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296: When Your Kid Seems Like An Emotional Rollercoaster

Do some days seem like a never-ending emotional rollercoaster living with your strong-willed and/or highly sensitive one? Like no matter what you say or do, they just can’t seem to get it together? 

On days like these, you might be fighting like hell to stay calm on the outside, but inside your heart is racing and your stomach is tied up in knots. 

And these days seem way longer than a mere 24 hours. By bedtime, no wonder you finally blow a gasket…you’re like a human tea kettle and that steam must be released, right?

My guest this week can help. Michelle Grosser is a coach, mom, and neuroscience expert. She knows a ton about what stress does to our brains and bodies. She’s helped so many moms address their triggers, calm their nervous systems and find the peace they so desperately want in their families and lives.

We hit it off instantly. You’re going to learn so much about how to manage overwhelm and avoid burnout.

Listen as we discuss tangible real-life methods for emotional rollercoaster days with your highly sensitive humans.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • How we make meaning out of our kiddos’ behavior (and how to make that meaning into something positive).
  • Why it’s so crucial to recognize, honor, and contain our reactive feelings so we don’t pass our stress on to our sensitive kids.
  • To start with your own healing and mental health in order to build safety and stability for your family.

And much more! 

As always, thanks for listening. Head over to Facebook, where you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community. We post tips and tools and do pop-up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!

 

About Randi Rubenstein

Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.

She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.

At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.

 

Randi’s Web and Social Links

About Our Guest

About Michelle Grosser:

Michelle is an attorney, pastor, Nervous System Expert, Certified Master Life Coach, and host of The Calm Mom Podcast. Through somatic and neuroscience-based modalities, she coaches women through discovering what’s beneath their triggers and emotions, so they can begin their healing journey and find peace in the present. She deeply believes that the most profound thing we can offer our children is our own healing. She and her husband Jeff have two daughters and live in Miami, FL.

https://michellegrosser.com/

Social: @michellegrosser.coach

Links & Resources

Thanks so much for listening to the Mastermind Parenting podcast, where we support the strong willed child and the families that love them!

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Transcription

[00:00:00] Randi Rubenstein: My name is Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast. At Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong-willed kids and the families that love them. 

Hello. Hello. How is everyone this week? I have a fun conversation to share with all of you. Aren’t you sick of the episodes where it’s just me? This. Week is not that. I had an amazing conversation with a mom and you know when you talk with someone new and you just have chemistry and you just realize that they speak the same language as you but they have different things to add to To the conversation that you hadn’t thought of and you maybe have things that they hadn’t thought of.

Well, that’s, that’s how I feel about the conversation I have with Michelle Grosser. Let me tell you a little bit about her. She is, she’s, she helps high achieving women regulate their nervous systems. Don’t, don’t tune out. I swear this is an amazing conversation with practical tips and you’re, you’re going to relate.

Right? We don’t just talk about fluff. We don’t use all the conceptual language that I think so many people are using these days. Like we really unpack these concepts and tell stories, tell personal stories, tell stories about clients. I think many of the stories you guys are going to relate to, um, she, she is sort of, um, Like, this is her jam.

Like, understanding the nervous system. So that you can overcome anxiety, overwhelm, and burnout. Burnout is part of her story. So that you can live a life that feels purposeful. Um, so her background is she was a trial attorney for 10 years. She’s a pastor. She’s a nervous system fitness expert. I don’t know what that means, but she really did.

She was very knowledgeable about the nervous system. She’s a certified master life coach and she’s the host of the top 20 parenting podcast, the calm mom. Through somatic and neuroscience based modalities, she coaches women to reconnect with the wisdom of their bodies, to discover what’s beneath the triggers and emotions so they can heal and find peace in the present.

She deeply believes that the most profound thing we can offer our children is our own healing. She and her husband have two daughters and live in Miami, Florida. So enjoy this conversation and without further ado, here’s my conversation with me, with Michelle Grosser. 

Hi, how are you?

[00:02:44] Michelle Grosser: I’m so good. I’m so excited that we get to be together and have this conversation today. I was actually just looking at your website and I’m like, Oh man, there’s so much overlap between what you teach and kind of the nervous system work that I do, um, and especially my audience being like, A lot of moms, obviously, but women who are trying to learn how to manage their own triggers, um, and their nervous system and how that all factors into parenting and the things that our kids bring up in us.

So I think that there’s going to be such good overlap in the spaces in which we teach.

[00:03:18] Randi Rubenstein: Well, I, I will tell you, you know, I tend to be a non linear person. I do everything out of order. So I, it makes my life so much harder, but now I’m just kind of accepting it. just is the way it is. And

[00:03:34] Michelle Grosser: Sure. Yeah.

[00:03:36] Randi Rubenstein: Parenting, reason I named it Master Mind is because I realized that, oh, I have control of this thing, my brain,

[00:03:46] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:03:46] Randi Rubenstein: the sentences that are, you know, going through my brain and what I’m making everything mean.

[00:03:52] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:03:53] Randi Rubenstein: maybe I can question some of these sentences and maybe I can question what I’m making behavior mean

[00:04:02] Michelle Grosser: Yes. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:04:08] Randi Rubenstein: is however many years into this, I would say 10, but really 26 years into this. Um, 10 years ago is when I started mastermind parenting. is if you could heal from the neck up, I would be the winner. I would be the winner. If you could truly healthy, become a healthy human because you have controlled yourself from the neck up,

[00:04:38] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:04:39] Randi Rubenstein: I’m all in.

[00:04:40] Michelle Grosser: Yep,

[00:04:41] Randi Rubenstein: what I was raising my hand for. And in the last few years, what I’ve learned is that we think we are thinking animals, but we are actually feeling animals.

[00:04:52] Michelle Grosser: that’s right.

[00:04:53] Randi Rubenstein: like. Wait, I don’t know. Can I curse on your podcast? I was like, F me.

[00:04:59] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:05:00] Randi Rubenstein: to deal with this body.

[00:05:02] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:05:03] Randi Rubenstein: um, and so I personally have really been, Um, like, like into the somatic practices and learning more about them. And so I’m so excited to talk to you because this has been a thing for so many years

[00:05:20] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:05:21] Randi Rubenstein: I’m teaching parents, well, what are you making this mean?

What’s the

[00:05:24] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:05:25] Randi Rubenstein: through your head? And I’ve had, I mean, I’m thinking about this one mom in particular who has, you know, who I’ve been working with for the last, like, Well, she started with me last summer

[00:05:36] Michelle Grosser: Okay.

[00:05:37] Randi Rubenstein: her big thing was she has an autoimmune,

[00:05:41] Michelle Grosser: Mm.

[00:05:41] Randi Rubenstein: you know, she has an autoimmune disease. She has had herself tested.

She knows that she lives in a high cortisol state. Um, she has said, I’ve talked to countless therapists. I, problem is, is that when my daughter. won’t listen or hits her sister or, or, or, right?

[00:06:07] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:06:08] Randi Rubenstein: things that trigger me?

[00:06:10] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:06:12] Randi Rubenstein: I just react.

[00:06:13] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:06:14] Randi Rubenstein: How do I stop myself from reacting?

[00:06:17] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:06:17] Randi Rubenstein: she’s like, no one can tell me.

[00:06:20] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:06:21] Randi Rubenstein: I’ve been working with her, but the truth of the matter is, is that where she is now, like had some improvements, but she continues to boomerang back to that reactive state.

[00:06:32] Michelle Grosser: Mm hmm.

[00:06:32] Randi Rubenstein: And so now she’s working with a somatic therapist.

[00:06:36] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:06:37] Randi Rubenstein: And I, cause I’ve, we’ve, we, I said, look, you’ve had a lot of improvements, but you’re still, it’s the same issue that I remember

[00:06:46] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:06:46] Randi Rubenstein: you were talking to me about. I think I’ve learned now is there’s no way around it.

[00:06:53] Michelle Grosser: Mm hmm. Mm

[00:06:54] Randi Rubenstein: truly work with a somatic therapist. this is supposed to be like. you know, I, I taught her the term titration.

