Jen Lumanlan always thought infancy would be the hardest part of parenting. Now she has a toddler and finds a whole new set of tools are needed, there are hundreds of books to read, and academic research to uncover that would otherwise never see the light of day. Join her on her journey to get a Masters in Psychology focusing on Child Development, as she researches topics of interest to parents of toddlers and preschoolers from all angles, and suggests tools parents can use to help kids thrive - and make their own lives a bit easier in the process. Like Janet Lansbury's respectful approach to parenting? Appreciate the value of scientific research, but don't have time to read it all? Then you'll love Your Parenting Mojo. More information and references for each show are at www.YourParentingMojo.com. Subscribe there and get a free newsletter compiling relevant research on the weeks I don't publish a podcast episode!
204: How to create more time by taking care of yourself
Sara has always tried really hard to not just be a good parent, but a really good parent. The best parent. (When I coached her and her partner recently to create some content for the Parenting Membership that you'll hear more about in a few weeks, her partner said to her: You hold everyone else to a high standard. You hold yourself to a higher standard.)
Sara put a lot of pressure on herself, and this was even harder because she she didn't have the most amazing parental role models. They often fought in front of Sara and her sibling (with insults and name calling a regular part of the mix), and they didn't repair afterward.
The difficult communication between parents extended to the children as well - Sara started to fight back when she was spanked, which escalated to physical fights as she got older. If she tried to talk with her Mom about previous incidents then her Mom would make out that she was the victim, while her Dad would whiz her down to Baskin Robbins for ice cream to win back her love. Sara withdrew, stopped sharing anything with her parents and isolated herself in her room - devouring books and the all the things on the early days of the internet.
So when she became a parent, it's not surprising she felt triggered! Conflict abounded! Conflict with her partner, and with her children - she knew how she WANTED to navigate it (in a way that modeled healthy conflict for her children), but how could she do that when she had no idea how?
We talk about conflict in this episode, and we also talk about needs. It turns out that Sara had needs (who knew!) and when she started to identify and meet them, the magic happened.
Spending time doing things for herself, to meet her need for creativity, created time to spend with her husband and children.
She realized she had been trying to do a lot of multitasking to try to fit everything in, but never spent time doing things she truly loved. Once she did, the background noise of that unmet need went quiet in her mind, and then she could actually enjoy spending time with her family.
203: How to move toward anti-racism with Kerry Cavers
Last year I hosted a panel event in Vancouver where four people who have been active in helping us to navigate toward an anti-racist, post-patriarchal, post-capitalist future came together to share their ideas in front of a live audience.
It was a beautiful event (eventually we'll process the video of it to share with you!), and I really hit it off with Moms Against Racism Candada founder Kerry Cavers so we got together afterward to chat.
This is a much more personal episode than many. I actually didn't know it was going to be an episode beforehand - I thought we were going to record something that would be mostly for Kerry to use to explain her work to potential funders. But when I realized what gold we had, I decided to release the video as an episode.
I did realize that we were lacking in some specific take-home messages for listeners, so I asked whether Kerry would be willing to share some ideas for ways to take action on anti-racism with us. She has a lot going on at the moment so she wasn't able to record something for us, but she did put together a VERY comprehensive list of actions that I recorded at the end of the episode.
I've also created a PDF of her ideas that you can print and refer back to more easily - click the button below to download it.
Enjoy the conversation!
Q&A#5: What really matters in parenting? Part 1
Listener Roberta submitted a question recently on YourParentingMojo.com/question:
What does the research say are the decisions that really matter in parenting?
That question immediately got my brain churning about what could be included, and how we would decide what to include, and how much of what's included could actually be research-based.
The episode begins with a look at some of the major categories of factors that impact our children's development that we may not have as much control over, because we have to acknowledge these before we can look at what we do impact.
Then I look at some of the things we do control but I think we can pretty safely stop worrying about them. The impact that each of these things has is likely to be so tiny as to individually meaningless.
Finally, I count down my list of the top 5 things that I think impact children's development.
This episode is for parents of children aged about 2 onwards. I think infants have some different needs, and I'm planning a separate episode on those later in the year.
202: How to Heal from Adverse Childhood Experiences with Dr. Nadine Burke Harris and Jackie Thu-Huong Wong
My mom died when I was 10, and for a while people in our small village would look at my sister and me as if we were 'special' in some weird way. By the time I was a young adult that was just one of a stew of difficult experiences I'd had, and I also realized: my stuff is not special.
By that age, most people are carrying around some kind of trauma.
But so what? Does it matter? If our mental health is good enough, does it help to wallow around in all the stuff that's in the past?
In this episode we talk with Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, who has pioneered the connections between these kinds of Adverse Childhood Experiences and medical care for children, as well as Jackie Thu-Huong Wong, Executive Director of First 5 California.
What is an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE);
How ACEs can influence not only our physical but our mental health as well;
What we know about the protective effects of relationships with caring adults
Dr. Burke Harris' opinions of the 'best' authoritative parenting style;
A new feature in our episodes: mild, medium, and spicy options for parents who want to dip their toe into the water on this topic, or dive more deeply.
