Taming Your Triggers
Ever find yourself reacting to your partner’s behavior or your child’s actions in ways you wish you didn’t?
You’re not alone!
Many parents come to the Taming Your Triggers workshop hoping to manage their kids’ behavior but quickly discover it’s also about dealing with those partner-triggered moments!
Parents just like you are already signed up for a journey to a happier, calmer family life. This workshop could be the game-changer you’ve been waiting for!
Remember, you’ll get the best results when you bring your partner along!
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Jump to Highlights
01:20 Introducing today’s topic
01:47 Elizabeth and Marshall introduce themselves and their family
04:00 They talk about experiencing burnout from continuously helping others in their profession.
06:06 The couple discussed how their upbringing influenced their parenting style.
11:27 They shared about their experience with going through the Taming Your Triggers program together and how they decided to do it.
16:52 Marshall explains why parenting is hard for them
23:24 The couple talks about how parenting has improved over the past few months.
28:20 Elizabeth talks about how her perspective on her relationship with her mother changed.
41:47 The couple share their experience with AccountaBuddies
48:03 Jen encourages couples to take the program together, believing it creates a shared experience and language for improving their relationship dynamics.
Do you get tired of hearing the same old intros to podcast episodes? Me too. Hi, I'm not Jen. I'm Jessica and I'm in rural East Panama. Jen has just created a new way for listeners to record the introductions to podcast episodes, and I got to test it out. There's no other resource out there quite like Your Parenting Mojo, which doesn't just tell you about the latest scientific research on parenting and child development, but puts it in context for you as well. So you can decide whether and how to use this new information.Jessica:
If you'd like to get new episodes in your inbox, along with a free infographic on 13 Reasons your child isn't listening to you (And what to do about each one), sign up at YourParentingMojo.com/subscribe, and come over to our free Facebook group to continue the conversation about this episode. You can also thank Jen for this episode by donating to keep the podcast ad free by going to the page for this or any other episode on YourParentingMojo.com.Jessica:
If you'd like to start a conversation with someone about this episode, or know someone who would find it useful, please vote it to them. Over time, you're gonna get sick of hearing me read this intro as well so come and record one yourself. You can read from a script she's provided or have some real fun with it and write your own. Just go to YourParentingMojo.com and click Read the Intro. I can't wait to hear yours.Jen Lumanlan:
Hello, and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. And today we are here with special guests Elizabeth and Marshall. Thank you so much for being here both of you. It's great to meet you finally.Elizabeth:
Yes, thank you.Jen Lumanlan:
So I wonder can you start out by telling us where are you in the world? Who's in your family? Because I have been trying to track where exactly you are. And I am having some trouble with it I have to say.Elizabeth:
Yes, my family also does. So we are traveling physical therapists. And so we're from Oregon State originally. Well, Marshall's really from Arizona. But that's where our permanent address is. And our last rotation was in Delaware. And now we're in Maine, so like Central Maine here for eight months.Jen Lumanlan:
Wow. Okay and your family travels with you and you do all of this together?Elizabeth:
Yes. So we have an awful lot of student debt. And so we're traveling because we can make a lot more than being in one permanent position. And so we are so lucky we travel with our oldest old preschool teacher and her husband, and they travel with us. And it's been lovely. And they have their own house. Thank goodness for them. But yeah, so she comes every morning with the girls.Jen Lumanlan:
Wow. And you're both physical therapists?Elizabeth:
Yeah, yeah.Jen Lumanlan:
Okay. And do you work in similar kinds of work? Or are you working in the same practice? Like how does that how does that work?Marshall:
Yes, so far, I mean, when we were in Oregon, we were working at the same outpatients clinic. And then, when we were in Delaware, we had days where we were at the same clinic, and then days where we were at different clinics. And now here in Maine, it's kind of the same thing. Some days we get to work together at the same place. Other days where separate places.Jen Lumanlan:
Oh, wow. Okay.Elizabeth:
We do work together a lot.Jen Lumanlan:
Picks up puzzle. Yeah, and you also have two children. I think.Elizabeth:
We have three children. Oh, this is Hollis. She's six. And then our twins are three. So yeah, so we like to work.Marshall:
It's a nice break.Jen Lumanlan:
Okay, that sounds like a lot to navigate.Elizabeth:
It is a lot to navigate. I know we call ourselves, yeah, like a traveling circus. Yeah.Jen Lumanlan:
Okay. And I know that some folks who work in caring professions teaching those kinds of professions find that they have kind of endless patients all day. And then at some point, it kind of runs out. I'm wondering if there was a similar dynamic coming up for you.Elizabeth:
Yes, somehow Marshall seemed to escape this. And it always eluded me like he could. We used to work in outpatient all the time, and he would just come home and he'd be perfectly fine. And I just reached like, total burnout. I've actually, I've taken so many courses on it now. Yeah, I'd have endless patience for my patients. And I'd come home and I would just have my angry outbursts and I just could not figure it out for the life of me. I really, I would like to say I'm not an angry person. And so it was quite a realization. I was very shame. Well, I'm still ashamed about my angry outbursts, but yeah, exactly like that. Yeah. How you escaped it.Marshall:
