161 - Parenting with Different Cultural Backgrounds
You're listening to Voices of Your Village. This is episode 161. This was such a fun one to get to record because I got to hang out with one of our seed team members, Mariana. Mariana is a school psychologist and a mom of three. She is Mexican American and she is sharing today about parenting with different cultural backgrounds, different experiences in childhood and how how they can show up in parenthood and then how to get on the same page with your partner, how to navigate these conversations. Mariana is the gal leading our village membership. She recorded our re-parenting and Tiny Humans Big Emotions Courses in Spanish and she supports the village every single week in doing this work. She's such an incredible human and I love learning from her she truly lives and breathes this work. She worked hard to put it into practice and analyze and challenge those norms that she might be bringing from childhood or examining norms that her partner might be bringing from childhood so that they can get to a place of collaboration and I just think they have such a beautiful way of co-parenting and navigating partnership. I think this is really challenging when we were raised in families that have different practices, when we were parented differently from how our partners perhaps were parented, because we're all going to bring stuff from our childhood that influences how we show up as adults and finding common ground or having these conversations means taking a look at who we are and what we are bringing to the table. I'm super duper excited to share Mariana with you and also excited because we're going to bring her back for another episode this year to share about her journey as an immigrant to the US and how you can talk to kiddos about immigration; things to be able to note. She has opened my eyes to so much and again, I'm so excited to share her with you. She's one of my favorite humans and such a dream to get to work with on the seed team. All right. Folks, let's dive In.
Welcome to Voices of Your Village; a place where parents, caregivers teachers and experts come to support one and other on this wild ride of raising tiny humans. We combined decades of experience with the latest research to create the modern parenting village. Let's dive into honest conversation about real parenting challenges, so it doesn't have to be this hard. I'm your host, Alyssa Blask Campbell.
Hey everyone, welcome back to Voices of Your Village today is such a fun day for me because I get to hang out with Mariana. She is our Spanish programs director and she supports our villagers in tiny humans big emotions and re parenting and our coaching.
Hi. Thanks so much for having me. I'm so excited to be here.
I'm so jazzed that you're here! Mariana and I got connected, she had attended like the live workshop back in May right?
And reached out and was like, I want to make this stuff in Spanish and I was like, let's do it babe! And immediately like right after our first conversation. I was like, oh I love this human and it's just been love ever since. It's such a natural fit into this seed Village and on the seed team and we are so blessed to get to have you and hang out with you all the time.
Thank you. I feel the same way. I mean the first time we talked, guys, it was so comforting and it just feels so homey. Like that was so easy.
Yeah, that's how I felt too, it's so nice when it just feels right. Can you tell the village a little bit about who you are and your background?
Sure. I was born in Mexico and I came here, you know, when I was 12 years old and right now I'm currently a school psychologist at a high school. I've always loved the teenagers, when I was deciding what age groups to work with I always went to the ends of the spectrum either the really really tiny ones or the really really older ones. Not that I don't like the middle one. You know, I just find the extremists more challenging. But yeah, I've known I wanted to be a school psychologist since I was a senior in high school and so it's been kind of a long road to get here. But I've enjoyed every every step of the way in my professional life and at home, you know, I have three kids that are two, four and six and so they're right in the age where all of this stuff is so applicable and it's my daily life.
Yeah, totally you and another gal on our team both have kids like the same ages and it's so fun to just see like, the same things happening across the board.
It's a circus every day.
Exactly exactly. The other day you guys had been on the call together, the two of you, and you were like, yep, there was screaming in the background with one in the background of my house and it was just like this is great. This is just life.
It was normal, she could tune my kids out and I could tune her kids out and we still got together and got it done. And then at the end of the call, she's like okay, I have to go because my kids are stripping. So we'll see you later. She said, okay. Bye.
I love it. I love it. So you and I had been chatting about what it's like in your experience in being a bicultural family. Your husband's not Mexican-American and you're raising kids with two different cultures and I mean so many folks in our village even if they are both from America may be raising kids in two different cultures and you and I were chatting about it and I was like stop talking to me, I want to record this as a podcast. And so thank you for joining me to do it. But let's dive into it. You said you came here when you were 12 and so I'm sure, like, as you're navigating now parenthood so much of what we know that we bring into it is from our social programming from our childhood, from our cultural context and to have a partner who has a totally different cultural context navigating that at the same time, I think it's hard enough for us as individuals to navigate that but then to bring in like a different cultural context is just an added like challenge.
I think, I mean it can be challenging which I think that's where communication comes in and you have to talk about these things. And before you even decide to get married or have a family and say my expectation is to teach my culture to my kids, you know, and it's their choice to accept it or reject it, but I want to do my part and offer it to them and we did have that conversation, you know, and I said these are some of the things that are just traditional for me and he asked questions and asked to understand it and not to say that he was going to say like no, we're not doing that, because, And I wouldn't be here, right? But it was something that had to take place. Yeah, I think it's it's part of the again. It's it can be a challenge but I see it more as like work, you have to work at it just like any relationship if this is just another layer that gets added onto it.
