How to keep kids at the center of divorce - not in the middle of it with Sarah Lyman



00:00:00    Alyssa

You're listening to Voices of Your Village. And today I got to dive into a topic we get so many requests about. I got to hang out with Sarah Lyman. She's the founder of PurplCouch, and we got to chat about what it looks like to keep kids at the center of divorce, not in the middle of it. And we really got to chat about how do you really do this, what does it look like logistically? And there's so many things to figure out in the process of divorce, even outside of the adult feelings, just the logistics of it all and how do we do this while supporting children's emotional development? Sarah created PurplCouch, and it is an incredible resource for folks navigating divorce. She has a flagship course there called Fresh Start, and it includes interviews from all different experts, attorneys, and child psychologists. And your girl is in there. Me. I'm your girl. Helping you navigate all the different complexities that come with divorce.


00:00:30    Alyssa

If you are enjoying this conversation today, this is something that you want more on. We also have a section in my book, Tiny Humans, Big Emotions, that dives into this. We chat about some different ways to support kids when you're navigating divorce and how to help them with the emotion process processing work. You can head over to to snag Tiny Humans, Big Emotions today. All right, folks, let's dive in.


00:01:30    Alyssa

Hello, everyone. Today I get to hang out with Sarah Lyman. Sarah and I have partnered already before and get to hang out and get nerdy together. And I got to do a lot of the talking there, and now I get to turn it around and hand Sarah the microphone. Sarah, how are you today? 


00:00:23    Sarah

I'm great, Alyssa. So great to connect again. We had such a good time last time, so I'm excited to dig in even deeper into the divorce side of things. 


00:00:33    Alyssa

Same. Yeah. I could have hung out, I think when we ended with yours, I was like, I could actually just sit on this couch and answer these questions forever. Like, it felt so easy to hang. I'm excited to get to hang again. Can you share with folks what it is you do and kind of what brought you here? 


00:00:53    Sarah

Yeah, I'm Sarah Lyman. I'm founder of PurplCouch, which is an online resource for folks on the divorce journey. 


00:01:03    Alyssa

Yeah. What is included in PurplCouch? What does an online resource on a divorce journey look like? 


00:01:12    Sarah

Yeah. Well, actually, it started back when I was getting divorced. It was my first marriage and therefore my first divorce, and I did not know what the heck I was doing. I spent most nights up really late googling how to get divorced, how to get through this, and being completely overwhelmed with the amount of material that is out there on the internet. Not only the quantity, but not all the articles even agree with one another about what should happen next. And it was just too much. It was too much. And I decided, you know, fast forward once my divorce was finalized, that we needed a more vetted, comprehensive and yet vetted sort of holistic resource for people going through divorce. Now, my background is not in any kind of professional capacity around divorce. I'm not an attorney, I'm not a financial planner. So I went back to my own background, which is in communications, and I decided to interview all these divorce professionals. So I talked to a collaborative divorce attorney, financial planner, tax preparer, mental health counselor, yourself, an expert in tiny humans, a child psychologist, and I wove together all of these experts into sort of their key takeaways on what people need to know to get through it, not just for themselves, but for themselves and an ally. And my course is open to, it actually includes two registrations the person going through the divorce and someone they get to take along to help them.


00:02:57    Alyssa

I love that.


00:02:58    Sarah

Anyway, it came from a place of real pain and confusion, but I think the voices that I get to amplify in my work, these professionals, it is just a joy to hear them help the folks that are going through a divorce. 


00:03:18    Alyssa

Yeah, I love that. I love that it includes, like, a bonus person, a village member, if you will, whether it's the person you are divorcing or getting divorced from or someone else that's on the journey and helping you along. I love that part, and I am super here for you referring to yourself as a marriage alumni, rather than divorcee. I think that's hilarious here for that rebrand. I agree. So my parents are together and I married someone who has divorced parents, and I interviewed them, folks we'll link that episode in the blog post as well, if you want to tune into that episode. I interviewed them on how they navigated divorce because I feel like they did it in a really child centered way where, man, there were so many hard feelings. Of course there were so many hard feelings. And transition is hard, to navigate it as you experience on your own without kids and then adding in like, oh, and I'm parenting while I'm doing this, how do we do that? And that's the kind of stuff that we dove into in the workshop that I did with you. I'm a part of that Fresh Start course. And how do we put children first and how do we help kids with that? Emotion processing is like a whole other ball game, but just the logistics of divorce is its own thing. When we're looking at divorce, as you say, holistically, not just legally, but the finances, taxes, emotions, co parenting, all of that, I think we can make better decisions for that next chapter. And I love that you took the Oprah approach here as a knowledge broker of like, let me bring all of these experts together so that there's a one stop shop to get this. After your interviews and kind of like what you've gleaned from these other humans. How do you keep kids at the center of divorce and not in the middle of it? 


