You Can Learn How To Play Again! Try This Moms!, Episode 147

Did you ever hear your name during Romper Room? Do you remember that 80s TV show when the host would look through a mirror and say a bunch of names? Well, I may have said your name during this podcast episode. Listen for it. Also exciting about this episode is that I read a snippet of my book for moms who want their imagination, playful, and all-around fun selves back. In this podcast episode, I also shared details about where you can instantly download your very own copy of one of my favorite chapters of my upcoming book.

Just visit for your free book chapter! In it, I share with you the value I gained and you can too from stepping outside of your comfort zone to learn how to play again. Hint: if you feel as if you have lost that cheerful, free, and fun sense of yourself since motherhood then in this chapter you will read the exact steps you can take in the next 7 days to get her back!

Have feedback or want to become an early reader? Then send me a note. I am seeking 50 – mamas to become my beta readers by October 30th. Join me by sending me a note to melissa [@] if you want to be part of my beta reader collective. This is a non-fiction book for moms who believe in personal growth. Imagine, incorporating the exercises and doing the reflection questions that have transformed the lives of my podcast guests and my own too for the better. What if you end up transforming how you see your potential and purpose? All of this is available as a beta reader and for free. Just email me and I’ll share the details.

Beta Readers also get perks beyond reading the book in advance. You’ll be mentioned in the book. You’ll get stickers. You’ll get free meditations too designed by this mama of three boys. Don’t we all need to catch our breath once in a while? Join me, ladies, this is a movement to help us all find the courage and energy to rewrite the scripts we have inherited about motherhood and make it our own.

Grab the whole chapter here:

P.S. The snippet I decided to read is transcribed below. It’s a draft. Please do not copy any portion.

Improvisation, puppetry, acting, all those things that I learned in my acting courses we have innately in us when we’re young. And then slowly, it just is dragged out of us, and we just become who we are. And then somewhere down the line, we go, oh, man, we used to run around and play and do things for fun.

So Chris Thomas Hayes (a former podcast guest who is a puppeteer for Sesame Street) is telling us, although he has a script for guidance, to create the character of Hoots he still needs to tap into a younger more playful version of himself to ensure the way he performs Hoots is relevant to his viewers. That sense of playfulness and its loss is particularly relevant for moms. We get so caught up in the stress of day-to-day life that we forget to just have fun. I’d say my personal definition of “playing” boils down to letting our kids lead the way during any activity or your inner little girl. When was the last time you let go of orchestrating a moment and lost track of time? Chances are that was the last time you played. We also don’t always see the benefits of playing with our kids. Like I have to think about adding play with my children to my list. Meanwhile, my husband plays this role of fellow playmate as one he was made for. Unlike me, my husband walks in the door and doesn’t scour the space for things to pick-up and clean; he looks for our chess set to play chess (and aims to beat) our eldest son. I think this is about letting ourselves get swept away in play too. It is important not to lose sight of your sense of fun.

Have you ever considered enrolling in an acting class or dabbled      in any performance arts as a way of thinking of yourself as a different character?  When I took my client’s advice about learning how to improvise and feel comfortable standing on a stage talking about myself, I enrolled in a course with Adam Wade. Adam has won The Moth’s StorySlam, twenty-times; he is an expert in personal storytelling. The course was immersive and personally challenging. It was out of character for me to do anything like this and it turned out I was the only mom of young kids in class. The schlep from New Canaan, Connecticut to Korea town, NYC every Sunday afternoon was a pain, but worth it.

The class culminated in each of us telling a brief story, on stage, in front of our peers, friends, and families. I wish I would have been able to hide behind a puppet like Chris. My performance involved a lot of preparation. In the same spirit of getting ready to play a puppet, I wanted to tell the story of who I was before I became a mom. To be authentic I had to go back to when I was studying and working in France during my MBA. I was living in Paris, in an icebox of an apartment, only eating Comté cheese and grilled chicken, and drinking Sancerre wine. I’m sure you can see how foreign that life felt to me at the time when I was a suburban mom with three young boys.

As part of an exercise in my acting lesson we were asked to improvise a story based on a cherished personal object. Mine was an empty fragrance bottle. Towards the end of my three months in France I decided to backpack through the Côte d’Azur. I visited Grasse, the capital of the perfume industry, where I bought myself a bottle of Fragonard perfume. The empty bottle has always reminded me of that wanderlust time in France. I had to figure out how to tap into my pre-mom way of being so that the crowd could feel how free I felt back then, the bottle was my way in.

My entire body changed as I told that story. I smiled. I felt as if I was back in Monaco with my heavy backpack hopping on-and-off trains during my last days in France. In that moment, I wasn’t thinking about my long commute home that night or being a mom. But when I returned home I was happier and more playful. That class unlocked something in me that I had in France but had been missing in Connecticut.

Imagine those moments in your life when you felt most free? What images are popping up in your mind? Might there be a way for you to act out those moments just to feel those feelings again today?  You can take an acting class to be more playful or you can just go back to the time when you were. We all have those moments that light us up. When was yours?

Want the full chapter for free:

Alternatively, want to be a beta reader? Send me an email by October 30th to melissa [@]


My book is set to release this Winter 2022. Join me on my journey:


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Melissa Llarena

Melissa helps movers and shakers up to those in the corner office rediscover what makes them unique so that they can land their dream job in a forward-thinking company where their ideas are listened to, valued, and supported.

She brings insights from having worked in 16-business units (including Human Resources) in NY, Paris, and London. Additionally, in her former corporate career, she worked on billion-dollar brands for P&G and on IBM for Ogilvy & Mather. Later, as the founder and CEO of Career Outcomes Matter, Melissa created a 3-step “sellable strengths” process which has been the centerpiece of her clients' results.

Melissa applies this method consistently to support mid-level professionals up to the c-suite to get into Fortune Global 500 organizations and agencies. She studied Psychology at NYU and earned her MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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