201: How to create a culture of consent in our families
When Carys was about three, I forced a dropper of antibiotics into her mouth to just get her to take it, so she would start to feel better. We were both tired and hangry and I didn't see another path forward, when she was refusing something that I knew would help her. What other choice did I have?
My husband did see another path when he arrived home later that evening, and before she went to bed she willingly took a full dose of the medicine.
These kinds of situations come up often in parenting: where we're trying to get our child to do something, perhaps even for their own health and safety, and they refuse. It can seem like the only path forward is to force them against their will - after all, we are doing this for their own good, right?
But what if there was another way to make these things happen that met your child's needs for autonomy over their own bodies, and also met your needs for peace and ease and harmony and protection of their health and safety?
That's what we'll work through in today's episode. We'll look closely at the way consent is perceived in our culture, and how these messages are transmitted - in school, in peer groups, in movies and songs, and in our families.
I'm also introducing a new element into podcast episodes to help you put the ideas in the episode into practice. At the end of the episode I offer three suggestions for things you could try in your relationship with your own child - organized into mild, medium, and spicy options so you can step in at the level that feels right to you.
Trigger warning: I do discuss sexual assault in this episode. It might not be one you listen to with your children around, and if you have experienced sexual assault, please make sure you're well resourced if you do choose to listen.
200: Ask Alvin Anything (Part 1!)
When I saw that our 200th episode was coming up, I knew I wanted to do something special to celebrate. Listeners called in with questions for me for our 100th episode, which was released in September 2019. The numbering is a bit fuzzy, I have to admit - we're actually well over 200 episodes because there have been an assortment of Sharing Your Parenting Mojo conversations with parents and other folks that use a different numbering system, but whatever. It's still a milestone😊
Back then, I was just getting into exploring big social justice issues on the podcast. Early in 2020 I did two episodes on how patriarchy affects our parenting, followed by an extended series on the intersection of race and parenting, and several episodes on advertising and consumerism.
We learned a lot about sex, and I started what has become a series of 'deconstructed' episodes where I examine an idea that is usually assumed to be 'the way it is,' and find out that perhaps that isn't the way it is after all. I looked at:
How most of what we think we know about attachment theory is probably wrong
Authoritative isn't the best parenting 'style'
The current darling of anyone working on mental health, Polyvagal theory, is most likely a myth (although it may still be a somewhat useful myth)
In June of 2022, in preparation for a pair of episodes on supporting neurodivergent parents and children, I interviewed Dr. Hanna Bertilsdotter-Rosqvist, who is autistic, to test out the autism screener. I wasn't expecting it to return a positive result for me, ultimately resulting in a self-diagnosis that, of course, I shared in an episode. Lots of listeners reached out after that one to offer gratitude, and one message I will carry for a long time said something like: "I always conceptually knew that neurodivergent people have value but it wasn't until I heard how your autism helps you to process all of this information for us that I truly got it."
So given that you've heard a lot from and about me over the last few years, I thought a natural next step would be to offer listeners the option of asking my husband Alvin anything they wanted!
We received quite a few questions, and two listeners - iris, who has been around for many years, and Corrine who joined us more recently - stepped up to co-interview him. I was quite willing to throw him to the wolves and let him do the interview himself but he wanted me to be there, so I joined as well. (I should note that the conversation was scheduled for a week when some really hard things were happening in a community that I'm in, and my energy level was a bit low.)
Alvin has many amazing qualities but succinctness has never been among them, so unfortunately we only made it through about half of iris and Corrine's questions, as well as those that listeners submitted. We did talk about:
Alvin's relationship with his own parents (who think we're terrible parents to Carys);
How we met (an inappropriate workplace relationship!);
How Carys is similar to/different from us;
What I was like before I started the podcast compared to now;
How Alvin has changed over the last 10 years, as a person and as a parent - and how he's deepening his relationship with Carys using Your Parenting Mojo's tools
We plan to come back for round two in the future!
Here are a couple of things we talked about on the episode:
A somewhat difficult-to-see picture of Alvin with long bleached hair
My guides to hiking the Tour du Mont Blanc with a baby
Always Learning New Gems
Every episode I listen to provides new insights and tools that have helped me grow into the person, mother I would like to be. For years I have listened and learned so much. Thank you for creating this!
I’m a toddler teacher and a passionate student of RIE, and I love the way Jen approaches difficult subjects and digs into the research as well. I studied Feminisr Studies in undergrad and deeply appreciate her dedication to parenting in an anti-oppressive, anti-racist, feminist way. The only qualm I have is that sometimes Jen talks so fast that it feels a little frenetic listening, and sometimes I turn to Janet Lansbury when I’m wanting a more mellow podcast. I love both podcasts though!
White Supremacy? This makes no sense
Why bring race into this?? I started listening in hopes of finding information on constructive discipline and then it turned to white supremacy..?