00:05:49    Sarah

Yeah, I love the way you phrase that. I think that's the real key. And what I hear over and over again, both from folks who work in the mental health space and focus on children and parents. They say, ask yourself with every decision whether it's whether I move far away from my soon to be ex partner, whether I shift the kids to a different school, whether we get bunk beds, not to put shame on any of those decisions. Just ask in every decision what is best for the children. And we don't get to pick everything in our ideal world, but asking the question at every possible juncture helps steer the ship to a healthier place for the kids and frankly, for the grownups who are making these decisions as well. Because one of the things and I'll just speak from my own experience, it's hard to get out of your own head when you're on this emotional roller coaster. You're, I was a wreck. That was a mess. My divorce and we can talk about the specifics if your audience is interested. But I had a really hard time with it, it wasn't really my choice. It was a very sudden decision. And so I was really struggling and so having to put myself out of my own head and focus on someone else. I didn't have small children, but I did have a stepdaughter from that marriage who was an adult at the time. And so part of my thinking was, how do I, fortunately, she was grown and out of the house. So all of the decisions that I was making about where I live and what beds to choose and whether to buy a purple couch or a brown couch, it was very difficult to make those decisions without small children in the in the space. So I give parents so much credit for holding that in the same space as your own mental health. So, yeah, I think asking at every juncture what is best for the children and doing the best you can and you might not get it right. 


00:08:09    Alyssa

Yeah, you're not going to get it all right. You're just not in any area of life, and it's not the goal. Thank goodness. It's not the goal. It would be really hard to end each day if that was the goal. I was thinking about something my mother in law had said. She had been a stay at home parent, predominantly a stay at home parent when they were getting divorced. And so she'd been with my now husband, 24/7. He was a huge part of her world, and he was in elementary school, young. And she said one of the hardest things for her was they did a week on, a week off, a week with each parent in terms of staying at which house he was staying at. And she was like, I wanted all of it. I wanted 100% of that time. And I thought what was best for him was to have 50/50 and that he has an incredible dad and that that would be best for him. And it didn't feel like what was best for me and what I wanted and being able to separate those two things. And that's what came up for me when you were just talking about that at every juncture, like, what's best for the kid and that sometimes it's at odds for what feels right for us, and just acknowledging how hard that is. She was giving up time with him for him to have time with his dad and to not fight for more and to agree to 50/50. All that jazz meant less time for her to have with her son and just the sadness and the grief and allowing yourself that space to grieve the life you envisioned, to make space for what is. 


00:10:21    Sarah

Yes, divorce is definitely a grieving process. It has all of the same steps from denial and anger and sadness all the way to hopefully, acceptance and moving forward. And it's not just like grief in the death of a loved one. It's not a linear process. So you get to go back over and over again, sometimes a lot back to the anger or back to the resentment. And I think that's part of where understanding your own feelings and your own process can be huge. Like, the self awareness is hugely helpful. And I know you talk a lot about this, Alyssa, with the work you do with tiny humans and their parents. It's like understanding where this is coming from and accepting it in a non judgmental way. And at the same time saying, how did that affect my behavior towards my ex partner, towards the children, towards his family, for example? And can I do better about that part? Can I do better next time? Because like you said, we don't always get it right. But we have another chance. Hopefully, we have another chance. I'm not saying about the relationship, I'm saying about the other pieces, our behavior as we walk through the world, as we process this really tricky thing. 


