Supporting kids through divorce with Alicia Robertson

Episode 347


My guest today is Alicia Robertson. 

Casey and Alicia discuss how to keep and grow your self-worth, healthy boundaries, communication, and confidence during and after divorce.  Alicia advises on what to share with kids about your divorce and how to give them (and yourself) safety, security, and stability during this complex, emotional time.  Casey and Alicia talk custody agreements, single parenting, co-parenting challenges, and tweens and teens having a parental preference.  They wrap up by digging into dating after divorce.  

Alicia Robertson is an author, speaker, and trained life and divorce coach, who helps recently separated women through her business, Lemonade Life.  She knows exactly how devastating it is to hear the words ‘I want a divorce.’  Her mission is to change the narrative around divorce, and provide support and guidance, with the ultimate goal of helping as many women as possible.

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Takeaways from the show

https://www.besproutable.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/1_RFK63LKdKRDFJHaX633hEg.jpg
  • Creating a new family dynamic after divorce 
  • What kids need to know about divorce and why you’re separating
  • Boundaries, communication, follow-through, and safety with your previous partner 
  • Responding instead of reacting 
  • Typical custody agreements 
  • Single parenting & co-parenting 
  • Tweens and teens having strong opinions & parental preferences 
  • Dating after divorce

What does joyful courage mean to you? 

Joyful courage is an ability to prioritize yourself, to live with intention for yourself, according to who you are and what you want, so you can have courage to find the joy that will be the fabric of your life.

 

Resources

Lemonade Life 

Alicia’s Instagram

Sproutable’s Five-Day Relationship Reset

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Transcription

Casey O'Roarty 00:05
Hello, hello my friends. Welcome back to joyful courage, a conscious parenting podcast, where we tease apart the challenges and nuances of parenting through the adolescent years. I am your host, Casey over already positive discipline trainer, parent coach and adolescent lead at Sprout double, where we celebrate not only the growth of children, but also the journey and evolution that we all get to go through as parents. This is a place where we keep our real, real stories real parenting, the teen years are real messy, and there aren't many right answers. But the more we trust ourselves, and trust our teens, the better the outcomes can be. The Parenting we talked about over here is relationship centered, you won't find a lot of talk about punishment, consequences or rewards. What you will hear is a lot of encouragement about connection, curiosity and life skill development. Our teens are on their own journey. And while we get to walk next to them for a bit, we don't get to walk for them. Their work is to learn from the tension of their life. Our work is to support them and love them along the way. I'm so glad you're here. Enjoy the show.

Casey O'Roarty 01:32
Hey, everybody, my guest today is Alicia Robertson. Alicia is an author, speaker and trained life and divorce coach who helps recently separated women through her business lemonade life. She knows exactly how devastating it is to hear the words I want a divorce. Her mission is to change the narrative around divorce and provide support and guidance with the ultimate goal of helping as many women as possible. Hi, Alicia, welcome to the podcast. Hey, Casey. So thrilled to be here. I am really excited to have you. And before we get started, I want to preface because there are some dads that listen to my show. And women aren't the only ones that are being affected by divorce. I'm going to do my part everyone as we talk to really keep both partners in mind as we kind of navigate some of the questions that I have for you today. But what I'd love for you to start with is talking to us about how you got into doing what you do. Well, I

Alicia Robertson 02:29
got into this because I myself was going through separation and divorce. And it was just such an isolating experience where I would have thought for as many people that are supposedly going through this, that there would have been so much more support information, resources, opportunities to thrive through this process. And there really wasn't. And I really, as a result was stuck in my grief a lot longer. I was stuck in a lot of narratives that really reduced this experience to blame and shame and becoming a victim and a murderer. And really all of a sudden going wait, wait, wait, wait a second. Like none of this suits me and who I am. I'm someone who's always been of a growth mindset with a positive attitude with mindfulness and have always stretch myself in new opportunities to go okay, I'm familiar, unknown, scary, uncomfortable. But let's learn this. This is a project and I just need skills and tools and resources and let's go. And so I did this first for myself. And you know, I did this for myself and for my children. Because ultimately, I don't think we really can unpack and get our heads wrapped around, you know, unburdening or uncoupling a partnership. But when there's kids involved, there's so much more. It's the family. It's the nest, it's the fantasy, it's so much more with so many supporting players involved. And so I knew this was a special experience for not just me, but my children. And I really wanted them to truly be at the center of this not just lip service, you know, oh, well, you know, don't trash talk your former partner front of the kids. Well done. Thank you very much like I get this, but how do we really achieve the spirit of what it is that we're trying to pull together here? And it requires a lot of effort, a lot of intentionality practice in every thought, and every spoken word in every effort. And so what I have created in lemonade life that has now impacted over 30,000 women, and men and children and homes, right, this is the experience that I wanted and never could find in terms of support and resources, and community. So yeah, this is it. Yeah.

