After her 22 year old daughter died of a medically unexplainable cardiac arrest, Suzanne Falter slowed down from being a workaholic.
Suzanne's daughter Teal lived a life that inspired Suzanne to slow down and learn to take better care of herself.
Through the Self-Care for Extremely Busy Women Podcast, books and speaking Suzanne helps busy women find joy through self-care.
Learn how Suzanne was forced to reinvent herself after concurrent losses in her life (04:05 )
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[00:00:00] J. Rosemarie: If you're all overwhelmed with the feeling of being alone in your struggles. And sometimes all you need is just some guidance or listening ear. I know how that is. I've been there. [00:00:14] And I want you to know that I'm there for you. Schedule a one-on-one session with me. If we're a good fit, I can work with you to set some goals so you can achieve the joy-filled life you desire. So click the link below and schedule a confidential chat with me today. [00:00:33] SoloMoms! Talk was designed to curate the stories of solo moms globally. As a facilitator of this platform, I aim to create a peaceful environment where you can share your heart feel loved and get the advice you need. So if this sounds like you, why not RSVP for next virtual meetup? The link is below it's where you can retreat from the chaos of your life.[00:00:59] So you can [00:01:00] recharge, connect with other moms and get answers to your burning questions. Remember, you're not alone and you don't have the parents in silence. [00:01:10] Today's interview is with Suzanne Falter who lost our 22 year old daughter to a heart condition. Through her grief, Susan realized that she had neglected to care for herself. So she decided to start practicing better. Self-care. She no helps overwork women live happier lives by taking care of themselves. [00:01:33] Welcome Suzanne. Could you tell us who you are? [00:01:35] Suzanne Falter: Yes. Yes. I'm happy to. My name is Suzanne Falter and I am a podcaster and writer and speaker on the subject of self-care for extremely busy women. A lot of my women who follow my work in fact are solo moms. And I got into this because I'm a mother and [00:02:00] in 2012 I had a series of serious losses and including the sudden death of my daughter, Teal, who was 22 at the time.[00:02:13] And you wouldn't think that would lead you to self care, but it led me to self care because I was a workaholic and had just left a career. I was completely burned out by that. Did not make me happy, although it was profitable. And for the next two years, I didn't work. Now. I want to say that teal died because she had a medically unexplainable, cardiac arrest.[00:02:40] And she wanted to be a healer. And I really feel that my work now is to carry on some sort of healing work in the world. That might've been what she resonated with. Yeah, yeah. [00:02:57] J. Rosemarie: Yeah. [00:02:59] Suzanne Falter: I mean, you [00:03:00] know, she left behind a notebook. She was a big meditator. And she left behind this notebook and what she'd written down, all these little phrases she'd received in her meditations, and these phrases were very much about caring for yourself and believing in yourself and listening to your body and slowing down and becoming present and learning how to just be all of what's your fundamental aspects of real self care.[00:03:32] J. Rosemarie: Yeah. Wow. Thank you for sharing that. Wow. I can't imagine. I really can't. Yeah. All right. So you're a mother who discovered self-care because of, you know, tragedy. We deal with death differently. And I think. Obviously, you know, you're open to bettering yourself and, and that [00:04:00] had to have helped you heal from losing your daughter.[00:04:03] I'm sure. So how, how did you, like, what was life like before you actually implemented this? Self-care if you want to call it, it was [00:04:16] Suzanne Falter: dramatically different. It was dramatically different. I mean, Right up until the day of her collapse, I was running a very big coaching business. I was working 10 to 12 hours a day, six days a week.[00:04:33] I expected my staff to just jump through hoops for me at the drop of a thought. You know, I worked on the weekends. I had no boundaries around. Myself and others, myself and myself, you know, I couldn't say you have to stop working. Now. I was also in a very toxic relationship with someone who was really manipulating me, who was a borderline narcissist.[00:04:59] And I was [00:05:00] living. I had been living in San Francisco and kind of reinventing my life after leaving my marriage for a few years and moved. To move in with the person I was in a relationship with. And that relationship completely ended within a few months. So suddenly I had no place to live. So suddenly I had no business, no place to live.[00:05:22] I was kind of wandering around, not sure what to do next. And then my daughter died and she had come out to San Francisco with me. So she was my only local link. I didn't even have a lot of friends. I had only lived in the area for a year and a half. And. Really hadn't found much of a foundation yet. So I was forced to really reinvent everything, which was a huge blessing because my life had been very much off balance out of kilter, tilted the wrong direction.