Season 3 Bonus Episode: EVERY mom should know this!

SEASON 3 BONUS EPISODE

SHOW NOTES

If you’re looking back on a season of change asking, “Did I do that wrong?” you aren’t alone! In this chat we chat with my friend, Ashely Lemieux, about the hard choices we must make for our kids when we’re in a season of change. Every mom should know this, friend!

As a grief expert, Ashley shares why specific practices (like walk-n-talks!) are powerful for our kids as they deal with big changes and big emotions.

Friend, I hope you walk away from this episode with a sense of relief that what you’re doing is enough. You are enough as a mom and nothing is missing.

A huge shout out and thank you to the team at Nike who sponsored this episode! They are building incredible products that keep women in mind and they are investing in making sure that we have the conversations that matter and the tools to get them done. Thank you Ashley and thank you Nike!

Thanks for being here, friend!

Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, or iHeartRadio

Season 3 Bonus Episode

Nicole:

Hey, friends, I’m so excited because this chat is sponsored by Nike, which means that we’re about to do it. Okay, this chat, we are diving deep. My amazing, incredible, the Puffin, my sweet 11 year old was on our last chat. And y’all, she went in, she was talking about the changes, divorce, middle school life, all the things. And I realized that in us sort of talking about what she’s got going on in her sharing it from her perspective that I really didn’t dive into the mom things, the life things, what are we doing to actually get ahead with all of the changes in our life and stay stable.

And so I’m really excited because I didn’t want to do this channel alone. And I knew that it would help if I brought on one of my dear friends Ashley Lemieux. Now Ashley is a grief and mental wellness expert and essentially, what that means is she’s great at helping people cope with transition and understand loss. And I didn’t realize that with all the things that we’ve faced in our life. And gosh, we’re always gonna face stuff with work, school, relationships, you name it, that it’s important that we keep our wellness at the foremost.

It’s important that we don’t step back from taking care of our bodies and ourselves and each other. And I just didn’t realize how important it was during all these seasons that I was doing these things with the Puffin. And we’re going to learn a lot from Ashley here about how these things show up in your life (and you may not realize it.) Ways that we can incorporate wellness, exercise movement, and great conversations, you know, my walk and talks with my little in order to make sure that we are not seeing that impact us in ways that we don’t want.

So we’ve all been through a lot in the past couple of years. We’re all looking for a new way to start over and there’s no one that I know that starts over like a champ, better than my dear friend Ashley Lemieux, grief and mental wellness expert.

Ashley, thank you so much for being here.

Ashley:

Thank you so much for having me. It’s an honor to be on your podcast.

Nicole:

Oh my goodness. Are you kidding? I’m so grateful that you’re here just because, listen, I did not realize when until after I had the Puffin on here. That one, she’s so mature and so wise, like 11, she’s almost she’ll be 12. And like a week or two is such a special age development wise. Now you I mean, you’re the fancy pants masters, right?

So with all the changes that are happening, you know, her wellness is a priority for me. I think any mama, I can understand that, that. You know, divorce is tough, moving is tough. Middle school is hard, you know, but nothing matters to me more than making sure she is well, like in a healthy physical way and also mentally. I know that I went through this change one way as an adult, but I had a better understanding of what was happening while it was happening. But you’re telling me you know, we’ve talked about this a lot, you know, over the past couple years that I’ve been going through this transition, that loss and change are perceived differently by 11 and 12 year olds, and obviously routines are important. So can you tell me more about that difference in perception around these experiences?

Ashley:

Yes. First of all, I just want to validate what you’re doing with your walk and talks with her because that is one of the most powerful things that you can do with your child right now is to create this safe environment where, not only are their feelings validated, but they’re allowed to express them. She’s going through so many changes right now as are you.

Nicole:
Yeah.

Ashley:
But your job as a parent and I’ve learned this to just speaking from being a mom, we want to protect our kids. We don’t want them to go through the pain, we want to shield, we want them to be safe. We want them to feel good. But what I’ve learned the hard way is that’s not actually my job.

Nicole:
Ooh, that’s so good.

Ashley:
My job is to help guide her and be with her through the hard things. It can’t be taken away. And that is how you raise an emotionally intelligent, resilient child in this world as you create safe spaces where they feel validated and in their emotions. You help them even acknowledge what their emotions are because she’s still so little and she’s still discovering what her feelings are and maybe having some feelings for the first time in her life.

