ANYTHING BUT BEIGE: Episode 17: Parenting (with) Personality in the time of COVID with Angela Dallesandro

by megan
Published: Last Updated on

Parenting is never easy but some people just do it with such breeze. 

Take it from Angela Dallesandro and find out how you can parenting with personality and respect. 

1:17 Angela’s story

16:28 parenting in the time of COVID

28:13 on having a respectful stance towards children

34:44 how your child should be cared for from Angela’s point of view

I’m Megan Brame, and this is anything but beige. Let’s go. 

Hi, I’m Angela, and I love parenting with respect. 

Hey, guys. Megan here. Thank you so much for joining me today. This is gonna be such a good talk. The talk that we were having before this recording is just mind blowing. So I can’t wait to see what we’re gonna bring up today. So I am here with Angela Dallensandro. She is a parenting personality who takes parenting seriously, but not herself. And she is a tick tock personality. You confined her as a learn tick tock partner, but we’ll get into all of that towards the end. First, let’s start at the beginning. It’s a place to start. So where do you want to start with your story? 

Well, I want to start with appreciation of your musical theater reference there. Don’t think I totally did not miss it because I have a background in performing, which I did mention in our chat before we started. So I do love a little Rodgers and Hammerstein, but where did I start? I was raised by two parents who came from very similar backgrounds and sort of came away with the different ideas about parenting. You know, they grew up in the fifties and sixties. It was very Children are seen and not heard. One of my parents sort of stuck with that and said, Well, I turned out fine. You know, Let’s let’s do that with our own Children. Whereas my mother said I was not a fan of that. I want to make sure that my kids have a voice. Now you can imagine that led to some colorful discourse in my home, as my parents sort of work that out amongst themselves, and they are both awesome and will be listening to this as I throw them under the bus. But it meant that I was really from Day one, looking at how in upbringing can so strongly influenced the way that somebody is going to treat their kids in the future. But I kind of forgot about all that for a while, you know. I plodded along. I was young and doing whatever I was doing. I was performing, traveling, doing theater, different places. But I always had a lot of odd jobs, and somebody those jobs dealt with Children. So I was teaching voice and dance to five year olds, and I was teaching music and I was nanny ing and I also worked at a yeshiva school for a while, which is the first place that the ideas of respect and education really came into play. It was the first school that I had worked in, and they knew that I was a big reader, and someone gave me a copy of this book called The Blessing of a Skinned Knee, which I’m gonna bring up on my iPad. Who? There we go. I, of course, didn’t put the author there. Her name is Wendy, and I forget her last name. It’s escaping me, but it really sort of. I had come at education with a less than stellar perception. I had been in and out of public and private schools and also been home schooled myself and hadn’t really ever been in a school environment that I felt was ideal or even close to it. So I worked in this yeshiva school, and I saw this sort of utopia of this collaborative experience between educators and students and so much respect, not only in the sense of those in power and those learning from them, but also between the students themselves. I thought, you know, there’s really something here where how are these kids being raised on what’s being taught to them? That I had just not experienced myself. And then my contract ended there, and I became a music teacher, and that’s birth to five years old. Mommy and me, technically caregiver and child music classes that are so based upon foundations of respect and allowing the kids to do whatever is developmentally appropriate for them at that time, meaning that if you have a kid who wants to mouth all the instruments, it’s more on the parent to keep them safe and let them explore. Of course, it sounds horrible in a covert world, but we were sanitizing everything up the wazoo, then to necessarily say, this is how you use a tamburine. You know, it was What does this do? Hey, it makes noise. Is it a hat, you know, and giving these kids the space where what was taught to me in my training was? It’s really the parents and the caregivers who are the students of the class. The kids are watching them model that behavior, they’re watching musicality. They’re watching dancing. And they’re also watching the community. People sit in a circle and share objects and interact together, obviously with the mission of making music. But it was such a metaphor for life where you gave these kids space, you made sure the room was safe. So you weren’t over correcting them. You were setting them up for success to physically and emotionally feel comfortable. And you were doing what needed to be done and letting them observe. I had so many students take their first steps in my class. I had so many students sing for the first time in my class and Obviously we weren’t teaching them to walk and we weren’t really teaching them to sing. We were just existing in a way that was rife for, you know, tiny sponges to pick up. And