Married mama of two boys (7 mo and 2 y). An ordained Anglican priest. PhD student studying the relationship of modern parenting methods to teaching the faith to children. Big hockey fan, love walking and a good cup of coffee.
384: How to Hold Space for Big Emotions
When your toddler is freaking out, how do you stay calm? Mindful Parenting member Sarah has a baby and a 2 ½ year old and she feels overwhelmed when her toddler has big emotions. She doesn’t want to shame and blame him (and repeat harmful generational patterns), so what to do? Listen as Hunter coaches Sarah on the podcast.
[On-Air Coaching] How to Hold Space for Big Emotions 
*This is an auto-generated transcript*
[00:00:00] Sarah Holmstrom: The logical, rational part of me that says, yes, this is why you're doing this, Sarah, so that at least there's one human in this group of four that can be calm.
[00:00:14] Hunter: You are listening to the Mindful Mama podcast, episode number 384. Today is a special on air coaching session about how to be calm for toddler tantrums.
Welcome to the Mindful Mama podcast. Here it's about becoming a less irritable, more joyful parent. At Mindful Mama, we know that you cannot give what you do not have, and when you have calm and peace within, then you can give it to your children. I'm your host, hunter Clark Fields. I help smart, thoughtful parents stay calm so they can have strong, connected relationships with their children.
I've been practicing mindfulness for over 20 years. I'm the crater of Mindful Parenting, and I'm the author of the best selling book, raising Good Humans, A Mindful Guide to Breaking the Cycle of Reactive Parenting and Raising Kind Confident Kids. Welcome back to the Mindful Mama Podcast, my friend. So glad you're here.
If you are new special, welcome to you. And if you haven't done so yet, please hit the subscribe button. You never wanna miss an episode. And if you get some value from the podcast, if it answers your life, please go do me a favor, go to Apple Podcast, leave us a rating and review. It makes such a big difference.
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In just a moment, I'm going to be sitting down with Mindful Parenting member, Sarah, and we're gonna talk about what do you do when your toddler is freaking out and how do you stay calm, right? What do you do? Oh my gosh. This is Oh, it's so close to home. But Sarah has a baby and a two and a half year old, and she feels overwhelmed when her toddler has some big emotions and she doesn't wanna shame and blame him, and she doesn't wanna repeat the harmful generational pattern.
So what to do. So join me at the table as I coach Sarah on this episode.
So I'm so happy that you could come on and you are in the Mindful Parenting membership, and I'm so excited to talk to you about that. And what we'll start, just as we start all the coaching calls, what are your wins so far?
[00:02:30] Sarah Holmstrom: My wins that I'm enjoying meditation more than I
[00:02:35] Hunter: I would. . Yeah, that's sometimes we don't enjoy very much
[00:02:39] Sarah Holmstrom: And I'm a skeptic when it comes to that kind of stuff, if you will. Yeah, just. , I'm surprised at how much I'm enjoying it and wanting to do it. So I miss it when I don't have opportunity, when life gets crazy or whatever, that's cool.
[00:03:03] Hunter: Yeah. And how are you fitting it into your day?
[00:03:06] Sarah Holmstrom: Normally what I do is I fit fitted in with my morning prayer practice that I do. So usually after I'm done that, then I do the meditation or when my boys go down for a nap,
[00:03:26] Hunter: so Awesome. Yay. Yay for that win. Woo . That's a huge win because. I know it makes such a big difference, at least in my life and what I know also from others in the research.
How about you in your life? Are you noticing any effects?
[00:03:45] Sarah Holmstrom: Yeah, and notice it like, just if I don't do morning prayer, I notice it in my life. It's just , it's something that centers me for my day. So when it doesn't happen, could feel the instability going into the day already.
[00:04:02] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah. It's like a grounding practice. , like literally we practice being grounded. We set an intention to be grounded. Yeah. Right away we said intention to stop and focus on what's important right away, and then that has an impact. . Awesome. That's so cool. Absolutely. Any other wins?
[00:04:20] Sarah Holmstrom: Any other wins?
I'm slowly but surely making it through my modules. I feel like especially the number two, one, I feel like, okay, like we could spend like a year here,
[00:04:33] Hunter: . Yeah. It's true. It's true. Yeah. .
[00:04:36] Sarah Holmstrom: Yeah it's good. It's good just to be able get through those and feel like you're winning every time.
You can say, Marcus Complete, right?
[00:04:49] Hunter: Yeah. . Yeah. You're like, ch ching, red, check mark. Yay. .
[00:04:54] Sarah Holmstrom: It should have some kind of, bling or something like that where it goes ding or something, like in video games you complete, I know
[00:05:02] Hunter: level that would make it gamify even more. That would be super fun.
Have a little like character dance or something. Yeah, I would do that if we could. I'm gonna have to talk to my team about this idea. This is really a good idea.
[00:05:18] Sarah Holmstrom: I dunno if you can do it in Kajabi, but whatever.
[00:05:21] Hunter: It would be funny if we could make it like, we could do a little gif of me doing it, you know how they have the little gif I could just be doing like a little dance and high five. Yeah, that'd be really funny. . Okay. All right. So some wins are enjoying meditation, making it through the modules.
You're taking your time. You're really sounds like I'm hearing you're being thoughtful about going through.
[00:05:48] Sarah Holmstrom: Yeah. I just don't wanna zoom through them and then say I did it. Yeah, although I do know I'll be going through it again and again. Again. For sure.
[00:05:58] Hunter: Awesome awesome. And so now maybe you could, just to give us some context, you can describe like your family.
Who are the who are we dealing with here that, that drove you to Mindful? Parenting, .
[00:06:13] Sarah Holmstrom: The other players in
[00:06:15] Hunter: my life, the other players in the game. .
