169: How to take care of yourself first with Liann Jensen

Liann did not have an easy entry into motherhood.  Her first child’s birth was pretty traumatic; it was followed by a miscarriage and then very quickly by another pregnancy.

 

And then by COVID.

 

She was already overwhelmed and then everyone was isolated…and suddenly Liann had a whole lot of anger that she hadn’t seen before.  She didn’t think things could be more difficult than they were in the immediate postpartum period…and then they were.

 

Her toddler, Hewitt, resented the new baby: Liann would be sitting on the couch nursing the baby and Hewitt is rolling on the floor shouting “NO BABY!  NO BABY!”

 

Transitions weren’t a problem before, but now they couldn’t make it out the door to go anywhere.

 

Liann doesn’t deny that she was looking for a quick fix.  She wanted Hewitt’s difficult behavior to stop, so she could stop feeling so freaking angry.

 

She listened to a few of my podcast episodes and realized that she had no self-compassion.  She saw that she could be compassionate toward other people in her life, but she was unable to extend that compassion to herself (and I know she’s not alone here: this is incredibly common among the parents I work with).  Every time one of her children had a meltdown it felt like a personal attack on her worth as a person.

 

It wasn’t a linear path for Liann to see things differently; she initially doubted that the new tools she was learning would be useful.  She was out on a hike with them when they started whining and she realized they were tired and hungry…and so was she…but how did that help?  

 

Then she started to believe that things could be different; that there could be another way.   She stopped taking everything so personally, which created space for her to be able to see what her children were asking for, instead of seeing their expression of needs as an attack on her for not having anticipated and met them already.

 

And she also started to understand her own needs, and how she could meet these in ways that might seem unconventional, and that wouldn’t work for everyone, but they worked for her.  And that’s the important thing: it doesn’t matter whether the solution they came up with would work for anyone else, just like the solutions that will work for you and your child might not work for anyone else.  What matters is that they work for the two of you.

 

Hear what the solution was that worked for Liann and her son after he’d been demanding that she put him to bed and nobody else – as well as how she’s learned to ask for and accept help from friends, and how she’s no longer fazed by a baby who has covered every inch of themselves and their crib with poop.

 

Liann experienced a number of non-cognitive shifts as she went through the Taming Your Triggers workshop, which is where you don’t just believe something different to be true in your head, but that you take it on in your entire body as well.  At that point you no longer have to constantly remind yourself about what you’re supposed to do in difficult moments, because the knowledge isn’t just in your head – it’s in your body as well.  Then it becomes part of the fabric of how you live your life with your child.

 

We can’t know when and how these will happen, but I will say that almost everyone I’ve seen really apply themselves in the workshop does experience a non-cognitive shift of some kind, and it isn’t always what they were expecting it to be about, but it does help them to see things in a different way, which opens up space for them to meet their child’s needs and their own needs as well.

 

Taming Your Triggers is open for enrollment for just a few more days, until midnight Pacific on Wednesday October 12.  You’ll get:

 

  • One module of content each week for 10 weeks: all the detail you need, and none you don’t
  • Access to a private community of parents who will process this new knowledge alongside you, and even for you, as they explain what’s going on for them and you realize that you’re experiencing the same thing
  • The opportunity to be matched with an AccountaBuddy to hold you gently accountable to complete the workshop, and deepen your understanding of the content
  • Optional small group coaching with me if you know you need more support (for an additional fee)

 

As with everything I do, sliding scale pricing is available and so is a money-back guarantee.

 

And if you’d like to work directly with Liann, she’s actually coming back this time around as a peer coach!  She (and our two other amazing peer coaches) will be in the workshop every few days, offering support and guidance from their perspective as parents who are a few months further along their journeys to Tame their Triggers.  We’re both excited to meet you!

 

Click the image below to learn more and sign up.

 

Jump to highlights

(02:21) Getting to know Liann’s family dynamic

(04:08) The difficulties Liann experienced in her early journey as a parent including postpartum depression

(05:32) Liann felt overwhelmed by his son’s constant expression of “big feelings”

(06:32) What inspired Liann to sign up for the Taming Your Triggers workshop after listening to Jen’s podcast episode entitled “Patriarchy is Perpetuated Through Parenting”

(10:52) Lian’s explorations into learning her family’s needs and her own needs

(15:12) Ways Lian started to see her needs as equally as important as her child’s needs

(16:10) The process that Lian and her partner used to overcome their son’s difficulties with bedtime

(19:49) Our child learns that we all have the right to set boundaries about what feels right to us and that they have the right to do that too

(21:51) By being honest with herself, Lian was able to show self-compassion towards her sister during a difficult situation

(25:33) The positive impact of the community on Lian and her family

(30:03) Liann felt her need wasn’t important because of the WHITE supremacy that showed up in her family of origin

(33:03) The practices that Lian does to break the cycle of WHITE supremacy in her family

(38:42) How non-cognitive shift can help us progress in any work we do

(41:15) The funny poop story of Liann’s child, and her response at that moment which she hadn’t seen in herself before

