S1E3: Divorce, Single Motherhood, and more with Kate Anthony, CPCC – Parenting, Single Motherhood, Separation + Divorce
Kate Anthony is a certified life, divorce and parenting coach who works with moms to put their kids at the center, not in the middle, of their divorces.
Through her private coaching programs and product suites, Kate helps mothers navigate the tricky waters of divorce, from making the decision to stay or go, to helping former stay-at-home moms rebuild their lives from the bottom up — all while keeping an eye on protecting children from the fallout.
Whether it’s reclaiming your lost self, starting to date again, figuring out co-parenting plans or starting a new business/career venture, Kate has the experience, expertise and coaching chops to get you to the other side, with love, compassion and the occasional swift kick in the pants.
IN THIS EPISODE:
* Kate explains what she means by putting your children in the CENTER vs. the MIDDLE of divorce decisions
* 100/100 vs. 50/50 in relationships
* Defining Single Motherhood and its many layers of nuance, and how Kate recognized the difference
* And the yet-to-be-named-and-refined Q&A section, during which Kate blows Sydney’s mind with this nugget: “I didn’t know I thought I was unworthy.”
FB personal (accepting followers but not friend requests from strangers): Kate Anthony
FB business page: Kate Anthony, CPCC – Parenting, Single Motherhood, Separation + Divorce
NEXT WEEK:Desiree Lynn Adaway is going to rock your world with her Dear Sister series and general amazingness.
Unfuck Yourself Show Season One Episode Three
Divorce, Single Motherhood, and More with Kate Anthony
Sydney: This is Unfuck Yourself– Episode 3. I’m Sydney.
Jess: I’m Jess.
Sydney: We have Kate and she is going to help us talk about what are whole show is about, which is reclaiming you. Kate is going to introduce herself because I am not going to put words in her mouth because she is a badass and she knows herself better than I do. Kate, tell us a little bit about you.
DIVORCE, SINGLE MOTHERHOOD, AND MORE WITH KATE ANTHONY
Kate: Oh my gosh. I’m excited to be here with you guys. About me. I help moms get through their divorces. I basically help from figuring out whether they are going to leave or not all the way through the entire process of reclaiming themselves. My biggest advocacy is for children. To make sure that children don’t get stuck in the middle. They often do because our system is actually set up to actually do that– to put kids in the middle. It’s hard to keep our children at the center while we are going through all this craziness. My commitment is really to children but the work that I do is with moms. That’s the short intro.
Jess: Can you talk a little bit more about the difference between putting our children at the center versus putting them in the middle?
Kate: I would love to. I’ll tell you my personal story about this. When I was getting divorced, my ex and I we had a really volatile marriage. Not a good situation. When we threw in the towel, we had been in couple’s therapy for years. And when we were finally like, “We can’t do this anymore.”, we sort of announced to people that we were getting divorced.
Immediately, everyone started pitting us against each other. The first thing I did was I actually went to a divorce attorney, just to get the lay of the land. We knew we wanted to mediate but I wanted to know the lay of the land like “What are my rights?” The first thing that happened was he pulled out this thing called a dissomaster. I don’t know if it is used in every state. It is certainly used in the state of California. Something like it is used in most states.
It takes each of your incomes, your percentage of custody, and then it basically spits out a number for child support/spousal support. If there is any disparity in income and a disparity in custody, there’s child support/ spousal support depending. Immediately, he was starting to say that if you start to move the bar and you fight for more custody, look how much more money you could get. But I was like, “Why would I do that? He’s an amazing father. Why would I take my child away from my ex– away from his dad?” He kept saying because you could get more money that way.
In the Us, because of levels of support are based on in part– custody percentages– there’s a lot of ‘Oh, I don’t have to pay her if I fight for custody.’ And then, in order to fight for custody, you have to accuse the other parent of horrible things and then the children become pawned. The children get torn apart and torn away from one parent or the other. It’s a broken system and there are lot of ways in which it protects a lot of people. Kids get stuck in the middle. Kids are always used as a pawn.
I walked out of there and I was like, “Hell no. I am not going down this road.” But had I been a little bit more greedy, had I been a little bit more angry or bitter, I could have really been pulled in that direction. And I have seen it happen over and over again where children are used as pawns. We went to our mediator and he said, “You have one decision to make right now. Do you want to put your kid in the center of all the decisions you make or do you want to be in the middle?” We were like we want him in the center. He said, “Great. I’m going to hold you to that. Because every decision you make when it gets super, super hard, I’m going to ask you what is best for your child. I’m going to ask you to think of that objectively.”
