Why Perfectionism Can’t Co-Exist with Motherhood

Maybe you’ve been told you are a “perfectionist” or “Type A.” Maybe you know you like things a certain way and feel like you’re going to crawl out of your skin when something is just not the way you prefer it to be.

You didn’t become this way because you’re a difficult person. And there are actually a lot of strengths of perfectionists. They tend to be thorough, driven, detail oriented, and always wanting to improve themselves.

But a mix of perfectionism and motherhood can result in a lot of frustration, disappointment, and even hopelessness.

Perfectionism isn’t necessarily about things needing to be or look “perfect.” It’s about having 1) control and 2) having tangible or external validation to confirm things are the way they should be.

Let’s talk first about why control is a problem for mothers.

Why Perfectionism Can't CoExist with Motherhood

I’ll start with this. And I’m putting it in all caps here for you people in the back.


That tiny little 8 pound squish in your arms? You can’t control them. You can meet their needs, you can respond the best way you can, but you can not control them.

Before motherhood there was a lot of control you could exert of your life. Depending on your occupation maybe you were able to easily complete projects at work and see tangible results. You probably got performance evaluations where you able to lay out your specific goals for the next year. Maybe you were able to carefully curate how to implement your daily tasks and activities at work or home. You experienced a state of “flow” probably at times where you in so in the zone and mastering something in a way that really fed your soul.

And then motherhood happened.

Now most mothers don’t bring children into this world with the intent to control them. But we do have expectations for what motherhood will feel like and what it “should” look like and that involves a tiny human presenting themselves in a certain way. Most of us don’t envision motherhood when we are pregnant as the 3am sleep deprived out of our minds with a screaming infant that we can’t seem to settle. We see sleeping babies, giggles, motherly instincts, a natural bond and connection. We envision ourselves moving effortlessly through the decisions, adopting this new identify with confidence and grace.

What actually happens is a slow process of learning that many of our high expectations will not be met and that there will be unclear validation if we are doing things the “right” way. If we refuse to learn this then we continue to attempt to control and may over stimulate ourselves with so much information and perspectives to seek the “right” way of mothering that we lose trust in ourselves and become frustrated with our lives.

If we want to continue to live our lives controlling things as much as we did before children we’ll be set up for disappointment. Because motherhood isn’t a project or strategy or a schedule, it’s a relationship. 

So when we apply this equation to motherhood (an equation we may have been able to use a lot pre-motherhood)


we will be met more with something like this


Applying control, perfection, and high expectations to motherhood is not only unfair for us and our kids it’s just not logical. The more we expect things to go the way we think we should the more we aren’t able to see the beauty of the way things already are.

So what is the new equation for us now that we are mothers?

Probably something more like this-


When we take control, expectation, and a need for external validation out of the equation our power then lies in the grace we give to ourselves and and our lives, the love we give to o our children and the trust that we will find our way. And what we receive is acceptance of our lives they way they are and learning to love them with or without all the control.

Need to unpack this more and learn more about how to let go of our issues with control? Check out the Resilient Mamas Membership where “Letting Go of Control” is our next weekly module!



5 Things to Remember When You Feel Insecure About Your Parenting

It takes a village to raise a child but it often feels more like the village is looking over our shoulders rather than actually helping. Judgmental stares from strangers when our child is tantruming in the cereal aisle at the super market. Passive aggressive comments from our own parents letting us know “back in their day” spanking was what kids needed in order to learn right from wrong. Even our own friends can give us shocked looks when our 2 year old takes a toy out of their child’s hands making us feel as if our little one is a bully. Sometimes we feel anything but supported in our parenting. And when we feel questioned by others we start to question ourselves.

5 things to remember when you feel insecure about your parenting




Parenting is a vulnerability minefield and insecurity is certainly par for the course. But when we feel insecure about the way in which we are parenting it makes us feel disconnected from our values, ourselves, and our children. We deserve to feel secure in the way we parent so that we can act as confident guides to our children showing them a world that allows them to make mistakes, to learn and grow, and to be loved no matter what. But being able to raise kids that believe that means we have to believe it too.

Our society likes to make us think that there is so much at stake when a child has challenging behaviors. We talk about kids going down the “wrong path” or see articles and studies that make gross exaggerations about how smaller everyday  parenting decisions can have lifetime impacts. But I believe that parenting is not about the everyday choices as much as our overall perspective. We all see parenting through a different lens choosing what we want to focus on and what we don’t. Our lens then becomes the lens in which our children view themselves and when we find a lens that sees our child for who they are understanding their limitations, their strengths, their needs, and their own unique being then we have found the sweet spot. But it can be hard to do this when there is so much noise, so many differing perspectives on the right way. So how do we tune it out and find our own way?

1) Remember that a child’s behavior is NOT indicative of your worth as a parent.

It can be true that having an unhealthy response to our children’s needs or behaviors can elicit some challenging behaviors. But this is not always the case and I’d argue that many of the challenging behaviors we see our part of normal development (there are exceptions of course). High and unfair expectations of children in our society immediately transfer to high and unfair expectations of parents. For example when people are judgmental when a toddler is loud in a restaurant. Someone may judge and think that the parents can’t “control” their child enough to get the toddler to be quieter. However, the expectation of having a toddler be quiet in a restaurant not only developmentally out of their control but also out of the control of the parents. Aside from the unfair expectations society places on us as parents we may also internalize that when we make mistakes, lose our cool, or try an approach that backfires that this mistake makes us a “bad” parent. We must remember that our choices and our worth are not one in the same. Shaming ourselves for when we make mistakes and believing that we have somehow “messed up” our children does not motivate us to change, it keeps us scared and insecure. Owning our choices as parents is crucial for our own growth but we can not develop the awareness to become more effective until we honor that we, just as we are, are worthy to be the parent of our child, flaws and all. We are worthy of guiding them through this world, worthy of their love, and worthy of support in our own journey.