[00:07:03] Michelle Grosser: hmm. Mm

[00:07:04] Randi Rubenstein: that slow process. I love Peter Levine

[00:07:08] Michelle Grosser: hmm.

[00:07:08] Randi Rubenstein: somatic experiencing.

[00:07:10] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:07:10] Randi Rubenstein: you, I could tell that from listening to some of your episodes, I could tell that you’re familiar

[00:07:15] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

[00:07:15] Randi Rubenstein: I don’t know. Are you trained in that too?

[00:07:17] Michelle Grosser: I’m, I am trained in it. I, I did a lot of training and at the beginning of the pandemic, um, specifically around somatic release and somatic experiencing. It’s a lot of the work that I do. Um, so yeah, I’m familiar, uh, with his work.

[00:07:32] Randi Rubenstein: And I mean, Um, what would you, what advice would you have

[00:07:37] Michelle Grosser: Mhm.

[00:07:38] Randi Rubenstein: a mom like that knows what she should be doing,

[00:07:43] Michelle Grosser: Mhm.

[00:07:43] Randi Rubenstein: stop herself. She should breathe. She should

[00:07:46] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:07:47] Randi Rubenstein: should disengage. But, you know, most of the time she finds herself reacting.

[00:07:52] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:07:52] Randi Rubenstein: Um, like what would you say to her is her first baby step to start disrupting that pattern?

Um, Okay.

[00:08:00] Michelle Grosser: Yes. Okay. So this is so good. This is one of my favorite things to talk about because this is also what a lot of women that come to me, they’re like, I know what I need to do. I just can’t write like that reactivity is so quick. So here’s what we’re, what we know about the nervous system to kind of start where you were starting about knowing all this stuff from the, from the neck up.

Our nervous system is our body’s. Command center, right? So it’s constantly taking in information, processing that information. Um, it’s, it’s controlling the things that we’re thinking, the things that we’re doing, the things that we’re saying, all of this stuff is governed by our nervous system in our body.

So it’s these messages that are constantly being sent. Now in our nervous system, 20% of the nerves in our body run from our head down to our body. The rest of those nerves, 80 percent are afferent. And what that means is they actually run from our body. Up to our brain. So if we’re only focusing from the neck up and doing the mindset stuff and the affirmations and the, you know, the analyzing and the logic and the books and all of these things, which are helpful, um, that’s only 20 percent of the messaging going on in our body.

So if there’s something that is stored. in our subconscious, in our nervous system. That’s very triggering for us, right? That’s what happens as parents. Um, we become triggered. That’s usually messaging being stored in our body. And if our body, for some reason, doesn’t feel safe or is triggered by something or it’s frustrating or whatever it is, then we know that 80 percent of the messaging going on in our body, from our body up to our brain, It’s freaking out, right?

Yelling, snapping, all of the things that we don’t want to do. And it’s because there’s this dissonance. We, we know what we want to do in our mind mindset, right? But that’s still only 20 percent of what’s going on in our body. So if, if, if there’s not a connection there in the messaging, that’s when we get frustrated.

Cause we’re like, I know what I want to do. I know what I need to do, but I just can’t do it. Cause our body’s taking over. It’s a losing relationship. Tug of war every time, right? So it’s learning how to bring safety, which feels a lot like when we say to have a regulated nervous system to our body and our body does not speak a verbal language.

So we cannot just tell ourselves to calm down, right? We can’t tell ourselves, Oh, well, you know, she’s five. She didn’t mean it that way. Or she’s eight. She doesn’t know, like whatever these things are that are necessary. Going on in our mind, kind of what you were alluding to asking ourselves, like, well, what’s the story you’re telling yourself about that?

Or what are you making that mean? We can analyze the heck out of it all day long and intellectualize it and try to understand it. Our body, our nervous system, our body doesn’t understand that verbal language. So we have to communicate safety to our body in a way that it understands. So learning practices, To bring safety, calm, presence, regulation, whatever word you want to use in that moment to your body is so powerful.

Our body, while it doesn’t understand a verbal language, it understands movement. It understands breath. It understands sound. It understands gentle and appropriate touch. It understands temperature, temperature changes, being in water, all of these different things. The sensations in our body are how we can communicate.

Safety and ultimately, when we are triggered by our children or anyone, anyone else, we become triggered because there’s something subconsciously coming up in us. That’s like, this doesn’t feel safe. This feels like a threat. So, what we really need to learn how to do in those moments is yes, have a plan and all these things, but we often can’t resort to that right away.

We first have to bring safety. To our system, which will open up access to the parts of our brain that allow us then to use our higher levels of communication or the skills and the tools that we have to resolve conflict or whatever it is. So it’s like 1st, bring safety to the body, learn how to do that.

And then you can use all of the tools that we learn about the parenting tools or mindset tools or things like that. So I

[00:12:11] Randi Rubenstein: how do you bring safety?

[00:12:14] Michelle Grosser: think the first thing is understanding there’s three different circuits in our nervous system. Um, so understanding where you’re at when you’re feeling like you need. One of these tools, right? When you’re feeling like you need a tool to help regulate your nervous system so you can respond instead of react.

So catching yourself and having that awareness is huge. So one of the, the first of the three circuits is called our sympathetic nervous system. That’s when we’re in fight or flight. So a lot of that, of us, when we feel triggered and we tend to like snap or yell or scream, or, you know, get so upset that, you know, we want to throw something or whatever it is that that’s.

Awareness to us. Okay. I’m in my sympathetic nervous system. That’s fight or flight energy. It’s all this activating energy. I feel really angry or anxious. Then we have a parasympathetic nervous system. On the other, on the other end of, of that sympathetic energy, that fight or flight, we can also respond to stress or a threat or something that our kids are doing, um, by, by going into a dorsal vagal collapse, we call it, and that’s like a shutdown response.

So there might be some of you listening that when you feel triggered by your kids, you do jump into that sympathetic energy and you get really angry. And then there’s also another, another. circuit that we might jump into when we’re feeling triggered. And that’s when we just want to shut down. We just associate, we just want to remove ourselves.

We can’t even respond, right? We just kind of freeze when we’re feeling really activated. So knowing where you’re at will then guide what you need to do. Um, so for both of those, I think a good place to start is actually getting out of your head. And into your body. So starting to be like, okay, what are the physical sensations that arise when I’m starting to feel triggered like this?

We all have them. They’re called somatic cues. We just don’t notice them because we’re going so fast right through our day that we don’t stop. But we all have cues that arise when we’re starting to feel. At that activating energy come up. So maybe your heart starts to race. Maybe the tone of your voice changes when your kids are kind of triggering you, right?

Maybe your palms get sweaty or your face gets flushed or, you know, you notice a scratch in your throat and then there’s something that’s like a red flag going off. Hey, time to do something about this. And then you can. Go to your nervous system regulation tools. So it might be a particular kind of breathing.

That’s really helpful. Um, the type of breath that I teach that I think is the most effective, especially for parents, especially in the moment, because it’s so quick and it’s so powerful, it’s called a physiological breath and you just breathe in through your nose as deep as you can until it feels like your lungs are so full.

You’re at capacity. Then one more quick breath through your nose. Just like. And then out through your mouth as long and slow as you can.

[00:15:06] Randi Rubenstein: I teach that too. I call

[00:15:07] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:15:08] Randi Rubenstein: you know what I call it? The sniff, sniff, slow.

[00:15:11] Michelle Grosser: Sniff, sniff, slow. That’s it. And then, you know, it two times, three times through that. That’s enough to shift the state of your nervous system. Um, if you’re someone that tends to go into that freeze response, man, go in your freezer, grab a pack of frozen vegetables, some frozen peas or whatever.

Put that on the back of your neck, hold ice cubes in your hands. Rub them on the inside of your wrists. That temperature change can be enough to shift the state of your nervous system and get you out of everything that’s going on to your head and into your body while you’ll be able to find more regulation.

Um, movement is so powerful. So man, like just, you know, Putting on a song and dancing or like going and, you know, screaming into a pillow or, you know, hitting a pillow. Like all of these things that we hear, those are really great tools for shifting the state of your nervous system takes just a couple of minutes.

