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Episode 18 - Why I Decided to Parent Mindfully | Marisa Raymond

Aug 10, 2021
Episode 18 - Why I Decided to Parent Mindfully | Marisa Raymond
 

     

“The crux of a mindful family, if I sum it up in one sentence, is how you interact with your family members so that everyone feels seen and heard.” - Marisa Raymond

Being a parent is a difficult task. Aside from changing nappies, being up all night with a crying baby, and doing your best to juggle everything, it’s constant. You don’t get a second off unless you have childcare or they fall asleep. 

But what's even harder is learning how to manage the ups and downs that life may bring and keeping everyone healthy and happy whilst also finding a little time for yourself. 

Sometimes you just need to relax, take a deep breath and allow yourself to focus on the things that matter the most. 

In this week’s episode, Eleshia is joined by Marisa Raymond, a parenting coach, yoga teacher, and genetic counsellor to learn how mindful parenting can help. 

They’ll be discussing what mindful parenting is, why it matters and how it can help your children grow up to be well-balanced, respectful, and loving individuals. Listen to the episode to learn how to calm the chaos in your home proactively, why having family meetings are helpful, how to find the right level of communication with your children, and how to be more intentional and mindful. 

And remember- there's no such thing as perfect parents. You don't have to figure everything out all at once. Each day, you’ll learn how to be more mindful in everything that you do and discover how to manage your unique family’s long-term happiness.

Eleshia’s Essentials:

  • It's all about learning those lessons, then reflecting and doing things differently the next time around.

We also learned so many lessons from Marisa:

  • Mindful family is a learning process. It's recognizing that this is a long game and every single day is an opportunity to plant seeds.
  • We can take what we're learning inside and bring it out into the world. That's when we create the ripple effects, and that's what we all want.
  • It’s not about the quantity of time you spend with them but the quality because that's when you're showing them that they are seen, heard and loved, and they can trust you.

About Marisa Raymond:

Marisa Raymond is a parenting coach, yoga teacher, and genetic counsellor. She has been in business for 5 years and she helps busy families go from feeling overwhelmed, anxious, disconnected to finding more opportunities to create ease, joy, and togetherness - on and off the mat.

Marisa is also an American-board certified genetic counsellor supporting families who have been diagnosed with or are at risk of developing a genetic disorder. She helps clients identify coping strategies for dealing with the rollercoaster of living with a chronic disease, including stress-reduction practices, coordinating medical care, and connecting with family support groups and research teams.

Connect with Marissa:

About the Show:

The Eleshia Show is an exciting new podcast that helps empower female business owners to put their well-being first whilst building their businesses. Tune in every Wednesday as my inspiring guests and I discuss strategies, share stories and experiences and dive into how you can build your business whilst trying to navigate real life. The host, Eleshia Harris is here and ready to share her decades of project management and wellness experience to help you start saying ‘Yes!’ to your business and life.

Show Transcript:

At the end of the day, fundamentally people just want to be seen and heard. We want to know that we matter and we belong. 

Eleshia Harris: Hi, I'm Eleshia Harris and I am your host of The Eleshia Show. I am also the founder of eleshialifestyle.com, and I'm so excited that you're here with me and I am here with you. I'm also really appreciative. Each week, I'll be sharing strategies and stories, and insights to help you enhance your wellbeing and to build your business while still navigating life. Because sometimes we often try and separate the two and let's face it, if you are not well, you have no business. So let's try and work with these two things combined because we can enhance your lifestyle. Again, I'm really excited to have you here. I have wanted to put together a podcast for over two years, and so here I am ready to share. Let's get into this week's episode.

Hi, and welcome back to The Eleshia Show. This conversation is an important one for me because I still consider myself as a new mom. And I want to know, I want to know how I can parent mindfully. I am parenting my daughter. It's important for me to be able to do this in a way that is effective for myself and for the whole family. I also have my brother who I am the main carer for, although he is an adult. He is on the autism spectrum, so there still has to be elements of parenting there sometimes which is pretty hard to really digest at the beginning when my mom passed away because we were all grieving. And then ultimately, I became his carer and I call myself a sister-mom because I do take on those roles and responsibilities a lot of time.

Having Marisa here as an expert was really good to have the conversation, and just to give me some strategies that I could start to think about when we are trying to parent my daughter mindfully. Because of some of the things that all parents did, we can't do that now. So yes, this was a really eye-opener for me with regards to this conversation. Before we get into the episode, let me introduce you to Marisa.

