

It’s difficult enough to know that your child is seriously suffering, but with mental illness, a parent has to deal with much more than the illness itself. There can be personal shame about having a family that is not “normal.” There is the wish to react in the “right way,” without having the vaguest idea what that “right way” is.

I don’t know the answers, but I am willing to reach out so that other parents know that they are not alone.

My son has had ADHD since he was born.  We started medication when he was just 7 years old.  He has a great sense of humor, a huge loving heart, so much empathy towards others and wears his feelings on his sleeve.  He will also say and do the stupidest shit that will get him consequences.  These consequences are what will often throw him into his black hole as I call it.  It is hard as a parent because I have to teach that there are consequences yet walk on a fine line with emotions that I don’t always understand of my son.

We had a bout with lying, stealing, trying to cover up his lies with lies.  It was bad.  We had a bout with him trying anything, as he is impulsive.  This I have to say is my worst nightmare.  Will he try drugs?   Will he jump off the cliff when others dear him? Will he drag race? Will he do stupid things when he gets his license? and so much more just goes through my head.

I have searched for the right doctor, the right diagnosis, the right treatment, the best everything. Often, I feel my search had no guideposts in this new, unfamiliar world.  The mental health world is pretty far and few between when trying to get help.

Putting my son on depression meds scared the shit out of me.  I did the research, I am in education so I have seen what these meds do to kids first hand.  Some I saw positive results and sadly in my teaching career I have lost many students to suicide.  It literally scared every once of me.

Accept your child’s diagnosis.

For many parents, accepting that your child has a mental illness is hard. There is a great wish to avoid and deny. On the good days, it is easy to believe your child has overcome the challenges and is okay.  For a few months, my son seemed ok.  Then one day it hit like a ton of bricks.  He didn’t know why, he couldn’t explain it, it just happened.  He was the saddest kid, yet so successful in his sports.  His grades dropped, he broke up with his girlfriend and he couldn’t get out of bed.  He wanted to hurt himself and was just awful to be around.  It was hurtful.

The problem is that shame, guilt and fear can get in the way of getting the right help. Unless acknowledged, these personal feelings can limit your ability to reach out and maximize the help you can get for your child and for yourself.

I finally gave in and knew that my son needed more than I could give and more than the therapist could give him.  He has started medication.  I can’t say I am ok, but I am watching him closely along with his teachers, coaches and friends.

 Weeks Later

We are not far in, but we are in the successful lane.  The other day, my son looked at me and said “I didn’t realize this was how good happiness felt”, it broke my heart to hear him say these words.  He is 15, and in my eyes, kids should just be happy souls.  I understand first hand that it is impossible to always be happy, but this made me truly realize that I had made the right decision.  We have and will have many bumps in the road along the way.

Grades are up, he is no longer in bed all night after school, he is more active in the house with chores, helps me with dinner, eats dinner at the table and overall has found his humor again.  I don’t know how long he will need meds or if this is temporary or forever, but today I have a happy kid. ( Most Days)

Being a parent is hard!  Having those around you at times judging you or telling you how to parent a kid like this is even harder at times. Follow your parent gut and just know at the end of the day, you are doing the best you know how to do.

Becky Shaffer|     Life Coach|     Educator|     Author|     Speaker|





A Moms Love

ABD704D6-46DA-4184-85C7-CC287FDAE5F8Being a mom means more than having given birth to a child. It’s loving and knowing a soul before you even see it. It’s carrying and caring for a life completely dependent on you for survival.  I have had this privilege for 18 years being a mom myself, but prior to this, I had a mom like this for 45 years.

Our life was not peaches and roses, but with unconditional love and a mom who gave her all to better herself for the 4 of us, has taught me lessons that I still cherish and realize today.  We went through hell.  Abusive father, at times no food, no electric, washed our clothes in the bath tub and set them out to dry so we could re-wear the same outfit the next day.  At one point, we had to go live in the Children’s home and for a few years, I lived with a family off and on.  Yet, my mom busted her ass to get us all back home and in time she did.  Her unconditional love and determination to better herself so it could better our life taught me lessons that I had no clue I was learning as a child.  But as an adult and as a mom, I can now see all she did, was for us.

My mom died a year ago this month.  Somehow on January 28th, I will have made it 365 days without hearing her voice, (besides the voice mails I have on my phone)  or seeing her smiling face.  Grief can be an endless black hole.  At times I felt like I was being sucked dry of any emotional reserve I think I may have had.  This past year I have felt trapped alone, and helpless more times than I ever thought I would in my entire lifetime.  I was drowning in grief, unable to see a light.  I faked it, I plastered a smile on my face and I mentioned her in several memories.  At first, my mom was my daily waking thought.  But as time moves on she is maybe my third or fourth thought of the day.

Last winter into the Spring was a crazy time of transition for me. I found that I had lost all courage, conviction, and confidence. I was unsure about everything, unable to make any decision of importance. I didn’t know what to do in the next chapter of my life.   How do I make huge decisions about my life without hearing her advice and opinions first? How would I ever be sure that she is proud of me, that she approves of my decisions?  Yes, this all went through my head.  My heart hurt and I had no idea how to deal with it.  Well, as they say, therapy is a great source.  I had to reach out and talk to someone.  It took me months to grieve and it was a very lonely road, yet a road that built my soul to where I am today.

As months have moved on, the 28th is still the day of my moms’ death.  When my kids are doing their firsts or their things of excitement, I do think of my mom first thing.  I was fortunate enough to have a best friend in my mom.  She was the person I turned to for advice, talked to every morning on my way to work, and the one I could cry on no matter my age.  She was part of my soul and a huge part of my life.

As January 28th approaches, I can only think this anniversary means I have to leave my mom permanently behind.  I will never leave the memories or the lessons behind as those are forever embedded in me. 3B4976CC-81FD-4899-B837-3AB4A0736A9B

I don’t look at my mom’s passing as bad anymore because it’s what freed her from a life of pain and misery. I miss her, but I don’t wish she was still here for my own selfishness. I look at the last years of my mom’s life and think about all the tests and surgeries and fear she encountered on a daily basis. I think about her losing the ability to see, to drive, to walk. I think about her losing her independence – a very trait my mom couldn’t live without. I think about the sadness she felt inside her heart when she realized she couldn’t live life the way she wanted to anymore. She’ll still parent me and guide me because her words, her teachings live on through me. And those same words and lessons will live on through my children and so on and so on.  The memories we built will carry me on.  The memories of Notre Dame Football Games, our yearly vacations, the relationship she had with my boys are such blessings that today I can smile and say “I was lucky to have that.”

