“I think making mistakes is a really important part of parenting. It’s actually good for our kids when we screw up because it’s an opportunity for us to take responsibility.” Melinda Wenner Moyer joined Zibby and former podcast guest Christina Hillsberg for a virtual event with the Strand Bookstore to discuss her first book, How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes, and parenting at large. The three talked about why mothers carry so much guilt (as well as how they can start letting some of it go), the different ways anxiety manifests in kids and parents both seeking to do the right thing, and their top tips for raising well-adjusted kids. The three moms also acknowledge that it doesn’t take years of research or hundreds of parenting books to be a good parent; all you truly need to do is be a good person.


Sabir Sultan: Good evening, everybody. Welcome. My name is Sabir; pronouns, he/him. I direct events here at the Strand. Before we launch into a discussion of Melinda Wenner Moyer’s How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes and Christina Hillsberg’s License to Parent, I’d like to share a little bit of history about the Strand. The Strand was founded in 1927 by Benjamin Bass over on 4th Avenue’s Book Row. Stretching from Union Square to Astor Place, Book Row gradually dwindled from forty-eight bookstores until, after ninety-four years, the Strand is the sole survivor, now run by third-generation owner Nancy Bass Wyden. We want to thank all of you for your support. Without our loyal community of book lovers, authors like Zibby, Christina, and Melinda, we wouldn’t be here today. We are so truly appreciative of all of you. Tonight, we are thrilled to partner with “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books” to present Melinda Wenner Moyer and Christina Hillsberg in conversation with Zibby Owens. Zibby Owens hosts the award-winning podcast “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books.” Launched in March 2018, Zibby’s daily author-interview podcast has been downloaded millions of times. With an informal, conversational, and warm manner, Zibby routinely gets guests to open up about what’s important to them giving busy readers the backstory to their favorite or yet-undiscovered books. Hear from celebrity chefs, athletes, novelists, memoirists, journalists, psychologists, doctors, politicians, business leaders, moms, CEOs, artists, and all types of people who have written books about their passions from Alicia Keys, First Lady Jill Biden, Lena Dunham, and Andre Agassi to Cheryl Strayed, Jamaica Kincaid, Delia Owens, and Malcom Gladwell. You can listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Watch the show on YouTube.

Melinda Wenner Moyer is an award-winning contributing editor at Scientific American magazine and a regular contributor to The New York Times, Washington Post, and other national magazines and newspapers. She’s a faculty member in Science, Health, and Environmental Reporting Program at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Assholes is her first book. Christina Hillsberg is a former CIA intelligence analyst, writer, and mom. She is the author of License to Parent: How My Career as a Spy Helped Me Raise Resourceful, Self-Sufficient Kids. While at the CIA, Christina regularly wrote analytic assessments for the president, his cabinet, and other senior-level policymakers. She later worked in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations clandestinely collecting intelligence in the field. She is the recipient of multiple CIA Exceptional Performance Awards. Her writing has been featured in media outlets such as The Washington Post, The Seattle Times, Parents magazine, Thrive Global, Working Mother, and several others.

Zibby Owens is the creator and host of award-winning podcast “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books,” one of’s favorite book podcasts two years in a row. The CEO and founder of Moms Don’t Have Time To, Zibby has formed a media company that includes multiple podcasts, publications like Moms Don’t Have Time to Write, and other communities designed to help moms. She’s the editor of award-winning anthology Moms Don’t Have Time To: A Quarantine Anthology; the upcoming anthology, Moms Don’t Have Time to Have Kids; the upcoming children’s book, Princess Charming; and the upcoming memoir, The Book Messenger. She’s a regular contributor to Good Morning America online and also writes for The Washington Post, Parents, Slate, and Medium where she is a top writer. Zibby regularly recommends books on TV and has been featured on CBS’s This Morning and Good Morning America. Named NYC’s most powerful bookfluencer by New York Magazine‘s Vulture, Zibby currently lives in New York with her husband and four children. She always has a book nearby. Without further ado, please join me in welcoming Zibby, Melinda, and Christina to the stage.

Zibby Owens: That was quite a robust bio for me. I’m embarrassed. I think he knows more about me than any of my friends. I don’t even know where that came from. That was amazing. I’m Zibby, for those of you watching. Why don’t you guys introduce yourselves?

Melinda Wenner Moyer: I’m Melinda. Hello. I’m in the Hudson Valley, so I’m sixty miles north of Zibby right now. One of my children is asleep. One of them is awake. Hopefully, they won’t interrupt.

Christina Hillsberg: Hi. I’m Christina Hillsberg. I’m out in Seattle, so I’ve got a little bit more daylight left here. The kids are playing outside. They are with my husband, so I’m hoping no one makes an escape to run in. You never know. It could keep things interesting.

Zibby: All right, so I’m putting my money on you as the most coherent of the three of us since it’s earlier.

Christina: No pressure.

Zibby: No pressure, exactly. I was actually thinking as I was listening to all of your backgrounds being read out loud, it takes so much to be able to be a successful parent. Listen to the crazy bios that you guys have. All of the focus is like, we just have to try to raise nice, normal kids. Christina, you can do everything in the CIA and hunt down terrorists and do whatever else the CIA actually does. Yet it takes all of that brainpower to get our children into the car on time. Crazy.

Christina: Yes. Someone just asked me in a podcast the other day, what’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? I said parenting. It’s so humbling, especially when you have one kid when the first is just a natural-born rule-follower. Then you’re feeling really awesome like you’re this amazing parent. Then you have the next one who’s, we’ll say spirited. I think that’s the term that we all use. Then you’re like, oh, I’m actually not awesome. It’s that I had an easier kid. It’s humbling.

Melinda: Same breakdown with my kids. Exactly the same.

Zibby: I did not start with an easy kid, so I’m just better off.

Christina: It’s good because then you get the hard done.

Zibby: I started with twins, so it’s not fair.

Melinda: Oh, wow. No.

Zibby: Then my third kid came around. I’m like, this is a piece of cake.

Christina: Sure, yeah, anything after that. Oh, my gosh.

Zibby: The question, though, of course, which I think courses through both of your books and my mind all the time and basically every parent’s mind is, how do we not mess this up? How do we just avoid messing up our kids? That’s basically the title of your book. That’s what I think all the time. Knowing that our kids are born differently, just what you were saying, Christina, the more kids I’ve had, the more I realize that it’s first do no harm. If I just don’t mess them up, they’re just going to end up growing up into whoever they were born with their different personalities and all of that. What have you guys taken away? Melinda, I know you wrote a whole book about this, so you must have strong feelings. I’m actually very curious as to why this was so on your mind that you wanted to write a whole book about it to begin with.