[00:05:57] And I realized the first thing I [00:06:00] realized after Till's death was that I had nothing. Nothing to keep me strong and stable. So I had to quickly put things in place while grieving a shocking death. I mean, when I went to dinner with her two hours before she collapsed, I mean, it was completely. Completely out of the blue.[00:06:24] So, you know, I mean, I just, I just really knew that her death, I knew intuitively that her death was here for me to reinvent myself and that I had to become a better person. And, you know, there is a saying among people who lose children, this will either make you better or. You know, and that better, a bitter thing really resonated for me because I did not want to become that bitter woman.[00:06:54] I just wanted to be a better person cause I needed help. I knew it. [00:06:58] J. Rosemarie: Yeah. [00:07:00] Yeah. Oh, wow. So you, you found a way to deal with our manage your grief young and parlayed that into helping yourself as a person. Dealing with other trauma, like the breakup, you know, and divorce, and then the break up and then having to find yourself.[00:07:22] And, and, and I, and I imagine it was a loss not having your coaching business because we try or work or. [00:07:32] Suzanne Falter: Well, yeah, right? Yeah. That's right. It's all bottom fell out. But what was interesting was it was unsustainable to begin with the relationship was never going to last. The business was never going to keep on.[00:07:46] We'd literally close the business, my business partner, and I, because we couldn't keep it up, we just couldn't keep, keep up with the demand and we didn't know how to build it, and we didn't even want to build it here. I was building a big business around something I [00:08:00] didn't care. Or, or even feel any passion for, it was just something that the marketplace needed at the time.[00:08:06] Yeah. And you know, really glad. That I did that because I'll tell you I tried to restart that business a few times in the following two years. Cause I didn't work for two years and each time I knew it wasn't what I was supposed to be doing, but I was just trying to make some money.[00:08:26] Basically I was living on savings. Very, very frugally. I was living for free in a friend's guest room. You know, it couldn't have been sketchy or really, but I, there, I mean, I wasn't doing anything illegal, but it was Everett. It was super shaky. I mean, it was just so up in the air what the next day would bring, you know?[00:08:49] And so I tried to start the business twice and the first time. It fell flat. I did sell a bit, but then somebody hacked into the [00:09:00] website that I had built for this new offering. And they hacked into it five times over the following week and everybody who had bought my program. Everybody and, and, you know, honestly that was a sign, but I still couldn't see it.[00:09:17] So I try to offer my work in a different way. And I got a couple of clients and they all refunded because they felt that I was just not there. And I was. You know, I mean, I tried to do my own business and I don't even know why I went through that exercise. I think I was just denying reality and, but, you know, okay.[00:09:40] So where does self care fit into this? Well, self-care became the thing that actually gave me my foundation and self care became. You know, going to the gym at a quiet time. And there weren't a lot of people, they are going for hikes or walks by myself and nature. I was living in Northern [00:10:00] California in the wine country and it was a great place to go find little groves of trees and beaches.[00:10:05] And, you know, you could really, you could really find beautiful spots, right. So I was doing that and I was meditating and I was writing. I am a writer. I've been a writer for 40 years and it was comforting to me to write through the experiences and the lessons I was learning about. And then my mother died six months after teal.[00:10:27] And that was incredible because my mother had advanced dementia. She was in a nursing home. She really had a diminished quality of life. So her death was actually a blessing. She was 94 years old. She left me a small inheritance, which came at the exact moment when I really needed some money.[00:10:49] And I really felt my mother was taking care of me in some fundamental way. And I ended up doing some travel to places. I just really wanted [00:11:00] to be in for a while and live very modestly in those places. And I'm kind of finding my way, just back to the work that I still do now, which came to me two years after her death, which was a totally different kind of writing, which I do for an investor. [00:11:20] And it provides my livelihood to this day. And the self care work. Came out of me just writing and writing and writing through all these experiences and things. I was learning about self care. A book came out of it, which I really couldn't have anticipated until an agent called me after reading my blog and said, you could do a book on this.[00:11:43] And then I got a book deal and I started a podcast. That's become a success. And I. Also started a Facebook group, which was really interesting because it was pretty quiet for a couple of years. And then all of a sudden at the beginning of the pandemic, it went from 10,000 to 55,000 [00:12:00] members in about six weeks.