00:11:47    Alyssa

Yeah, I think that grief is something we're not very good at, that we're not taught how to grieve, how to allow ourselves to be in that process. It isn't linear, and it does come and go, and grief shows up in so many ways. And when I had my second miscarriage, one of the things I feel like I had really practiced in the first one was the grief part. And so for my second miscarriage, I allowed myself what I hadn't been able to do in the first one I had envisioned. Like, yeah, this baby is going to be here in September, and what will the holidays for us look like that year? And then when will they be walking? And in our beach trip next year, they'll be crawling in the sand, just like all those things that you jump ahead and you have these visions, and in that second miscarriage, allowed myself to really grieve and acknowledge all these things that were my expectation. And still, when September rolled around and that baby wasn't coming again, like, allowing myself to grieve around that. And I think it's something I definitely had to learn how to do. And I think of that here too, with divorce that wager a guess that when you got married and if you had kids, this wasn't a part of the thing that you pictured and envisioned. And allowing yourself that time and space to acknowledge that it isn't what you envisioned and maybe it's not what you want. And that freedom to grieve, I think is really important. And we get to model what that looks like for kids who also will enter a grieving process that isn't linear, that they are going to come to family vacation sometimes and realize when my friend Jonas goes on his family vacation, he has two parents there and I don't. And just allowing that to come and go and hold space for that, I think yeah, I think the grief is probably one of the key components here. 


00:14:27    Sarah

Absolutely. Yeah. And I'm so sorry to hear about your miscarriages. That's a very difficult thing to carry forward. I think it's such a helpful comparison, not metaphor, the the process of grief when talking about divorce, because just like it's non cyclical nature, it's not like you're done grieving. I can't speak for you, Alyssa, but I suspect that you still grieve for the child that didn't come to be. And you have other amazing things in your life right now, including a child and a family, and that's not meant to diminish. I think that's the key that anyone who's gone through any grieving process, a real grieving process, could probably speak to is that you you carry it with you, and it changes over time, and it gets easier to hold. Your head up and not cry at work every day like I did when I first went through my divorce and kind of move through space in that way. And this is the both. And thinking that's so hard and so important for us is we carry that with us as we move forward. This idea of slowly letting go of the future you thought you were building, you were building it, and then suddenly it's gone. And I think that's where having gentle reminders, not in a toxic, positivity way, but gentle reminders to say, this won't last forever. You won't feel this bad forever. And at some point, gently, especially if we're an ally to someone who's going through this gently bringing them along and saying, it will someday be okay. You will someday have joy. Maybe you even have moments of joy, and then you go right back to the misery again, and then that's okay. And at some point, that void of the future that is so scary starts to look more like a blank slate, at least from a divorce perspective. That instability that comes with suddenly having to move or being the sole breadwinner and maybe the sole parent, you know, caregiver all of those things suddenly we can also bring along with us like oh, maybe in your in law's case they each now have a week on and a week without children, which is sad, and they can go take a swing dancing class.


00:17:21    Alyssa

Or just like nap or sleep or not make 7000 meals like totally. 


00:17:27    Sarah

Yes, whatever it is that, or try something new or be creative, you know, all these things. It seems scary to fill this this void with things that you didn't expect to do. And I think coming to the place of acceptance is also can also really and that's back to your in laws example. I think that's a really interesting model. And being allowing I would encourage or the experts in my class would encourage parents to be a little bit creative about the time split. There is no one right and one wrong way to do it. As long as the children are at the center of it and being healthy. 


00:18:12    Alyssa

Yeah, 100%. I recognize that sometimes what's best for the kids isn't a 50/50 split, and sometimes you're now an advocate for your kid and how hard and exhausting that is when you're already going through something hard and exhausting. When we look at Aces, adverse childhood experiences, incredible research. Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, who was the first Surgeon General for California, she's a pediatrician, and she did research on the Aces. There was ace research done, and then that's been, like, her focus anyway. So what they look at is, like, there are these ten markers that when we see that you have a certain number of the ten, you're at greater risk for a number of challenging things down the road, health complications and mental health complications. And divorce is one of the ACEs. And I think being able to acknowledge it is traumatic. It doesn't mean that it shouldn't happen. I think what's key here is having resources and tools and space to talk about it. And that's what I love so much about the work that you're doing, is removing that shame and stigma. Because when we can talk about things, man, shame can't live when we're talking about it, shame breeds in secrecy and in silence. And as we're talking about it out loud and we're sharing and we're receiving compassion and empathy from others, and we find a safe space to be able to process that is the game changer for what the effect of an ACE is for our kids. And so when we're looking at this from a kid perspective, I want to acknowledge it really matters developmentally, and there are ways that we can mitigate what the long term effects are for our kids. And I love that you've put that together in your course. I just found myself as I was preparing for, like, all right, what do I want my workshop to be? And I was going through the Child Psychologist workshop and all that in your course. I was like, oh, this is so good. This is so good and so helpful. And I'm curious to hear from you what it looks like and what you kind of learned in the process about how to build skills for the ongoing coparenting relationship. 