Happy Anniversary Mom.  I am so happy you are pain-free and with David (my brother) and Grandma and Grandpa.  I  can never in my life thank you enough for all you taught me, the unconditional love you taught me and showed me and the determination to always better myself.

Becky Shaffer


Searching for Meaning

What Gives You Meaning ConceptAs I have gotten older, I find that I look for the meaning in life experiences.  I don’t always know what this means, but I find it in my human nature to invest in things that have meaning and then to understand the meaning of the investment.  These thoughts can drive me absolutely crazy some days.

For example…We meet people.  Why?  Well, we are human, and humans connect, but I then question myself, does that person bring meaning to my life.  Do I bring meaning to their life.  What do I mean to them.  What is our purpose.  I just go on and on… I guess living through the death of a parent, truly opened my eyes up to what I meant to people.  I had great friends, a great social life and then my mom got sick….then she died.  Where did those people go that I meant so much to?  Well, it’s been a year, and I still to this day haven’t seen them nor been invited to social events.  So, in the reality of it all, when I was good, not depressed and wasn’t going though a really shitty time in my life, I meant something.  When I hit a depression and was in a black hole and I meant nothing.  This truly opened my life to so much more than I anticipated.

As I apply the concept to find an answer to the big existential question, “what is the meaning of life”; rather, it is the search for meaning in your own life that is most important. Meaning comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes it looms big in our life; sometimes it slips and is almost unobserved. In short, meaning is different for everyone—there is no one right answer—there is only the answer that is right for you.

We all came into this world pretty damn clueless.  As children we expected life to be  sunny, people are nice to each other and we learned pretty quickly that life is a lot different.  We become accustomed to the stress, hurt, worry, things being hard at times and we rarely find the time to sit down and evaluate why we are where we are.  We forget to search for the meaning.  Meaning always exists and therefore can be found in the everyday moments of our lives, so there doesn’t have to be just one answer to the question on how to find it.  However, it’s up to us to detect the meaning of the experiences we have each day.  Meaning, in other words, can be found even in situations that do not bring us happiness or power.

It is important to define the concept of meaning. Some people define meaning in terms of feeling that your life matters, while others define meaning in terms of extending beyond yourself to serve something bigger than yourself.  A higher power.

Meaning comes with being “who” we are in this world. When you believe something is meaningful, it is because it resonates with your true nature or core essence. When you believe something lacks meaning or is meaningless, it is because it does not resonate with your true nature or core essence.

It is important to understand how meaning can infiltrate and therefore affect many parts of our lives on a daily basis. Fundamentally, we believe that meaning should be at the core of all that we do daily. In order to live a complete life, we must understand what brings us meaning to our lives and what drains meaning from our lives.  This helps drive our purpose.

When we know this, all things become clearer. We come to know and feel more confident in our decisions and direction, and we also notice more energy flowing to and through us to others. In other words, we are no longer working against the flow of who we really are.  I may not understand or know the meaning of a few things in my life today, but until they bring me no positive energy, I am willing to wait and find out.

It is an ongoing process to find meaning and it is a non-stop process as each day brings new experiences.  For me, to find meaning gives me purpose.  I workout, so my purpose was to motivate others.  I found meaning in helping others with a passion I held so closely.  My passion and meaning steamed from watching my mom live an unhealthy life that lead to her death.  It was an awful experience, but that awful gave me purpose and meaning not only for myself, but to help others.  I was fortunate that even though my mom was sick, she found meaning to live.  Her life was full of unconditional love, watching her own kids and her grand-kids live life, which all gave her meaning and the purpose to fight pretty damn hard.


The greatest challenge we face in life is to discover and embrace the process in which gives us meaning.  We look away when it hurts and things are not the way we expected them to be.  We tend to look at what we expected versus the true meaning of what happened.

Know that each day has a meaning and each day you mean something to someone.  Being a teacher, I know my meaning.  Being a Mom, I know my meaning.  Being a fitness coach, I know I have meaning to many I am their motivator.  All of this gives me drive and purpose.  Find your drive and purpose and you will know your meaning behind those core values.

Becky Shaffer——Life Coach—Educator



The Power of a Word. BLOOM

Bloom.  The state of blossoming or having the flowers open.  bloom-1600x1600

Many of us dreamers, free spirits and creative, sensitive souls never realize our true potential because we don’t see our abilities clearly.  We are blossoming, growing, yet we don’t take the time to appreciate it and see it, let alone embrace who we are.

My word for 2020 is Bloom.  Last year was a blur.  The death of my mom was one of the hardest things I have experienced. Yet, it has also helped me continue to bloom into my true self.

Life is full of experiences as I will call them.  These experiences can bring so much pain, hurt and also joy.  I have learned that life will keep bringing it on.  And one day with all life brings, you will realize your natural strengths.  I found strength I never knew I had, and I also found weaknesses, I never dreamed I would allow.

Listening to your inner voice and discovering your natural strengths reveals a vision in your life that can inspire you into action.  For some, the vision could be your career, a partner, financial freedom, following a dream you have always been in fear to do so, or whatever lights up your soul.

I am looking at 3 main benefits that I feel are allowing me to bloom at what I now have to call mid-life.  Shit….I am 46, and mid-life isn’t really a word I thought I would ever associate with myself, but here I am.  As I face 2020, I will remind myself daily  that my word this year is “Bloom”, here is my insight:

1| More Experience

Our human inclination is to search for meaning.  We need to know the why of life’s ups and downs.  I find that hindsight is a gain to perspective.  We won’t always find solutions, but we can turn that into an experience and what we once thought was a weakness into a strength.

2| More Resilience

I am a goal-oriented person. I put hope into achieving a goal and once I achieve that goal it would bring me happiness.  There are times, that reaching that goal didn’t measure up to the outcome expected.  Or not reaching the goal would leave me heartbroken because my plan didn’t work out.  When I learned to set small-step goals, I felt more grateful that life had its own plan and that plan was more aligned with where I was at that moment.