And then you can come back and be like, all right, I’m in a space where I’m ready to, to deal with this. Right. Um, yeah, yeah, yeah,

[00:16:12] Randi Rubenstein: know, we know that kids learn by what we model. Um, and, and I can imagine if you’re a person like I was for so many years, the people listening, where it’s like, we’re not in our bodies.

[00:16:29] Michelle Grosser: yeah. Yeah. Awesome. Yes.

[00:16:35] Randi Rubenstein: we’re smart, we’re resourceful people.

And it’s like, yeah, yeah, yeah, like like I’m really going to do those things. Come on. What I want to say is. Um, what years and years ago learned, I mean, I want to say 20 years ago, I still wasn’t a person that was aware really that I wasn’t in my body, but somebody that I trusted, it was a program that I was learning at the time I, cause I was studying child development like a fiend.

I didn’t know why. had no clue. All I know is that, again, I do everything nonlinear. So I was just following my own curiosity and I had an unhappy kid, a strong willed kid. Really, I just had a kid that, you know, whined a lot, complained a lot, was in a bad mood and, and there was this fire in me. I was like, okay, I’ve got to make my kid happy.

I’ve got to make my kid happy. So. There was also a, I didn’t realize this at the time, you know, so much of what we do is just subconscious and I grew up with a really, you know, like, I don’t know, an environment that felt unsafe

[00:17:48] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Mm.

[00:17:51] Randi Rubenstein: a rageaholic, you know, parent and, um, and then one that was just kind of that freeze response. Um, and so. I knew it wasn’t an option for me to yell. and bring a lot of fire because I already had this unhappy kid and I

[00:18:12] Michelle Grosser: Mm

[00:18:13] Randi Rubenstein: my, the problem I was trying to solve was I want to like, how do I get them to be happy? How do I, you know, and so there was also that part of me that was not going to be the yelling parent.

[00:18:23] Michelle Grosser: hmm.

[00:18:23] Randi Rubenstein: I was, I was trying to learn and I was reading all these books, books that I would never have read before and it was a very different time. There wasn’t all this online

[00:18:32] Michelle Grosser: No.

[00:18:33] Randi Rubenstein: and um, I mean my husband used to say like, you, it’s like you’re cramming for a semester final. What the

[00:18:39] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:18:39] Randi Rubenstein: are you reading? I’m

[00:18:41] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:18:42] Randi Rubenstein: So I learned in this one program that. Um, you take a deep breath and, and a slow exhale. And I didn’t know about the, you know, vagal tone or I didn’t know about any of this. I don’t even think I spoke nervous system language at the time. I for sure didn’t.

[00:19:00] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:19:00] Randi Rubenstein: And learned to take a deep breath in and a slow exhale out. And let me tell you, I, I was very dramatic about it. Like, I was like, to the point that my kids started sort of equating that sound with yelling, like, they would be like,

[00:19:21] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:19:22] Randi Rubenstein: know, they knew that like, I was calming myself down in that moment.

[00:19:26] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:19:26] Randi Rubenstein: Years later, my daughter was like, when I hear you take a deep breath, like that mom, when I hear you, she goes, when I hear you breathing, it literally makes me want to throat punch you. And I’m like, like it was triggering for her. I’m like, I’ll

[00:19:40] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Mm

[00:19:42] Randi Rubenstein: I did this dramatic inhale and exhale.

[00:19:45] Michelle Grosser: hmm.

[00:19:46] Randi Rubenstein: And then I had learned this mantra. I would say, like, I would put, I would take it. I put my hands on my heart and I would literally close my eyes and in my head, I would say, I’m safe, I’m calm.

I can handle this.

[00:20:00] Michelle Grosser: Beautiful.

[00:20:01] Randi Rubenstein: calm. I can handle this.

[00:20:03] Michelle Grosser: I love that.

[00:20:03] Randi Rubenstein: sounds. So, like, I would never have said it out loud because that sounds weird, but I was saying this to myself. I was saying this to myself

[00:20:12] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:20:13] Randi Rubenstein: that it started to become second nature. Whenever I would get upset, I would take this deep breath in, this audible dramatic exhale,

[00:20:22] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:20:23] Randi Rubenstein: and hands on my heart, close my eyes, I’m safe, I’m calm, I can handle this.

[00:20:28] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:20:28] Randi Rubenstein: And I, I really think that. whether, whatever the practice is, you know, like, I think it’s important for us to understand how our nervous system works,

[00:20:39] Michelle Grosser: Mm hmm.

[00:20:40] Randi Rubenstein: little kids, but really kids of all ages, they give us the opportunity to practice nervous system. regulation,

[00:20:50] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:20:51] Randi Rubenstein: on the reg all

[00:20:52] Michelle Grosser: Yes. Yes. Yeah. They’re pros at it.

[00:20:56] Randi Rubenstein: you know, it’s almost like they’re those personal trainers that are kicking our ass and they’re like, Hey, you haven’t been in your body for many, many years and your nervous system is a mess.

[00:21:06] Michelle Grosser: That’s right.

[00:21:06] Randi Rubenstein: going to now give you all these opportunities to practice this new skillset.

[00:21:11] Michelle Grosser: Exactly. Yes.

[00:21:12] Randi Rubenstein: can start to feel in your body. So anyway, I

[00:21:14] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:21:15] Randi Rubenstein: yeah,

[00:21:16] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. They’re it’s so true. And I think, I mean, nothing cracks us open like our kids, right? Like being a parent. Um, and they are such effective mirrors for every invitation for growth that, that, that the world could present to us, right? It’s just like, they don’t, they see a little, you know, crack and a little weakness and a little invitation where you’re like, man, there’s some, there’s some healing that still needs to be done there.

There’s some growth that still needs to happen there. They will. They’ll find it and they’ll press it. They’re so gifted at that. Yeah.

[00:21:50] Randi Rubenstein: so cool to have people that are coaches and therapists trained in these somatic practices because learned this little tip and I used it But if I had also been working with a practitioner, I think I would have fast tracked so much of my own healing.

[00:22:10] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Yeah. I think that’s true because it’s, it’s so much of our, of us are living in a disconnect, right? So it’s like, um, it’s like an iceberg. We’re all just dealing with like everything that we can see visibly above the surface, but there’s so much going on that’s responsible for how we’re showing up that we’re not really addressing that disconnect there.

[00:22:30] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah.

[00:22:31] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:22:31] Randi Rubenstein: It’s, I, it’s very exciting to me that, I mean, I’ve been in my groups, I’ve really been talking a lot about. that are trained in the somatic modalities

[00:22:44] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:22:44] Randi Rubenstein: it doesn’t have to take you guys as long as it took me.

[00:22:48] Michelle Grosser: Yeah,

[00:22:49] Randi Rubenstein: You know,

[00:22:50] Michelle Grosser: yeah, mm

[00:22:52] Randi Rubenstein: like because these kids, you know, are such sponges are such mirrors.

They’re so picking up on our energy, which

[00:23:00] Michelle Grosser: hmm,

[00:23:02] Randi Rubenstein: that comment, I think can make, can just like make us with mom guilt.

[00:23:08] Michelle Grosser: yeah,

[00:23:08] Randi Rubenstein: Um, But when we accept the call to, to, to, to get back into our bodies,

[00:23:16] Michelle Grosser: yeah, yes, yeah, yeah.

[00:23:22] Randi Rubenstein: when our cortisol levels are, you know, heightened all the time and it makes them feel unsafe because they’re co regulating with us.

[00:23:30] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. I mean, the, the research is showing now that we even share a nervous system with our kids until they’re about seven years old. So, so much of that is just being transferred. You’re absolutely, absolutely right. Um, what was the other thing I was going to say that was coming up as you were saying that, Oh, and then our triggers, right?

Because I think it’s so easy to be like, Oh, well, you know, my son really, he triggers me when he does that. Or my husband triggers me when he does that. Or my daughter. And the thing about that is, is this shift that like our triggers are just our own. Like no one actually triggers us. We become triggered by certain things that we see, but no one triggers us.