all of this was before I had kids, so I had some of these really wonderful foundational experiences on. Then, in 2015 I became pregnant with my daughter, actually, after losing two very short term pregnancies before her. So I was coming into being pregnant with my daughter, essentially fearing that I might not have this journey for myself. I didn’t know that it was gonna happen for me again. I was starting to become very fearful. And, I had her in December of 2015 and just realized, you know, I guess that cliche hit that you get you know of the torrent of emotion when you have a baby and you’re suddenly responsible for another person in a way that you have never felt before. And I realized that I had all of this love for my daughter that I had never really shown myself, and I thought, Well, it’s I mean, this is wonderful that I’m accessing these feelings, but I thought back to all of the modeling behaviors that I had witnessed and learned about, and I realized that I needed to model some really basic concepts for her. But first I needed to learn how to do them with myself. So all of that being said, I started to dive into re parenting. You know, the practice and the psychology behind what we as adults may have needed as Children that we didn’t get. And it was a really wild ride. It was really painful. I did not expect how much I used the metaphor of paving a road. I traveled by road and I had my experiences. I had an eating disorder for well over a decade. I was bulimic, and I also have binge eating disorder, and I recovered by then. I had some really significant losses over the course of a year. That sort of catapulted my recovery in an unexpected way. I have lightly paved over all of this stuff, and I thought, you know, I’m handling it. I’m generally a functional adult. I was able to fall in love and get married and have a wonderful marriage to an awesome guy. I thought Okay, Like someone could hand me a baby and I could do this. And I had that moment when she was about 10 months old. I’m stubborn. It took me about 10 months of ignoring things and, you know, having my hormonal breakdowns not to be reductive. Look back and say, Gosh, I got to dig up and repave this road. I really need to take a hard look at what got me here and say Okay, I am surviving? Yes. Are their behaviors to which I am no longer, you know, bound. Sure, but I think I can do better. I think I would be selling myself short and my husband short. And this baby and any other babies that might come after her short if I don’t really get a handle on some of this And I have a lot of privilege, you know? I’m home with my now two Children, my parents and my in- laws air nearby. I have the resources to take care of myself. Well, I did this work, you know? I had the emotional bandwidth. I wasn’t working a full time job. I stopped working. I worked freelance but I was able to take those jobs as I needed that. That’s not everybody’s experience. And I know based on how lonely I felt and how tax I felt as someone with a support system, a robust support system and still feeling so alone, I realized how under supported parents are and mothers specifically, you know, in our society. And then I did it again. I had another kid, and my son had a lot of health issues in the first six months of his life, and I ended up kind of regressing a lot. You know, it was not an easy road for me again. I thought, Well, I thought I knew how to do this, and I’m gonna keep learning how to do it. You know, I couldn’t. There were no laurels to rest upon, you know, and nothing lays you bare like when you’re sleep deprived and your kid is screaming for his third hour straight and he’s in pain and you don’t know how to help him. And I said, so much of this has nothing to do with my Children and how they’re behaving and everything to do with my stress response and you know things that I really, really wanted to hope for. We’re not going to have to tie into my parenting experience. I just wanted to shut the door and I was able to do that. But I like to believe that everything sort of conspires to get you where you need to be when you need to get there. And I was able to look back at all of those little experiences that I had, and it planted the idea in my head that there was another way to do things other than what parenting blocks were saying. But a lot of the mainstream resources were saying, which is so obedience based and so much about control, and to me, that seeking of control feels much more about meeting a parents need that maybe has never been met, and they finally have a way to sort of exercise that dynamic. Then what’s actually good for a child? So that’s sort of how I got here. I just love to read Thank goodness and I read quickly on Bond. I was up in the middle of my nursing all the time, and I would just chip away at it. I basically forced myself to do it because the pain of not doing it was greater than the temporary inconvenience. So alphasense how I got here and now I’m here. 

There’s a lot to unpack there, and so I don’t even know what’s in my head. We’ll just put it that way. What’s in my head and then we’ll go from there is that you have an incredible story and a wonderful, awesome background that has given you, like you said, advantage. But you also deal with stresses that are very common for parents, right? Like they have this dichotomy of what I need to do with best for my kids. But I need a fucking minute, you know? I make some time. 

