Blog Episode 28: Pursuing Humor In Mid-Life and When Your Kid Goes To College with Sharon Brecher

Episode 28: Pursuing Humor In Mid-Life and When Your Kid Goes To College with Sharon Brecher

05/25/2022


🎶 Podcast Intro: Welcome to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast, where we give you the encouragement you need to lean into the uncomfortable stuff life puts in front of you, so you can love your life. If you are ready to overcome all the yuck that keeps you up at night, you're in the right place. I am your host, Melissa Ebken let's get going. 🎶

🎶 Episode Intro: Hi friends. This is Melissa. Welcome back to the pursuing uncomfortable podcast. There is a development I want to make sure you know about. There's a blog that accompanies this podcast and it is found at melissaebken.com/blog, or just go to melissaebken.com and there's a button there that will take you over to the blog.
   On the blog, each episode has its own entry and you can listen to that episode there, you can read the transcripts, but what's really exciting is at the bottom, you can leave a comment. You can ask questions. You can ask a question of me. You can leave a comment or you can ask a question of the guest. So let's make this a place where we can interact with each other and keep the conversation going.
   Today, I am so thrilled to introduce you to Sharon Brecker. If you are in midlife and you are sending kids to college, or if you're a woman in midlife and are experiencing those lovely symptoms that come along with midlife, Sharon is the person that's going to give you the comic relief you need. Sharon is hilarious. And I can't wait for you to meet her and learn more so let's jump in. 🎶

Episode
Melissa Ebken  0:06  
Good morning, Sharon. It's morning out in Southern California. It's afternoon here. But welcome to the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast.

Sharon Brecher  0:15  
Thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to be here. It's gonna be fun

Melissa Ebken  0:21  
It is and I want to confess upfront, I am a little bit jealous. And when I say a little bit, I really mean more than a little bit like a lot jealous of your Southern California weather. And the patterns for here; This is May, and April lasted about 53 days, and it was cold and rainy and windy the whole time. And then all of a sudden we were setting heat records overnight. So yeah, consistent would be nice. Yeah. Perfect temperature seems like the way to go.

Sharon Brecher  0:57  
Well, I'm sorry for for for what you're dealing with weather wise, for sure. Yeah, I am originally from New York. So believe me, I get the crazy weather and the cold and you know, all of the stuff that comes along with actual weather? You know, it's kind of funny. Yeah, where I am, it's, it tends to be pretty nice. Most days, so I can't really complain about the weather. So maybe I can package some and send it to you.

Melissa Ebken  1:26  
That would be fantastic. And maybe for all of the listeners too, they could contact you and you could send them a little weather. That would be amazing. You're the best. So Sharon, you've let us as you said, do you live out in Southern California, you have a couple of kids. One is out of college, and another one is still finishing college. Can you tell us a little bit about your perfect treasures that you have?

Sharon Brecher  1:54  
Oh my god. Yeah. I mean, they're the best. Are you kidding? They are. One it has finished college. And one as you said it still has another year to go after this one finishes up. He's finishing up his junior year. They are, you know, they are the best. I love them. They also make me completely crazy. Because you know, they're my kids. And I'm a parent. And that's what parenting is all about. Right? It's about loving your kids more than anything in the world. And also knowing that they can make you absolutely crazy. And but it makes life chaotic and interesting and fun and challenging, and all the things and you wouldn't trade a second of any of it. And that's how I feel about my kids. I love them with all my heart.

Melissa Ebken  2:44  
Love it. But things really changed for you when you were ready to send your first one off to college.

Sharon Brecher  2:52  
Oh, yeah. So, um, that was a very challenging time for me. Because when you are used to having your children in your house, and much of your life revolving around them and their needs, and you know, what their activities are and what they're going to eat, and you know, all the things, you know, testing for college, everything. That's, you know, what you think about constantly, and not that I don't think about them constantly, now that they're in college, but when my oldest was getting ready to go to college, and all of a sudden, I realized she was no longer going to be living under my roof. That was incredibly emotional. You know, I didn't know what I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know what it was going to mean for her. I didn't know what it was going to mean for my son who was now going to be home with me and his dad and all of the attention thrust upon him. And you know what it was going to mean for me what it was going to mean for my husband. I mean, they were just so many unknown. Was she gonna be happy? Was she going to remember all the lessons that I spent, you know, and my husband spent teaching her about drugs and sex and studying and laundry and, and everything, safety? Everything that matters, right? And, you know, I think that for me, and what often happens is this period of time coincides with midlife, which is so unfair because both of those on their own can be incredibly challenging. So having them happen at the same time is just really messed up as far as I'm concerned. But but that's how it is. No one asked me

Melissa Ebken  4:41  
And I love that you handled it just like everybody else does. You wrote a best selling book created a website and reinvented yourself.