Yeah, and what has it looked like for you as you're like diving into your own kind of re-parenting work and analyzing things? I think so many folks in our village, you become a parent and you're like, oh wow, like I'm opening my mouth and my mom comes out and that's not always what I want or whatever right? Like that you find these habits and patterns coming out in our parenting that are from our childhood that we're starting to realize like what do I want to continue on? What patterns do I want to rewrite? How does that come up for you also cross-culturally? Because you're living right now in a space that is white dominant culture and how do you, like, hold on? Onto your culture and also navigate the re parenting work?
That is challenging for sure, you know being in an area where there isn't a lot of latino people, latin people, I feel like I have to be super Mexican sometimes so that my kids get, you know, a little bit of, you know, that culture, but it's also infused in our everyday life, you know, our meals are well, first of all, I love cooking, right? And so for me, comfort food is Mexican food and so a lot of the time we'll make American meals and Mexican meals, but then we'll get creative and do you know something Japanese or Mediterranean? And so I think at least through the food we're living and in that culture and then we do things like for birthdays we sing in Spanish and in English and the kids don't know the Spanish song yet. But you know, I'm the only one singing but I'm like, there's purpose for this, one day they'll join me.
I feel like that's most of parenthood, this is all for something right?
One day, one day it'll pay off. And you know, just like little traditions for Mexican Independence Day we talked about it and we had Mexican food and then for now the other Dia de Los Muertos we had an ofrenda in our house and you know, they were super excited about it. And like, I tell my husband my job is to offer them my culture and I don't know if they'll reject it because they might, they might think you know, this is my mom's, this is not mine and I have to be prepared for that and I don't have to you know, I have to be okay with that. But for now, I feel like my job is to just expose them to it as much as I can.
Yeah. Yeah. That's, I think that that's a very hard approach to take just personally of like, I'm going to let go of the outcome, that's impressive. With so many things in parenting again, like letting go of what the outcome is going to be, I'm just going to offer it. This is so hard to do. How has it been for you as you're navigating this, you live in Ohio, so not, I'm assuming, a very culturally diverse space. Well, I guess maybe where you are in Ohio would vary. Ohio, I grew up near Ohio actually I had like a soccer tournament there every year, but I was near like Akron Ohio, which is just like aggressively white and small town at least where I would go like near Akron the small town to play soccer, whatever, that's like my perspective of, Ohio. So maybe expose me to a different one.
Well, it's kind of nice because we're in a pocket where there's a big university and so that brings in a ton of diversity and that has been really comforting moving from Chicago. That's what I was really afraid of that my kids wouldn't be exposed not just to our culture, but any other culture, you know, because when I went to school I was an ELL student, which meant my classroom was other students that were learning English and they were students from India and Russia and Poland and Venezuela, you know, and I really love that and moving here, I didn't know if my kids would have that same opportunity and I didn't want them to be the only ones or for them to walk into a room and say nobody looks like me or nobody knows what it's like to know two languages but there's a lot of, like I said, there's a lot of diversity where we are, which is nice, you know, even walking in the grocery store. We see people that look different, that talk in the different languages, which is a big deal for me.
Yeah. I think that's so important and you know, I was thinking as you're saying that in the cultural appropriation versus appreciation episode with Dr. Lester, he noted how the only folks in the US who can live within just their culture here are white folks that like white folks can be in a bubble where they're not exposed to any other culture and that's not true for anybody else in the U.S. I think it's important for us to keep in mind
And it's so true because even when you look at predominantly Latin neighborhoods, right, it doesn't mean that it's all Mexican or even as well Argentinian, it's a mix, you know, and you get clumped together. But just because we speak the same language doesn't mean that it's the same culture.
Totally totally. Whereas like I really grew up with folks who had predominantly the same cultural context is me and like a small white farm town right? Like it totally different experience. What I'm curious about here is like from a parenting perspective you had noted at one point that, you know, sometimes you have support in exploring like new ways or methods or ideas other than your own and still holding on to that culture that you grew up with. And sometimes you don't have that support because you don't feel like explaining it to your loved ones who don't speak the language and necessarily understand the culture that like, the energy that it would take to kind of explain: here's what I'm trying to do and that it's not because I don't want to hold on to our cultural values, but that sometimes it can just feel so isolating navigating kind of that continuum that you're like falling in the middle between like, oh I want to try out these things but also hold on to this culture and I don't necessarily have places to turn to connect about that.
Yeah, it can be lonely sometimes because just as you said, there's an awareness almost of where I come from and where I am and where I want to be, right? So there's almost like three roads and it's like do I keep going? Can I take this one? And if it doesn't work out go back to this one and you look back and you almost have to create your own village. You have to kind of see who's on board with not taking the straight road all the time and just kind of jumping, you know all the time and it can be hard because now you're not just explaining what you're trying to do. But now you have to think of the words in your native language so that they can be on board and maybe they're not even on board. Maybe they say, you know, maybe they think it's a you know, a bunch of Hocus Pocus and it's just like, nope, not supporting that so it can be a little lonely and that's why I say you have to build your own Village, you know, you have to kind of figure out who's going to be there with you that isn't sometimes so automatic.
