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Unfiltered Motherhood in Midlife with Tova Leigh

body acceptance menopause midlife motherhood self-care
Tova Leigh Midlife Feast on Motherhood

If you've ever followed someone on social media and thought, "I need to be friends with this person!" you'll understand why I was thrilled to use my podcast as an excuse to hang out with today's guest (and share her with all of you, of course). I was so incredibly grateful that the amazing Tova Leigh wanted to sit down with me and connect with this community. She 100% understands the rollercoaster ride of motherhood as Tova is a mom of three and a fellow twin mom. Tova’s story is packed with humor, honesty, and all the feels. If you're juggling kids, and self-care, all while learning body acceptance, this episode is for you. 

Tova courageously opens up about the some dark seasons she faced in motherhood, like dealing with preeclampsia and the loneliness that can creep in during early motherhood. Her brutally honest blog post, "I love my kids, but sometimes I wish they would fuck off," went viral because it hit home for so many parents. It’s a raw but compassionate look at the dual nature of parenting, showing that it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and frustrated while still loving your kids to pieces.

During our chat, Tova and I talk about how sharing your truth online can be incredibly healing. By opening up about her real-life struggles, Tova not only found relief but also a community of parents who felt seen and understood. In a world where perfection is often the goal, Tova’s story points to the power of vulnerability and honesty. Being open about our struggles can create a supportive network for all of us navigating the same rocky road.

We also dive into the impact of social media on parenting, stressing the importance of setting boundaries and balancing our online and offline lives. Tova shares her tips for managing her kids' screen time and the dangers lurking on the internet. We reminisce about our own tech-free childhoods and why helping our kids navigate the digital world safely requires so much intentionality on our part.

Another crucial topic we cover is the changes our bodies go through as we age. Tova speaks candidly about her postpartum body image issues and her journey towards body acceptance. We talk about what it takes to shift our focus from seeking external validation to prioritizing our well-being and health as we get older. This is especially relevant for midlife moms, as we learn to embrace our imperfections and find joy in the chaos.

If you know Tova, you know humor is a big part of Tova’s parenting style. She shares how laughter helps her tackle serious topics and connect with others. Through all of her candid anecdotes, Tova shows how finding humor in tough situations can make them more bearable and relatable. When we choose to show up authentically like this, everyone else gets the best of us too.

To learn more about Tova, check out her website at or follow her on IG @tova_leigh or Facebook @mythoughtsaboutstuff


Jenn Salib Huber: 0:00

Hi and welcome to the Midlife Feast, the podcast for women who are hungry for more in this season of life. I'm your host, dr Jen Salib-Huber. I'm an intuitive eating dietitian and naturopathic doctor and I help women manage menopause without dieting and food rules. Come to my table, listen and learn from me trusted guest experts in women's health and interviews with women just like you. Each episode brings to the table juicy conversations designed to help you feast on midlife. And if you're looking for more information about menopause, nutrition and intuitive eating, check out the Midlife Feast Community, my monthly membership that combines my no-nonsense approach that you all love to nutrition with community, so that you can learn from me and others who can relate to the cheers and challenges of midlife.

Welcoming Tova Leigh

Tova Leigh: 0:50

Hi Tova, welcome to the Midlife Feast. Thank you, thank you for having me. I'm really happy to be here.

Jenn Salib Huber: 0:56

So, as I was saying just before we started recording, I've been a fan of yours for a while and it was really the parenting message and just kind of keeping it real about being a mom. We I also have three kids, including a set of twins, and also had preeclampsia, and so I felt like along the way, I'm like oh, here's somebody who, like I, can really relate to, and I think that one of the one of the things that really drew me to your stories and your content, your blog, was just that you took the sugarcoating off of parenting.

Like at the time it felt like so many mom accounts or parent accounts were trying to, you know, paint this perfect picture of what it was like to have kids, and you just always kept it really real. So I'd love to hear more about, like how did you, how did you get into all that? How did you get into being the voice of real moms?

Tova's Journey into Blogging

Tova Leigh: 1:48

Well, first of all, I'm so glad that you feel that way and it's always nice to hear. Honestly, I started blogging about motherhood and parenting out of sheer desperation. I, uh, so, like you, have twins. Uh, my eldest was two when they were born after complications, preeclampsia, stint in hospital and all of that fun, um, and I think they were about two, the twins.