Sharon Brecher  4:49  
You know, I thank you for just for saying that. I think that everybody has to find a way that works for them. To get through everything in life, right? Whatever it is that affects you, you got to figure out a way how you're going to deal with it. And I knew that I just had so much emotion I had so much going on in my head. I so much that I thought about and that I worried about. That I was excited about that I saw around me, my friends were acting completely cuckoo, just like I was feeling. And the conversations that I were having were hysterical. I mean, I had friends who actually, were doing things like, you know, putting together collages. And they were in like, you know, 90 of the 95 pictures that they were sending their kid off to college with. And in my head, I was like, Well, that just sounds kind of over the top. But okay, and you're trying to figure out but not in a judgement way in? Like, should I be doing that? Or is there anything normal about that, or how's your kid gonna react to that we just, there's so much emotion. And I don't know that there is a right or a wrong way for anything. I just know what I did. And what I saw. And I think sometimes I handled things really well. And sometimes maybe not so much. And I think that's because I am human as are were my friends around me that were acting out in crazy ways, too. And I had all this emotion. And so the bottom line is, I knew I was going to have to do something with that energy. And I didn't set out to do anything specific. What I did was my husband and I dropped our daughter off at college, we went home. I woke up super early the next day, because I just couldn't sleep. And I had a lot on my mind that I just needed to kind of get out. And I sat down at my computer. And I truly just started typing all these things that I was thinking and feeling. And it felt good. And I spent, you know, a long time just getting it all out and eventually was like, hmm, maybe there's something here, maybe, maybe there's maybe there's a book in this. But I had a college professor who always said, "show me, don't tell me." And that's always been something kind of sitting on my shoulder. And my background is in education. So I really have always liked that. And I had an idea for showing what I was feeling in kind of a fun bullet point kind of way. And that became illustrations, that in the book are do's and don'ts on how you should behave when you're sending your kid to college and the do's are about what you should be doing. And the don'ts are the ways that I and others around me actually behaved when we sent our kids off to college. And, you know, it was it was truly around that period of time it was preparing your kid for college, to dropping them off in the dorms, to returning home without them because it was that period of time where I was at my biggest emotional angst. And I had a lot to say about what was going on during that time.

Melissa Ebken  8:10  
Having experienced some of this midlife chaos, I can certainly understand how it is even more complicated. Everything that happens. Well, I'm just gonna put it this way. I was so hot. And I was so angry for about a certain stretch of time, all I wanted to do was to cuss and to just strip off clothes. And as a pastor, you know, those options weren't really available for me. And not just uniquely me, but for a lot of us, you know, just going off on his streak of profanity and stripping down just isn't among the most acceptable options. So keeping that all together and navigating life. It's challenging. Yeah, let alone another emotional upheaval that goes along with it. Like putting a kid in college.

Sharon Brecher  9:11  
Yeah, I mean, absolutely. You know, so I'm sure that you have experienced many of those similar thoughts where what you are thinking on the inside is different than the way you can be behaving on the outside. Inside, you might have been pulling off your jacket because you were so darn hot, but you can't do it. So instead you sit there smiling, you keep your jacket on, and you can wipe away the sweat. You know, and you try to keep your anger, you know, or sadness sometimes for me or whatever was in check and behave appropriately for whatever situation you're in. It's not always so easy. It's not always so easy. So Uh, you know, as you know, I have, I have an Instagram account.

Melissa Ebken  10:04  
Goodness, this Instagram account, if you are listening, you have to check out this account, you have to check it out, tell us your handle where we can find it. 