Casey O'Roarty 04:51
Well, it's so interesting, too, as we moved through the pandemic and the continuous unfolding of the reality of right now. I I have so many close close friends who have split with their partners. And seeing it up close how painful it can be. Because not everybody has the same kind of skill to like, navigate feelings of rejection, feelings of abandonment, everything you said, the shame, the blame. And it's been so interesting. And I'm of an age, right? I'm almost 50. So like, when we're in our late 20s, it's like, everybody's getting married. And then for me anyway, and then in the 30s, everybody's having babies. And now it feels like wow, now we're all at this age where if things aren't working, people are making different choices around where their life is. And more often than not, and my circle of friends, yeah, there are kids to consider, you know, and even talking about don't trash talk your partner. Yeah, no brainer. Except when your partner is a huge asshole. Like, that's true. Oh, my gosh, it's easier said than done.

Alicia Robertson 06:03
I think it's like, it's one of those things, no brainer. And that's the one nugget, right seems to be out there that people always talk about. And so it takes effort and practice, logically, we get it, but how do we really put it into practice? But I just found it in that to me, okay. It's just it's actually more difficult than that, you know, not trash talking. Your partner is really hard, especially if this is a person who activates you in a nanosecond. Yeah, by all the things, but it actually is in all of who you are, and what you display in front of the children even when they're not in the room?

Casey O'Roarty 06:41
Or in the home. Right. Yeah, yeah. So with your clients beyond, you know, not trash talking your partner, what are some of the things that you find yourself supporting them with?

Alicia Robertson 06:52
Yeah, so fundamentally, what this all comes down to, for all of my clients is self worth, healthy boundaries, communication, and confidence. Those are the things that grow with us, right. And every year, we have an opportunity to level up, and to really start to live in a life knowing really who we are and what we want and having the courage to go for it. So I firmly believe that first we do for ourselves, so that we can model greatness for our children. And so in this experience, that's the baseline, the table stakes. And then from there, with whatever we're creating or modeling through healthy boundaries, and through our communication skills, we're able to establish best practice. And so best practice where children are related is that you know, they also have transparency and inclusion through this process. And so that if we're able to clearly honor what they need most, which is safety, security and stability, that we're able to explain to them better, with every new milestone, new tradition, new celebration, change in schedule, you know, come together and schedule that we're all able to really navigate our new family dynamic with transparency and inclusion, as it honors our children's stability.

Casey O'Roarty 08:12
Yeah. You know, when I think about the decision to split, right, whether it's a decision both people come to or one person's decided, and you talk about transparency, what does that look like? Because I know I've had clients and people who struggle with, what's the best thing to say like, how much do we share? How do we remain in our truth, while also not bringing in inappropriate dynamic details. And like I mentioned before the show, most of the people that are listening have tweens and teens. And so I'm guessing the conversation sounds different for older kids than it would be if the kids are younger. But what are some tips you have for people who are either getting ready to have the conversation? Or maybe this split has happened? Because kids they want to know what's going on? They want to hear our

Alicia Robertson 09:07
truth and newsflash. They already

Casey O'Roarty 09:10
know. Yes, yeah. Right. They live with your people. Like come on. They know more than you know,