Melinda: It was because I kind of had a crisis myself as a parent where a lot of bad stuff, I felt like, was happening in the world a couple years ago. People were just behaving badly all over the place. The Me Too movement had just come to light. I was starting to really worry about what my kids were learning from all of this. What were they hearing? What were they seeing? What were their friends saying? Who were they going to become? As I see this behavior that I thought was atrocious in front of me, I really started to focus on, okay, you know what, the most important thing to me as a parent is that my kids grow up to be just good human beings. I started talking with other parents. I realized there was this feeling among a lot of parents. Of course, we all still worry about, are our kids going to get into college? Are they going to be happy? All these things that everybody always thinks about as a parent, but I felt like there was suddenly this fear and this awareness and this focus on, what can we do to just raise good people? If we all do this, then we can raise a generation of really good people. That’s when I started thinking about writing the book. I realized if there was enough insight that I could find from the science — I’m a science journalist, so I’m always looking at the research — then this could be really helpful. It could actually maybe change the world. I realize that sounds really grandiose and horrible, narcissistic, but I wanted to do something good. When I did dig into the research, I saw there was all of this research that really hadn’t been translated to a lay audience. A lot of it was really surprising. That was when I was like, yeah, I need to do this. I want to write this book. I wanted to learn from it myself. I wanted to learn how to become a better parent from the research.

Zibby: I don’t think you can be accused of being a narcissist if you’re trying to improve the world. That’s my daughter. She calls me like fifty times a day. What did you find? What were some of the things that you were, oh, my gosh, the whole world needs to know this, and maybe if they did, we’d all be better off?

Melinda: First of all, you were saying the first thing that you think about is, how do you not screw up? How do you not make mistakes? The first thing, I feel, that’s really important to say is there is no such thing as a perfect parent or a perfect kid. Even the parenting experts that I talk to, the so-called parenting experts, all the child psychologists, they’re like, we don’t know what we’re doing half the time. This is so hard for us too. I honestly think making mistakes is a really important part of parenting. It’s actually really good for our kids when we screw up because it’s an opportunity for us to take responsibility. When I yell at my kids, which I do sometimes — I’m not proud of it, but I do. Then that’s a mistake. I own up to it. I calm down and I say, look, I’m really sorry. I didn’t handle that very well. Let’s talk about what I could’ve done to calm myself down. I have them kind of problem-solve with me. What could I have done better? I apologize, so I’m modeling apologizing and taking responsibility. Every time you make a mistake in talking with your kids about something, then it’s just another reason to talk about it again and to keep bringing things up.

One of the big themes of my book is — the fact that your daughter just called you means that you have this going really well. Talk to your kids. Make them feel like you are someone that they can come to with any kind of question about the world. Lean into the really tough topics too. Talk about sex, and not just once. Talk about pornography. Talk about sexism. Talk about racism. What the research shows is that when we actually lean into these really awkward topics, the ones that we sometimes want to avoid because we want to protect our kids’ innocence and we think, oh, they’re not ready to learn this, they actually do much better when we take that chance and we talk about it. We don’t have to be perfect. We’re going to make mistakes. Just making that effort and opening those lines of communication and letting our kids know it’s okay for them to come to us with questions about anything, that is really, really important groundwork for having a good relationship with your kids and for them to grow up with the values that you want them to have. Every time you talk with your kids, you’re sharing your values. You’re sharing your worldview in some way. That’s really, really, really constructive and helpful for kids. That’s a big one.

Christina: I love what you said about trust, Melinda, because that’s so important. When we model that apologizing and showing them that even we mess up, that’s so helpful for them. We want resilient kids. That’s something we both talk a lot about in our books. This goal that we have for our kids is raising resilient kids who are able to be out there in the world independent. When we have that trust with them and that relationship where they do feel like they can ask us any question, even the hard ones, then we can give them that autonomy so that then they can make those mistakes and we can offer that guidance along the way. Then we’re continuing to build that trust. People ask us all the time if we spy on our kids because we were spies. That must be what we’re telling people how to do. We’re like, no, because we focus a lot on building trust with them and giving them autonomy. Because we’re teaching them all these values along the way, and these skills, we feel comfortable giving them a longer leash.

Zibby: Interesting. The thing is, the people who are going to raise kids who are really awful, for the most part, are going to be pretty awful themselves, aren’t they? I know that sounds overly simplistic. Look, you two are super nice women. You’re not going to have — I mean, it’s possible you have really awful kids, but I bet you don’t.

Christina: Parents, especially moms, we can be so hard on ourselves wanting to be perfect. I remember in an interview the other day where this woman was asking me for advice — that’s also humbling, too, because you’re like, well, it’s not a silver bullet. Just because I’ve written a parenting book, I don’t have it all figured out. Every day is a struggle. I’m telling this mom, listen, the fact that you’re asking these questions and you’re seeking advice and you’re even worried about this for your kid already tells me that you’re an amazing mom and you’re doing a wonderful job. If you didn’t care, you didn’t notice these things, that’s a whole other issue. I think we have this idea — a lot of is thanks to social media and all of these wonderful, curated images we see that we can scroll through at night when our kids are finally asleep. We’re in bed scrolling. Nobody does that, right? We get this idea that we have to be the perfect parent. That just don’t exist. It just doesn’t. I think as women, we often shoulder a lot of that burden. Even after we do this research and write these books, we’re still just doing the best we can.

Melinda: Absolutely.

Zibby: They’re just lucky to have us, really. I had this one friend. I had lunch with her a couple years ago. I’ll never forget it. It was probably ten years ago. She worked in Manhattan, but she lived outside of the city. We were having lunch. I’m like, “What’s new?” She’s like, “Well, I’ve decided I’m not going to feel guilty about anything anymore.” I was like, “What do you mean?” She was like, “Yeah, I’m just not going to. I’m not going to feel guilty. I’m not going to feel guilty that I’m sitting here having a nice lunch. I’m not going to feel guilty. My kids are lucky to have me. I’m going to go back at the end of the day. I’m going to work really well at my job. Then I’m going to go home. If they give me a hard time, oh, well. I’m not going to feel bad about it.” She’s been so happy since then.

Christina: I love it.

Melinda: That’s fantastic. I feel like I need to take a class from her.