(45:32) Big shift that Liann manifests when her need for rest is met

Transcript
Jen Lumanlan:

Hi, I'm Jen and I host the Your Parenting Mojo podcast. We all want our children to lead fulfilling lives, but it can be so

Jenny:

Do you get tired of hearing the same old interest in podcast episodes? I don't really, but Jen thinks you might. I'm Jenny, a listener from Los Angeles, testing out a new way for listeners to record the introductions to podcast episodes. 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. I listen because parenting can be scary and it's reassuring to know what the experts think. 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. You can also join the free Facebook group to continue the conversation. Over time you might get sick of hearing me read this intro so come and record one yourself. You can read from a script Jen provided or have some real fun with it and write your own. Just go to YourParentingMojo.com/recordtheintro. I can't wait to hear yours.

Jen Lumanlan:

Hello, and welcome to the Your Parenting Mojo Podcast. Today we are here with a special guest Liann who is here to share a little bit about her parenting journey with us. Liann had been on a respectful parenting journey for a couple of years before we met, and she had a pretty good sense of how she wanted to parent, but there were some moments where things seem to fall apart, and she couldn't figure out what to do to be with her children in a way that was true to her values when she was feeling overwhelmed, and so I don't want to give the impression we're at a point now where everything is fixed, but I think it's safe to say things are pretty different this point, and they are better than they were before, and Liann is spending a lot less time feeling like she's at the end of a rope and a lot more time actually enjoying her children. Welcome, Liann. Thanks so much for being here.

Liann:

Thank you so much for having me.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, so I wonder if you could start by telling us a little bit about you and your family and what's important to you as a parent.

Liann:

Yeah, my partner, Kyle and I've been married for just about seven years and we have two kids who is Hewitt is four, and Perry is two. We live in Chicago on the Council of the Three Fires land, so mainly Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi land, and stewarding the little bit of green space that we have is really important to us, and learning how to nourish the land, and also nourish people, I guess, is maybe an overarching family value that we have, and Kyle and I had some desire to do that before we got married but our kids have really been leading us more into that which is really fun. Just their innate curiosity, their innate love for everything that's outside, all the bugs, all the mud, all the mess all the rain, you know all of it, it's just been really fun, so we're really grateful for that and hope that we'll continue to kind of grow legs and be something that our family does more of together. I guess the other thing I would say, kind of big picture is Kyle and I really want to parent for the long term less for like immediate behavior modification, as you would say, is really hard to do, so less of that in more, you know, collaboration, more room for some inconvenient things to be expressed in hopes that in the long run, you know, our children would be emotionally articulate and capable people. So yeah, I think at a high level, that's what you're hoping to do.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, so you had a pretty strong sense then of what's important to you. I know from experience that in the moments when everybody's common regulated it's not so terribly hard. And then there are other moments were not so regulated and those kinds of things get a lot harder. Can you give us a flavor for what your early journey in parenting was like?

Liann:

Well, so I would describe my birth and labor experience and postpartum experience with Hewitt is traumatic. It took me a really long time to feel kind of at home in myself, at home in my body, and kind of familiar with what in the world I had just stepped into. Yeah, that was just really tricky, and I think before or right around when I started to come up from there, for air from that I had a pregnancy that ended in miscarriage and then got pregnant very soon after that, and then Perry came COVID hits, well COVID hit, and then Perry came, and then I have a toddler for the first time, Hewitt, and I'm just like, I can remember the moment when or some of the moments when I felt like all of a sudden I was in really deep water, just like I have never navigated this before, and we are isolated from other people, and wow, I have a lot of anger. I could not believe how much it shifted like how much harder it got and how much more overwhelmed I was and I didn't think I could get more overwhelmed than I was when I was postpartum with Hewitt, but I was definitely wrong.

Jen Lumanlan:

Hmm, yeah. I wonder if you'd be okay telling us about is there a specific incident where that sticks out in your mind that seems as though maybe there is, where things just sort of fell apart and it was just hard.

Liann:

Yeah, I definitely, you know, he was beginning expressions of big feelings. I have memories of nursing the baby on the couch and Hewit would just shout "no baby, no baby," and just want me to put the baby down, and yeah, I realized that I was having a really hard time responding right away to Hewit's, his cries, his calls for help because I was very focused on the baby, and obviously that was really hard for Hewit, so we had a lot of just him throwing himself on the floor kicking and screaming. Transitions weren't hard before and all of a sudden they were hard and I couldn't get off the door and, you know, I have this other like tiny person attached to me, kind of going along for the ride of like a comedy show sometimes just like constant kicking, constant screaming, constant big things, obviously, there were still a lot of fun, joyful moments, but it felt like they were really outnumbered by the hard ones at that point.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. Was there a specific moment when you decided to join the Taming Your Triggers Workshop that you remember?