Alicia Robertson 09:14
this is what I discovered with teens and adult children. And as you move into that, trust me, you'll find out later they know more than you were willing to go to. But you know what, I love this because language matters most right? Its meaning its beliefs, its power. This is the greatest opportunity to be a leader first in your family in delivering and sharing this news and I had this conversation all the time, but I didn't call it I don't want this. I'm not the person who he did shoulda woulda coulda all that stuff. Here's the thing. All of that matters because it's emotional. And it's something for you to unpack and you to heal and learn and grow through. I guarantee you no matter what was the reason you finally decided to uncouple it was not just about that reason. And if we really take time and stop to think about it, we can come to our own level of awareness for our own personal accountability in any relationship, staying together or apart. And so what do the kids need most the kids need to know what the decision is, again, Locus of Control, right? Transparency and inclusion. And it is agents stage appropriate, right. But what they need to know is that, you know, mom will always be mom, dad will always be Dad, mom and dad will always love you, as they've always had, you will always, you know, be here, responsible for the things we've always been responsible to nurture, to shelter, to mate to clothe all these things, right. And then here's the single greatest statement that my clients love, is that what this is about is sharing what the decision is, and what is required to move forward, the story doesn't have a place, the decision is mum and dad have decided to become friends, mum and dad have decided to uncouple. And we are going to remain focused on creating our new family dynamic as CO parents. That's quite simply all that ever needs to be said, the rest, you're going to get it from teens, you're going to get it they're going to be thrown into shock and denial and grief. And so it's important that we make sure that we take a pause for a minute to be able to know how do we effectively support them emotionally socially, right. And sometimes we are equipped to do that. And we're enough as parents and other times we need professionals. But we need to be able to take a hot minute to evaluate what is the best plan forward. And sometimes that space is so helpful when the kids start coming out. Well, who chose to do this? Why are you doing this? Whose fault was it? You know, you can quite simply say this is a conversation that I want to have with you. I'm not prepared to have it? Well, you know, emotions are high, I'm going

Casey O'Roarty 11:57
to do a whatever for you. Yeah, you know, because that's the ideal, right? The ideal situation is both parents appreciate exactly what you're saying and understand the implications of that calm, connected demeanor and creating that connection and consistency and safety. What happens when one of the partners is not embracing that, or, you know, the hurt is so much or the skills are limited. You know, and it's not both of you sitting down in front of your kids, but it's just you. And you know, partner is doing their own thing and raving or doing whatever they need to do. How do we navigate that? Yeah, so

Alicia Robertson 12:42
here's the beautiful thing. This is only ever about you and what you can control, right? So everything I just shared absolutely is effective and doable with one person. And you might be taking this opportunity to not only model greatness to your children, but to your former partner. We didn't get here overnight, I assure you that, okay, we weren't on the same page, we had dark days and dark times, and infighting and all of those things, and had to figure out a way to get here. And I'm here as living proof that the more that I worked the program that I just shared, it's the long game, the more things started to come around, because ultimately you're building a new relationship of trust, even with your former partner. And so the more that we can be clear, consistent with whatever we're saying and how we're we're saying it, we start to establish those things. The other thing on the flip side, like you said, boundaries, this is where boundaries really matter. So the thing is, is that, hey, what will communication and conversation look like? And again, boundaries are for me, and I have to hold the ownership for making the boundaries and the follow through happen. So conversation will only ever be with respect, right as it's related to our co parenting strategy or family planning. And, you know, a positive solution. If any of those things aren't happening, we shut it down, we exit we get out further to that if this is not safe, right, again, our primary function as parents is to keep our children safe, secure and stable. If this isn't safe, this is an emergency call to law enforcement. So the thing is, we have to know our boundaries and manage those boundaries if they need to be escalated. Yeah. And I think that what matters most is that we're keeping the emotions, the judgment, the opinion out of it. What I'm trying to express here the most that it's so hard. And my clients, I work with women, it's like the practice of not responding, not reacting. And choosing to respond instead is so hard, but that's the thing. No response, right? And so, you know, don't get into the conflict. To operating from a place of emotion is just counterproductive. And conflict is what's hurting the children. And so we have to stay focused to the situation. The circumstance, right those boundaries.

Casey O'Roarty 15:13
Yeah, I have a friend who actually, her and her ex partner only communicate through an app. You know, those apps? What are some of those apps called?