Tova Leigh: 2:21

Um, when I was just completely, I mean, I, I was losing my, my. Are we allowed to swear on this podcast? Yes, I was totally losing my shit at that point and, um, really didn't know where to aim it, like I was. I was, I didn't know because, like you said, everywhere I was looking around me, everybody else seemed to have their shit together and I really did make me feel like I was a big, massive failure and like something was very much wrong with me because everybody else was doing it.

So what? Why wasn't I able to just do it with a smile on my face and you know the, the perfect, perfect hair and all of that type of thing that you see a lot of the times on social media and motherhood was portrayed very differently from how my reality was, at least at the time. And, um, so I started a blog.

Tova Leigh: 3:17

Uh, honestly, it was boxing day, so day after Christmas 2015. And I, I, I, I, I shouted my husband to take, take the kids and leave me alone, give me an hour, you know, um, and I just sat down and started blogging and I wrote a blog post that was called I love my kids, but sometimes I wish they would fuck off. And that was like the most honest thing I could have said in that moment was I love them. I know I love them, but I really want them to fuck off.

Tova Leigh: 3:51

And I've had many, many, many of those moments, many moments that I felt exactly like that and I just never, I never, I don't know, I never, I don't know, I don't think when you become a mom, people prepare you for that duality, for being able to have all those kind of um, you know, conflicting emotions, literally at the same time. I joke about how you know you could be, you know you could be at the end of your rope by bedtime, screaming um, go to bed, everybody, just go to bed. I just say everybody, just go to bed. And two hours later, you're sitting on your phone and a memory comes up of them, you know, and they were sweet and lovely and you're like I love them, I miss them.

Tova Leigh: 4:35

I want to wake them up. You know it's like the weirdest.

Jenn Salib Huber: 4:41

It's weird that way, because you can really absolutely love your kids to the point of feeling like you're going to crack open and also be so annoyed that they exist in that moment that you feel like you're going to Like it's so hard to reconcile, yeah, so, yeah. So you started blogging and obviously people related to what you were saying.

Tova Leigh: 5:04

That was the most surprising thing actually. Yeah, because I really didn't do it for anything. I wasn't set on being a blogger, I didn't, I didn't. It was really. It was a form of um, it was a form of therapy for me to just be able to just say my truth and then see what happens, to just be able to just say my truth and then see what happens. And then, yeah, that first blog went completely viral, with people kind of messaging from all over the world and saying how much they related, and it kind of started from there.

Tova Leigh: 5:37

I started writing more regularly, I started kind of talking about parenting more regularly, and then I saw a lot of people actually in the states Doing vlogging and they were just basically ranting to camera and I I trained as an actress and I had done a lot of video stuff. I knew how to edit, I knew how to write scripts. I had like I had all these you know tools in my, in my toolkit, so, yeah, so and that and that was it. And then you're right, because at the time I don't think there were many people who were. I mean, there were, don't get me wrong, they were and actually they really inspired me, because I do.

Tova Leigh: 6:13

I do think that when you see other people, it kind of you go oh, I can do that, so wait, I can. I can say that it's allowed for me to say that Like I can. You know what I mean. So I think it's very important because you, even even in your small circles, you could be saying something, even to your best friend, and she'll go oh gosh, I wish I thank you for saying that, cause now I can tell you that actually I feel the same. So I'm I'm a big fan of you know, let's get it out there, you know, and it could. And there is the risk, of course, that people will kind of go oh, that's odd. I don't relate to that, but I found that there's always at least one person, and that's the person I pay attention to, you know.

Letting Go of the Highlight Reel of Mom Life

Jenn Salib Huber: 6:57

So yeah, you know, and what I find, too, is, you know, as somebody who tries to be real, I mean both of our kind of you know businesses, I guess you could say, depend on kind of being online, and as much as you try and keep it real, it's still the highlight reel. Even if it's like the highlight reel of the shit show, it's still a highlight reel, right, and you know, but I think that what people I think that what people need, though, is to see the shit shows. Yeah, you know, because that's real life Like. That is real life, right. Nothing ever goes according to plan, especially well, even if you don't have kids, like, but especially when you have kids, like, nothing goes according to plan, and just being able to laugh about it, I think, is so appreciated.