00:21:09    Sarah

Yeah. And I have to give so much credit both to you and to Paul Foxman, who's a child psychologist who I also interviewed for this course, and he was telling me that there is and maybe this is something that resonates with you there's research that demonstrates that, yes, divorce is this traumatic, this ACE, right? This adverse childhood...


00:21:34    Alyssa



00:21:34    Sarah

Yes experience, suddenly mental block that, yes, divorce is this traumatic event in the child's life. It's freaking traumatic for everybody, hopefully. And that does not necessarily predict the health of the child moving forward through life. What does predict the health of the child is the ongoing co parent relationship. And that rocky, confrontational, damaging coparenting relationships have very negative effects on the child and stable, at least collaborative, if not loving and nurturing, but collaborative coparenting relationships are correlated with very healthy children. And so the takeaway is sometimes divorce just needs to happen and sometimes divorce is the best thing for the child. If the parents are not good together it's a very difficult household to also raise a very happy and healthy child. And so if they can figure out how to be good co parents I think that's a real comfort to folks as they make these hard decisions in their lives to know that it doesn't necessarily mean their kids are going to get screwed up. There is a path. And that's not to say that every coparenting relationship that works well has to be unicorns and roses. It's possible to quarantine that from what the child observes. And so Paul Foxman organizes this into these four parent coparenting types which I think are really helpful. And this is something that's like a handout I have in the class but he talks about and this is something he cites other research as well. It's not just his own, but the best ones are the perfect pals. And we maybe know some of these folks from the PTA meetings or whatever. The co parents go to meetings together, they make decisions together. They're in regular and compassionate communication. And then there's the cooperative colleagues. These folks, they might not be best friends but they can talk to each other about the children. They can communicate amicably, share the responsibilities in a mature way. And then there's the angry associates. And these folks have adversarial relationships to one another, ongoing anger, frequent conflicts around custody and visitation. And hopefully, this is really the saddest part is the fiery foes. And maybe we know folks like this that it's just very hostile and it's like oil and water. They can't even be in the same room together. And that is very difficult to co parent together when there's battles over custody, going back to court to rearrange. Not to say that, this is again, I'm not assigning blame or shame to any of these. And there are lots of reasons why people cannot communicate well and just acknowledging that this tends to be one way of looking at how to coherent. And if you feel like you're in one category and you want to get to another then it's through a lot of hard work and a lot of maturity and it's really difficult. 


00:25:19    Alyssa

The hardest part is like something I every day struggle with is that I'm only in charge of me and only in control of me. And that sucks. Would love to control all parties involved over here. I have a part that's forever, I could do this better. If I could just control you and how you love the dishwasher. There's a better way. And I think that's one of the hardest parts here is the only person you can control is you. And how you respond. And what is so cool in Brene Brown's research is that your kid only needs one human that they can turn to with all their messy, hard stuff that they can be vulnerable with, that they feel emotionally safe with. And so if you're like, yeah, would love to be perfect pals. And my co parent is struggling with addiction or isn't in a space to be that. It's enough for you to be that for your kid. And I think there were a couple of takeaways from your course that I was like, oh, this is so key about you can be in control of how you talk about your co parent around your child, even if you're not in control of how they talk about you around your kid. If you can't control that part, you can be in control of you and the way that you present the situation and the way that you talk about it. There are, like, little linguistic things that I think can be really helpful. And one of the things that we talk about in our book is instead of like, you're going to dad's house or mom's house, naming where that house is so that both houses are the child's house, that you're going to your St. Martin street house or your Pine Street house. And so that both are the kids house. It's just that other people live there, little linguistic things like that that I think are really powerful. And there were a bunch of these tips, I feel like, in your course, that I kept picking up on how to talk about the other person and how to present different things specific to changes and transitions and things like that. 


00:28:02    Sarah

That really reflects the developmental stages of what the child is going through. Right. I don't think it'll surprise any parent that young kids are a little selfish. And so thinking about it, we love them and, this is for both and, their little brains are still forming, and so it's still all about them. And so, yeah, it's their house where one of the parents is going to be picking them up, dropping them off, serving them food, making sure they have shelter. Like, that's their experience. Right. One might even argue that it does end at age ten, that that behavior, it's okay to talk to the kids in that manner even as they get older, because it reinforces that the child is at the center. It does come back to that notion. 