3| More Time

I used to put a lot of energy and time into seeking approval from my partner, my boss, my kids, and I lacked enthusiasm.  I was the people pleaser and yet, you can never please everyone.  After my mom died, I realized, I have raised two great kids, but it is time to take care of my soul, and do what it takes to be truest to myself.

At 46, my childhood is a faraway place.  I never guessed that I’d be figuring out my place at this age.  It has been a journey to get here.  It has taken me years to listen to my inner voice, to discover my natural strengths and develop into a person that can inspire myself and others.  I am blooming and will continue to bloom, just as you will continue to bloom.

Embracing the person you are today, the age you are right now, the choices and experiences you are living right now, then you are blooming.


Becky Shaffer—life Coach—Educator—Human

Healing Through Your Journey

“Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.” — Rumi

footprints-in-sandWhether you saw it it coming or didn’t, the feeling is the same: You’re devastated. You gasp at your vulnerability and wonder, “Why did this happen?”  Whether it’s pain accumulated from childhood or an intimate relationship dissolving, there’s a tendency to shut down afterwards.

Life dishes up so many hardships: heartbreak, illness, injury, death, abandonment. Though we may share similar experiences, every hurt is personal. No matter how many times well-meaning people say, “We understand,” they don’t. You may even resent them for trying.

You cannot hold on to feelings of sadness and disappointment because doing so means to inhibit life flowing through you. It is akin to building a dam from piles of rocks in a flowing river. Eventually, the force of the water will erode the rocks or find its way through it.

I held on to my feelings of sadness last winter.  My mom passed away, my marriage was nothing as planned and I was just sad, the saddest I have ever felt.  I stopped working out and I became anti-social.  I went to work and that was about it.  I missed my kids sporting events, I gained a ton of weight and I was just sad.  I woke up one day and knew I had to snap out of it.  I knew deep down I was worth so much more than how I was living.  My point is, we all hit a rut in life, but we have to get out of that rut.

I asked myself, who am I without pain?  To some, a crazy questions, but really, some of my life greatest lessons and growth have come from pain. It sucks during the process.  It is difficult to release pain following a traumatic experience. There’s a sense of numbness, and emptiness in places you never knew existed. It’s natural to protect yourself by vowing never to be hurt again.  However, in my different process of pain in my life, I have met amazing people along the way.  I have learned to heal, to focus on my journey and to set goals that are self satisfying to me.

What to Do After You’ve Been Emotionally Hurt

broken heart love sad

I count myself among the heartbroken. I have nursed the dying, lost my brother, my mom and my best friend, I have suffered heartbreak. I have suffered not feeling worthy of another,  I have cried alone on the street, in my classroom, alone when I go to bed at night, sometimes with friends and family, sometimes with clients. I tried to dodge heartache but, like everyone, it eventually found me. It’s one of life’s cruel certainties.  It also just sucks! Yet, I am thankful for the process as for me personally, I am who I am today due to heartbreak.  It has led me to write, to coach and as an educator help countless students.  I am just thankful, I am strong enough to endure and see beyond.

How to Support Your Healing Process

  •  Honor Your Pain

Avoidance of pain increases it. To heal, you must pass through the doorway of grief. That door way is a hard one and can be extremely heavy.  Emotional wounds are beyond “sadness”; they’re felt in the depths of your being. Honor your pain; don’t run from it. Unplug, put time aside to reflect, and give yourself permission to grieve. If well-meaning people push you to “Get over it,” ignore them. Surround yourself with friends who understand that.  It’s a process, take some time for the process to work.

  • Reach Out

Being alone is part of healing, but long periods of isolation are unhealthy. Deep pain always brings out personal demons, such as blaming yourself, embracing victim-hood, or bitterness. Reach out to friends,  seek comfort in prayer, meditation, working out or journal writing—whatever brings you peace of mind. Instead of longing for a miracle, create one.

  • Take a Break

It’s important to take a break from your pain, and engage in healthy compartmentalization. Everyone finds relief in different ways. Some find  creative activities such as writing, reading, music, art, or movies. Others find it in movement such as dance, hiking, long walks, etc. Choose a task that allows you to escape by stepping into another reality, even if it’s only for a few moments.  It is the holiday season, so I have to admit, my escape is the Hallmark movies.  HA.  I know they are all the same, but I love the sappiness of love and holidays.

  •  Learn from It

I’ve heard it said that the road to wisdom is paved with suffering. Reflecting, exploring, and pondering, without self-attack or blame, opens you up to greater understanding and compassion for yourself and others. Believe and know you did all you know how to do.  Did you handle things the best you could?  Learn from that, and grow.  An attitude of learning will help you unearth value in the experience. You may also discover a curious new freedom: Recovering from an emotional trauma or heartbreak makes you stronger, wiser, and more resilient, if you allow it to.  Forgive those that have hurt you.  Embrace the positive of the person who passed away and look at the gifts they brought to your life.  My mom taught me unconditional love and truly she turned horrible situations into the best situation she could. She never gave up and that is such a gift she has passed on to me.

  • Move On

Some people allow suffering to define them, shape them and, ultimately, rob of them of living.  Will you allow emotional pain hold you back or will you decide to use it to propel you in a new direction?

I discovered the emotional pain settles and what is left is a most beautiful and expansive energy of love that has always been there.  After all, pain is not who you are, but something you experienced and you have the power to revoke anytime you choose.  You have to be the one ready to heal and move forward on this journey, after all this is your journey.  Own it and make it your best!

Becky Shaffer–Adolescent/Adult Life Coach–Author–Educator

Parenting a Child with ADD/ADHD is Kinda Like Emotional Whiplash

ADHD-activities-1I don’t have answers, I have frustrations, I have the knowledge and experience that the struggle is real, and I have the days of exhaustion and riding this roller coaster of emotions as a parent with a son who has ADD/ADHD, anxiety with a dash of depression.

Over time as a parent, I have hit my wall of throwing in the towel, waving the white flag and choosing my battles.

