Permission to get unstuck
Who here is feeling exhausted? I know it’s not just me! Raising children with mental health and neurodevelopmental challenges is often a dark and silent journey. Our kids have resources and support for their journey, but where do we gain the support we need to be our best self and caretaker?
I know it feels almost impossible to focus on our own health when we’re so distracted with helping our children with their healing journey, but this episode is your permission to do just that.
I brought Kris Rice on the My Child Will Thrive Podcast to share with us her tools and resources she created along her journey over the last 10 years of working with and raising a child with mental health struggles. I hope you enjoy this podcast and give yourself permission to get unstuck!
- Kris’ journey as a mother and how it has changed her. (4:14)
- How social media can make us feel more alone or like we’re not on the right path as mothers because ours looks different. (6:29)
- The signs and triggers that Kris saw in her own daughter's health. (9:41)
- The #1 piece of advice that Kris wants all parents to know. (13:20)
- How we can take care of our children when we’re feeling burnt out. (17:44)
- What Kris wishes she would’ve done differently in the last 10 years. (19:28)
- The most challenging part of raising a child that has mental health challenges. (20:55)
- How Kris works with parents to help them support themselves so they can be even better caregivers. (22:59)
- The one thing that Kris has taken away from the transition back to school this year. (25:04)
Resources and Links
Articles Related to Permission to get unstuck
More about Kris Rice
Kris Rice provides soul-care for mamas raising kids with mental health challenges. Imagine creating freedom, clarity and ease in your life, even amidst chaos, that’s where Kris comes in!
00:01 Tara Hunkin:
This is My Child Will Thrive and I'm your host, Tara Hunkin, Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified GAPs Practitioner, Restorative Wellness Practitioner, and mother. I'm thrilled to share with you the latest information, tips, resources, and tools to help you on the path to recovery for your child. With ADHD, autism, sensory processing disorder, or learning disabilities.
My own experiences with my daughter combined with as much training as I can get my hands on research I can dig into and conferences I can attend have helped me to develop systems and tools for parents like you who feel overwhelmed, trying to help their children. So sit back as I share another great topic to help you on your journey.
A quick disclaimer, before we get started. My Child Will Thrive is not a substitute for working with a qualified healthcare practitioner. The information provided on this podcast is not intended to diagnose or treat your child. Please consult your healthcare practitioner before implementing any information or treatments that you have learned about on this podcast. There are many gifted, passionate, and knowledgeable practitioners with hundreds if not thousands of hours of study and clinical experience available to help guide you.
Part of our goal is to give you the knowledge and tools you need to effectively advocate for your child so that you don't blindly implement each new treatment that comes along. No one knows your child better than you. No one knows your child's history like you do or can better judge what is normal or abnormal for your child. The greatest success in recovery comes from the parent being informed and asking the right questions and making the best decisions for their child in coordination with a team of qualified practitioners in different areas of specialty.
Today's podcast is sponsored by the Autism, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder Summit. In order to learn more about the summit and to sign up for free, please go to www.mychildwillthrive.com/summit.
2:07 Tara Hunkin:
Hi, I'm Tara Hunkin. Welcome back to the My Child Will Thrive podcast. Today I have with me, Kris Rice. Kris is going to give us permission to get unstuck, and she's going to bring her 10 years of experience of working and raising her child that had mental health issues and all the tools and resources that she's created along her journey to help make our journey easier too.
But before we get into the interview, I just want to ask you to do me a favor and if you enjoy the My Child Will Thrive podcast, please hit subscribe on whatever podcast platform you're listening to us on today. And if you could take the time to give us a quick review, we'd really appreciate it because that's how we get seen by more parents like us that need help raising our children and helping them thrive. Without further ado, here's my interview with Kris Rice and her guidance on how we can get ourselves unstuck.
3:17 Tara Hunkin:
Hi, everyone. I'm really excited to have with me today, Kris Rice. Kris is going to give us permission to get unstuck today and so I'm really excited to dive into this. She provides soul care for mamas like us, raising kids with mental health challenges. Imagine creating freedom, clarity, and ease in your life even amidst all the chaos, especially these days. That's where Kris comes in. So Kris, thank you so much for joining us today on the My Child Will Thrive podcast.