Liann:

Yeah, my husband had just finished traveling for weeks, he came back on the weekends, but yeah, he was gone for a really long time and the transition from his travel were so hard, and so when that was over, I was still really reeling from that, and it was around that time that I think that I was introduced to your podcast, and I had one of those moments where I was kind of like desperate scrolling through the episodes to see, "Okay, I have to find somebody who's going to help me right now," like, I just knew that the quick fix wasn't there but I was still looking for it anyway, so I was scrolling and scrolling, and I saw an episode on a little series that you did on the patriarchy. Actually, episode one you did with Dr. Gilligan, I think it was Oh, my goodness, yeah, that episode really unearthed some deep down things inside of me, and there was a lot of grief coming to the surface for me, but then along with that, I had this self-compassion that I was able to access just in seeing these past versions of myself and really hard things that I had experienced, and those versions of myself didn't know otherwise and didn't have access to or the words for, you know, to express the hurt I was feeling or, you know, to offer myself any sort of validation, so, you know, I was looking for that quick fix, and instead I kind of got this invitation into self-compassion that I really needed. I just crave more of that and yeah, it was pretty soon after that I heard on one of your podcasts, I think that the Taming Your Triggers was opening and I thought, you know, pretty convinced that it would be helpful and events that my triggers aren't just pretty sure that it's because there's deep down parts of myself that are really hurting. Yeah, so that was kind of my motivation to jump in and bind more of what I found listening to that podcast episode.

Jen Lumanlan:

Oh, wow, it's so interesting to hear you tell that story because it lines up so well with the intention that you set in the workshop which I didn't know. Yeah, can you tell us about your intention, then?

Liann:

My intention was to bring more compassion to my relationship with myself like I said, I just was reeling and really craving more care and more support, I hadn't had it for a really long time, and I was really inspired around this time by the work of Robin Wall Kimmerer. I'm not sure if you're familiar, particularly her book on Braiding Sweetgrass, and just how she speaks of how ecosystems work together, the reciprocity of all of it, and I kind of had this “Aha” moment where I realized, "Oh, I'm not including myself in that ecosystem. I'm not caring for myself and so what's falling on for me is screams, you know, is a lot of anger. It's not compassion." so I just really realized I have to start with myself here. There's definitely a history in my family of martyrdom and so I knew that this was a really great first step and invitation for me out of that in into genuine care. That would start with myself.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, I just want to hold a little bit of space for the emotions that seems to be coming up right now. WHITE supremacy says we keep on plowing ahead and ignore that, then I just want to honor that and make space for that. So interesting that you came to this through the patriarchy episode because that's where we learned this stuff, right? That where we got hurt is in power structures telling us you may show up in this way or you may not show up in this way, you may not have needs, you will plowed ahead, you will keep making progress, and self-compassion. Yeah, okay, so you did have some doubts early on it seems, and so pretty early on in the workshop, the topic of needs tends to come up because that sort of underpins so much of the work that we do, and I think that you are having a hard time with the idea that when we're in one of these difficult interactions we're having with our children that we could actually potentially see and meet two people's needs in the interaction. I wonder if there may be an incident that you're thinking of that can illustrate what you had in mind when you wrote that post. And then what do you see that's different now in how you approach those kinds of situations?

Liann:

Well, when we initially started to talk about needs it felt like a paradigm shift for me, I was like, "Oh, great." This is a new lens, a new way of looking at all of this, and so first, I kind of thought, "Oh, so this is what I've been doing wrong, “Okay, so I'll just fix this thing," and then we'll be set right? So yeah, I can remember the moments when there was one in particular where I was on a hike with my kids and they kind of all at once both got very tired, very hungry, needed a snack, we had spilled a lot of the snack that we had, It had lots of sand and dirt in it, I was feeling the same way. I was going to eat some of that snack, and we just all of us together we're having a really hard time, and you know, identifying their needs was like, okay, I can, they're hungry, they're tired, they're thirsty, and so am I, but now what? And I just remember like, this isn't that helpful you know. This is not. This doesn't feel like a paradigm shift anymore, right? Or even, when we can identify the needs, it doesn't necessarily calm the internal chaos that I am feeling, or I'm feeling that internal chaos and I don't have a clue what people need, and if I asked my four-year-old what they need they're not gonna have access to that if I don't know, there's no way that they know probably, so I sort of felt a little, I don't want to say bait and switch because that's not at all what it was, but that's how I experienced it, like, here's the paradigm shift. Still, not there. They're still not helping, so yeah, that was kind of early on. You mentioned this concept of a triple bind that was helpful because I realized, okay, anticipate my kids needs, I'm failing, and then when they're screaming at me for the second, third, fourth, or fifth time to get them this thing that I still haven't gotten for them, or that we just don't have access to right now, I failed again. Awesome. And then thirdly, if I need to set a boundary or say no, or, you know, for whatever reason, can't give them what they are expressing you for, I fail the third time. Awesome. And it's just like I was realizing how caught I was there and how much of my, like, worth was kind of hanging in the balance in my head, and where I felt like, yeah, like I was just feeling all the time. That was really big. So I have to say that that was the main thing that started to shift for me is that I started to see, well, first I started to believe, "Oh, this can be different. It can be different." This doesn't have to just keep devolving into more and more like screams and cries and me getting so frustrated that I eventually snap in other way. I think other stories from folks in the community were really helpful for me with that, like it just sort of was throwing it out there of like, can y'all believe that this can happen for me because I don't know if it can, but also, as I started to get glimpses of that for myself and believing it could be different and believing that my kid's needs for more about them desiring connection to themselves to me to other people, then the needs became more information for me and not like a tax on my worst as a person, which sounds honestly silly to like, say that, but I know so many folks can relate to the overwhelm that exists bodily and like "No, literally, you are coming for me right now." That's how it feels. Yeah, so believing things could be different and then starting to see glimpses of that happening mostly because I wasn't taking everything so personally and was able to have a little bit of space, I guess, in between me feeling some way and what my kids were actually looking for. Yeah, so the needs became a lot more just like factual or just information for useful information then you know what I was, like weaponizing them to be basically.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, it's amazing how creating that space between what we think is happening and then what we can see is our reaction to what is happening allows us to say, “Hmm, what if that wasn't true? What if this wasn't an indictment of me as a parent? What if this wasn't my child is gonna fail if I don't teach them this one lesson right now? My child is gonna grow up with ungrateful, horrible person because I haven't instilled this value in them”