Fortunately, David and I had decades worth of therapy and 12 step work and enough emotional intelligence under our belts to be able to separate ourselves from that. Unfortunately, this is not the case with a vast majority of people and we tend to start to mediate or litigate at the height of our emotional states. We are making these decisions when we are really fucking angry, when we are really bitter, really resentful and we kind of want to ‘stick it’ to the other parent. Right.
I also advocate for not making these decisions quite that early, frankly. I think it can get really messy. That’s the essential difference. All of the decision-making process through the lens of what is really best for my child versus how can I use my kid to get leverage against someone I am pissed at. It’s angering and it is so common. I believe the litigation process pulls that thread. It really pulls that thread.
Jess: In what way?
Kate: By saying if we start to move this-right? Also, my mediator was once on a panel with a bunch of litigators and they were discussing the divorce process and all of that. He said to the litigators, “So how do you know when to stop litigating?” The litigators said, “When they run out of money.”
Sydney: I mean it’s a business. Which is fucked up. They got a job to do but like can we shift away from that? As part of your work, is that something you would like to see– a shift from this capitalist divorce industry. Because it is so fucked up. I was concerned that I wouldn’t have a lot to contribute to this conversation with you because my parents have been married for 35/36 years. I’ve been happily married for 5 this year, no intentions of that going anywhere. I assume most people get married with no intention of divorce. I haven’t been touched by divorce.
My husband– I’m his second wife. That’s as close as I have gotten to it. It’s really interesting to hear how money-driven it is. I probably knew that but hearing you say– doing the tradeoff for custody for more money. How on earth is that possibly… There is no way that is good for kids. It’s just not.
Kate: No. It’s really not. And on the flip side of this, I will say I have friends who have children who the other parent doesn’t pay any support what so ever and they want to see the kids. The question is do I hold visitation because ‘fuck you. You are not contributing to these kids at all and now you want to come in here and be a dad all of a sudden?’ I can see both sides. On the one hand, ‘Screw you. You need to be contributing as a parent.’ but also to use it as leverage is a whole other thing. It is so money driven and the money is using our vulnerable state or the system is using our vulnerable state as leverage against us to get more money.
GET SOME SUPPORT
Jess: How can parents– before or after they’re in that place of heightened emotion– what would you say is the first step? Other than saying, “I want to put my kid in the center, not the middle.” What is the first step to realizing that is what you want to do or is there a common first step?
Kate: Well, here’s the thing. There are two avenues: we are doing this collaboratively– we are both in agreement that we still want to do this. I work with both. I work with women who are in situations where they are really collaborative. But still, stuff comes up. And in the heat of it, you want to have someone in your corner who can talk you off your ledge. I mean, I am an advocate for getting outside help for just about everything.
Kate: When Emmett was born and he wasn’t sleeping, I was like, “We have to hire a sleep specialist.” My husband was like, “What are you talking about? It’s a baby.” I was like there are people. I need to know what I need to do and there is a specialist that can tell me. I’m always the one who will hire the specialist if I can afford that. I always think having a really good coach or therapist who’s not just going to be like, “Ooh, honey, you are right. This is all wrong.” Not a ’yes’ person but someone who is going to say,” Okay, let’s think this through. Call you on your shit if necessary. Or say, “You know what? Something is not right here. Here’s how you can advocate for yourself. There are other resources outside legal resources.”
Whether it is collaborative or combative, I think there is stuff to do. The first thing I always advocate for is to hire a coach or therapist so that you can process through your own angers/resentments/bitterness so you are coming to the table a fair and balanced collaborator yourself. Keep your own side of the street clean. If someone else is going off the rails, there are ways to let them go off the rails and let them dig their own holes, even within the legal system. One of the best ways you can allow someone else to– it could take years– is just keep your side of the street clean. Keep a level head. Deal with and process your emotions away from the situation.
There is something called Collaborative Divorce, which I think is one of the best systems out there where you each have a mediator or usually one person and you each have a coach. When shit starts to get tough in the room, the coach calls time out. You can have one coach for the both of you if you feel like that will work for you. There is a financial advisor as well. Sometimes there can be a parenting coach in the process. So, you have this team of people, collaborating to figure out how this is going to work best. When shit gets hot, the coach calls time out and takes you out of the room. The process freezes in that moment which I think is possibly the best and it saves money. Man, it is not cheap but it saves money. When you got litigators that are ready to fight this till the end, until you are left dry.
Jess: So, I know we both talk a lot about this kind of tension of being a human and putting yourself in this position of taking care of yourself first and also being a mom human who also has a child or a teenager. Someone else you need to consider.
Kate: Someone needs to buy me an oxygen mask. This is when I pick up the oxygen mask. I didn’t mean to interrupt you, Jess.