Yeah, for sure. Yeah, and I think that's something that like as you blend cultures gets harder to do right? Like as as I'm moving from like specific things within my white dominant culture to different ideas within the white dominant culture. That's one shift and it's not to say that it's not hard their challenges within like re parenting across the board no matter what you're doing, but I think the loneliness of navigating it cross-culturally is a totally different ball game and we have a history in the U.S. of erasing culture and so that you can succeed in whatever that looks like in relationships. Especially financially whatever that we have a race culture or have expected people to erase culture and then we just called a Melting Pot but in actuality it's a lot of culture erasure and I think as we're building more awareness around that and talking about it more and it still is a challenge. It doesn't make that challenge part go away. Like what do you do with this though? Have you I mean your kids are still younger, so I don't know if this is something you've navigated yet. But will you navigate the discussion around citizenship and your transition from like a Mexican citizen to what your life looked like as you came over and your journey essentially into American citizenship and what that has meant or looked like for you?
Yeah, and I think I talked about it with them as developmentally appropriate, you know, so they know that I was born in Mexico. They know that Mexico is different and I talked about my childhood and my memories and right now that's what they enjoy; tell us a story when you did this and tell us a story when you got in trouble, they love to hear that I got in trouble too. Like I didn't do it that often, okay, but that's how I'm working on. That's how I'm kind of like, you know, and you know again, it's not a talk that has to have a specific date or time or age, It's just infused again in our everyday lives. But it I just tried to do little like crumbs of it so that they can start getting familiar with it. And then one day, you know, when they want to have the full: how did it start? How did it end? We'll go through it.
Yeah, that's right. Well you were saying you had just given a talk to a Spanish class at your school about citizenship specifically?
Yeah, they were watching a movie on-- it's a story about a mother who comes to to the US and leaves her son behind. And so it's a predominantly white school, and so this is probably maybe the first time that they're exposed to such a personal take on what it means to come to a different country. And so then the teacher asked me to come in and further connected like it's not just in the screen. This is someone in your school that went through it.
Yeah. That's rad. I'm glad that they get to hear your story to.
For sure for sure. Also, if your kids ever need to hear more stories about someone who's an adult who got in trouble I have plenty. Call Miss Alyssa, happy to chat got plenty to pull from. That's one of Nora's favorite things right now. That's Rachel's daughter Nora, she'll ask and she asks Zach and Zach has very few and she got to the point where she was like, I want a different one and he was like, I can't think of a different one and I was like babe, I'm your go-to. I got tons of them. He's not your guy.
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How has this looked for you, now, you know you said you chatted with your husband before having kids and kind of diving into this; what challenges have come up for you like in real time? Once you got the kiddos there and you're trying to navigate cultural differences in parenting?
One of the biggest things is the warmth, you know, like we are such a warm culture we're constantly like hugging and kissing and you know, just like touching each other and I am such an affectionate person to my kids like if they walk by I will want to kiss. you know, I know you ask for a kiss, I won't just like plant a kiss but when they're babies, you know I just want to eat them up and, you know, when they fall or when they're hurt it's like trying to console them and hug them and you know, I don't know if it's because he's a male or he's a white male, but he's more like: you're good? Okay, you're good. Let's go. I'm like wait, so they're still crying like, time, you know, they're just little! "Well, they're fine." I'm like "well, like yes, they are fine, but that's not what they need right now." Right?
Yeah and does he ever but heads? Like does the like white dominance ever kind of come to the forefront of like, I don't know I guess an expectation of like, well, here's how we do it or here's what should happen or do you guys have just delicious communication and trust and respect?