When you help her find the language for that. Where she feels it in her body. That’s another reason movement is so good. Having talking while you’re walking where she’s experiencing any type of anxiety or grief it’s able to move through her body and process that way. So first of all, I just wanted to validate that you’re doing it!

Nicole:
Thank you! This is so good because I when I tell you and first of all, y’all I don’t know if I’ve ever you’ve, I’ve talked about it on social, but my walk and talks basically are, Puffin gets home from school, we do snack, we wash our hands, and then I say, You know what, let’s catch up on your day. And we just put on our gear, you know, I got her her own, we have matching Nike sets, you’ve seen them on social, it’s super cute. You know, and, and it helps right kids love when you get them cute new things that match, we get on our fitness gear, we step out the door, and we just go for a walk and catch up on the day rather than doing it on the couch. Or while I’m cooking, I can focus better, honestly, because I’m not doing 10 other things.

Ashley:

Yes. And you’re and you’re moving, which we know really helps us process our emotions. In fact, my own therapist, I’m just gonna throw this out there. A couple of weeks ago, I was having a session with my therapist, she ended it 40 minutes early. And she said, we are done because right now I’m instructing you to go on a run. I need you to get outside and move your body because of the benefits that it gives us.

But right now, Puffin, especially in these early adolescent ages and childhood ages, they are learning if the world is safe for them to exist in it or not. And your job as a mom, as we talked about, isn’t to protect her from the hard stuff. But it’s to be there with her during it. And as you create this space where she feels safe, and she knows man, these hard things happen. But I have this safe space with my mom. She’s able to process through those emotions so that she doesn’t feel afraid to be out in the world when hard things happen, because she’s been given the tools and the resilience to meet it.

Nicole:
Oh, that’s so good. And I mean, I can honestly tell you and you’ve I’m sure you’ve heard this from the many women that you work with on transitioning through change and dealing with loss. And, you know, if you if y’all aren’t following Ashley Lemieux you need to not just follow you need to head over to her Instagram, and you need to scroll because it is gem, gem, gem, gem, gem. But when I first started the divorce process, and I was kind of starting separation, I knew that I could not remain in the source of my pain while I was healing. Meaning I knew that my home life was one that wasn’t stable and healthy for me. And so I had to go.

Now, my intent, obviously, when I left was to, you know, set up home, you know, for my girls, and that’s what I did, you know, I started setting up that process. But it was also really important and this is what I’m taking away from what you’re saying. It wasn’t the first thing I told her because frankly, I think any woman listening, you will know that in the early stages of divorce, you don’t think you’re getting divorced. You just think you’re taking time away to figure it out. And that during that separation, you know, you’re still talking and maybe it’ll all work out.

So it was really important for me that she remained in her existing structure with all that we, you know, full time nannies, you know, like her sister’s great school, all that stuff. And when it became clear, though, that that transition was happening conversation, you’re right was like, at the forefront of it. And this leads me to sort of this question, because we’re talking about the value of movement and talking, with divorce and with loss and grief I think so many parents struggle with when to tell their kids, if at all.

And I remember growing up and always kind of knowing something was going on with my parents. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who was like, I can tell them I could tell my parents were fighting, you know, I could tell that there was an energy there. I obviously did not tell Ally right away, right? Like my little one did not know, right out of the gate Ally was not looped in, you know, because frankly, did not know it was happening. But after, you know, I was probably home really frequently. But I was setting up base camp. You know, bicoastal, I was traveling as much as I always traveled, it was just that my new primary home was on the West Coast. And finally, it came to a point where I was like, Okay, we’re gonna have to transition them here permanently, because my girls are always gonna stay with me, and it was them that I was kind of like, we need to talk about this.

Now, it was easier to not talk about it with her when she was in her existing structure. But did I do that wrong? Like I’m willing to ask like you know what I mean? Like, do you talk about them immediately when they’re change? Do you talk about immediate when there’s a death? Like, what is the right answer?

Ashley:

First of all, you didn’t do anything wrong. You are doing, you have been doing so well and are doing so well as a mom.

Nicole:
You’re going to make me cry! Oh my gosh.