Jess: No, you are totally fine. You totally got where I was going. How do you especially in these situation, divorce can get so messy — do you advocate for yourself as a mom human and as a human in your own sovereignty and also take care of your child when that tension of mom first versus kid first when that is like at the boiling point… What do you do then?
Kate: Here’s the thing: I actually don’t think that we are capable of putting our children first until we have put ourselves first. I know that sounds like it doesn’t— But we do need to put our own oxygen masks on first. We cannot– as our therapist said years ago, “Hungry parents can’t feed children.” Really terrible sticking point in terms of our custody schedule and it was really hard and my ex was coming to a mediation and therapy session and he was like, ” I can’t do this anymore. This isn’t working for me.” Our therapist said” Hungry parents can’t feed children.” You are depleted and have nothing left so we have to figure this out. I was like, “Oh, okay.”
The first thing is we have to take care of ourselves in order to be able to take care of our children. The second thing is we got to take care of ourselves– some kind of therapy/coaching program. Have focused energy and dedication to our own personal development. Divorce is a breeding ground for personal development. It is the perfect place to start, even if you have never done it before. You are going to have to do that. You got to boost your emotional intelligence to be able to say, “Actually, I think I was wrong. Actually, I can give you this because it’s what’s best.”
If you are not willing to do the work on yourself to be the person who can really look at yourself objectively– I talk about it like we have an operating system and it can be rewired– so I got my triggers, I go the stuff on my motherboard that goes like haywire on a nanosecond and there is nobody who does that to be faster or more easily than my ex-husband besides my mother
Jess: My kid does it fastest.
Kate: Yeah, I know. My kid is a carbon copy of my ex-husband. I spend my life going, “Didn’t I divorce you?” Then I’m like, “Well, he’s my kid and I’m stuck with him and I love him. But I have to work through my shit even more. The irony. Our operating systems can actually be rewired. They’re not static. It is our job at this point to get to know it and figure it out and figure out what rewiring needs to happen in order to be in this process and not be taken down by the ship. Which is easier said than done but it works.
I once dated a guy — I once went on a date– who said he had been divorced for two years. Sydney, I think I might have told you this story. He had been divorced for two years and I was like,”Yeah. I was in the process of my divorce. I had been separated for a year or two. What happened?” They did not have children. They had a cat they shared custody of. His wife was required to drop off a $19.42 check every two weeks for cat food. I got locked into dinner before I realized — this was my early days of dating — a drink is where we could have start but my entrée was arriving– I said what do you think happened? He said, “The best I could figure it, she had a psychotic break. I was like,” Okay. Maybe she did. But in two years of divorce, he had not taken the opportunity to look at all himself and be like, “What did I miss? How could I have contributed to this at all?” So now is the time to get to know what is going on in you. I don’t know if that answers your question.
SELF-CARE AND MOTHERHOOD
Jess: It totally does. It leads to the second piece of this question. We are talking about putting children in the center. I think one of the hardest things– and I don’t know haven’t been in this exact situation– but what I hear from my friends is putting your child in the center and also still taking care of yourself and being first. Putting yourself first so you can put that oxygen mask on. Sometimes, just acknowledging that is really fucking hard.
Kate: Here’s the thing. This is not unique to divorce and motherhood. This is motherhood. We always have a part of our brain now which is always running on, ‘Did I make the doctor’s appointment? What’s going on with the school? Do I have to have another meeting with this teacher?’ No matter what you are doing, there is another part of your brain that’s always operating. You are on vacation, you are working– it’s always occupied with your kid.
Jess: Well, that’s not just me.
Kate: No. It’s motherhood. It’s like the definition of motherhood. So, people are like, “Oh, go on vacation and forget about–” It’s like it doesn’t really work. We can’t do that. We have to operate within that structure. It is really hard. I don’t think there is an easy answer. It’s our perpetual struggle. I think anyone who gives you an easy answer for it is full of shit. And also, maybe fucking privileged. I don’t know.
Sydney: Yeah there it is. I have a question. Do you work with any women who are the breadwinner and how is that dynamic work if it is an equal split where the woman stays home with the kids? How does that work? Is that a thing? Is it different at all? It might not.
Kate: I don’t know. There are a couple things. The system is set up to essentially a patriarchal system, shockingly.
Jess: You don’t say.
Kate: Can you guys believe that shit?
Sydney: Wait a minute. Drop the mic. Shows over.
Kate: So weird. Phew. 100%. I know dads that are in really bad legal battles with moms who should not have parenting rights due to mental illness or being really incompetent. But the court still wants to like work towards reunification with the mom. I am 100% sure that if the role were switched, they wouldn’t be working so hard with the reunification with the dad who was as mentally unstable as–.