From the moment my youngest son entered this world, I knew we were in for the ride of our life.   He was always fighting sleep, wanted to touch everything, crawl into anything his body could fit in and never feared a thing. If you said no, it meant yes.  He never slept well and was always going at 100 mph.  In pre-school, we always got told what he did “wrong”, then Kindergarten, the same thing, and every grade after that.  Our child was labelled as the wild one.  Nice on the parent ego.

I’ll never forget the calls from his Kindergarten teacher.  One of the most memorable calls was, the bathroom stint. He went in the boys bathroom, stood on the toilet in the stall and poured water on the kid going pee in the stall beside him.  Another incident: “look Mommy, I got all this money today”, as my kids went to a private school at this time and they had church on Wednesday.  The offering plate was passed around and MY SON took a handful of cash and put it in his pocket.  That was fun walking into the school the next day and having my son explain what he did and returning the cash.  As he said, “they were passing money around for us.”  Then the calls for pulling girls hair, throwing his shoes out the classroom window, crawling around the classroom, turning the hallway into slip n slide and just so much more.  This was only Kindergarten.

I had to learn early that my son’s brain works differently, and some of these things are not done on purpose.  Believe me, if he could better control his impulsivity, hyperactive and lack of focus and overblown emotions, he would.  It’s not fun to struggle with these things.  He has described it as feeling like a bunch of unconnected wires in his head.

ADD/ADHD is complicated.  Many want to argue that kids can control this and to many of us, we should be able to tell a kid something, teach a kid something and they understand and follow the rules.  The reality is, kids with this, struggle in all sorts of ways you may not even notice—-with things you may take for granted in your own kids or other kids you see.  Turning in homework, keeping track of time, organizing things and thoughts and trying to apply what he knows one day to the next can all be a great challenge.  Not to mention the anxiety that comes with this.  I can’t tell you how shocked I was the first time I saw my sons arms from picking. He must have had 100 sores on his arms that he picked.  They were bleeding and to this day, he looks like he comes from a home with bed bugs.

At times he comes across as disrespectful, and not listening, but once my son realizes he has done something wrong or has hurt someone’s feelings, he feels terrible.  It is always an “I’m sorry”, or “I didn’t mean it”, or “I don’t know why I did that” or “said that”…

For years I tried to role play with him, I was hoping he could see both sides.  It has taken time and this is still a work in progress.

By 2nd grade, we started medication.  This was a hard decision for me.  The lack of appetite caused weight loss and trying to get some of his teachers to work with me on snacks during the day was difficult and frankly bullshit on how some reacted, but he got his snacks.  
He wouldn’t wear socks so I got the “your a bad parent” email for that.  If the kid won’t wear something, just don’t fight it.  He wore mammoth crocs instead.  At least I put his feet in something warm.  Seriously, its a compromise at times.

Today at 15, he is at the highest medication dose he can be at.  He struggles more than his peers, yet has a very outgoing personality.  He has sadly set a reputation for his actions and is known as annoying to many.  He is also a great Ice Hockey goalie and has the mind of an engineer.

If people could look beyond the challenges, they’d see the person I see.  He’s funny, smart, loving and has great empathy.  He shows his emotions, he makes awful decisions, lies and we are still dealing with impulsive behavior and some depression.

As a parent, I want to protect my son from being judged, I also know that he has to have consequences for his actions, yet he needs to understand why.  He needs to hear positive as well, because kids with ADD/ADHD hear negative so much of the time that they start to feel worthless and as if they can do no right.  We have been through the suicidal feelings, not wanting to live like this and it is heartbreaking.  We have lost people in our life that can’t handle being around him, and he knows and feels this.

It is a roller coaster and at times, I am stressed to my max and overwhelmed.  At times it is hard to not feel like you fail as a parent.  It requires a kind of constant vigilance, a high level of energy, and being on top of everything my son does.  It’s exhausting.

The hardest thing as a parent is watching your child struggle.  It is also hard to hear the judgement of my child when they don’t fully understand the true struggles.  I know that I get looked at as “why can’t you control your child?”, and of course told how to parent.  This has taught me patience, a deeper understanding of my own students with ADD/ADHD and has taught me that I need to have MY time each day or I will blow up.

Kids with ADD/ADHD may:

  •  interrupt a lot
  •  Do things without thinking
  •  Do things they shouldn’t, even though they know better
  •  Have trouble waiting, taking turns, or sharing
  •  Have emotional outbursts, lose their temper, or lack self-control
  •  Hyper-focus
  •  Some have a sensitivity to certain clothing fabrics and or light

Of course, there are much more to this, but you get the picture.  As a parent I have learned to create structure, break tasks up into manageable pieces, organize his life, limit distractions, encourage exercise (I always made him play two sports a year), now in high school, he continues two sports a year, and sleep….well, that is something we just haven’t had success at fixing yet.  

In the last year in a half, I have found there to be more challenging days than in his early years.  This is an experience and more challenging then I could ever have imagined.  His behavior has been risky and just plain stupid at times.  He has had consequences which have led to a down word spiral at times of depression.

Like many teens, he dislikes being blamed or criticized for his behavior.  Being disorganized and forgetful are not purposeful behaviors, but at times it is hard to see that.  I have had to collaborate with his teachers more than ever and we have put him into counseling to help him with his decision making.  We have made some medication adjustments, but it’s just all a guessing game on what works.  My worries and fear are at their peak level.

Sadly, I have to anticipate pitfalls.  He is going to lose some battles and I will be there to pick him up and guide him.  I will always proactively attempt to resolve and teach.  I have had to set boundaries and set rules of no social media, the phone is plugged into my room at night and screen time is cut off at a certain time.  It is constant, it is exhausting but I am trying to focus on the positives.  I have had to stand my ground and change my parenting a little as time goes.  I have had to make adjustments that are not always easy.  I am trying to allow him to make decisions and build confidence, but I also know there will be lessons learned with this that will not always be positive for him.  As his mom, that sucks to watch and frankly at times it is a heart breaker.

I understand that these teens years are harder than his early adolescent years.  He now will have the peer pressure of drugs, alcohol and has that risk-taking behavior. Which sadly I have to take the precaution of places he goes, people, he hangs out with, always feeling concerned and suspicious of his behaviors.  It is hard, just plan hard.