Marisa Raymond is a playful parent coach, yoga teacher and a board-certified genetic counselor who helps parents and children who feel mentally and physically exhausted from trying to do all the things. I know how that can feel sometimes. Her clients crave more family time, but then, her clients crave more family time, but then when it comes, they don't know how to connect in a way that's meaningful and enjoyable with everybody. Tempers flare, patterns are perched and everyone ends up feeling overwhelmed and underappreciated. I think we've all been there too. Using a Swiss army knife of tools collected over two decades of professional and personal experience, Marisa helps her clients create more calm, ease and joy. 

Marisa is a mom of two who lives in France but is originally from the US. Marisa believes that relationships are co-creations and parenting is a partnership. When we're clear about what we need and desire, we can stop shitting ourselves and each other and really set boundaries and make decisions that lead to a more playful, happy, and balanced life together. Yes, I would totally agree with this. So I really hope you enjoy this episode. Let's get into it. 

Marissa, it's so good to have you. 

Marisa Raymond: I'm so excited. I've been looking forward to this all day.  

Eleshia Harris: So have I. Whenever we have conversations, it just lights me up. This is going to be another one of those, I know for sure.  Today, we're going to be talking about mindful parenting. For me, as a new mom, this is really interesting to me because my mom's not here to ask questions. And when I was growing up, it was what mom said went. Now, we're in a different world. What mom said and what mom did, a lot of the time can not be done now.  

Marisa Raymond: And what mom said and what mom did, wasn't always the same. So as a kid watching that, at least in my house, it was like, wait but you said, and she's like, do what I say not what I do. For me, it was my dad and not my mom.

Eleshia Harris: You could never be confused because if you got confused with my mom, my mom was like,  didn't you hear what I said?  But what you said didn't make any sense. 

Marisa Raymond: They did the best they could, and we turned out fine. You don't always have model parents. I know my parents were good parents. My parents did everything they could do, and they read the books that were available at the time. But yes, you get to be an adult and you're like, maybe I don't want to do it exactly the same that they did. Maybe these emotional wounds that I carry with me, I don't want to pass onto my children.  

Eleshia Harris: That's not true. For me, it was a little bit different because my mom had me when she was 20. She was growing and growing me. When you said your parents read the books, I don't think my mom read me any.

Marisa Raymond:  There was one book that my parents talked about. Dr. Spock who was a pediatrician and everybody read his book. It was this thick and I remember it on their shelf, and I think they probably read it before I was born when my mom was pregnant. And then when we were sick, were they sick enough to take them to the doctor?

Eleshia Harris: I love that. 

Marisa Raymond: It's such a different world too. You and I are the same age,  our parents didn't have the internet. They didn't have all the books and they didn't have as many choices. Where I grew up, my parents didn't have the means to send us to private school, so when you are going to public school, this is the public school that you can go to. There's no choice. Now, in this world where there are so many choices, it is so inundated with 24-hour news cycles and social media, and our brains are just in overstimulation mode. Being mindful is important for everyone.

It's important for our state of mind. And then when you can role model that for your children, it just feels right that maybe I'm giving my children a little bit more of a foundation of how to take care of themselves. When they go to talk to their therapist, because I'm going to mess up and they're going to have things that they need to complain about,  but they'll at least know that they can and they will know the language to talk about their emotions.

Especially in my household, my mom didn't really show that many emotions. She was very strong. She never really cried. She was a strong person who just kept ongoing. We always knew that if we ever saw her let down her guards and cry, then there was something really wrong. But there were no real emotions like that, and I guess that's because she didn't learn that ever. And that's no disrespect to her parents, but she just didn't learn that.

Yes, I come from a Jewish family so there was a lot of talking. There were a lot of opinions. There was a lot of telling each other what we thought you should do but in the same way. There was still that, I don't know if it was the trauma that was carried from World War II, but I think more than that it's like, let's just be positive and bottle everything else up and put it down because we can't change it and just grin and bear it which doesn't help anyone in the long run.  I've had some amazing conversations with my parents in recent years, but only because I'm at a place where I can. I was never going to have those conversations when I was 15. 

Eleshia Harris: No, you wouldn't have dared to. I know I wouldn't have dared to. My mom has this look, and when Rose Marie gave you that look, you knew you needed to zip it up, no more is to be said.  

Marisa Raymond: I don't know if this was like it for you too. I remember because we lived in an apartment building,  the way my dad would open the door to the elevator and his step coming towards the door. The wall of my bedroom was the elevator shaft, and so I  heard that happening and I was like, Oh no, he's stepping really hard. Let's give him some space when he gets into the house. Don't go running with today's drama. You learn those things as children. Children are so smart, they're so intuitive. And the things that we even, I mean into your point about your mom's look and she didn't have to say anything because you learned what that look meant.  