Jess: So, you are saying there is a prejudice there towards mother-child versus best parent for the child?
Kate: Yes. I 100% think so. I don’t know if I can prove it now with statistics. It would be interesting to research but I–
Jess: I wasn’t looking for statistical proof but your experience.
Kate: It’s a good question in terms of women being the breadwinner. I think there’s this assumption that men can get back on that horse really quickly and not have a problem. They may be able to or there may be a greater stigma. If I say I was a stay at home mom for 5 years, people go, “Oh, okay.” If a man goes out and says I was a stay at home dad for years, there’s like “Uh”. Sydney, you muted yourself.
Sydney: Fucking damn it.
Jess: You unmuted yourself.
Kate: You were muted. It sounded amazing.
Sydney: Thank you.
Kate: I think there is more of it now with stay at home dads. It sounds like it is more socially acceptable than it has been in the past but yeah there is still– It’s hard to be a dude who wants to stay home with kids because you are going to get some serious side eye. Some are stay at home dads who go to the playground and are like– you don’t fit in anywhere.
In terms of being the breadwinner and going through the process versus being a stay at home mom, I think that there are always layers and differences but in terms of the process it is somewhat the same. We all have to do our own work. What is best for your kid if there has been a stay at home dad or you have been traveling a lot. Is it best to preserve the relationship as much as possible.
The other thing, the reasons you want to collaborate as much as possible go far beyond just what’s best for your kids and it is also what’s best for us. When I travel for work, my ex and I have this great collaborative thing where I can go to San Francisco for two days, he’s like, “Okay, I got it.” We do this and he facilitates my going away for work which it is for a number of things.
For the rest of your life, you are going to be tethered to this person whether you like it or not. The rest of your life, graduations, school meetings, birthdays, all of it. You are always going to have to be together. Finding a way to make that happen, getting over your shit whatever it is and working towards that, it’s in everybody’s best interest.
Sydney: And the world’s best interest too. You are a better person for everybody you encounter.
Kate: Exactly. You are going to bring something to the next relationship and all the things. If you don’t work on your relationship and figure out what you did because every relationship is not 50/50. It’s 100/100. I bring 100% responsibility for myself, you bring responsibility for yourself. If I don’t go back and really figure out what went wrong and how I contributed to it, I will repeat that pattern over and over for the rest of my life. The problem wasn’t him– it was me. Part of the problem was me choosing him —
Sydney: But that’s one to own and work through. Like if you got to start somewhere you do. It is easy to identify a problem then start to fix.
Jess: So that actually takes me to another question I wanted to ask?
Jess: You made a post the other night– I don’t know if you are ready to share your thoughts and findings; I know this is a work in progress right now- how do we support each other and acknowledge each other when single parent means different things? Is that something you are ready to kind of share your thought process on?
Kate: Yeah. I am.
Sydney: Give me more. I am ready.
Kate: Well, so here’s what happened. For years my business was Kate Anthony’s guide to Rocking Single Motherhood and I was identifying as a single mom when I got divorced. I was actually attracted. So, there are two pieces here. There’s a marketing piece and there’s a society piece. What I noticed was I was attracting a lot of women who were not in my situation.
They did not have shared custody. They did not have child support. They were literally single parents. They were completely alone with no support and for a long time I was like, “Listen, we need to band together.” I would hold blog posts about it because a friend of mine who was a full time single mom was like, “I don’t think you are a single mom.” I was like, “Screw you. I’m not a single mom.” I coach single moms. This was my business. I run a magazine for single moms. Like all of the things. How are you saying I am not a single mom? I really dug in my heels. I was like, “We got to band together. We have to unify if we are going to be in this together.” Then after a while I was like, “You know what?”
Sydney: I’m not a single mom.
Kate: My situation is vastly different. Vastly different from those who full-time, solo parent. We have a mutual friend who has four kids, three of who she is fully and solely responsible for. Financially, physically, like all of the things. She is a super close friend of mine and we were having this conversation. I was like, “Yeah. It’s not the same.”
My situation: I am so privileged to be divorced from a man who is 100% on board as a parent. He is 100% committed. He completely got that I stayed home with our kid and he had the money and that he supported me. He pays me child support. I got spousal support for a couple of years. I ‘m at the place now where I am realizing we have to differentiate and this opened can of worms. When I posted this on Facebook, I realized the number of layers is unending, really. Right. I took a picture and I wrote down all of the things and I don’t know if I covered them.