I have found that keeping calm, researching his condition and trying to understand him more has allowed us to have open conversations.  I am trying so hard to help him develop for the real world.  His motivation comes from Ice Hockey, he is a goalie and loves it.  He is getting opportunities that most kids don’t get.  This is motivating him to finish tasks, work hard on school work, but it isn’t easy.

This can feel very lonely at times.  Trust me.  I am a single mom, although I do have the help of my son’s dad, I am alone most of the time.  It is a lot, exhausting, heartbreaking and something many just can’t understand unless they truly understand or live with it.

My job these next 4 years of High School is to teach my son how to advocate for himself, how to make smart decisions when he is impulsive and understanding there are consequences.  I need to know that he will be prepared for the next chapter of his life after high school.  Giving up is not an option and as hard as this is, I will help guide him to be the best possible adult he can be.

YOU are not alone!  Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor to get your son/daughter diagnosed and take the steps of a counselor who works with ADD/ADHD children.  As a life coach and a teacher, I had to seek some outside help.  Whose child actually listens to their parents anyway.

Becky Shaffer—-Educator—-Author—-Adolescent/Adult/Fitness Life Coach.

STOP! Being Your Own Biggest Critic!


Be gentle with yourself, you’re doing the best you can.  That devil sitting on your shoulder is full of mind games.  Tell that negative committee that meets inside your head to sit down and shut up.

It’s certainly a great thing to set high standards for ourselves, to strive hard and dream big.  But when our own self-imposed high expectations cause us to turn on ourselves with nasty, self-deprecation words, it is then that we become our own biggest critic.

I have my experience of “I’m not good enough”, “How could I be so dumb”, “I never do anything right”, “why do I always fail”, “I can’t believe I gained all that weight”—which ultimately strips our self-worth and sabotages any progress and hinders our growth.  With that follows a feeling of shame.

We have been taught most of our life to measure ourselves, and our own self-worth by standards that are not real.  For example, pick up any magazine while waiting to check-out at the grocery,   We buy the magazine that has the newest workout because OMG, I am going to look like the girl on the cover.  Besides all the airbrushing and photoshop, that picture is NOT reality, yet we make it our reality.  We then live our life in disappointment because we didn’t lose that 10 pounds, instead, we gained 20 pounds.  We don’t get around to living our life on our terms and we allow things we can’t control to haunt us and in a way, somewhat run our life.

We waste so much of our life living in labels we have given ourselves, believing lies to prove ourselves to the world.  When your self-image is rooted in shame, you fear being exposed as flawed, insufficient, a failure and you care too much about what others might say.  Life is way too short to live like this, yet we all live like this at some point.

We are all allowed to make mistakes.  It does not make you less worthy, not dumb, nor less smart.  Be deliberate in nursing positive emotions and approve of yourself more and more.  Did you get 3 workouts this week?  Praise yourself for that.  Find what you are doing because the more you feel positive about you will continue this feeling to form a new healthy habit.

Be mindful in how you talk to yourself.  Our language to ourselves is the most powerful.  Be mindful how you talk to yourself because you are always listening.  Choose to empower yourself with positive words.  You are enough!

When you feel the shame triggers, ask yourself these six reality check questions:

  • How realistic are my expectations?
  • Can I be all these things all of the time?
  • Do the expectations conflict with each other?
  • Am I describing who I want to be or who others want me to be?
  • If someone perceives me as having these unwanted identities, what will happen?
  • Can I control how others perceive me?  How do I try?

As I write this, I ask myself “How realistic are my expectations?  NOT realistic at all.  I am middle-aged and I’m tired a lot.  I am in grief over the death of my mom.  I have gained 20 pounds this winter, my kids do not know the word “clean up”, and I am really, really tired.  Did I mention I am tired?  HA….  The truth is that I am not always going to be thin and sexy all the time.   I have had to realize in my process that the expectations I put on myself and the images I measure myself against, the more I realize that I literally can’t have that.  I can’t look like the photoshop unrealistic woman on the cover of a magazine.  I might be able to feel sexy and fit, but I won’t look like the 20-year-olds on the cover of a magazine.  It’s really not ok to look 40 these days.  BUT if a commercial or magazine cover came out and said “Hey America”!  This is what 40, 50, 60 looks like, then we’d all want to look our age.  Again, expectations of society are not reality, therefore we become our biggest critics.

We can’t control society or how some may perceive us.  When we allow others to control how we feel about ourselves that is shame.  Perception is a no-win situation.  No matter what one does, you can’t control how other people see you.  You need to see you and really see you for the person you are.

I challenge you to start a daily journal.  In that journal, write 5 positives that happened that day.  Reflect on those positives.  Then write 2 negatives.  What could you have done to change the negative?  Reflect a positive that can come out of our negative.

For example…Today, I wanted to cycle 20 miles.  I only cycled 18.50 miles.  I was upset with myself because I shouldn’t have slacked off and I could have ridden another 1.5 miles.  However, I did ride 18.50, that is more than if I didn’t go out and ride.  I decided to be proud of my 18.50 miles, as this was actually one of my hardest rides so far this summer with hills.  Could I have added that last 1.50 miles?  Absolutely.  But I didn’t, so I am going to have to suck it up and feel positive that I hit 18.50 and realize, I still rode 101 miles in a week.  Be proud of what you do accomplish.  Don’t allow a lousy 1.50 miles to ruin your day.  We do that way too often.

“Give yourself some slack.  You’re probably doing better than you think”

Becky Shaffer—Eucator/Author/Life and Fitness Coach


I’ll Start Tomorrow


fasting-clock-3The most famous words of any human, “I’ll Start Tomorrow”, however, I’d like to pat myself on the back because tomorrow was today and I DID IT!!

I love the saying “You’re always one decision away from a totally different life”….My decision is to workout and eat healthy.

For the past 3 weeks I stared a low calorie diet, which helped me get into the mind set of Intermittent Fasting.  Like many, I hit a hole.  A huge ass black  hole in my workouts, eating healthy and mindset in general.  I was so embarrassed after I saw myself in a picture with my son for Prom.  I need it was time to kick up a gear and get serious.  After all, I haven’t weighed this month since I was 9 months pregnant and that was 14 years ago….Sooooooo lets just say, I was a tad sad, shocked I allowed myself to gain this weight, but now more determined then ever to get my shit together.