I mean, even 30 seconds. Sometimes they are at odds. That’s the problem is that you know we want kids sometimes to just work around us for 10 minutes. And what, especially is being magnified by the pandemic, is the fact that you don’t get that space and where, stressed his parents and our kids have their own version of that stress, which is completely legitimate. And, When kids air stressed they generally need their parents more. And when parents are stressed, they generally need their children less. So it’s difficult to acknowledge everybody’s needs and to say, you know, I’m a grown up here. When can I tap out? Is there just somebody standing there that I could say, like five minutes? You know? And yes. But sometimes you know, I’ve had days where my kids were really struggling, but I had to be somewhere. I’m gone for a few hours and I come back and everything is magnified because I was gone for a brief amount of time. So for parents who are working and parents who are teachers and teaching and their kids need to learn, there are so many instances where there’s just not enough resources to go around, you know? And it’s tough. I mean, there’s only so many ways that you can say that it’s difficult and there are only so many ways that you can commiserate, and a lot of it is a systemic issue. Not enough parental leave, not enough maternity support, not enough job flexibility, which now good luck employers. When this is over justifying, not giving your parents time off or time to work from home because surprise, they could have done it all along. You know, any kind of flexibility would be welcome for parents, and it just hasn’t been there. You know, it’s just well, there’s somebody else to do the job and, you know, parents are left choosing between their kids and their careers. And, you know, even for people like me who were able to step out of the workforce, that’s great in one hand. But now grass is always greener. You know, I’m taking a break from my career. I have lost any momentum that I may have gained prior. Never mind just the sense of identity of I love being a mom. But I’m permitted to say this is tough to do all day, every day to Only behave in this context. Now the irony is I’m not with my kids very second, but what am I doing? I’m talking about parenting, so I’ve made it my sort of thing, you know, anyway, which is like a really, you know, joke at the end of it, you know, to me, someone who’s like, Well, I’m gonna do all this other stuff and then I end up talking about motherhood anyway, but their conversations that need to be had. So I’m happy to be that person. 

Well, and it’s also interesting we’re kind of touching on it. But I wanna go deep into the self care of parents, along with the stigma of perfect parenthood, you know, and I think that granted, I’m not a parent. But what I’ve seen is that with my niece and things like that that there is, there are some cracks that air happening in that stigma of, like, just a shame around. If your child is different, like too loud or too rambunctious or not doing their work or and like, it’s a failure on you as a parent, and I think that that’s incredibly unfair, but also I see it feel free to disagree with me that there are, like, my new cracks that are happening in that stigma. Maybe because of co vid Or maybe everyone’s just fucking sick of it. 