But yeah, I mean, in this profession, there's definitely just the balance of when we're at work. We are have to put our best toes forward and really toe the line and we we have to give a lot of our empathy to our patients and really help them. And I mean, I think there is like a tank of that. And we do deplete it. And so there, unfortunately for our children, there is less than a tank, you know, when we get home. But I can kind of compartmentalize to maybe slightly better than Elizabeth, but it's still it's still a challenge.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah, gosh, I love it in these conversations when new dots are connected for me, and I'm just connecting the dots with restraint collapse, right when our children are in school all day, and they kind of keep it together all day, and then they get home, and they lashed out at us. Just realizing essentially what we're talking about here is we're going through restraint collapse, right? We're giving of ourselves, we're in professional mode all day, and then we get home and we can loosen up a little bit and everything comes out. So yeah, wow. That's a cool realization for me. Sure, yeah. Yeah. So I wonder I'm curious about the connections between the way that you have been parenting up till now and how you grew up? What was life like growing up for you, both of you?Elizabeth:
I grew up in I think, a very common like middle class family. I didn't know it was authoritarian until like, now in adulthood. And Marshall and I always talk we're like, I don't get it. We just did what our parents told us because I don't know. And then I realized, like, we do know what would have happened. And, yeah, my mom had a very hidden mental illness, like her whole side of the family had mental illness. And I'm not sure why we didn't ever really talk about it. But we didn't really talk about anything real like that.Elizabeth:
I also had two siblings and a pretty rocky relationship with my sister until she moved out. She was pretty mean. And then my brother was kind of my best friend. And he really tried to protect me and kind of shelter me. And it was really quite delightful. But yeah, I would say and then another big thing I realized going through Taming Your Triggers was like, the financial side of my family there was like, my parents both work in pretty typical professions, like with retirements. And it was just this push to, like, always get out of debt. And always, we just always talked about money, and there just seemed to never be enough, even though they were really wise with their money. So whenever I went to school and racked up all this debt, it was quite a thing. Like, how could you do that? And it was like, well, there's no other way. This is how you become a doctor in this world. So yeah, so kind of that's what I've been working through a lot. What Taming Your Triggers was all about.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah. And Marshall, I'd love to hear from you. Before we go there, Elizabeth I'm just curious, did anyone get angry in your childhood? Just kind of?Elizabeth:
Yes. My my, I would say there's quite a bit of anger on both sides but my mother was really angry and still kind of is a lot like this, like quiet, like boiling anger and very passive. But I mean, there was still like, a lot of yelling and that sort of thing. I really just tried to tow the line so I didn't have to see it too often.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah. So makes sense that you would be uncomfortable with anger now?Elizabeth:
Yes, very much so, yeah. Yeah.Jen Lumanlan:
Marshall, what was life like for you growing up?Marshall:
So if I look at it, kind of at a superficial level, it was pretty privileged. I would say I have just one older sister. And we were like a really kind of average, like upper middle class family. My mother worked full time and a lot as a nurse practitioner. And my, my dad was always in education and working for a college or whatever. And eventually worked his way up to being like the president of our local liberal arts college. And so it seemed easy, and looking back on it, my parents even to this day, say like, "Oh, you guys were just so easy," because they, you know, they'll see Elizabeth and I just like totally struggling with the chaos in our house. And I'm like, gosh, you and your sister were just so easy. We didn't have to deal with any of that.Elizabeth:
And why is that?Marshall:
Yeah, looking back on it I'm like, it seems easy, but like what really was going on and there was definitely and I don't think it's uncommon, but this underlying kind of urge or, like, insistence on like being really good at certain things. Some my sisters, older sisters like the classic older child, super high achieving really smart, straight A's. And I was also like, did well in school. And it was never a question that like, we weren't going to go to college and have like a professional degree And the degree was going to be one that, you know, we is respectable. So I think there was a lot of kind of subliminal, like, push towards that, like, the respectable profession. And you do this so that this happens, and everything was just kind of in line and there wasn't a ton of anger, I can remember certain times when my parents would get angry, because I think there wasn't a lot of it. But at the same time, I was brought up with many nannies and all pairs, because both my parents worked. And I can't really remember if there was anger from them. But I mean, some of them were, like, 18 years old, watching my sister and I. So who really knows, but I think the big thing is looking back on it was like, there was this real big push to like, yeah, what live the American dream and become a doctor type of thing. I think that shaped a lot of my childhood and limited some of the creativity and other things that maybe I could have experienced.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah, it's almost like there was this box that you weren't even allowed to look at, that you were designed, and your parents constructed it around you with the absolute best of intentions, right? They wanted you to be successful in the world. And so they built this box for you to be in and as long as you didn't push the edges, then everything was okay. And you will most knew it's not okay to even look at the edges of this box. Just keep focusing inside it, then I'm okay. What do you think would have happened? If you had? I mean, you mentioned creativity, there's probably a spark there or something that you're super passionate about, right? What would have happened if you'd push that a little bit?Marshall:
Yeah, I mean, I'm not too sure because it's kind of funny, because my parents kind of, like, left their box, you know, they were kind of when they grew up, they were kind of put in a box, and they like, kind of escaped it a little bit. And so I don't know, if there would have been a ton of pushback, I think the fear from me, or the hesitancy for me to push against what they were pushing for was like, a fear of letting them down. Like, there was just like, this overwhelming feeling that I had, you know, I didn't want to, like, disappoint. And I think that comes from like, a little bit of a controlling environment that I was pretty unaware of as a child.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah, absolutely. It's so hard to be aware of that, because we see our parents as knowing everything and being all wise and, and of course, they had our best interests at heart. So yeah, it's hard to even think about questioning that. And yet, we are here today, navigating some struggles that have come along with that. And so I guess I'm curious, you two went through Taming Your Triggers together, which I have to say is awesome. So what was that process, like of deciding we're going to do this? Firstly, you know, I assume one of you heard about it first, so I'm going to do this, and then we're going to do this together. What was that like?Elizabeth:
Yeah, it's interesting I remember, like, standing in my bathroom in Oregon, the first time I heard about Taming Your Triggers, and you and like, we're doing the Upbringing podcast with them. And, and I was like, oh, we need to do that. Or I need to do that or whatever. But and then it was, I don't think I was working at the time, like, I stayed home, our girls were like a product of COVID. So they were born and I kind of left the workforce and all of that. So money was always big thing. But so it pulled it off. And then whenever we started traveling, I said the next time it opens, like, we have to take this. And so it opened and then I said like, Okay, we both have to take it. Jen said we both have to do it. We can't take it to, you know, like one membership doesn't work. I remember being like kind of aggressive, and I was like, and I don't want you to argue with me on this point. Like, I just need you to do this. And he was like, okay, but like he's always been so like, I feel like we're both very lucky in that, you know, we both really do support. Like, if it's important to one of us, we just go okay, if it's important to them, we're just going to do this. And it's very honoring because I didn't have to like pull up the homework. Like we tried to glue our nanny in all of this. She's very on board with helping us do this style of parenting because she really is a parent at this point. So I would say it was a very stressful time we had just started this rotation. And it was winter in Maine. It was quite a lot on us. And I know I did have one angry outburst at work. And so emotionally, it was a lot for me. Yeah, yeah.Marshall:
And just to kind of reiterate what Elizabeth said, she had shared a couple of the podcasts with me. So I was just somewhat familiar. And she's been doing tons of like podcasts and different things to really work on parenting, and so much more so than myself. And when she brought this up, like, I just knew it was something that she cared a lot about. And so it was not like, there was limited resistance for myself. I didn't really know what all it was about, or what it entailed. But I also was like, on board to start participating in the education component of parenting, at least more so to kind of catch up with what Elizabeth had been doing. So...Jen Lumanlan:
And why was that important to you, Marshall, because I work with so many male-oriented people who don't want to get invested in the educational aspect, right? It's the female-oriented partner in it, in that relationship that's doing all the research and all that stuff. What was it that made this important to you?Marshall:
I think, probably it was a bit of like, good timing, where our twins were like, almost three, and we've been traveling for half a year with them. And just all the couple few years, up until that point, it's been really hard, like, immensely harder than I ever thought parenting would have been.Jen Lumanlan:
What was hard?Marshall:
Oh, just so we did okay with our first child. But the pregnancy was hard. The delivery was did not go as planned. And then she was a child that was very needy, was with mom, all the time for two and a half years. It just created, it was hard. And then we had stopped traveling and kind of tried to sort of settle down in Elizabeth's hometown in Oregon, qnd then unexpectedly had the twins. And then that was like, five times harder. So the pregnancy was three times it's hard and super stressful, driving every two weeks, two hours to go to these super stressful appointments. And then the delivery was terrible. It's one of the twins in the NICU. Like...Elizabeth:
I got readmitted to the hospital with an infection. Yeah, as an emergency C-section. And it was just so...Marshall:
Everything was just horrible. None of it fit the picture of what I had as the father, like, kind of just a total car wreck. I can't believe anything was happening. And then it was it was just hard, like, our children are definitely different than how I was as a child. So it's hard for me to be like, this is just hard, maybe it's a female thing. But all three of them are girls, they all really need mom. And Mom is totally number one. So dad has a really hard time, like helping as hard as I try, it just sometimes just doesn't cut it. And then that just creates more of a stress in our relationship. So it just it was there was no rest in this three years. And we kind of just tried to artificially create the rest. And by just like leaving and driving across the country to Delaware, and it's not gonna get easier. We can't really make it any harder. So we'll just drive across the country and try and figure it out. And so I think all of that, once you brought it up, like we probably should try and figure out how to parents and as someone who I do a lot of education for my job, I do a lot of education on my various hobbies and interests, and so it kind of at that point, I just was like, yeah, that makes sense. I probably need to learn how to do this, because I haven't been able to do it naturally. So there's little resistance, but I will say it was all her idea and I didn't participate in finding the resources. I just took them.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah, And Elizabeth you laughed at a lot of that but that sounds super hard. And super scary. A lot of it, right?Elizabeth:
And it's funny. I actually became like a women's health therapist through this because of all the issues I had. And no, we laugh because like I know of all the issues that can happen during pregnancy. And so I tried to, like, prevent all of them. And they all happened anyway. And it was just like, it was just like some people say, I brought it all myself, which I don't believe but, and then just funny, like how hard we tried a parent. And I actually did have an epiphany today as another parent was telling us how she doesn't even have to say anything, and her kid just does it. And I was like, Oh, that really like, in my I did not tell her this. But like, I'm really having trouble with how to actually, like, interact with parents, I don't agree with because I don't want to condone the behavior. So anyway. And I was like, this is why it's so hard for us because we're not okay, with just being so cruel. And then eventually, there'll be easier because the kids will just look at us and do it. And so it kind of really helped me today, where I was like, yeah, that is why it's harder for us, because we're trying to be empowering to our girls. And, like, I don't want them to have all the really stressful situations I had in high school in middle school. And anyway, so I am we are feeling and we do try to laugh a lot about all of this because, like we just say like, you cannot make this up like the Oh My God.Marshall:
Alternative is to cry, I guess.Elizabeth:
And we I'm not gonna lie in our evening, sometimes I'm like, we only wanted one kid. And we were like, one time I wanted three kids, but that was in childhood. And so that was prior to having one exactly. And then we had one kid and I realized kind of like you like I am a finite resource, like Hollis nursed for two and a half years until I was pregnant with the twins. And then we said no, I'm not growing three humans. But like, that's kind of how it's been. I say the twin gods had grace on us because only one nursed which made me really sad. But like, I just couldn't like Marshall had one baby and I had one baby. Still loved us both. It's like both are great. But I think they realized like I was gonna burst if I had to do any more. And then Marin wean at one. And, like, thank you, thank you for weaning yourself. Like I didn't know a kid could self-wean, like, this is amazing. Anyway, but yeah, we do try to laugh and our nanny gives us a lot of comic relief, because she's like, she's like, can I sign up for a hysterectomy? Like, I love your kids, but like, kids are a lot.Jen Lumanlan:
Indeed, they are.Elizabeth:
So much, you know, And whenever you're just trying to empower them. It's just a process. So...Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah. And so I guess I'm curious as to how that has unfolded for you over the last few months. Because right now, it seems you are super clear on what your values are. And not perfectly every day, of course, because nobody does that perfectly every day, but in general being with your children in a way that's aligned with your values. So I'm curious about the shifts that you've seen toward that direction over the last few months.Elizabeth:
It's been awesome because I used to look at other parents who were like their kid was toeing the line And I was like, should our kids be doing that like my kids misbehaving or whatever. But like our oldest just started Girl Scouts in Maine and it has been wonderful to see her kind of interact with the kids and then like I know I'm so glad she's asked me to leave because I want her to be the funny outspoken Hollis she is without me going Hollis, Hollis like, don't speak out because that's just what kids do. And they need to you know, like she'll be I joke because the upbringing pack I feel like the world will socialize them, don't worry. And so that's been really nice. And then whenever like we're having for example are more or evening meal, which our nanny tries to feed them dinner number one, because whenever we get home then it's not such a rush to get like dinner on the table. Will Aida we call her our youngest twin, we cannot understand her very well. And whenever she gets mad, she like screams which means she becomes more like one more time and then we like this morning she was yelling at me for a spoon, but it maybe had an S in it but didn't have the rest.Elizabeth:
And so now I'm realizing I'm gonna try to meet her needs but it's okay for her to be upset like she's been all day kind of without her parents, And I'll just give her space and I feel much better, especially like whenever we're in public, and our kids are being exuberant. And it's okay, like, it's okay that they're not walking with me in the store. And they're a little loud, because they're kids, and it's a grocery store. So I feel so much more confident. And I feel like my issue is that now that I feel kind of so good about how we're parenting, I'm kind of like, what I don't want other kids to be, like, mistreated around me. And so that's, that's kind of I feel like the really hard part, or I shouldn't say, mistreated, I want them to be heard. So, yeah,Marshall:
Yeah, I think I feel like I have a lot more allowance or tolerance, so like, letting my kids feel how they want to feel. They used to bother me a lot more. It's not that it doesn't, like, bother me when I come home, and I'm tired, and they're having a meltdown, because they haven't seen us all day, and they're tired. And so it's not that it doesn't bother me anymore. But I can allow it a little bit better. And sometimes, I can really just allow it and not have it bother me. So that is a huge step. There's like, you know, that window of tolerance that we initially learned about in the course, because just being aware of that is a huge help.Marshall:
So I can, like, I will know, if, if my window of tolerance is narrow, And I can try and mitigate, like, what I'm gonna do with the kids, or maybe what I need to, like, help minimize the effects of having such a narrow window. And I think also, just, my window has grown a little bit just being a little more acceptance of what my kids are doing. And I think a lot of that has to go back to me realizing like, oh, yeah, like, I wasn't allowed to have a lot of these things like, toeing the line, how most people like, parents. And that's because, you know, multi-generations being raised that way, like, it's hard to break the mold. Now, knowing that I'm like, breaking the mold, I can let my kids do some things that I probably wouldn't have done.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah. Oh, my goodness, those are I mean, those are amazing things to know about yourself, right? I mean, most parents, when they come into Taming Your Triggers are thinking, child, if you would just stop doing those things, then I wouldn't explode. And what you're saying is, I can monitor my ability to navigate these difficult situations. And I can take steps to shift what I take on so that I can widen my window of tolerance. And also I can know when it is narrow, And maybe even ask for help when my window of tolerance is narrow, so that I'm not navigating this alone. I don't have to fix everything right now. I mean, that's an awesome shift, right, in not a super long amount of time.Elizabeth:
For sure, yeah.Marshall:
Yeah. It really has been. Yeah.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah. And so Elizabeth, I think another thing that came up for you, as you were going through was was something around your relationship with your mother, is that right? And how you were able to kind of changed the way that you saw that?Elizabeth:
Yes. So I always thought of it as like codependence. My family, we've all kind of grown up like being very family-oriented, whereas Marshall's family literally, like moved across the country from their parents. So they were a little like off the hook. And mine has always been like very localized. And so everything like actually my mom had, I say no more kids brunch because my mom always has an issue around when I have the kids were like not really sure why that happens. So like whenever Hollis was very young, we actually had to do like an inpatient hospital stay with her for her mental health and that it was extremely hard. And my sister she's six years older than me, like we basically took it on. And as us because my dad wasn't able to help based on the kind of traumas going on of transference and everything. And so it became my role and my brother had five kids at the time, and I only had one and mine was easy. I could just strap her on and nurse and like it didn't matter, which it did. It was still a lot of work. So my sister and I really took on a lot of that burden, actually, like we were away from Marshall for, I think three months or three weeks, sorry, not three months. And then I've just always taken it on as my duty to, I've got to check in. I've got to, I don't know, emotional support, I guess is the big thing. Because if her husband can't do that, then I need to and I was listening to a podcast you had recommended and actually Christine said shut up it's like awesome boundary with her family. And literally just said, like, that's a great question for your counselor. And it made me feel so great because I'm not checking in as often because they don't help me. And I'm not offering to be a support anymore. But all of this happened because of Taming Your Triggers. We had a like a mother's, that's it a mother's week, relationship with our mothers, I think was what it was. And I ended up listening to the book that you had recommended, you had pulled out a letter. And the title of it was so hard for me to get my head around because it was something about like mothers who can't love and it was like, like, am I saying, my mother can't love me, but then you start to listen, and it's that they're not loving you in the right way. And I had the most amazing epiphany because I honestly I've had these two events haunt me throughout Taming Your Triggers, it was like, and I got taken advantage of in high school. And anyway, like two big main things, and I needed my mom. And that's what I've always said is like, if my kid messes up in high school, I want them I want to be the first person they come to because it's so scary. Who are they going to go to?Elizabeth:
So I actually like pause the book, and I called my mom and I was in tears. I was like, I was like, Mom, I need to tell you this. And I said like I needed you in high school, and I needed you here and and she's done a lot of work on herself. And she said like, I'm so sorry that I couldn't be there for you. And she said, I said that to you. And we had one of them was huge. It was on body image. I had actually needed to talk to someone about, wasn't disordered eating, but it was. I needed to talk to someone who knew what was going on and she told it called me selfish. And I was in high school and I was like getting help, and I was so proud of myself, and so telling her this was so big. And it was, you know, and I said like, you grew up dieting my whole life, how would you think I wouldn't have started dieting in middle school. And she was like, Yeah, I just she said, the person I am now would have never done that to you, or would not have said that. And I'm really sorry, I couldn't be that person.Elizabeth:
And that was like really freeing. And we actually haven't talked about it again, I didn't really know where that would go. I was like, Okay, I'm just gonna throw this into the universe. And then I hadn't hadn't actually thought about them since then. And I was I thought about it with Marshall, because I said, Hey, remember all those flashbacks I was getting, like, every day, like, I don't get them anymore. And I just needed to give it back to her and let her do whatever she needed with it. And so since then, I've been really working on my family's had a couple of like, what I would call major illnesses. And I said, Oh, we got to go back home. But it's like $4,000 to go back home. And we're paying off our student loans. So that just derailed us. And Marshall very kindly said, so want you to know, your your family's like always in a crisis, like very lovingly, he said this. And it was like, maybe not crisis. But it was something similar. It was so freeing, because my family's always sick. And it's not my job. Like they're not genuinely healthy people. And this is my job. It's my family. And I had never felt like that with my family. Like I always felt like my role as a daughter was but it was it's in measurement is what it is. It's an inappropriate relationship.Elizabeth:
And my sister who's older, like she doesn't, they are her nuclear unit like she I really think she looks at them as more like, like a best friend and that sort of thing, so that enmeshment is, she's okay with it. And so I'm not letting my family kind of drag me in anymore. And I just like, really can't believe that I actually did that. And it really helped me because I don't want my girls to feel that way about me. And so I try to just be way more honest with them in an appropriate way of just like, my feelings. My issues come from my childhood, not from you guys. Like right now. And I try to I don't I'm still in the sticky mess of trying to figure out how much you do tell your kids but like because they're like, well Nana's amazing and I'm like, she is amazing, but she's a different my grandmother is different than mom. And so that's kind of a sticky mess we're trying to figure out, but I just try to be very honest with them as honest as they can take. SoJen Lumanlan:
My goodness, I got goosebumps, as you were telling me about that. And I guess I mean, firstly, Elizabeth, I'm curious about what it was like to receive that apology from your mom, and then Marshall, I want to know, what was it like to witness that process happening?Elizabeth:
I was, it's funny, I was so floored. We think our family can't handle like what we want to get back to them. And I think I was just like, like, she's an adult, of course, she can handle this. But I realized myself as a high schooler, I was so concerned, I would have been like, I mean, not put out on the streets. But it really seems like that whenever you're a kid. And so it was just such a beautiful thing. And even though we haven't talked about it again, I was just like, that's all I needed. I just needed to give that back to you. And that's all I needed. So, and now I try to be very open with my I try not to text first of all, because I think texts are really hard. But I tried to just say, I'm feeling that this is happening right now. And so And she'll be like, no, texts are bad way, you don't read emotions. And so I just tried to try to over I feel like I kind of don't have a frontal lobe whenever I talk to her I because I try to just be more communicative, I guess. Yeah.Marshall:
And I think cause both by surprise at how well the conversation went, like if if we would have game plans, like, okay, was if you're going to tell your mom, this stuff, I probably would have been like, okay, just brace yourself, Elizabeth, you know, your mom doesn't really apologize. It's more for you, like, don't expect too much from her. And so surprisingly, it went like really well. And some of that is probably just my bias from her previous interactions and her previous sense of unsettling nature with their relationship.Marshall:
And since it has happened, I can see there's less kind of perseverance on that relationship. And she can now move on and focus on like, helping the relationship, like, between her and I are in between the kids and there's not quite as much distraction. Since we've been traveling there's always a little bit of distraction, because her parents are were removed from and so our kids will be like, oh, when are we going to go back home. And that's, you know, Elizabeth's home too. And I own the house there too. But I wouldn't necessarily call it my home, I don't really necessarily feel like I have like a home. I have where I grew up and I have long living. But it's different relationship for me than it is for Elizabeth and, and our kids. So there's, there's a lot less distraction that I can tell. And now we're she just is able to focus on other things a little bit better. So it was definitely a super helpful piece that was pretty unexpected, I think for taking the course. Like, when we took the course we weren't thinking like that's the direction we're gonna go to try and help our parenting. Right, like, yeah, it's good. Yeah.Jen Lumanlan:
It's always surprising what comes up. And it's rarely what you expect. And I just want to tease it out a little bit for folks who are listening. So what I'm hearing you say is that there were these incidents that happened in your childhood Elizabeth and, and there was shame attached to those things, right that in the way that they happened, and in your mom's response to them, and you had been carrying around that shame for a long time, even though you maybe were sort of partly aware of it, some of it was kind of floating beneath the surface and was always there, and the energy that it took to carry that around, narrowed your window of tolerance on a daily basis. And so what you did was you in when you said it, you use the exact words, I gave the shame back. And when we talk about sort of counseling to help people navigate shame, giving the shame back is one of the tools that we use to do that. Yeah.Jen Lumanlan:
And you you did that you gave it back And you got an apology, which you may or may not have received and either way, it probably still would have been somewhat helpful. And you set a boundary, you said you know what, this is what I am capable of being in this relationship. This is how far I'm willing to go and beyond that is kind of your thing to own. And in doing that you've freed yourself from having to carry the weight of your family around you every day, which widens your window of tolerance and means you have more capacity to be with Marshall, to be with your children here today. I mean, it's, it's amazing stuff, right? And yeah, you're right, who would have seen this coming when you signed up?Elizabeth:
You know, and I think a really empowering thing was whenever like, so you had us try and write a letter to our mom. And so I ended up reading the book without that recommendation came from. And I remember thinking, like, here I am, once again talking about this stuff, I'm gonna write it down. And it's like, I'm not going to talk to my mom again. And I was like, I'm just gonna get the same old results that I always did where it was, like, like, I didn't really feel like it. So it was like, I don't know, I think sometimes you just really get out of your comfort zone, doing these sorts of things. And I'm just really glad because I realized, like, just do it, you know, what's the worst thing she could do to you? I mean, not talk to you, and then you don't have any issues. Like, I know, that sounds terrible, but it was like, like, we're doing okay. You know, like, I of course, I want a relationship with her. So it was so empowering to just like, really trust your gut And really do that. Yeah.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah, that's super cool. And I'm also wondering what your experience was like with having AccountaBuddies, because I know that a lot of people are resistant to doing that when they come in. I'm an introvert by which means that people who are introverts tend to want to work with me, and they're like, no, I'm not going to share all of these stuff about my personal life with somebody I don't even know. And I know that you each had your own buddies, which is what we recommend. And so I would love it. If you could each say something about what was that process like for you? What was the relationship like for you? What did you get out of that?Elizabeth:
So I'm not gonna lie, I felt like I was a bit in middle school. I remember that night, we were trying to find our AccountaBuddies. And I was like, okay, I think I think I got my AccountaBuddy. But you know, some people really vet their AccountaBuddies, and my AccountaBuddy, and I bless her soul. We're like, okay, good, you look fine. This is great. You know, like, we're just like, Okay, this is just a part of it. Let's pick it, let's do it. We're not, I don't know, I am an emotional being. But I think I'm also an introvert. So like that social part of it. And my AccountaBuddy and I, we just chatted this last weekend, of course, is oh, you know, Taming Your Triggers has been over, but we do audio messages to each other, like, while I'm driving to work. And then we do talk whenever we can.Elizabeth:
And I was having, like, it was one of those days where you're like, I don't even have kids. And it was, you know, we we've been working so hard, but like, we still stink at parenting, you know, sometimes you have those moments. And I said, "Marshall, I'm not going to have time to talk to my AccountaBuddy, like, I'm gonna have to cut that." And he said, "Of all the things to cut, I really think you shouldn't cut that one out." And I said, "Okay, I'm gonna just call her right now. And if she picks up, we'll chat." And she picked up and it's just so life-giving, because her kids are, we're on a struggle bus a lot, like just big emotions. And it's nothing we're doing wrong as parents, it's better kids just have emotions. And so I find that like really great to help navigate that together, even when you're overwhelmed. And behind, it was just so and I didn't know if it would be that I actually had this, like, oh, maybe we'll be like at a yoga retreat together. And I actually think we will be those accounting buddies. Like, we're literally like, when are we going to see each other. So it's been really great. And I feel like we have a very similar, like approach to life, we're both working moms are working outside of the home. And so it's been a very great to have that similarity. And she actually has an au pair. So it's really great and very similar. And we we did have really great ideas for each other or just an ear to listen, we both like it whenever the other person does give advice, versus just the holding space. But when needed, we would do that, too. So even if people are resistant, I think it's the thing that really helps, especially if you don't want to post like a very personal question in Circle, which is the platform. It was kind of nice to just be able to vet it to one person without any strings attached. It was just like, oh, this is my AccountaBuddy. They'll be fine with it.Marshall:
Yeah, And my situation was a little bit different. So there weren't too many males in the program. And so we kind of all four of us, and there may have been others I'm not too sure but four of us ended up getting together as more of like a group and I wouldn't say we had the same close knit experience that Elizabeth, like, luckily got. That's not to say that couldn't have happened. But it was actually, that was one part of the course, where I was like, wow, I mean, I'm gonna do it, because it's part of the course, if I get value out of it, great, if not, there's like all this other stuff, and I can get what I want out of it.Marshall:
And so I was just really neutral to it. And I knew that I probably wouldn't post too much in circles. So I did kind of like, encourage myself to be open and transparent with the AccountaBuddies, and we ended up getting like a weekly Zoom. And I, initially, I thought that that would be just a little cumbersome because of the video. And I was like, can't we just like, have a group chat or text or whatever. But I will say that I felt like the Zoom was pretty worthwhile, because we could see each other and it is more like you meet them. And so you, you do create a little more of a connection that way. So, so we had our weekly meetings, and all four of us, I think, had different things to bring to it. And I think it went pretty well, I wouldn't speak for the other three, but you know, we all kind of there wasn't one person, that would be a lot and not one person that didn't speak, we all kind of shared it, which was lucky because sometimes with or it could, someone could just like sit back or someone could dominate. But that wasn't really the case. So it was definitely beneficial.Marshall:
We did, and maybe it was because there was four of us. And we were on West Coast and East Coast. So some of the timing got a little bit mixed up, and some people can't make them and and the last few when, when a couple people couldn't make it then it was like, oh, well, two people aren't making it, we'll just not do it. But there was one one time where two people kind of and myself and another individual just chatted. And then if we were already on there, And someone had to leave early, we always like stayed and chatted a little bit. It was good. People would bring up different things. And then we kind of created this, we did a couple things where we would try and like alright, so next time, like they're gonna report to the group one thing you did well, and one thing that went really terrible, so that we could kind of commiserate and like, oh, this is just hard, and we're not going to do it right.Marshall:
But maybe you can like remember that one when. And so throughout the week, you're like, I gotta come up with my one good. Like, what are they gonna be? So you know, at night, when you throw the book across the room? Because it's the 13th one you read, you're like, oh, my gosh, that's gonna be a bad one. It was helpful. But definitely a different, a little more casual experience than what Elizabeth had.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah. And so I do encourage couples to take this together. Because I think and I'm curious as to your perspective on this, I think that it gives you a shared experience a shared language, or shared knowledge about how we're trying to shift the way that we are showing up in your relationships. And so I guess I'm curious if that was the case for you. And if somebody is listening to this, right, maybe it's a female-oriented person, maybe it's a couple listening to this together. And they're thinking, hh, I don't know if I should do this. I'm just wondering if you have any advice on whether this is the kind of thing that would help? What kinds of conditions would have to be in place for this to be helpful, and how it's helped you? Right? I mean, we've talked a little bit about your relationship with your children. But you also mentioned to me that this is really made a difference in your relationship between yourselves as well. So this as we wrap up, I'd love to hear your thoughts on on that.Elizabeth:
Yeah, I think it like really hurts my soul whenever I hear that, like people aren't in support. I mean, it's all over Circle, you know, of like, my partner's doing this, and I'm doing this, and I guess we've always had, who don't have the best marriage, but we have like a really wonderful relationship, like he is thoroughly like, really my best friend. And I think out of just genuine support for me, he just wouldn't have never, like, he would have always done this. And so I would say like, if you're on the fence, like there's no better way to share your love than to do this together. Like it's better than any date night you could do I swear. And like, my big thing is, like we're struggling, but we're struggling for the right reasons, because we want to be better. Like we could change it around and I think it could be easier, but our kids wouldn't be better. And so it was always about the money because cuz we're very frugal people. And now like we spend on we spend on organic food, and we eat really well. And we pay for parenting, like, and we'll pay for counseling, we'll pay for like, anything like that. Because in five years, I'm gonna, like, look back at us and now like, bravo, look at what you guys did. And there's just no better investment. I don't know. I'm just like, so proud of us. It's really hard. And we are.Elizabeth:
I laugh at how like unnatural parenting is for us. It's just not what I thought it would look like. And we just have more kids than we ever thought we would. And like, I just have to laugh because I we had a, you know, I had a dream I was pregnant. And it was like the world's scariest thing. Because I was like, oh my god for like, you know, God, like somebody have mercy on us. It was Joko, it was a dream. But I would say they're just, it's so priceless. I laugh at how much I would pay for parenting advice that works and that is in line with your values so you can feel good at me. And that's a lot of money. But you know, I don't know. And it's, I'm so happy. Now we're I'm in the Parenting Membership now. And I'm just so grateful to have like a good support system. But I would say that like if your spouse isn't on board, just think of it as like the best way to love on them. It's maybe it's not about your kids, maybe it's just about showing support to your spouse, because I get it like we all have different value systems we bring into parenting. And so just being open to another is amazing.Marshall:
I think there's huge value and both of us having done it, I think you'll get more out of it from like the whole parenting scenario, because there's just less resistance. And with the less resistance, there's also like a little bit of accountability, like, we both know the best thing to do in a scenario. But when someone's window is like too small, like the other one can just say, like, go on, like, that's not how we're going to do this. And then there's like, like, Yes, I know that too. So there's an accountability that is just helpful to speed, the progress. And then also, just like from a relationship perspective, is definitely helpful. You know, one of my big triggers was, I would get mad when Elizabeth was mad. And it's still something I work through. But like, if she's flustered, because her window is small, and kids are melting down, like that would just get me and then I would be flustered. And that just doesn't help the relationships. So anytime that you're having challenging parenting issues, like it's totally going to affect the relationship of the couple. And so doing this as helped with that.Marshall:
Yeah, I think if it's one individual who wants to do it, And then they're like, nervous to bring it up to the other because they're like, they would just never go for this. You could, I mean, Elizabeth, like shared podcast with me so I knew kind of what it was about. And she just literally brought it up to me, like, we need to do this, And you can make it, please do this for me. That would mean a lot. If there's some hesitancy that someone's partner would would take the course with them. And I agree with Elizabeth it was financially. Initially we're like, well, but it's totally worth it. And we do it again.Elizabeth:
Well, I just wanted to share one thing was that our nanny was so encouraging because we'd been like sharing all of this information with her. And it was like, she said, "You do know like you guys do nothing for yourselves." And we do we exercise And that sort of thing. But it really got us to really prioritize, okay, we need to do a date night we need to do this other stuff, where we don't necessarily talk about this stuff. Because that was all we ever did was like, go out and then like talk about this stuff. And so now we have like more dream meetings and more fun because we're just trying to be more joyful in parenting. So I did want to say that that did also get us started on like the, "Okay, can't all be work," which it was hard to fathom, because there's not a lot of time in the day. So anyway, I just really wanted to say that that that really has helped us prioritize our fun that we do have together.Jen Lumanlan:
Yeah, 'cause if life isn't fun, this is what we have. Right? So yeah, this this is our one go through. Well, I'm so grateful to have been part of your journey, I mean to have seen some of this transition happening in real time. And now to look back at it and the bits that I didn't see that were happening behind the scenes. It's just amazing. So thank you so much for being here with us today and being willing to share your story.Jessica:
Thank you, you. Hi, this is Jess from rural East Panama. I'm a Your Parenting Mojo fan, and I hope you enjoy this show as much as I do. If you found this episode, especially enlightening or useful, you can also donate to help Jen produce more content like this and also save us from those interminable mattress ads. Then you can do that and also subscribe in the link that Jen just mentioned. And don't forget to head to YourParentingMojo.com to record your own message for the show.