3:50 Kris Rice:
Thank you for having me, Tara. I'm super excited to be here.
3:53 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, we talked before this interview on a different day and I got to know you a little bit, but to get the listeners to understand who you are and how you got here, can you look back on your motherhood journey to this point and tell us how motherhood has changed you?
4:14 Kris Rice:
Definitely. So motherhood has very much shaped and morphed who I am 10 years into this journey. That is definitely a very different person than I was 10 years ago when this all began.
So what I had in my head of what motherhood would look like 10 years ago was this very picture perfect ideal version of what motherhood would be like. I don't think anybody doesn't go in with that notion, but it really wasn't too long, it was about three years in, that we discovered that my daughter had mental health struggles and I really was forced to decide whether I wanted to cling to this version of perfection that I had in my mind of what things should look like, or if I could be brave and step into this really unknown, uncomfortable space of asking questions that I didn't know the answers to and figuring out how to support her and how to really come together as a family to embrace this journey together.
And so I obviously chose the latter. I let go of that perfectionism and I can honestly say while it has not been easy by any stretch of the imagination, the value and the worth for what we have gotten from coming together in that way has just been so gratifying and so amazing and like nothing I could have ever pictured. And so I'm really grateful for this journey, challenging as it may be. And it also pulled me out of my own way from being stuck in this perfectionist mindset to think a different way and approach life in a really different way.
I mean, my goodness, I went from being in corporate marketing for years and years and doing corporate events to now being on a fairly out of the box way to support my family. So all of that is part of my journey and I'm really thankful to say that 10 years in it may have taken me that long to find tools and resources and ways to support myself and my family, but we did it and I'm really proud to then be able to give my clients a faster track than I had. So that's how I got here.
6:29 Tara Hunkin:
That's amazing. Can you maybe just, if you don't mind sharing a bit about your journey with your daughter specifically in terms of what challenges so that other people that are listening might be able to relate.
I think we can all relate to exactly what you just talked about. So that's really great because we all have to give up that idea of perfection and what perfect means, right? So we were just talking before we got online too about Instagram and the fact that I am completely inept at it, but in the Instagram world that we're in, where everybody's feeds look perfect or could be Facebook or whatever. And everybody's posting all about all the wins which would be typical wins of parenting and parenthood and the joys of that. Many of us didn't have comparable stories.
So in this world, we look at how everyone else is doing and compare ourselves to their ideals or all their good stuff that shows up in those social media feeds. And it can be very lonely and depressing as a new parent in particular, when you had nothing to compare it to before, just your dreams.
7:46 Kris Rice:
Yeah, definitely. And like to give someone else a feeling of you're not alone to go along with that. I think I've been thinking about it a lot lately, our kids just started going back to school about three weeks ago. And that's the time when on social media, everybody's posting their, "here's my kids in their perfect outfits going back to school" and "here's me being sad as a mom that they're not beside me during the day."
All of these things and that really churned up a lot in me because our return to school was nothing like that. It was really, really, really hard and I didn't have anyone else saying it's really, really hard. And even 10 years of having tons of tools and in my little toolbox and so many ways to support, not only me, but my kids, it honestly felt really lonely and isolating for a good couple of weeks because it wasn't easy and every day was a challenge. Maybe it got like 1% better, but it was really hard. So if you're also in that place where you're like, I can't look at another picture of someone sending their happy little beings off to school, I get it. I'm here for it.
8:58 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. It is tough when we live in a new world where these things are shared in that way, all the time. It was hard enough before that I think it's even harder for parents right now to find their wins and their joy, and what's moving forward and get other people to celebrate their joy in that, or support them when it's not so pretty. Which it often is.
9:25 Kris Rice:
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I did digress. You asked me for signs of what that kind of looked like in what were sort of our triggers or things to notice from early on. Do you want me to go into that?
9:39 Tara Hunkin:
That would be great.