Sharon Brecher  10:14  
So thank you for saying that it's, it's @miserablemoms. And the Instagram account uses those same characters that I used in the book, to show all mid-life stuff, in all the stuff that I deal with all the stuff that my friends deal with. The categories that I tend to address are questionable parenting. So that's everything parenting as far as I'm concerned. Mid-life unfiltered, which is things like wrinkles and sagging boobs, and the fact that my husband and I have been living in the same house for I don't even know how many years and he still doesn't know where we keep the forks. We're sitting in traffic and the person in front of you won't go when the light turns green, and it makes you crazy and all things midlife. And then I have a section that I deal with, which is our topic that I deal with, which is starvation and torture, which of course is the whole diet and exercise thing. And then holiday havoc because nothing says being a middle life mom like having to deal with all of the holidays. So I address all of these topics. And I try to do it, you know, through my funny illustrations. And I try to say something about what makes me tick, or what I see around me or what makes us human or what we you know, have in common on a daily basis.

Melissa Ebken  11:48  
And I have to say the first time I went to your Instagram account, I was laughing so hard. And I wanted to laugh and comment on everything. And I thought oh my gosh, she's gonna think I'm, I'm just a stalker here. I kind of moderate myself a little bit. But you like that interaction in there.

Sharon Brecher  12:03  
Love it. Love it. It's always so funny to me. And I don't know what it is. I think it's, it's, you know, the younger generation knows how to handle all of this, like what's appropriate, like how much they should comment on things or not comment on things. And it's so funny because I get that, what you just said, very often, or I will have, like, friends take a snapshot of a post that I did, and text it back to me with a comment about like, what they thought was funny, or how it made them feel or whatever. And I'm like, just you can just text it like that's okay, that's like what social media is. But it's fine. And I totally get it. But it makes me happy to know that you felt that way that you scrolled through. And that you you laughed out loud and and that you could relate to a lot of it. So I'm glad to hear that. Thank you. And please feel free to comment if you're comfortable doing so. And if not I'll know that you're there.

I gotta tell you about my very first hot flash. Okay, I was in the middle of the sermon. And

that's a great time for it, by the way. 

Melissa Ebken  13:15  
It was perfect. Let me tell you. I got so hot, my glasses fogged up. And I couldn't I couldn't see anybody. I don't preach from a manuscript, but I do have some notes there. And oh, my goodness, I didn't know what was happening. It was like, you know, when they do a countdown for a rocket launch, you got the Alright, we're committed to launch and the sequence has begun and the counter is going. That's what it felt like. It's like, okay, something is happening in my core. And I don't think I can stop it. I think I'm kind of past this point of a controlling this heat missile that's inside of me, and I'm getting very hot. I can't see. And I just want to start cursing and whipping clothes off. And again, neither appropriate in the time in the context. But the funny part was all the women in the congregation they're like, Yeah, we know what that is. And all the men is deer in the headlights look of oh no, things are gonna be different for a while.

Sharon Brecher  14:27  
That's really funny. Ah, so, okay, first of all, I'm so sorry, that happened to you.

Melissa Ebken  14:36  
Don't be sorry. It just is what it is. its part of life, right?

Sharon Brecher  14:39  
Right. I mean, it didn't happen to me in the same exact way. But I have experienced that, you know, exact same kind of moment of just being in a situation where you can't stop it. And you can't control it and it's happening and you're in front of people and you're like what that heck, and what do I do? And I can't see because my glasses are fogging up. But you know, I will, what I will say is that in the moment, not so funny. But taking a step back and looking at it and being like, okay, kind of funny, because it's part of life. It's, it happens to all women, whether we talk about it or not easier to kind of process if you can see the humor in it. Right? And know that you're not alone. Like those women who were looking at you like, I, I get it, I feel for you, I'm sure they were sending good thoughts your way. You know, and just knowing you're not the only one had to have been helpful, even if they couldn't go up and fan you in the moment. Right, 

Melissa Ebken  15:53  
Sure. And we had a great laugh about it afterwards. Good. So I love all of the work that you have out there. And, you know, keeping it cool when you're burning up inside. That's just, it is what it is, it's a challenge but you know what, you don't have to let it define you. Talk to other women, because they have a lot of good ideas and coping mechanisms. And again, I love the humor in your account. Your book is on the way, it takes a while for things to get to us here, we're in the middle of a few cornfields in central Illinois. So the mail is kind of slow, even when it's promised the delivery date within a certain window, it just takes a little longer here, but I can't wait to get that book. Good. But in the meantime, your Instagram account is getting me through. And I love some of the things I've seen, "don't laugh when you're crazy showing" or when things are just kind of unraveling all around you.