Zibby: She should really do that.

Melinda: Earlier today, my babysitter showed up. She was not supposed to come today. She’s supposed to come next Monday. She showed up, and I felt guilty. It was not my mistake. I double-checked. I was like, “I did give you the right dates.” She said, “Yes, I’m sorry.” I felt so bad. I was like, “I am so sorry that you drove all the way here and I’m sending you back.” There’s so much guilt that we shoulder. I was thinking about it. I was like, you know what, if it was my husband and she’d shown up, he would’ve been like, it’s the wrong day, and he wouldn’t have felt guilty. There’s something about being a woman. We just shoulder other people’s bad feelings. We take it on. We just feel like it’s all our fault. It’s not okay. I’m really amazed that your friend, Zibby, said that she’s just not going to feel guilty and that she’s actually able to do it because I struggle with that a lot.

Zibby: I think most people do struggle. She used to. It’s so detrimental to mental health, really. We’re all so hard on ourselves. We can just use this as a therapy session. We can’t see anybody else, so I’m just going to pretend.

Christina: It’s so nice to have other mom friends to talk to about this. Obviously, my husband is my best friend, but in the times where I’m like — we’ve been mulling over this instance related to birthday parties and our almost-five-year-old and planning out this thing. I was feeling the mom guilt. He’s like, “It’s fine. It just doesn’t work, so just let it go.” I’m like, “I know, but I feel bad about this other friend.” He’s like, “Just let it go. We’ve moved on. We’re done.” I’m thinking, I’m just going to message a girlfriend about this so that I can continue to talk about it until I’m ready to move on.

Zibby: That’s very key. Things can’t be too clear-cut. We have to stress and use our minds to second-guess and all of that. I was trying to say this recently about weight loss, which maybe I’ve taken too far now that I have completely stopped watching what I’m eating, but I’ve decided we only have so much room in our brains.

Christina: Yeah, the mental space.

Zibby: The mental space of maybe the guilt, maybe just worrying about how we’re doing. By the way, I don’t mean to suggest that I don’t worry. I second-guess what I do all the time, but I’d prefer not to. That’s taking away space. We could be doing lots of other things. We’re all reasonably bright women. Look at how accomplished you are. What else could you be doing with your brain? I’m serious. Even a smidge of it, if we took it off and we said, we trust our kids. They’re going to be okay.

Christina: It’s the little things too. I’m like, should I get on the bike for thirty minutes? I feel bad. I’ll be ignoring the kids. Then I’m like, this is thirty minutes, thirty minutes out of their day. They’ll be fine. Even if that means I’m giving them their tablets, they’ll be fine because we also have to think about what we need for our own mental health and what’s going to help us be the best parent. For some people, that’s exercise. For some people, that’s going out and — I did an ice skating class in the winter by myself.

Zibby: I’m like, who is that? That sounds oddly specific.

Christina: That was me. I was playing on — I don’t know if you guys have read Fair Play by Eve Rodsky. She talks about unicorn space. That’s her next book. I really leaned into that this past winter. I decided that I was going to find my inner Nancy Kerrigan. I went once a week by myself and had an ice skating class. I was just carving out time for me. It could be really therapeutic. A friend of mine has gotten really into pottery. She has a guest room that no one has stayed in for two years. She’s like, “I just really wish I had space.” I’m like, “Don’t you have that room?” Within twenty-four hours, she had moved the bed out. She told her husband, “You know what, you have the whole basement for your man cave. This is now my pottery room.” She cleared everything out. She’s making that space for her to have that time that she needs to recharge away from the kids and do what she needs to do to be creative and feel like her. It helps her be a better parent.

Melinda: That’s awesome. I think that’s such a good point, though. We cannot sacrifice everything for our kids because we will then be worse parents. We have to take time for ourselves. We have to take, not take, make and take, I guess, time for ourselves. Otherwise, if we just don’t exercise, we don’t do the things that make us happy, we don’t have hobbies, we will be miserable parents. Our kids will learn not such good things from that. We also need to model taking care of ourselves for our kids. That’s also important, and for them to see that we do that and that they should also be thinking about that. There’s all sorts of reasons we need to do this.

Christina: Modeling hobbies, too, is so important because we really want our kids to be well-rounded. That’s something that we talk a lot about in License to Parent. It’s this idea that the more well-rounded you are and the more interests you have as a person, the more capable you are of making connections with other people and building trust. Of course, this goes back to our time of recruiting intelligence assets and trying to build a connection, but it’s so relevant in life. We want our kids to be well-rounded and have hobbies. First, after leaving CIA, I had this huge identity crisis. Who was I if I didn’t work at the CIA? Then I became a mom, and a stay-at-home mom. It was like, who am I without a career? Going through all these things and even realizing well into my thirties, wait a minute, I have zero hobbies. How did this happen? Then basically getting to the point where if I want my kids to be well-rounded, I also have to model that for them, and showing them that, one, I’m going to try things that maybe I’m not so great at. Then I’m modeling failure for them, but also showing them that no matter what age we are, you’re never too old to try new things. It’s not about being a rockstar or being a failure. Sometimes we can fall somewhere completely in the middle and be mediocre. This is a spoiler alert. I didn’t become Nancy Kerrigan or Kristi Yamaguchi. These are some really big throwbacks for people who watched nineties figure skating.

Zibby: I am following the references. Thank you.

Melinda: Yep, me too.

Christina: That never happened for me, but you know what? I enjoyed it. It’s one more thing that’s in my toolbelt. It’s all about modeling that for our kids, giving our kids these experiences to try to new things without getting so caught up in them, like being a rockstar and putting the pressure on them to be perfect and be so fantastic at everything they do and allowing them the space to try new things and even fail.

Zibby: It’s sort of like, if you think about — maybe this isn’t going to make any sense. Before you have kids, you’re running, running, running. You’re on one of those things in the airport where you’re going fast. You’re doing a zillion things. If your kids saw you, that would be an accurate depiction of you. Then just because you have them, you hop off the thing and sit on the floor and just stare at them. That’s not who you are. They’ll probably just stare back at you and be like, get back on the thing. They’re going to be the people who want to run too. This is probably not making any sense. I’m just spouting off. I’m tired, and this is what’s on my mind tonight. Sorry. All to say, I feel like it’s great for us all — everybody needs the skills. That’s why your books are so important. Nobody really knows what they’re doing. We look to other people and other moms and friends. We need that because we need the reassurance that we’re not going to be messing up our kids and everything’s going to be okay and getting specific advice and facts rooted in science or strategies that have been time-tested against people, hopefully, far worse than our kids. Those are comforts. They’re comforts. It allows moms to sleep better at night and feel more empowered in what they’re doing. Ultimately, after you read the books and put them down, you have to just go back to being who you are. Chances are, since your kids are probably going to be somewhat like you, they won’t have such a huge problem with it in the end. I think it’s just this empowerment that, if we all felt like that, we’d be so much better off, but we don’t. I don’t either, but it would be nice.