Liann:

Yeah, I think I was also missing my needs, so that was the other big thing that started to change was that I started to see my needs as equally as important as my child's needs, or the needs of my children and my partner, and that just wasn't true before. I just wasn't considering what I was needing and so it makes sense that I was so quick to really get frustrated and kind of bubble up, bubble up, bubble up until that inevitable point, I remember feeling on multiple accounts, like the self-talk, you're just going to explode, so why not just like, that's how this is going to go, like we both know that those can go and it was really lovely to watch that start to fade.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and I guess if the specific incident I'm thinking of this started to percolate down for you, and you realize that you had me it's just the bedtime struggles that you were having? Was that sort of what you saw as well. Was that a big shift for you in terms of how you perceive that?

Liann:

Yes, I think you're right. I'm glad you jogged my memory here because bedtime with Hewitt was really hard. Basically, Hewitt was really wanting and expressing desire for me, and I was like, "I just need space from you," and so initially, that just felt like a dead end and felt like we can't meet both needs here, either I give way or Hewitt gives way, which one is going to be, and I felt like I always had to choose. So there was this one night in particular where I was so done and I communicated that to my partner and said, "Hey, like, I know that we have been doing this weird bedtime thing where I would like pop in and pop out if you express need for me, but I was like, I just don't know that I can do that tonight, and he was like, “Okay, great. Go do what you need. I got this.” And so I got in the bathtub and I was thinking, Hewitt will see that I'm getting in the bathtub, and he'll know, “Oh, Mom's not an option,” and then it'll just be fine, and there's definitely now that I got in the bathtub and it was amazing. After about 15 minutes, I felt so much better, a lot more calm and I was actually able to start thinking about what I truly needed. I think the bath I don't know if it was what I needed or not but it was at least it gave me the space to kind of consider what was really there for me, things were not going so well and I texted Kyle and said, “Hey, you know, it sounds like things are not going well. I feel like now I have the capacity to have a problem-solving conversation. Do you want to do that? And would that be helpful?” He was like, “Yes.” So you know, I got out and we chatted about it And what I offered to Hewitt was to sit in his room while the bedtime routines going on, and just read a book that I had, because I realized my true need was just to take a break from active parenting. I didn't mind being in proximity to Hewitt but I needed a break from the kind of running things, and he was fine with that, and so I literally sat in his room had earphones on, read a book, and then he was able to continue on with the routine with his dad, and so it was interesting afterward, Kyle was like, feel like nobody wanted that situation, but then we chatted about it a little bit more and kind of realized, actually, that was great, so I think initially kind of felt like he had failed because “I didn't get the space,” that I was asking for when in reality, I was fine, like, I was happily very content to sit there, so yeah, that was a really big shift, and that kind of led to more of that sort of creativity. Well, we did that for about four or five nights and then there was a day where I was like, I can't be in his room at all. I don't have the capacity for that. And I was honest about that and told him throughout the day that that was going to happen and it was really fine, there was a little bit of pushback, but it felt really good for me and important for me to pull that boundary, and Hewitt would actually found ways of kind of connecting to me again like he started to send me audio messages from Kyle’s phone, and at first they were like, “Mommy, Mommy” just like really anxious, and then they started to be like, “Mommy, mommy, mommy! Daddy and I read books. And so you could tell that like he wasn't actually anxious anymore, he was just used to expressing that anxiety, but he doesn't even send them to me anymore, and then we just do this game before he goes to bed where he fills up his mommy tank. However, that looks for how he wants that to look and creativity there has been really, really key.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, absolutely. What an awesome illustration of the process. There just to sort of pull out some bits of that for parents who are listening. What we're not saying is that every time your child's dysregulated you should go take a bath because that's probably impractical, but what you did there was you saw that you were getting dysregulated, you saw that you had a need, even though you weren't sure exactly what that need was but you're like, you picked a strategy that you thought could help you and you tried it, and it turned out that that did help in that instance, there could potentially have been other strategies that could have helped as well, but you're new to this, you picked a strategy, you tried it, it helps you to reregulate, and then you realized that you are able to meet your need for self-care, at the same time as your child's need for your proximity for connection with you is also being met. Of course, the key here is he is satisfied by just proximity, he doesn't need you to be actively parenting and so you are then able to meet both needs, and what's a pretty unconventional arrangement, right? mom in the bedroom ignoring the child reading a book, I mean, just I haven't seen that specific advice in any parenting manual, but the key is it both of your needs, and then you realized after a few days, this isn't like meeting my need anymore, and I think we get sort of really hung up on this idea that I'm going to find the thing and we're going to find the perfect routine, and it's always going to work, and this is gonna be easy from here on out, and instead, you kept in touch with what was going on for you, and you realize, you know what, this actually isn't meeting my need anymore, and then you were upfront about that, and you set a boundary, and there was some pushback because there often are because it doesn't always feel amazing to be on the backside of somebody's boundary. But what does our child learn about this, right, our child learns that we all have the right to set boundaries about what feels right to us and that they have the right to do that too, and that other people will do that in their lives, and this is not a rejection of them. This is not a rejection of you know, your child are terrible and I'm not doing this thing with you. This doesn't really feel right for me and so we're gonna find another way to do it. Thank you. That was an awesome illustration. And then you started using this the idea of creating the pause and other areas of your life, right, I remember the wedding dresses. Do you remember the wedding dresses?