Sharon Brecher  16:56  
Yeah, I like to say, you know, sometimes my crazy slips out, it just does. And I've seen it happen to my friends as well. And I've seen it happen to people in the grocery store. And if you can just kind of you know, it's like you said you kind of just instead of judging it, you know, or trying to hide it. I think there's something about kind of calling it for what it is knowing you're not alone. And being able to see some humor in it when you can. Not everything is funny, of course. But there's a lot that we just can't control that I think humor can help take the air out.

Melissa Ebken  17:35  
Yeah. And I want to circle back to something that you mentioned much earlier in the conversation about the tendency to suffocate those that are left behind. You mentioned your daughter went to college and your son was still at home and yeah, you had to figure out. Okay. How do I love him without suffocating him?

Sharon Brecher  17:53  
Yep. So, um, so yeah, so I think that as I talk about in the book, you know, my, my son was probably not probably I know, because we've talked about it, but, Oh, my God, what am I going to do when my sister goes to college? You know, I've got these two on me all the time. And frankly, we were a little worried that we were going to suffocate him too. Can I show you one of the do's and don'ts from my book? So, okay, so here is one of the do's and don'ts in the book. And I'll read it because you probably can't see it all that well. But the do says, "Do tease your younger child that he will soon become the sole focus of all of your attention." And we're sitting in the living room and I'm texting him. What are you doing now? Ha ha ha Hello. Are you there? And it's like a joke, right? The don'ts is "don't actually suffocate him by materializing during inappropriate moments." And I'm chasing after him saying is this a bad time while he's in the middle of a baseball game? 

Melissa Ebken  18:53  
I love that. This picture, he is literally running ready to touch home plate and Sharon is right behind him. Hey, this is a bad time? Is this a bad time? Is this a bad time?

Sharon Brecher  19:07  
Exactly. So it was those kinds of moments that he was afraid of and we were afraid. Did I ever actually run chase him down and do that? No. I you know, for anyone who's listening. No, I did not run onto the baseball field and chase him down. Did I feel like I was doing that kind of thing sometimes? Yeah, I did. I'm guilty.

Melissa Ebken  19:28  
Sharon, we're not TMZ. I am not gonna drill you down into those details. If no comment is appropriate. that's fine. I'm not gonna dig underneath that. You just, that's fine.

Sharon Brecher  19:41  
Right. So you know, I just it was there was a lot of there was a lot of trying to balance what's you know, how you raise your kids and how you live your life and what's appropriate during certain times and what's not appropriate and, and all of that. So that's just one of my favorite examples of you know, the ways I wanted to take all of my attention and just, you know, put it on my son. And very guilty sometimes, like I said, sometimes not so much. And the good news is that we're able to talk about that stuff. And so, you know, I. People ask me all the time, like, are your kids okay with this kind of stuff that you show? And the answer is yes, I would never show; first of all, I would never show I would never portray something that would make either of them unhappy. If there's even a question as to whether or not it would be appropriate, I show it to them first. Very often, they tell me, it's not even funny enough. And you know, this would be better. You know, I like to joke that they're my unpaid intern as is my husband. Um, so yeah. So, yep. They're used to dealing with me.

Melissa Ebken  20:45  
Ultimate betrayal. Your youngest went to college? I mean,

Sharon Brecher  20:51  
Such nerve. He has such nerve, just so wrong. I mean, that's the thing, right? It's like you give them everything. You teach them everything you can you, you know, what you want is for them to grow up and be able to leave your nest and survive in the world and make their own impact and do all the things. And I couldn't be happier. That that's the case. But that's not very nice. Like, what you can't wait to get the heck out of here. How dare you! So it's a very weird thing. You're, you're thrilled that that's how they feel. And you're also kind of like, what the actual heck? Really, you can't wait to get the heck out of here.

Melissa Ebken  21:36  
Just because that's why I'm raising you and what I'm preparing you for? Do you really have to do it? Yeah. And you know, of course, I'm sure they left most of their stuff at your house, though.

Sharon Brecher  21:48  
Oh, totally. The stuff they don't want. But I can't throw it away, because they might want it one day, right? So I just have piles of, you know, their junk everywhere. You know, but

Melissa Ebken  21:58  
Now you have free storage, and you have free interns. So I if kind of balances out.

Sharon Brecher  22:02  
Exactly, exactly. That's exactly right. It's true.