[00:06:18] Sarah Holmstrom: I have a wonderful husband. We've been raped three years and I have two, two boys, one, two, and a bit, and one who's seven months old, so one's pretty new.
And the other ones definitely in toddler mode. .
[00:06:37] Hunter: Wow. Yeah, that's that's an intensive time to have a seven month old who's probably starting to like, just be really pretty mobile and in a disconcerting way, just
[00:06:51] Sarah Holmstrom: starting to move off of his little circle area that I've designated for him. I guess that's not gonna be a thing anymore.
[00:07:00] Hunter: And then two and a half, which is oh, two and a half, two and two and a half, two to four, man. They're just in such intensive ages. , so much happening there developmentally and then with us and all this stuff. So what and you working as an Anglican priest, so does that mean you are part-time at home?
Sundays, you're gone, what's the lay of the land as far as like
[00:07:32] Sarah Holmstrom: Yeah, so right now I'm working. As an honorary assistant. So basically what that means is they get all the benefits of my work, but for free. But I can choose what I wanna do and what I don't wanna do. So that's nice.
Part of the reason for that is we move just recently and haven't been able to apply for position, that sort of thing yet. And then also I'm on a leave of absence from my PhD program yeah, so I'm in this period of mat leave trying to discern do I wanna go into full-time ministry or do I want to continue with my PhD, or what do I want to do?
So that's where I'm at
[00:08:16] Hunter: right now. What are you getting your PhD in?
[00:08:20] Sarah Holmstrom: My PhD is in theology of course, and specifically I am looking at the relationship of children's faith development as they relate to modern Parenting practices. Oh, so hence why I know, interesting about your
[00:08:36] Hunter: book,
You'll have to, like, when you're all done and you've done some, all your research and whatnot, you'll have to come back and we can talk all about that .
[00:08:47] Sarah Holmstrom: The thing that attracted me to your book was your emphasis right at the beginning. You can't just read and read and read.
Like you have to be dedicated to the discipline of doing something about it, right? Yes. And and this is my emphasis too, as you can just assume that, faith development is gonna happen and affect change of any, in any sort of way. But that seems to be the hardest part, right?
Is instilling within parents especially that you need to be a partner with them in their taking on. That value of your home, which would be faith or whatever.
[00:09:34] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah. I guess back in the day, long time ago, right? Everybody would all be in a community physically where everyone's in the same faith and now that's not so it was much easier, of course, back in the day because that's just what you did and what everyone thought and all the things.
And so now it's very different. Very
[00:09:55] Sarah Holmstrom: different. You have to be much more intentional. Absolutely.
[00:09:58] Hunter: . . Oh, okay. Cool. Cool. So I love all that. That sounds amazing. And you're in a very cold climate. Yep. The temperature outside today is shockingly cold, shocking, old,
[00:10:12] Sarah Holmstrom: shocking.
Shocking even for me.
[00:10:16] Hunter: What do you It's not a beanie. You don't have a TOK on your head. . I
[00:10:20] Sarah Holmstrom: don't have a, my head in my house. Can't they call it a tok? Yeah. One of our Canadians.
[00:10:32] Hunter: So out.
Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcast right after this break.
Okay, cool. So this is Sarah in the family, toddler and baby abi. Lots of cold, lots of beanies, ortus what are the challenges that are arising?
[00:10:59] Sarah Holmstrom: The challenges for me and of course this came about just as George was turning to I felt like at the beginning I was like, Parenting, this is not so bad.
Because they're, they can't talk back to you. They're less mobile. You have more control over them. And then they start becoming verbal and getting minds of their own. And then it becomes this whole new can of worms. And yeah, so just realizing that this is not my son that is doing this to me, which is really hard for me to sometimes get my head around cuz that's not how I was raised, right?
It was always, you were doing this to me or you're causing this, or and therefore the responsibility, the ownership is put back on to the child, right? . And so I'm, I really wanted to take ownership and responsibility and say, no, this is me. This is not, my son is being my son, he's being two, he's being developmentally who he's supposed to be.
And, Trying to develop the skills to be able to parent him in the best possible way. So that he doesn't have to do all the therapy that I did. , living in life.
[00:12:28] Hunter: Just a little bit of therapy later. or maybe just
[00:12:31] Sarah Holmstrom: a little, yeah, exactly. .
[00:12:34] Hunter: Oh, okay. So you were raised with a lot of blame sounds like like blame and shame.
We can go into that a little bit more, but can you describe what are the moments that are most challenging? What's happening with your son?
[00:12:52] Sarah Holmstrom: I think one is cuz I'm also control freak and I know this about myself, is when I feel like I can't control and make him do the thing that I want him to do whether that's.
Realistic or not that pushes my buttons and then it can get me to a point where it sends me off over the edge. I'm also very sensitive to noise. Which is, so I know that in a house with two boys, that's going to be increasingly more of a challenge for me. But it's just, I get overwhelmed.
He could be doing just what kids do and I just find myself getting overwhelmed. And
[00:13:38] Hunter: just, and so are you feeling your temper arise?
[00:13:45] Sarah Holmstrom: Yeah. Yeah. A little bits. Yeah. And just not wanting. And then I think the other thing too is just, he is just super, he's a boy, so he likes to, be very physical and he does like to hit and do those things too.
And Just be like, get out of my space for a moment, and trying to do that in a way that's calm and doesn't make him feel like he's the bad guy.
[00:14:18] Hunter: You have a need for your own physical space and he's kinda, he's coming in and, I dunno, climbing all over you and .