Christina: I think a lot of the reason is because we’re living in this time of so much helicopter parenting. We’ve forgotten all of the things that our kids are actually very capable of if we would just give them the opportunity. It’s so hard because not only are we striving for our kids to reach perfection and get into this special preschool or college or whatever level they’re at, we’re also experiencing all of these new products on the market that are playing to this anxiety that you may have. I talk a lot about — I’m very transparent that I experienced postpartum anxiety with my son. I had always been a worrier and an anxious person, but it took on a completely different meaning. I had heard people say things like, I used to do theater, but I can’t do it anymore because of my anxiety. I am embarrassed to say this, but I would even be like, okay. It’s also how I felt about migraines before I ever had one. I’m like, oh, you got a headache? Then you experience something. You’re like, wow, I feel like an asshole. I experienced full-on anxiety. You start clinging to all these products on the market that play to parents’ anxiety, whether it’s a sock that you’re measuring their oxygen intake, so you’re checking it multiple times throughout the night and you’re not even resting, or a GPS tracker. I did both of these things, by the way.

I think some of these things can be fantastic if people are able to get peace of mind from them, but they can also become something that we obsess over. It can do the opposite of giving us peace of mind. That’s the world that we’re in now. Not only is there so much badness, like Melinda was talking about, and we’re trying to raise kind kids, but we’re also surrounded by all of these things that just make us more anxious parents. I have to take a step back from those things. Really, my husband helps me a lot because he’s been parenting a lot longer than I have. Our oldest of my stepkids, she’s eighteen, almost nineteen. When we had met, he had already been parenting for ten years. He has a much more easygoing personality than I do. If I do get spun up, it does help to have more of that calming personality and someone who’s kind of already been through it. He had already done the baby thing three times before me. He let me experience things and just let things flow and let me find my way. I’ve realized that when we give them that space, they can do more than we think. They are really capable, but it can be easier said than done to give that space, especially when it’s serious anxiety that you need whatever kind of treatment that’s appropriate. I don’t mean to diminish — it’s not like you just decide. It can be a very difficult thing to overcome.

Melinda: I talk a lot in the book about, the other way similar anxieties manifest and affect kids is through the pressure we put on them to excel. Putting three-year-olds in Mandarin classes and ballet classes and soccer and all of these things that — on some level, we’re doing it so that kids socialize, they’re learning new skills, and they’re well-rounded. It’s really good to a degree, but then sometimes it becomes this competitive, very scary culture where you think, oh, my gosh, I need to sign my kid up for eighteen things because how are they going to get into college? What if they don’t get into the private school that I’m dreaming that they go to in high school? There are parents who are hiring SAT tutors for fourth graders. There’s all this stuff where our fear for our kids — will they succeed? Will they do okay in the world? We are then putting pressure on them to get good grades, to get the highest score on the SATs, to get the lead in the play, to make the travel soccer team. What I found in the research — I was really interested in, what do we know about kids’ self-esteem and what fosters healthy self-esteem? This felt very, very important for raising happy, kind kids, etc.

This pressure that parents put on kids actually really strongly impacts their self-esteem, and in a very negative way. We don’t ever say this, of course, but they start to think that our love for them is contingent upon what they’re doing, what they achieve. Even if we never say, I won’t love you if you get a B, but they infer this from how much we care about their grades and how much we care about what they achieve. When kids feel that our love for them is conditional upon what they do, it’s really a big hit to their self-esteem. What they need more than anything else to have healthy self-esteem, ultimately, is just to feel unconditional love. I don’t care what you do. You could screw up eight thousand times. You could get all Fs. Whatever. I will still love you. That was a really interesting and a concerning thing that I uncovered from the research, was just how powerful that pressure that’s so well-meaning — we are all scared. We all want the best for our kids. When we pile it on and we make them feel like, you have to do this, this, and this, it really makes them feel less than. Then they will ultimately struggle.

Zibby: We don’t like that either. We don’t like having people pile stuff, right?

Melinda: No. Right.

Christina: In the same vein, when parents are anxious, when we’re anxious and we’re trying to protect our kids because we don’t want them to get hurt, we don’t want them to be harmed, and not just fail, but actually become physically hurt, we’re wanting to keep them safe, but in that regard, we can sometimes send messages that we don’t realize we’re sending. For example, my son who’s almost five, he would look to me before doing something. If we were at the park and my husband was there too, he would tell him, “Go ride around the track.” I thought it was too far. He would immediately look to me to see what my facial expression was. Even if I said, “Okay,” if he sensed any sort of hesitancy on my face, he would say, “No, I don’t want to do it.” It came to a head one day when he and I were at the lake. There was a huge boulder that he wanted to climb. I was so anxious. I guess this is a rite of passage for kids in the Northwest. I grew up in cornfields in the Midwest. We were not climbing boulders there. I have a ridiculous fear of heights. I didn’t climb the rope in gym class. Two feet off the ground, and I thought I was all the way at the top. That sort of thing. He’s wanting to climb this boulder. I am so anxious. All I can do is envision him tumbling down. I don’t know how I’m going to go up and get him if I have to because I’m so terrified.

I see the look in his eyes. He’s tearing up. He’s like, “Mommy, I know I can do it.” I had this turning point of, oh, my gosh. All this time, I’ve been anxious. I thought I was protecting him. I’m actually hurting his self-esteem and his confidence because he thinks I don’t believe in him. He doesn’t know that I’m trying to protect him. He thinks I don’t believe in him. I was so just like, oh, no, I have to fix some things. Of course, we came up with some strategies of what that looks like in our family. Maybe that means sometimes I don’t go to some things. Ryan taught him how to ski last winter. I didn’t go until he knew how. Then I was there to watch him so he could show off his new skills. I knew that I wasn’t comfortable being there while he was learning and that he was going to pick up on my anxiety. Allowing him to go and have that time — which is hard because I’m fun. I want to go do fun things, but I’ve had to kind of delegate those things for Dad so that I come in once he’s more confident and secure and I know he’s not going to ski into a tree.