Tova Leigh: 7:43

Yeah, but that's so true what you said. It's the real version, it's the short version, even when you people would say to me oh gosh, but how can you laugh Like you're? So I wish I don't have that. Like I'm not, I can't, I don't find the humor in it, like I'm just in the shit and I'm like, well, I'm laughing about it. Like you know, a while time has passed. It's like I'm laughing in retrospect. I was not laughing when this happened to me, you know, and when this was all going on. Um, yeah, I think that's a really important thing to say.

Tova Leigh: 8:21

Social media and as someone that's now been working consistently on social media for nearly a decade like social media is so not real. Nothing. You see, even the people who are being real and keeping it real, they're not. You know there's 24 hours in a day. You see, maybe what? Like four minutes of the person's day and their stories, like, even if it feels like, oh gosh, that person's stories all the time count, how many minutes really in total it is. I mean, people who really story a lot may be sorry for I don't know, 10 minutes a day, like, maybe that's nothing, um, so you don't, you don't know what's going on in people's lives, you don't know. Um, yeah, I take it with a pinch of salt now, because you still see, by the way, all those perfect parenting. They're still out there, but I just don't. I pay no attention because I know it's not real.

Jenn Salib Huber: 9:15

Yeah, and really I mean there's no fun in perfect right.

Tova Leigh: 9:19


Using Social Media to Normalize Body Changes

Jenn Salib Huber: 9:21

At least I have to imagine. There's no fun and perfect because, I definitely don't have any lived experience with it, but so one of the things that I really noticed about your content over the last few years has been also normalizing, like body changes, right, and normalizing that our bodies change throughout our lives and over 40, it definitely, you know, it speeds up and it sometimes feels like it's happening to us in a way that is really uncomfortable. So I'd love to hear about, kind of, how you made that leap, how you made that transition.

Tova Leigh: 9:56

First of all, I guess first of all I got bored of just talking about my children. And also, you know, in the early days of motherhood especially I'm sure you can relate when you have twins you know you are so deep in the shit, like you really are, you cannot even your head, like put your head up. You know above water for enough time for there to be anything else. That was my day to day, all day, every day, um, but know they grow up a little bit and suddenly they're for me I feel Touchwood. Still they're at that sweet spot. They're still not teenagers, so I'm not quite there yet, but they're at teenagers, and it's a ride.

Tova Leigh: 10:42

Let me tell you Don't tell me this. Don't tell me this, let me enjoy. Let me enjoy a few more moments. No, I can already see it coming, but so far we're still at that sweet stage. So I was a bit like we're doing so much better in terms of like we got a handle of this now. And you know, like you said, nothing's ever perfect, of course not, but we're okay, like we're sleeping again. You know we've got a routine, we've got like kids that are great, and you know. So I was like, um, so then, at that point I started I guess the focus comes back to you because in those early years, you're not focused on you. I mean, I wasn't. I wasn't focused on myself at all, not my needs, not nothing. You know nothing.

So suddenly and that's, by the way, where, when my first book came out was 2020, I think it was just after I had completed my midlife crisis, or mom life crisis, as I like to call it, and it's just that stage where your kids are sort of like five years old or a bit older, where they don't need your help to wipe their bums anymore and they're just more independent and life just feels a bit more normal. And then you sort of go huh, what's left, like what's left of me? Who am I? What am I in this story, you know? And then I really realized how disconnected I was from my body.

That was a major, major thing, a feeling that I was completely disconnected from this Because, again, through I think, for for it's, it's like women, it happens to us much earlier actually in life this kind of disassociation from our own bodies. But the crescendo, I believe, is when you become a mother, and especially through the process of pregnancy and childbirth, when you're like this kind of vessel, and then after, when they're poking and prodding and pulling and sucking, and all of that.

And for me I really disconnected from my body and I realized it, and that had a massive impact on my sexuality, on how my body image, everything, how I felt about myself and even just being able to be present, you know, because if you're not in your body it's very hard to be present, um, so that kind of set me off on a, on a little journey, um and uh, you know,

I sort of really tried to get that connection back through movement and dance and um and you know, and and yeah, and just bringing that present back into my physicality and also, by the way, by setting boundaries, because that's another massive word that I just don't think. As women, as mothers, I feel like we go boundaries. I'm a mother, what do you mean? I'm like, oh, I'm always there. I'm like I'm going to sacrifice myself on the altar, always, always, always. There's no boundary ever.