Alicia Robertson 15:23
You know what I have them listed? I never use them myself. I do have clients that use them. Some clients will use apps, some will use email only some are text only. So there does need to be some time and distance between the correspondents.

Casey O'Roarty 15:38
Yeah, well, and I just love that focus on boundaries. Because if it's a delusion of the relationship, there are plenty of places to put boundaries in place to protect. I mean, I love what is it safety, security? What did you just say? Ability stability? I mean, for our kids, and also for ourselves? That's right. Yeah.

Alicia Robertson 15:59
And if we stay focused on that, it's like, okay, so how do I achieve these things? You know, what are my top priority in achieving these things? Okay, have everything. But if we really get real about what matters most to us, in any of these situations, we usually can leverage the results we want. And that mattered to us, because we're no longer just reacting. Right? You're thoughtfully responding?

Casey O'Roarty 16:26
Yeah, well, and I appreciate to like you said, there were dark days in your experience. And I definitely witnessed that for a lot of friends of mine who have moved through separation and divorce. And, you know, it's the gauntlet, right? The startup those early days, those early weeks, those early months of fear and uncertainty. And even, you know, like you said, the most mindful, you know, growth mindset, you know, this is who I am. And then something like this sits down at the table. And I just want to say, for anyone who's listening, like, it makes sense for all of those tools to go out the window, it's a highly emotional experience. And when a motion is high skill set, is it low, skill set is low. So that's a real thing. salutely.

Alicia Robertson 17:12
And the thing is, you know, it matters as well. Because if you are going to be in a highly complex situation, or you have a situation with a lot of conflict, court systems are meant to rule on evidence and facts. And that's pretty difficult to be able to establish, so what they're looking at is precedent. So you don't need any of this stuff to be, you know, even something that could really unravel things that really matter to you most, which could be access to your children, right, or custody flow, even if that's the motivator you need. Take it. I am building a case right now.

Casey O'Roarty 17:52
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Casey O'Roarty 19:38
Talking about custody, you know when I was a kid, so I shared with you before I hit record, I'm a child of divorce. And I was really young when my parents divorced and they were really bad co parents. They just could not stand each other and it was known to everybody. I go to therapy. I figure all that out. You know that as a kid Edie, loving them both wanting to be loyal to them both. And that pendulum swing, depending on which parent was in front of me bad mouthing the other one, it was really, really hard. And then step parents came into play. And we have a really big blended family where, shockingly enough through some really heavy family experiences with us kids. Everybody gets along. Now. It's very weird. I mean, it's awesome. But it's also like this, I never in a million years thought that you would go to their house for Christmas eve dinner. Okay, I love that. Yeah, it's great. But back in those days, you know, that was the 80s custody looks like you stayed with your mom. And you went and saw your data every other weekend and a couple of weeks in the summer. But now I have clients and friends who often it's a 5050 split, or it's a 6040? Or, you know, I'm seeing it's different dads have a lot more rights, which I think is a great thing. What is typical? Now, as far as custody goes, when people split? Or is there even a typical is that

Alicia Robertson 21:03
there is a typical, so depending on where you are, there is a legal standard. So in our area, the legal standard is they want to see 5050 You know, where are you? I'm in Ontario, Canada, okay. Okay, so they want the children to have access to both parents to have relationships with both parents. And you know, in my personally, because I am a believer in co parenting, right that it takes two individuals and so that, even in the beginning, when my former partner was having to learn how to be a solo parent, because I was the primary caregiver, and I was the primary person on all things home children and home management, he needed time to learn that and the only way he can learn that is one on one, that's how bonding happens. And so we have to be able to set up both parents for success. And that means also, you know, for me, I would just leave because I knew I would metal, I knew I would intraductal opinion or judgment, but you know what the reality is, I'm not a perfect parent, nor is he and we're both going to have different ways to get things done in our own homes. And so really just starting to carve out some compassion, forgiveness, you know, respect for the other side and the journey they're on. And I will oftentimes say to clients stop battling over it. If you are both good parents, you want your children to have as much time with either parents, you know, you want your children to be able to embrace and accept blended family scenarios, this is their reality, I think more than norm now is definitely a more equalized amount of time, spread over to parents. But that's still, you're still single parenting in your own home. So it doesn't mean that it's, you know, less challenging or less alone, right, or unsupported. But it just means that you do have some time and space to do some personal recovery. Yeah, which is so