Zibby: We are sharing a brain. I had to stop going to this one playground. I was like, They’re fine. My kids too, they were like, it’s okay, it’s a two-foot ladder. I’m like, I don’t like ladders. They’re like, what the heck? I’m like, you know what, I can’t go to this playground because of my own stupid issues. I am too worried. I feel like that’s also okay to be like, you know what, when you’re a parent, take stock of your own stuff. Everybody’s got different stuff. If you know you’re a highly anxious person and that’s going to rub off really badly, don’t put yourself in super anxiety-provoking situations for you. Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. They’ll develop their anxiety disorders a little bit later.

Christina: On their own without our help.

Zibby: Until age seven, they might actually be okay, so you might as well let them go to the playground.

Christina: The goal is to raise kids who need as little therapy as an adult because of us as possible.

Melinda: Oh, man, it’s so funny. I’m the same exact way. I can’t go hiking. My husband loves to take them on these hikes that go on these cliffs. They’re scrambling up rocks. I am like, I can’t go on those hikes. I’m the same exact way. I’m super anxious about heights and kids. Ah!

Zibby: But you know, these kids of ours who have moms like us, they’re not going to end up being assholes.

Melinda: There we go.

Zibby: You should make your next book, How to Raise Kids Who Aren’t Anxious Messes. Knowing myself, it’s probably a huge risk for them. How to Raise Kids of Parents Who Are Really Anxious Themselves. I’m sure there are anxiety books. I’m joking, but not really.

Melinda: I need this book too.

Christina: Your qualities that you don’t want rubbing off on your kids, that’s always one I think of. Ryan and I, we took the kids up this gondola ride at the ski resort, but not during ski season. This was several years ago. Gigi was still a baby. I think I had her in the Ergo. Thank god because if she was walking, she would’ve run off the mountaintop. I’m sure of it because she’s my spirited one. He did not tell me beforehand, what this gondola was. It was all glass, as I think a lot of them are. It was very high off the ground. The whole time, I was just thinking, don’t give your kids issues. Don’t give them issues. I’m smiling and grinning through it. There was a restaurant at the top. He wanted to sit on these Adirondack chairs on the edge of the mountain, you guys. I’m like, I’ll be in the restaurant the whole time. He’s how I used to be before I experienced anxiety. He just doesn’t get it. He’s like, “Okay.” Especially after having babies as a woman, postpartum anxiety, it can be hard, especially for a man, to really understand what that is like. I won’t go up the gondola again. It’s a no-go for me.

Melinda: I think it’s good that we recognize, though, that we have these tendencies and that we need to pull ourselves back instead of controlling the situation, telling our kids, don’t do this. Don’t sit on that chair. Instead, we’re like, I’m going to go sit over here and not look. It sounds like maybe our partners are also a little less anxious than we are, which is really good. They can take over in those moments.

Zibby: That’s the key. That is really the key. I feel like I want to go back and talk to everybody in college or something like that and be like, don’t go with that guy. You are this type of person. It’s not going to work out as well with that type of person. For those of you who have anxiety, enough to write entire books about how to basically manage your anxiety by giving ourselves the tools to not be anxious parents, a calm person in the house is probably not the worst thing.

Melinda: For sure.

Christina: It’s so funny, the things we wish we could tell ourselves. Our oldest is a freshman right now in college. You send her off on her way. You’re trying to tell her things. This is what I wish I would’ve done. You’re trying to give advice because you want your kids to not make the same mistakes that you did. Then there’s that element of, okay, you just have to let them go and watch them even if they do make the same mistake because sometimes you just have to learn it for yourself. It’s so, so wild to have one out of the house.

Zibby: I just wrote this essay for my son. I guess we should take some questions. I’m forgetting that there are even questions. My son goes to boarding school. He’s fourteen. He’s started talking to girls and whatever. I was like, I can’t let this — he’s not going to figure it out on his own, is he? I have to give him all these — so I wrote this whole article.

Christina: I loved that. I loved that essay.

Zibby: Thank you. Could I have let him figure out his way in the world? Probably.

Christina: You know what? He’s probably going to come back to that at different stages of his life because what you wrote is so relevant no matter what age he’s dating. I think what he gets out of it now is going to be totally different than what he gets out of it when he’s in college and then as an adult. It’s timeless.

Zibby: I have to say, one mom friend I know, she read it. She was like, “I read your essay, and I started crying because of the part you –” Part of what I said to my son is, treat women really nicely. Ask them questions. Don’t assume all women are the same. Then I said at the end, for God’s sake, don’t forget her birthday. Anyway, this friend of mine came to me. She was like, “My husband just totally forgot my birthday. He went to some guys’ thing. He forgot it was even my birthday while he gone.”

Christina: Oh, no.

Zibby: I know. It’s so sad. I also should say as I’ve been talking about this, it’s not a foregone conclusion that because you’re a nice person, you don’t have kids who have some interpersonal issues. I shouldn’t be totally dismissive of that. There really are kids who struggle with emotions and do get into trouble and do have trouble being kind even if they might, deep down, feel like that and do have behavioral issues. I didn’t mean to suggest that being a nice parent solves all. I just think that maybe for eighty percent of nice parents, you might be okay, but twenty percent, you might not be okay. That’s my .

Christina: It’s so hard because it makes you question yourself as a parent. Ari started pre-K two weeks ago. I only have one kid at home because my bigs are in school, in-person school, which is amazing. Ari’s in in-person pre-K. I have my three-year-old at home. I was thinking we were going to have this special one-on-one time. She never had just me. This is going to be so great. She was a monster the first two weeks. I think so much of it was, this was a huge change for her.

Melinda: Transition.

Christina: Ari has been a fixture of her entire life. All of a sudden, he’s gone. We’re dropping him off. I’m thinking, oh, this is so fun. We’re going to bop around together. She’s just totally acting out. We had to leave this park because she’s hitting me. Then you start to think, oh, my gosh, what am I doing wrong? I think that’s just such a normal moment for so many parents to go through. The answer is nothing. You’re doing nothing wrong. I had this wonderful girlfriend say to me, “Anytime that you catch yourself thinking, this is just how she is, she’s always going to be like that, correct yourself and say, this is just a phase. She is going through an adjustment. This is a huge adjustment for all of you. He’s starting school.” I just loved that advice because I was hesitant. I didn’t want any advice. I just wanted to vent to a friend. I didn’t want anyone saying, this is what to do. She’s so fantastic. She has four kids of her own. She has some bigs and littles, but they’re a little bit older than ours. She’s a really seasoned parent, has been married for twenty years, and so wise. She knew the exact advice to give that was, although unsolicited, so welcomed. She just said, “This is a phase. It’s not you. You’re not doing anything wrong.” I think that’s really something that we need to learn so often as parents.