00:28:52    Alyssa

Have you been scrolling the Internet? And there's all these tools for calming your child and how to regulate and whatever, and you try them and your child just gets amped up or that doesn't work. Or you find yourself in these cycles where it's like epic meltdown. Try to come back from it and you just feel like you're putting out fires all day long. If this is you, you aren't alone. And we collaborated with an Occupational Therapist to create our Sensory Profile quiz. This is going to help you learn about what helps your child regulate what's happening in their unique nervous system. We are all different and figuring out what you're sensitive to or what helps you regulate is the key for actually doing this work, for getting to a regulated state, for having tools, for calming down, for having tools for regulation. Head on over to to take the quiz for free. You can take it as many times as you like for as many humans as you'd like, and we will deliver results right to your inbox to get you kick started on this journey. 


00:28:55    Alyssa

Yeah. And I think when we recognize, okay, if I just, like, for 1 second pop into my kids shoes, there are some questions that might be going through my mind, and that for us, we know or might have ideas of, like, what is leading to this divorce? And the child is designed to say, like, is this about me? Did I call this? Was I bad? Am I why this is happening? Will you still love me? Am I still lovable? And then just the basic needs, parts of, like, who's going to help me with brushing my teeth'they're, going to bed, or just like, will I ever see you again? Right? Like, if I'm dropped off at school and Dad's going to pick me up, will I ever see you again? That for us, we're like, we often have way more information than they have. We might know what led up to this. We have a bigger picture of like, yeah, of course you'll see me again. You're going to spend the night at that house, and then you're going to come back and see. That for us, feels like, of course, but we have more information than they do. 


00:30:22    Sarah

Yeah. And they may be the first kid they know whose parents are going through divorce, and they may not be the first kid they know who's going through divorce. And their classmates experience might be very different than the experience you're trying to create for your child and acknowledging that and being curious about what is. So do any of your friends have you talked about this with any of your friends? And it's really insightful what they may bring back to you. I remember when my stepdaughter, she was in higher high school, and her mother and her father, I would put in the perfect pals category. They did such a great job raising her and communicating with one another and just putting her at the center of everything. And she would swap sort of divorced kids stories with her classmates, and she's like, I don't know what these people are talking about. It's fine. She was young, very young when they split. But I think she matured really well, thanks to the maturity of her two parents. I came along a little bit later and was another adult in her life that was thinking a lot about her and putting her in the center of things as well. So I think that's huge. And then to bring this full circle, I know you work a lot with parents of tiny humans and divorce effects. It's this, like, radiating cloud. So it's not just the little ones in the house. It can be adult children of divorcing parents. And I would encourage folks to even if even if parents have adult children, to still think about it from their child's perspective and say, is it in their best interest for me to unload everything that's right now in my brain and in my heart about their parent, their other parent? Is this the right move for them? It might make me feel better, but is it best for them? Or maybe it's not best for them. Maybe I can just call someone else and do the venting, which we need. We need to have those people in our lives that we can just be like, I need to vent. Please don't record this conversation. But I need to get it off my chest. 


00:32:52    Alyssa

And it's a great point. It is not your child's job to be a therapist or your best friend through this. That attachment relationship is different than any relationship they will ever experience, and it forms their basis for all their relationships to come. Your relationship with them really matters, and it's meant to be different than any other relationship. They're not your venting space. Yeah. So so key, I think even just letting kids know the basics of, like, what will be the same, what will be different, because, again, we have a greater context for what's going on, and we can give them those insights. 


00:33:47    Sarah

Yeah. And I like what you were saying earlier, Alyssa, about how to talk about the other parent in front of the child. I think we want to be as mature as possible when talking about them and maybe don't give all the details of why they're not picking them up on time or whatever. We may carry some irritation about this. 


00:34:10    Alyssa



00:34:11    Sarah

They don't need that. And on the flip side, making it okay for the child to be excited to go to the other house because they get to play with the dog or the best friend lives next door over there, or they get the bunk bed. That does not diminish their love for you at all. And allowing them to be equally excited to go to one parent's house than the other will let the kid just be free to be themselves. And I think that's the ultimate success stories. If the kid can just be themselves wherever they wander through the world, and then they don't need to worry about your feelings. I think that's the key we want to create, eventually we want these small humans to think about other people's feelings. Yes. However, it shouldn't be whether they get to use their favorite blanket at Dad's house, they get to be excited about that. It's not about you. 