Liann:

Oh, yes, the wedding dresses. Yes, my sister was newly engaged at the time and wanted to try on wedding dresses in another city and invited me to join, and so I got this text from her. She said, “You know what dates work for you?” And I was like, “Oh, no.” It's like, okay, do I say yes? If I do, like I'm abandoning Kyle, that's what would happen, and if I say, “No,” I'm abandoning her, you know, and so I just all these things are swirling through my head. The logistics were very stressful and I just was internally freaking out, and yes, took a little bit of a pause. I remember putting my phone down and I was like, I can't respond right now, and then I thought, okay, maybe I can respond but I can just let her know, “I'm not ready to say yes, I'm not ready to say no, I am just letting you know that I'm finding them to be stressful, I want to be there and also, I'm not sure if I can do this, and so go ahead and book, you know, a day that works for you and everybody else, and let me know what that day is and I will do what I can to be there.” So it was sweet because my family is not super used to just that level of honesty, I would say, or at least it's new for us and so it was sweet to have her meet me in that. She was very understanding and caring and you know, we were able to have an honest conversation about all of it, instead of me having this like, anxiety attack behind the scenes and just like agreeing or saying no, or, you know, kind of giving myself time to really consider, okay, and to end consider Kyle to and talk with him about it was yeah, it was a really helpful process to go through.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and your response to her was so simple and so compassionate, and clearly owned, right? This was about you, this is not a rejection of your wedding dress, choosing trying on process. This is just what I am equipped to deal with at this moment, and so go ahead and do what works for you and I will fit in as I can when we can be honest with people in that way, it really deepens our relationship with them, right? Because they see that we're being open, we're being vulnerable, and that enables them to come towards us in that same spirit rather than well, you need to wait until I've consulted this 15 people, you know, my husband and the carers and everybody else, and then I will tell you if I can attend, right, and we just sort of starting to head towards headbutting, but instead, this is what I'm able to do, and that vulnerability, I think, is what's missing in a lot of our relationships that we just feel as though I couldn't say something like that to somebody else. The only option I have is to say, this doesn't work for me to move towards some sort of conflict type of relationship, and it's so powerful when we can bring that vulnerability instead, you do a lot of verbal processing.

Liann:

How can you tell?

Jen Lumanlan:

In the workshop, we always have the lurkers, we have the folks who sometimes they introduce themselves, and then we don't hear from them again. Sometimes they don't even introduce themselves and then there are other folks who process out loud and who bring everybody else along for the ride in terms of seeing this happening. I mean I'm not kidding how many people would come on to your post and say, “Oh, my goodness, I never thought about that,” because that's what processing and community does don't even realize that this is a thing for you, and you hear somebody else articulate it, and you're like, “Me, too!” So I wonder can you say a little bit about maybe what you're expected to get out? If my hunch is you're expected to get knowledge, you're expected to get the nugget of information that was going to fix you, to fix these situations, and then everything would be better in your family. What did you actually get and how did community sort of relate to that?