You know, I think I’m really glad you touched on this point specifically because this is really you know, some of my favorite elements and aspects of the work which is, and it’s multifaceted. So I’m gonna try to address all the stuff that you said and what popped into my own head. As a result, the first thing would be that I think Covid it is definitely blown open that we can’t all be all these things at once, and that’s starting with parents. And it’s thankfully reflecting back down on our kids. Our kids can’t be, you know, whatever the definition of perfect might be Children and students and whatever you know. And no one’s really interested in that narrative anymore. You know where it seems just more attainable, maybe, but not realistic. And you know I have, I guess I haven’t really said it specifically, but I sort of practice what would be called respectful parenting. And there are a few different prongs of parenting. You know, you’ve got your authoritative parenting and your authoritarians parenting and your gentle parenting and your attachment parenting, and I am not a person for labels, but what I really landed on. My guess would technically be called respectful parenting, which means that you meet a person, a person, not just a child, where they are with what they have to give in that moment. So if a kid doesn’t have anything else to give other than stress and you know I hate using the word disobedience, but we’re gonna look at the environment say, how can we support this kid? But that is really not in any way different from what adults are experiencing and I’m just hoping that this national conversation draws a stronger link between children and adults as people who could only handle so much stress and, you know, taxation in any given moment. But the thing is, there is one market difference between adults and Children, which is that our brains have finished developing. So the expectation for Children is so high. But the biology just isn’t there to support what’s being asked of them. And they also don’t just all develop on one neat little bell curve of they’re all traveling the same way at the same time. You know, I first started learning about this when I would read work by Magda Gerber. She’s really like one of the O.G’s of respectful parenting. She is the lady who founded so many of these principles to say, basically do less with and for your Children. Trust them to know what they need to glean what they need for their development at the time and in the way they’re ready to glean those skills, whether they be motor, emotional, social, whatever the case is, you know, and I often use the analogy, you wouldn’t stand a four month old up and ask it to walk just because you wish that it would. That sounds insane. I like to extrapolate into hyperbole because I think it really draws a better connection. But you just you wouldn’t do that because that waki we all know that that’s not to be expected. And when that child expresses frustration and sadness about the fact that you’re asking it to do something that it literally cannot do, I mean, it’s not gonna happen. But when it comes to, you know, socio social emotional elements, I think it’s not as obvious because it’s not something physical like my walking analogy. And I think the parents forget. They forget that sometimes kids just genuinely do not have the tools at their disposal yet, And even if you get the kid the calming corner or you watch Daniel tiger and you sing the songs and you get them the stress balls or whatever. You could give them all the tools. It doesn’t mean they’re going to know how to use them. It doesn’t mean that in times of stress that they’re going to make the connection between how they feel the fact that they have something to do about it. So self care is so important to loop back around to sort of what we were saying. It is crucial. But the thing is, is that we end up making it a binary of either you can. Of course, no one could do this right now. Go to the spa and have self care and get time away or you’re overloaded and you’re hiding in the closet eating Twinkies and what I really had to accept. And I felt resentment about it, which is a whole different, you know, game ball game. There is that self care is so much smaller than that. It’s building little moments into your life that keep that level of stress down that keep that court us all from, you know, flowing out of you it like the you know, like Yellowstone National and I think you know, that’s something that we can show our kids, that it isn’t that big moment. Not to say that those moments can happen where you sit and you’re punching pillows and you’re doing whatever. But how can you police it so it doesn’t get to that point? How can I look at my day home with my kids all day and not think? Okay, I’m gonna have to save myself by 3 p.m. Because what then also ends up happening is that you’re reinforcing that narrative. You become the hammer looking for the nail where all that you’re going. Oh, man, again, this is you know, I’m so stressed. If I know that I need to have a dance party at 10:30 that we all need a snack at 11 like, make sure that you’re keeping those boundaries for yourself and for your kids because it’s so much easier to, you know, what’s that saying? Prevention is worth announcing or whatever. I’m terrible with idioms. But the point is that you know, it’s a lot easier to structure your day for success and to keep volleying back and forth that not only is for the emotional element, but also for the physical with kids who say, Jump off the couch or who you know want to get into things that they shouldn’t. Why are you going to say no 12 million times when you can put them in a space where they can engage in those behaviors in a way that feels really fulfilling to them? And it’s safe? I am in a Facebook group called Visible Child, which is run by a woman named Robin Inzig who has been in immense influence on me and taught me with knowledge that she, of course, has gained from the Magda Gerber’s who came before her about yes spaces and the fact that your kid really doesn’t need to have the run of your house, you know, And people say, Well, my kids upset. They want to be able to be in the kitchen when I’m cooking or whatever, which, of course, gets in tow comfort with upset, which goes back to what you were saying about, you know, people accepting behaviors in kids that they feel are less than favorable. It is okay for kids to be upset. It is okay for them, not to like something that has to happen for their safety, you know, And we don’t have to just shush babies into silence, you know? And that was another huge lesson for me that I felt like I had to fix everything. We’re a real society of doers, you know. We like to know what we’re doing. We want schedules, and we want to feel like if my kid is upset, this is what I say, and that’s why we do time out, because you’re uncomfortable in front of me and I’m going to send you here. But I’m going to say that it’s for you because you’re there to calm down. But that kid’s going on the step or in the chair, the corner without a set of tools, and it’s the adult’s lens of how they should handle their feelings. It’s my interpretation of what I think would make it better. Excuse me, not necessarily anything that came from a child, and it’s not collaborative. So it’s just the tennis match of volleying this back and forth, you know, and saying, Well, there’s, you know, the element of the adults sort of saying, I’m the adult here. I’m lending a regulation system to a kid. That’s basically what you’re doing. You’re living with small people who don’t have these biological abilities yet. I’m going to give you your mind when you need it. That might mean just sitting next to you. It might not mean saying anything. I don’t want to add to your sensory input. I don’t want to tell you how to feel. I don’t even want to tell you how you are feeling. I don’t want to name those feelings necessarily. Although there is a movement called Name it to tame it, which is something called It goes along with something called sportscasting for a child who isn’t really verbal. Yet you can just name what happened. You were really mad there, Some were really upset that you couldn’t have the 85th cookie or whatever. Or, you know, you were scared and you gave those words to them. But try to do that to a preschooler, try to tell a preschooler they were scared and they will tell you all the ways in which you are wrong. Even if you’re not, You know, no one likes to be told how they are and who they are. It does help for pre verbal Children to build those associations, but the point is, is that I don’t want my kids to see me get to that place of exploding, because I didn’t figure out how to do it beforehand. And it’s so much easier said than done. You know, it’s more fun to go on Scary Mommy and leave comments on the means about the yelling and how people are losing their shit 15 minutes after their kids get up on whatever I just posted about this on Instagram yesterday, I love to vent as much as anybody. I’m a theatrical person who loves hyperbole and can swear with the best of them. I’m Italian, after all, but, like I would rather take that passion and put it somewhere else, then attach it to negative feelings and the expression of negative feelings. Maybe that sounds like something that should just be cross stitched on a pillow and not attainable, but we owe it to ourselves. What we’re doing isn’t working, And, you know it’s time to look at how do you know, support everybody better ourselves, and it’s tough because I was actually having a group text with my brother and my cousins this morning about all of the law enforcement issues that are going on in this country right now, when we were talking about responsibilities of citizens and police officers versus responsibilities of politicians. I’m not gonna open that can of worms here. But when everybody needs a change, nobody wants to be the first person to do it. And I think our educators need tremendous support and I think our parents need tremendous support and our kids need tremendous support. And, you know, the one thing that I always say to my kids is that I never run out of love, and I wish that there was an endless reserve of support coming from somewhere for everybody who needs it. But there’s a lot of resentment, I think, attached to the responsibility of parents, especially if you were not shown that as a kid. 