There’s full-time solo no support whatsoever, full time solo sort of in and out, divorced amicably with support with someone who is a really good co-parent, equal co parent who also pays support to the divorced stay at home mom, or there’s divorced equal co-parent but there isn’t a support situation. It’s just each kind of on your own. Then it got into ‘Well we do share custody but I still have to do everything because he is really inapt. There was that one.
Jess: I saw a lot of those conversations pop up.
Kate: I was like, “Oh my god. Okay.” I have people who were single by choice, single by abandonment, single by death and by the way these are only the hetero relationships like I don’t even know where we go with the non-hetero relationships. I can’t even speak to that. I had a friend pipe up who was like, “So listen, -” She actually texted me because she didn’t want to put herself in the middle of the crossfire but she said–. She’s married. They’ve got two kids and her husband works out of town for about 2 to 3 months at a time. He’s gone so like they are no hands-on deck. It is all her all the time.
She’s like, “I look at you and you got your weekends off. My weekends are full immersion.” In the way, someone who has full time but he is the one that is making money. Now these are the ones who say, ‘I’m a single mom even for the weekend.’, when everyone who is an actual single mom wants to shoot their faces. I get that.
Jess: We just had this conversation before you hopped on for the recording. That’s why we are laughing.
Kate: You did about what– single moms.
Jess: Yeah, I’m married. We have a kid. Even when my husband is away for months at a time, I do not call myself a single parent because I have financial support coming inform. It can feel really fucking lonely and it can feel really hard–
Kate: It is hard and it is exhausting.
Jess: But I am not a single parent. Right. There is relief coming. That to me is a differentiator. Is relief coming? Can I look forward to this day when?
Kate: Right. That’s what I get. I get to look forward to that weekend when I get to drop Emmett off and I’m like– Honestly what I do when I drop Emmett off is I work all weekend because I-
Sydney: -can get stuff done. right.
Jess: That’s the one thing about that.
Kate: Here’s the thing. I have always called myself a single mom and at the end of the day what is counted as a single mom is not me. Actually, in the census it actually is. I’m not a single mom.
Jess: What do people mean when they say single mom?
Kate: Right and I want to distinguish and differentiate. I feel like there’s a movement that needs to happen of differentiating. The purpose of my post was to ask what do we call it. If we can’t call it this, then what do we call it. But how do we differentiate in a way that it becomes consistent and we are using the same term for the same things. The only way to do that is to create a movement around it. Much of which Kelly Diels has created the FLEB movement. In our circles in our world we say Fleb, everybody knows what it means. We may have to educate other people. But for those of you watching who don’t know what a fleb is, really.
Jess: For those of you watching who don’t know what a fled is, Kelly will be on in a couple weeks to tell you all about it.
Kate: To tell you all about the FLEB. That is the Female Lifestyle Empowerment Brand. How do we do that and what do we call it? I still don’t know. I really didn’t get the answer in that. All I got was a lot of feelings and opinions and understanding that this is way multilayered than I anticipated.
Jess: I feel like what your goal is with that is being more respectful of each other and more respectful of the different challenges. Of course, as parents and as people, we all have challenges but depending on where our– really, it’s privilege– where is our privileges before. We need to have respect for that and be able to easily say. When I say this, this is exactly what I mean. There’s no support. I mean this, I mean that.
Even myself, I am a product of divorce. But my mom’s family has been a huge part of my life. They have always been there, supportive, helpful. She had to work nights and weekends. When I was young enough and needed a place to stay, I had aunts and uncles I could stay with. That is vastly different than a mom who is completely and 100% on their own.
LAYERS OF SINGLE-PARENTING
Kate: It’s great Jess as you have just pointed to yet another layer. It is then there’s the full time solo mom who has no support financially or co parent but has a support system. What are the layers of that support system? My mom similarly– My mom was a single mom. My dad was really not around when I was little. He is now. Love you daddy. But he wasn’t when I was little and he did not pay child support. My mom was real in and out. But my mom was really on her own.
We lived in New York City. We happened to have an apartment building where there were two other single moms. I was asleep– my mom was an actor also and worked nights and was putting herself through grad school. So, when she was doing a show or working nights or teaching at night, I would go to bed over at Linda’s house and then she would pick me up on her way home because she would just carry me downstairs. A number of nights I would remember I was kind of dozing awake while my mom was carrying me down those stairs. I mean, they were countless. I slept in that bed with Halley almost as much as I slept in my own. She had that support. She did not have family. Her family was in foreign countries. My dad’s family– my grandparents I love them. I was very close to the when I was growing up.
But when my mom had viral meningitis, she called my grandparents who lived in New Jersey and she said, “I need you to take Katie for the weekend because I have viral meningitis.” They were like, “Oh, no. That isn’t really going to work for us this weekend.”