Liann:

Yeah, well, I mean, back to my, like, frantic scrolling to find a podcast that would fix you know, where I was early on. Yeah, I mean, I was definitely hoping for a lot of paradigm-shifting information, which I did receive, but yeah, the community was really everything I did not expect to be so vocal truly. Yeah, I don't know, I think I felt really free in the community to be honest and open and then I also was really experiencing the learning from other folks, and so I think I just believed, I'm really all these posts that I'm making, and I'm the, you know, like reading them 100 times before I make them, but whatever, in the spirit of learning said, you know, and it just was, yeah, so that definitely went both ways, but there's a friend of mine, who I really have to credit with, so, so much of just my internal preparation for this workshop, you know, this friend is a fellow mama of two kids, and is currently a single parent, and during that, when Kyle was gone for 12 weeks, this friend showed up for me time, and time, and time again, and even like insisting a few times, I can remember being sick, and this friend was like bringing food, it's on your porch and you know, there was food, but then also like all these snack all these like sparkling waters, and just kind of like the extra things that this friend knew that I liked. And it just was this level of care that I don't really expect from people that I'm looking for especially not from somebody who doesn't have much capacity and so I sort of started the workshop on a mini-wave of energy because I was just really full from, you know, cameras work on all of this with reciprocity, and then also kind of living that out and seeing that happen in community with this person who, again, like our culture would say, having a lot to offer looks like a lot of money, a lot of professional advice or experience a lot of tenure somewhere, and that had nothing to do with our relationship, It was very much us taking turns needing and receiving us offering, and so yeah, I think I started the workshop on a wave of really believing that having experienced and community and really wanting to, for that, too, people receive it too, like I knew I would hit walls and kind of need help from other people to kind of like get my head back in it or, you know, again, to believe that shifts were coming and possible. I really think the community was everything and you said at the beginning, you were like, so little of what you will get out of this will come from what I will actually teach you, and I was like, “Yeah, okay.” And you know, it was. But no, it was definitely true and the community is for sure Kyle and I want to stick around, you know, and be part of the membership. We were just like, how do we pass up a whole year of access to that community?

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, so it's really that processing that finding that space and I think you actually said it yourself that we're all going to be down at some time, and others are going to be up at some time, and we can kind of boil each other up when we need it. Yes, just sort of trust that there's going to be someone, which is why we have that need help now space where anyone can post and say, “I need help right now,” and we make sure everybody has their notifications turned on for that, and so that when somebody does need it, there are 15 People have hopped on and say I hear you, “Yeah, you're not alone. We're here with you. What do you need right now?” Yeah, and sometimes that person needs support and advice. Sometimes they just need to vent and be told, there's somebody out there somewhere who is thinking of you. Yeah, so I think that part's really important and so much of this, I think I believe helps us to break down principles of WHITE supremacy that keep us separate and that have hurt us by forcing us to stuff down parts of ourselves that are not considered acceptable, right? like you thinking I don't deserve help. I'm supposed to have my husband gone for basically three months. It just look like I have it all together. Yeah. I can't accept help. I'm not deserving of help. I'm not worthy and so I wonder, I know this was an idea that you explored in the workshop. Can you tell us a little bit about how you've seen some of those principles of WHITE supremacy showing up in your family of origin and then maybe we can talk a little bit about things you're doing to interrupt the cycle?

Liann:

Yeah, there's three main ones, I would say sense of urgency, fear of open conflict, and the right to comfort. So you had posted this article by Amanda Gross I think who wrote it.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. I can put it in the related episode

Liann:

Yeah, it was very helpful and just like explicitly naming symptoms of WHITE supremacy. But as a kid, I think, you know, sense of urgency, I can remember playing in the creek playing outside a lot and just feeling free, and then there was this really dark contrast between that and the rest of life you know, anything organized, that we would go to even just getting out the door that was this hurry, there was a sense of urgency. Fear of open conflict definitely lots of brushing things under the rug, lots of not feeling like any power or authority could be challenged, and then right to comfort specifically for those in power and authority and so again, I remember feeling like a little kid who wasn't allowed to need things, wasn't allowed to, or at least not express my need for things, and those needs weren't as important as the adults, the men specifically. Yeah, and so I just kind of internalized that I wasn't important because of these things, you know, I was kind of drug along, you know, urgently to do things to accomplish things I allowed to, you know, yeah, making conflict was a no, no, there were lots of taboo, like things that you just don't talk about. It really, burst, a lot of shame in me, I didn't feel very connected to myself as a person, I didn't feel very connected to what I needed, and I certainly didn't know how to articulate that, because I felt like I had to choose between remaining true to all of that, and myself, and like, lose relationships with other people, losing relationship with myself, and I was going to choose to lose relationship with myself every single time. So yeah, I think the neck goes back to that future episode where I was like, okay.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, because we all choose that, right? Because the possibility of being rejected by our parents and caregivers is just terrifying, so losing touch with who you are is less terrifying than losing touch with your protectors, even if the things that they are doing are hurting. My guess would be that your parents were not terrible parents by any stretch of the imagination, they were doing these things because they thought that this would give you the best possible start in life in our culture.

Liann:

Oh, yeah. All right. I was also just like, the air we breathed. It was everywhere. You know, it wasn't just them. It was the schools and the churches and you know, everywhere where we were. So yeah, definitely. Don't blame them for that. But those are probably the three areas that I'm most prone to perpetuating cycles of WHITE supremacy. Do you had asked kind of what interrupting that cycle looks like? And the main ones, I think, right now, you know, kids have zero sense of urgency, and they're very present, and not concerned with whatever pace, you know, we are setting or being on time, you know, and I'm trying to see that as a superpower because my goodness, wow, it feels like it would be a superpower for me to have, so trying to yield to that and to their pace a little bit more, giving them more autonomy over, you know, the pace at which we move is helpful, especially when we don't have anywhere to be where we have to be on time. So that's a really good practice.