Ashley:
Because Nicole, it’s true. We’re put into as, as her mom as me as a mom, we’re humans also. And we’re put into these situations that we’ve never gone through before. Trying to figure it out, not only for ourselves, but now you want me to figure it out for this human who I love with my whole heart and I want to protect? So no, you didn’t do anything wrong. What we know about what children need from us is a few things. One of those things is they do need to be told the truth which you had that conversation with her and I get it as a parent, you’re like, how much do I share? How much do I not share?

Nicole:

Every parent asks that like when someone dies, even if it’s like a pet goldfish? Yes. Do we create a pretend flowery world? Do we tell them they’re dead and not coming back? Like, what is the answer to that.

Ashley:
So the best way that we can have this conversation with our kids is we tell them the truth that they need to know whether that’s me and your dad are getting a divorce, and we are going to be moving to California or your goldfish died, or grandma has died. What we know is that, as we relay that information, based on their age, they come up with their own questions.

So many times we start feeding them this information that they might not even be thinking about, because cognitively like they’re just not there yet. Allowing them to have the space to ask questions, and then feel those questions and answer their questions in a solid concrete manner. One of the things that you asked was about goldfish, do we paint a flowery world, right? No, because they’re at that age, their imaginations go, why ever and it can be kind of scary sometimes. Because they can take things very literally, like, oh, Grandma has packed a suitcase, and she’s gone to heaven. And so she’s not here anymore. Oh, someone’s gonna come pack my suitcase, and I’m not here anymore? So using the vocabulary, she’s died, or we’re getting divorced. Here’s what this means. A lot of kids also internalize well, does divorce mean that you can break up with me as your child and so doing the things and having that conversation of showing them the stability that a divorce with a spouse doesn’t mean a divorce from the child. In fact, it’s never going to be that.

Nicole:
That’s right.

Ashley:
And you are coming there together. Another thing that we know is that children mirror their parents. And so being able to, and that’s another reason I love just a safe environment that you have set up for her where you can have these chats because she’s going to mirror you, and how you’re doing and what you’re talking about. And I know it’s so hard to be the one in the moment when you feel like you’re falling apart. But part of that is being honest. And if your child is asking you, are you sad right now? And you say no, that actually makes them start second guessing their own emotions, because intuitively they’re like, but I feel you’re sad.

Nicole:
And it looks like you’re sad.

Ashley:
Okay, so this must mean I can’t trust myself. And that means I can’t trust my own emotions, because I might be wrong about them. Or, Oh, we might not be allowed to talk about these things, because my mom’s looking this way but she’s saying this. So maybe this just isn’t something that we talk about.

Nicole:
Wow.

Ashley:
So just on a very basic level if you’re asked, Are you sad today? Or Mom, are you having a hard time? Or how are you doing? Being able to answer that, honestly, based on their age level is one of the most impactful things that you can do for your child in a good way.

Nicole:

This is I know, right now, some people listening are just saying like, first of all, you’re probably healing. And if y’all don’t listen to Ashley’s podcast, it’s called Healing Her. It’s all of this and then some. So what you’re talking about right now, I know that you’re healing some people in their own childhood, because some of us grew up in those homes where we don’t talk about the hard things. And we remember knowing the hard things were happening, but always wondering, why don’t we talk about it? And now we’re conflict averse, we’re uncomfortable, we, you know, are rewriting narratives to make us comfortable, because we don’t want to address the actual issue in the room.

And so that is hugely helpful. So thank you also for the validation of not doing anything wrong, because the truth is also you do what you can with what you got in the moment. And I think that sometimes there isn’t enough grace given to women going through transitional seasons, and recognizing that as long as their children are a priority, and they love them, that whatever angle that brings them together and healthy and whole is important. And for me, from the moment I’ve had my girls, and I’ve said this before I say it in my book, nothing is missing with you all is on the shelves October 10, so excited, we’re like weeks away.

But I also say this everywhere and I’ve talked about it. I’ve always told my kids I’m never leaving. And that’s been such an important part of the process of their growth. And I remember distinctly because we used to do our walk and talks when I was back in Atlanta. So if I was out here for like, a week, and then I flew home, or if I was out here for you know, like, seven, eight days, and then I flew home. You know, it was always a situation where I made sure to have mommy-daughter days, you know, or walk in talks where we were able to check in temperature checks and how she was doing and, you know, that was a regular part of it, saying to her, you know, I’m not leaving.