Jess: Oh my gosh.
Kate: I don’t know who took me. There was a daycare downstairs. There were two daycares in our building too and my mom could ill afford to send me to them. But she did that weekend she had meningitis and couldn’t parent. It’s like another layer. Do you have aunts and uncles around? Or do you have friends and family? Or you like really-
Jess: Not only do you have them around, but are they willing and able– the kind of people you feel safe leaving your children with.
Jess: Even if you have family around, they may or may not be the kind of people you want to leave your kids with.
Kate: Totally. So many layers. And I don’t know that we can make all those distinctions but I do think it is important for us to distinguish between full time solo and solo with slight custody and support. I think single mom goes to those who have full custody, full financial load, everything is on them. Single mom goes to them. What do we call the rest of us? I don’t know yet.
Jess: Yeah. I love the conversation that opened. I noticed but I didn’t catch who it was but someone commented on your post for purposes like financial purposes and tax purposes, they are head of household that’s the distinguishing factor for them. That works– they are the female head of household. Not that the female needs to be there but if we are talking about moms, like okay they are head of household. So maybe that’s what it is– I don’t know. But I thought it was a really good conversation, very much a way to be more respectful.
Kate: But I am the head of my household.
Kate: See, this is where it’s like ‘Ahh’.
Jess: I love the part of giving each other the respect based– not that we would give each other less respect– but respecting experiences like this is your experience that I can easily identify in and respect it.
Kate: And really get that it is different. It really is.
Jess and Sydney: I like it.
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Sydney: Should we move into our questions?
Jess: Let’s do it.
Sydney: So, at some point we will have a name for this segment but we don’t have right now. I’m not muted so I am winning already. What or who are you reading now that you are excited about? It doesn’t have to be a book. It could be online newspapers whatever.
Kate: I’m going to sound like a broken record here but there is a woman here on the Facebook that is a writer– her name is Amy Ferris. If you are not following Amy–her friend’s list is way maxed out– but you can follow her. Every morning she writes something that starts, ‘This is what I know: Post Coffee, Pre-Wine.’
Sydney: Ooh, I love that.
Kate: She is amazing and she is a champion of women. She is so super smart. She is a Buddhist. She is all love. Like all love.
Sydney: She posted a retreat that you went to, right? Like a writer’s retreat?
Kate: Yeah. It was a weekend writer’s workshop. It’s magic. Her workshops are literally magic. The shit that has happened for all of us since leaving there, it’s like I didn’t even go in there as an intention.
Jess: I love that.
Sydney: Yes. Amy, I am coming for you.
Kate: Oh my god. Come for Amy. Go or Amy.
Jess: By the time Amy sees this, you will already be all up in her—
Kate: Yeah. Where did these people come from? She is truly stunning. One of the most beautiful. I have also read her book called ‘Marrying George Clooney’, which is a mid-life memoir. It coincides–she set out as writing it is as a mid-life memoir–with her mom’s demise and dementia and death.
It is quite beautiful and heartbreaking. She is the most self-deprecating — I love all the works. Hey, shut it. I read her all the time on Facebook– I have her starred as one of the first ones that comes up in my feed. Her book is extraordinary. Like I said, she is a champion of women. She will come on my page and just be like, “I love you. I hope you are writing.” She does that to other women. She just champions women. It is her goal in life.
Jess: I love it.
Kate: Pretty special.
Jess: So, I think that might be part of your answer for this next question: What is something that can always bring you joy? Or always make you happy?
Kate: Oh gosh. There are a few things. My kid. My son will always bring me joy. He will bring me frustration and all the other– but also, he is super funny. The one thing he got from his dad is his sense of humor. That kid is so funny and he got irony at a really young age. He was this seven-year-old with irony.
Jess: We don’t have irony here yet. But we have sarcasm down that.
Kate: Oh yeah. He always brings me joy. Another thing that brings me joy is water. I am an Aquarius. I’m not all that into astrology but man, do I love being by water. It could be 185 degrees out and I will be by the pool. I’ll be in the pool. I’ll be in a raft. And it may not be joy and happy and giddy but it’s going to be peace and serenity. And being in the company of women. Like being in a sisterhood brings me so much fucking joy. So much fucking joy.
Sydney: So now that we know what makes you happy, what scares you, Kate Anthony?
Kate: Ahh, what scares me. I’m trying to decide whether it is the meta or the actual.
Kate: Rats. Rats scare the fuck out of me. Enough to make me jump off a sinking ship.
Jess: I knew you would have a way to work it in.
