In this episode, Andrea is interviewed by Life Coach Mikki Gardner about how to put emotion aside and show up as the kind of parent you want to be after infidelity. This will be useful wherever you are on your journey.
When emotions are running high, it can be very difficult to think clearly, especially when it comes to parenting our children. You want what is best for them, but we also may be in “survival mode,” not really seeing the big picture.
This episode will help you navigate the rocky terrain of co-parenting when emotions are high and help you make decisions that you will be proud of.
Listen to the three points Andrea shares that serve as powerful reminders of what is possible for you.
Mikki is the host of the Co-Parenting with Confidence Podcast and has a private one-on-one coaching practice, where she helps moms ditch the conflict and frustration of divorce and become a strong, loving, confident co-parent.
Find more about Mikki Gardner at https://mikkigardner.com/
I’m Andrea Giles. And you’re listening to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast,
episode number 73, Co-parenting with Mikki Gardner.
Hello, and welcome to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
ever. If you know there’s more freedom than the life you’re currently
living, but don’t quite know how to get there, you are in the right place.
Stick around to learn how to create a life that will knock your own socks
off. Is it possible? It is, and I’m here to show you how. I’m your host and
Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hello, everybody. Back with episode number 73, I hope you’re all doing
well. This is an episode I wanted to share with you that I was actually a
guest on somebody else’s podcast, Mikki Gardner, who has a podcast about
Co-Parenting. It’s a wonderful podcast. I suggest you check it out. And the
thing is, even if you’re not, I think people think of co-parenting as
parenting when you’re divorced, parenting when you’re separated, things
like that. And even if that’s not you and you’re just married and parenting
together, there is so much gold in her podcast about navigating different
opinions about things, navigating different ways of raising children,
different ways of how we’ve grown up and been raised, and the differences
that we struggle with sometimes when we’re trying to figure out how to
discipline, how to handle all the things that come up, holidays, all the
And so Mikki addresses all these things in her amazing podcast. I suggest
you go check it out. The info will be included in the show notes and in the
podcast itself, but I wanted to just say, this particular episode, I was a
guest on hers. We were talking about co-parenting after infidelity and some
of the specific tricky things around that topic. And I know many of you
have found yourself in that camp. And so I hope that you find it useful and
go check Mikki out, and I’ll talk with you next week. Bye-bye.
My dear friend Andrea Giles is going to be here to share her wisdom, her
expertise, and just so much goodness. Andrea is an extraordinary woman, a
life coach, a podcast host, a wife, a mom to 11, yes, you heard me right,
six biological and five bonus kids and a grandma to two. She’s just
incredible. Andrea’s a certified life coach and is trained to help women
sort out the confusion, the grief, the fear, the doubt, and the frustration
that comes along with infidelity when it happens in a marriage. She has a
really unique perspective though on infidelity that I know that many of you
will benefit from here. So without any further ado, let’s dive into this
conversation. Welcome to the Co-Parenting with Confidence Podcast. I am so
beyond excited about today because one of my dear friends and amazing
coaches is here, the amazing Andrea Giles, so welcome.
Thank you. Thanks so much.
Andrea’s one of my most favorite people and you will hear it in my voice
because I just adore her. She is a coach. She does individual group
coaching and she is the host of the Heal from Infidelity podcast, which if
you have not listened you need to immediately right after this, listen to
that because she is extraordinary and deals with infidelity. And that’s
specifically Andrea and I have talked about it, why I wanted her to come on
because she’s truly an expert in this area and talks about it like nobody
else does and I wanted to share that with you here today. So I’m going to
turn it over to Andrea for a second. Let’s hear about you and how you got
here. And whatever you’d like to share with us, I would love to know.
All right. Well, thank you so much. Thank you for having me. It’s an honor
to be on your amazing podcast.
It’s my pleasure.
Yes. Thank you. Okay. How did I get here? So, like Mikki said, I went
through my own crisis several years ago, everything hit the fan. It’s been
eight years this year since I made the decision to end my marriage and did
the co-parenting thing. I did not have coaching. I did not have coaching.