No one’s responsible for triggering us. Those are just red flags that we have areas that we need to focus on and heal and grow through. Um, so when we can kind of shift that and own it and do our work, like you’re saying, man, we can bypass like so many years of. struggle, tension, like all of that stuff that, that happens when we stay in denial.

[00:24:28] Randi Rubenstein: Well, I, and to unpack that even a little bit more,

[00:24:32] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:24:33] Randi Rubenstein: I think it’s. Like, when we go into sort of blaming

[00:24:41] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:24:42] Randi Rubenstein: else for the way that we’re feeling,

[00:24:44] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Beautiful. Yeah. Hmm. Yeah. Yeah. Mm hmm. Hmm. Hmm.

[00:24:56] Randi Rubenstein: are, you know, I kind of feel like it’s like all the years of Mr.

Miyagi. It’s like paint the fence, wax on, wax off. Now it’s all coming together. You know, he’s fighting Cobra Kai in real life. And, um, and so we’re, we’re having these conversations and we were, um, somebody that he’s close to kept getting mad at him. And, and. And I said, and I reminded him and I said, you know, people quite, he’s like, you know, sometimes I’ll do something annoying and then I apologize, but the, the apologies not being accepted and, and, and it turns into a bigger thing than I really feel like it, than it needs to be.

And I said, you know, people that aren’t used to feeling. Their feelings, like hard feelings, like or annoyance or fear. So when you’re not used to feeling those feelings, think that it’s, it’s easier or you’re, it’s more familiar to feel anger. so when you blame someone else, when you’re mad at someone else, you channel anger. that emotion into anger, and, and you’re used to feeling anger, right? And then maybe, you know, so it’s sort of like an outlet. And I reminded him of the story. I said, remember when Wheezy died? That was our almost 15 year old dog that, um, she died and it was dramatic. She like,

[00:26:36] Michelle Grosser: Hmm.

[00:26:36] Randi Rubenstein: had a seizure, I think, and fell into our pool and died.

It

[00:26:39] Michelle Grosser: Oh my God.

[00:26:39] Randi Rubenstein: he, and he found her

[00:26:41] Michelle Grosser: Oh

[00:26:42] Randi Rubenstein: and he was like 13. And, um, and I knew, like, it was the end of her life. I knew that it was time, but we just couldn’t bring ourself to put her down.

[00:26:52] Michelle Grosser: yeah.

[00:26:53] Randi Rubenstein: you know, the worst thing happened. And so it was very, it was awful. And that night we were all, we were all crying and we were all upset.

And my husband was concerned because he didn’t want one of the kids to blame themselves you know, possibly leaving her outside. So he had already decided he was going to take the fall

[00:27:18] Michelle Grosser: Hmm.

[00:27:18] Randi Rubenstein: he was just so worried. He was kind of, you know, he was

[00:27:20] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:27:21] Randi Rubenstein: was trying to, so he said, Oh, I’m just so mad at myself.

I came home from work and I could tell she needed to go out and I left her out and then I forgot to bring her back inside. That didn’t actually happen, but

[00:27:31] Michelle Grosser: Right.

[00:27:32] Randi Rubenstein: to preempt and, and, and he was just like, Oh, I’m just so mad at myself. And Corey looked at him and said, Why do we have to blame anyone?

Can’t we just be sad?

[00:27:45] Michelle Grosser: Wow.

[00:27:47] Randi Rubenstein: And I just reminded him, I said,

[00:27:48] Michelle Grosser: Wow. Like goosebumps. Yeah.

[00:27:51] Randi Rubenstein: that we can just be sad. Like we can feel those hard

[00:27:58] Michelle Grosser: Mm

[00:27:59] Randi Rubenstein: and we don’t have to go into blaming and anger

[00:28:02] Michelle Grosser: hmm. Mm hmm.

[00:28:04] Randi Rubenstein: and I said, I think a lot of people don’t know how to do that.

[00:28:10] Michelle Grosser: Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And for him to even have that revelation. Just shows that he’s already had a lot of conversations around emotions, right? That you, you were a home that encouraged and allowed this stuff, because I don’t think that would even occur to most 13 year olds. That’s such a wise, like beautiful, profound thing to say.

And I think in so many homes and maybe even how we were raised, like you were kind of alluding to, to being raised with a kid. Rageaholic caregiver. It’s like, especially with anger, we do not see healthy expressions of it. We see either it’s completely suppressed and there’s like no expression of anger or it’s the opposite, right?

That like everything’s just coming out ragey, both of which are unhealthy, but we don’t have a lot of practice growing up. And a lot of us, without realizing it, don’t give our kids a lot of practice and feeling these really uncomfortable things. Yeah,

[00:29:09] Randi Rubenstein: that you’re well versed on this. Let’s talk about healthy anger. Cause I’d love to learn more about that and what it looks like and how we, you know, how we help our kids learn about healthy anger.

[00:29:24] Michelle Grosser: so anger is, I do love talking about it because I think especially as women, um, we have so many stories around anger and, A lot of it is suppressed because we’ve been told to like, you know, be a good girl or behave or be easy or make life around for easier for everyone around us kind of thing. Um, and it’s uncomfortable for us as parents to be around kids who are expressing anger, right?

Like that’s just not fun to be around. So it’s a lot easier to be like, you know, distract your five year old or channel it into something else. But the thing with anger is that it’s, it’s one of our primary emotions. And it’s actually. Such a powerful indicator of really beautiful things. Like a lot of times when we feel angry, it’s because there’s something that fundamentally feels unjust or unfair or wrong.

And like that kind of anger can prompt us into really powerful change and action that like needs to happen. Right. Um, but we don’t know what to do with our anger. So either, like I was saying, either we’re someone who’s like, everything comes out all the time, we’re always raging, kind of yelling, or you’re, you might be listening to this and be like, I’m not angry, right?

Like I, I’ve never yelled at my kids. Like I, I I’m super chill. I’m super and. It’s probably not the case. You probably are just really practiced in suppressing all of your anger. So when it comes to our emotions, um, and big ones like anger, you know, sadness, pain, all of this stuff, all of our emotions, we really only have.

Two things that we can do with our feelings. We can either feel them start to rise up. So we all know what that feels like when like that anger, that rage kind of starts to rise up. And we can greet it with judgment and be like, not the time, not the place. I’m not a psycho. Like I don’t yell at my kids or whatever.

And immediately everything in us just pushes it all the way back down and we suppress it. And then it continues to like, kind of bubble up and take space within us. And then the thing about anger is it’s like one of these kind of leaky, Emotion. So if we don’t have habits to kind of express it in a healthy way, how does it come out?

Right? It’s like, Oh, a snide comment here or sarcastic comment here or an eye roll there to like leak out in ways that were like, even surprising to ourselves sometimes. So that’s the first thing. Um, the first thing we can do with an emotion like anger. And then the other thing that we can do instead of when it comes up, greeting it with that kind of judgment.

We can instead greet it with compassion and we can actually feel it and we can actually express it and allow it instead of being recycled to be released in a healthy way. Um, and that looks different for different kinds of people, but it’s not maybe yelling at our kids, but it might be. And I do this sometimes if I’m really feeling ragey, like I’ll just go sit in my car and just scream for two minutes and let it out.

And then when I come back in, I’m like, Oh, okay. I’m ready to like, step back in and, you know, Resolve the issue that my kids are fighting about or whatever it is. Um, but if we don’t have tools and practices. To release a lot of that stuff. It takes, I mean, emotion is, is energy in motion. It takes up a ton of space within us.

So if we don’t have practices to release the stuff, especially the big emotions, our capacity to handle life becomes very small. Our window of tolerance becomes very narrow. So then it doesn’t take much to set us off and we’re really irritable and we’re really edgy and we’re really kind of snappy. So as we learn how to express.

Especially emotions like anger. We increase our bandwidth to handle all the stuff that kids parenting life, the mental load, like all of that stuff that gets thrown at us. We just have more capacity.

[00:33:10] Randi Rubenstein: Like, know, it’s so interesting to me, the mom that I was talking about at the beginning, said to her, if you can just even put a, when you start to know, she doesn’t even know what the sensations are in her body. she can’t recognize those cues.

