Tandy & Mateo Gutierrez
Navigating Marriage & Parenthood: The 5 Love Languages, Setting Boundaries, Astrology & More
EPISODE: 55 | DATE: August 12, 2021
“You just have to keep communicating. Even if it’s uncomfortable communication. How do you feel? What do you want? What’s working? What’s not working? Try to voice those things with the goal being to solve rather than to be right.”
How long have you been married?
- 15 years
- We met in Vegas.
- We are the handbook for how not to do things.
- Yet somehow it completely works.
- We don’t know our actual anniversary date.
- We agreed to celebrate the last Saturday in August.
- We also got married in Vegas.
Why did you decide to get married there?
- I think we were trying to go as cheesy as possible.
- It was a second marriage for both of us. We met in Vegas. I’m a wellness witch. We’re woo woo and were from the very beginning.
- And we are the handbook of how not to do things. Should I just say all the things?
- I was pregnant!
- We had been together for 6 months before the universe decided we were intended to be a family.
- So I was 3 months pregnant with our son, Milo who is now 14.
- Mateo and Tandy tell the story of how they met and how their marriage came to be.
I was going to ask if you guys had any conversations about how your relationship was going to change before you had Milo. You might have, but maybe not, given that you got pregnant by accident. Did you guys have that conversation to prepare for the arrival of Milo, practically, spiritually and emotionally?
- Mateo: We didn’t have that conversation at all. Not in the slightest.
- I already had a 9 year old son.
- I didn’t really think I was going to have any more children.
- But then when Tandy took the test and it was positive, I felt so excited and happy.
- But no we didn’t sit down and say do we want to have children someday, etc?
- Tandy: We actually did have one conversation about having kids.
- To your questions, Lauren, there was no strategy involved.
- I didn’t find out I was pregnant until nearly the end of the first trimester.
- We had had one conversation about having kids on one of my visits to LA in the very beginning.
- He told me, “I don’t think I need or want anymore children,” And I said, “Ok, I need to be clear. I may need to have one.”
- Mateo: You’re right, we did have that conversation. I remember that.
- Tandy: Because I’d been really on the fence as an adoptee with a mom who raised me that was highly abusive whether or not I wanted to have one or not. And I didn’t know if I really wanted children or not.
- But I think I knew enough to say I think I may need to have one. I would love to have my own to have that lineage intact because I didn’t have that as an adoptee.
- But it was very loose. It wasn’t like I need to be pregnant in 2 years. None of that.
And Tandy, when Mateo said that Milo was an “accident” and you said no he wasn’t, I’m assuming what you meant was that the universe doesn’t do accidents.
- Tandy: Correct.
- I have autoimmune issues, including thyroid dysfunction.
- My symptomatic stuff was always hormonal.
- So when people were like how did you not know you were pregnant?
- Because the things that happen in that first trimester of extreme fatigue and slight nausea were things I lived with periodically anyhow.
- But it got to a point that actually my sister in law was like are you pregnant?
- And that light in my brain was like oh ok.
- And when I found out I was indeed pregnant, I was like this is so weird but I’d never been so happy in my whole life!
Can you speak to how having a child changed your relationship for better or for worse?
- Mateo: For sure! I think I’d been through a lot raising a child in a difficult situation in a divorce.
- And so I had a lot of ideas about what it meant to raise a child again that were very controlling and very much, “I will step in and do everything and function as the mom and the father,” because that’s all I knew how to do up until that point…that’s how I showed up.
- And I say that without any disrespect to my eldest son’s mother who was present on the weekends, she’s a loving mother and has always been present and been a good mother.
- So I don’t have any ill will towards her.
- But there was a division of labor there that wasn’t – for lack of a better word – “traditional.”
- So I came into it with a lot of sense of, “I’m going to do everything!”
- I viewed it all as starting a job and I think I forgot in some instances to just enjoy it.
- And I think now that we have a second child together, I’ve done a better job of just enjoying the second child from the day he was born.
- But I’ve learned to really enjoy and appreciate Milo (our eldest son together) a while ago instead of viewing him as just work.
- Tandy: I think that initially it was – it’s a little bit like a roller coaster ride.
- Some periods of time were for better and some for worse.
- Being pregnant was amazing. I’d never felt so important or taken care of or tended to or loved and Mateo is truly a papa bear in all the ways.