Let’s just say it would’ve been a very helpful thing to have through all of
that. And ultimately, my story is that after seven months of the divorce
being final, my first husband was being reckless and got into an accident
and was killed and he died and I suddenly became a full-time parent all the
time to six children. And then fast forward, I married a widower and it’s
interesting Mikki and I actually recently had this conversation about how,
even though we live under the same roof, we co-parent 11 children together.
I have my six, he has his five. We have raised our children very
differently in many things the same, but a lot different and so learning
how to co-parent, right?
So it might look a little different than it did before, but these issues
definitely are things that we both deal with all the time.
And then I became a coach. It’s been, I think I’m wrapping up year three of
being a coach and have my own practice and help women work through
infidelity, help navigate that.
Wonderful. Well, I’m sure you guys caught that, but Andrea is the mom of
six kids, biological children. Her now husband has five, so they have 11. I
have one. So I ceder all the time, I’m like, I don’t even understand how
you do the double digit, but extraordinary. But I think you brought up a
really valid point and we did talk about it recently. Co-parenting
certainly, when you hear it you tend to think when you’re parenting with
two separate houses or after divorce, but co-parenting, I think is really
co-parenting with anyone that you maybe don’t exactly share the same ideas,
values, discipline ideas, right? So same house, different house, five
houses, whatever, right? Co-parenting is really learning how to parent from
a way that feels good for you that also is understanding and recognizing
what’s happening with the other person as well.
Yeah, for sure.
I appreciate you bringing that up, but the reason that I wanted to have
Andrea on today, just besides the fact that I love spending time with her
and it’s a great excuse, but you coach on infidelity and I believe that you
have a very unique perspective on healing from infidelity, what happens
within infidelity. And I would love it if you would just share what you
think some of the really big struggles are that anyone, but we’re
specifically talking mostly to moms. So what they deal with after
infidelity in a marriage?
Yeah. Okay. Thank you. I think that some of the bigger issues that I see,
this is almost across the board, almost everybody that I talk to, your
trust has been broken. Your trust has been broken. You thought things were
one way and in an instant you find out that they aren’t, and it’s often
this quick awareness that changes everything. It just in an instant,
everything changes. And with that, with parenting, it can often knock our
legs right out from under us in regards to anything that we thought we
knew. And the biggest reach of trust that is the most heartbreaking to me
as a coach is with ourselves. And we start to question ourselves and say,
how did I not know this was going on right in front of my face? How did I
not know? And then we start to wonder what else we don’t know.
And we feel devalued often. We often feel small. We often feel shaky at
best, right? Trying to navigate what to do, all of those things, and then
we have these children to be around and try to be solid for. And so some of
the bigger struggles that I see around infidelity with children is trying
to remain strong, trying to be emotionally strong for your children, trying
to hold it together when inside it feels anything about that, right?
So this feeling of like, I’m faking it. I’m faking it. Another issue I see
sometimes is wanting to tell the kids what’s going on and then dealing with
some of the backlash of that, some of the hard things that come with that.
And so I think the biggest thing though is just when our own trust in
ourself has been shaken, and when we are feeling not 100%, it can be hard
to give to our kids. It can be hard to be there for them to be what they
need in that moment. So that’s probably the biggest struggle that I see
among my clients.
Okay. And I couldn’t agree with you more. I love that you always take that
perspective of really the trust that has been broken is with ourselves,
right? And I think so few people actually talk about that part of it. It’s
always all of the attention is put on the person who did the did and what
we need to deal with is what’s left over for us, right? And then, like you
said, it builds in all of this distrust, what didn’t I see? What might not
I see in the future? What am I missing now? It’s like this giant snowball.
So what strategies worked for you and how do you help your clients melt
that snowball so to speak.