We do, we have to you know, I've been married for 12 years and so I was a commitment that we made to each other before kind of heading into this journey, and I said to him; his parents are still together. My parents were still together. And we said we would like that to be our story too. And how does that happen? We have to communicate and you know in the beginning when we used to fight that kind of brought out some things that oh, well, I guess this is how my parents did it, but it doesn't mean that it's how it should be. And we learned a lot from that and I think it also helped that we didn't have kids for the first five years of our marriage because then we really got to know each other and we really got to kind of know how to work with each other in the sense. Then he knew my triggers. I knew his triggers and nothing you have to change for this person. But you know if you want things to work and if you want things to have be open and sort of possible, you know, then you have to talk about them and you have to deal with them as they happen because that was one of the biggest things we said we are not going to let things pile up and then all of a sudden we're going to argue and "We'll you said this and you sent that and you did this and two months ago you did not do this", you know, so it's, I think that's what that is the work of marriage. You know that you have to address things as they come up as little as they may be, like, you know, I don't like the way you load the dishwasher rather than me. Just keeping it in and like, look he doesn't know how to do it. This is just stupid. Why would you do it like this and like, you know, what can we just not do this way and it may not make sense to him whatsoever because I mean, he's such a practical guy. Sometimes he's like, "well, they're clean aren't they?" I'm like, "yes, but they didn't go in the right way." No, I mean you pick your battles to but that's just one of the easier examples, like, the dishwasher where it's little, it's insignificant, but you don't want that to be the last layer before the, you know, pops over you
Totally. I think that's like the best marriage advice and something I feel so grateful for was we learned how to have conflict, right? Like before kiddos have come we learn how to have conflict, which is it. We had a lot of bumps to get there we could call it. Wasn't always gorgeous and pretty and I've shared about this over on the gram a bit too, that, like even with like re-parenting working whatever. I started a lot of this work before he did and just the challenges of that of like doing my own work before he was doing his own work and kind of what that had looked like but I'm really grateful for the time that we've had before kids as well and just, yeah dude, communication about all the things and how different communication can be if I can self-regulate first. I'm the one who always needs to, Zach is a very calm, chill human who often says things in the kind respectful way and I am the one who's like, why would you load the dishwasher? Like, you know, like what world does that make sense? And that's how it wants to come out of my mouth originally and it takes a lot of effort for me to regulate that and be like "hey, babe and try it a different way." Yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly. But I think also with it when we're raising kids someone the other day said to me she was taking the re parenting course right now and she was having challenges with cultural differences with her husband and ways that he wanted to approach things, in ways that she was learning about herself that she was now like I don't want him to do this because I'm re-parenting that stuff now and I don't want our kids to be reparenting that down the road. So she was like starting to notice these things and realize I went to have a discussion with him about them. And he was like, my parenting is fine. Like it's worked. I'm fine. Like no desire to even like she was like, I didn't know what to say next because he was just like yeah, I don't feel like I need to take because she proposed him taking this class with her so that they could get to know their, like, childhood patterns and kind of figure out together where they wanted to go from there and he was just like I feel like "wait what I have going on is working" and she was like, what are we doing next? Like it's not working.
That's so funny because its a very similar conversation than what he had, and he's like "It's fine, they're great kids." And I'm like I'm not saying they are not great kids, I'm saying that a lot of my parenting is based on how I was parented as a kid, and then just through self-awareness and just again creating that, that personal Village. It's like wait a minute. That's not really working anymore. That's not--there's more than just this, you know, and so in a way, I feel like not that I'm reparenting him, but I'm really like, come this way, you know, let me show you the way and again not because he doesn't want to but because the path that he's on like they're great kids. They really are and I'm like they are but--
Right but this is how these-- and this is the thing that I think is really hard for parents across the board, for humans across the board is that we are looking at these things now and when you dive into this work, you see not just, oh who they are as a four-year-old, be like I can see how this comes out when they're 14 or when they're 24 and especially with you working in high school, I know at least when I started teaching I started in kindergarten and I was like, I wish I had this kid as a preschooler so I could like support and then I would got to preschool and I was like, I wish I had them as a toddler so I could really-- and I got down to like infant toddler was like the next step is the womb like and so then that's why working with parents, like, I wish, I wish I could support people from the beginning but I think when we-- you see the like long-term trajectory and we'll see kids when I when-- I see a child who is struggling whose a teenager or I see an adult who were I'm seeing like behaviors come out, yelling or reacting or whatever. I often see them as a child. My god. Oh, I know who you are at four, I know who you are at six and I want to be able to support that four-year-old, right? Whose needs were not met or who didn't learn another way to do this. And I think as we're doing this work when you're in it those things start to come up and so when you're just in it and you're like, oh but they're four. And you're like yeah, but I know what this looks like at 24.
Yeah, it's so true and some of the students that I've worked with, you know, first of all, I'm just such a hugger. I'm like, you just need a hug. Like that's all you need. You just need somebody to hug you, let's let's talk about it, you know, but then I also think let me talk to your mom. Because I also see that this fourteen-year-old as a four-year-old who just wants to connect who doesn't know how to say, hey I need a hug from you once in a while, or I need you to tell me that you love me, you know, and so yes, I completely agree it you see them at 14 and you see the four-year-old but then you're also see, in a way a little bit of that parenting relationship.
Totally totally and I think that's what can come up with us--that's what came up for me is I was like doing this work, there was one point where I just had turned to Zach and was just like but if that habit continues when we have kids like here's how that plays out. And that's my fear. Is that like here's how that will play out and that's what this will mean for your relationship with our future children. And he was just like, oh, I guess I never like thought about it, like it didn't seem like a big deal. I was like, it's not a big deal in isolation. And I think it's so hard to see that in the moment with the tiny humans
And I think we started to see that with our oldest, when our oldest turns around and says the same things to our youngest, you know, how we would say them to her, positive or not so positive we're like, ugh, we need to adjust that right away or okay, something is working, you know, like the other day my middle one was angry and was just, I don't know, he was throwing a fit about something and her older daughter turned around and said it's okay to be angry. You could go to the calm down corner and when you're ready you can come back and we can talk about it. There's like, who are you? Why don't you go to the Calm Down Corner?