That’s something I wanted to kind of dive into a little bit for people who are going to who apparently, if the child doesn’t here yet or people who already have the child, what sort of signs do you recommend people look for that signify I’m gonna have to have a conversation with my partner about we need to have are more respectful stance towards our kid without a feeling like one is gonna blow up into a whole thing. And to that, uh, that doesn’t have the stigma of, you know, crazy hippie parent. 

Hey guys, at the end of every month, I’m planning to do a Q and A special answering all of your questions either about what we just talked about or anything in between. I’m happy to hear back from you and help you out if I can. If you could do me a favor and go to Megan, you can leave your comment or your question. I’ll be able to answer it on the next Q and a episode again, The address is asked Meghan is all one word. Thank you so much. I look forward to hearing from you. 

So we could do a whole hour just on this. It’s difficult to go against the grain. I think that is really where I would start in my response now as a person who was always working crazy jobs where I wasn’t necessarily valued for my time because I was a performer and I just had to pay the other built as a person who was home schooled on and off and then went into high school just after my 13th birthday. So I was much younger than everyone, and I often joke that I was dropped off by an alien spaceship because I didn’t know the slang. I didn’t know what the kids were listening to on the radio. I’ve been used to being on the fringe while still having all of my privileges, you know of being in sort of a middle class, suburban white society. But I was really comfortable with going against the grain before I had kids. So I will say that the number one element is to figure out for you as a person who is going to be or is already apparent. How comfortable are you in your decisions where you could either defend them to anybody who asks? I like to be a human sandwich board for this style of parenting obviously, or just to be silently comfortable and not need to defend myself to anyone. Whatever way that peace finds itself in you, it has to be found because if you are looking to other people, to either debate or reinforce or validate your decisions. You are always going to find someone who agrees with you and you’re always going to find someone who doesn’t. So you know the peace has to come from within. And that being said, the partnership has to be strong. You know, my husband. I worked together for four years before we had our first child, which isn’t tremendously long, but was long enough that we really had our rhythm and we really had our conflict style. And we had our communication style as much as we’re still working at it. And I think not to be sexist, but you know it is. It is gendered, the narrative around men seeking help for themselves, men and mental health issues and, you know, doing this work. There are many more women occupying the space, which is tough for men, but I think that when it comes to kids, you know everybody loves their kids, and that’s the thing that even when I have detractors and I argue with people in the comments section on an Internet, I remember that that person loves their kids just so much style of mine. And if you have to talk to a partner where you’re having conflict about your parenting style or what you think would be best for the child, I think it’s much easier to center it on the kid and your mutual love than to go to that person and say, Listen, man, I think you’ve got unresolved trauma, and I am willing to use myself as an example of my husband will hear this and he’ll know that I’m gonna bring this up, you know? But my husband had struggles when he was growing up and really came into parenting as an only child, without necessarily a lot of the examples that we’re trying to bring for our kids, and that had impacted our marriage quite a lot up until that point. But oddly, does not impact his parenting at all. He is able to parent our Children with this wealth of patients and unconditional love and no judgment that sometimes makes me jealous, and I’m very forward about that. I actually just wrote something about that for fatherhood Friday on Instagram, and I said, You know, I have felt resentment about that, but it enabled me to say to him, I see this fierce love that you have for our kids, and I see how sometimes our union is affected by just the baggage of adulthood, of just being to fully formed adults with different wants and needs. And how can we bridge the gap between how we communicate, what we bring to the table, his parents and what you so naturally bring to our kids Now, in the same token, there are a lot of parents that don’t have that experience where, you know, parenting brings up those hard feelings, and a partner maybe is trying to over control the child. But I still think that when you come at it from the angle of wanting what’s best for your Children and saying, you know, we’re modeling this behavior, maybe it’s bringing up some tough stuff for you. How can I better support you so that you can better support our kid and you kind of get to it without shining the, you know, light directly in their face, the third degree at the cold metal table, I don’t think a lot of people are really susceptible to that. I love that style of tough love. That’s just who I am. But I have found that I’m in a bit of a minority in that communication style. So I think it’s really about focusing on how your kid is being impacted and realizing the responsibility that you have over them. It’s an incredible, tremendous responsibility. It is hard to impact someone so much without even trying. It’s hard. It hurts to just affect somebody’s emotions. You just wanna have that bad day. You just want the leeway, and it’s just not there. But it really can be a valuable growth experience if you let it. 