- And I think that when Milo arrived we won’t get into all of it here – initially for 3 months I was just tired all the time.
- I remembered having it felt like we didn’t have a relationship as partners because nobody was sleeping and Mateo was still going to work and I was a new mom.
- I had no idea what I was doing. My mom wasn’t present. And I had such a learning curve because we weren’t trying to get pregnant.
- I hadn’t been reading books. I felt very much behind the curve. And I was also the first of my friend group to be pregnant. So I felt very alone in it.
- And not as a family but just – not so much partnering.
- It just felt like a separation of I’m going to nap when he naps, I’ll figure out how to breastfeed, I’m just going to be in pain – it was so foggy.
- Then Milo had some medical issues to put it lightly and it was highly traumatic for the household.
- In a very odd way I felt very connected to Mateo but that also put an undermining piece that had all the questions: did we do this too fast? Do I really know this person? What is going on?
- So it was all and both in a very roller coaster sense of the term.
- To speak to the day to day I did feel when Mateo would come home from work he almost didn’t let me mother.
- Mateo: That’s true.
- Tandy: He was so used to parenting.
- And for me I did default a little bit. I hadn’t ever changed a diaper until my kid came along. And he’d done it for years!
- I know some moms would think that’s so amazing – and it was and still is because Mateo is an incredibly hands-on father and it’s 50/50 in our house.
- But in those beginning stages it really poked at my capacity to mother.
- And a little bit of a learning curve that I felt put me at a distance from Milo in a weird way.
- Mateo: We aren’t going to talk about it on this podcast in terms of Milo’s medical condition.
- But I think it would be im,possible not to at least say one word about it.
- But I think that whenever you have a kid as a couple it’s kind of like – in the perfect world, 2 people go outward bound and learn how to climb a tree together! And that’s the perfect child experience.
- And in our analogy we were like naked in the Vietnam war.
- It was such a hard year. It was easily the hardest experience I have ever had.
- And I look back – I feel like we had no reason to meet. We met in Vegas by chance. For whatever reason the universe put us together to really get over our baggage and shit from our family and history real fast.
- And it said you guys are going to figure this out real fast.
- I felt like we went to outward bound times 1000.
- I learned more about you and you about me in a matter of 6 months than I’ve learned about any human being ever.
- Tandy: I think most parents who went through what we went through – Milo is fine and great at this point – but he could have not been.
- And I do absolutely know that most parents wouldn’t have survived – they wouldn’t be together as a couple.
What do you think made the difference? Because you’re right – any kind of trauma can break or make a couple. What do you think is the difference between breaking and strengthening? What has it been for you guys?
- Tandy: For me I will say – and this is because there is no other answer – it’s the woo woo that comes as far as my intuition and gut feelings – through that experience and being pregnant, I would just continue to check in with how I felt about Mateo and about each situation as they came.
- And what I knew about Mateo in a short period is that he always showed up for me.
- In weird funny little ways, he was always willing to have a conversation.
- He was always willing to be comfortable and to listen to me.
- And the thing that has allowed us to make it through is I kept checking in with key points.
- People make mistakes but all said and done Mateo always shows up – he will eventually always hear me even if he doesn’t agree.
- And I’ve never had anyone in my life do that before.
- Mateo: I think we are also both capable – without knowing it – we were too young to know – but we both also saw when the other person was off the rails and going over the edge.
- For example, I started drinking too much and Tandy saw that and decided to stay with it and work through it and love me and stand by my side.
- And I saw when she lost faith in whether or not Milo was going to make it and I was like no we’re going to make it through.
- So we each went to our edge – we always came back to the center of love.
- We always had this ability to navigate back to love. For whatever reason!
- We didn’t even really know each other! I don’t know why. I think many people would have been like I don’t know you and this is insane. But we never went there and we always brought each other back to the middle. We still do!
And just as an observer it sounds like when you fight you fight from the same side of the line and a lot of couples don’t do that. You also communicate in a way that’s respectful of the other person but also of yourself. And it sounds like your core values are aligned. We’re stripped down in those moments of trauma. As a new parent it’s already traumatic in and of itself and it’s intense because you’ve never done this before and your whole body is ripped open and in those moments we’re stripped down to nothing and our core values are what are left. And it sounds like your core values are aligned. And the other thing I noticed is that it doesn’t sound like you guys don’t throw insults at each other. You own your feelings. Which doesn’t mean you don’t get angry but you own your feelings. Is that all about right?