Right? Could you take this advice?
But it was also so rewarding and exciting to hear her say that because then you know, hopefully next time she takes her own advice and does go to the calm down corner, you know, when she's angry.
Yeah, and at least you know that, like, that lives within her she knows that that's a choice when she can access it which is so huge. Totally, totally it is so interesting for me to think about too, I guess I wonder how much of it is gendered and the culture around just gender that we so clearly have here in the states and there's different--I'm saying to this gal who I was talking to the other day whose husband was just like, "I don't need to do this reparenting. I'm good." I was saying to her like I do have such a passion for him because I think now we are like, okay we're going to do things a little differently than had been done for us when we were kids and we have been raised in the binary, girls and women in the states have been raised with a certain skill set or certain expectations of like, yeah It's okay to feel sad. It's okay to cry. It's okay to talk to a friend about your feelings all these things that we have created as a norm here in the states, versus for dudes were not norms and Zach and I were recently having this conversation. I was like, what was it like for you when you know, his parents navigated divorce, they've been on the podcast before and just like, just life challenges as they came up. I was like, who did you turn to? And he was like, well, I like really like to draw and I played music but there wasn't an acceptable space to be like, "I'm really sad right now" to a friend, you know,
Like verbally say it, it was all action-based.
Yeah, exactly. And so I said to this woman I was like I have such compassion for your husband because now we're like, okay we want you to do this differently and we didn't give you any of the tools to do it. You know what I mean? Just like, just show up in a totally different way than you were parented and good luck. And I think that that's wild and I don't think it's a realistic expectation option versus like, yeah, we're going to take steps towards differences, you know, like in changes and habits and patterns and continuing that conversation part that you keep coming back to and communication is, I think, so huge not just when we're navigating cultural differences, but just across the board of like, what was your social programming?
What is your expectation with this? You know, I mean there are times where there's a behavior and we address it and If one of us isn't comfortable the way that it was addressed, it's I mean, we do take the time right there and then and say can you tell me why you did them? I just need to understand it and then you know, I'll explain and then he'll say I think that was a bit harsh for that behavior, you know, and it is so helpful to me because from the way that I'm coming in my culture, like, that is acceptable. That is what we do when this happens and to have my partner, my best friend, say like hey hey tone it down a little bit. So yeah, I could you know, the world's not going to end or this is not going to mean that forever. This will continue to happen. If I don't address it this way specifically. So yeah, it's nice to help, that it's helpful to have them and again I go back to that thing no matter how small it is. We have to address it right away.
Yeah, I think that's so important and and I like that you also brought up the fear component of like well if I didn't address it in this way in this moment, will this continue down the road? What will it look like and I think so much of when we like react to behavior. It's a fear of who this behavior isn't something I want to have continued and I'm afraid that it will continue if I don't come down like in a harsh manner or does or let them know that this is not okay or have some sort of consequence or punishment whatever your cultural context is there but it all comes from this place of fear of like I don't want this to continue.
Yeah, I think that's so important Sam Casey talked about that in the attachment episode. I think she did a really good job, like really diving into that and I think that's what I heard. You know, I did that dad's workshop about a year ago now it was just dads and that's what kept coming up there in terms of questions was like, it was this fear of okay, but if I don't do this, if I don't punish them for this, won't they just keep doing it? And then they're going to be a disrespectful teenager. They're going to be this human who does this down the road and it's this it's this fear of like will it stop?
And I think a lot of the time too is almost slowing your brain down and jumping from "this happen, this is the way that it needs to be addressed" to "Okay. This happened. What does it mean?" and I love what you say about getting curious because I think one of the biggest most effective ways to slow down your thinking is to ask yourself questions. What is happening? What is he trying to tell me right now? Why you know, why would he go and jump off the couch in the middle of dinner? Like what is going on right now? But you know,
Why is he scooping poop out of his diaper in his crib? Why why?
Sometimes it's hard, you know, sometimes it doesn't happen. Yeah, but I think as much as possible if you can stop and have that, you know we call replacement thoughts, I work with my students a lot on automatic thoughts and replacement thoughts and so I try to take my own advice and say okay. What is my replacement that I'm going to be a question? What is my question going to be?
I love that. I love that when it does. I like that. It's automatic versus replacement, right? And for me that's reactive versus responsive. The automatic is reactive. It's what we do based off of what we know and when we're doing that we are not accessing our whole brain, right? Hey, you literally cannot at that point be making a rational decision. Yeah, I think that's so huge and so hard to do in the moment.