00:35:10    Alyssa

Yeah, well, and just as we were talking about, like, the attachment relationship is different than any other relationship. I actually don't want them to be I don't want you to be their number one source for practicing empty and compassion. I want it to be outside of you and for you to be the one human that they're not worried about your feelings that they can say, like, I'm going to tell you something even though I know it might be hard for you to hear. Right. I am going to say, I love going to Mama's house. And you're sitting there and you're like, but what about Mommy? I love you, too. I miss you when you're gone. That's about you and your child is not responsible for your feelings. And it's one thing to say that you'll miss them and I love you and I hope you have fun. And it's another thing to have to place the responsibility for your regulation on them. Right. So, like, yeah. I miss you when you're gone. And here are some things that I do if I'm feeling sad or if I say I like to take a bath or I like to color, I like to jar, I like to call Aunty Rach and chat with her and letting them know you have hard feelings sometimes too, and you have tools for those, they're not responsible for them. So so key I want to touch before we wrap up today on I think we measure marriage as a success. If someone dies, right, that it's like you were with that person until one of you died, then it was a successful marriage. But I think there are so many different iterations of relationship and you may have had a really successful, rad relationship for a certain season of your life that doesn't carry into this next season in the same way. And I just think there yeah, I think it's very interesting that we have this, like, one marker for success when it comes to marriage. So I'm curious if you have any suggestions for self talk and self care for the adult during divorce and separation. That like emotional support part for ourselves?


00:37:42    Sarah

100%. And it is so important. I will use some eye statements here because I was not someone who did a lot of quote unquote self care before I started seeing a therapist after my divorce. And it was only because that therapist was two blocks from where I was working and it was covered by my health insurance. So we can have a whole other conversation about access to health care and socioeconomic status and all the things, all the complicated things, privilege and all that. And so I was privileged enough to have access to this mental health provider who completely changed my life. So that's one thing I would say. If you said self talk, I would say sometimes it starts with a professional who can help you in that space. And that therapist opened my eyes to the way I was looking at myself, the way I was talking to myself. For example, she said, now, when you talk to yourself, Sarah, I hear you saying some not so nice things like you're stupid or you're an idiot, or how did I make that mistake? I should have known, et cetera, et cetera. She said, Would you talk to a child that way? No, of course I wouldn't talk to a child that way. She said, Why do you talk to yourself that way? This is one thing that I learned on this journey that's really helped me be a little bit more mature, a little bit. It's still in there a lot, this like self blame and so forth. But I would say, and I feel so strongly about this notion that it's not going to suck forever, that there is a way to reframe your experience from failed marriage into fresh start. It doesn't happen overnight. It takes a lot of work. I created a whole chapter in this course just about this thing, and I called it thrive. Like I said, it's not allowing you to watch the module and suddenly you'll be thriving. That's not really how it works. It's something that you carry forward during this healing process. But I think talking to yourself in a way that's compassionate and resists blame, why didn't I see this coming? In my case, why didn't I see it coming? Why did I make decisions based on this and not that? Or maybe if you were the one who made the decision to get divorced, release some of the blame and shame around that as well, that this is the best choice and you did the best you could, and this is the end of that chapter, and it's time for a fresh start. I think finding an ally, someone who they don't necessarily need to have gone through what you've gone through, but just who's good at listening, I think that's key. And also hearing other people's stories, not to mimic them, but to just hear the variety of experiences that happen, which reinforces the notion that you are in control of some of the things that happen next for you. And taking some control where you can and releasing where you can't control, that's very difficult. But it does happen over time. 