Why Moms Are Not Allowed to Grieve Transitions

Jenn Salib Huber: 13:46

You know the expectation that we want to and should do that.

Tova Leigh: 13:53

Yeah, and you should really be happy to do that because you're very lucky to be a mother. So all of that Uh and um, yeah, so so that kind of brought me into the whole body image world. Uh, that was one aspect of it. The other was obviously, as as most women, I think, in the world, I also had body image from body image issues from the age of 14, you know, with diets and every single diet, and I'm too fat and I'm too thin, and you know, and all that Um and you know, and then you've got. You know, when you have kids, your body changes. My body changed completely.

Tova Leigh: 14:28

I had two C-sections. There was a point where I looked at my stomach and I just really felt this sense of like it's not mine, like it's not part of me, what is this thing? It's just so foreign, like it's not part of me, what is this thing? It's just so foreign. I don't. And also for a lot of women who have had C-sections, they might, they maybe can relate. I have a section that's like numb. I can't even feel it. How can you? Then it's even more foreign because I can't even feel it, you know. So it was.

Tova Leigh: 15:02

There was a lot um and then on top of that, you sort of you reach your kind of midlife and you go oh, so much thinking. I have spent so much thinking on this bloody topic, it has taken up so much of my brain space, it's taken up so much of my time and, um, I just didn't want to do that anymore. Um, so I, I kind of you know, I said I guess it was like a long process, but I just reached a point where I was just like I don't give a fuck anymore, like this is such a waste of my time. There are far more interesting and important things that I want to do in my life. And also a friend of mine I always tell this story but my friend, I was going on and on about my stomach and again, I'm not belittling it because I know that for a lot of people, you know, if they have this feeling, it's very real and it can be really, really upsetting and crutching.

Tova Leigh: 15:55

And I can totally relate because I was there. But it was one day in particular that I was talking to her about my stomach and I was saying you know, it's just, it feels so foreign to me, it's not attractive, I don't like it, it doesn't feel right. It doesn't look right, it's uneven, it's droopy. You know, I was saying all these things and I sort of said and I can't love it and I don't love it. And everybody's saying you need to love it, love it. And um, and she just turned around to me and I don't even think she was trying to make a point or she was being sarcastic. She just really genuinely asked but do you love your elbow?

Jenn Salib Huber: 16:34

Oh yeah, Right Like. Has anyone ever actually thought about how they feel about?

Tova Leigh: 16:38

that and I was like I was like I stopped speaking and I was like I sort of, at this moment sometimes things are said to you in the right moment, in the right way that you just go and I just had one of those moments and what I realized in the moment was that I had never, ever, thought about my elbow. And then I thought maybe the issue is that I'm constantly thinking about the issue, and it was just like mind blowing, you know, because I suddenly realized that I did have a choice and it wasn't necessarily about changing my stomach, it was just about maybe shift your focus a little bit Like why does it have to constantly be the stomach? So neutrality.

Jenn Salib Huber: 17:24

In a nutshell, really that you know, we don't have to love every part of our body, no Um, to be kind and treat it with respect.

Learning to See Your Body as a Tool and a Vessel

Tova Leigh: 17:32

Yeah, yeah, and I do like that because actually it does, it does uh, it did it does. Feel like you're free. You have other options. You don't have to love every single part of your body. You know you, you know you, just get on with it. You know it's a, it's a, it's a, it's a, it's a tool.

Tova Leigh: 17:51

I, you know now, especially now getting um, you know I'll be 50, not this October, but the next October and suddenly, like, my priorities have changed so much. In my twenties, my priority was to look good. I, you know, any anything I did about my body was in an attempt to to make it look good, not feel good, not be strong or productive or have longevity, just to look good. That was the only goal, the only intention why I moisturize, why I worked out, why I did anything, any type of investment.

Tova Leigh: 18:34

And now, when I'm like my kids are nearly teenagers and I'm thinking about their future and when they, might you know what they're going to do, I'm thinking, god, I want to be here for a long time, like, I want to look after my body because I want it to be functioning later in life. I want. These are my intentions now. These are my goals. So so now I'm like thinking about maybe what I'm eating, but not because I want to lose weight just for the sake of getting into a certain size jeans. You know, it's because I want to, to be healthy and and and, to have longevity and to be here to see my kids grow up, and that's my goal. Like that is it. I don't care about the looks, it's so.