Melinda: Absolutely. We’ve been talking a lot about anxiety, so I’ll just keep talking about anxiety. Kids have a lot of anxiety. It does not manifest the way adult anxiety manifests. It can be seen as really challenging behavior. It could be seen as inflexibility. Everything has to go a certain way or else you have meltdowns. My son has struggled with this a lot. Anxiety can look so many different ways in kids. It can be really hard for parents to understand what’s going on. She was going through a huge transition with him gone. Sorry, with your daughter. Wait, Ari is —

Christina: — With Ari gone, yeah. Ari’s my son.

Melinda: Right, okay. That’s a huge, huge change. It makes sense that that kind of transition can just elicit so much difficult behavior. It’s so hard to realize that and see that.

Christina: It is, especially in the moment or when you have a really fun day planned for them and then you do the whole, if you’re acting like this, we’re going to have to leave. You’re secretly hoping, please don’t act like this because I want to stay. Then they do act like that. You’re like, now we have to leave because I have to stick to my guns. I stuck it out. We had several bad days where we didn’t get to do the fun things. Today, we had a great day. She started her little ballet class. She felt she had something for her. We did a special park date, a special lunch date. She was like a different kid. I was like, okay, yes.

Zibby: It takes all of us time. September is hard. I feel like it’s always such a transition. It’s very emotional. September’s always super emotional for so many reasons. My son, he’s in first grade. He had a birthday party. He really didn’t want to go. I was like, do I force him to go? Do I not force him to go? Somehow, I was like, “Let’s just go for twenty minutes or a half an hour.” Let’s just at least put in an appearance, so to speak. Not that you’re supposed to do that for kids’ birthday parties. So we go there. He stops, won’t move a foot, maybe six feet away from the party and is like, “No.” He doesn’t want to go. We were standing there. Some people were coming. He’s like, “No, I don’t want to. No thanks. I’ll see them in school.” I was like, okay. I stood there for a few minutes. I was like, “Let’s just go.” I was walking out of the park with him. He’s like, “Can I get a pretzel?” I was like, “Yeah. You know what? Let’s just go get pretzels together and hang out.”

Christina: Heaven.

Zibby: I said to him, I was like, “I think other moms would probably have said, if you sit and watch the magic show, then we can go get a pretzel. I’m not that kind of mom, so I hope I’m not messing you up.” He was like, “Good. I don’t want you to be that type of mom. I’ll go talk to those kids in school, but I don’t want to do it in this big group.” I was like, “I wouldn’t want to do it in this big group either.” Sometimes we have to listen to the kids.

Melinda: That is so mature of him. To be able to understand that that’s what he wanted — this is making me anxious. I don’t want to go have to be at this party and interact with these kids. So many young kids — first grade, my, gosh — would just be having meltdowns but not be able to communicate that. The fact that he communicated that is really something. I think it’s great that you listened and you said, you know what, I understand. Let’s do something else. Having recognized how he feels and what he wants, to say, I’m going to listen to you, I think that’s wonderful.

Zibby: This is the benefit of him being my fourth child.

Melinda: You’re doing great.

Zibby: If this were my first child, I would’ve handled it very differently. Now I have the confidence to be like — I don’t know. I think that’s part of — that both of your books touch on. It’s learning the tools that make you the best parent you can be. If that’s time or if it’s tactics or science or whatever, arming yourself with the tools that you need is how you’re going to get through this whole crazy period.

Christina: What I like to say is when it comes to parenting books especially, there are so many. Talk about anxiety. You can become overwhelmed with all of the advice and feeling like you’re doing everything wrong. I like to say, take what works, and leave the rest. It’s unlikely that you’re going to pick up a parenting book and like every single thing that it says because every family is different. Every child is different. You’re going to have to find what level feels appropriate, what level of autonomy, all of these different things. I like to tell people, just take the things that you like. I feel like I used to have this mindset of, if I read a parenting book, I’d have to be fully on board with everything that it said. That’s just not true because every family has its own dynamics.

Zibby: I think one of the most important things in choosing a parenting book is really liking the parent who’s writing the book. You guys are very likable.

Christina: I hope we’re doing a good job and acting likable.

Zibby: You’re so funny in your book about your dating. You want to get advice from somebody who you would want to be sitting next to in the playground. If the person is this didactic person that you wouldn’t really want to talk to, maybe their advice is not so relevant. Let’s take some questions. This was parenting book curation lessons here.

Christina: Oh, my gosh, I love it.

Zibby: Dara is asking, “What’s the best advice you’ve been given about being a mom?” This too shall pass.

Christina: It’s just a phase. I love the really young ages where the answer for everything is, it must be teething. Do you remember those days? It’s literally the answer for everything. It must be teeth.

Zibby: That’s like, now I’m like, it must be my thyroid. That’s everything.

Melinda: I feel like the one thing that really grounded me and made me feel better as a mom was talking with child psychologists who were moms who were like, I also screw up all the time and don’t know how to respond to different situations. Just hearing that from the people who really are experts, who have PhDs in this topic, made me feel so much better as a mom, as a flailing mom. It’s okay. You’re not supposed to have all the answers. You can’t have all the answers. You can’t know what to do in every situation. That is totally normal and okay. I think that made me feel the best.

Zibby: It’s a good one. Liz is asking — they’re specifying it’s for all three of us. “What’s your favorite question your kid has asked you about the world? What’s your least favorite?” My favorite question and my least-favorite question, I don’t know. I have to think about that.

Melinda: I have a least favorite.

Zibby: What’s your least favorite?

Melinda: This was last year. My daughter said — I’m going to explain why this is my least favorite because it may not come across the right way when I say it. She said, “Mom, can I change into a boy?” I said, “That’s an interesting question. What makes you say that?” She said, “I really want to be president. You can’t be president if you’re a girl.” That was heartbreaking because, believe me, we have talked about the fact that girls can be president and that we almost had a female president and that many countries have female leaders. Yet the message that she gets because of the way our culture is set up and the hierarchy that kids can easily see, the gender hierarchy with men in power much more so than women, she had just intuited, I can’t be president if I’m a girl. That was really heartbreaking. That was in my book too. I talked a lot about it in my sexism chapter, how to talk to kids about sexism and gender stereotypes and stuff.