Kate: Some days what scares me is growing old alone. Other days I am totally okay with that if it were to happen. Who knows. The state of our fucking country scares the crap out of me– I mean it really does. It scares the crap out of me that we are setting women back so fucking far. The handmaid’s tale scares the crap out of me and we can look back at what’s happening in our world and go, “Haha, it’s not really unfeasible right now.”
The fact our rights are being stripped away systematically, not just ours, not just women’s. It scares the crap out of me all of our levels and layers of equality are getting fucked right now. Even more so, race relations in our country scares the crap out of me. People of color and women just getting the shaft over and over again.
Jess: This is kind of the history of the world.
Kate: History of our country.
Jess: Definitely the history of our country.
Kate: The thing about it is that we know this is nothing new but what scares me is that we have pulled the curtain back. We have normalized it. We are making it okay. People are getting really fucking excited about that and that really scares the crap out of me.
Sydney: The behaviors themselves– it’s a repeat of what this country has been through time and time again but the excitement around the setting back is what fucking terrifies me.
Kate: Yeah, and raising a white boy, the conversations. The beauty of raising a kid in this day and age in a liberal environment– in my little liberal bubble– is that I have these conversations with him and he’s like, “Mom, I know.” I’m like, “No. No. No. It is really important that you understand–“. He’s like, “Mom, I know.” As if it was the most obvious thing in the world. And I’m like, “Well, thank God.”
Jess: It is like an extra couple layers of responsibility. We have to raise them to not continue this cycle.
Kate: And speaking of having support systems, I think that it is really important as parents especially to have other people to fill these roles. Because my kid will hear shit from someone else that he will not hear from me because I’m Mom and I’m just annoying. Right. But he has a godfather who happens to be black and is a Buddhist and had said to me, “Have you had the conversation about his responsibility–“ It was something about his schoolwork and how he wasn’t doing his schoolwork and Ray was like, “Have you talked to him about the fact as a white boy, he can skate by. He can do it really easy because he’s white. But the responsibility to do well is not just on his shoulders and all that–”
I was like, “I don’t think I can have that conversation because I don’t think he’s going to hear it from me.” He’s like, “Alright, I got it.” He comes over and has that conversation, which is important. And hearing it from his godfather– I remember my godfather, when he would have these conversations with me. I was like, “Okay.” If it were my mom, I would have been like, “Pshh.” That was my teenager. Basically, when I was 16, I was like this all the time.
Sydney: I have like permanent middle fingers. Love you mom.
Jess: My mom would tell you I was an angel until I moved out.
Kate: Was that true?
Jess: No. She wouldn’t say that.
Kate: I was like ‘Wow, Jess. Okay.’ 14 to 18 were just not good years in my house. I think having the other people to have those conversations I think is really important.
Jess: Final question. It’s a good one.
Kate: My dog wants to answer.
Sydney: It’s okay. We are a pet-friendly environment here.
ADVICE TO YOUNGER SELF: YOU ARE WORTHY.
Jess: Very pet-friendly. What advice or words of wisdom would you give to your younger self?
Kate: To my younger self? It’s so hard because it feels so trite. It’s like, ‘Get to know yourself better.’ It’s like yeah obviously, duh.
Jess: Was it obvious and duh when you were younger?
Kate: No. That’s what I’m saying. No, it’s not. I didn’t have the capacity to do that right. I think the advice is more to trust that more will be revealed as time goes on. That the feelings you feel now are not the feeling you will always have.
Sydney: Everything feels so permanent when you are younger. Fuck.
Kate: I want to say you are worthy of so much more. But the problem for me is that I didn’t know that I was unworthy. I was unconsciously behaving — all of my behaviors were as a result of my unconscious programming and conditioning, 100% percent believed I was unworthy. But I didn’t know that. It was unconscious. So, for me to say, “You are worthy.” I’d be like, “I know.”
Sydney: I’m going to go ahead and call Jess out here because she just sent me a private message and said, “Kate just truth bombed us.”
Jess: Well, I didn’t want to interrupt her.
Sydney: But it is so true like holy shit. Fuck, man.
Kate: How do you send words of wisdom into a vessel that is not yet ready to receive it.
Kate: Or has a hole in it that it doesn’t even know it has? You keep blowing air into a tire with a slash in it. But you don’t know it is there. While I believe that’s a valuable question and tool and I use it in my practice all the time, the more I think about it– the more I am like ‘Does that work?”
Sydney: Part of me wouldn’t be here for it. Younger me would be like, “Who is this old broad giving me weird advice?