And that even though mom is over here because mom and dad speak with a language I always use with her and I still do is you know, sometimes you just speak different languages, which is right now we’re not speaking different languages. And, you know, you know what divorce is divorce is figuring out who gets a spatula, you know, like, it’s kind of like that and she gets it, you know, and she gets it in the context of what works for her. So it’s honest, but like you said, it’s not painting too much, if you will. So it’s finding that balance.

Ashley:
Yes. It’s finding that balance. Something that I love that you just said is you always tell your girls, Mommy’s not leaving.

Nicole:
Nope, never.

Ashley:
And I think a lot of times, especially as moms, because we love our kids, we get so hard on ourselves that I do that one thing wrong, did I do it wrong? Have I missed them, um, forever. And what we know about childhood trauma and when we go through hard things, is that it’s not a singular event.

Nicole:
Oh, that’s good.

Ashley:

Trauma is based off of how you were responded to over and over and over again, with your feelings of feeling safe in the world. And not only do you tell your girls, Mommy’s not never leaving, but you back it up by your actions that come back for them always, always come back, you’re always there. And they know that whether you’re in Atlanta, or you’re here in LA, and, and that’s what they are going to go back on that is continually building their resilience for their own lives.

Nicole:
Oh, that’s so powerful. And so helpful, y’all, I am just throwing this out here. Because I get so many messages in the DM of all of us being in a state of transition, some of you being in difficult relationships. And what I love, just uniformly is every single one of you is saying, I just want my kids to be okay. I just want to know they’ll be okay. Because I can handle it. I just want them to be okay. And I I hope you’re hearing what Ashley is saying here is they will be.

But it’s important that we are listening and creating spaces to talk. And, and of course, being honest, sounds like that’s a huge part of it, you know, within the right criteria. But I also want to shift gears just slightly, because I want to touch on this just for a little bit because it’s so important. There are days where I come home, and I do not have the mommy energy for a walk and talk. And I tried it, I mean, more than normal, you know, but there’s some days where I just don’t have it.

And during the divorce process, there were seasons where it was like, I am solely recovering, physically, mentally, emotionally, I am recovering. I don’t know how to say this. But is that allowed?

Ashley:

<laughs> Yes, that’s allowed.

Nicole:

And I say this for the other Mama’s listening, you know, is that allowed, sometimes it feels like you got to build yourself up before you’re allowed to get in there.

Ashley:

It’s allowed. And I feel like we have so much external and internal pressure, and the messaging of just all of this mental load that we have to carry. And we think that we need to be perfect at. And we just see other people, especially on social media, where they are out with their kids, or they’re doing this and then we start comparing ourselves and our capacity. And we’ve talked about this before, but what you have to give one day, your 100% one day, is gonna be very different than your 100% another day, and it doesn’t mean that that day is worse than the other day, it means that your capacity shifted.

And there’s so many other things that you can do in the safe environment of your home that continues to give that same safe space to your children, no matter how much capacity you feel like you have or not.

Nicole:

Oh, that’s so good. It’s so good because if you’re a mama who cares, and you are interested, it’s about capacity. And what I also love, and I’m going to, you know, tack on to this is capacity and consistency, right? What I’m learning with my little is that the consistency of who I’ve been to her and who I am to her and I say that with all three of my girls, you know, even with all the change that we are stuck together like glue, you know, and that is due to the consistency of who I’ve been in their world.

And that is the one thing that even in the moments where I’m not sure if I’m getting it right, does you know, like you’re saying here, let me know that my capacity varied, but my consistency was good. So my babies are going to be good.

Ashley:

And your capacity for love that you have for your children that never changes. As a mom, whether you’re feeling physically worn out, or you just don’t have the energy, your love is consistent.

Nicole:
Yes.

Ashley:
And that’s what’s important. And that is what they feel.

Nicole:
Yes. Oh my gosh, so good. So I want to end on a good note, right? Because I know that I mean, this was a brief amount of time, but it was jam packed full of goodness. And I know that we heard what we need to hear because I heard what I needed to hear, you know, the thing that I really want to double check and see if it makes sense is that I found that we implemented all these things during the transition, sort of, you know, when you feel like you have to stem the bleeding or you know, things are happening. So you kind of double down to make sure everything’s good.

So, you know, we’re having walkin talks, but I’m always saying how are you doing? And periodically even now, I’ll still ask, you know, how are you feeling about all the changes moving to California, Middle School, like do you have any thoughts like you know, my little one if you listen to the episode, you’ll hear her say she’s like, mom are always asking tell me more about that, you know, but I want to know, walk and talks feel like something I would love to be able to do forever.