How do you recommend people teach other people who are outside the home how to care for their Children? So if you have you taking your kids to daycare or schools, schools ever come back, you know, how do you recommend people teach other people outside the home how your child needs to be cared for? 

I think it’s tough because one of the things that I really learned through doing this work is that we have to see our kids as capable and resilient. And when you attach your own negative experiences to either a relationship, if it’s a grandparent relationship or an institution, you know, for me that’s education. I’m gonna be honest, and I know so many teachers that I love and I had wonderful teachers start my 10 years as a student. But it’s tough for me to think about education without sort of thinking inside of all of the ways that it could go wrong. So as a parent, it’s tough. You’re sending your kid to have these interactions with other people, and you have to let them happen. So for how to teach someone, I think it’s more about setting expectations. You know, teachers want to know their students, especially now when they’re not in the classroom with them every day. I think teachers want to get to know what makes these kids tick. I think grandparents want to do well as care providers, although sometimes you run into the well in my day. You know, this is what we did and it was fine and to a measure. It is because that’s not the foundational relationship of this kid’s life. So you can only do so much, you know, is what I’m trying to say. I think you communicate anything that’s really a must know, and you look for If you’re able to do this, you look for places that really align with your style. If it’s a really harmful relationship, say, you know, grandparents, I go back To setting boundaries and setting them up for success. You’re not going to put your kid in a situation over and over and over that is harmful and you can’t care about what they think. So it all kind of comes together. Where can you have people in your kid’s life that you let them have their own relationships with? You trust that if there’s conflict, your kid is going to communicate that with you because that’s yours and theirs toe work on, you know, and then that kid can go out into the world and do whatever it is that they need to dio and I use this example all the time, so I have toe to get it on record here. When I was six years old. I entered first grade with Mrs Smith and she never called on me. She just didn’t. And it was driving me up the wall because I was a conscientious student who just wanted to have fun and raised my hand all the time. I went home and I complained to my mom about it. So step one. Obviously, I felt comfortable sharing with my mom. You know, I’m struggling in school. This is making me upset. My mom said, Well, why don’t you ask her why I’m six years old. She didn’t run to the school information and get mad. She didn’t over inflate the experience. Why don’t you ask her? So I said, Well, what do I do? She said, Well, you can go up to her at lunchtime or whatever and say, Can I talk to you after school for a minute? So this blew my mind that, like as a six year old, anyone would want to hear from me and it could have gone sideways, But I did. I went to her and I asked in. My mom waited outside the door and I said, You know, Mrs Smith, why don’t you call me and she told me that she figured I probably knew the answer and that it was her job as a teacher to make sure that everyone had an opportunity to learn and to say things even if they weren’t the answer that I would have given. And this is a totally true story, because it really sounds like, you know, just written as a nice little anecdote. and Mrs Smith and I were thick as thieves after that, you know, she would give me that knowing smile, and I would like, put my hand down once in a while. And it was a collaborative relationship where she recognized what I wanted out of the relationship and basically told me that she couldn’t give it to me and that that was ok and taught me how to respect others instead of just saying, Hey, you know, kiddo, you have to cool it like stop talking so much or whatever. But none of that would have happened if my mother hadn’t empowered me to advocate for myself if she had gone in there. Done. Who knows whatever said, Who knows what I wouldn’t have had that experience, and obviously I’m talking about it almost 30 years later. So it was very foundational to me to feel like I could show respect to somebody you know and question things and I thankfully got respected in return, and I kind of think that’s what it’s about. It’s about sending your kid out in the world, knowing your voice is valuable. People aren’t always going to give you back what you want. That doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy and experience. But you can always come and talk to me about it. So it really comes back to the home. It comes back to keeping that pathway open between parent and child so that you can troubleshoot. It’s not about preventing it on the front end with whoever it is, you know, that they’re interacting with no yes, 

taking it all in, and it’s really fascinating. The question that came up in my head was how is it that you want people who do not have children to know about this process? 