00:41:08    Alyssa

Yeah. Thank you. And I like the acknowledgment that sometimes it is leaning on someone else and you can't access that self compassion to hear someone else's compassion for you and start to believe it. The words that we tell ourselves are so powerful. It's so powerful. And sometimes these words are spoken out loud and sometimes they're internal. And one of the greatest resources I've personally found for self compassion is Dr. Kristin Neff does research in self compassion and has a bunch of tools around it. I'll link that in the blog post too here folks. But even just like I'm a mantra on a mirror kind of person, like, write it on the mirror, put a sticky note, up a note somewhere. That is the reminder that you might need to hear every day. For me, you're doing enough. It's my daily reminder that need tattooed on my hand. And it is in two different spots in my house where I can see it every day. And it's like, you're doing enough. Because I can find myself in that spiral of like, oh God, you're sending your kid with the same lunch that you sent in the last two days. Just like all the things where it's like, well, the Instagram specialist is like cutting up their kids lunch into special shapes and the whole world, whatever. And that's not happening here. And when I can step back, I'm like, oh, that's not a priority for me. I don't think that actually matters for me. That doesn't feel important for me. But I can get caught up in the like, you're not doing enough. And so I need those reminders to take in and see it and truly, like, when I see it, I'm like, oh, yeah, I was in that where I was like, you're not doing enough, and just notice. 


00:43:13    Sarah

Absolutely. And I think what you're saying, really, it reflects that these messages that we have in our head, this is not something that each of us created on our own. This is from systemic bombardment of messaging our entire lives. For some people, it's you need to be skinny. Or if you're a parent, you need to, like you said, have carrots in flower shapes for your kid, right? And in the world of divorce, failed marriage is the phrase. It's like, you failed at something. You said you would do this thing, and then you failed at it. And I don't think it takes into account all the other pressures on our lives, on our relationships. And I think my sort of big, hairy, audacious goal is to remove the shame and stigma around divorce. Because if we can talk about it, talk about all the versions, as I said, all the different ways that this manifests for people, then it becomes a little, tiny, little bit less scary, because it's the unknown that is so scary. We have the sadness. It's not necessarily going to take away the sadness and the grief, but it may remove some of the fear about what happens next. And it also makes us just better friends, allies, family members, parents and children when we allow ourselves to talk about it both from our perspective and if we're the ones comforting someone else, going through it, being a good listener, just taking it in without sharing another anecdote, without saying you'll be fine, or It's not as bad as Jim Bob over here. There are so many ways that we can support each other that sometimes it's just listening and letting them go through it. 


00:45:13    Alyssa

I love it. Yeah. The like, this sucks. It won't always suck this bad, and it sucks right now can sometimes be all that's, like, all we need to hear sometimes. All the time in parenthood. I feel like just had a thing popping in my head of a friend who's in the newborn stage, who's like, please tell me this child will at some point sleep. And I'll go back to sleeping, and I was like, yes. And it's really hard right now when you're not sleeping. It won't be like this forever. And it's really hard right now. This is temporary. Coupled with the empathy of what is right now, that's hard, I think is so powerful. And I think sometimes we only try to have that. This is temporary. Temporary won't last forever, blah, blah, blah. And it's like, yeah. And the validation of how hard it is right now, it's huge. Thank you for this. Where can folks find you? Where can they learn more about your resources? 


00:46:20    Sarah

They can find me at Purple without an e. I'm on instagram. I have a private Facebook group. If people want some peer to peer support. I have a course. Sometimes I even meet up in person. We sometimes throw little, call them plus one optional little in person gatherings to meet up with like minded folks who are going through something similar and keep it informal and to really hold on to that. Like, let's get rid of the shame and stigma around divorce. And the way to do that is by talking about it. And I so appreciate, Alyssa, what you're doing, and I love chatting with you about it and being a guest on your amazing podcast. 


00:47:08    Alyssa

I wanted to let you know that we have a special preorder bonus happening right now for the book. So if you snag Tiny Humans, Big Emotions, my book that's publishing with Harper Collins in October. If you go snag it right now at, then come right back there after you purchase it and give me your name and email and your order number, and I will send you a guide to surviving summer. What does it really look like to navigate the schedule changes, the transitions, the sun changes, the back to school stuff as it comes up. We are here to help you navigate this season, and I have a complete guide for you. Head over to to purchase Tiny Humans, Big Emotions, and then let me know so I can send you that bonus.


00:48:08    Alyssa

Thank you. Thank you for hanging out with us and sharing your wisdom. And we will link all those things in the blog post. I know if you're like me listening to a podcast, you are nowhere near in the space to write anything down. You're like doing the dishes or driving on a walk with a sleeping child. So, yeah, we will link that. If you go to, you can find anything that was mentioned today will be linked there. Sarah Lyman, thank you so much for hanging out with me. 


00:49:08    Alyssa

Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans.


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