Jen Lumanlan:

And isn't it amazing, though, that even if we don't have anywhere to be, it’s so baked into us that we just can't get ourselves out of, “Well, hurry up!”

Liann:ntly started something called:Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah. 100% agree. When we're stuck in the old paradigm it's like you're being noisy and I'm used deliberately using a judgmental term, I want you to be quiet and so the solution is, you're going to be quiet, right? When actually, there are 100 potential solutions, some of which involve you being quiet, some of which involve you moving to another room, some of which involve me moving to another room, which may inconvenience me for approximately 30 seconds that I make that shift, and then I'm able to do whatever it is I was doing before. I think we get sort of blinkers on and will the only solution is this one solution I've decided is the right one when actually there are so many potential ways to meet our needs. That's really freeing, I think, yeah, that's a huge shift. And so as we start to wrap up, one of the things we talked about a lot in the workshop is the idea of a noncognitive shift and that's the idea that very often, we know what we need to do in the difficult moments, right? You came into this knowing a lot about respectful parenting knowing what was important to you and yet still it was hard when you are dysregulated, you just can't remember what to do. What we need in those moments is not more knowledge or different knowledge, it is to take on knowledge differently in our bodies to actually live it instead of just thinking it and I wonder if you can tell us maybe if you have seen any kind of shift like that in yourself?

Liann:

Yeah, definitely. You know, when the first time that I heard talk of non-cognitive shifts within the workshop, I was like, “Oh, that sounds really cool.” But like, how, how do you do that? How do you know, I guess I would want to just encourage listeners from the start that like, yeah, that sounds really ambiguous, because the non-cognitive shifts are absolutely not things that you see coming. I don't know how much control you even have over those, right? They just happen.

Jen Lumanlan:

Rattle off because control happens in the brain, right?

Liann:

So I don't know if that's encouraging or not but it just not more pressure to figure out this noncognitive shift thing like it will happen and I think for me, one of the biggest ways of getting to those noncognitive shifts was rest for me. Andre Lord says, “The Master’s tools will never dismantle the Master’s House,” right? And so we can't get to progress with any of this work just by reading more just by listening to more podcasts just by you know, working harder at it because our bodies really need time to digest the information to absorb the care and community, and yeah, for us to kind of focus on that for ourselves first so that it can kind of flow out. So I think the rest practice you know in taming your triggers, we did some meditation, and that was some homework, so I did a lot of experimenting with that, but then also resting before jumping into the stress cleaning. I'm mad, so I'm just gonna wipe down the counter. You know, it's we're all familiar with what that feels like, just like I have to do something to kind of help myself feel better. Yeah, so resting before cooking before the cleaning. I knew every, who does that? I know, I know. Right?

Jen Lumanlan:

Who does that, right? You rest first. That’s not allowed. You rest when the work is done.

Liann:

There are times when we start naptime by a time with you know, a cup of tea in my hand and I'm sitting in the backyard or a literal nap, or, you know, whatever it is, I would just try to check in with my body and then just do you know, I'm super tired. Okay, I’m gonna lay down. I really just feel like I need some sunlight. Okay, I'll go sit outside, you know, something like that just communicated so so much care to my body and it's amazing how much more digesting of the information I was able to do in those moments If you're down for a poop story.

Jen Lumanlan:

Always down for a poop story. If it's got vomit so much the better.

Liann:

There was a day when I was so tired and I thought, okay, I'll just lay down on the couch next to Hewitt, he probably won't let me sleep but I'll try. I'll give it a try 15 minutes. So I put Perry down to take a nap and then I lay down too. I had snacks like for Hewitt so It was like here, and I woke up 90 minutes later, and I was in shock. Hewitt had even more snacks around. It was perfect. I mean, and so for a split second, I was really tempted to think, oh my gosh, I can't believe I slept that long, I have all this meta dadadada. But that was like immediately quieted by the fact that my body felt so much better. The headache I didn't realize I had was gone. I felt like oh, that's an energy, so I was able to do a little bit of cleaning and cooking and preparing, when perry was awake I went to get him, I start to smell poop as they come up the stairs, and I opened his door, and he was completely naked, jumping up and down on poo, there was poop on the walls, there was poop on every slat in the crib, there was poop on his hands in his head like it was everywhere. And my first response was laughter and I honestly was like, it wasn't actually funny, and I didn't want it to happen, then I didn't look forward to cleaning it up but somehow I had just this access to humor and this was a Friday afternoon, okay, this is totally the type of material I don't on a Friday afternoon that would just send me typically over the edge just done, you know, yelling at the two-year-old when I was the one who didn't put pants over his diaper because our air conditioner broken and it was hot so I just thought, oh, just put him in his diaper. Never again. But, you know, just I had access to a little bit of lightness and I was able to clean that up, and it just wasn't that big of a deal, and honestly, I was reflecting back on that later, and thought, “My goodness,” like, “Wow,” I didn't choose to respond that way. I just did. And I think I was only able to do that because my body was rested. I felt refreshed. I had gotten something that I needed and so I had something in the tank to handle this less than ideal situation. There's no way that would have gone well, you know how to not laid down and I can just imagine the resentments I could have felt, you know, I spent, you know, 90 minutes cooking and cleaning this house, and now I have to clean up the crib too, and you know, so it's just really sweet to just not it wasn't even a thing. It wasn't even a big. That's probably the most recent, like direct example I have, of course, it's not like a one-for-one, you don't like to take this nap and then the rest of the day is amazing, but I have found this work to really build on itself and you really start to gain momentum. I don't know if momentum is the right word but little shifts make a big difference and that builds on itself for sure. The rest before is a huge, huge, huge component for me of that, and Trisha Hearses work has been really helpful for me just in exploring sleep hygiene, rest hygiene, you know, trying to actually make a practice of rest and she has just some really gracious offerings of what that looks like.