Melissa Ebken  22:08  
So when things are really kind of difficult for you, when you were really feeling all of those feelings, and they were getting to be too much. You mentioned that you had friends that were going through the same thing. And were are those relationships what sustained you during that time?

Sharon Brecher  22:29  
Yeah, absolutely. You know, I think that being able to reach out to people when you need it is a really big deal, right. And one of the things I talk about in the book is that, you know, often during that period of time, I was reaching out to friends who I knew understood what I was going through, because they were going through the same kinds of things. And maybe didn't completely reach out to the people that I didn't think understood exactly, because that was just a little bit more challenging for me to have conversations with people who didn't get it. So I think that in life, if you can kind of figure out who can help you, and maybe be a real pal, what you need to get through in the moment, that's a really good thing. And you know, I think most people are happy to be there. I mean, when my friends need me and reach out to me and want to talk or whatever it is love being there for that, because it's nice to know that you're needed, and you can be helpful, and you can make somebody laugh and all of that. And I think sometimes we just have to remember that we can do that, too. So yeah, I reached out, I reached out to friends, and continue to reach out to friends all the time when I need to. And, you know, thankfully, I am able to reach out to my husband and my children, you know, and my family that that's a very big deal. And I don't take it for granted. And just like I don't take my friends for granted. So yeah, and um, you know, I guarantee I can promise you that just like I just told you about my friend who was putting together this big collage, I was saying and doing things that they were like, um Sharon's finally lost. Or no, don't do that. Or, you know, or, or whatever it was, but you know, that's life, that's how we get each other through, right? Not being alone all the time.

Melissa Ebken  24:20  
So, okay, I want to tap into some of your brilliance. I have some thoughts for when my son leaves for college. Okay, you know, maybe a little bit of feedback. Do or don't.

Sharon Brecher  24:31  
Okay. Okay.

Melissa Ebken  24:34  
First of all the big vinyl wall art pieces of me, so that, love it. Definitely a do?

Sharon Brecher  24:46  
Definitely a do. Absolutely. In fact, I'm going to show you a

Melissa Ebken  24:51  
That's what I thought and I thought I'd start with an easy one like that. 

Sharon Brecher  24:54  
I think you should absolutely do that because I think there's nothing that kids want more than a big picture of their mother in college, I don't know if you can see this one. But that truly is one of my dos. It's it's on the don't side. So I don't know that I really recommend it. But but the do the do is help your child select some photos to decorate her future dorm room. The don't is don't make it all about you. And it is a image of me saying look at the picture I made, I made of us, you can put it above your bed in your dorm. And it's a picture of me and my daughter life size that I expected her to, you know, not really but expected her to put above her dorm. So yes, I completely relate to what you said. Exactly! Isn't it all about you with your mom?

Melissa Ebken  25:41  
Of course. Of course. If dad wants in, whatever, we can get a little one of him too. Absolutely right. And another one because your wisdom is shining through here. So I want to keep this going, a recording of me reminding him "brush your teeth." "Make sure you use soap." And "how many days has it been since you've showered?" Just college is hard. There's a lot to remember and things are gonna slip through. So I just thought including some helpful things like that. You know,

Sharon Brecher  26:18  
Absolutely. I think you're brilliant. And I think you should do that. And I think you could, you know, record it and wrap it up and give it to him. Maybe make it his ringtone.

Melissa Ebken  26:30  
See, this is why we need this interview because I wouldn't have thought about that. Thank you Sharon. 

Sharon Brecher  26:38  
Absolutely. My pleasure. It's so funny. 

Melissa Ebken  26:43  
I thought that you know, and I would hate for him to feel homesick. So a pillow with all of our family together in a portrait, but screen printed on his pillow. So when he goes to bed at night, he can just snuggle up with us.

Sharon Brecher  27:05  
Okay, so here's the thing. You have the book in you, I think you should take all of these ideas and put them together because, I love it. Yes, exactly. I think you should do that.

Melissa Ebken  27:18  
Okay, so pillow, vinyl wall art and the recording. Sharon. Thank you for all of this guidance.

Sharon Brecher  27:25  
Absolutely. 

Melissa Ebken  27:26  
This process is gonna go so much better now.

Sharon Brecher  27:31  
Oh my gosh, I love it. Hysterical. 

Melissa Ebken  27:34  
This is what comes from reading your Instagram account, and laughing this inspiration for better living.

Sharon Brecher  27:41  
Oh my goodness. I'm really sorry. I'm sorry, to your son, who's now gonna have to put up with all of this.