Children at that moment, think, feel, and decide things about what their next action is going to be with the knowledge that we as parents don't even recognize that we've given. Your mom probably gave the look, ready to say the next thing. She wasn't sitting there going like, I'm giving you this look so that everything stopped so that we can just carry on. She wanted to react. Like you said, as a new mom, just what an amazing relationship that you get to create and forage and build with your daughter because you get to be mindful of the looks, and the power brain is processing that look.

Eleshia Harris: She's a smart girl. so Even just studying her and her looks, she amazes me sometimes because we're having conversations and she's just shy of two and a half, and she's got the eye roll down. I'm like, where did you get that from? She said that I have to be mindful about some of my reactions because she's watching.  

Marisa Raymond: I love it. I can see her in her little leopard jacket and rolling her eyes. That's what's so beautiful because the thing about mindful family is that it's not just about the parents being mindful of their actions or the words that they use, it's about taking that step forward to role model it but also realizing how much we can learn from our children. Like you said, she's got these looks and so you're learning by learning her looks, how to interact with her and how to respond. And so you actually get to show up in a different way in that conversation because you're getting the feedback.

I think in the past, we were less mindful. It really was this hierarchy that I'm the parent. Like you said before, do as I say. And now it's like, we're partners in this. This is a dance between the two of us and kids are constantly growing and changing and shifting. So as parents, part of being mindful is: She did that yesterday but she's not doing that today.  We're not talking about Elsa anymore because Elsa is so last month.  

Eleshia Harris: Yes, so I've got all of this to come. 

Marisa Raymond: Yes, and I've got boys so I'm learning a whole bunch of things that I never had to navigate in my life.

Eleshia Harris: And then she picks up her Michelle cup. I love it. I love that cup.

Marisa Raymond: Yes, navigate. This is my favorite cup. This is what I'm saying too before we hit record. When I have this cut, my kids are like: Give mom a wide birth. She's got her power cup going. My power cup, feminine energy.  

Eleshia Harris: Yes, so let's get into the Mindful Family concept. Tell me and the listeners, how it works?

Marisa Raymond: Mindful Family, it's really a learning process. It's recognizing that this is a long game. Every single day is an opportunity to plant seeds, and we don't have to sit there and judge ourselves for those mistakes that we know our kids are going to be telling their therapists about because we count our wins by those seeds that we're planting. It's both learnings how to, what I call calm the chaos, which is that proactive step. I recognize that there's going to be chaos and I get to spend the time learning tools, growing my toolbox, and planting those seeds day-to-day to try and calm that chaos proactively.  But I recognize that there are going to be moments of chaos. And so then, there's also this component of, how do I mellow the mind like the yoga, the mindfulness practices that you can do in those moments. Because those moments do happen and we need to have those tools in those moments.

Like I said, it's about really tapping into what makes us unique as a family. You and I have talked about it before, and we know as health and wellness people that how I hold warrior two poses in yoga is not going to be how you hold warrior two poses in yoga because our bodies are different and our anatomies are different, and our muscles are sore and the right side might be different than the left side, and Monday might be different than Tuesday. Part of teaching yoga and part of practicing yoga is recognizing that there's a uniqueness to each day and each person. So Mindful Family's really starting with that. At the core of a Mindful Family is who are we and who do we want to be? What makes our family unique? Why did I become a mother? What was my reason? We've all done that, right? I love my children, and there are days where I'm like: Why the heck did I have children, what was I thinking?

I thought it would be this completely different experience. So yes, it's really grounding yourself in your "why", and what makes you unique? What do you, as a family believe, and how do you want to live? And that might be different from one family to another, and it might even be different within the family.

Having those conversations and continuing to having those conversations, because like you said, your daughter's little and she has an attitude. That attitude is going to grow and develop, and so how she feels now might be different than how she feels at five. My eldest is 13, so we're re-evaluating that conversation as a family because he has different needs now than he did when he was eight and two.  It really allows you to see the wonder in it, get curious about it, makes it a game, make it playful, make it fun, make it easy because you could sit for hours. And that's not going to help anybody.

Eleshia Harris: No, so you have conversations as a family about how you're going to work as a family. 

Marisa Raymond: Yes. It starts with having conversations with yourself because you can't force even your partner to have that conversation if they're not ready. So it really does start with you and your whys.