One way that I like to show them, like how their brain automatically jumps to things is I don't know if you remember but a number of years ago. There were these really funny insurance commercials where it was a situation but then somebody walks into the situation and it is completely not what is portrayed to be. So one of them is a guy who is meeting making a romantic meal for her for his partner and he got flowers and he's setting the table and he's cooking the pasta sauce which is red, but then the cat jumps on the counter and knocks the sauce off and jumps into it. So the guy picks up the can and then has a knife on the other hand because he had it to begin with it was chopping onions and then that moment she opens the door and he sees like a red stain on the floor with the guy with the cat in one hand and a knife and the other and so I always pause and say what is the automatic stuff, you know, and then they're like: he's going to kill her they're going to have cat for dinner. And you know all these like things that it's just so accurate right and then we work on okay, what could her replacement not be because we have thoughts feelings and behaviors and they all impact each other. So if you have an automatic thought what do you think she's going to feel and what do you think she's going to do, right? She might break up with a guy when he was trying to be so nice and just make her a romantic meal. And so then I go into replacement thoughts. And so if she's really happy in the relationship, what could she do as she walks in on this and most of the time it's a question what is going on or what happened or why is he doing that? You know, and then we talked about okay, if that is your son, how does then it translates to what kind of feelings you might have and what kind of actions you might you do based on those feelings?
Oh my gosh, this is awesome.
And they really jump on it because of that visual video, you know, I think it's so important to have that but it's, it also lightens the mood too, you know, I'm most of the time talking about grades and you know, like, I tell them I'm not the grade police but I do check your grades, ok? So we got to talk about them. But it's nice to have, you know, the visual and that relationship with them too because this impacts them in other areas of their life.
I think it impacts all of us and like as you're saying that I was like, I love that for just all of us as humans to be able to develop and I think especially so much. Or is very much a just makes me think of reparenting work. Where we're, re-parenting work is really just getting to know what's coming up from our childhood getting to know those automatic thoughts. And where do they come from? And what what replacement thoughts do I want to have? And that for me like in a nutshell is reparenting work.
Yes, and sometimes I will think of myself as a parent. How do I want to feel, right? Yeah. Do I want to feel like I'm just yelling? Do I want to feel like I'm not getting anywhere? You know, and I use how I want to feel as like a goal but then I work around that and make a plan, okay, if that's how I want to feel what do I have to do? And then if that's what I want to do, what do I need to kind of think or have the mindset off as I walk into a really difficult situation?
Yeah, I like that a lot and what just like popped up for me there was around guilt and I think one of the biggest things in motherhood specifically but I think parenthood in general is this idea of guilt and so many of us I think would say like, I don't want to feel--I want to feel rested, I want to feel intentional, I want to feel present and what does it take to get there and for all of us that will be different and sometimes it's time away. Maybe it's working. Maybe it's having time with friends. Maybe it's setting a timer and saying I'm not answering questions for 10 minutes, like, whatever that looks like for you, like, what restores you so that you can be present and I think when we can look at it as, like, it's so that I can be present when I'm there, but that could be helpful with the guilt side of things.
Yeah, I mean for me right now, I'm working part-time and I can say that you know, I'm a better parent when I have time to work and the way I explain it to my mom is I am not just a mom. You know, I'm a school psychologist. I'm a daughter. I'm a sister. I'm a friend. When I had kids all those things don't get erased, you know, they're still part of my life. And so I absolutely would give my life for my kids and I would do anything for them. But I also want to be the best version of me and that means giving something to the world not just to them if that makes sense. Like I'm not really giving myself entirely just to them, you know, but also giving something to the world to make it better for them.
Yeah, totally and just because it fills your cup, you know, like even if it's like I'm going to read a book or I'm going to paint a picture, I'm going to go chat with a friend like those can all be things that fill you up and help you show up as a more regulated present human and I think again when we look at gender, I think that this is something we have normalized more for men than for women. There are two humans that are so dear to me in life and they're in a hetero relationship and Dad consistently in every season has something that he does that fills him up. He was in like a soccer league and then he skis in the winter season and like has something that fills him up and it's a non-negotiable for him. He's like when I do this, I'm a better dad. When I do this, I want to be home when I'm home, and I can be present and more regulated and he will make sure that it happens even if like she has something going on, he will find a babysitter. He will figure it out. He will make sure that it happens and she has a harder time doing that. Right? Like she's like I want to take this pilates class, but then like what are we going to do with whatever and I was like, that's-- he can do bedtime by himself just like you do when he goes to soccer league, you know, like and and he would say the same thing. He's like, yeah, I can do it.
It reminds me a lot of like that division of labor. It's so true because even for some things like grocery shopping. Like, "are you sure you're gonna be okay? All right. I'm gonna go call me if you need anything. Okay?" and when he needs to do something, he's like "I'm gonna go get the car wash, peace out", you know, and he knows that it's going to get taken care of. I mean, I have no doubt in my mind that he will take great care of the kids while I'm away, but it's always like I don't know it seems like I'm asking permission, but I'm not asking permission and I don't feel like I need to ask permission but it's always like checking in, where you know, he has this more, like you said, automatic reply or permission to just be like I have to go do this, you know?
Yeah, I think it's so much of our cultural context like what we were raised in, what we know, what we are exposed to and getting to know those thoughts when they come up of like, oh man, I'm feeling really guilty. When I do this or this comes up a lot in the discussion around I must get away. I have had Dads who have reached out and been like my wife would love this, but she won't go, like, how do I get her to go? That like she feels too guilty to leave.