- Mateo: I would like to thank Tandy for not laughing at me.
- I would say yes. That’s mostly a very really kind assessment.
- And I think the only thing I would add to that in having grown up in the chaos I did is that when chaos arrives I oddly get very calm.
- When chaos goes away is when I’m not at my best.
- And that’s when I have crossed the line and hurled insults and needed to be right.
- And to Tandy’s credit – this is where she brings that aspect of the relationships back from the edge.
- I think given your experience as a child, Tandy, which is abnormally challenging for all the reasons we won’t go into here – that you’ve had an ability to navigate your own well being and be the person that is being discussed here.
- But my response was to fight and get angry – in general, in life – very male, latino – fight, argue, throw things, yell.
- And inside there is that person that’s not that person that’s always wanted to come out and you’ve allowed that person to come out.
- So I would credit you for bringing that sanity into the relationship.
- And it’s taken years to do that and for me to fully understand that. And I’m still understanding that, to be honest.
I’m sure. I think we just keep developing and pulling back layers of ourselves until we take our last breath.
- Tandy: Yeah and I would say the same and that – we’ve evolved as a couple and really grown. It’s been 15 years.
- And in the spectrum of relationships it doesn’t sound like a lot but it is.
- And we’re not the same people we were in the beginning.
- I was much more immature. Especially in my concepts of male/female relationships.
- And gosh I wish we were so evolved from the beginning and we weren’t.
- I think it’s important for people to hear that.
- I did go to Mateo with an ultimatum at one point because of the drinking but it was always out of love.
- I think part of my unique personage in this world and because of the way I grew up – I can feel who a person really is at their core energetically.
- And it’s like the hurt people hurt people.
- When you see certain acts and behaviors you go, “That’s not really that person. It’s the tools that they have or the space of hurt that they are in.”
- And this is not to cultivate a broken bird syndrome of “I can help somebody!” NO!
- But in this moment – for better or for worse of our vows really do believe that we have lived those in ebb and flow.
- Like Mateo said – we’ll each get to an edge sometimes and then go oh, that’s a boundary.
- We have taken certain phrases off the table when we argue.
- We went through a big phase of maybe we just don’t do this anymore and we get divorced. And in a calm phase we came together and I was like can we just take that off the table?
- Mateo: Yeah that’s a threat. You can’t have a threat.
- Tandy: Yeah – I get being angry and we can say things and apologize. But words really are powerful.
- So I want to be clear that we weren’t always so evolved. There have been mean things said on both sides. There have been some major blow outs that I didn’t know if we’d recover from.
- But I always go back to: have I said what I meant? Would I do that again? What was the intention behind it?
- I’ll go apologize. I never mean to be hurtful but I’m also not going to be silent to make someone else comfortable.
- And then set a boundary of ok, it got to this place. I’m not willing for it to go further or – the biggest one for us was taking the phrase of getting divorced or leaving each other off the table.
- Because it’s – yeah. We were not always so evolved! And you grow. But what I’ve noticed is that Mateo always comes to the table. We always move through things. It’s not always comfortable. We have spent days in silence.
- Mateo: I’ll add that I’ve realized we have different emotional intelligences.
- Mine is really cultural. And Tandy’s is personal and interpersonal.
- And so it took me a long time to finally realize that actually, Tandy is better at her own management of her emotional intelligence and her understanding and her ability to evolve it.
- That was a very emotionally intelligent thing for me to realize.
- To say to myself you can actually gain a lot by slowing down and not thinking that you’re right and learning from this moment.
- When I was 46 years old I quit drinking. That was 6 years ago. And I didn’t look back.
- It wasn’ this huge thing. I didn’t go to AA. I just looked at things really honestly and for lack of a better word, it was truly a spiritual journey.
- And I can’t not think that wasn’t deeply if not entirely influenced by tapping into Tandy’s emotional intelligence.
- This is when relationships are beautiful is when people get on that path even when they look different and they evolve together.
- And my evolution has always been cultural, analytical and anthropological. And it’s never been personal.
- So Tandy helped me do that. And I think that’s really saved our relationship.
That reminds me of The 5 Love Languages. At the end of the day it’s all love but there are apparently 5 different ways that are more dominant. They are different languages that are saying the same thing. But what you’re saying is that it’s important to understand each other’s love language, right?