[00:12:02] It just exploded. And that was all these women who needed to talk to each other. So I feel in this way, I have continued Teal's healing work because what we talk about is not the self care of, you know, the quarterly massage or. Getting away on vacation though. Those are good things. We talk about the self-care of setting boundaries of not letting people walk over you, understanding what you need, and actually being able to articulate it, of asking for help instead of having to do everything yourself of walking away from this.[00:12:41] You know, nobody else will do because you figure you're the only one who will, you know, there's, you know, there, like every woman listening to this has probably had this experience. Right. And I'm not saying we shouldn't participate in the community or step up in the family or whatever. [00:13:00] But I'm saying we do way more than we need to.[00:13:04] There've been a lot of studies about this. And even today in the 21st century, men have only added one half hour on average to the amount of assistance they give in the. Well, when they're doing four to five hours of work. Yeah, yeah, [00:13:24] J. Rosemarie: yeah, yeah. I can believe that. And I, you know, but I wanted to just touch on one briefly and say that a lot of times we are so gung ho on what we want to do, not realizing we're really missing out on our purpose.[00:13:43] And God has a way off just allowing things to fall apart for us, of course, on what, you know, focus on shining her light. [00:13:55] Suzanne Falter: Yeah. Right. Yeah. I [00:13:58] J. Rosemarie: can see by what you're [00:14:00] doing that through all that you had to go through. You are now shining that light of helping us incorporate self care, not just a thing we add, but as our life, right?[00:14:15] Suzanne Falter: Yeah. Such a good distinction. That's a perfect distinction. And it is, it is about divine purpose because when you are in flow, With what you were designed to do in this life, you are living the ultimate self care. That's what I believe. And self care. The reason I get excited about self-care is because it's so strong.[00:14:40] It says strengthening practice makes you, so it makes you so. A whole, you aren't just feeling happy and relieved that you, you know, you got to take a walk instead of, you know, doing something you didn't want to do. You feel whole in a, in a deep, in your bones kind of way. That's what we're [00:15:00] talking about.[00:15:00] And it took me at least two years to get back to that, because of course I was grieving this shocking death, but it wasn't just that it was that I had to allow myself. And so really surrender. To the belief that I deserved self care, because so often we. Take it because we don't know we deserve it and we sure do.[00:15:27] We absolutely do. [00:15:28] J. Rosemarie: Yeah. And I'd like to take that one step further because, you know, as someone who tried to minister to solar moms, we like to say, well, we're taking care of our children. We don't have time to take care of us, but. T basically fundamentally self care. You take care of yourself, he's taking care of your children, right?[00:15:51] Suzanne Falter: And as a solo mom, it can be done. One of the things I really advocate for is joining other solo moms and helping you. [00:16:00] Yeah, it was one of the, one of the key things I talk about in my book at least is, you know, creating little informal co-ops where three or four of you share the babysitting or the, you know, and you get your kids together and they get to play.[00:16:13] And presumably they get along well enough that that's pretty easy. And, you know, you, you then get the time to go to the gym, to meditate, to, you know, see a therapist, whatever it is you need to do, and really, you know, help yourself or have to have, you know, a glass of wine with your good pals. These are, these are things which are so difficult to find time for when you are raising small children.[00:16:40] The other superpower we have is we know how to get our kids to help us. And I mean, single or married, I did this all throughout my marriage raising my daughter, Teela my son, Luke with their dad. We had a standing date every Monday night to do yoga with a group of people in [00:17:00] our little town at the local church.[00:17:02] And our kids came along and we taught them how to make dinner for themselves. And they liked it. They went into the church kitchen and they made their little dinner and sat and helped each other with the homework. You know, then they were, I don't know. I think they were five and nine at the time or four and eight.[00:17:21] You know, they weren't that old, but one was old enough to light the stove and be responsible and. And, what we were doing was fostering some independence. And that has been a useful thing, that has been a really useful thing. And I saw it and my daughter went all over the world with her little backpack and her guitar.[00:17:42] She was a singer. She sang the blues on the street in cities, all over the world. And, and even though she died at 22, she had had an amazing life. Yeah, very independent life from the age of 16, when she was 17, she went to Ghana for three months and taught English. [00:18:00] And, and that was kind of just the beginning of her world travels.