Melissa Ebken  27:49  
Oh, you have good idea. You have no idea.

Sharon Brecher  27:52  
That's so funny. You know what? That's good. It builds character. Right?

Melissa Ebken  27:57  
Well, let's hope. You know, time will tell.

Sharon Brecher  28:00  
Exactly. I love it.

Melissa Ebken  28:03  
Now, going to college, when your kids go to college, that's one transition. But when a kid finishes college, and then goes out and makes their way in the world, that's got to be another thing altogether.

Sharon Brecher  28:18  
Yeah, totally. It's very, it's, it's so strange. And it's one of those things in life that, you know, you don't know until you until you live it, you don't know what it's going to feel like you can't even really imagine what it's going to be like, it's, it's very strange, because I really thought that, you know, you spent so much time thinking about them leaving your house and going off to college. And that's the really big change. And, but when they're in college, they're still in school and growing up and there are set holidays and summers. Now whether or not they are doing an internship, and they're not coming home or going on vacation with friends or whatever, that stuff, of course happens and comes into the mix. But they still have a schedule; a school schedule. When they graduate and they are working. You know, it's different than that, right? Because you don't get summers off and you don't get winter vacation the same way and, and spring break and all of those things. And all of a sudden, they're, you know, just there's a change, there's more, you know, independence and responsibility and all the things you know, jobs and where they're going to live and relationships and all of that stuff. So it's a big change. You know, different for everybody. That may be another book one day we'll see.

Melissa Ebken  29:47  
I was just thinking that Sharon. About it to find out okay, do I move every time they move? Do I buy a house in the neighborhood? Were they relocated for this new job? That's appropriate right?

Sharon Brecher  30:01  
That's absolutely appropriate. Yes. I love your sense of humor. I mean, you're you're giving me ideas for my Instagram, you know, every time you say something. I love it, 

Melissa Ebken  30:11  
I will be looking forward to the release of that book. I have a window of opportunity here before I'll need it. So no pressure taken but if you could get started on that, that would be fantastic.

Sharon Brecher  30:24  
Absolutely. Yeah, it's, you know, motherhood is just all about different stages, right? And I think that, you know, whatever stage you're in, that's the hardest one, right? Isn't that what they say? You know, when they're little, it's really, really hard. And then when they as they start to get in, they go to kindergarten, that's really, really hard, right? And then, you know, middle school, it's just, it's whatever you're in, it's new, it's different. And even with your, you know, second or third, or fourth, or whatever, how many you have, it's different, because they're different kids, and it's different experiences. And you know, it's a girl and a boy or an older and a younger or, or they're just different kids, or whatever it is. It's always, it's always new and exciting.

Melissa Ebken  31:11  
It is. And, you know, there is a pressing question that I feel I would be remiss if I left hanging there. Did your husband never find where the forks are?

Sharon Brecher  31:22  
So I'm, I'm so glad you asked that. And with me staring at where the forks are, he was able to figure it out. But has definitely then asked me again, for sure, you know, even if not specifically about the forks, where we keep the knives, so I'm like, What's this thing? Last week, we discussed the forks if you if I were a betting woman, I think maybe in the same place. So you know, it's, you know, I think it's those kinds of things, whether it's the husband, or the wife, or whoever you're living with, or whatever that forgets all of these things, you know, I just think it's, they're pretty common things that happen in many households that we can all relate to. And, you know, they can be irritating in the moment, but they're pretty darn hilarious when you think about it. So ya know.

Melissa Ebken  32:21  
And whatever partner you have in your life, they're gonna have quirks. Luckily, we don't, of course, so that makes it a little better to navigate. Because if both people did well, that would just get complicated.

Sharon Brecher  32:35  
You know, it's funny what, it's funny what you just said, You know what I will say, and it's true, like, I like to joke around that, like, I don't have the quirks or like you just joked around. The truth is, I think part of the reason that my kids don't care about what I post, and when I say don't care, I mean, it doesn't bother them, they don't feel like I'm saying anything, so revealing or horrible or judgmental, and my husband the same way, because generally speaking in my, in my books, and my book, and in my posts, if anyone's really being made fun of it tends to be me, you know, it's really myself that I am judging or laughing at or making fun of, because it's, I don't think that anybody else is doing anything so crazy, or out of the ordinary or terrible, or, or any of that. It's my reaction. It's my emotional, you know, thoughts that I that I'm judging, and that I think, are pretty darn funny. And that I think that other people in my situation, may be able to relate to.