- Mateo: That whole love language thing really changed a lot for us.
- And I think there is something not being discussed here which is I think male love and how men understand or are conditioned to see love and understand relationships – I think there is a lot of cultural conditioning there.
- I think men will go ahead and self destruct. I can certainly say that for myself.
- I would make gorgeous art in my view – work my ass off to the point where I’d kill myself. And in our relationship Tandy has helped me to see that that’s not a price worth paying.
- That’s a terrible price to pay.
- And I think that’s something that a lot of men in our culture, which we have an epidemic of violence and all the things we look at that are vastly male – there is a reason for that.
- And as a male it’s been enlightening for me to look at that and not only go gosh I can change but actually gosh I don’t even want to be that person.
- And I think many men don’t want to be that person.
- So you know. There is a whole book in there for someone to write if not already!
Yes there is one of them called How to Raise Boys and lots of books about how to raise emotionally intelligent boys. We have a history of telling boys not to cry. Men haven’t been traditionally “allowed” to be emotional or to cry or to have feelings. And the reality is we’re humans and we have feelings. And it’s been to the detriment of men that they don’t know how to be in touch with their emotions because they were conditioned not to feel them.
- Mateo: Yes and we live in a household with 4 men and Tandy!
- Tandy: I graduated from an all women’s college and am well versed on feminists foundations.
- So it’s been an interesting journey because we’re a unique pairing as to where we’ve come from.
- But we come from a place of love, of humans trying to navigate through.
- Luck has some to do with it. We have been lucky enough to evolve mostly together.
- More like a leapfrog. One person will move forward and the other person is like hey I’m supposed to be right next to you!
- But I think where there is a lot of discussion right now is the emotional intelligence and it’s particularly important to me as a mother of boys in this culture.
- I’m fiercely femimist.
- But feminism is the odd belief that women are people too! There are no boy or girl things. There are only things we like.
- And when it comes to our relationship – one of the things that I loved so much is that Mateo was willing to have very intellectual conversations with me.
- And it wasn’t sexualized at all. The conversations weren’t about getting into my pants.
- Mateo is one of the most open and without the political language of non binary and knowing the definitions.
- He’s let me evolve without putting me in a box as a female.
- I feel like he’s allowed me to evolve and be brave externally and I’ve allowed him to be brave and evolve internally.
From an astrological standpoint – you mentioned you’re woo woo and the universe brought you together and brought you Milo and Sam. Can you give a little bit of advice to couples based on their astrological signs and why might that matter as it relates to their partnership?
- Tandy: I think this is fun!
- I don’t know that I would do a breakdown of signs but if you’re at all interested in astrology to know your own chart – the sun, rising and the moon sign – if nothing else.
- Not just the sun sign.
- Because this gives a foundation of your personality and what I call our original factory settings when we burst onto this planet.
- So the sun sign is how you present yourself to the world, how the world perceives you.
- Your rising sign is your true internal heart centered self.
- And your moon sign is how you’re emotionally wired to react to things.
- Although as humans we do evolve. We can learn and make shifts and changes and grow.
- But if you know your original set point then you know your triggers.
- So I always say – I do a simple stars astrology reading – and if you know your setpoint, your blessings are your blessings. They aren’t going to go away.
- If you’re Tuarus in any of those places – you’ll be lovey, loyal and a snuggler.
- If you’re a Leo – similar.
- The person you love is going to know it because you’re going to pet them, you’re going to hold their hand. You’re going to brush their hair.
- Some signs are more extroverted, loving or easier to see that they are affectionate towards you.
- But then there are signs like aquarius that get perceived as zero feels.
- They are super smart and intellectual. But they don’t get feelings.
- They don’t really show up for people in physical ways. They mean to. They’re thinking about it. They love you in their head but they just don’t alway – like they’ll miss lunch because they forgot.
- Capricorns can be similar in that way of showing zero feels but they feel deeply and intensely.
- So I think if couples can know those 3 points of themselves, one aims for better understanding of themselves – oh I am kind of wired like that!
- Then so oh that’s going to be troublesome – because every sign has their imbalance (insecurities and weaknesses) and when you know your own weight – you can work towards that.
- I’m a taurus sun. I’m very loyal and food is my love language but if we’re going to get into an argument, I’m going to bare my horns, be super abstinent and aim to win. That’s my set point.