Oh boy, I think I want people to remember that they were once Children. I want people to. Take 10 minutes, you know, and listen to their favorite song or sit in their favorite chair or have their favorite meal or whatever it is that they need to comfort them. But while they’re doing that, I want them to sit and think about some of the pain that they’ve experienced. I want them to think about the narrative they have around themselves about what they think they are, especially what they think they aren’t. And they want them to realize that probably whatever percentage of that I’ll be making up this number. But let’s say 95% of it was formed in childhood, and I want people who don’t have kids to think that they have an investment in our future, even if they have not biologically contributed to that meaning to support the system. You know, fund initiatives that help education vote for school taxes, you know, vote for schools in your taxes. Whatever the case is, we can still support a society that is raising Children. Even if you are not raising Children because you are going to be affected by these Children, they’re going to interact with you. They’re going to make your laws. They’re going to work for you. Whatever the case is, you cannot avoid someone who has once been a child, and you know, I laugh, but it’s as if people think they passed through some portal into adulthood, and they don’t have to think about their childhood anymore. They don’t have to relate anything to their childhood. And I think that we need to have a national conversation around how much childhood hurts. We are just all carrying around all the time and It’s not to say we have to sit and mope. I think there is a way to honor your trauma and to make it your teammate and to figure out how to let it walk with you as painful as it is because you’re still existing, no matter what, and it can’t take over your whole life’s narrative. And I lived in that hole in the first few years of my eating disorder recovery. Everything that I did went through that lens. It was just 100% how I existed in the world as someone who was going through this and had been through this arguably more so than when I was, you know, practicing all my behaviors, and eventually I had to say there has to be and after I call it Phase three. Phase one was my addiction. Phase two was my recovery, and Phase three was. I’m still this person who went through this. I’m not ignoring it. But you know who has it made me and how can I exist? And people who don’t have kids can’t ignore the Children exist and that they were once a child. And if you, you know, support society, you are never going to be harmed by not supporting Children. There’s no calm there. There’s just not so I think, you know, bring that sense of enjoyment of Children and fun. My main thing is that I say to people, you know, I make these tic tac videos and they’re often very goofy, not all of them. But I said, I want people to talk about parenting with the same sense of fun that we should be doing it with, like, Why is it not fun? I take it seriously, but not myself. Why can’t we parent and think about parenting with the childlike wonder that we discovered the world decades ago? And it sounds idealistic, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility. 

Can you talk more about what I have fun with. I take parenting seriously, but I don’t take myself seriously. Keep talking about that. 

That’s why there’s my favorite thing to come up with. That’s why I also say parenting and in parentheses with personality, because I think this is insanely honorable and worthy work. It is immense. I mean, it’s hard, it’s taxing. It takes hypervigilance. It is just you are seeing the results of how you behave on a daily basis. You know, our to our and that’s not at all to say that you can’t have bad days or bad weeks or a bad month, but you’re always going to see whatever state you’re in reflected back at you. So that being said, like if I focused on that, I would stay in bed and not do any parenting at all. It is just the weight, you know. I went through times in my life because my anxiety was so crippling, I couldn’t run errands, and now I’m raising people that I have to keep alive. So if I think about that jump like I might want to crawl in a hole, I might stay in this room after this conversation. You know, it’s so easy to feel bogged down by that. But kids, you know, if you just look at them, they can make fun out of anything. One of my upcoming Tick Tock videos I want to do like a product review, you know, like in the style of influencers. It’s going to be for dirt. My product will be dirt. It will be me. Of course you know I’m giving it away. Maybe they’ll come up by the time this is where it’s Hey, guys, I want to check out something. It changes texture when it gets wet and it’s so awesome, it’s dirt. How much fun my kids get having dirt. And why can’t I have fun making a sandwich like, Why can’t I just inject fun into everything? And if I challenge myself to do that, I can get through a day so much more easily. It doesn’t have to be. You know, if my kids were struggling, I don’t have to let them know about the long term effects of not brushing their teeth. I can just have fun and get it done like, and it’s just a lens shift that has to occur where I look at parenting with a sense of fun. I have now changed the culture of my home, and I have made it into something. You know, where people choose enjoyment and choose laughter over choosing, getting their point across or being right or whatever the case is and you can get your point across and be right. But you can still have fun. That’s not what it’s about. So I take it so seriously. I love you know, a lot of the content that I put out. I do try to share my sources. I’m not just making this up, you know, because my thing is, I’m just a regular mom. I would like to get certified to be a parenting coach, hopefully next year so that I can sort of change the way in which I talk about this a little bit, but at the end of the day, the resource is out there for people to access and to enjoy. So I am a student, but I’m also trying to have the same sense of fun and not take myself so seriously and think, Well, I made this decision and I have to make sure that everyone knows how right I am. And I have to make sure they know I wrote a book about it. You know, I just wanna have fun making the sandwich, and I wanna have fun doing the things that have to be done anyway. And the irony and all of that is that it takes so much work to have fun at first. You know, it’s an actual practice of saying, Wait a second. No one’s having fun here. And sometimes I say that in my house I’m like, This has not been a fun hour guys like that. We just need to chill and communicate by humanizing it. I’m not looking to be on a pedestal. The thing about respectful parenting, specifically that I see a lot of people say, Well, that’s not attainable, you know? And I said to my husband just last week, our kids were both hysterically crying at the same time and I said, I wish I had a camera not to violate my Children’s privacy, Of course, record them without their consent. But I wish that I could show people that my house has its ups and downs like so many other houses. But it’s those pivotal moments where I’m going to pause and not react, which took practice. And then I’m going to find a way to connect with my kids, which took practice and then we’re gonna have a freaking good time, which also takes practice. Not for my kids. They’re built for fun. Where did we lose that? So that is why I take parenting seriously, not myself. I try to set myself up for success. I learned about child development. I keep my expectations in line. I remind myself that my 2/5 year old son cannot help himself but to try to keep climbing the oven every time, etcetera, etcetera. But then I can release all of that and try to enjoy it, because it’s cliches. It is. It’s going to be over gonna be over before we know it. It goes by so fast. 