[00:14:33] Sarah Holmstrom: Yeah. Which I don't mind, but
[00:14:35] Hunter: then, occasionally you have a need to, occasionally
[00:14:38] Sarah Holmstrom: it's just okay I don't want my glasses broken or my face scratched, or my eye poked out, or,
[00:14:45] Hunter: All right. So he's being two. You're really recognizing you're realizing, I love what you said. This is not my son that is doing this to me.
This is this, this is, he's developmentally. Being too, he's exploring his world. He's playing in the ways he needs to play to be grow as a human being. , yes. He's exploring his, he's growing physically and he has, he's loud and he is physical and he is climbing on you and he is, and all of that sounds is really, can be very overwhelming for your nervous system.
[00:15:29] Sarah Holmstrom: . Yeah. Both my husband and I are very quiet, introverted people. And we have two very introverted son. Are extroverted sons. So it's such a challenge for both of us. , we're just like, let's just sit and read a book quietly, shall we?
[00:15:47] Hunter: Okay. So maybe there's like a conflict of needs here as far as we talked about that, that a need for that physical contact and also maybe on his your son's end and your end a need for some space to be center, and to calm your nervous system down and to have those things.
Okay. So what what, so you have been on a leave of absence from your PhD. What kind of self-care space do you have in your situation with your kids?
In regards to what I do or
[00:16:33] Hunter: where do I Yeah, kinda like on a weekly basis, are you with your two and a half year old and your seven month old, 14 hours a day, six days a week?
Or are you . So
[00:16:47] Sarah Holmstrom: because we're in Canada, we have childcare subsidy
[00:16:55] Hunter: Yeah. So listen to this Americans . So
[00:17:02] Sarah Holmstrom: thanks. Thanks to our provincial and federal governments. You can also qualify for subsidies still when you're on mat leave, we just have to fill out a special needs form. So we still qualify for that and it's great cuz we're in a time of transition in in our own sort of family life. Cuz my husband took on a new position. And started this fall. So he's teaching and that's just consuming every ounce of him and every hour of his life. It works out well that my son can go and be a day home for almost a full day. Not quite. But, the morning and evening routines still generally fall to me.
And then of course the division of labor in the household has all fallen into me as a result of this new job for my husband. I know that this is part of just what's triggering me as well is that we're just, we're too exhausted parent. And I'm trying to hold space for my husband to do what he needs to do to be successful in his new position.
. But at the same time it's a lot. And having, just to acknowledge that, that's a lot. I think there was a post just today actually about. Asking for help in Parenting and acknowledging that we need a community. And I know that even though one of my youngest doesn't go to date home and so I'm home with him all day.
So even though I have that help, sometimes I feel guilty. Sometimes I feel like I should have just both boys at home and I should be doing it all kind of thing. And just recognizing that this is okay , and then it's at least one of us should be, have their selves mostly together.
Otherwise it would just be complete chaos here. .
[00:19:07] Hunter: Okay, cool. So your two and a half year old goes to childcare a fair amount, you have regular breaks. , and you have regular reunions with him and , you have mornings in the evenings with him and sounds but you're with your seven month old 24 hours a day, seven days a week, yeah.
[00:19:30] Sarah Holmstrom: for right now, I pawn 'em off on the grandparents that could be here with you. .
[00:19:35] Hunter: Oh, Uhhuh. Uhhuh. So there's grandparents in the picture? , are they like really far away or is it fairly convenient for them to come
[00:19:45] Sarah Holmstrom: hang off 15 minute drive.
[00:19:48] Hunter: So that's nothing for a Canadian
[00:19:52] Sarah Holmstrom: for super close, which is a lot of the reason why we moved.
We used to be in Ontario an hour, a 15 minute drive instead of a four
[00:20:00] Hunter: hour plane ride. That's amazing. Okay, so you, Sarah, are in the most intensive time. Are you having more kids, do you know?
[00:20:10] Sarah Holmstrom: We're not sure if we're done or dah. Okay. My husband, I think is dead. .
[00:20:14] Hunter: Yeah. Oops,
[00:20:18] Sarah Holmstrom: honey. At the moment that Yes.
Two is the number .
[00:20:23] Hunter: Okay. Okay. But like with a two and a half year old and a seven month old, you are in like the most intensive time and you're getting overwhelmed. And that's not surprising because what I'm hearing from you right now is that you actually don't normally have any time that is just s time at all.
Is that right?
[00:20:45] Sarah Holmstrom: Yeah. There's nap time when , when my youngest sleeps, , and sometimes I'll take some time for myself during that time. But sometimes it's. Doing the housework and the things that need to be done. So Okay. Evenings after they're both in bed is the time I'll take for myself.
If I'm not super exhausted, I'll do a workout. It won't involve running outside cuz it's minus 31 . And just I love, I'm a big hockey fan. Of course I'm in Canada, so I feel like that's, I'm very st stereotypical , but so I'll watch hockey in the evenings and,
[00:21:31] Hunter: okay. All right. So you have some downtime?
I do, yeah. And you're doing your morning practice, so you have a lot of wins going on as far as your, as far as this happening. But you. Are, you have a crazy, we'll talk about some of the issues, but just on the, what I'm seeing from the big picture is that you have a two and a half year old and a seven month old.
You're with your seven month old like the vast majority of the time, except for naps and stuff like that. And you are, you feel guilt, there's some sense of guilt like, I should be able to just, I should just never ask for help or, that whole crazy independence thing, which is I think hurting us in a lot of ways actually culturally but you also have grandparents are a 15 minute drive away that you move to be closer to, right away.
I would, if I were just like a prescribing physician, , , I would say, let's see if the grandparents can come, like during daylight hours, maybe once or twice a week just with the, with your youngest son so that you can really have some time where you're like, I don't have to worry about a child waking up.