Yeah. I think out the gate, our minds can get awfully noisy when we’re
going through hard things and we’re second guessing and we’re just
questioning everything and our minds can be a really hard place to live,
right? Like, is there an off switch? Could I please just turn it off,
right? And some of the things that I use with my clients is some of the
same things that you do Mikki in helping them to learn the skill of
quieting their mind, learning how to bring it down, learning how to find
safety and refuge in their bodies which then helps to quiet their mind. But
another huge piece to this is particularly with infidelity. So many of my
clients have this, it’s like an urge to go looking for more information or
with that second guessing of themselves, they want to talk to another
person about, ask another person’s opinion, challenge their own opinion,
like they’ll make a decision about something and then like five minutes
later are like negotiating with their decision, right?
And so some of the skills that I practice with my clients is learning how
to set boundaries with themselves. And this is something different than we
hear, right? We hear about boundaries. We hear about setting boundaries
with other people, but when we’re healing from this breach of trust and
this trust broken within ourselves, boundaries in our own mind can be
really, really powerful. An example of that is like, let’s say there’s some
issue that you’re trying to resolve and you’ve already made a decision from
a really clear place. You’ve made a decision about how you’re going to move
forward. In learning how to set boundaries with your mind, it’s like, okay,
we already discussed this when your brain’s like, well, did we look at this
angle? What about this angle? What about this over here? Did you ask that
person? Are you sure? Do you know what you’re doing?
And with that boundary, instead of taking the bait and jumping right back
into the confusion and the discontent in your mind, it’s reminding
yourself, we’ve already discussed this. This is what we’re doing. Move
forward. And knowing what those thoughts are that tend to suck you in, like
being on to yourself like, oh, I know when my brain goes here, this is
generally where it takes me and I’m saying, no, I’m drawing a line.
Yeah. I’m curious because I have it echoing in my head from a client
earlier to day that said, well, when I’m standing here and I’m listening to
you it sounds like, okay, I can do that, right?
And then we’re in the moment and it’s out the window. How do you think is
one way for people to start actually, so they’ve set that boundary, they
recognize like that’s the thought that always ends up in the gutter. So how
do you help your clients be able to start to recognize it sooner so that
they can actually start to build that muscle of setting that boundary and
Yeah. One of the things that I do with my clients is we do work around
getting crystal clear, identifying exactly what thoughts take them where. I
love to use analogies, okay? So I think of like, when I hop on this train,
I might think it’s going to take me somewhere different and it never does,
ever, like it takes me to the same destination every single time. And we
always have a choice, we can hop on the train and then we can choose to
shift. We can choose to get off at a different place, but backing it up,
it’s like when we can look at the thoughts that do not help us to move
forward, the thoughts that keep us either stagnant or set us back and
really identifying for each individual, they’re going to be different for
each person because we all come into these situations with a different set
of life, different set of troubles and trials and experience.
And so the way that our brain views things, the way that our brain has
interpreted the actions of somebody else is going to look different than
the person next to you. And so I do work with my clients about really
getting clear and honest with themselves about the results that come with
particular thought processes when they hopped on those thoughts, that
thought train, every single time it’s going to take them to the same place.
And it’s getting to a place in our mind where we have to play hardball with
ourself a little bit, where we have to be firm and say, I’m not going there
to day. I know where this goes, I’m choosing not to go there.
So that’s one way, another thing around that though is building any
emotional tolerance to the discomfort of not hopping on that train, right?
Because our brains know it so well, there’s a comfort in it. There’s this
like, well, I should be able to, right? Go ahead. What were you going to
As you were talking before, one that came up that I hear a lot is, well, I
have to respond, right? When you get the nasty message or you get the
accusatory text message or whatever it is, right?
And yes, it’s about understanding what the thoughts are. And sometimes
though it happens so quickly, we’re not even aware that we had a thought.
So sometimes it’s seeing the behaviors, right? And to your point about the
train, every time you make a gut response or just react and respond to that
text, I’m guessing you end up at the same bad destination of feeling awful
and wishing you had chosen differently. And so just for all of you
listening, sometimes we aren’t aware of our thoughts as much until we get
clear like Andrea said, but it could be noticing when I do this thing, this
one behavior, I end up a place I don’t like.