And when your kid is two, it's harder to have that conversation about what their values are or what they believe.  But they know what they believe if you say to them, do you like monsters? Do you like fairies? They know what they're going to tell you, so you can still have those conversations. But when you're really clear about what you believe, then it becomes that much easier to learn the language, to adapt to your child, and to make it playful and fun and easy, and to have those conversations whenever they feel like you need to have them. We have family meetings once a week, not every week. But in theory, it's on the calendar every week. But my kids are older so they can sit for that and they can be a part of it. I have clients who have kids who are three, four, or five years old, and they do family meetings as well and adapt those family meetings to the age of their kids. So that's how we can work together when I work with my clients one-on-one, but that's also part of what you get to learn when you want to approach Mindful Family. How do I talk to my three-year-old about COVID or about internet safety? Because they're going online,  they're downloading the apps on your phone while you're not looking. So how do I talk to them about what is acceptable? 

Eleshia Harris: Even just saying that. As you said, there's so much accessibility out there for them. If you're not having these conversations with them, somebody else or they are curious and looking for the answers. I've been really mindful of that with regards to Elessandra and her having my phone or my tablets and so forth because it's not always a nice world out there. I'm just trying to protect her at the moment from seeing things that I don't think she's necessarily ready to see.  

Marisa Raymond: Yes, and how easy is it for us to go down the rabbit hole of YouTube videos? I remember when my son was already born when we got our first iPad, and just how quickly he went from watching cartoons to watching people selling toys on YouTube videos, to cat videos or whatever. In a span of minutes, we were pretty cautious and conscious and we're often next to him, but you just turn around for a minute and they've gone down this completely different path on what you thought they were doing.

Part of the Mindful Family too is really being proactive. Maybe we don't need to have this conversation with the two-year-old, but when she's four, we need to have this conversation so we have time to plan this conversation and we have time to talk as partners about what we want to say. For us, with our 13 years old especially in this time of COVID, he wants to go out and hang out with friends. So what's that going to look like and what are the rules, and we could sit there and say: Here are the rules and you need to follow them. But if he doesn't understand why the rule is there or if the rule is just explained to him in this way like our mom did, "because I said so",  is to protect you. As a 13-year-old he's like, I don't need protection, because he doesn't think he does. 

Explaining it to him that way isn't going to actually get him on board with the rules. So how do we get him on board and make him be a part of it so he'll understand where we're coming from and we work together to make rules that he then is going to follow, which then means we can trust him when he leaves the house.

I love that because I grew up in New York City. You're in London, I don't know what growing up in London was like. Imagine growing up in New York City, there were places where my mom was like, you do not go there, and I didn't know why. There was an age where I was like, I'm going to go there and see, and my mom doesn't know. And so I know that I know that. So instead of saying, you can't go there, then the conversation shifts and it's like, let's talk about what our concerns are. My joke with my son, he always tells us what time he is going to be home, but I know that he's not actually going to be home for another half an hour. Realistically, we have a curfew, so I know he's going to be home before curfew but he'll say like: I'll be home at 4:30.

And I'm like, I won't call the police till five. It becomes this joke for us because it's like, I could yell at him if he gets home at 4:32, which is what my parents did. But that's not going to serve him. 

Eleshia Harris: No, and he'll push the boundaries the next time as well. Even though you said it wouldn't work with Elessandra, you've made so many valid points that I think I told you before. I'm the main carer to my brother with autism, so having these conversations with him and just finding a language with him to make him understand that this is because of your safety, but not just saying it's because we want to keep you safe, is really important. It's finding levels of communication.

Marisa Raymond: Yes, and you give him the space to respond. Because you're doing it proactively, not when he's come home from doing something dangerous or something that you thought was dangerous because you didn't know where he was.  It's having those conversations proactively so that then everybody gets a voice. He can say that I hear that you don't think I should go there, but I've done it before and it's okay and I'll call you or whatever. 

And then together, you establish those rules. I didn't mean to say that you couldn't do that with Elessandra, of course, you can. It's just the conversation would be different. And so for her, the conversation might be like, what are the rules about crossing the street with her scooter? I used to say to my son, if you can't see me, I can't see you, and that was something that I had learned so that he wouldn't turn a corner without me. But when he was on his scooter and his back was to me, he couldn't see me.

And so my older son who was much more of a rule follower, hewould stay next to me and wouldn't really go too far. He would constantly turn his neck and then he would crash and it was just like: Okay, wait, this is not actually what I wanted him to learn from what I said to him. He's interpreting it a different way. Whereas my younger one was like, I'll just keep yelling to you. Mom, can you see me? Can you see me? That was just his personality. I feel like if I had known this then, it would have been easier for me to understand that these are two different kids who have two different experiences and understandings, and so I have to have conversations differently.

With your brother and with Elessandra and with everyone, at the end of the day fundamentally, people just want to be seen and heard. We want to know that we matter and we belong. And so really the crux of Mindful Family, if I sum it up in one sentence is, how do you interact with your family members so that everyone feels seen and heard?