- Knowing my setpoint can give me more grace and go you human, you’re not always right.
- You’re going to have to leave that window open and listen.
- And so when you can learn your partner’s 3 signs – it also gives a lens of love of oh this is going to be hard for them.
- You can give them more grace in that space. You don’t excuse it. But you give grace.
- And then you know where they are going to be really easy and that’s lovely too!
- So in our house we can use it as a joke but it always gives me a lens of taking a step back and not taking things personally.
- And aiming for a language to try to navigate through things rather than fight to win.
- And just knowing how our energetic wiring will have us bumping up against each other.
- So Mateo’s and my sun signs – he’s a sag sun and I’m a taurus sun.
- In some ways they are just complete opposites. We create balance in complete opposition or just a hell of a fight in complete opposition.
- Mateo: As someone who doesn’t study this – I think the thing that’s interesting about astrological signs and relationships that I’ve found for anyone listening who don’t get it – I’ve never really felt like they’ve ever been anything but constructive.
- I’ve never thought Tandy knows my sign and will use it against me.
- I’ve only actually ever felt that it creates a bit of a break for me.
- It’s like well I’m a sag – I might want to run out the door and do something fun!
- And instead of feeling like gosh I wish she was more like me, What’s wrong with her? It’s like – She’s Tuaraun! She wants to stay home and snuggle on the couch. God bless her.
- It actually alleviates some of the conflicts that can exist between couples by allowing you to be who you are and giving you comfort in that and seeing it as an attribute that’s positive and maybe even beautiful versus something that’s different and frustrating or that you don’t like.
I love that! And it’s really a know thyself, whether it’s astrology or human design or therapy or something. If you know your triggers and tendencies and those of your partner – and of your children – you’re going to be able to navigate things much better. Because if you’re constantly trying to force somebody who is an introvert to be an extrovert or vice versa, you’re never going to get anywhere! You may as well stop – accept or separate!
- Tandy: Totally! And it’s even helped me because I’m more of the introvert and he is more extrovert in some ways. And it has helped me to not take on any guilt for it.
- Like he wants to go out and run around all day long and I don’t want to – we both go ok! Can we pick one day to stay in and snuggle and one day to go out – and the rest of the time it’s ok!
- Mateo: It’s almost like a love language too. Because then I can also go, “She really wants to stay home and that will make her happy.”
- It’s actually helpful to know those things versus feeling like she’s taking something away by not hanging out with me.
- Tandy: And again it’s a different kind of concept of – old school concepts of astrology is you’re locked into it and you’re at the fate of it.
- But fate and free will go hand in hand. And free will is the most powerful magic we have.
- When we know our trip ups or triggers and the good stuff, it just gives more permission to be more of our authentic selves and to lend more empathy to let everyone else be more of their authentic self.
Yes and I can see how it would be beneficial to know astrology and the charts of your children because how many times are you having a conversation with your child and feeling frustrated and it’s because that’s not how they see the world! So you have to come to that level. And they’ve written 5 love languages for children too.
- Mateo: I think it’s extremely useful for children because I think to take it full circle back to an earlier thing you said – I don’t think children get easier.
- I can say from my own experience- I have a 25 year old. They don’t get easier.
- And they shouldn’t. They’re human beings, they are complicated.
- I’m not easy. I may have been able to throw a plastic toy when I was 4 but now I can throw a really big thing!
- So they don’t get easier. So the more you know about them or can understand them the better.
- Tandy: And in fact doing our kids charts honestly for me is the one thing that has really helped transform/influence my parenting style.
- I continue to refer back to their charts all the time. Our oldest is a double aries. And for people who are into that – he has been challenging.
- Our children are our greatest teachers. They do come in with their own setpoints, their own wiring, their own ideas from the very moment they take their first breath.
- And I really felt challenged and bumped up against him and still do.
- But when I finally saw his chart and I learned more about it every day this was so much allowance to it.
- It just lends so much grace!
- We were like oh here are his original settings so how can I communicate with him better? What are going to be his triggers based on these things? How can we better support him in his original factory settings?
That makes sense. That’s really empowering. It’s a parenting tool that no one really talks about.
- Tandy: I really encourage my clients and our members – especially for newer parents because you’ll get frustrated.
- It challenges you to communicate differently and ask are we educating or lessening?
- We are definitely still working on our growth because the stages shift.