Push her out the door.
Yeah, right and he's like, I'm afraid if I buy her a ticket she'll say like, oh, I can't take the weekend away. Like that's what she keeps saying, and he was like, but she would love it and we'd be fine and I've gotten so many messages like this from Dads and it makes me just really think about again this reparenting work of getting to know like if you feel like you can't take care of yourself or what would it look like for you to show up as a human you want to show up as and how do you do that without feeling guilt throughout the process, you know, but instead feeling maybe proud of yourself for like, oh I'm doing this thing that then helps me show up as a regulated human or as you were saying like, what do I want to feel as a parent? If I don't want to be yelling all of the time, what does it look like? What do I need in order to not be in that space and figuring out for you as an individual, what do you need? And how do you meet those needs without navigating guilt throughout the whole process?
Yeah. Yeah, and I think you know, going back to something like Mama's Get Away, It's, you know, you're a team with your partner. And so it's sort of tag-teaming the whole situation and I think there's less guilt at least for me when I know there's a plan in place if this happens, you know, not that I have to create the plan but just hearing that it has been thought of before it's like, okay, we're good, you know, again, I know he can handle it. He's great. He's great at it. You know, I go somewhere and everybody's happy and they're having a great time and it's like, oh, okay. Perfect. I did I worried for nothing but I think having that conversation or at least being aware of like, okay, he knows where the hospital is. He knows, you know, who you know what this one likes, what this one does. Then and again they do know because they're parenting with you, but it's that saying it out loud that really I don't know what the expression is, but maybe like locks it and you're like, okay good to go.
Totally and I think really again like for me, I'm like, ooh, I want to dive into that deeper. I want to know like what's the cultural context around here? What is it about us that we're like, I need to make sure there's a plan in place, but when he leaves he's like, you've got it. You always, you've always made sure there's a plan in place, you know,
It's a big picture versus all of the little details, you know, and there was one night that I was talking to him and I'm like, I feel like I didn't do so good today. He's like, what do you mean? It was just the biggest mystery to him like why would you say that look at them? They went to bed happy, they smile. They had a good meal. They played like why would you say you weren't a good mom today? And then I like come out with the list of like, well this happened and this happened and I reacted this way and this way and he's like, yeah, but at the end of the day, they know you love them. And you know, yeah, tomorrow's a different day. Yeah. Okay. Good night.
Totally totally. I feel like Zach and I actually fall into the opposite camps there like he will hang on to it and be like, oh my gosh, like I dropped the ball in these places and I'm constantly like yeah, that's part of life dude. You are a human and I also I think what teaching toddlers and infants--there wasn't a single day in my whole life where I've left and been like I was perfect today, you know what I mean? And I think when you do it for so so long and like it was--it's my career that it was just like that's the expectation at this point is that I will leave and know there were things that weren't perfect today.
Yeah, and I think that also that transition from you know, one to more siblings has helped me too because now I know my life is a circus no matter what, no matter when, no matter how my life is a circus. It's just a degree of how little of a circus or how big of a circus it is but you know now with the third, I mean I could still call him a baby but he's two years old right?
Always be your baby.
Yeah, I asked him, I said, do you always want to be mama's baby? "Yeah!" I'm like, do you want mama to have another baby. "Yeah!" I said, "but then you wouldn't be the baby and he goes "no baby mama." Haha! But I think he has really changed me in that, you know, they all have, you know, they for different things for different purposes, but I think him being the last one it's like well, it's always going to be messy. It's always going to be a circus. It's just part of who we are as a family unit now.
Yeah, my mom referred to it as organized chaos, as one of five kids, I had asked her, I interviewed her for the podcast and I asked her I was like Mom, how did you like--she's the calmest human that I know and I was like how there are five of us? There's a million schedules and sports things and this kid has that and there's always something and she was like, but that's just it that there was just always going to be something and I was like what a cool perspective to be like, oh my expectation is there will always be something and so it doesn't catch me off guard because that's my expectation is like, yeah, this is what it's going to be and I remember at one point family was dropping off their infant and it was their first kiddo in childcare and I was teaching infants at the time and she, Mom dropped off in the morning and she was like doesn't the busyness of it just like deplete you and I was like, it's my norm, like, no, it's just my norm I don't notice the busyness evident. You have seven infants. There's always at least one person crying for something. There's always someone who needs a basic need met of a diaper change or a nap or a bottle, whatever you have seven babies look like that's just the expectation for me right now, like when it's quiet and people are chill. It feels a little uncomfortable.
Something's about to happen
Yeah like how much can we have here? Yeah, but I think you're so right wouldn't like that transition to one I think can be harder than the transition to two or then three or beyond where you're like, okay now I just know like this is what it's going to be. I'm not going to meet everybody's needs all the time. It is always going to be triage and that that's okay.