I can actually go for a walk outside. I could go to a gym and go for a swim. Or I could, do just some time. That's a little bit of wi that's a little bit more away from Parenting so you can just be Sarah and remember who that is, and that, that could really serve you. I think. Yeah.
[00:23:08] Sarah Holmstrom: If the grandparents are involved it's so that I can go and do things like get groceries and run errands. So it's not. It's not so I can be off, so to speak. Do you know what I mean?
[00:23:22] Hunter: And is there, would there be a problem with ordering groceries and having, using the time to be off, would the PA grandparents have an issue with it?
[00:23:32] Sarah Holmstrom: No, but I would probably find something else to do. That's, this is the thing I feel like I need to be productive. Productive .
[00:23:42] Hunter: Okay. Okay. But one of the challenges you're saying is that you're feeling overwhelmed by your son. You wanna show up for your son, right? You wanna have the space and the ability to give them the parent that you know, the best parent you can be, and you wanna model for them what is living a healthy, balanced life.
Do you want your sons to feel like they always have to be productive? No. Okay. And why do you feel like that way?
[00:24:12] Sarah Holmstrom: I think that's just how I was brought up, raised. , I. I'm definitely better than I used to be in terms of giving myself space and grace to just be and not have to do all the time.
But I think a lot of that came from, that's how I got love and validation is that you were achieving and you were doing and you were being the good kid and you were so there was no sleeping in on Saturday mornings in our family it was, you get up and you do all the housework.
So there wasn't, breathing space wasn't a thing. And of course my parents were of the culture where you are you do work and you work and and I know, like my dad, even in re in retirement now struggles with finding meaning and purpose because he can't do what he used to be able to do.
[00:25:15] Hunter: And on the other side of work, there's like enjoyment of life, but there's also being on this earth, right? That's holy moly, we're alive on this earth. It's amazing miracle. Yes. If we're working all the time it, it's good. It's good to work hard yes. But a lot of the work hard comes from a sense of I'm not good enough and I'm not worthy if I'm not working hard.
Cuz you're sensing that in your own, that kind of underlying message and your own upbringing. And so then to see this, what is it do I wanna pass on to my sons? , do I wanna show, what do I wanna show them? If I'm modeling all the time, you have to live what you want them to learn, right?
So do you want them to. Feel like they need to be productive all the time. And yeah. You got this hockey in the evening, you're watching hockey. That's good. I also play hockey too. And you play hockey? Yeah. Oh my gosh. You're playing hockey. Okay, good. Yeah. When are you playing hockey? I'm not picturing this in the schedule of the week.
[00:26:27] Sarah Holmstrom: So Sunday afternoons I'm part of a women's league, so I leave my boys at home with my husband and he allows me to, or doesn't allow me . I don't need permission from him, but that allows me to that allows me to be able to go and then the odd Wednesday evening, but they're sleeping, so that's easy for him.
He can do his marking and course prep.
[00:26:52] Hunter: Okay. I go on play. So I guess I just wanna point out that there's some places to explore a little more leeway in your life. Because this is the most intensive time of Parenting when you are of a two and a half year old and a seven month old when they're really like, when they're in like five and under.
It sounds like that's gonna be forever. Hunter. What the heck are you talking about? It actually is not gonna be forever, but it is the most intensive time as far as like intensive, like just minute after minute. Attentiveness required, , right? It things change as they get older, but even in this time that's esp.
Especially in this time that's most intensive. It's, you'll be able to show up better for them when you have a chance to be you, when you have a chance to have breathing space. When you have a chance to really fill your own cup and real, really then feel. More relaxed. Have your nervous system be at ease because you've exercised, you've gotten fresh air, you've had time with friends, supportive family, like we haven't even talked about have, when have you had time with friends?
But you're in a new place and all that stuff. So like prioritizing those things is actually the f of the foundation. . And so I just wanna offer that it sounds like there's a, pretty often there's not a real, this is a really like complex and challenging situation to find a, some breathing space for people.
But it sounds like for you there's 15 minute drive away, some breathing space and a conversation and maybe a regular schedule that could be set up where you could carve out a little breathing space and practice having a little more ease that would translate into you being able to be more present for your kids ultimately.
[00:28:43] Sarah Holmstrom: Yeah. And I see, I think for me I hear that and I wish that for my husband as well. . And and I think that's part of where the guilt comes in for me. , he leaves at six in the morning and he gets home at six at night, and then he has dinner helps with putting the kids to bed, and then he starts working again.
And and when I carve out space and time for myself and I do things for me, I feel guilty because I see my husband, working so hard and I'm like and I'm not con and I'm not contributing to the family in any other way.
[00:29:33] Hunter: Hold on a second. Okay. You taking care of your children? Is this is not, and taking care of all the logistics of your living, this is not contributing to the family. That's some crazy kinda logic that you have there. Because it's not a paid contribution. Doesn't mean it's not a contribution.
I had a, my, I had friends who 12 years, no, 15 years ago now, they calculated how much money they would have to spend to make up for all the work the wife was doing, staying home with the kids, and taking care of all the things. And they calculated 15 years ago, $60,000 a year in US dollars. So I know that's gone up.
So yeah, if you need a monetary number for it, I'm sure you can find it, but I really need to push back on that. I'm not contributing. Yeah. The family. And I,
[00:30:28] Sarah Holmstrom: and I know that's like in my head, of course I know that's true, but I do know that I feel that sort of viscerally
[00:30:36] Hunter: Okay. So can you work hard enough to help him stop work working so hard?
No. Is just being efficient every second gonna help him ma, help him stop working so hard on his new job right now? No. And this is very similar to if you have a sick person, you can't make yourself sick enough to make them better. Part of it's not that he's sick, I'm just saying, and I no, that maybe that was a bad metaphor for that, but no, I, like your work has, it's not you.