[00:33:32] Michelle Grosser: It takes practice. Yeah.

[00:33:33] Randi Rubenstein: And so, and, and, and so hopefully her somatic therapist is going to be helping her with that.

[00:33:39] Michelle Grosser: Awesome.

[00:33:40] Randi Rubenstein: said. Um, you can even just put a hand on your heart and like, you’re allowed to say, I’m feeling really annoyed right now. I’m so annoyed, right? Like that’s not saying to your kid, you’re so annoying.

[00:33:56] Michelle Grosser: Very different. Yep, you’re right. Uhhuh.

[00:33:59] Randi Rubenstein: And I was like, and, and I, we were talking about something recently and I said, you know, even if, and I was learning this from like a nervous system. Class that I was taking.

[00:34:12] Michelle Grosser: Mm-Hmm.

[00:34:13] Randi Rubenstein: I know this sounds crazy, but she has little kids. I was like, if you have older kids, they’re going to like, they’ll call you out on being a weirdo. But if you have little kids, if you have little kids, like there’s no one watching, you have little kids and you’re about to just rage, you could get on the floor, like, oh, and roar like a lion and

[00:34:35] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:34:35] Randi Rubenstein: on all fours and be like, I feel like a lion right now.

I feel so angry. I think I just need to roar that wants to join me and like

[00:34:46] Michelle Grosser: I love that.

[00:34:47] Randi Rubenstein: Most most likely your girls are gonna get down on the floor and start roaring like lions,

[00:34:52] Michelle Grosser: Yes. Yes. Yeah. And that’s, and that’s following the impulse, right? Like there’s an impulse in you to release all of that rage and aggression and sound and everything. And I love the idea of having your kids join in. So it’s not so scary. I love that. And there’s so many different. Ways to express that. Like, I don’t know, have some pool noodles around the house.

And when you feel that coming on, grab your kids and go in the backyard and just like slam them on the ground or, you know, whatever, do some sprints around the driveway and kind of get some of that energy going while you’re screaming, like whatever it looks like. But, um, like you, like you were saying at the beginning, so much more is caught than taught.

Right. So just like engaging your kids, letting them see you do that in a way that feels, Safe, obviously, um, for everyone involved. That’s like, those are life. Those are real life skills that we’re teaching our kids. No, no,

[00:35:46] Randi Rubenstein: did you learn this stuff as a little kid? I

[00:35:51] Michelle Grosser: I don’t know. I don’t know if any of us did. It just wasn’t what people were talking about 40, 50 years ago when they were raising kids. It’s like, yeah,

[00:36:03] Randi Rubenstein: long monkey on my back smoking addiction, closet smoking addiction. Yeah,

[00:36:09] Michelle Grosser: yeah, I agree. And I don’t think I would have had, you know, I mean, even just in the past. Seven, eight years. I’ve had to learn how to like cry where like for so long, it was just like, Oh, I’m strong. I don’t even cry at movies. I don’t like, I’m not one of those dramatic girls or women. Right. And then I’m like, Oh, Michelle, that’s actually really holding you back.

Like that’s actually not as good of a thing as you’ve made it out to be. But I, I literally didn’t know how, because it had felt so unsafe for my whole life and I was completely unaware.

[00:36:41] Randi Rubenstein: what happened for me was didn’t, I’ve suppressed the rage so much that all of a It was at the end of 2018. Never ever have I had a bad back my back, it was all my lower back

[00:36:57] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:36:58] Randi Rubenstein: and I literally was much in bed for almost an entire month. Like my body just, just gave up.

[00:37:09] Michelle Grosser: So how did you attribute that to rage? Like what was the connection there that was like, oh, that’s what’s causing this?

[00:37:15] Randi Rubenstein: it was a crazy time. I mean, and I’m not one to like. Like, I, I don’t take to the bed,

[00:37:22] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:37:22] Randi Rubenstein: right? Like, I mean, I, I had that, I’ve always been that lone wolf, right? Like, I, like you, like, I’m not crying. I’m not dramatic. I’ve got this,

[00:37:33] Michelle Grosser: Yep.

[00:37:33] Randi Rubenstein: figure, I figure things out. I

[00:37:35] Michelle Grosser: Yep.

[00:37:35] Randi Rubenstein: action. I figure things out. not a victim.

[00:37:40] Michelle Grosser: That’s right. Yeah.

[00:37:42] Randi Rubenstein: tough as nails. And, uh, It was the end of 2018. I had a lot of of big things happen that year. Um, sort of full circle kind of childhood trauma figuring

[00:37:57] Michelle Grosser: Mm-Hmm? . Yeah.

[00:37:58] Randi Rubenstein: didn’t take the time to process. And it was a milestone year for my youngest son. It was like he was having a bar mitzvah.

I was planning on, and it was almost, and all of a sudden my back went out. And it, I, I did, I’ve never experienced this kind of pain.

[00:38:17] Michelle Grosser: Wow.

[00:38:18] Randi Rubenstein: And the interesting thing is, is my husband’s had back issues for years and I always kind of was like, cause I’m not, I’m like, I don’t get sick a lot. I was like, really? Like your pain tolerance is low.

Like I would gaslight him.

[00:38:30] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:38:31] Randi Rubenstein: him his pain tolerance

[00:38:32] Michelle Grosser: I can relate to that. Yeah. Sounds like something I do.

[00:38:36] Randi Rubenstein: I, I bullied him at times cause like such a baby, like, I mean, now all of a sudden my back

[00:38:43] Michelle Grosser: Oh

[00:38:43] Randi Rubenstein: was a mess and I went to all these doctors, everybody was giving me, you know, muscle relaxers and

[00:38:50] Michelle Grosser: yeah.

[00:38:51] Randi Rubenstein: there. I mean, I had all these basically like.

Well intentioned drug dealers who are like, here, try these pills. Um, try this foam roller thing. Try this. I got, I mean, I went to all these doctors nothing. I didn’t have a herniated disc. I didn’t have nothing. And it was excruciating to the point that like to get out of bed and I’m

[00:39:16] Michelle Grosser: Mm hmm.

[00:39:17] Randi Rubenstein: person.

[00:39:18] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:39:19] Randi Rubenstein: to get out of bed would take me 15 minutes. Like I had to roll, roll, roll, put my foot on the floor and to the point that eventually I just had to just stay in bed

[00:39:30] Michelle Grosser: Wow.

[00:39:31] Randi Rubenstein: take a break. And like my family, I was like, how’s, how are things going to run? My husband was like, it. You’re a mess.

[00:39:39] Michelle Grosser: Mm hmm.

[00:39:40] Randi Rubenstein: um, and then somebody told me about a documentary that was based on Dr. Sarno’s work. Um, and Dr. Sarno, he lived to be like 90 something. He just died a few years ago. And he’s written all these books connecting back pain to unprocessed anger, unprocessed rage. And they said, you know, you can, you can, you can learn about his work through this documentary, Howard Stern, Larry David, all these famous people are in it and it’s called All the Rage. And he was kind of left out of traditional medicine. He was, he, I think his practice was always connected to NYU. So he was traditional doctor, but people would come to him and he would say, your back pain is connected to unprocessed rage.

[00:40:32] Michelle Grosser: Wow.

[00:40:32] Randi Rubenstein: um, and now I think after his death, the world has caught up and we know

[00:40:39] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:40:40] Randi Rubenstein: there’s a mind body connection.

[00:40:41] Michelle Grosser: Wow.

[00:40:42] Randi Rubenstein: I learned about that, I started, I really started journaling, journaling, journaling, processing, crying,

[00:40:50] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:40:51] Randi Rubenstein: sort of, know, really looking at this big experience I had had regarding this early childhood trauma that I hadn’t taken the time to process.

[00:41:01] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:41:01] Randi Rubenstein: felt all my feelings. I realized all the people in my life that You know, I was, that were, it was non reciprocal relationships, a lot of codependency,

[00:41:13] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:41:13] Randi Rubenstein: I made, I learned about boundaries and

[00:41:17] Michelle Grosser: Mm hmm. Mm

[00:41:19] Randi Rubenstein: when I finally started feeling better and got out of bed. I said, I announced even to my husband, I said, unless your names are Alec, Avery, and Cory, my three kids, I am not your mom.