And I know a lot of times when we’re in healing states we implement measures that are aligned with the trauma, but we drop off of them when we feel like we’re through, and I’m not gonna lie, I’m feeling really good right now, you know, life is really good even with all the craziness. It’s really, really good, everyone is healthy, everyone is happy, we are peaceful in our home. But we should still keep doing these walking talks. Huh?

Ashley:

I’m 36 years old. And we’ve never called them walk and talks, because it’s just what we do. But I still go on walks every single week with my mom, and now my own baby girl.

Nicole:
Oh!

Ashley:
It is something that you can continue on, especially when there’s a bond there. And it’s an important part of your relationship and you value it, as you take the time to do that. It can be something that goes on forever, and helps you protect your peace and through any life change the one consistent thing are these special memories that you have. And even now it’s like one of the most special times with my own mom is we’re just walking around my neighborhood with my baby, just chatting. And it’s not even an official name or anything. But it allows us to stay close, and check in and continue to grow together throughout all the different phases of life.

Nicole:

Huh, incredible. And so you are so brilliant in the way that you help us understand change, understand loss, understand grief, but what makes you really amazing, are the practical, grace-filled tools you give us to be able to cope and deal and move forward and grow while dealing with the things that life’s gonna give us right? Because I’m just gonna keep it coming.

So I’m so grateful for the way you showed up in my life and by extension, my cutie pies, you know, because you make me better and I’m thankful for that. And I know that we’ve all been made better here today. So where can we learn more about you? And obviously I’m having you back again because this is you know, you’re my go-to person like and I’d love I’d love secretly y’all to say that this was an interview but it’s not obviously like she’s here chatting with me side by side you like co-host of the night so I love it and appreciate you. Where can we learn more about you? Where can we follow you? Where can we get guidance around this type of stuff?

Ashley:

I would love for you guys to come join our community at the Healing Her podcast. You can also go to AshleyLemieux.com for all my stuff and our Instagram community, which is just my name. We have some really good conversations over there also, and I would love to meet you.

Nicole:

Oh, I love love, love, love any conversation that makes me a better mom and helps me understand more. You’re so good for this. And y’all special shout out and thank you to the team at Nike. They are building incredible products that keep women in mind and they are investing in making sure that we have the conversations that matter and the tools to get them done. Walk and talks are changing my life. Nike, I appreciate you and Ashley, thank you so much for being here.

Ashley:
Oh, it’s my privilege. Thank you, Nicole.

Nicole:

Another great chat. I love spending time together. Now I need you to subscribe, rate and leave a review because I love hearing from you. And then coming out with me on Instagram at Nicole Walters. I’ll be back here next week. And I hope you are to see you there friend.

 
In this episode, Ashley and I chat about:
  • The hard choices we must make for our kids when we’re in a season of change,
  • What choices I made for my girls when dealing with my divorce,
  • Why certain practices like movement are powerful for our kids, and
  • What we can do to help our kids through trauma

Resources and links mentioned in this episode:
  • Connect with Ashley HERE and listen to Healing Her HERE!
  • Find your new favorite Nike piece HERE
  • Pre-order my memoir, Nothing is Missing, HERE to grab a spot in 1K1Day!
  • Send me a DM on Instagram and Facebook!
  • Don’t miss our last chat about *fresh starts* – Listen here!
  • I love reading your reviews of the show! You can share your thoughts on Apple here!

More about The Nicole Walters Podcast:

If you’re looking for the strategies and encouragement to pursue a life of purpose, this is the podcast for you! Week after week Nicole Walters will have you laughing hysterically while frantically taking notes as she shares her own personal stories and answers your DMs about life, business, and everything in between.

As a self-made multimillionaire and founder of the digital education firm, Inherit Learning Company, Nicole Walters is the “tell-it-like-it-is” best friend that you can’t wait to hang out with next.

When Nicole shows up, she shows OUT, so tune in each week for a laugh, a best friend chat, plus the strategies and encouragement you need to confidently live a life of purpose.

Follow Nicole on IG @NicoleWalters and visit inheritlearningcompany.com today and click the button to join our betterment community. Your membership gives you access to a world of people and tools focused on helping you build the life you want.