Casey O'Roarty 23:00
helpful. Yeah. And then throw this out there again, mostly because of my own experience, and the people in my life, I'm sure that you have clients who fall into this, and I have an inkling on how you're going to respond. So you're in the 5050 scenario, or whatever the custody scenario is, and it's not an abusive situation over at the other parents house, but it's not ideal. It's not what you want. How do you support parents who just are unhappy, for lack of a better word, with what's happening at the ex's house, whether it's follow through on rules and expectations, or lack of supervision, or, you know, fill in the blank. And I know, like locus of control, right? We really get to be the leaders in our own space. And oh, my gosh, so hard, right.

Alicia Robertson 23:56
So hard. I think there's two pieces to this. One is that again, sticking to circumstance situation, having clearly defined goals, when emotions aren't high, having clear expectations around moments of crisis, right health concerns, you know, that we know how we're going to handle or conduct our family plan amongst the two homes so that the children have as much stability as possible. So hopefully, then, every time you have to have a conversation that doesn't come from a place of opinion and judgment, you can lean in more on the goals right? Here are some observations. You know, our daughter is really tired and not able to keep up with the workload that she has at school. Are you noticing this in your home? Okay, well, what are some things that can really support that? Oh, bedtime? What time are you doing bedtime? Right, we can start to really stay very much in the zone of the facts and the circumstances because sometimes other parents just need help to learn how to actually build in consistency and structure and routine in their home. But it's not coming from a place of judgment.

Casey O'Roarty 25:04
Yeah. And as I listened to you, and I'm thinking, it's so funny, I'm totally the person who kills me in my own workshops. But I'm like, Yeah, but so I'm thinking to myself, yeah, but And I'm guessing you probably support around this too. And we do this, even with our teenagers, you guys all listening? You've heard me say this before. So you probably know where I'm going. Sometimes that conversation, would you say we'd need to go into it as, hey, I want to have a conversation about bedtime. And I want to work really hard on both of us practicing not getting defensive, and really keeping our daughter as the center of this conversations. Because I think sometimes, you know, even I live with my husband, and, and I have feedback, and opinions. And I know that if I want to be received, well, I know in my best moments that if I want to be received, sometimes I've got to kind of smooth out the runway, so that as we get into the hard conversation, there's already been expectations laid, hey, this is not about attacking you. I'm uncomfortable with this conversation, because I don't want you to feel defensive. I'm just worried about our child. And I want to have a conversation about our child's do you talk to your clients about that as well? When communication? Absolutely, with all

Alicia Robertson 26:20
conversations with all you know, communication, and even with the kids, and sometimes that's everything you're saying? Absolutely. And then also going, Hey, is this just about us information sharing? Are we going to make a decision? If we're going to make a decision? How are we going to get there as as majority rules? You have them most of the time. So you get to make the ultimate decision, right? Like, there's lots of ways that we can create a really safe place for us to feel heard and supported. Yeah. And to be ready, right? What's what are the priorities that matter the most, so that you're sticking to that we're not as soon as we do get activated? We're not all of a sudden, no, this was the priority. This is, you know,

Casey O'Roarty 26:58
three years ago, you did that thing, right? Oh, yeah. And the other thing,

Alicia Robertson 27:03
too, is supporting our children, and in particular, the tweens and teens, were supporting them to be able to advocate for themselves in both homes. Now, there's still a power imbalance, for sure. with mom and dad, they're still children. But as much as possible, we're receiving their feedback that might come from the other home, like that happens a lot of time. And so we receive this feedback. And instead of again, going into a place of judgment or opinion, and launching into a reactive state is to really just be curious, right? Be curious, validate, hold space for them, and start to ask them what their thoughts are about it, and how it stacks up against their value systems. And what is it that they would like to see being done differently? And do they feel comfortable to talk with their other parents about it? Right? No different than we would say, go to your coach or to your teacher, right? This isn't about a triangulating hot mess here. Because ultimately, the real safety notwithstanding, okay, for just this other area, we just don't have control with what the other partner chooses to do. And this is ultimately our children's journey through that home. And so we need to equip them with as many strategies and skills to be able to work through that experience.