Jenn Salib Huber: 19:08

No, it's just it's totally changed, but maybe it happens with age who knows Well and I think that for many people who are lucky enough, it does happen with age Cause. I think the gift of midlife is that you really do very easily and quickly shed concerns about what other people think. Yes, it becomes so much easier to focus inward, like what do I want and how do I make that happen in my life for me, yeah, not for anyone else, not for clothing size, not for a number, um, but yeah, it would be nice if we could access that earlier. I have a very similar experience. I also had two c-sections. I also had two awful postpartum infections that have resulted in not just numbness but like it barely looks like skin, like at this point, you know, and nothing.

Jenn Salib Huber: 20:01

I don't even think plastic surgery could like recover what was right and so being able to make peace with that. It was hard, but at the same time, it really was about reconnecting to this part of my body that had. You know it's going to be with me Like I can't, I can't ignore it. It's not like hair that you can just cut off, like it. Really, I just had to make peace with it. Um, so, but one of the things that I love is um, you bring so much humor to this, so anybody who's listening, who has not watched the reels that you do with Rihanna how do you pronounce it? Rihanna, rihanna, yeah.

Tova Leigh: 20:38

You guys are hilarious.

Jenn Salib Huber: 20:40

I love Rihanna and bringing realness and humor to it. I think that is such an equalizer. How did you guys get to doing that? Have you been friends for a long time?

How Tova Uses Social Media Friendships to Entertain and Connect with Followers

Tova Leigh: 20:51

Yeah, I love Reena. Reena is a very talented singer, songwriter, creator, actress. She's amazing. We actually met through social media. So, despite the fact that I hate social media with a vengeance, there are some nice it. There are some nice sites and uh, years and years ago I did a Facebook show called um. It was like a live show that I did every Friday. It was called the pajama parties, pajama party and confessions.

So people would just send in their confessions and I'd read them out on a Friday night. It was when we were the kids, were very young and we never, we never went out. So, um, and then I used to have guests coming on the show. They'd come to my house and and, and we just hang out live on Facebook. And I came across one of Reena's videos and, uh, she, she, she's a singer, so she did a parody and uh, and I invited her on the show. So she came on the show as my guest and it was love at first sight on the show.

Jenn Salib Huber: 21:48

So she came on the show as my guest and it was love at first sight. You act like you've been friends for like a million years.

Tova Leigh: 21:54

Well, it's been now nearly 10 years, so it's, it's, it's, it's a lot yeah what.

Tova Leigh: 22:02

I said it has been a while. Then, yeah, it has been a while. And, um, yeah, I love. Well, first of all, it's really nice to collaborate always because you know, working online can actually get a bit lonely, so you're by yourself. I love collaborating, like if I could make videos with other creators all day long, that's what I would do, you know, it's great fun. But also, she's a singer. I'm a wannabe singer who's always wanted to be a singer but is an awful singer. But when I sing with Rina she makes me sound really good. I basically get fun to have. Exactly, I get to like, I get to live my dream. You know, this is it.

Tova Leigh: 22:53

And people then say to me oh, oh, you're such a good, um, but yeah, I like to use humor as a tool. So, um, you know, a lot of the topics I talk about are actually are serious and they're you know they're big topics, but when possible I will try and use humor, because I think that humor is like a barrier diffuser. So if people are kind of like they don't want to hear it, they don't want to. You know, it's uncomfortable. A bit Humor helps because it just makes it a little less threatening and and and and, then you might listen and giggle a bit and go, hmm, yeah, you know like and and and the door a little crack is open, not always, but I think it's a yeah, I just think it's a really good tool, yeah, to talk about the uncomfortable stuff.

A Love Hate Relationship with Social Media

Jenn Salib Huber: 23:39

Let's talk about social media for a bit, because that's the other part of like your messaging that I mean. You just said you know I hate social media. You certainly do a great job bringing awareness, especially with kids, and you know the concerns that we need to have. How do you strike that balance, though? Like, how do you, how do you strike the balance between having this love hate relationship with it, um, and in a way that works for me in general?