Eleshia Harris: Thank you for saying that because he's my brother, and obviously it's hard because he's my brother and I'm also his carer. But sometimes he must not feel heard because I'm trying to keep him as safe as I can. Sometimes I'm like, don't do this or don't do that, and I know this. But knowing that there's a different way that I can be approaching it is really helpful, and you've just made me think about that in just that one last sentence that you summarized in. It's so true because if I want to be seen and heard, so why wouldn't he?  

Marisa Raymond: It comes from a really good place. Like you said, you're not saying don't do that because you're trying to control him. You're saying that to keep him safe so your intention is coming from a good place. There are ways when you connect with your intention to then communicate from the heart, not from the fear, to communicate from that level. 

Rumi has this amazing, I'm totally gonna misquote him but it was something like before you speak, you should walk your thought through three doors. I'm not going to remember all three of them, but it's basically like, is it thoughtful? Is it helpful? Is it kind? Something like that. Because at the end of the day, even telling somebody that you don't like the outfit they're wearing, you can say that in a nice way. If you don't want to hurt their feelings. Why did you wear it? or  I love your sweatshirt, but maybe not appropriate for a podcast.

Eleshia Harris: It's lovely. 

Marisa Raymond: It's really fuzzy and warm, but that's just the example. Again, these are things that we've learned as people who practice yoga and mindfulness, and wellness and use it to serve our clients in connecting with their bodies. At the end of the day, when we can take what we're learning inside and bring it out into the world, that's when we create the ripple effects and change. That's what we all want, and that's what we want from our family members. We want to be able to change our husbands so that they create ripple effects.  

Eleshia Harris: You're so right. That's one of the reasons why I started this podcast because I wanted to create those ripple effects. And if I'm having these experiences and many offers must be as well, so what made you get into Mindful Family?

Marisa Raymond: It's such a long journey. When we moved to France, I'm a genetic counselor by training and I was board-certified and I worked in a children's hospital, and I loved my job. I was probably in retrospect, a more mindful parent because I saw all the things that could go wrong on a daily basis. I worked with families who were learning how to cope with these things that were out of their control. And so I could come home with this gratitude that my child was healthy and developing normally, even when he got fevers after vaccines or wasn't walking at the age that other kids that were walking. It was like, okay but he's only 13 months. When we moved to France, everything changed. We were 5,000 miles away from our family.  I didn't speak the language. The culture was different, the system was different. The town that we moved to didn't have childcare so I had to keep them at home. My genetic counseling diploma was useless because it needed to be a French diploma, so I ended up staying home for a couple of years. Then having a second child and losing it. I'm so full of burnout, physical and mental. Our doctors said the next step was losing weight because I was having stomach problems and I couldn't eat. And our doctor was like, you're losing so much weight. I'm going to have to hospitalize you. That was the slap in the face that I needed if you are either going to go to a hospital in France where you don't speak the language very well and leave your babies at home, or you're going to get your life together. 

You're going to do the work that needs to get done, and I chose B. The thought of going to a hospital in France just felt scarier than actually showing up for myself and doing the work. It was a long, hard journey. It's still a journey, but as I started doing the personal development work, I realized how much I was yelling at my kids. All of the things that were bothering me about their behavior were tied to my behavior. I yelled at them and then they would come back for attention and attention and attention, and then they'd be like, mommy, mommy. They would keep saying, mommy, mommy, mommy because they wanted my attention. But then it would frustrate me and I'd yell. So I was like, I'm not actually giving them what they want. They just want to be seen and heard, which is what I want. And so please don't call me mommy, 15 times a day. I heard you for the first time. But that was really it, it was really this mental and physical burnout that for me, required me to start looking at my own wounds to focus on what my needs were. And I started to notice that the more I spent quality time with my children, the less needy they were, the better they slept.

My son had night terrors at that time, his night terrors stopped because fundamentally, at the end of the day, it's not about the quantity you spend with them, it's the quality. Because that's when you're showing them that they’ve seen and heard and loved and they can trust you.  If we talk about the program that we did together, clarity comes from taking action. Then I became a kids yoga teacher because I started practicing yoga with my kids on the mat at home. A friend was like: Oh, you practice yoga with your kids. Could you teach yoga in our studio?  I'd have to learn how to do that because I'm just messing around with my kids, but sure, I'll learn how to do that. I'll get certified. 

That led to, would you teach adult classes? And then that led to parent-kid classes, which then I started having these conversations about being mindful and playing on the mat. It doesn't matter if your kid is doing cat pose or wearing dog pose, we're all friends here and nobody cares.