Casey O'Roarty 28:22
Yeah, yeah. And, you know, on that note, too, I have clients and people in my community who have kids that are moving into adolescence, and whether the divorce or separation is recent or not so recent, and even in my own experience as a 15 year old, whereas my whole life, it had been every other weekend with dad, things started to happen in my home life with my mom that I started to feel like the best place for me was actually primarily with my dad. And, you know, first of all, just having that conversation with my mom was just, well, actually, it started off pretty good. And then it slowly got really bad. We worked it out. But it was really, really rough. And it was really challenging to maintain. Once I did move in with my dad, to maintain relationship with my mom, because she was so hurt. I'm wondering if you have clients with kids, it's one thing to have a seven year old, and you say, you get to go be with your daughter. Yep, it's time for you to go be with your mom and then being like, Man, I want to and you'd be like, Oh, I'm gonna carry you to the car. It's another thing to be looking at a 15 year old or a 16 year old or even like a 1213. And then saying like, I don't want to, I don't want to spend time over there. Well, one, how do we encourage that relationship to be maintained? But also how do we honor what our kids want? as well?

Alicia Robertson 29:46
Yes. And I've seen it on both sides, right? Because if the children want to go to one home exclusively, all of a sudden, you're a full time single parent, right? Like that's without a break. That's a whole different shift. And does that work for that family? dynamic and that needs to be supported. And then the other, you know, parent who is not spending time with the children. There's the loss, right? And the grief, I think alternately, this experience I always equated, I feel like it accelerates us into empty nesting. I feel like these are things, and I don't know what your opinion would be on this, I remember my therapist saying to me, I think my daughter was in grade one, she's like, that's it, you're now a coach, mentor. You're no longer solving for her. So you know, as a parent, if that is the mentality, I'm coach, mentor, and we're helping them to independently be resourceful, resilient, capable, and independent leave the nest, right. We know this is happening, although it's incredibly hard for all the reasons. And this experience almost accelerates that they're leaving the nest sooner. Yeah. So really, it's, you know, how do we foster a great meaningful relationship with our children that they value, right, that meets everybody's needs? And then how do we allow them to be independent of us, and so on, when they're still teens. And, again, I come back to obviously, this healthy communication, but boundaries, right, so this isn't just a tomorrow, you decide you're going to be with mom all the time. And then when the going gets tough over there, you're going to come back over to Dad's, you know, this requires thoughtfulness and, you know, an opportunity to go, what will be what is your desired, you know, calendar or flow or right, or living arrangement or lifestyle choice? And if you need that to change, then there's going to need to be this amount of notice, right? And it's so many other things, right? Does that mean that there's still real estate in the home? So there's so many pieces to unpack. But ultimately, this is the journey that we're traveling with our children, it just might be happening a little bit sooner.

Casey O'Roarty 31:52
Yeah, I'm thinking about the two sides, right. There's the parent whose child has left, and the pain around that, and the self doubt, and, you know, all the storytelling about ourselves. And then there's the child who says, No, I want to be with you. I don't want to have relationship or spend time over there and like, honoring that, I mean, beyond the single parenting thing. Right. But, you know, as I'm saying, and I'm thinking to, like, my favorite go to statement is, Tell me more, let me understand this better? And then do they get to just decide that? I mean, I guess they do. They do?

Alicia Robertson 32:33
Well, and sometimes they do. And sometimes they don't, because it might not work that you are willing to have them in your home full time for a variety of reasons. And that's okay, too. You know, the interesting thing is, I usually see two sides, either they're very complex situations with a lot of conflict. And the parent that they do not want to be with really isn't a stable, nurturing, responsible environment. That's one thing. A lot of times, it's just their kids, and they're selfish. Yeah, it's more convenient to be at one parent's home because that's where their friends are. Right. That's where they get access to maybe more things than what the other parents are home has. That's who can get them closer to jobs, right, or back and forth between these things. So we also have to recognize and realize what's happening. So I would say in that situation, the reason I brought that up that as a parent who's evaluating whether I'm going to take my child on full time, if it's just for the selfish, you know, convenience factor things, maybe we have to sit back and think about that a little bit. If it is for stability, responsiveness, nurturing, that requires a different plan.