Tova Leigh: 24:06

just in general for you. I mean, I don't think that for me. I've, I've, I've actually nailed it. To be honest, I, I was talking to someone else. I had another call before this and my timer of the certain app I was on had, uh, had reached its maximum, so the call was disconnected. To ring her back and I said you, this is what happens every day. I reach the time and then I have to add time. It's like, oh, um, no, I, I, I, I really do.

Tova Leigh: 24:39

I used to say I have a love hate relationship, but it's actually just a hate, hate relationship. Now, um, you know, I think we all, we all or I do certainly spend far too much on my phone, on social media. It's not where real life's happening and I actually think it makes you think that that's the world. If you're constantly on Instagram, constantly on Twitter, reading what people are saying about whatever it is right, you get this idea that that is the world. And then I, there was a couple of days I can't remember what it was and I was very much in social media reading about something that was happening and I was like it was just that, just that.

And then I went out for a walk, and you know, when you just walk and you go, oh my God, there are people just going about their day, they're going shopping, they're living their life Look, someone's just picked their child up for nursery. And I go like that's not by the way, to say to close your eyes to things that are happening in far away places in the world where you maybe wouldn't have heard of them had there not been social media.

It's not what I'm saying, but what I'm saying is that when we have our heads down in our phone all the time, it does really take us away also from our first circle, which is the life like here right now your children, your family, your friends and I think that's a really that's yeah, it's very risky and I have actually spoken a lot recently about children, especially with social media and actually smartphones in general, and the reason that came about is A because of my kids and their age.

Tova Leigh: 26:09

So they're reaching that age where it's starting to be a thing and they're friends and I have seen firsthand of what that looks like. So I'm not just bullshitting, I'm not just talking about something that I don't know anything about. I'm a mother, I have children in those ages, but beyond that, I'm also an online creator, and as an online creator, I have come across so much content that I don't think the average parent is aware of, and I only realized that when I started sharing some of these things on my stories and I saw the reaction of parents saying what the actual fuck? I had no idea. Hang on a minute, what do you mean? Explain more. And I was like, oh my God, like people don't know. I thought everybody knew, because I knew, but no one knew.

How Tova is Exposing the Dangers of Social Media for Kids

Tova Leigh: 26:59

So then I actually got in touch with someone I know who works at Meta or worked for Meta at some point in some capacity, and we decided to devise a talk about social media and we did a deep dive, especially into TikTok, and she came from it from a technology point of view, and we had someone who talked about gaming as well, and then I came at it from a content point of view and I showed examples, examples that I can't show on my page, because if I show them on my page, I risk, um, you know, um getting into trouble because they're so vile and they're so, um, pornographic and violent and and yeah.

Tova Leigh: 27:45

So, and we organized a talk for parents and it was through my, my kid's school, and people were crying in the audience like with tears, actual crying, because that's how shocking it was, and I just thought, oh my God, I, this is something that parents just don't know. And so I thought, well, I have to use my platform to let them know. And I know that it's sometimes like, oh God, there she goes again. I'm sure of it. I'm sure there are people who think that, but I just feel like it's a duty. I'm like I'm sorry, you need to know, do what you want after you know, but you need to know.

Jenn Salib Huber: 28:26

Yeah, it's so hard. I mean with teenagers especially so we have three teenagers and um how old are they? So two 14 year olds and an almost 17 year old Okay, and we still do screen time, we still limit apps, um, and we've just lifted my 17 year old just made the case. Mom, I need to manage my own screen time, yeah and uh, and we're so, so we're doing that, but it really is out of this, you know? Need you know to protect them from something that adults can't even protect themselves?

Jenn Salib Huber: 29:03

exactly, yeah you know I think at 17 you're probably.

Tova Leigh: 29:08

You know you're done now because you know 17,. Can they drive? Can they drive?

Jenn Salib Huber: 29:13

No, she can't drive. Well, I mean, we're in the Netherlands and it's more complicated to get a driver's license. But yeah, she could start getting a license right.

Teens With a No Screen Household

Tova Leigh: 29:22

Yeah, I think there's a point where you kind of go right, you can drive, you know, yeah. I point where you kind of go right, you can drive, you can, you know. Yeah, but for younger children, I think it the younger people start with um, you know, the younger people start, the better off and better chance they have to, you know, to push it as far as they can. My, my, my kids are younger than yours, so my eldest is 13 and my twins are 11. And we are a no screen house. So my kids don't have any devices, apart from their school device, which is a computer. It's not even a Mac, shitty laptop that barely works.