I think that’s a perfect way to end. That’s so we’re running enough time. But what haven’t we covered that you want people to know? 

I think you know, if we had three hours, I would have tied this more into the national conversation about education. But as everyone is homeschooling their kids, I just want them to know, Hey, we are asking something of them Not only that they’ve never dealt with before. That’s stressful because of the break in routine and environment, but also that they’re not really developmentally capable of doing. You know, it’s the development aspect for me that I want people to focus on. And you know, what? Can we change in the way education is set up so that we’re honoring the fact that a lot of five year olds don’t wanna learn to read? You know, in Europe they often don’t start teaching until seven, and then those kids learn so quickly because they learned it when they were ready for it. You know, one of the things that I learned from Robin Izing is when kids are ready to do something, you know how you know they do it, and that’s it. I think that we wish it wasn’t this way us and our Children right now. But if we can find a way to say, you know, I’m connecting with you and understanding that we’re asking something of you that you really can’t do and What can we change about our environment? To At least try to make this somewhat more bearable. Can we go back to education in buildings that better suit what the kids can bring to the table? I don’t know. I hope so. That’s what I hope is a conversation that can be had, although obviously there are a lot of conversations that are needing to be had right now and it’s just got to go somewhere on the list. 

For people who have more questions. How can they get a hold of you? 

Oh boy, Well, I am everywhere on social media @Angela Dallensandro, so that’s a n g e. And then I say my last name like the Mickey Mouse Show Dallensandro. So it’s a nice, easy way to remember it all. One word you can find me on instagram uh, Pinterest, tick tock, Twitter all with that handle. And then I am also Angella Sandra o at gmail dot com My website Angela should be running by the time this airs. We’re working on that this week, and I also have a Facebook page @Angela Dallensandro. Oh, so there are many Angela Dallensandro out there, thanks to Italy, but I am pretty easy to find. So I mean, I love to talk to people who are ready to make a shift to need some book recommendations. A podcast, for instance or just wanna, you know, talk about how this is working in their house. I mean, it’s a community. We need each other now more than ever. 

That is a perfect cross stitch pillow, and I love a cross stitch pillow. You brought them up before. What I was thinking about is my favorite cross stitch, which is an anti seller and I’m sure there’s other Etsy sellers who should do it now, but they do gangster rap lyrics on cross stitch.

Well, my kids get a little older and I start, you know, indoctrinating them. I mean, they’ve got good taste, but But when we get to the wrath and probably some nice stitching will go up. 

Thank you so much. This was so amazing. 

I’m so happy we did this. Thank you. I really appreciate you forgiving me. This platform it’s been awesome. 

Thank you. 

Hey guys, One thing before you go at the end of every month, I’m planning to do a Q and A special answering all of your questions, either about what we just talked about or anything in between. I am happy to hear back from you and help you out if I can. If you could do me a favor and go to, you can leave your comment or your question. I’ll be able to answer it on the next Q and a episode again, the address is

Megan aske  Megan is all one word. Thank you so much I look forward to hearing from you.

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