Casey O'Roarty 33:47
And inside of that, what I'm really hearing you say, Well, what's required in that is to lift up and out of the emotion and really have a clear perspective, and a willingness to be vulnerable to because I think when our kids are the ones who are like peace out, I'm gonna go over here, we get to do some soul searching as well around, you know, what we've brought to that relationship. When I think back to my experience, I think it was a both and of stability, while also convenience. I think both of those things existed for me, and I think it was the right move as much as it hurt my mom. It was hard. It was hard times. It was hard times. Okay, so what about, we're separated and we've moved on and everything's as dialed as it can be in the uncertainty of life unfolding. And we're dating, and we're meeting new people, how do you support your clients? And again, we're not talking about little kids, but teens and tweens. I'm thinking about a couple of my clients in particular, as we kind of move into our new life, right as single people and always striving towards connection and really kinship, what are your tips on how to navigate that, especially with older kids who are watching? Right?

Alicia Robertson 35:08
Yeah, so I'm seven years, okay, post divorce. And I've now dated twice. And so the first time because I didn't know I'm learning all this stuff, too, right? And the first time it was, you know, wow. Because women have this pressure, I find women and sorry for the guys on here listening, but

Casey O'Roarty 35:26
Oh, lucky them, they get the inside scoop. Well,

Alicia Robertson 35:28
the thing is, is like, I found my single guy friends at the same age and stage, it was like, they could have a new date all the time. It was fun. It was fresh. They were dating, they were having fun, where as a woman going through the exact same experience, I got questions like, When's he going to meet the kids? Is he the one? Are you going to get married again? Let's just have fun. And so also that pressure of that, well, you can't have him meet the kids until you know he's the one or until it's like, a year later. I don't have these arbitrary timelines. Do you think

Casey O'Roarty 35:59
that's true? I don't buy into that. Okay, good. Because

Alicia Robertson 36:03
the first time I was like, Okay, right, because I don't want my children to think that I'm sledding there's this beat secret life, right? Like, I don't want them to think I'm sweaty, sleazy, revolving door, all this pressure. Honestly, Gacy I was throwing all into like, all these narratives that I didn't believe, I believe in deep connection, intimate relationships, the more the merrier. And so the second time I went through it, I thought, No, I am going to be transparent. I'm going to be inclusive agent stage, appropriate tweens are a perfect example. I'm modeling to my children, how I choose to spend time with people how I that friends, relationships, how I'm going to determine whether I'm going to spend more time with that person, I'm going to determine if I'm going to invest more money into that relationship with that person. And so it was awesome, because I got to share with them what are my love goals? My desires, my values, what qualities do I want in a partner? You know, what are these types of things? And they were great conversations. And then the same thing, you know what, hey, now I'm spending more time with this person, I want to spend more time if I'm having a party, of course, they're invited. Of course, they're included. Now to my children, we would have open conversations about this. What does this mean to them? What does dating mean to them? What are the things that they might be worried about? Or have concern for all of those types of things? Again, I can take whatever matters to them and bake it into the plan. And so for my kids, it was things like, well, as long as you're happy, we're happy mum, if someone treats you good, we're good. As long as they're kind to us, they're good to us. They want us to know things. Well, are you going to marry this person? Again? Is it going to change our living arrangements or lifestyle? Again, we can talk about these things, and include them in the process, I love being able to model dating for children.

Casey O'Roarty 37:52
I love that I have a client whose daughter helped her set up her online dating profile. And I was talking to her about so many of us don't get to have that kind of transparent modeling with our kids, you know, for already in our relationship. And what a gift, like you said to be so transparent. And to talk about what this is, you know, should I swipe? Should I not swipe? Why would I swipe? Who is this person? What is it about them? And all the while, you know, our teens are hearing bits and pieces around the importance of values, you know, or even like, where we can get into trouble, right? Like, if all I'm looking for is a hot number. What about everything else? How long might this last? I think I love that I love that transparency. And it's such a great opportunity.