Kate: So, the question would be what actually can you hear? What would be received? I think the one of things I learned way later in life that I think would be a really good one was to take my own temperature. I was always taking everybody else’s temperature. I was always like, “Does he like me? Does she like me? Am I good enough?” But I never said, “Do I actually like him? Is this situation good to me?” Can I tell a really personal story with this?
Kate: When I was 8 years old, I was molested in the park. I tell this story to my clients as a way to– my people pleasing skills were so honed by 8 years old that I went with the stranger in the park who asked me to go with him because I didn’t want to be rude. Because I knew I wasn’t allowed to talk to grownups but I didn’t want to be rude. So, I put myself in danger. I was a people-pleaser by 8. I was that codependent. I was locked and loaded by the time I was 8 years old.
That doesn’t mean that man doesn’t bare a responsibility for being a child molester– because he absolutely does. It also doesn’t mean I am responsibility for my codependency. I also realized that was the sort of the way I have operated for most of my life. I was putting myself in dangerous situations because I wasn’t willing to turn the mirror around and be like, ‘What’s good for you? What do you want?’ Here I am at 8 years old having it perfectly for him, ‘Well, what would make him feel comfortable right now. I should go with him. I should open my legs when he tells me to.’ Inside I’m going, “I don’t think this is right.”
From a younger age, I think to hear myself say, “Take your own temperature first. Be more aware of how you feel and what you want and what you like and desire. Then you are of everybody else.” Because that was my thing. I was way more concerned with pleasing you and you and you than even questioning how I felt.
Jess: That’s how society grooms us.
Kate: Yeah. Especially as women.
Sydney: Fuck. I want to go off on that for like an hour. Jesus. Thank you for sharing that.
Kate: It’s part of my story that I share really freely because I think it’s important. I share it in a way of taking responsibility of our lives for all aspects. I, again I do not take any of that responsibility off that man. He’s a criminal. He’s a child molester. I also think that being 100% responsible for your own life is one of the most empowering and powerful things that you could possibly do. Even taking a look at how I was responsible for being completely victimized is also gives me power and freedom over it.
Sydney: Oooh. Good shit.
Jess: You just blew Sydney’s mind.
Kate: I love it.
Sydney: I don’t even know what planet I’m on right now. My brain is like, “[unintelligible]”
Jess: Thank you so much for sharing with us. Thank you for joining us.
Kate: I’m so glad you guys are doing this. Thank you for having me on. I remember when Sydney first told me. I was like, “Yeah.”
Sydney: We were at dinner in LA and we’ve been talking for two and a half/ 3 hours because we shut that shit down. I was like, “Oh, PS I want to have you on this show.” She’s like, “Way to bury the lead. Come on.”
Kate: I was like, “Was this an audition?”
Jess: Yeah, we totally auditioned you.
Kate: I took me a few hours to get past the bouncer.
Jess: Was that your toughest audition ever?
Kate: Jesus Christ. You guys are great. You guys are awesome. See this is the kind of thing I love. This is the kind of thing that makes me super happy. Just sitting around and talking to women.
Sydney: Ditto. Next week, Desirae Addaway. Yeah. I love seeing guest reactions to what’s coming next. Like Staci lost her shit when we were talking about how you were coming up next week on the episode. She’s like, “Oh my- Yes. You have Kate. You guys are doing it.” I’m like, “Yes, we are doing it.”
Kate: That’s so sweet. I’m like, “I’m between Staci and Desirae. Like holy moly.”
Sydney: It’s just power all around.
Kate: I’m honored. So those who don’t know, Desirae started this thing about a year and a half ago where she writes this post every morning and it is called ‘Dear Sister’. It’s kind of a declaration. Her whole thing is about helping women get free. Kind of along the lines of what Staci is doing with internalized oppression and stuff like that. I took Desirae’s Sister Summer writing intensive. Blew my shit wide open. Super fun.
We will have her on next week and I am really excited for that. Thank you, Kate, for being here. For everybody who is around, you can follow Kate– we will put her stuff here. But Kate, tell us where they can find you online.
Kate: They can find me at kateanthony.com, which is getting revamped and reworked which is very excited. Facebook- Coach Kate Anthony. There’s Kate Anthony and stuff like that. And also feel free to follow me on my personal page because I get way more personal there. On my personal page, I share more stuff. I don’t really accept requests from people I don’t know. Feel free to follow me.
Jess: You go there.
Kate: I go there.
Sydney: I think there is a theme to all our guests in that the people we have on board are like down with going there. So, this is going to be fun. Thank you again. We love you so much.
Kate: Thank you. Love you.
Jess: We have new episodes every Tuesday at 11am ET / 8 am PT.
Sydney: I’m going to raise the roof on the way out.