SO, why not just dive in head first? WHICH is what I am doing.  It is just how I seem to roll.  I am moving all in the direction of intermittent fasting and starting an 8 week LIFT4 workout.  Crazy right?  I guess we will see how crazy in 8 weeks.  So, What is Intermittent Fasting and what the heck is Lift4?


  • In layman’s terms, intermittent fasting is simply a pattern of eating.  It’s not a diet plan, it’s just conscious decision to skip meals on purpose.
  • Initially, I was skeptical that this could improve my weight loss and my mental and physical health, BUT I LOVE IT!
  • Not a ‘starvation’ diet, it’s a healthy lifestyle.
  • Most people think you starve yourself to lose weight.  WRONG!
  • Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle you can sustain for the rest of your life.
  • I have researched, studied and absorbed every educational group, article and book that I can get my hands on.

WHAT I DO:  I typically eat my first meal around 12 p.m., and I can freely eat until 8 p.m. that evening.  After 8 p.m., I purposely won’t eat until 12 p.m. the next day.  MOST OF MY DOWN HOURS ARE SLEEPING, so that helps.

  • This is called a ’16/8′ fasting because I don’t eat for 16 hours, and I only eat during a specific 8-hour window.
  • You can reduce or increase the eating window on different days.  I haven’t chosen to do this yet.
  • During your eating window, eat any combination of HEALTHY Foods.  Notice, I am not writing order pizza and drive thru fast food.  Every now and then, sure, but for the NORM, NO!
  • Change up your meals.  Eating the same meals everyday leads to boredom and bad choices.  TRUST ME!

LIFT4 (Beachbody on Demand)Lift4

  • I am workingout  in the morning while fasting.  For the next 8 weeks that will happen 4 times a week for my LIFT4 CHALLENGE.  The HITT part of this workout is high intensity which equals fat loss.  ARE YOU READY TO JOIN MY FITNESS GROUP? YOU CAN BE DOING LIFT4 with my group.  We don’t all have to be on the same week, just supporting each other as we all walk our journey.
  • I am a beachbody fitness coach, however, I get nothing in this accept a fun group, doing what I love, which is fitness and educating those who want to be on my team.

I will write weekly on my journey/challenge, it will be titled “CHALLENGE UPDATE”.  I can’t wait to see my results after week one.  I am ready to be better, STRONGER, and get myself back….. Are you with me?

In the three weeks I have been fasting the results are noticeable for me:

  •  I’ve always had inflammation in my joints.  My hands have been so painful at times that I couldn’t do normal things, like open a jar.  I have no clue to this day why I would swell.  Since I started fasting, I haven’t swelled at all.
  • I’ve focused on healthy fats, clean protein, carbohydrates from Whole Foods—-nothing from the drive-thru.
  • I’ve learned that fasting gives your body a break from food and allows your gut time to reset and the inflammation to go down.  I can first hand say….It has….
  • My cravings are gone for the most part.  I still have a sweet tooth here or there. At first I thought I would be starving, but I was pleasantly surprised.  My hunger has actually decreased.  I’ve also cut back on snacking, as this was more of a habit.

I’ve avoided the scale daily and will only weigh myself once a week.  I need to stay motivated and the numbers on the scale are not my friend regardless.

As I start this journey, what journey are you on?  What is stopping you?  Message me and we can talk about the steps you need to take.

Moving on After the Loss of a Mom

My Mom was my first friend, my first playmate.  She was the one who rocked me as a baby, patched me up as a clumsy kid, erased my heartaches as a teen and adult.  She helped plan life events, coached me on being a first time mother.  She was the biggest part of my life.

Some of the hardest decisions we are faced with in life deals with life and death.  A week ago, my sister and I had the task that no one should ever have to endure and that was saying enough was enough with my moms medical care.  For two years she had struggled and even years prior to that.  She had been in dyalis doing fairly well for a few months, then she had a stoke in December, 2018.   This was hard on her, but she was determined as she had always been and fought hard.  Then on January 1st, 2019, she had 3 more stokes, these were stokes her body couldn’t fight back from.  She tired, she wanted to, but after 3 long weeks of  a hospital stay, 3 days on the ventilator and a mind that was no longer there, she was just tired.  It was the hardest 3 weeks of my life.  Watching the suffering and not being able to help and take the pain away is such a mind blowing helpless feeling.

We were able to have enough conversations with her to make the call that she was done with dyalis, done being poked and done with hospital and rehabilitation center stays.  She was tired, her body was trying, but just couldn’t keep up.  The hardest thing I ever said to a doctor was, “we are done and it is time to meet with Hospice.”

I knew it was time, mom knew it was time, but deep down this just sucked.  It is the worst feeling one can carry in their gut.  These decisions were made on a Tuesday and Mom died the following Monday.  January 28th, 2019.


Today this pain is crippling and hits me at random times.  I know I can expect this for many years or even the rest of my years.  I feel like much has been a blur and so far I am functioning to get things done.  The funeral, contacting everyone that needs contacted and I have to say, I feel pretty numb.  I also know that I need to get back into my routine of life.

Sadly, the world we exist in we have to go through loss, healing and grief.  Status, influence, class, position, ideals, beliefs, achievements, all walks of life suffer loss in varying forms and degrees daily.  Loss has no special preferences for a specific set of people.

Loss of any kind can lead to grief.  The suffering and pain felt comes in various dimensions, mostly at times when we least expect it.  I have felt great loss in life, but never the most difficult one of all, the loss of my Mom.   The harsh reality of this world we live in, is we will all suffer a loss.

I know with this experience, I must learn to heal, experience growth, pick up and move on with life.  Experiencing this type of loss is something no one desires, but we all have the ability to rise above the pain, use our strength to climb to the other side of the pain.

As this is a difficult place to be, it is also an amazing place to be.  This is a place of memories, healing and digging deep within and facing this journey of healing.

For two years my family was headed to this great loss of my Mom.  No matter knowing ahead of time, and being blessed with the time up to her death, this is a significant loss.