- I think it’s more physically challenging the younger they are but more emotionally and mentally challenging as they get older.
- Marco (my stepson) is 25 and I’ve been around since he was 9. That has had some major shifts.
- Milo is 14. There is a shift, we’re in another shift right now.
- Mateo: For me children again – you know those circular tooth mirrors?
- When you have an infant it’s little.
- As they get older the mirror gets bigger and they become fully emotional creatures and you’re looking in every crevice of your psyche and you’re yelling and you’re like what am I yelling about?
- That’s what makes it so complicated and yet such a gift. Kids will teach you everything.
We’ve hit the hour mark but I can’t let you go without asking this question about sex after children. How do people keep their love life alive after having children?
- Mateo: I think you have to still like having sex with each other. That’s important.
- I think we’ve always liked having sex with each other.
- If we don’t have sex regularly we know we’ll argue or fight.
- We know we won’t get along as well and I think we really miss each other.
- So I think for us it’s just a priority in our lives.
- Tandy: Yes and our kids are now 25, 14 and 9. It’s so different from the beginning.
- One, Mateo and I are lucky because we both have a healthy sex drive and enjoy it.
- Not everyone feels that way so there is some luck within that.
- But we went through some rough patches after giving birth.
- Some very rough patches or just not wanting somebody to touch me because I’m all boobs and there is a little creature on me all the time and I don’t want another one on me.
- I definitely went through those phases. But we’re in a beautiful space now.
- We got there because we recognized if we didn’t have sex every week – we fight.
- We pick on each other. So we created a calendar and there was resistance to scheduling sex and yah, if you ever want to have sex again, you’re going to have to schedule.
- So we have a weekly date. Sometimes something happens or we take that time to be intimate in conversation.
- We also have a very fair and 50 50 relationship of giving and receiving in that relationship and act.
- I think checking in with what the needs are and wants are and valuing that that does evolve.
- But also it’s not spur of the moment. It’s scheduled.
It’s so easy for sex to be the first thing that goes because you’re so sleep deprived and tired and you don’t have a lot of time. But it’s important to make that happen. And the other thing – for me personally if my intimate needs emotionally haven’t been met I’m not interested in having sex at all. I probably should flip that a bit – sometimes sex will put you out of your mind.
- Mateo: I would agree with that. I think a lot of times you do need to set that time aside no matter what you’re feeling because it might be that I’m just screwed up in my head and I just need to get to a better place.
- Tandy: Yes and as an embodiment coach, which I am, we can get as humans so in our heads.
- And what’s the one way to get out of your head? Into the vessel.
- So in our relationship, we are in a safe, loving and consensual relationship that for us sometimes let’s just start and see if we can get there – has been helpful for us.
- Now if you’re interpersonal pieces aren’t being met in other places – and sometimes they’re not – last week I was like we won’t have this opportunity for another week but I need to talk to you right now!
- And I had that moment of I hate to do this but this is where I’m at right now.
- And having a healthy relationship – all healing comes back to the self – is having a healthy relationship with yourself and knowing what you need at what point.
- You’re not always going to know, but if you have a partner who is willing to hold that space for you, that’s important.
- Not having sex consistently was really not great for us.
- But I’ve also recognize that we both have a high sex drive, we enjoy sex and we enjoy it with each other and it’s one of the things we really like to do together.
- When you ask couples what they like to do, I like conversations and sex with my husband.
- So to me all of the work of parenting and humaning is what are we doing it for if we don’t have another human we are sharing a physical intimacy with emotionally and mentally.
Any parting words for anyone listening who is new into parenthood or still has small kids at home? Any encouragement for keeping their relationship at the forefront in a healthy way?
- Tandy: I would say and it sounds cheesy but the basics are really important – that you just have to keep communicating. Even if it’s uncomfortable communication.
- How do you feel? What do you want? What’s working? What’s not working? And try to voice those things with the goal being to solve not to be right.
- From an astrological standpoint, an aquarian nature to solve for the highest and greatest good works well. That doesn’t mean selling yourself out.
- There is great empowerment. You can have incredibly fierce boundaries about what works for you and what doesn’t. But especially in a relationship – if you aim to solve rather than to be correct, I think that transforms everything.
- Mateo: I will add I think that when you’re in the throws of it and you’ve got your little kids – if I could go back and give myself a piece of advice I would say Mateo, you should just allow yourself to feel a little bit vulnerable and get it off your chest without it feel like it needs to be solved.