Jen Lumanlan:

She has the nap ministry on Instagram, the more people familiar with him through them

Liann:

I'm really seeing the noncognitive shifts kind of stuck up the more that I rest

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and so I do want to sort of take that one step further because I feel it for a long time. While there are listeners and people who come into the workshop and what they desperately need is rest and they are in a situation where, you know, I am at the end of my rope, and this is what I have to do right now to be able to keep going. But I have always had this idea that if what I'm doing is essentially giving more resources to WHITE women, that I am missing something here in my work and so the step further if you're willing to talk a little bit about this is what does being more rested enable you to do in the world?

Liann:

Yeah, it definitely brings up a lot more creativity for me in considering what I do have, it's so easy in our culture to think about what we don't have, think about what our limitations are, and shut ourselves like, you know, I don't have any, I don't have that much money, and we kind of stopped there. So what do you do, you know, I don't have much to offer organizations if I don't have much time, and I don't have much money. So one thing that my partner and I ended up doing is, you know, there was a friend who, in our community that really needed a car, and we're like, gosh, like, we can't make that big of a dent in terms of helping you buy a car monetarily, but then realized, okay, what we do have is a house that's on a pretty busy street, and we have a yard, and we have, you know, we had moved into the stuff and had stuff in the garage and always access, so we just, we gathered a bunch of our stuff, had other friends give us stuff, and we hosted a yard sale, and ended up being able to give a pretty good chunk of money to this friend, and you know, I think that type of thinking has been helping us. I also have realized in the evenings there are definitely times that I have a little bit of time to offer and you know what I actually think I have a need for more collaboration with other folks in our community toward some kind of effort and so why not pick a one day of the week, or even if it's not every week, and collaborate with folks, you know, at a community garden or something like that, and so that's another way in which there's simultaneous needs being met and they're my own two very much so. Yeah, I think for a long time I let my whiteness kind of block me from seeing the ways that I was oppressed by WHITE supremacy, I didn't feel like I deserved to admit that but that's the same, that is the oppression of WHITE supremacy right there. And so, you know, I think the really gracious invitations into more rest, particularly from the BLACK community are helping me to kind of unwind some of that and really internalize a lot more care that then can flow on, and so yeah, definitely hoping for more access to that creativity, which again, comes from rest, so my partner and I have some more dreams working on and we're starting to spend mornings in the garden together we've been doing that for a couple of months now before the kids wake up. It's really sweet to dream about it because there's a lot more possibilities than just time and money.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, how the land can nourish us and heal us, and as broadly as well, yeah, not just through us. Yeah, thank you so much for being here and taking us on this journey. It's been an absolute honor and a privilege to work this little bit of it with you and to see the shifts that you've made not just in your family, but how that is also rippling out into the broader world, right? And so clear to me this is this is not you showing up in these organizations, volunteering, and white savior in your way to working with them but it's a mutual aid kind of model of I'm here, and I'm here to help and tell me what you need and that is model that I'm really interested in exploring more of through BIPOC pioneers who have been doing this work for generations. Yeah. It's a very different model than many of us WHITE folks have grown up with. So yeah, so thank you for coming on and sharing your journey and all of its various aspects with us.

Liann:

Yeah, I'm grateful for the invitation.

Jen Lumanlan:

Yeah, and so I'll put links to all of the books and things that we've referenced in the show today at YourParentingMojo.com/Liann, which is L-I-A-N-N.

Jenny:

Hi, this is Jenny from Los Angeles. We know that you have a lot of choices about where you get information about parenting and we're honored that you've chosen us as we move toward a world in which everyone's lives and contributions are valued. If you'd like to help keep the show ad-free, please consider making a donation on the episode page that Jen just mentioned. Thanks again for listening to this episode of The Your Parenting Mojo podcast. Don't forget to head to YourParenting Mojo.com/recordtheintro to record your own messages for the show.

Share:

About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (www.YourParentingMojo.com), which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.

Leave a Comment