Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

WhatFriendsDo: Kitchen Chats

Jan 26, 2023

Aimee chats with the Hands Free Mama, Rachel Macy Stafford, about helping kids through times of crisis. Aimee and Rachel discuss the importance of communicating with children in a way they can understand, knowing when to set boundaries, and taking care of yourself. Rachel also talks about her new book, Soul Shift.

Episode Highlights

Kids are intuitive.

Children have an intuitive sense of when a parent is struggling. Being open about vulnerabilities and struggles can be a way for parents to connect with their children during difficult times.

“My humanness is not a weakness in my relationship with my child; it’s a strength,” Rachel said. “It’s a point of connection with her.”

Kids learn how to handle tough times from adults.

Children watch their parents and model their behavior. In times of crisis, this means parents can just as easily model unhealthy coping mechanisms for their kids as healthy coping mechanisms.

“My kids are learning how to navigate this crisis by watching how I’m navigating this crisis and how I’m handling this stressor,” Rachel said.

Communicate in ways that kids can understand.

A while ago, Rachel noticed a pattern that she acted “like a mean taskmaster” to her children before events out in public, which was driven by her anxiety. As she worked on changing her behavior, she put her anxiety in language her children could understand, explaining that she worried whether she’d belong or find a friend.

“By articulating what’s happening, kids don’t internalize it or think, ‘Mom’s mad at me,’” Rachel said.

Know when to step back.

Rachel is in the process of going through an experience with her teenage daughter. She’s had to learn when to step in and help, when to step back and let her teenage daughter gain her own self-care skills, and when to set boundaries.

“The more I tried to intervene and project my feelings and my ideas on this experience, the more I’m taking away from her ability to navigate a crisis for herself,” Rachel said. “We want to raise young people who feel confident and capable for making these decisions.”

Remember to take care of yourself, too.

When it comes to getting out of your kids’ way and healing yourself, Rachel suggests thinking about the things that brought you joy as a child. For her, it’s going to the library to have a good, quiet time.

“Alright, Rachel,” Rachel said. “You don’t need to make healing Avery your life’s purpose. You need to go invest in things that will help you be a healthy companion for her on her journey.”

Resources + Links

About Aimee and WhatFriendsDo

Aimee Kandrac is a speaker, consultant, and the co-founder and CEO of WhatFriendsDo. Her work is instrumental for organizing support during life-changing events, and she speaks to organizations about creative ways to help friends and family during times of crisis. Aimee has been recognized as a Top 50 Mompreneur by and is the first female CEO in the state of Indiana to close a $500,000 funding round. She has been featured in Forbes, Time, the LA Times,, the Indianapolis Star, and more.

WhatFriendsDo is a simpler way to create organized and actionable support during a time of crisis. The free, online platform empowers healthcare facilities, HR departments, families, and friends to easily coordinate meals, errands, transportation, childcare, communication, and more for those in the midst of a life-changing event. The women-founded and women-led company started as a solution for a friend with terminal cancer. WhatFriendsDo is based out of Indianapolis.