- So just listen to each other. Don’t go down the path of fixing. I’m exhausted, I’m tired. I’m mad. I wish I wish – and you go ok. That’s all. And that’s it. Let each other be human.
- Tandy: And not talking each other out of their feelings or their experience either.
- Some things do need to be solved but you’re right. They don’t all need to be fixed and solved.
- Sometimes they just need to be heard and I think listening without feeling responsible for your partner’s emotions? It’s that funny line of balance of just holding space.
- And there are no right answers.
- And as a parent that’s wow – being a parent is going to push you earnestly to be your best self, to be able to let go, to be able to go I can’t solve that. I don’t know!
- And be ok in the not knowing. And I think when it comes to relationships…when we communicate – I will say this as a tool that’s helped us is that I will try to state ahead of time – I just need to vent. I don’t want or need you to solve right now.
- I’m not in a headspace to take solutions or it’s just going to piss me off because I’m smart. I know what needs to be done. I just need to vent.
- Going to the conversation and going I really need you to offer some solutions because I’m at a loss. And when someone is venting, we’ve learned to ask: are you open to hearing some things because I’ve got some offerings! And being evolved enough to go no, that’s going to implode right now.
- Because one thing we didn’t touch on that I think is really important is that there are a lot of fire signs in our house. We’re very heated, intuitive, creative, and intelligent. Temperatures can rise!
- And I think it’s really important to even if it feels hot headed and mean to cut it off and be able to spend that cooling down time to come back together. So that old adage of never go to bed angry? I was at a wedding show once and I was like that’s BS!
- Knowing you and knowing your partner and setpoints – actually in our house allowing for that space to cool down has been transformative!
- I’ll communicate when I’m ready to communicate. I’ll let you know.
- Until I’m ready we’re not having this conversation.
- And it’s very different than shutting things down because you will get hot and passionate and angry.
- You’ll feel really frustrated and as a parent you’ll feel very helpless at at times. So anger is a constructive piece of human emotion.
- It shouldn’t be terrifying but most of our experiences with it are only that. So when we can leave space for anger in constructive ways that we all feel safe – I think that’s super important to hear also.
- Because it isn’t all sunshine and roses! You’re not going to agree all the time. You will not know the right thing to do. And this idea that you can just solve everything in 24 hours is silly.
- Mateo: Last thing – if you’re a new parent, you should have open, clear conversations about division of labor.
- I think that’s really important to sit down and everybody talks about it.
- Because that can be detrimental when it all lies and comes out in these awful ways.
- Tandy: And the division of labor still inadvertently falls on mothers.
- And in our household it’s not the norm and part of why I love you Mateo so much is that he’ll often take on more if I’m not careful.
- And I think to speak to that division of labor thing, there is this assumption that the mothers will keep doing the things that they were doing before. That’s an impossible ask.
- But have the conversation, and have it over and over again. Because schedules change and the ages and stages change, as does the division of labor.
- Now that our kids are older, they can do some of the labor too!
Mateo Gutiérrez is a NYC based artist born in Geneva Switzerland and raised in Tokyo Japan and the San Francisco Bay Area. He works in themes relating to empire, colonialism, consumption, identity, violence and media. Mateo shut down his studio in 2010 and destroyed all of his work in disgust with the state of the world (read the story of returning to his work here). He began working again in 2018 after tracing his family origins through Spain, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Puerto Rico. He earned his BA in philosophy from UC Berkeley, and his MFA in painting from UT Austin.
Tandy Gutierrez is the founder & creator of Unicorn Wellness. She is a busy mom, step-mom, wife, tarot reader, intuitive-psychic, and author, thriving in an autoimmune body (Celiac, thyroidectomy, IBS) with 20+ years of experience in the fitness & wellness industry. Tandy is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost Pilates experts featured in Allure, Seventeen, Self, and Elle Magazine and was the first Pilates Regional Manager for Equinox Fitness SoCal. She currently lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband, two sons, and their blue-russian cat, named Mouse, and loves espresso.
Website & Link to 14 day free trial: https://www.unicornwellnessstudio.com/a/27402/fAQ29rsD
You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMgXBQWAJ9uppSbtmeK1FcA
Resources mentioned in this episode
Book: The 5 Love Languages
Book: The 5 Love Languages of Children
Book: How to Raise a Boy
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