You can't adjust his work by you working harder, not working harder. So in fact, he needs you even more to be grounded, stable, clear-headed, right? , because he's going through a tough time himself. .
[00:31:36] Sarah Holmstrom: and the logical, rational part of me that says, yes, this is why you're doing this, Sarah, so that at least there's one human in this group of four that can be calm.
More, more than not .
[00:31:54] Hunter: And what is the part that says, oh man, that if you close your eyes and you touch into that part that says, but wait a second. It feels so wrong. I know. What are, what is that part saying to you?
[00:32:13] Sarah Holmstrom: Yeah. That part just says, do more. Don't take a break.
Don't take a break. Look at how much your husband is
[00:32:20] Hunter: doing. . How dare you rest. Yeah.
[00:32:25] Sarah Holmstrom: And I think, cuz it's cuz I wish it for him, right? It's I wish. That while I'm taking my downtime and evening, he too could have some downtime when I'm heading out with a friend that he could do the same and his.
His life and schedule does not allow that at the moment. So it's, I don't know, and I don't know why that wish for him. Then just turns into a, I should never turn myself off and take a break for myself.
[00:33:02] Hunter: Stay tuned for more Mindful Mama podcast right after this break.
It's a common, it's co, it's not unusual, but it's funny about we talk about modeling right? With our kids. We know we're not gonna drop the F bomb with our kids for a couple days cuz we're gonna hear it constantly after that. We know that modeling, they do what we do. . But the funny thing about modeling is that it works.
It's also contagious with the people around us , who aren't our kids in some ways. When people ask about Mindful Parenting and may have a partner who has a totally different style of Parenting, that it's what I say is it's good to have at least one person be conscious and Mindful and skillful, right?
. And then what happens a lot of the time is that partner then is they're observing, they're seeing, and then they're like what are you doing? What's happening? They're absorbed through osmosis what's happening. And the same thing can happen with our lifestyles.
Like we absorb you absorbed messages when you were young about you're not really ex, it's unacceptable to to relax. You have to be productive, a lot of us had that. , you absorb that through osmosis and probably direct uhhuh, instruction too. That's, but also the reverse can happen in that.
I remember actually like working is an, there's an example of this. As I started to create my own business, I, for, I, I went through a number of years where I was like, okay, I don't wanna work on Fridays, not work on Fridays. And I created this, I scheduled everything on the other days and wasn't, and pretty soon my husband was like, I don't wanna work on Fridays.
What are we doing? And we figured out a way for him and his corporate job that he's had for a long time to cut. He cut back to, one fifth of his work and doesn't work on Friday's. Cuz we would prefer for him to have the time rather than the income. So what I'm saying is that your husband's challenge right now is not something he's in it.
But as we would say in Mindful Parenting, whose problem is it? Not mine. Yeah. It's his problem. And you can be a supporter and how can you be a supporter best? , if you're like sane . Yeah. Yeah. So when those thoughts come up of the argument, thoughts, the feelings, I want you to stop. I want you to put a hand to your heart and sit and then say, okay, what am I thinking right now?
What is the belief that's driving me right now? Oh, I should be more productive. And then I want you to say to yourself, okay, put this is a way to diffuse from that thought. You say, I'm having the thought that repeat after me, Sarah. I'm having the thought that I'm having the thought that I should be more productive.
[00:36:20] Sarah Holmstrom: I should be
[00:36:21] Hunter: more productive. Or what how would you put it in your thoughts?
[00:36:31] Sarah Holmstrom: I think for me it's, I'm having the thought that I should be working cuz my husband's also working.
[00:36:43] Hunter: Okay. So say that. So it's just wait no. Hold on. Yeah. Right Now just take a moment to close your eyes and pause and say the, say I'm having the thought that and that whole thing to yourself.
But say it out loud so you can really say it out loud to it.
[00:36:56] Sarah Holmstrom: Yeah. , I'm having the thought that I should be working because my husband is working.
[00:37:06] Hunter: Okay. Now when you say it to yourself like that, with, I'm having the thought that in front of it, does it change your observation response to. .
[00:37:18] Sarah Holmstrom: I just hear that.
I hear my competitiveness.
creeping in there as well. And I, maybe that's part of it as well. I don't know. But that, yeah, that, that should like, , I should be doing this because of this.
[00:37:41] Hunter: Is that helpful? , is that way of thinking helpful? No, is the way of thinking of saying I should be doing this?
Is that helpful? Oh
[00:37:55] Sarah Holmstrom: no, not in the long
[00:37:58] Hunter: run. So let's take a step back for a moment and what are your values for Woody? How you wanna sh show up for your voice? If you could snap your finger and I could wave a magic wand. What would the ideal be for showing up for them?
[00:38:19] Sarah Holmstrom: I think to show up for them in a way that, that I wasn't showing up for that didn't make sense.
I gotcha. When I was a kid, to hold space for their emotions. And I find that challenging because toddler emotions are huge and if toddlers were full grown adults, they'd be very violent human beings.
[00:38:55] Hunter: Right. Yeah. No kidding. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:38:57] Sarah Holmstrom: So it's good that they're small.
But it's just, the intensity. But wanting to be able to hold that and. I love you
[00:39:10] Hunter: unconditional love. I love
[00:39:12] Sarah Holmstrom: you. And you can kick and you can scream, man. You can just be you. And that's okay, because I didn't have that when I was a kid. And my, my son, I see myself in him when he gets angry and when he throws things and when he cuz that's what I did when I was a kid.
But that wasn't okay and that wasn't accepted. And it was even spiritualized to the point I remember my mom saying that I was demonn possessed at 1.0 rage. Cause
[00:39:54] Hunter: I was
[00:39:55] Sarah Holmstrom: mom because I was just raging mad and at what I can't remember. But obviously but that stuck with me.