[00:41:32] Michelle Grosser: hmm.

[00:41:33] Randi Rubenstein: no longer momming the world.

[00:41:36] Michelle Grosser: Wow.

[00:41:37] Randi Rubenstein: And um, and that was, yeah.

[00:41:41] Michelle Grosser: Wow. What a powerful stand. But your body, right, had been absorbing that for so long.

[00:41:48] Randi Rubenstein: And it just,

[00:41:49] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:41:50] Randi Rubenstein: it just, it couldn’t anymore.

[00:41:52] Michelle Grosser: That’s right.

[00:41:53] Randi Rubenstein: and I, and I’ve never felt so out of control. to like,

[00:41:58] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:41:58] Randi Rubenstein: been a very, and, and, and then all of a sudden this body, I mean, to be in bed for almost a month as a mom, as you know, I was like, I got, we’re about to throw this bar mitzvah. I

[00:42:08] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:42:09] Randi Rubenstein: do.

I was running my business. Like what? I mean, I was working from the bed, literally

[00:42:15] Michelle Grosser: Wow.

[00:42:16] Randi Rubenstein: calls from the bed. Yeah.

[00:42:20] Michelle Grosser: And it’s kind of what I love about your story or that, that part of it too, is like nothing heals by pushing harder. And I think surf for so many of us, we’ve been taught the opposite, right? It’s like, I’m just going to like push through this or I can like, it’ll go away eventually, or like whatever, if it’s physical pain or emotional pain or whatever, it’s like, just keep going.

It’s not really how things heal. Like it took actual softening for you and feeling and journaling and all of these things that, We’re probably very different from how you had been dealing with stuff before to find your healing through that.

[00:42:54] Randi Rubenstein: Yeah. I would say a hundred percent. And, um, and like, yeah, just, um, it was a softening. It was, it was nurturing myself like I never had ever in my life. It

[00:43:12] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Reparenting yourself in a lot of ways, probably.

[00:43:16] Randi Rubenstein: It was a hundred percent

[00:43:18] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:43:25] Randi Rubenstein: You were so mean, Mom. That’s what they said. You were just so mean. And, um, and, like, they, like, I think it was anger. I think, you know, like, I was feeling so bad. And so, they would come, and they were so used to me doing so much for them, or just, you know, holding down the fort. so, they would come, and they would ask me, Like, dumb questions, things that they should know,

[00:43:54] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:43:54] Randi Rubenstein: what are we supposed to, and I would snap at them.

I’d be like, I don’t know. What do you think you’re supposed to do, do,

[00:44:00] Michelle Grosser: Go figure it out.

[00:44:02] Randi Rubenstein: like, really? How old are you?

[00:44:05] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:44:05] Randi Rubenstein: so I had, like, I was of Fs. I was

[00:44:10] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:44:10] Randi Rubenstein: And so I wasn’t like, what the hell is wrong with you? But I was like, what do you want from me? And my daughter, she would talk about it every year. She’s like, gosh, remember when your back went out and you were just so mean? And I was like, I was mean. I did not feel good.

[00:44:28] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Yeah.

[00:44:29] Randi Rubenstein: I mean, I really didn’t feel good. And I think it was just time.

[00:44:34] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Yeah. Wow. What a journey, right? It’s like, we’ll just, these things will just happen and we’re like, Oh, like I’ve been wanting to, whatever it is. Right. I’ve been wanting to like, learn how to set boundaries or I’ve been wanting to like, I know I shouldn’t be the, the thing, do the person doing the things for all the people, but we don’t really do anything about it.

And then something like that happens. And it’s like, Oh man, like we don’t got choice anymore. Like we just got to change some stuff up. Yeah, yeah,

[00:45:04] Randi Rubenstein: it was, and I think it needed to happen.

[00:45:07] Michelle Grosser: yeah. Yeah.

[00:45:12] Randi Rubenstein: if I, if that hadn’t happened, like now when my back starts acting up a little bit, I haven’t had another bout like that since, but there’s been times where it has started acting up a bit and I have a really close friend and she’ll say, who are you pissed at? Like just give it to me.

[00:45:31] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Your red flag. Yeah.

[00:45:35] Randi Rubenstein: at and i’m like, I don’t know. I don’t know. She’s like, what are you pissed about? There’s something we know that your body’s speaking

[00:45:42] Michelle Grosser: That’s right. That’s a wise friend. That’s a good friend. Um, I would love to just pick your brain too around. Cause I mean, this is the teaching that you do right around parenting. Children who are strong willed or whatever, whatever term you want to use. Um, presumably showing up with a lot of. Anger or outbursts or rage or however, um, knowing what you know and what you’ve learned and experienced yourself, like how, what, what are some, like, for the moms listening who are like, Oh yeah, I have a kid who’s just like angry or goes from like zero to a hundred so fast.

How are some ways we can support our kids through that? Like what, what, what’s your, like, what’s your snippet to parents who are like raising some angry kids? Um,

[00:46:26] Randi Rubenstein: the way I describe them they are the loves of my life They are, understand them. And so really what I, what I do is translate what the behavior actually means.

[00:46:42] Michelle Grosser: it’s good.

[00:46:43] Randi Rubenstein: because kids, kids kids are designed actually to be cooperative

[00:46:51] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:46:51] Randi Rubenstein: even, you know, and so the ones that are, are showing up with strong willed behavior. I actually think they’re the most honest ones. Like they’re not going to wait. They’re not going to just suck it up and store all of whatever unprocessed emotion in their body and then rebel when they’re teenagers or wait till their back goes out when they’re in their forties,

[00:47:13] Michelle Grosser: Right. Yeah.

[00:47:17] Randi Rubenstein: five at seven letting, you know, there is something. That is making me feel out of control inside my body. And that’s why I’m acting this way outside my body.

[00:47:28] Michelle Grosser: Yep.

[00:47:28] Randi Rubenstein: And so I think I’ve realized after doing this for so many years and sort of decoding that strong willed behavior is I’m a good pattern sleuther. so we have to find out always like What happened right before, like

[00:47:48] Michelle Grosser: Mm hmm.

[00:47:49] Randi Rubenstein: the child, cause there’s more to the story,

[00:47:51] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:47:52] Randi Rubenstein: So we can, you know, we can know when a kid is in, you know, when they’re, when they go full terrorist mode, right?

[00:48:02] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:48:02] Randi Rubenstein: a lot of these kids, they’re living in that state,

[00:48:05] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:48:06] Randi Rubenstein: for them just to go full terrorist. There’s practices that are similar to some of the practices that we’ve been talking about,

[00:48:14] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:48:15] Randi Rubenstein: you know, when you have a kid that goes into full blown terrorist mode, just know they are not in their thinking brain.

[00:48:21] Michelle Grosser: Mm mm.

[00:48:22] Randi Rubenstein: They, anything you teach them in that moment,

[00:48:24] Michelle Grosser: the time for it.

[00:48:25] Randi Rubenstein: actually, you’re not teaching them anything.

[00:48:27] Michelle Grosser: No.

[00:48:28] Randi Rubenstein: just adding extra input to an already

[00:48:32] Michelle Grosser: Overwhelmed. Yep.

[00:48:34] Randi Rubenstein: nervous system, like their nervous system is blown.

[00:48:36] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:48:38] Randi Rubenstein: so it, it’s sort of like if somebody was bleeding and you know, and like, and you’re, and you’re like, Oh, let me stick my finger out.

How does this knife feel inside your wound?

[00:48:49] Michelle Grosser: Exactly.

[00:48:51] Randi Rubenstein: you say to them in that moment

[00:48:53] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:48:53] Randi Rubenstein: adding. to their pain and it’s making it worse. So the best thing we can do when we have a, you know, it’s just in your mind, your job is safety.