Christina: For me, the hardest was probably when my son who’s almost five asked me about my bigs, my stepkids, and their mom, their bio mom. That was hard for me because we had never really discussed it. He hadn’t really noticed whenever they had been going to a different house because they don’t do that very frequently these days, and so we didn’t discuss it. It hadn’t come up. The first time I had to explain that Daddy used to be married to someone else and I’m your mom, but I’m not their bio mom, but I’m still their mom, that whole conversation was really hard and probably my least-favorite topic. I just stuck to the facts. I thought it would be more confusing to him than it was, but it wasn’t. I’m trying to think of my favorite one.

Zibby: Here, we’ll go to the next one. Maybe this will be easier. This is anonymous. “How do you figure out how much of the outside world of politics to talk to your kids about? Do you touch upon the issues of the day like racism, sexual orientation, Trump, climate change, etc.? Is there a right age to begin having these discussions?”

Melinda: I talk about this a lot in my book, so I can start with this. I think that there’s never an age that’s too young to have some form of conversation about the issues in the world. Obviously, it’s going to be a different conversation if you’re talking to a three-year-old versus an eight-year-old versus a fifteen-year-old. There are ways to talk about what’s happening. These kinds of conversations are really important because they really are opportunities for you to share your values and your worldview. With racism, there was one point when my daughter, I think she was five, she saw the cover of a newspaper, the front page of a newspaper. It was right after George Floyd’s death. There were pictures of protests. She’s said, “What’s going on there? What’s that about?” I remember in that moment thinking, I can either give her a very gloss-over answer where I’m not really telling her what’s going on and just sort of say, these are protests about something, and change the subject or I can really try to explain what has happened and history of racism. I did. She was five. We talked about it. I don’t know how much she got it. Later on, I think the next day, she came back to the topic. She said, “Mom, I have some more questions. I want to talk a little bit more about why people don’t treat people with dark skin well.”

We ended up having a series of conversations. I think those conversations are really important because these are really complex issues. Our kids are learning from the media. They are hearing things from friends. They are hearing things from the media. If we aren’t there to contextualize it and to frame it in the way that we want to frame it, then they might make conclusions we don’t want them to make. We actually know from the research they do make conclusions. If we don’t talk about racism and kids can easily see the racial hierarchy in society, they actually do come to the conclusion that maybe white people have more power because they’re just better. We have to get our voices in there and explain, no, that is not the reason. That is not what’s going on. I really think you can have these conversations at a very young age, and that you should. You should jump on opportunities. When your kid points out a Black Lives Matter sign when you’re driving by, don’t just say, yeah. Say, oh, yeah, let’s talk about this. What’s Black Lives Matter? Use those opportunities to have these conversations.

Christina: I totally agree. Like you said Melinda, they’re going to be exposed to this information and other people’s views, whether it’s at school or elsewhere. When we can be a part of that conversation — something that we emphasize a lot with our kids is sources, the veracity of sources and bias. That’s something that I learned a lot in my career and focused on at CIA because, obviously, we’re verifying information from intelligence sources, but we’re also looking at different news sources. That’s become really important when it comes to politics in our world the last several years, this whole idea of fake news. What sources can you trust? Where’s the bias? That’s something that we really discuss with our kids a lot. We talk in our book about ways that you can do this with your kids and show them — turn on different news channels. Look at the stories that are being reported on some stations and not others. Compare the headlines of the same stories. Look at how they’ve been phrased differently so that our kids can be aware of how to assess sources and how to assess information because they need to understand that there are mindsets and biases and that they have them too and that we all have them and what it looks like and how we can overcome them and check them and make sure that the information we’re getting is factual and true.

Zibby: Excellent. “At what age should I stop checking my kid’s text messages and web history?” Thirty-seven? We’re supposed to stop? No.

Christina: When it comes to technology, and this goes back to what I was saying earlier, we give our kids a lot of autonomy because it comes back to that trust piece. There are a couple different reasons for this in our house. One, during the pandemic, we want our kids to be connected. We were all so isolated, so we want to make sure that our kids are connected to other people. Two, we want to make sure that they’re savvy when it comes to technology so that they can be successful in the world. Not just when it comes to reading their texts, but also certain apps, we can want to just lock it down because we want to keep them safe. It’s a slippery slope. We don’t want them to make a mistake. Just like Melinda was saying, with these conversations that we can have with them in guiding them, when we can guide them through technology and give them access to things when they’re still home, give them opportunities to use them, we can hopefully guide them along the way so that they’re not fumbling as adults. We know there are adults who still struggle with what to post that’s appropriate. Our kids obviously are going to make mistakes. We are really pro-technology and giving our kids a lot of autonomy with that in our home, so we try not to do that.

What I like to tell parents is that if they do choose to use some sort of surveillance app, whether it’s reading the texts or whether it’s something like Life360 and tracking their kids and that kind of thing, if that’s what works for their family, that’s fine, but I would highly recommend your kids know that you are doing that. If you’re reading their texts, you want to make sure your kids know that there’s no expectation of privacy if that’s the way you want to do things in your house. The thing is, nothing is going to erode trust faster than your kids finding out that you were spying on them without them knowing. Them knowing that there’s no expectation of privacy, that’s probably going to create a different type of environment in terms of trust. That’s not what we do in our home. We try to give more of that autonomy when we can. At the end of the day, it’s also your roof. They’re under it. You’re having access to it. Everybody has to find what that boundary is. We do try to give more autonomy than, I think, most. We try to fall kind of in the middle, give that autonomy, but provide guidance where we can as opposed to nothing or a total laissez-faire access to everything under the sun.

Melinda: The research backs up what you do. I will just add that we know from the research that parents who are more like mentors with their kids on technology where they’re using it with them, learning about it with them, playing video games with their kids sometimes, those kids get into less trouble online than the parents who really are like monitors and who are just surveilling and watching what their kids do and controlling and saying, you can’t do this, you can’t do that. The research really backs up that letting your kids use technology but doing it with you so that you can help them understand, again, here are the values that we care about when you’re online, here’s how we expect you to behave, etc., those kids really do much better.