And so maybe just starting there to recognize like you got to back it up
and to your point, it might feel good for a second to retaliate and to say
respond and tell them what a jerk you think they are, 20 minutes later,
right? An hour later, two days later, right? What’s the ramification of
that. And so I, I love that you brought that up and tolerating the
Yeah. Sometimes it looks like getting on the train and you’re just going to
sit there before the train takes off. Like you’re just hanging out on the
car. You’re sitting there, it hasn’t left yet. It hasn’t left the station.
It’s like, hmm, I’m just going to chill here for a little bit. I’m just
going to hang out here. And even that, it’s pushing this pause, it’s giving
a little pause to the space between the circumstance coming at you like the
nasty text or whatever. And like that instant impulsive, it feels so
urgent, right? I must respond immediately, right?
And it’s just growing your tolerance to that space of waiting, of pausing,
of just letting yourself come down emotionally, just settle down really
because you’re feeling so agitated or whatever it is that you’re feeling
that you must respond to immediately. And it does feel urgent, right?
It does. Absolutely.
And I love that you just tied that back to the beginning. It’s like it’s
hard when we’re in this place of crisis and this place of trauma and high
emotion to be able to parent our children from that perspective. And
sometimes we need to parent ourselves in that same manner, just arms around
yourself and like, just sit for a second, right? Just calm it down, right?
Just like you would a little kid who’s really upset that the milk’s spilled
on the ground and the Oreo’s gone, right? It’s like same kind of idea, just
being willing to be with yourself and give yourself that space to choose.
Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. The more we grow in that regard and give ourselves
that space, the better able we are to give it to our children, right? To
give it to other people.
And if our children are having times where they’re feeling high emotion,
things like that, if we have trained our brain to take that pause to not
necessarily believe everything that our brain is telling us, how better
equipped are we to help our children with the same? Because especially as
parents, oh, we just want to fix it, right? We just want to make it better.
And if we can develop and increase our capacity to our children’s
discomfort, that’s where we’re teaching them some life skills, right?
I love that absolutely 100%. So this leads us to a question that I did want
to ask you, and you touched on it a tiny, tiny bit at the beginning, but
how do you speak to your children about marriage and divorce, especially
Yeah. That’s a question I get a lot and you know what, it’s not a one size
fits all. And the reason I say that is because not one child is the same.
And so going back to my own situation, it wasn’t even like an age thing. It
wasn’t like, well, you’re this old and so you are old enough to handle
whatever, right? It was more like, I wanted to honor my children as people,
right? Yes they’re children, but also honoring them. And so I had times
where I would have my daughter who at the time was 11, come plop on my bed
and ask me really tough questions. I’m like, okay, I got to give myself a
minute. And there were times where I answered her, where I just honored her
as a person who wanted to know and thought is this serving her? Is this
And one thing to think about here is like, is there any kind of agenda here
behind me wanting her to know this? Because I have seen sometimes with
clients where they almost feel vindicated in telling their kids, and then
the kids are mad at dad or whatever, right? They get it mad and it can feel
temporarily like vindication, right? Like, yeah, they’re taking sides, but
ultimately is that how we want to show up? Ultimately, is that in the best
interest and who is it serving, right? Who is that for? Who is it for?
And so in the case of my daughter, when she would ask me these tough
questions, with her in particular because I know her because I know she’s
18, she came out an old soul, she knows things, she’s a wise soul. And so I
answered her, I answered her questions, but it came from a place of
honesty. It came from a place of what is best for her to be able to make
sense of all of the changes in her life right now. To this day there’s
things that she does not know.
And a question that I keep in my mind and that I think can be useful here
is, is it relevant? Is it relevant? Like, does this little piece matter?
Does this piece of the story matter? Does this piece of the story help make
sense of whatever the question is or the confusion or things like that? Or
is this coming from me? Is this my thing? Wanting to prove a point or look
at what your dad did or things like that. And so I think that in the
moment, that’s a quick question to check in with yourself, like, is this
relevant to the discussion we’re having? Does it need to be said?