Yeah, and your norm changes, you know, like it's at this point in my life from what it was seven years ago. It's very far. You know what it used to be and it sounds depressing but it's not because it's a new life with new challenges and new fun experiences and you know new rewarding moments. And so yes, it's not what it used to be but it's so much more richer in a sense and I think for us, you know, it was good to have those five years in our marriage to get to know each other, but then I was also hard to bring this baby into that because it's like whoa, wait a minute. You're supposed to be asleep. Now, why aren't you asleep or you're supposed to eat? Why aren't you eating? You know, she was a preemie. So it was a doctor's appointment that turned into you will be going home with a baby in two days and that was chaotic and it just--it was chaotic period and then bringing her home 18 days after she was born was kind of like, okay, what do we do now? And she's okay. Somebody said, you know this, like they eat and they sleep. But there's so much that happens to make those things So it's not that easy.
Totally. They don't just eat and sleep.
Yeah, she had like some feeding issues. So I was always watching like the ounces like a hawk and you know, it's like is she eating enough is she not eating enough. I don't know. Yeah, I don't know do we go to the hospital? Did I stay home? Like, you know, right.
Yeah, I think especially again with that first one where you're like, everything is new. Yeah, well I think like for me as I navigated this the key takeaways really come back to that constant communication and reparenting work ourselves so that we can have that communication in a respectful manner that if we're just saying communicate with each other, but we're not doing our own work in the process. Then the communication does look like why would you load the dishwasher like that?
Right. And I think when you're reparenting communicating about that to your partner because you may start the work and finish the work but they don't get to see the in-betweens and the whys and the hows. And so then it's like why are you doing that you didn't used to do that, you know what just happened but you know as you're reparenting maybe talk about, you know, this came up for me and this or I realized this and this is how I plan on addressing it now, you know,
Yeah. Yeah it's so helpful and when I had started the work myself and I was going through stuff it was really focused on anxiety, I was living at that point with a lot of anxiety and just didn't want to and started to figure out like where is this all coming from was it look like what are these patterns and habits and had communicated with Zach like not only here's my patterns and habits and why and what I'm working toward and what I would like to have and how I'd like to be able to live but also here are ways that like would be helpful for me for you to show up in this with me and If he was a hundred percent on board because also he was living with me while I was living with anxiety, which is you know, a whole other cup of tea for him. He's like, yeah, please let's work out. And but anyway, I like gave him a like here is stuff and then as he saw this work changing how I got to live the day to day of my life and how I communicated with him and the amount of energy and stress or whatever I was showing up with or not showing up with he was like, okay, like intrigued, like ok seeing results, we'll take this in and then he got to a place where he was like "hmm, here are some things that I've noticed" and I'm like yeah, interesting and like then we could dive into those and support him in his and would ask him like what would be most supportive for me as you are figuring out what this means for you or what you want or whatever because he would say things like I it's just so frustrating when x, y & z happens and I would say I wonder if it has to be that frustrating and he finally was like, oh, yeah, I guess maybe it doesn't but he had to see me kind of have some results. You know what I mean before he was like, all right, I'll buy in.
Yeah, and I think for us, you know, he can be an impatient person because he's such a quick thinker like he figures things out easily fast. and I'm not you know, I like to talk about things and process them and think well, maybe if we do this or if we do that or maybe this happened or maybe he felt this way and he's just like, no, there, right now, hurry up. And for me like reparenting work was about yelling less, you know, I felt like that was my go-to and I didn't like it and again it you're going from kind of how you were parented. And yeah, my mom was, you know, kind of a yeller sometimes and just him seeing a different way to do things and a different way to approach it, you know now his impatience turns him to that curiosity and those questions are like, can you tell me why you know, there's Play-Doh on the ceiling
Help me understand.
Yeah, I think about that glitter, like help me understand where the glitter is going I don't know if there was a podcast episode but there was something about glitter and it's like yes, that is so true like as hard as it is, it's like okay help me understand why, I mean our middle one is just I don't know he's amazing, but he does things that are so hard to understand sometimes like help me understand why you would put your fingers in the soup and try to scoop it out when you have a spoon right next to you.
Tell me more about your plan for this. Oh, such hard questions to ask in the moment. Mariana, you know that I could hang out with you forever. So it's just a nice little time for us to say thank you so much for joining me in chatting and for folks who are like, what is this reparenting jazz? I want to dive in deeper. You can head on over we have a reparenting class that you can actually pair and bundle with our Tiny Humans Big Emotions class. If you want to do both at the same time, it's like what is this stuff for me for my childhood? And then how is it coming out? And how do I support the tiny humans and respond with intention to them? We offer a bundle there. You can come snag that bad boy and when you join our Tiny Humans Big Emotions and Reparenting classes, you get access to Mariana all the time. She's the one that supports you behind the scenes and in our private groups diving into these questions with you and does the add-on coaching calls for them as well. Mariana, I love you.
I love you too! This was so much fun.
This is the best. I hope that you have a lovely rest of your day.
Thank you. You do the same Miss Alyssa.
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