Let's enjoy this time on the mat. It's okay if they're not doing it perfectly. Little by little by little, we've lived here in France for 12 years now so it's really been this 12-year journey of arriving and it was COVID actually. Being home with my kids during confinement last year and having to slow down and get quiet and connect with what are all these things that I'm doing.  What's the thing that ties them together? It's all about mindful children, mindful adults equal mindful family. Let's figure out how to create that. Let's start talking about that.

Eleshia Harris: Yes. I love the way that it all just evolved, and it started with you. If you realize that you had to invest in you to be able to be the person that you needed to be for yourself, but then for your family. 

Marisa Raymond: And it really was hard because I'm such an obliger, I'm such a people pleaser. For me, I could go to a yoga class and do yoga, and I can get calm and relaxed on the mat during relaxation at the end. But then I would come back home and instantaneously, all of that pressure would come back on my shoulders. I would just suck it all in. 

This self-care isn't really sustainable. I can't be in yoga 24 hours a day, away from my children. So that's what led me to then say: Okay,  I need to practice yoga at home but my kids are here, so I could fight this and put them on the iPad or get mad at my husband for not being home. Or I can be my own hero and what would my own hero do? My joke is, what would Mary Poppins do? Find the fun and snap the job's game. How can I make this fun? Because yoga started to feel like a job where  I had to get my kids away from me so I could do it.

And when I was away I'm like, what would Mary Poppins do? She would pull out a mat and have the kids next to her, and then she would start barking like a dog in a dog pose because a two-year-old knows what a dog is, and then ask the two-year-old, how would you do dog pose? Or do you want to be a puppy? Sure, you can climb through mommy's tunnel. I don't need to get the hour of Vinyasa here. I can play, and so allowing myself to be playful then made the self-care easier for somebody who's a people pleaser. So I wasn't trying to even fight myself at that point or to try and do things away from my children. I wanted to be a role model for them so that they could do that. But it really was about me holding myself accountable for doing yoga because I had a partner,  even if my partners were five and two.  

Eleshia Harris: Yes, and sometimes that's what I and Elessandra do, as you said, we roll on the floor. I try and do a couple of roll-ups and pull out his roll-ups and stuff.  She's on my back, and it ends up being fun lattes with Elessandra and Eleshia, and we just laugh. I probably got 10 minutes out of the half an hour that I wanted to get out of, but I spent time with her. The fact that she sees me exercise and she sees me taking that time out to do those things, that's more important. The fact that she knows that it's something that she can do with me, that's important too.  

Marisa Raymond: What's so amazing sometimes is they really just want that attention. You can roll on the floor for 10 minutes with her and then she's bored, so she gets up to go do something else because she's two and that's her attention span.

And then if she's like, mommy now let's do this. You can say like, Mommy's going to finish, and then I'm going to come and do this with you. And because you've given her that attention for 10 minutes, she's not craving your energy. It might not happen every single time but little by little, she's going to be like: oh yes, okay I'll just go play in my room and you can join me when you're done. And then you get your 20 more minutes to finish your real Pilates, and then you join her, and then you get to interact.

So instead of leaving that space feeling frustrated or like, I didn't get my Pilates time because she was here and we rolled on the floor and now I have to go play with dolls and I don't want to play with dolls. If we make the choice on how do I want to see this and how do I want to communicate?

I just spent 10 wonderful minutes with you and it filled my heart with joy, and now you go to your room and play and I'll join you when I'm done with mine. 

Eleshia Harris: This is so needed, especially in the world that we're living in right now where everybody's been at home with each other under one roof, and the frustrations have probably been very high. Only talking from my experience, but we've been lucky enough that there have only been a few temper tantrums and that's by the adults. 

Marisa Raymond: Where's that glass of wine? 

Eleshia Harris: Yes, exactly. But this time, this work is really needed.  Marisa, are there any strategies that you'd be happy to share with the listeners of what they can do in this time? Just quick strategies. 

Marisa Raymond: Yes, so step one always comes back to you. Like we said, why did you become a parent? What makes you unique as a parent? What makes your children unique? What do you love about your children? Come back to that love space, and from that love space, then how do I want to show up? How would a person who feels this want to talk to somebody else? It doesn't happen all the time, there are definitely days that are going back to  Michelle mug,  there are days where I get frustrated. So give yourself permission to just experiment and play and make mistakes and try again, but when you start from that place why am I doing this? What do I love about my family? And just coming back to that. It's one of the first things I do in the morning before I get out of bed. I'm just like, what do I love about my family? Because some days in the morning I wake up and I'm like, ohhh and also, I try to do it before I go to bed.