[00:49:03] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:49:04] Randi Rubenstein: if this child is behaving in a way that’s completely out of control, they feel out of control

[00:49:10] Michelle Grosser: Mm hmm.

[00:49:11] Randi Rubenstein: So sometimes if we’ve got a really aggressive child, We may have to, like I call it the human weighted blanket.

[00:49:22] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:49:23] Randi Rubenstein: may have to, you know, wrap our, sort of bear hug them from behind,

[00:49:28] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:49:28] Randi Rubenstein: you’re not squeezing them. You’re not restraining them.

[00:49:32] Michelle Grosser: For sure. Yeah.

[00:49:33] Randi Rubenstein: deep pressure. You’re thinking of yourself as a human weighted blanket.

Like

[00:49:37] Michelle Grosser: I love that.

[00:49:38] Randi Rubenstein: and you’re not saying anything. And because you’re Not, not eye contact because eye contact, eye contact in those moments can feel sort of predatory.

[00:49:48] Michelle Grosser: Yeah,

[00:49:48] Randi Rubenstein: like if you’re behind and you’re holding them and you’re just, you’re not telling them to breathe,

[00:49:55] Michelle Grosser: that’s right.

[00:49:56] Randi Rubenstein: but you’re breathing and you’re doing the sniff sniff slow And if you have to, you know, if you want to just have some reassurance and you’re right behind them, use your low, slow, late night FM DJ voice, which is very grounding to

[00:50:14] Michelle Grosser: So good?

[00:50:16] Randi Rubenstein: very grounding to the nervous system.

[00:50:18] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:50:19] Randi Rubenstein: like, I’m right here.

[00:50:21] Michelle Grosser: Yeah,

[00:50:22] Randi Rubenstein: I got you. I’m going to help. I’m going to help you feel safe.

[00:50:27] Michelle Grosser: that’s it. Oh, that’s beautiful.

[00:50:29] Randi Rubenstein: right here. in the moment. You’re doing that. Out of the moment, afterwards,

[00:50:36] Michelle Grosser: Mm-Hmm?

[00:50:38] Randi Rubenstein: want to go and we want to tell them that behavior is unacceptable, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, That’s not going to teach them anything either. do teach our kids tools to, to manage their upset in a civilized way so

[00:50:55] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:50:55] Randi Rubenstein: so that they can stop feeling like a terrorist because that’s a terrible feeling.

[00:51:00] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:51:00] Randi Rubenstein: Transcribed But we’ve got to do a little pattern sleuthing. We have to ask ourselves, like, what was going on right before? Like, instead of having the sentences going through your head, like, he’s such a control freak or he thinks that he’s, you know, he doesn’t listen to anyone. He has no

[00:51:21] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Mm-Hmm?

[00:51:23] Randi Rubenstein: times we’re, we’re telling ourselves those lies it really is just a little kid.

[00:51:28] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:51:29] Randi Rubenstein: basically saying, I feel unsafe in my body.

[00:51:32] Michelle Grosser: Yeah,

[00:51:32] Randi Rubenstein: happened and I, it made me feel unsafe in my body.

[00:51:37] Michelle Grosser: yeah.

[00:51:37] Randi Rubenstein: So it might be that, you know, they’re just, you know, pissed because they’re starving

[00:51:44] Michelle Grosser: Right.

[00:51:45] Randi Rubenstein: they’re used to when they have a complete meltdown, they, you know, get all the sugar or the cookies or whatever.

And so they’re pissed that you said they, it was too close to dinner and they couldn’t have the cookie.

[00:51:56] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Mm-Hmm?

[00:51:58] Randi Rubenstein: be that they have a sibling where that sibling is, you know, doing something or did something that was not okay with them. And, um, and they know that the sibling is always going to cry or always, they’re going to be blamed and that they don’t even know how to, you know, they don’t know how to respond to something that is conflictual with their sibling. And so they know that when their sibling does something that upsets them or pisses them off. You know, that it’s, it’s, there’s, there’s going to be a lack of justice for them because that’s, because they always take it up a notch and like smack the sibling or do something that makes them, like to say, wrong ger.

[00:52:42] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:52:43] Randi Rubenstein: and so then the sibling never is accountable for the initial wrongdoing and so they feel like, You know,

[00:52:50] Michelle Grosser: It’s not fair.

[00:52:51] Randi Rubenstein: yeah, this is unfair. And so, so there is more to the story. And I think when we take the time to really kind of figure out what’s going on here, um, then we can talk about it out of the moment.

Then we can start to help bring a sense of safety and justice and fairness. And, they know that like. their person, like,

[00:53:13] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:53:14] Randi Rubenstein: like, I’m your girl, like I’m your mom, I’m the mama, I’ve got you,

[00:53:19] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:53:20] Randi Rubenstein: can talk to me about anything and I will not allow you to hurt yourself or anyone else. My job is to keep you safe.

[00:53:29] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Oh my gosh. I love everything about that. I’m hearing so much. Yes. Safety and reassurance and connection. And then the boundary of like, I’m the parent and I’m going to also, you know, this is what we’re going to allow in our home and no one’s going to hurt each other or however that looks. Um, and in your like, Pattern sleuthing.

Oh, something. I love that so much because something we say a lot on the, on, on our podcast is, um, how can we choose curiosity over criticism or curiosity over judgment? Right. For ourselves, for our kids. And that’s exactly what you’re talking about. It’s like, Hey, can I, how can I take a look and be like, how did we get here?

Like what’s going on? What’s causing this? And then greet it with. Compassion, which is what I’m hearing in all of this. Like there’s a reason why you’re getting so upset. There’s something going on here. You’re not just crazy, right? Like none of us, there’s a reason for everything that we do in any given moment.

And when we can get curious about that, um, that’s such a powerful place of parenting, I think, to be, or wifing or whatever. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:54:30] Randi Rubenstein: hard when you have someone in your life, even your own child shows up in these ways. That they’re not like it’s not likable like this behavior is hard to be around

[00:54:43] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:54:44] Randi Rubenstein: to be able to get curious when you have a kid that’s

[00:54:48] Michelle Grosser: Hmm.

[00:54:49] Randi Rubenstein: their sibling or Saying you’re the worst mom ever.

I hate you

[00:54:54] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:54:55] Randi Rubenstein: you know things that like

[00:54:57] Michelle Grosser: Triggering, super triggering. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:55:01] Randi Rubenstein: and so then to be like Huh, how can I get curious if something must have happened, right? Like I just want to point out that, that it’s hard to do. It’s

[00:55:13] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:55:14] Randi Rubenstein: hard to find those sentences in your head of, huh, seeing them as disrespectful as, but kids, all behaviors, communication.

So

[00:55:24] Michelle Grosser: That’s right.

[00:55:25] Randi Rubenstein: happened.

[00:55:26] Michelle Grosser: That’s right.

[00:55:27] Randi Rubenstein: to know something happened. And if you have a kid that is so defensive and angry and quick to set off,

[00:55:35] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:55:35] Randi Rubenstein: you know, you have to also remember that they are used to this pattern of, I’m the mean kid,

[00:55:44] Michelle Grosser: Mm. Yeah, that identity they’ve taken on. Yeah.

[00:55:48] Randi Rubenstein: So they’re just, so it’s sort of this

[00:55:50] Michelle Grosser: Wow.

[00:55:50] Randi Rubenstein: prophecy,

[00:55:51] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:55:52] Randi Rubenstein: they’re going through the world, maybe at school, their teacher doesn’t like them, the other kids,

[00:55:57] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:55:58] Randi Rubenstein: they, other kids see them as the mean kid, the annoying kid, because they don’t know how to kind of immerse themselves

[00:56:04] Michelle Grosser: Mm.

[00:56:06] Randi Rubenstein: That’s their identity. So they feel crappy about themselves. And

[00:56:10] Michelle Grosser: Yeah, yeah.

[00:56:11] Randi Rubenstein: They’re just taking that out on their, it’s like, Oh, will you be my human punching bag? And will you be my human punching bag? So say it’s harder to parent these kids.

[00:56:23] Michelle Grosser: Sure. Yeah. We’re sure.