Healing is the gradual process that comes in time.  Moving on and finding peace, but forever living with the memories helps the healing process and the large void in my heart.  Learning to carry this pain without letting it hold me down, not giving in to unhealthy emotions and making a conscious effort to replace them with healthy ones is imperative.  I also know this is what my mom would want.

It would be nice to have a laid out formula in place so when people deal with the loss of a loved one they could simply apply to find healing and have peace in their time of mourning, but that is not our reality.  The healing journey is your journey, my journey  and for each it will look different.  I know it will take time and anyone reading this, it is on our time.

Acknowledge Thew Emotions of Pain and Grief

NO matter the unwarranted feelings, there is no cap on the range of emotions we get to feel while grieving.  I am learning that the unexpected responses are normal.  I understand that this is a process and the holistic experience of going from pain to peace, from anger to calm and from hurting to healing will happen.

I now have to navigate myself through a new normal.  Even though begrudgingly, just getting through each day is a win.  The intensity of the pain is real.  When people say “it will be alright”, that is great, but right now, I am not alright.  I have many firsts ahead of me.  Valentines Day, my Birthday, our annual  Spring Beach trip, Mother’s Day and so much more that I was blessed to always have with my Mom.

I own my grief.  It is mine.  I know it isn’t going to go away anytime soon. I know I will learn to live with it, but I also know I will turn it into a positive, because that is what Mom would have done.

Yes, I am a Life Coach, but this isn’t about my life coaching today, or how I can help you.  This is just a blog on grief and dealing with something I haven’t had to deal with in my life,  I lost my Grandparents early in life that I loved dearly, and I missed them, and I lost my brother to cancer and miss him, but this is my Mom.

I was blessed with an amazing relationship of a mother who loved me unconditionally no matter what life threw at us.  Her memory, lessons, words of wisdom is forever embedded within me.

Thank you Mom.  Thank you for being one of a kind.  Thank you for loving me unconditionally, with no boundaries and giving everything you had emotionally as a mother, for setting goals and working hard and showing me so much more than I could ever write in words.

I forever Love and Adore you.

In Loving Memory

Jeanette Lee (Borer) Thrall

October 16, 1939-January 28, 2019

Becky Gentner/. Life Coach/ Fitness Coach/ Educator

DETOX? Yes, I am crazy! Or am I?

Ultimate Reset-Week One (ONLY the first 7 days, 14 more to go!)

The good, the bad, and the ugly!

Holy Shit, I am doing it.  HAHA…..For the next 21-days, I will be doing the Ultimate Reset Detox by Beachbody.  I will write the pros and the cons and my final results of the detox. I weighed myself on day one and I won’t again until this is OVER!me workout

I am a Beachbody Coach, but I paid for this and all of my projects.  I am not getting paid to do this nor am I getting paid to write about this.  I am simply doing this because I am a fitness guru and I am in a rut like many.

In all my research, I found that this could help give me a kick in the ass in the right direction.  I also want to share with those who are thinking of doing this reset as well.  I love my beachbody on demand and the shakeology, but if I am going to try the products and suggest or promote them,  I might as well write my personal review on them.  Plus don’t let me kid you, I want you to be a part of my team.  My passion is to make you healthy or help you continue that journey with confidence.

I have always been in great shape.  Then I hit 45. (so that was recent)  I also enjoyed a summer of boating, drinking a lot of beer (something I normally do not do)  and a ton of cycling in the summer heat in the hills of Texas.  I really didn’t lift weights and the hydration of a nice cold beer stacked the pounds on quickly.  All those extra calories hit me all at the same time.   Needless to say,  I am not a happy camper with this weight I put on.  I can either get myself together and get back on track or I can continue down the wrong path and end up really regretting it.

I’ve always been curious about this detox in particular,  because like most, you get a clean eating plan in 3 phases.  I bought this reset a year ago and I walked by it and it became the main dust collector  in my home.    I saw the box daily when I walked by it and never thought twice about it.  I wasn’t even mad I “wasted” my money.     Then it ended up in the trash, which I could hit myself in the head for.  SO, now I am mad I wasted my money.  It is an investment, and today I see it just as that.  I swore I wouldn’t do it and I never followed through.  I also didn’t educate myself nor did I have a supportive and accountability team.  NOW,  not only do I have an amazing team, but I am coaching and running supportive fitness groups was well.   This is for all my PEOPLE.  And my belly….may you please go away!!

Why do I want to do this detox?

Well, I am crazy, to say the least.  I have always been over conscience about eating right.  My mom was always obese and struggled with food addiction and was a smoker.  Today she is laying in a hospital bed from multiple stokes, has Afib, is in kidney failure and has congested heart failure along with being dietetic.   She straightened out her bad habits, but it was far too late and much damage has already been done.  I know I can prevent this for myself and hopefully many others.

Watching all of this has made me very conscious of my weight most of my life.  It also made the gym my best friend.  If you go to a gym, you automatically have that “healthy mindset”.  There are eyes watching you, or that is how I felt, so I had to get a good workout in or at least look like I was.   I feel that I am always at a pivotal place with my eating that I can go either way.  It is when I am in this place of a mindset that I get myself together.  I know this about me.

Therefore, I am ready for the Ultimate Reset.  While doing this, I am continuing my LIFT4 on-demand workout along with cycling and running.  I do know, I will have to listen to my body and my energy levels for these 3 weeks.  I may not be able to work out as much as I’d like to,  so when or if you go into this, know that your body will let you know your limits.

Week 1:

  1. This is the Reclaim phase-I’ll be drinking a ton of mineralized water and taking the optimize supplement 30 minutes before each meal. This supplement is supposed to fix any kind of enzyme deficiency you may have.  The supplement consists of digestive enzymes such as protease.  I had to research this stuff.  Basically it helps break down proteins, starches and fats.  It also contains camu-camu fruit which is high in vitamin C.
  2. Power Greens 30 minutes before my afternoon snack. Power Greens are a combo of six powerful greens: kale, spirulina, cucumber, celery, spinach and chlorella.
  3. Soothe-30 minutes before dinner. This supplement is a combination of aloe vera and curcumin.  This will be taken with the Optimize.Beachbody Suppliments.jpg

The Day before Day 1

I meal prepped.  Having meals ready to go helps keep me on track. I’ve been meal prepping for years now, so this wasn’t a new pain-in-the-butt thing for me.  I watch my Netflix and git-er-done.  It is important that you buy meal prep containers.  I found them on Amazon. What can’t we find on Amazon?  You don’t have to meal prep, but I find it keeps you on track.  I am not going to lie, it sucks while you’re doing it, but it is awesome once you are done! I find that if I don’t prep, I am grabbing things for my lunch on my way out the door and we know how that ends up.  NOTHING that is on my plan.  I also prepared my supplements for the week, so I was ready to go.