9:41 Kris Rice:
Yeah, absolutely. So for us, so she was three, she was like two and a half, three years old where the signs started popping up. And for us, I think some of that got escalated because our second daughter came along and so we had something else pulling attention away from her, which was part of the unveiling of that. So how either she was handling that, or the things that we were observing. A lot of ours were sensory challenges.
So us trying to brush her hair and I mean, I kid you not, I'm surprised CPS was never called. I mean it, and honestly it happened again today. Like it still happens. So, but as a little as a little one, I was like, I don't feel like it should be this hard to just get our hair brushed in the morning. Or she switched a lot from being able to kind of like freely wear whatever she wanted to wear to one specific type and brand of sock. We still can only wear that specific type of brand sock and it physically pains her to wear something different.
And so as somebody who didn't grow up feeling that same way, sometimes it's really hard to know how best to support them in that. And how much do you think you just attribute it to their two and a half and they're being willful? Or how much is this like, okay, this is actually painful to them. So ours were, it was a lot of those things.
Eating was really challenging, really repetitive things that we had to always give her almost distract from the eating process because that was really challenging for her. So as I think back on it, it was honestly like a thousand tiny moments that I just listened to adding up and saying, it just can't be this hard. Life cannot be this hard and admitting I don't know the answer though.
So I know in my gut it shouldn't be like this, or it shouldn't be this hard per se, but I also don't know the answer and so that's a hard and scary place too. But I will say once I kind of turned that over and just said, I don't know, like it's out of my hands then did start to be revealed to us. So I think to me that was such a pivotal moment of sitting in that darkness, but also figuring out that was actually the start of our journey once I just gave it over to stop trying to control everything around me to make it work.
12:10 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah. And I think you hit the nail I had in terms of one particular thing is that you knew in your gut. And the one thing we talk about a lot about here is the fact that the moms, the primary caregivers, we know when something isn't right for our child and it's listening to that and persisting with that, especially when you're a new parent it's really hard to do. So you start to question whether or not this is normal or not normal. Like you said, really, is it supposed to be this hard for her, for us, for everyone. And it's hard to know. And when you don't know the answers, it's also hard to admit that maybe this is not right and we're constantly questioning. So it is, I think, very helpful for people to hear that when you tell your story, you say, I felt it in my gut, there was something not right and it's usually how these stories evolve my experience as well.
So from all of that, what is the number one piece of advice you'd share with a fellow mom that might be going through similar struggles?
13:20 Kris Rice:
The number one piece of advice that I would give is to find a way to put your oxygen mask on first. To be able to give back to yourself, because even in an idyllic, perfect version of parenthood that you had in your mind, that still is very taxing and overwhelming, and a lot to handle. You add onto all of the challenges that come with whatever array of mental health struggles you have, and that is a next level to take on.
And so I truly believe, and I did not 10 years ago at all, or have an awareness of how important it was, was giving back to yourself and finding ways, in tiny ways, to give back to yourself and make sure that you are caring for yourself because, it sounds a little bit cliche, but that idea that you can't pour from an empty cup is so true. You truly can't.
And so for me, that started with giving back to myself in ways that I could kind of do alone. So that looked to me like getting up in the morning so that I could sit and meditate and have my coffee by myself in quiet. So I just had 10 minutes of quiet by myself. I had to do it in ways that I didn't sort of need to ask for permission from other people to help me out in making that happen.
I had to do it on my own to build up some strength in saying, okay, now during the day, here's what I need, can you help me with this? Because it just didn't come naturally. I wanted to be a superhero and I'm not. So to me that that gift of permission to yourself is so huge and I think it's not talked about enough and we're not encouraged to do that enough. It's in fluffy ways that don't really sink home and really support your soul and that's what we need in this journey.
15:08 Tara Hunkin:
Yeah, it is. It's one of those things that we did talk about the fact that we've got to look after ourselves, but it is incredibly difficult when you are struggling and you're having those crisis moments from day to day to really take action on that. So it is nice to hear that, to remind us that it doesn't have to be in monumental ways. It has to be in manageable ways because otherwise it's like the all or nothing strategy. It's like sometimes we just need to, like you said, taking that extra 10 minutes in the morning too.