Tova Leigh: 30:05

I'm like it's good enough for me, it's good enough for you, and we obviously have a TV and um, my daughter asked for a phone when she finished, uh, primary school, because in England it's the done thing. So when you finish a primary school, everybody gets one for secondary school. The logic is that they travel to school alone on buses, school buses, whatever. So I and this I say to parents who say to me oh my God, how do I put the genie back in the bottle, like, can I, can I?

I say yes, because at that time. When she said that to me, I didn't have any prior experience, I didn't know any better, I didn't know anything. So I went okay, and I gave her a phone and it was it. It's a. It's a really kind of very basic, but it's a smartphone, so theoretically she could download apps or whatever. But I made it very, very clear to her from the beginning that the only reason she's getting a phone is for that reason, to be able to contact. So there was, from day one, no app, uh, no apps.

Normalizing the Ability to Say No to Our Kids' Demand for Access to Screens

Tova Leigh: 31:06

Thinking about and I think it also has to do with a child personality she forgets to turn on her phone for days. It's on a. She's not interested in it. Um, so I'm very lucky. But I can tell that the other two, who are generation alpha, you know, and they are so into technology, like and I, and so they said to me well, we're finishing primary school, now we want to get a phone, and I was like no, you're just not getting it because I don't want to be in that position, even you're only 11. So what, like, you're 11. It's ridiculous. These are expensive devices. No, you know, I don't know this kind of idea. That just cause, oh, my kids ask. So what? My kids ask me for lots of things. I say no to loads, like really they do. They ask for loads what they're constantly asking for things. I don't say yes to everything.

Jenn Salib Huber: 31:58

Yeah, yeah, it's so hard because you know even our generation. So I'm 47, you must be around, yeah, so you know our generation. Obviously our childhood was, you know, technology free other than TV. Um, you know, I, even when I went to university, you know we had like one computer lab where, you know, everybody would stand in line to go check their email. Like it was a really different use of technology because it was, you didn't have smartphones, Most people didn't even have computers. You know like it was. Technology was in a building, in a room that you accessed, it wasn't in your pocket all the time, and so, even as adults, we don't know how to manage it. So how can we expect kids to manage it?

Tova Leigh: 32:40

no, but they can't. That's the the thing is that they can't. I think that maybe you know people say, oh well, what you need is education, what you need is to give guidance, yes, of course, but we're not. So as long as, like, that's not happening, you, you cannot, I think, give devices at such an early age and just hope that they'll be okay and also, even for one minute, think that just parental, the parental things, that, yeah, that that's going to do the job, because it's not going to do the job. To do the job because it's not going to do the job.

Tova Leigh: 33:20

I actually have to say that I recently thought about something I thought to myself. Because we never gave our daughter a screen time, like it was never. We never said you can only use your phone for X a day, and it worked for us because she's not interested. But I sort of had a thinking the other day. I thought, gosh, I wonder if we had said that to her, would she have then used that time every day? Do you know what I mean?

Yeah, it's almost like an allowance then. So, oh, I've got an allowance, I'm allowed 20 minutes a day, I'm allowed 30 minutes a day, so I'm going to use it for 20 minutes a day, whereas now her daily average can be three minutes. So it's like I'm thinking God, thank God I didn't say to her you have a time limit, I can understand why people would do it.

Jenn Salib Huber: 34:07

if there's an issue, you know what I mean.

Tova Leigh: 34:08

And so you know, we have, um, they have a Nintendo switch which they only use on the weekend and they do have a time for it. Like we'll say it's 30 minutes each and that's it. Uh, because I think they could, they, they have the potential to just use it all day long. So we did put the time on that, but anyway, it was just the thought that I had that. I you know, maybe, yeah, I don't know.

Tova's European Comedy Tour 

Jenn Salib Huber: 34:30

Yeah, but I mean again, what I, what I think that I really enjoy about your, your content and your account and what you bring to these conversations, is that you're just really relatable to anyone in this stage of life who has kids, who's dealing with body stuff and as you know, and you bring humor to it. So that's always appreciated. So thank you for all of that. Thank you, Thank you, and you are. You've got a show which I have tickets to in Amsterdam, which I'm super excited, oh yes, yes, I know, I'm amazing.