What seeds did I plant today? What did I love about my family today? And so that's really step one, and then in terms of communication, I think the more we remind ourselves that people just want to be seen, heard, and feel like they matter. Recognizing that every time our kid is demanding our attention or is misbehaving or is beating up their brother or whatever it is,  all of that is because there is something that they feel they are lacking, and how do we feel?

Instead of seeing it as, why are you misbehaving? Why are you driving me crazy? Why are you triggering me? Me, me, me. What is it about you that is missing in this moment that I can share and help you with? Those are the two simple strategies, the phrase that I use with that second strategy is why is this in my movie, and I started sharing this with my kids. 

We can't control everything, so there is a reason that this is happening right now. I may not like it. I may not want it. I may not understand the reason, but there's a reason this is happening. If my life was a movie,  if I was on the silver screen, I'm the star of my film, why is this scene written into the movie? What do I need to learn from this scene? Because it always does come back to you about how to respond to others. Their behaviors are about them, they're not trying to piss you off. They're pissing you off because that's about you.

So why did I write this in my movie? What am I trying to learn? What do I need to learn, and what are they missing right now that needs to be filled? Whether they're two or five or 15, it just keeps coming back to that.

Eleshia Harris: Again, such a great point. As you said, it's a simple strategy but it's something that we don't think about. As you said, a lot of people portray what they see as well and how what you may have said affects them. That's the reason why they're acting out.

Marisa Raymond: Even with our partners. When my husband triggers me, I used to get really angry. I told you this a million times but why do you still do this?  But when I started to see the uniqueness and how he shows up in the world with what's unique about him, why I married him, what I love about him? When he does those things that trigger me, it's okay. This is him.  He is not doing this to piss me off. This is just his trait, and there's a reason why he's doing this. What is he missing? What's his scarcity and lack and fear that's making him act this way and push my buttons? Maybe he wants my attention because I've been focusing on the children.

And I would say from a practical standpoint, in terms of how to communicate, try asking instead of telling. It's a really simple tool that parenting coaches talk about a lot, which is because people want to be seen and heard, they don't want to be told what to do. I don't like being told what to do, why would a two-year-old? And with your brother, instead of don't do this, don't do this, say would you like to do this or that? Would you hear through an adult, obviously, even an adult with autism, he had multiple choices so let him choose the choice.

A child who's two, more than two choices is a little too much for them sometimes. So do you want the blue shoes or the red shoes today? Do you want the leopard coat or the raincoat today? Giving them some choice so that they feel empowered in their body. The more I started asking questions instead of telling people, the more I started asking myself questions which again were about how the ripple effects. Because now the inner critic isn't like I told you, you shouldn't do that. It's like, oh well that didn't work, what could we do next time? Should we do this or this next time? So it quieted my inner critic.

Eleshia Harris: But it's all about learning those lessons, isn't it? And then reflecting and then doing things differently the next time around. So yes, I love everything that you've just said about that because it's just going to help me so much as well with Jordan because I don't often see that. As you said, sometimes it's just the attention that he wants.

Marisa Raymond: And what I love about the proactive approach and again, you know this from Pilates and all that stuff. In Yoga,   when we think proactively, then we actually have that time to role-play. So you can actually sit there and be like if I said it this way, what would that make him think, feel or decide? If I said it this way, how will he think, feel, decide, or how will she think, feel, decide? And you might be right or wrong, it allows you to then make a more intentional choice about how to communicate from that place of love and kindness. I've already thought about how you're going to respond, and you wouldn't like it if I said it this way, but if I said it this way feels better. So then it goes back to your body, how does it feel when I hear somebody say that. If somebody said that to me, how would that feel? What would I think?  

Eleshia Harris: Because it just means that you're not always in that reactive mode as well. 

Marisa Raymond: Which is what we're living in 24 hours with social media, even before COVID, we're living in this reactive world where it was like my phone's going off every five minutes with some notification or whatever. And it's just, not healthy for anyone.  We turn off our notifications and we do all the things to quiet, but our brain is still going, oh wait I'm going on Facebook for three hours. So imagine our children trying to process that. Trying to process that world on top of being told what to do all the time. It's a tough life but we can make it easier and calmer when we're more intentional and mindful. 

Eleshia Harris:  Most definitely. So you would say that it's been a huge benefit in your household?

Marisa Raymond: Oh my gosh, yes. Part of the journey for me and even starting to talk about it was implementing it in my household. I would say that I learned it through parent coaching, so I learned it as here's how you communicate with children. But even that ask and tell, trying it out with my husband, the very first time it was like 180. I'm like, wait I could feel in my body that preparation for a fight to happen. And then my brain kicked in and was like, I'm going to try this. I'm going to experiment with asking and not telling him, and his response was he got it back because it was, I broke the pattern. And then he was like, I don't know how to answer this.