And so when I feel. My temper rising and when I feel anger I almost feel like it's a double flood. Cuz you're flooded with the emotions and then you're flooded with the emotions that were connected with those emotions when you were when you were younger. And yeah I wanted, I want him to not, both my sons but my oldest right now cuz he's in the throes of toddlerhood.
To be able to know that I'm a safe person and that I'm someone that no matter what he could come to and that I'm not gonna, check out or reciprocate
[00:40:59] Hunter: his, or literally
[00:41:00] Sarah Holmstrom: demonize his anger or demonize or, do you know what I mean? Yeah. Yeah. And so to be able to have those, that ability and those skills to just extend all the grace to him and Mercy, knowing that he's two and he's, he is being who he's supposed to be right now in this moment.
And that's okay. Because it wasn't okay for me when I was growing up. There's an expectation that we had to be somehow emotion with it at
[00:41:41] Hunter: the young age. I know, which is nuts. It's bananas. Let's take a moment to pause with that. It's, you can see the IL logic in it, but there's a lot of deep feelings there, so I want you to just close your eyes.
Okay. Maybe if it feels good, put a hand to your heart. And I wanted you to just notice what you're feeling in your heart area. In your throat. In your belly.
And I wonder if you could describe what are the sensations you're feeling
out loud in relationship to? To, yeah, in relation to what you shared just as far as your son's anger rising and you wanting to show up and hold space for his emotions and not demonize him there.
I just, what are the phys? Yeah, what are the physical sensations you feel in your body?
[00:42:49] Sarah Holmstrom: certainly, I feel the tension of those moments.
[00:42:56] Hunter: And where do you feel the tension
[00:43:00] Sarah Holmstrom: Where I hold all my tension in my chest and in my back, and in my shoulders.
[00:43:09] Hunter: What does that feel like? Does it feel like tightness, heat, pulsing pressure? Yeah,
Okay. So we're not gonna do anything to change it right now. We're just gonna breathe in and out. And I'm just gonna ask you, can you let that be for now?
Can you be with it? Yes.
And now what are you noticing? What sensations are you noticing in your body?
Is it shifting and changing at all?
[00:44:06] Sarah Holmstrom: It's definitely shifting. I also took a few deep breaths, ,
[00:44:09] Hunter: and we're just noticing here, we're not, and what I'm inviting you to do is make yourself so wide, so spacious, close your eyes, and I want you, your consciousness to be so wide and spacious that you're looking at these sensations in your body and you're noticing them and you're not fighting them in any way.
We're just observing them. So when you, can you, if you can just describe them one more time out loud. What do you feel?
[00:44:35] Sarah Holmstrom: So I was feeling the tension of want, of wanting to be able to show up.
[00:44:50] Hunter: And what does that feel like? What does that feel like? Where do you feel it?
[00:44:56] Sarah Holmstrom: And it, and I feel, yeah, I just, I feel it in my shoulders, in my chest,
[00:45:09] Hunter: shoulders, chest. So just breathing. And once again, can you just let that be for now?
Yes. It's just there. Okay. Do you find yourself wanting to push it away?
I do. In the
[00:45:43] Sarah Holmstrom: sense that I,
yeah. I think often I.
[00:45:52] Hunter: Okay. That's okay. That's totally normal, this moment to do, but let's do this. So right now we're just making space for it, right? And this is, we're just breathing. And if you had to name this sensation, you could name it, maybe it's what, what would you name it?
[00:46:17] Sarah Holmstrom: Yeah, I, an anxiety, I think there's a fear. As well
[00:46:23] Hunter: there. Okay. So are these sensations you're feeling now, are these very different from what you might feel when you get, really, when you get into a situation with your son that's intense. Are they similar? They're,
[00:46:43] Sarah Holmstrom: they're similar, but they're not reflective in any way.
[00:46:48] Hunter: Yeah. No, that's okay. Not What do you mean by
[00:46:52] Sarah Holmstrom: they're not reflecting in the sense like right now we're holding space for them, so they're yeah. In front of me. And you can have more of an objective, okay, here's what it is. But in the moment it's just the bodily sensations, right?
It's, yeah. It's not here, let's put a name to this and this is what's
[00:47:12] Hunter: going on. No. That, but that's okay. That's okay. And this is this practice of like being, just bringing your attention and awareness into the physical sensations is really valuable because in those situations you're gonna start to practice to not respond.
I instantly if, as long as no one's in danger of being hit and whatnot. And you're gonna practice to notice what you feel in those situations, to be self-aware and to be aware of, oh, I feel that tightness in my shoulders again, , I feel that tightness in my chest again. And then I want you to, again, close your eyes now, and you want to be able to hold space for your son's emotions, right?
You wanna be there. And so he's, let's imagine he's having a big fit, or something's going on, and you're starting to feel this, you're starting to feel overwhelmed. You're starting to feel intense feelings in your body. You're just gonna, take a half a second to notice this. And I'm gonna imagine, I'm gonna invite you to imagine yourself sitting down on the floor or on the couch, whatever, a position you might be safe.
And I want you to just visualize yourself doing this with me. So take a deep breath and breathing in, I'm like a mountain. Breathing out. I feel solid.
Breathing in, I'm like a mountain. Breathing out. I feel solid.
Good. Now you go. Third time
[00:48:56] Sarah Holmstrom: I am like mounted.
[00:48:58] Hunter: I feel solid. And I want you to picture yourself then as you're ready to opening your eyes and responding to your son. Because what our toddlers need is they need us to show they need them. They need us to show them how to calm down. They need us to model our calming down. And they need us to, they name, they need to be able to borrow some of our calms sometimes, right?