[00:18:03] And, you know, I really think that it all begins with getting kids to help you in the home and not feeling like you have to constantly do everything they could do for themselves. [00:18:17] J. Rosemarie: Yeah, for sure. Thank you. All right. So you're a podcaster, an author, and a coach. Tell us about your work? Tell us, well, I'm [00:18:27] Suzanne Falter: not, I'm not really a coach anymore.[00:18:29] The coaching ends. I am. I mean, perhaps I'm a coach through my writing and my podcasting, but I am the author of a book called the extremely busy woman's guide to self care, which is a cool book because it's filled with all sorts of little. Questionnaires and journaling prompts and things that really engage you in how to reclaim your life.[00:18:50] So you have enough support and you have enough time to add the self care that will help you reground in the reality of who you are [00:19:00] and what you need. And of course, we talk about this on my own show, which is called self care for extremely busy women. And in that podcast, I have all kinds of experts.[00:19:10] Come on and talk about what it takes to explore all kinds of self care, everything from. T I had a wonderful woman come and talk about all sorts of teas and how you can make beautiful tea for your sort of time for yourself. And I've had, you know neuro experts talking about the nervous system and how to calm ourselves.[00:19:33] And I've had yogis talk about doing yoga and, you know, all kinds of people. Getting onto 200 up almost 200 episodes and a quarter of a million people have downloaded the show and it is touching women in more than 30 countries. And it is a self care movement, which is about not buying into the idea that you are too busy for yourself.[00:19:59] Yeah. It [00:20:00] should never ever be the case. Yeah. [00:20:03] J. Rosemarie: Yes. Thank you. All right. So I'll put those links to those in the show notes so people can have access to it. So yeah. Thank you for that. So what is Suzanne grateful for today? [00:20:16] Suzanne Falter: Oh, what a great question. Well, I am grateful that I am learning how to be present.[00:20:22] And as I'm sitting here talking to you. I'm looking out my window here in Oakland, California at the most stunning Jasmine vine, that's about to burst into bloom. Because we were just in the early stages of spring. It's an early care and it is going to be so stunning and it's chest is starting to bloom and it smells so good.[00:20:44] And it's my favorite flower. So I'm particularly grateful for that. [00:20:49] J. Rosemarie: That's beautiful. I love Jasmine. So, wow. I can't imagine looking at that.[00:20:58] I put it on my blog. [00:21:00] [00:21:00] Suzanne Falter: Yeah. You know, I actually, I actually, every year I take my picture with Jasmine. Cause I planted that Jasmine, that for me was self care. It was like, wow, I gotta get this plant because it just smells so great. And I love it and it makes me so happy. [00:21:14] J. Rosemarie: Amazing. Awesome. All right. I really appreciate you coming in and talking to me today and I enjoy this kind of conversation because self-care is one of my jams, so I love it.[00:21:28] I love it. You know? So what gives me one piece of advice for, you know, give a solo mom one piece of advice. As it pertains to self [00:21:38] Suzanne Falter: care. Well, I would begin with the question. What do I need right now? It's the question we never ask ourselves. And if you can't figure it out, get yourself a piece of paper, not even a screen, just a piece of paper and a pencil and ask yourself and start writing.[00:21:56] And let your pen just move across the page uninhibited. [00:22:00] Right? Right. Great. Just let it all go. And at the end of all, that, you're going to have a good sense of what. [00:22:06] J. Rosemarie: Yeah. Oh, okay. Thank you. Quick and spicy. [00:22:12] Suzanne Falter: That's what you asked for. Yeah. [00:22:15] J. Rosemarie: Thank you. Anything else? [00:22:18] Suzanne Falter: Just, I want to send a big hug to everybody.[00:22:20] Who's listening to this because it's so easy to forget about self care, to forget about ourselves and to feel we're being terribly selfish, but there is no guilt when you are, as you say. Wisely pointed out, taking better care of yourself so you can really be there for your family. And then that's what this is all about.[00:22:40] And it seems impossible, but it's God's challenge to us to rise up and be strong enough to do even this. Yes. [00:22:49] J. Rosemarie: Yes. Thank you very much for, for falter. Sorry for coming and talking to me today. [00:22:54] Suzanne Falter: My pleasure. Thank you[00:22:56] J. Rosemarie: I often say you're not alone and you don't have [00:23:00] to parent in silence. [00:23:01] I say that because I've experienced loneliness, especially after my husband walked out on me and our two and four year old sons. So I know what it feels like to think. You're the only one parenting solo. [00:23:17] But you're not alone. I'm here for you. Click the link below and book a one-on-one chat with me today. Let's talk, let's connect. You're not alone [00:23:28] I'm excited to share that SoloMoms! Talk is now on YouTube. Check out these interviews on our new channel SoloMoms! Talk TV. There, you will actually see the interaction between myself and my guests. Find bite-size clips of daily inspiration to help you manage the struggles of everyday life. So click SoloMoms! Talk TV below to watch now..