He thought about it and he responded, and we had this quiet, calm night that we hadn't had in years. 

Eleshia Harris:  I love the fact that you just said a whole 180 because it makes sense. And I think for me, I'm a little bit of a control freak. I am a retired control freak because when you're two years old you're not in control. But even saying that just being mindful of just the way I speak to people and not always being in that instructor mode is going to work better, especially at home. 

Marisa Raymond:  Yes, and the thing is you actually are in control because you're making the choice to show up this way. You're actually controlling what you can control, which is how you show up, and you lose that attachment to the stories that have happened in the past. All the evidence in your brain telling you that this is how he's going to respond and you lose attachment to what the response is, because you're like, I control what  I could control. I didn't instruct anything there, I asked the question.

Eleshia Harris: I like that. I think that's going to work well in my home.

Marisa Raymond: Yes, especially with a cheeky 2year old who knows how to roll her eyes. 

Eleshia Harris: Can you believe it? I love her little attitude because it's an expression of who she is, but I also know what I'm going to get. I know, so I need to be equipped for that. I need to be equipped for more eye-rolling.   

Marisa Raymond: And enjoy it, it's so funny how we just saw a video of when we had just moved to France, and so our son was probably two and a half, just under two and a half. We're like, do the scowl, do the scowl because he used to make this scowling face. You could see the lasers popping out of his eyes and I don't know why we recorded this video, I'm sure we did send it to the grandparents or something but we were like, do the face, do the face. Because it was funny, but in that moment, when he was giving you that look.

Looking back on it, it's just even then we were playing with him and letting him know that it was okay to express his emotions and to learn to connect like that scowl is when you're angry. We don't take it personally, which at the time we took it personally. In retrospect. You get to express your emotions any way you want. 

Eleshia Harris: Yes, they're great teachers of life. And as I said, I'm enjoying the teachings. I just need to make sure that I'm equipped when it gets a little tougher. 

Marisa Raymond: You have so much time. The beauty of it is that the more you plant those seeds now,  the more prepared you are when that tree grows an errant branch. You have to figure out how to respond to this? You said retired control? I love being retired. I always say recovering control freak, but I'm not really recovered.

Yes,  it really does. It's just that deep breath when those moments happen, when they're older like I trust myself to deal with this because I dealt with it when she was 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, now they're here at this age at this stage and I can trust myself to deal with whatever she throws at me.

Eleshia Harris:  I like that. I've loved this conversation. Thank you so much. 

I know right. We did, we do. But those insights, and as I said, the strategies and just you sharing your own experiences. Thank you so much for doing that. For me,  it just helps me understand that it can be done.  

Marisa Raymond: And you do not have to be perfect.

Eleshia Harris: No.

Marisa Raymond:  It is all about experimenting.

Eleshia Harris: Yes. So Marisa, tell them this and this. How can they work with you and where can they find you?

Marisa Raymond:  So you can find me at marisaraymond.com. I have a one-on-one coaching program where we actually talk about your individual family. We go through calm, chaos, and mindfulness, mellow the mind tools that are unique to you, that work for you. And I'm starting a group program, I'm not sure when probably sometime this summer. So you can get on the waiting list for that as well so that we can role play more and share our collective knowledge.  But yes, it's marisaraymond.com and on Instagram, it's marisaraymond77. 

Eleshia Harris: Again, thank you so much. And yes, speak soon. Very soon. 

Marisa Raymond: Thank you so much for having me, Eleshia. 

Eleshia Harris: No problem. My pleasure.

I definitely had a few AHA moments when I recorded this conversation with Marisa. I really hope that you found this episode beneficial as well. Marissa is on hand to answer any questions. I have linked all of her details in the show notes and I can't wait to be with you again next week. If there is anybody who you think would benefit from hearing this episode, please share, and also don't forget to leave me a review on iTunes. I love reading your reviews. I'm so happy to see that there are so many of you guys listening to my episodes across the world. I think we're at 33 countries at the moment, and yes, I'm excited. So please go ahead and leave me a review when you can. Until next week, bye.

Thank you so much for listening to this week's episode of The Eleshia Show. If you know somebody who needs to hear the conversations that we are having, please share it, take a screenshot and send it to them. Also, I would really love for you to rate and review the podcast as this really helps, and I'd love to read your comments. Lastly, remember, you need to invest in yourself first because you are important and amazing. Take care until the next time. Bye-bye.

Jenna and I on the Gold Digger podcast

When Jenna told me the date my episode was going to air, I shrieked and got to work to implement the podcast strategies she shared.

Curious how?

Yes I want to know