Alicia Robertson 38:43
And even to that end, I can say for all your clients listening that are taking this so seriously, like I did the first time with all the pressure, right. And the thing is, is that what I realized is my kids don't care about future partners. It was painful, and it was hard. And it was all the things that we just previously talked about, because it was their family and it was their father and a mother. That is what matters to them. That is their core, their center of focus all these other players that matter to you and you might want your children to get on with famously, it doesn't matter to your kids that way, you know, and so even when I ended that first partnership outside of you know, married life, and I was able to share with the children why it was ending there, like they would just want pretty much like Cool beans, like they just, it just didn't affect or impact them. And now I will say to you I'm over the other side where again, drop the labels and the titles and all these things I identify as a single woman who pays my own taxes lives in my own house, single parents. So I identify as a single parent identify as a co parent. And I also have a partner. So I'm also in a partnership, and a girlfriend guess what I can be all of those things. And it doesn't mean it has to be working towards some end like marriage or blended families or right, like in my situation right now decided I would like to have a partner but to live apart. So we're together but we don't blend our homes.

Casey O'Roarty 40:15
That sounds pretty dreamy.

Alicia Robertson 40:18
Because we don't want to talk about IDs and furnaces. We just want to talk about hot stuff. So

Casey O'Roarty 40:22
yeah, just thought stuff out of the hot stuff house and then the kid house down with that. I like that. I like that. Oh, that's so good. That's so good. So as we wrap up today, especially for the parents that are really kind of in the gauntlet and working through the newness of Whole New World life unfolding. What advice or encouragement do you have for them, as we wrap up,

Alicia Robertson 40:49
I think that everything we talked about matters and and we'll get there. But first we heal, we heal, we find accessible ways to introduce self care, because self care is about healing. But in this very moment in time, it is also about prioritizing yourself so that you can lift your energy and your ability to be in a leadership role through this experience. And so, to me, the healing and the learning is the most critical part. And to have faith that you are exactly where you meant to be. And as you give yourself time, safety and freedom to unpack what all of this means that you'll be able to move forward in such an intentional, conscious, beautiful way that will allow you to, I would say, have sustained joy.

Casey O'Roarty 41:50
I love that that reminds me to we've had some pretty big events in the last few years and our family and what's always supportive to me when it's really, really hard is trusting that there is something here for me, right? This is a thread in the fabric of my life. And something about this experience is growing me into what's next. So I appreciate that and try to really just have an awareness that this is painful, but it's temporary. Yep. What does joyful courage mean to you? Alicia,

Alicia Robertson 42:25
scheufele Courage means to me that you have an ability to prioritize yourself, to live with intention for yourself, according to who you are, and what you want, so that you can have courage to find the joy. That will be I like what you just said the fabric of your life.

Casey O'Roarty 42:53
Okay, yay. Where can people find you and follow your work?

Alicia Robertson 42:58
I'd love to continue this conversation. Yeah, I'm on Instagram at lemonade life coach. I love to hear from people directly connect at lemonade life.ca. and my website is lemonade life.ca as well.

Casey O'Roarty 43:12
Awesome. All right. Well, thank you so much for spending time with me today. This was really powerful conversation. Thank you.

Alicia Robertson 43:20
Thank you so much. I really am grateful to be here

Casey O'Roarty 43:30
Yay. All right. Thank you again for listening in to a another show. Please check the show notes for any links mentioned in this episode. If you liked what you heard today, we do me a favor and share it screenshot the show plastered all over your socials so that other parents know that we are creating value over here for them. If you really want to earn a gold star, head to Apple podcasts and leave us a review this does so much for the show for the exposure. It's a great way to give back. Thank you to my team at Sprout double for all your support. Alana Juliet, I love you so much. Thank you to Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper for keeping the show sounding so good. And you listener, thank you for continuing to show up. This is hard work that we're doing. I encourage you in this moment. In this moment together. Let's take a deep breath in. And follow that into your body. Hold it for a moment, exhale. And with that exhale, release the tension. And I invite you to trust, trust that everything is going to be okay. I'm so happy to support you. So glad to have spent time with you today. I'll see you next week.

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