Melissa Ebken  33:44  
Absolutely. And that comes through. The best humor is the self deprecating humor, but especially if you have a healthy sense of self, and you do have a healthy sense of self. So it's your it makes it able to be enjoyed then knowing that you are who you are. But you can find all of the silly and the humor in these things. It makes life a whole lot more fun. For sure.

Sharon Brecher  34:09  
Yeah, yeah. And when you know, other people

Melissa Ebken  34:12  
And share with the rest of us that get to appreciate it.

Sharon Brecher  34:15  
Yeah, well, thank you. And that's what it's all about. Right? You know, when people you know, the stories that you just shared made me feel heard and seen and known and good and included. And that's what I am hoping other people hear, feel when they hear my stories or see my illustrations, because knowing that you're not the only one that feels this way is really comforting.

Melissa Ebken  34:41  
It is. And the goal of this podcast is to encourage people who are facing difficult or uncomfortable life experiences to find the support and the inspiration that they need to lean into those things and to overcome them. And I think you're a great inspiration that when we can just take a moment Even if we can't even maybe our situation isn't one that's humorous at the time. If we're fighting something that's, you know, an illness or something like that, but having that moment to just laugh. Yeah, boy, that is such good medicine.

Sharon Brecher  35:16  
Yeah, absolutely. And recognizing things for what they are, you know? One of the things that I talk about in the book is that I lost my mother to cancer 15 years ago, and she, we were incredibly close. And it was awful. And I think that the letting go, when my kids were going to college brought up some of those feelings of letting go. And I talked about that, and thank God and in a completely different way. But it doesn't mean that some of those emotions weren't there. And I think that, identifying it, and kind of calling it what it is, and being like, ah, you know, that makes sense. It can just be really healing and helpful and get us through and, and realize we're not alone, because other people go through it too. And even with that step back and be like, Oh, okay, I can see why some of the craziness and some of that and laughing is a good thing. And my mother taught me to laugh. So that's a good thing.

Melissa Ebken  36:20  
That's a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing that. And there's so much truth there. That each new experience in life kind of builds on those others that we've already experienced. Yes, There's wisdom that weaves through all of those. Yeah, well, Sharon, this has been a blast. We're gonna have to do this again sometime. But I'd love it. I would love to give you the last word today. So what would you like to share with folks as we close out the podcast?

Sharon Brecher  36:53  
Well, I guess I should, my Instagram is @miserablemoms, I would love it for anybody to take a look and join me on my crazy journey. The book is called Miserable Mom, The Do's and Don'ts of Sending Your Kid to College. And it can be found either on Amazon at Barnes and Noble or on my website, which is miserablemoms.com. And, you know, the biggest message is that we are all in it together. And let's take a step back and learn to laugh. And you know, that's That's it.

Melissa Ebken  37:34  
Beautiful. And all of those links will be in the description in the show notes. So thank you, Sharon. Be well. Go out and enjoy your beautiful weather. And we'll talk again soon.

Sharon Brecher  37:46  
You to look forward to it. Thanks for having me. Bye bye.

🎶 Episode Outro: Thank you so much for tuning into today's episode. If this encouraged you, please consider subscribing to our show and leaving a rating and review so we can encourage even more people just like yourself. We drop a new episode every Wednesday so I hope you continue to drop in and be encouraged to lean into and overcome all the uncomfortable stuff life brings your way. 🎶


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Hello Friends!

Hi, my name is Melissa Ebken, and I'm so glad you found your way here. 

I am at home in the difficult spaces of peoples’ lives, willing to listen and to support those who work to grow themselves. I am a trained coach and have consulted with churches in conflict. Not your stereotypical minister, I embrace the Gospel with joy and laughter as I seek to help those around me grow in faith and understanding, always striving to leave people better than they came. An agent of wholeness, I create a safe space for people, especially those who have been marginalized, where they can understand how ridiculously loved and valued they are by God/Higher Power/Spirit, and to experience the difference that makes in life. 

I started the Pursuing Uncomfortable Podcast to share the stories of people who have faced life's most difficult challenges, to inspire you to lean into and overcome your own. It's helpful to know that you're not alone in your struggles and to see how others have navigated similar circumstances. You can listen to it here.
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