Absolutely. I love that question. And it helps. And I think to reflect
back, if I’m understanding you correctly, it’s about discernment, right?
Yes. 100%. Yes.
And knowing your children, knowing what’s in their best interest, knowing
what’s relevant, as you said.
And is it outside an agenda for ourselves, and I think going back a step,
being able to take that space, you don’t have to answer every question that
comes your way.
We need to talk about this later as a very valid response. Or we’ll talk
about this some other time. You can buy yourself a moment if you need that
time to decide what is the right choice. And I think to your point, just
being able to turn inward for a minute and check in, is this for me or is
this for them? Because our kids go through enough in the best of
circumstances with divorce, it’s traumatic. And so, trying to protect them,
but like you said, honor them when it’s needed. So I love that response.
Well, I don’t want to keep you all day although I would love to because I
love I could talk to you forever. So I would be remiss if I didn’t ask this
question since it is a confidence podcast, how do you define confidence?
That’s such a good question. Yes. So Mikki asked me this in an email before
this call for me to think about it. And I’ve been thinking about
personally, how do I define it? And to me what confidence means is
resiliency, being able to bounce back. It means being willing to grow. It
means being willing to be uncomfortable and knowing that you’re being
uncomfortable on purpose for your own growth and that it’s not going to
sink you, that you’re capable of discomfort. And to me, a huge piece of
confidence is showing up in situations that scare you, like showing up in
conversations that are hard, showing up with boundaries that feel really
uncomfortable. And having the confidence in yourself that you’re not going
to shrink, that you can stand your ground and that you’re worthy of
standing your ground.
I love that. That’s a beautiful answer. Thank you so much.
Well, I do want everyone to find you because everyone needs to know Andrea
in my mind. So how do people find you?
Okay. So my website is just andreagiles.com. I’ve got all my podcast
information there, ways to work with me, things like that. Social media,
Instagram is just Andrea_Giles_coaching. Okay. And I put things in there.
My podcast like Mikki said is, Heal from Infidelity just with my name and
yeah, I think that’s about it.
Okay. Well, all of those things definitely check it out because she puts so
much amazing content and valuable information out there. And I’m just so
grateful for all you’re doing for women who go through this and it’s
helping families become stronger afterwards.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. [crosstalk 00:26:22]. It’s so important.
It’s so important.
Well, I really appreciate your time today, everybody check her out and I
will see you next time.
All right. Thank you.
Thank you, Andrea. Didn’t you just love Andrea in that conversation? I
loved it so much. And I want to share a few of my takeaways with you. One,
after infidelity and any betrayal in a marriage, the biggest breach of
trust we have is with ourselves. We feel devalued. We feel small, shaky,
and we doubt ourselves. Two, when our mind gets noisy with all the doubt
and all the fear, it can be a really scary place to be. What we need to do
is learn skill to quiet our mind and find refuge in our body. Three, with
infidelity, we get the urge to get more info, ask for more advice,
negotiated decisions. What we really need to do is learn to set boundaries
with ourselves, that is practicing the skill of making clear decisions and
then holding it without going into infusion or second guessing it, doing
the work to be aware and being onto yourself to get clear about what are
your thoughts and when you have those thoughts, where do they take you?
This is all part of building an emotional tolerance of discomfort. And
Andrea says, it’s really requires a pause to emotionally regulate before we
respond to anything, such wise advice. She also reminded us that we always
have a choice to shift our thinking. When we’re deciding what to share
maybe with our children or others, the first question to ask ourselves is,
is it relevant? Does it need to be said? Such a good question. And then the
last takeaway is that according to Andrea, confidence is resiliency, being
willing to grow, to be uncomfortable and showing up for you and believing
in your worth. I love that so much.
Thank you for listening to the Heal from Infidelity Podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
episodes, and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my weekly
email. You can subscribe at andreagiles.co/lies-about-infidelity/. Again,
it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.