I think any mother can talk about the fact that you can't even go to the bathroom without someone coming in to interrupt you in the bathroom. And let's just say that we're into 17 years into this and that still happens. So I'm sorry to those parents that thought that was going away. Maybe it will for you, but it still hasn't in this household. So you do have to find those ways to find the times yourselves and I'm similar to you in that I tend to get up super early in the morning because there's just not a lot of interruptions.
And I find a lot of parents, they may stay up late and they shouldn't actually take away from their sleep at night because they haven't had even a moment to themselves and they're like, I just want some time to myself. But that would be typically my advice is try to go to bed and get up earlier, as opposed to the other way around, because you might find that staying up later, you'll have a tough time getting a good night of sleep.
16:48 Kris Rice:
Definitely. And I would say too, I've sort of ended up, I mean, again, this took me years and years to get here, but I kind of bookend my day now. So I'll do something to feed my mind and soul in the morning and I also will do that really from like an energy release at the end of the day, that's been a really big game changer for me. I'm thankfully a very lucky sleeper. I fall asleep in literally like four seconds, but the quality of my sleep then, even if it is shorter, still, that has been a really big thing.
And it doesn't take long I find too. Like the more you find something that supports you, maybe you do EFT tapping for five minutes and it's incredible. You're like, well, what can five minutes do? And it truly, it can release so much out of your body and prepare you for a better night's sleep. And so even if it's a shorter night, you at least get a better quality sleep. So I think that's something to just consider too.
17:44 Tara Hunkin:
That's a really good suggestion. We'll make sure we put a link in here if people aren't familiar with something like EFT tapping we can guide you towards that. When we are feeling burnt out and exhausted, how can we still support our children in a way that's going to serve them well?
18:05 Kris Rice:
So the short answer is you can't. So I hate to say like, you just can't. If you have nothing left to give and you are truly to the point of being burnt out, you have to flip that. You have to stop giving to them when you have nothing left to give. So again, it's those micro doses of what can build you back.
Can you do five deep breaths? I literally have been known to go in the bathroom and lock the door and breathe for a minute because I'm like, I just need nobody to be touching me, nobody to be around me in my space and just a minute and I'll be back. And so I think finding those micro doses of how you can build yourself back up, because truly when you're at that bottom place, I think you just have to realize it's not realistic. Nobody can support other people in the way they want to, unless they're building themselves back up.
19:01 Tara Hunkin:
What would you have done, I mean, I think we might be able to surmise, but what would you have done differently? Like if you had a chance to start right from the beginning, because you said you've been here for 10 years and working this all out over and figuring it out on your own. What would you do differently if you knew then what I've actually written this before with, if I knew then what I knew now. What would your answer to that be?
19:28 Kris Rice:
I think I would have relinquished the control factor a lot sooner. If I could know that it was safe at that time to relinquish that really tight hold I had on everything and know that all the pieces would fall into place, the answers would come to me, we would get all the support we needed, I would have lightened that grip a little bit, a lot.
And so that was a very hard piece for me to figure out that I could be safe doing that and that I could lessen that and there would be support on the other side of that. And that's almost like to put it in context, I grew up in a wonderful family. I didn't have a reason to question that, but I just had this perfectionism that was over clouding everything and so I just had it in my head that I had to be that person to hold it all together, to be responsible for all of it. And the more that I was able to chip away at that, the more free I became, the more free my family became, the more my husband could step in and do the things that he was more than willing to do but I somehow had this idea it wasn't possible, all of those things. So I would have let go of that control faster.
20:44 Tara Hunkin:
So what have you found to be the most challenging part of raising a child that has mental health challenges?
20:55 Kris Rice:
I would say two things. So I would say number one is getting comfortable in that unknown. So realizing it's not abnormal that you don't have answers and to just know that that is somewhat to be expected.