Christina: When we give them those values and those guidelines, that roadmap, we can feel more comfortable about them making good choices. I think that goes hand in hand with giving them more physical freedom going out in the world as well because when we’re giving them the skills — we talk a lot about the more physical sides of some of the espionage skills that my husband and I had at the CIA like learning how to spot and avoid danger. When we’re equipping our kids with some of these skills of how to get out of an emergency scenario, being prepared for those emergencies, we can, at the same time, feel more comfortable not putting a tracker on their car. We have more confidence in their ability to get out of a dangerous situation if they needed to.

Zibby: I don’t check the texts and the web history. I don’t have time for that. They’re usually nearby when they’re on them. I look over. If it looks terrible, I’m like, I don’t know about that, but whatever. They seem to be okay so far. Two more questions. “Christina, what’s your starter advice for beginning to make your child more self-sufficient? My daughter is fifteen and still relies on me more than her older brothers did. I don’t want it to end, know it will, but want to encourage her to be more adventurous, leave the house more, spend more time with friends, want to get a license, etc. She’s wonderful and smart and sweet, but I think the past couple years of the pandemic, she’s more of a homebody than she might otherwise have been,” as we all are, probably.

Christina: We’ve definitely experienced that with the pandemic. Different kids have different personalities too. Our oldest who’s off to college, she was more of a homebody, which is why we’re experiencing such a gap with her gone, because she was a homebody. I think it’s possible to have that personality but still have some of these self-sufficiency skills. We talk about it, we start with things like, when they’re younger, we call them adventure bags. Of course, if your daughter’s fifteen, you can call it a go bag and start having conversations with her about the types of things she would need in an emergency and getting her used to being more confident in her own abilities. I don’t know what’s driving her. Maybe she’s just naturally someone who likes to stay at home. Also, looking for ways to — we talked about this idea of being well-rounded. It’s this idea of doing this technique called You Me, Same Same. When you’re well-rounded, you can choose from those skills to find something that you have in common with the other person to build that connection.

I would suggest starting that way with your daughter. If she is a homebody but you know a couple things that she does like to do, if you don’t like to do it, maybe show an interest in it. It’s something you could start to do together. Then encourage her to do it more on her own and trying to take that backseat or helping her find opportunities to go out and dive deeper into some of these hobbies. We were talking about unicorn space earlier. You could do You Me, Same Same with her. That could be a great opportunity to bond with her and continue that trust, but then also setting her up for going out and doing it on her own as well and adding to that repertoire of skills. It’s not too late. She’s fifteen. She’ll get there. This goes back to, all kids are different. Our college kid who’s out of the house was such a homebody, but now I barely even hear from her unless she has a problem or needs help with something. She finally called me the other night. I was so excited. I answered the phone. She’s like, “Hey.” I’m like, “Hey.” She’s like, “What’s the Hulu password?” I’m like, aw, come on.

Zibby: Last question. This is from Sherri, who actually heads up Moms Don’t Have Time to Grieve. “What are you most looking forward to as far as what’s ahead for your kids? What phase/stage of motherhood are you eagerly anticipating?”

Melinda: I have to say, I am loving — my son is ten. I am having so much fun with him at this age. I suppose I’m terrified of what’s coming with both my kids getting — he’s still very loving. He’s maybe not quite as affectionate as he used to be, but he’s still affectionate. He still wants hugs and kisses before bed. He still wants me to say “I love you” before bed and waves at me when he goes on the school bus. He, every morning, looks out the window and waves at me and makes sure I’m waving back. Yet he’s so easy right now. He’s self-sufficient. He loves to go in his room and read. He’s an introvert like I am. After school, he kind of disappears and goes and reads. He’s very easy to look after, but he’s still a little kid too. I’m just loving this where he’s still very sweet and loving and open and wants to talk about so much stuff all the time and yet also not really difficult, doesn’t have meltdowns anymore. That’s not what you asked, but that’s my answer. I’m loving age ten right now.

Christina: That’s such a good age. Our son is seventeen today. It’s his birthday, our oldest son. I still remember when he was eight and would hold my hand and want to cuddle me. He was eight when I met him, actually. Then ten was still good. Then all of a sudden, they’re six foot three. It’s their seventeenth birthday. Their girlfriend’s coming over. That’s where I am with my bigs. I’m excited for this stage for them. Our two bigs that are still in the house are both dating. That’s hard. I think it’s harder for Ryan than it is for me. I’m sure it will be when our littles are at that age for me as well. I’m excited because Ari just started pre-K. I’m thinking about putting Gigi in as well, my youngest, maybe a couple days a week so Mommy can have some time to work, do some writing. It’s hard. You mentioned your son, Melinda, waving from the bus. On Ari’s first day two weeks ago, I was thinking it might be hard for him. I was thinking of putting a picture of me in the backpack, the whole thing that we talked about. He didn’t look back, you guys. He walked in. I’m going, “Ari, I love you. I love you.” Didn’t even turn around. The teacher’s like, “Do you want to say bye to your mom?” He’s gone. I’m really excited because he’s coming home and has all these great things to say. I love having conversations with him. At the same time, I’m just hating it because I’m like, ugh. It hurts the heart, but it’s great. Obviously, he was ready for it and was awesome, so that’s a good sign. It was harder on me than him.

Zibby: I am looking forward to them all being out of the house. No, I’m kidding. I’m just kidding. This was so much fun. Thanks, ladies. I’m sorry I was little loopy tonight. I hope it was okay, just talking to you as if we’ve known each other forever here. If anybody’s feeling anxious and wants to keep this conversation going .

Christina: I love it. You’ve had a long day. Will you share your news? I don’t think it was a part of the intro.

Zibby: I know. I probably should’ve said something. Yes, I started a publishing company called Zibby Books. I’m really excited about it.

Melinda: Yay! It’s awesome.

Christina: Congratulations.

Zibby: Twelve books a year, memoir and fiction, kind of book club-ish. I’m going to change up all these different things. I’m really excited.

Christina: I love it.

Melinda: Fantastic.

Zibby: I’m excited. You still there with us? What’d you think?

Sabir: Amazing. Congratulations to Zibby. It’s a big day. To our audience, thank you so much for joining us tonight. If you haven’t picked Christina or Melinda’s books, I dropped links to both of them in the chat. If you’re watching via Facebook, it’s in the subject header. I’ll also drop it in a comment. Perfect. Look down.

Zibby: Subliminal marketing here.

Sabir: On that note, thank you, everyone. Have a wonderful evening.

Christina: Thank you.

Melinda: Thank you.

Zibby: Thanks, everybody, for watching. Thank you. Thanks, ladies. Bye.



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