So to help him calm down, you gotta calm yourself down. Okay? It's helpful to practice in a tense and somewhat challenging moment, and we parlayed you describing what you want for your son and the intensity you felt around that into the feeling into kind of a place to dive into those feelings in a situation for wait for your son.
But can you see how that might affect an everyday situation that you would beat him with? Yeah,
[00:50:13] Sarah Holmstrom: yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. And I have, I, on one or two occasions, just sat with him and said, okay, can we all just take a breath? And so he'll repeat that line to me sometimes. Take a breath.
[00:50:32] Hunter: Thanks buddy. Yeah,
[00:50:35] Sarah Holmstrom: thanks buddy. Yeah, and I think. Just taking, having, like you say if no one's endangered, just having permission to leave the situation,
[00:50:48] Hunter: Yeah, you can leave or you can even do it right there. Yeah.
[00:50:54] Sarah Holmstrom: Yeah. Because I know with my own upbringing issues, , just leaving my child makes me feel guilty, even if I know I need just five seconds to take a breath or whatever.
[00:51:15] Hunter: yeah. Yeah, if you can do that right there, you sit, you close your eyes, you put a hand on your heart breathing in I a mountain, breathing out, I feel solid. You can They'll imitate you a right. Soon they're gonna be breathing in like a mountain and breathing out, they're gonna feel solid.
And you can do other things like that but you are then putting yourself in a place to use your whole brain, right? We haven't even talked about the biology, right? Of being able to access your prefrontal cortex, your verbal ability, your problem solving ability, all that stuff. Like all of that helps you to access all of that so you can respond more thoughtfully to a situation and think clearly what needs is my son trying to meet right now?
Or, get curious. I wonder what's driving him to do this right now. I wonder if he needs to jump on a trampoline or go outside in negative 30 degree weather with this tocan . But yeah, but yeah. But you'll not only, you'll be able to access your whole brain, but you'll also. be modeling for him.
And then if he's in a situation where he needs help calming down, cuz he's only two and a half, he doesn't have the ability a lot of times to he certainly doesn't like, have the ability to calm himself down very easily. Then you can, okay. You can get curious. I wonder what you're needing right now, and you can, you haven't even gotten to these modules yet, but in module five we'll talk about you'll reflect back, you'll acknowledge what's going on with him.
You'll say, oh, you're, I wonder, you look, seem really upset because ah, whatever. And might say, yeah, babababa. Oh yeah. And you didn't like it when your brother crawled on your toy? No, I didn't. That sounds frustrating. Maybe you can, do you wanna come get a nice big hug from mommy? Or whatever.
So you can start to see maybe what he needs a little bit more and respond more. thoughtfully to him. Okay? But also as you start to get curious, right? Curiosity's the opposite of judgment, right? Yeah. You were given so much judgment, you that's not what you want, right? , you are not wanting to layer on the blame and the judgment for him.
You're wanting to be curious. So when you can, then you can get curious about what he needs. And I've, I have
[00:54:00] Sarah Holmstrom: been able to have, yeah. And I have been able to have a few of those moments where I've been able to say to him, it seems like and I don't always get it, but at least it's not a a reaction to reaction sort of thing.
[00:54:22] Hunter: Yeah. Yeah. And you, before you get to those modules, you have the 101 skillful responses in the workbook. , I don't if you've discovered that, I forgot what page it's on, but you can look at those. But but you also have your mindfulness practice now. So when you sit like this and you breathe, your body's oh, I remember this.
We did this morning. I can come back and I can be with this and I can hold space for that. But a mindfulness practice isn't always about calming down. What we did just a moment ago was mindfulness of some challenging feelings, right? . And it really is the, it's kinda like body, because it's not about analyzing it cognitively, it was like, where do you feel in your body?
, what do you feel? And it's, and going into those physical sensations is the path through. , the path of processing. And that's where no one wants to go. But you have a mindfulness practice and you are a super Anglican and you are brave and can go there.
[00:55:33] Sarah Holmstrom: are, you know what's interesting is that these are ancient practices, right? These are Anglicans have had them as well centuries. So yeah it's fun sort of making the connections to your work and
[00:55:54] Hunter: to my vocation that is like another conversation that I would love an email about.
Tell me what are the Anglicans practices? Cuz I'm really curious. You could write me an email about that. I would be totally the other thing I wanted, but I wanna check in. Is this something that you can imagine yourself practicing at home?
[00:56:14] Sarah Holmstrom: Yes, absolutely. And I think taking that beat to. To do it there in that moment.
I guess that's never something that's crossed my mind. It's you do the mindfulness practice, when you have five or 10 minutes when their kids are not around. But not actually accessing it in the moment and bringing it into that moment. It's something for them to model or to model and to eventually be modeled.
I really like that actually. Cuz that never really crossed my mind. I I'll just, I'll go meditate later and think about what I did, thing.
[00:56:57] Hunter: But that's, we have more practice for this. Like you have access to the stop yelling formula, so we have more practice for this like guided meditation for this and the stop yelling formula.
And the other thing I would offer for you is thinking about you guys being inside with excitable boys and you guys being two introverts is that it might be a nice time for you to embrace some rough and tumble play. Sarah just wanna offer this as a suggestion. It's really good for girls and boys.
It's really good for kids. It's can be really fun, it can be very empowering. We have some stuff about it in Mindful Parenting, but there's more about it in Lawrence Cohen's Playful Parenting, which I recommend. But so yeah, that might be nice, a nice way to connect physically and get all those physical yaya's out and and then so that way you can honor both sides, right?