Tova Leigh: 34:58

Amsterdam, wow, I'm so excited it was. Yeah, it's going to be a really good one, I think. Lots of people coming to that show, so, yeah, so this is my third tour. I'm doing a show called Honey. I'm Losing it Again. I should actually have added the brackets again, but this is actually more. It's actually more about marriage this time, which I think in the in the past I threw in but it wasn't really a the topic, whereas here now it's really the topic more than anything, but in light also of our move and the kids growing up and where we are, and obviously, menopause and you know all this where we are in our life, um, yeah, and I'm really, really excited, um, I'm doing, uh, different cities in europe and in the uk, yeah, which we'll have links to in the show notes for anybody who might want you um.

Jenn Salib Huber: 35:51

Are you doing any north american?

Tova Leigh: 35:53

no, and I really want to. I know I really want to. I've had a lot of people say to me come again, cause I did my first tour in America and it was awesome. It was so much fun yeah.

Jenn Salib Huber: 36:05

So this has been such a great chat and, as I always ask my guests, what do you think is the missing ingredient in midlife?

The Missing Ingredient in Midlife According to Tova

Tova Leigh: 36:16

Can I say ice cream? I think that's a great one.

Tova Leigh: 36:21

Actually probably cake or ice cream. Yeah, it's funny, I listened to a really good podcast this morning and now I forget the name of the guest. That's awful. I have to look it up and tell you, doc, what's her name. Oh God, I forgot, but she was.

Tova Leigh: 36:39

She was talking just about what we said at the beginning here, about just the having more conversations, just the sort of the openness. So, even when it comes to midlife and all the changes women go through in midlife and they are enormous changes, like really, they really are so enormous and they impact everyone, like every woman Um then I I think, and I do see that there are more conversations about it, but even more just that kind of openness of women, just you know, um, talking about it not just amongst women but also with men and their partners and also even children.

You know, at schools, we, we, we learn about puberty at school and you know people know you're going to get your period and stuff like that, but no one talks about what happens to women in their midlife and it impacts half of the population. It's so important. So, yeah, I think, more openness maybe, and cake important.

Jenn Salib Huber: 37:43

So, yeah, I think, more openness maybe, and cake, I mean, and that's the whole point of the conversations that I have is to just create community through storytelling, yeah, of experiences and you know, so many of us had kids in our 30s and are going through perimenopause with teenagers, which is like a big mother nature fail, you know, and we can't do like, we just have to get through it.

Jenn Salib Huber: 38:02

But those are conversations we need to have, because a lot of us had mothers or grandmothers who didn't have to navigate those things at the same time, right, yeah, you know, and there are people who are having, there are lots of people having babies in their forties, you know, and who are going to be going through perimenopause with very young children.

Oh, my God, that's so true. Yeah, so we really need to be talking about the lifespan of conversations and perimenopause, because you know, it's 10 years, it's a decade of our lives, that these changes are happening and it can happen. Anywhere from 20% of people will be in perimenopause by age 40. Wow, right. And then there are a bunch that won't be in menopause and perimenopause till their fifties.

Jenn Salib Huber: 38:47

So, we've huge span of age ranges and all these different life stages. There's no one size fits all approach, and that's why I love having conversations with people who get it so, so thank you so much for joining me. Thank you Really had fun, and is there anything else that you would like the you know anybody who's listening to know about you and what you're up to other than the show?

Tova Leigh: 39:13

No, I mean, people can find me online, I guess on my Instagram. Tova underscore Lee, yeah, and all the stuff. I guess on my Instagram tova underscore Lee and all this, yeah, and all the stuff I do is on there, yeah, but thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

Jenn Salib Huber: 39:31

Thank you and maybe we'll get to do it again soon and I look forward to Amsterdam seeing you this fall. Amazing Thanks for tuning in to this week's episode of the midlife feast for more non-diet, health, hormone and general midlife support. Click the link in the show notes to learn how you can work and learn from me, and if you enjoyed this episode and found it helpful, please consider leaving a review or subscribing, because it helps other women just like you find us and feel supported in midlife.


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