Day 1:  I am in the right mindset. I prepped yesterday so I didn’t have to think about anything.   I ate my breakfast according to plan (2 eggs and toast) and I drank my mineralized water and took my optimize.  I had my planned lunch, shake, was able to get a kick-ass workout in this evening and sit down to a healthy dinner.  Day one was great.

Day2: So I woke up with the biggest headache.  I had to cut way back on coffee, and I never faded beforehand and I CAN’T cut it out 100%. This is one of those few times you will see the world CAN’T from me.   My headache was awful until I made a black coffee before my workout.  I understand we are not supposed to have coffee, but man, my head.  I would highly recommend weaning yourself off of coffee/Caffeine before you start this program.

I didn’t feel hungry at all today.  I had oatmeal and blueberries for breakfast, plenty of my mineralized water, salad for lunch, shake for snack and a healthy dinner.

I worked out this morning doing my LIFT4.  It was a HITT day and all legs.  I feel good today.  I also walked a mile on my lunch at work.

I have to say the Power Greens are gross.  I have been adding them in my shake and it covers the taste.  So I am happy that I am getting them in. I highly suggest mixing your greens with the shakes.  Greenberry is the best to mix the Greens with.  This is just my taste buds. You may prefer something else, but for me it just mixed well.

Day3:  So far I have the idea of taking the day off from a workout.  I went to bed EARLY last night and by early, I mean 8:30.  I am usually one to fall asleep by 11, so this was early for me.  I am not sure if I was just tired from the stress of work and returning after a two-week break or tired for the Detox??

I did great today staying on target with my food.  Day 3 was great.

Day4: I felt sad all day.  Like really sad.  I was so emotional and I just wanted to cry.  I am overall emotional with things that trigger it, but this was over the top emotional.  I am pretty sure my body is crying for a nice cold beer.  HAHA…I looked up emotions on a detox and read that people do have some emotional days while in detox.  Great.  A warning needed to go out to my family.  “EMOTIONAL MOM and WIFE entering the door”.

I did cycle 5 miles this morning, it was all I had in me emotionally and physically.  Again, it isn’t recommended that you do high-intensity exercising during this detox, but in my brain, I can’t miss too much in 21 days.

I didn’t feel hungry during the day.  I felt great in that department.  I made the roasted root medley for dinner and it was wonderful.  I was great until about an hour after dinner.

I was starving.

I mean starving.

It took all I had to NOT totally go off the tracks.  I had to do something or I was going to eat all the Hershey kisses in our cupboard.  I made a shake and that helped a lot.  I drank a bunch of water as well.  Other than starving which trust me, I have enough body fat to bypass the starving, and the emotions, today was great.

Day5: All meals and supplements are going great today. I love my roasted veggies.  Make sure when you meal prep you triple everything. I already do, so I can just feed the kids.   It is so nice to have things ready to go.  If I could hire someone to do all my prepping life would seriously be perfect.

I don’t feel as emotional today.  I cycled 10 miles today but didn’t have the gusto to lift or do my lilft4.  Again, listen to your body.

I woke up wide awake today.  I felt more energetic and alert then I have in a while.  I haven’t felt that refreshed in a while.

Day6:  This is the weekend.  Football playoff’s which means wings and beer will NOT be happening for me.  Today (Saturday morning), I got up at 6:30 am for Mom taxi duty.  I feel energized, my sappy emotions are gone for the moment and I am ready  for my day.  They say this is a reclaim your body week.  I am for sure reclaiming my body.  I feel great and looking forward to the next 2 weeks.  I  did my hardest cycling class today, a 20 min. climb, then I ran 2 miles and did week 3 Day1 of Lift.  I did skip the cardio part of Lift4 today and concentrated solely on the lifting.  I know I couldn’t have handled the cardio part.

My meals were easy today.  I didn’t have to think too much about them and my lunch was already prepped with the roasted veggies I  made the other day.  I feel full today


So far this week, I haven’t changed my workouts at all.  I chose this because I am currently training for a half marathon and I was in the mist of LIFT4 and didn’t want to stop working out.  I am also addicted to cycling so I NEED to get my miles in.  YES, IT IS A NEED!  Honestly, I need to workout to keep me somewhat sane.   It is recommended that you don’t workout  during the program, but my 2 cents are this:

  1.  KNOW YOUR priorities when it comes to this Ultimate Reset.
  2. Always listen to your body.
  3. This is 100% mental.
  4. Follow the grocery list they give you and you can meal prep with no problems what so ever.
  5. Know that it is amazing that you are even reading this and thinking about this step.
  6. I am starting to feel the inner-body tune up.  Like for real
  7. I like that there are 3 phases.

This week has taught me that I am capable of changing some habits.  I am starting to feel what it is like to feel what “hungry is” and what “the munchies” are.  I personally enjoy the foods and the things I just absolutely can’t eat, I substitute.  The hardest thing I see for week 2 will be the lack of protein.  I am used to my protein in the mornings, and more so due to my working out, I need that protein.  I was able to eat eggs in phase 1.  Phase two has a lot of fresh fruit for breakfast which I love, but the natural sugars will replace the protein.  For me, starting my day with protein, makes me less hungry all day.  I have noticed that my shake which is shakeology gets me through my afternoon each day.  They are good as well and I throw my greens in them which make them tolerable.

  • Reminder to myself this is just temporary and I do trust this process.  I am starting to feel damn good, so lets do this.
  • I am hoping my workouts can continue on this phase.
  • I feel the next 14 days will be doable.
  • I refuse to get on a scale for my own mental reasons, so I personally have no numbers to report.

Here I go on to Week 2.

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