[00:56:26] Randi Rubenstein: triggering. It’s hard to bring that curiosity.

[00:56:29] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:56:31] Randi Rubenstein: at some point we have to say to ourselves, okay, well. Somebody has to be the grownup.

[00:56:36] Michelle Grosser: That’s right.

[00:56:37] Randi Rubenstein: I’m the one who drew the short straw and I have the fully developed brain, like I got to do this.

[00:56:44] Michelle Grosser: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh, that’s so helpful. And I think it’s also so, um, affirming right to parents who are living this and are like, yeah, that sounds, that all sounds so nice, but it’s actually like really freaking hard.

[00:56:58] Randi Rubenstein: Really hard.

[00:56:59] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. And then I’m sure even just the stories that come up then about what does that mean about my parenting?

What is like, what did, where did I go wrong? What did I do when that’s probably not the story.

[00:57:10] Randi Rubenstein: Right. Like,

[00:57:11] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:57:12] Randi Rubenstein: think anyone who. Um, listens to parenting podcasts,

[00:57:17] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:57:17] Randi Rubenstein: and, and, and really wants to be maybe the parent that they didn’t have,

[00:57:23] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:57:25] Randi Rubenstein: you know, give their kids this amazing childhood, be a great mom. I don’t think anyone who has that dream

[00:57:33] Michelle Grosser: Hmm.

[00:57:34] Randi Rubenstein: wanting to raise the mean kids.

[00:57:36] Michelle Grosser: No.

[00:57:37] Randi Rubenstein: when your child shows up in these ways that make it hard for you to, like you love them, but it makes it hard for you to like them.

And

[00:57:45] Michelle Grosser: Yes.

[00:57:46] Randi Rubenstein: thinking, if it’s hard for me to like them, how is the rest of the world going to receive them? Right? Like this is layered and loaded and difficult.

[00:57:55] Michelle Grosser: Hmm.

[00:57:56] Randi Rubenstein: yeah.

[00:57:57] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Well, thank God there’s people like you out there supporting and teaching and educating for, you know, the benefit for the parents and the benefit for those, those kids. I love that you have a heart for them.

[00:58:09] Randi Rubenstein: well, and thank you for teaching us more about how to be a calm mom. And I would love to sort of, you know, just if we could end this, cause of course I do everything out of order, most, um, you decided to

[00:58:30] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:58:31] Randi Rubenstein: you know, your, this work that you do.

[00:58:35] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:58:35] Randi Rubenstein: mom, you, I would love to know more about, like, where were you before

[00:58:43] Michelle Grosser: Yeah.

[00:58:44] Randi Rubenstein: you were like, okay, I need to become a calm mom.

I’m going to learn how to be a calm mom. Or were you always a calm mom? I don’t know.

[00:58:52] Michelle Grosser: Yeah, that’s such a good question. And I actually struggled a lot with Nate, not struggled, but like in naming the podcast, because when I started it, it was just the motherhood podcast. And then I really started to get passionate about the nervous system. And then it kind of like turned into the calm on podcast.

Um, but I didn’t want to be part of this. Perpetuation of an idea that we have to be calm all the time to be good moms or effective moms or loving moms or whatever, because that’s just not, you know, True. And it’s not realistic. And, um, but I think there are also tools that we can use to show up. Calm is safe, right?

And that’s a lot of what you’re teaching. So that’s really, the goal is to be resilient and safe, a safe place for our kids and be able to have access to all those parts of our brain that we do when we’re calm. Um, And then kind of to answer your question is that I thought I was always calm. I was always super chill.

I was not like a very vocal person. Like if I got in fights with someone, I wasn’t the yeller or the hitter or the whatever. I was the like shut down, quiet, numb out kind of person. So I thought I was calm. Um, I was just really good at suppressing all of that, all of that anger. Um, but it culminated, that culminated.

And then this journey started, uh, in really deep burnout, really deep burnout. I have been. a trial attorney for 10 years. At that point, I had two babies, 15 months apart. Um, I was, you know, nursing while negotiating settlements of cases and taking depositions with my baby in the office, like my three week old next to me.

And just like my kind of like you with your back, my body was just like, fine, you’re not going to pay attention to this. I’m going to shut you down. Um, and it did. And then that took a whole, journey of like really reexamining everything that I was doing and why I was doing it and facing how miserable I actually was face to face and edgy and irritable and resentful of my husband and not communicating as well as I might’ve liked to think I would communicate.

Um, all these stories I had about around what it looks like to be strong or be weak or be, you know, whatever stories we tell ourselves about so many things. Um, And as someone who, you know, had spent time in law and just loved being in the logical side of my brain, um, you know, the scariest thing I could think of was to start feeling emotions and showing emotions.

Um, and then, man, as I started to like lean into that discomfort. I figured out and learned like, Oh, this is what true strength actually looks like. Or this is how I heal some of this stuff. Instead of burying my head in the sand, like I’m so good at doing. Um, and that was kind of the Genesis for like so many women.

In my circle. And then I was just running into feeling a lot of the same things, anxiety, overwhelmed, burnout. Um, this is like the beginning of the pandemic. So, you know, those, those strong willed kids are all the kids are now with you 24 seven. And it’s like, We just need some help. Um, and that’s really where, where it all started.

So not so much about wanting to be calm, but like a re expression of what calm actually means and looks like.

[01:02:04] Randi Rubenstein: I love that. I have, have a lot of that. I’ve just said for many years. I didn’t even realize I did. And then at some point Lindsay on my team, um, she like pulled all the, all the, all the members. And she said, what are some of the, whatever she’s like, obnoxious even say, what are some of the Randy isms you

[01:02:26] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Yeah.

[01:02:27] Randi Rubenstein: I would say the number one thing was calm people solve problems. And that’s just something I would say all the time in, you know, what we tell our kids,

[01:02:39] Michelle Grosser: Yeah,

[01:02:39] Randi Rubenstein: in general. And for me, calm people solve, solve problems is just like a line that we can use when

[01:02:48] Michelle Grosser: I love that.

[01:02:49] Randi Rubenstein: to fight and power struggle.

And it’s like, we’re going to take a breather. We’re going to come back when we’re

[01:02:54] Michelle Grosser: Mm hmm.

[01:02:55] Randi Rubenstein: because calm people solve problems. Nothing’s going to get

[01:02:58] Michelle Grosser: So good. Yeah. Yeah. I love that. I’m going to, I’m going to steal that. I’m going to say it to Randy. I said, when I’m going to use it, um, and I don’t really teach us, but something, as you were saying that something that was coming up for me, that I, like those mental things that we just say affirmations to ourself to, and those moments is, is unlike peace begins with me and it’s kind of the same idea, like I, if, if I want this to be calm or look peaceful or be different, like it’s going to begin with me as the parent, um, and then right, like everyone’s type of way.

regulate, come back because calm people solve problems. Love it.

[01:03:32] Randi Rubenstein: I love it. I think that’s a perfect place to end. This has been so fun, Michelle.

[01:03:37] Michelle Grosser: Yeah. Likewise. Thanks so much for, um, just, just making the space to have these conversations, believing that, you know, we all need it. I need it. Um, certainly. And I know a lot of women listening are going to be, you know, have some, some aha moments and some new practical tools. So thank you.

[01:03:54] Randi Rubenstein: Thank you. So fun.

Thanks for listening today, guys. I hope you picked up some tips, tools, maybe some baby steps for creating more balance and boundaries in your life. And I just wanted to let you know, if you want to continue moving the needle forward in creating this for yourself, having a happier household, I want you to go to my website and check out mastermindparenting.com. We have three beginning programs, and if you need some accountability and more support then please look for the one that would be a good fit for you.

And, as always, we’re on all the social channels under Mastermind Parenting, on Instagram it’s mastermind_parenting. And, you know, periodically I do pop up on different Instagram lives, Facebook lives where I give you teaching and coaching and I love engaging with you live to help you help your strong-willed kids so that they can feel better, because when they feel better they do better, and I love, love, love getting to know you guys. 

So thanks for listening. If you like this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review. Super, super appreciative.

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Creating A Happier Household

by Randi Rubenstein