It's not always about calming down, it's also about we are physical beings, but yeah, that, I just wanted to kinda,
[00:58:04] Sarah Holmstrom: most of the games my son wants to play involve. Rough and tumble play. So yeah, I, I'm not that's how I get my daily dose of exercise, .
[00:58:17] Hunter: Okay, so let's just recap. So we talked about your, you ha you said you have an inner control freak and you wanna control your sons, yet that's sort of part of you.
And the other part of you is I wanna have space for their emotions, right? I wanna hold space for all their emotions. And you're looking at your upbringing and those places that where you were controlled and you can see how these patterns are trying to reproduce themselves. And you're saying, hold on a second.
And it's okay that it's, it takes some time and some practice. But we talked about your weekly schedule and your kind of self-care and maybe off, I would invite yourself, you to offer yourself permission to have more ease. In a really challenging time, so that way you can show up for your kids and your husband the best you can be, and that's not gonna be through a hundred percent efficiency, , is that you are a human being not in machine.
And and then we talked about those holding space for the emotions and kind of practice doing that. So from all these things today, Sarah, what is your biggest takeaway?
[00:59:33] Sarah Holmstrom: My biggest takeaway I think is the holding space and the holding space also in the moment. And taking the skills that I'm learning and bringing them into those tense moments.
And well after this practicing, I'm sure there'll be a moment to date. . And yeah, just seeing where that takes us, I think that'll be really interesting to, to see what my reaction is and what my son's reaction is, in a moment like that. Because, you can see it in their eyes.
They're just, they're watching you. They're like, okay what's gonna be reaction? What's gonna happen? .
[01:00:40] Hunter: . Yeah. And as you practice you have permission to be human, sir , and you have permission to not be a hundred percent perfect because you're not gonna be, we're all human and we all make mistakes, and that's okay.
It's just about begin again. Begin a new, give yourself some grace and practice, and you can start to shift and change bit by bit. Oh, I was just say, I
[01:01:09] Sarah Holmstrom: love that the begin again in the beginner's mind. It's connects into what we believe about baptism, that every day is a new day to, to begin again and to be beginners in our walk.
Yeah. In our journey of life. So I love that.
[01:01:35] Hunter: Yeah. Okay. Look at that. You snuck in an Anglican parallel. Yes. I love it. It's so great. . Sir, this has been such a pleasure to talk to you. Thank you so much for coming on the Mindful Mama
[01:01:49] Sarah Holmstrom: podcast. Yeah. And thank you so much for having me and thank you for the work that you do.
It's very helpful for me and as I've heard for others as well. So thank you.
[01:02:08] Hunter: Thank you so much for listening. I hope this was helpful for you. I would love to know if it was helpful for you in a great way to let me know is to leave an Apple podcast rating and review. And I just wanna give a sh big shout out to Mama three, Emily, who left a five star review and said The podcast is life changing.
Thank you, Emily. She says, listening to this podcast has really changed my Parenting style for the better and greatly improved my joy in life. Oh my gosh, that is awesome. So awesome to hear. It just makes my world. So thank you so much, Emily. If. And if you have a, if you haven't left a review, please go over to Apple Podcast.
Leave us a review, leave us a Spotify review. If you listen there, wherever you listen and is just the greatest gift you can give me and my team who work on this podcast so hard. So thank you so much and like I've been saying, it's an awesome start to 2023. We have so many great conversations and next week is no different.
We're gonna have an awesome conversation and so make sure you're subscribed and you are there and I will see you next week. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you for being part of this movement. High five to you and I hope you get some relaxation and peace and ease in all of that this week, and I can't wait to connect with you again soon.
[01:03:46] Sarah Holmstrom: I'd say definitely do it.
[01:03:48] Hunter: It's really helpful. It will change your relationship
[01:03:50] Sarah Holmstrom: with your kids for the better. It will help you communicate better and just, I'd
[01:03:54] Hunter: say communicate better as a person, as a wife, as a spouse, it's been really a positive influence in our lives, so definitely do it. I'd say definitely do it.
It's so worth it. The money really is inconsequential when you get so much benefit
[01:04:10] Sarah Holmstrom: from being a better parent to your children and feeling like you're connecting
[01:04:15] Hunter: more with them and not feeling like
[01:04:17] Sarah Holmstrom: you are yelling all the time, or you're like, why isn't things
[01:04:20] Hunter: working? I would say definitely into it.
It's so worth it. It'll change you no matter what age someone's child is. It's a great opportunity for personal growth and it's great investment in someone's family. I'm very thankful I have this. You can continue
[01:04:36] Sarah Holmstrom: in
[01:04:36] Hunter: your old habits that aren't working, or you can learn some
[01:04:41] Sarah Holmstrom: new tools and
[01:04:43] Hunter: gain some perspective to
[01:04:44] Sarah Holmstrom: shift.
Everything in your Parenting,
[01:04:50] Hunter: are you frustrated by parent? Do you listen to the experts and try all the tips and strategies, but you're just not seeing the results that you want? Or are you lost as to where to start? Does it all seem so overwhelming with too much to learn? Are you yearning for community people who get it, who also don't want to threaten and punish to create cooperation?
Hi, I'm Hunter Clark Fields, and if you answered yes to any of these questions, I want you to seriously consider the Mindful Parenting membership. You'll be joining hundreds of members who have discovered the path of Mindful Parenting and now have confidence in clarity in their Parenting. This isn't just another Parenting class.
This is an opportunity to really discover your unique lasting relationship, not only with your children, but with yourself. It will translate into lasting connected relationships, not only with your children, but your partner too. Let me change your life. Go to. Mindful Parenting course.com to add your name to the wait list, so you will be the first to be notified when I open the membership for enrollment.
I look forward to seeing you on the inside, Mindful Parenting course.com.