So I didn't quite realize that coming in and also to know there's never an end point. It's always just another curve in the road. So we find one amazing way to support her that is really working well at one point in time and something happens and they go back to school in a pandemic and it shifts and there's different support that's needed then.
And it's just an ever winding road and I knew in my logical mind that yes, it was never ending, but sometimes that just hits harder than you realize. So I think that is just really, to me, hopefully comforting to hear is like, everybody's in this together too. Nobody has that end stop point that they get to and they're like, great utopia, we made it. That doesn't happen.
So, but when you get to a point where there's more good days than there are challenging days or more of the day has been positive than challenging. You get to those points where like going back to school, I was feeling so burdened by it all and then I looked and I was like, but, we made it! We had a lot of tears along the way. We had more challenging days than I ever would have expected, but you know what, we made it and today we're strong. So we did it. And so I think you've got to give yourself those little victories along the way, because if you can acknowledge those, they really do fuel you up too, to be able to handle more.
22:47 Tara Hunkin:
So when you're working with parents, how do you actually go about working with parents to help support them on this journey in terms of supporting them, supporting themselves to support their children?
22:59 Kris Rice:
Yeah, absolutely. So I have a program called Unstuck that I'm actually going to be releasing here very shortly, and that is truly like my heart and soul put into a program. So when I say it took me 10 years to find all of these support pieces and resources and different ways to really solidify myself, to be able to support my kids, that's what I packaged up and made into a fast track per se, to be able to support somebody who is stepping into that.
It's truly what I wish I had had 10 years ago when I started this. Because I think so often there's such incredible support for the child going through this, as there should be, but as a caregiver, we really need that support too. We need to know that we're not alone. We need to know that we can still find hope and trust in "we're gonna make it" and this is what that program will provide. So that is my new program that I am launching here and actually will be available when this goes out.
And then I also do one-on-one coaching and I have a membership community as well, which is an amazing way to just come together and really have this beautiful community of people who are like-minded, who want to empower each other and support each other through this journey that we have in front of us.
24:22 Tara Hunkin:
That's wonderful. Well, if there was one last thing that you could say in terms of what your recommendation, actually, even to the parents that are listening now, that have just gone through that transition back to school because I think we're all sort of in that zone right now, and this last year and a half, more than a year and a half now, has been pretty exceptional in terms of all the different challenges that it's brought depending on where you live and how your children would normally go to school and do things in the world. What's the one thing that you've taken away from the last couple of weeks or three weeks of your transition back that you would share with other parents that are listening today?
25:04 Kris Rice:
To me, the thing that just pops in my head when you say that is you're stronger than you ever know. Truly we as moms are so much more strong and brave and resilient than we ever ever give ourselves credit for. So take a second and take that in because I truly mean it that every one of us can make it through the hard things that are put in front of us.
And we will, it might not be on our own timelines, in our own way that we envisioned it, but we will. And I think tuning into that intuition, like we talked about in the beginning, is such a key part of that. We have those answers inherently baked into us as moms and if we're brave enough to listen to that, I truly believe that's where our lives can change dramatically.
25:50 Tara Hunkin:
Amazing. I want to thank you so much one for joining us today, but two for putting all the resources together that you have found over all this time and putting it into a program and other resources that parents like us can benefit from because in the end, it's strength in numbers. And when we do this and share what we've learned, that really does make a difference. So thank you so much for that. And I wish you and your family continued, hopefully continuingly smooth transition.
26:23 Kris Rice:
Thank You. Same to you. We're all in it together.
26:26 Tara Hunkin:
Exactly. Back to school and back to life. I want to thank everybody for listening today and remember all the links to the things that Kris has talked about with us today can be found in the show notes to today's episode. Talk to you again soon.
So that's a wrap. Thanks for joining me this week on My Child Will Thrive. I'm so passionate about giving you the tools and information you need to help your child recover. And as they say, it takes a village so join us in the My Child Will Thrive village Facebook group, where you can meet like-minded parents and stay up to date on everything we have going on at My Child Will Thrive. This is Tara Hunkin and I'll catch you on the next podcast or over at mychildwillthrive.com.
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