Happy Hell 001: How mentalization helps with your kids and customers – with Leea Mattila

Welcome to the first episode of Happy Hell, a podcast I created to help parent entrepreneurs to keep the daily madness under control. Today I am speaking with the psychologist Leea Mattila, a Theraplay therapist and the president of the Finnish Theraplay Association about how to improve your daily interactions by understanding what’s going on in other people’s minds.

Be it your kids or clients. Parent entrepreneurs know that nothing gets handed over on a silver plate. Being a successful parent is a lot of work. Being a successful entrepreneur, too. I started my company ten years ago. My newborn son was six weeks old, I had a toddler daughter at home, so I have seen the good and bad sides of doing a business while breastfeeding in a living room.

Now my kids are pre-teens and while it is easier to coordinate work and private life, this is the actual situation in our home at this very moment. My kids got home from school, my daughter has a friend over. I have my office corner in our living room. Since they walked in, it’s a question after question. All of them, according to my kids, absolutely require an answer:

  • My son: “What’s for dinner?” (soup)
  • “What kind of soup?” (creamy broccoli)
  • Me trying to get space: “I am writing show notes for the podcast, please don’t ask me anything now, so I can concentrate.”
  • My daughter: “Can we watch a movie?” (yes)
  • “Can we have the sound on?” (yes)
  • “Can I switch this light off?” (yes)
  • Me trying to get space: “I am writing show notes for the podcast, please don’t ask me anything now, so I can concentrate.”
  • “Can we have chips?” (no)
  • Me trying to get space harder: “Which part of don’t-ask-me-anything-now isn’t clear?”

Sounds familiar?

I bet. It can be hell to get anything done with the little ones, or bigger ones, running around. That said, I am sure it still makes your heart happy. Your family is one of THE reasons why you are running a business after all, to provide them with safety, opportunities and a fulfilled parent. It’s a constant up-down-up ride, constant pressure, constant lack of time. Happy Hell podcast is here to help you navigate these murky waters. I am hoping to learn as much as you from my conversations with successful parent entrepreneurs, who seem to have it all. My goal is to get some practical tips in each episode, something you can take home, implement and so improve your life.

In the first episode I am talking with the psychologist and psychotherapist Leea Mattila about her new book “Mitä Ihmettä?” that she co-wrote with Janna Rantala. The book introduces mentalization, a concept that has long been in use by psychotherapists and is now introduced to wider public in Finland. Mentalization is the ability to understand the mental state, of oneself or others, that underlies overt behaviour. And it’s something you can and should use every day, with your family, friends and children.

Please subscribe, and leave a comment below, if the topic speaks to you.

Links mentioned in this episode

Mitä Ihmettä? on Gummerus
Leea Mattila’s blog Mindlink.fi
Book a psychotherapy session with Leea Mattila
Finnish Theraplay Association
The Theraplay Institute USA