2) Remember that many challenging behaviors are part of a normal developmental process.

Aside from the times when our choices actually do impact our children’s behaviors we must also remember and believe that our child are their own separate human beings making choices for themselves and learning through them. Sometimes rejecting societal attitudes that children should be able to meet high standards of behavior not appropriate for their age range, be “seen and not heard”, or meet milestones at very particular times is necessary so that we can see our children for who they truly are instead measuring them against unfair exceptions. It is our duty for us to know and understand this as parents no matter how much judgment we receive from others. We must also give our children space to learn as they grow in their ability to reason, learn right from wrong, and navigate this world. Growth takes time. This space can become liberating for us in realizing that our children’s behaviors don’t need to always be controlled or fixed but rather the journey in and of itself of the challenging behaviors is an essential part of their learning.

3) Remember that parenting authentically isn’t about the choices you’re making but the reasons you are making them.

It’s amazing to me how much is out there in the way of “how to” guides for parenting. As if there are clear answers that work for all parents and all children. With so many different philosophies and perspectives its easy to get caught up in the choices themselves we are making. Taking time to reflect on the real reasons you are making certain choices and making sure they are coming from a place authentically believe they are the right choice and not because its what others say is the “best” way is a great way to find your parent power. A simple exercise you can do it to write down a decision you have been feeling insecure about and dissect all the various factors that are leading you towards one choice over another. If you find certain factors such as comparing yourself to other parents, being pressured by a family member to make this choice, or wanting to be seen in a particular way by others are at the forefront of your decision you may want to take some more time to reflect on what feels most authetic to you. If you can find one of those factors fits with your values, your strengths, and the unique qualities of your child you can feel more secure in your choice.

4) Remember that consistency is key so that allowing ourselves to question, second guess, and then change our approaches frequently interrupts our consistency. 

When we change our approaches often or don’t feel confident about an approach because we’ve felt coerced into it by someone else it shows. Think about if you had a boss as a job who was very uneasy about how to instruct you on how to carry out your tasks. How would you feel? Anxious that you weren’t performing your duties correctly? Or perhaps feel that you could take advantage and skirt by with little effort? Or maybe you might feel frustrated if policies and orders were changed frequently so that you didn’t have a clear understanding of your expectations? We aren’t the “boss” to our children but we are the guide to help them understand how to function and thrive in this world. Being clear about the parent we want to be, making definitive choices and sticking with them for a period of time to allow the approaches to become second nature is crucial for creating healthy dynamics in our relationship with our child by clearly communicating expectations and so that our children feel more secure as well. So try to take time to reflect before making choices, to reject societal pressures, and find your confidence and power to stick with the choices you make. This doesn’t mean you can never change your approach but it does mean that when you so do you will take time to be consistent and confident in your new approach.

5) Remember to focus on your strengths. 

Insecurities aren’t necessarily about letting go as much as looking in a different direction. We shine the light on all the things we are NOT and not the things we ARE. Who wouldn’t feel insecure if you had to interview for a job and all they asked you about was your weaknesses? Yet that’s what we do in our heads as parents by constantly instilling doubt and criticism in our hearts by focusing on where we don’t feel “enough.” Self-defeating thoughts, constant self-criticism and doubt become major blocks to the connection you have with yourself and with your child. This often takes a lot of work to improve upon but in the long run both you and your child benefit immensely. Start with writing at the end of each day one thing you did that was a positive choice as a parent. It could be a simple as saying “I love you” before they walked out the door or as deep as taking the time to talk to them about their deepest fears. Finding all the ways you are showing up for your child helps keep you in a positive and confident space. Insecurities don’t have a chance against reminders of our strengths and a strong foundation of worthiness. Give yourself the amount of self-love you want your child to give themselves. 

To learn more about my maternal wellness and parent coaching services HERE.



To the Mama with Big Dreams

I see you Mama with your hopes and dreams.

Staring out the window while you’re warming a bottle and thinking about how you’d like to further your education. Researching how to start a business during your preschooler’s gymnastics class. Staying up too late after you have fulfilled the needs of your children and your partner to make space and time to work on your art because there is no other time to do it.

You have dreams. You have goals. You have a calling. Something is pulling at your while you’re changing diapers, driving to soccer practice, and folding laundry. Your head is full of ideas and possibilities. But at times they feel damn near impossible to ever accomplish. Meetings get cancelled because your little one has a fever, the looming housework becomes more important than your writing, and the sitter cancels at the last minute when you have a to-do list longer than your grocery list.

The resentment creeps in and you start to see you children as barriers instead of blessings. You feel motherhood is swallowing you whole and there will never be a time where you have accomplishments outside of it. You start to wonder if it’s all worth it.

big dreams


You fight this fight every day. Some days you go to bed feeling accomplished and others you can’t stop thinking of all the possibilities that weren’t realized.  You feel the tug of war between guilt and passion. You feel anger when your toddler gives you a book and crawls in your lap when you were trying to finish that e-mail and then immediate remorse that you were angry in the first place. You feel overwhelmed by the fact that you can’t work uninterrupted for more than 5 minutes. You haven’t achieved that coveted feeling of “flow” that adults crave for when they are in their element, mastering a skill, achieving a long awaited goal. It starts to feel like you can’t have it all so you shouldn’t even bother.

But somehow you keep going. You remember your purpose outside of motherhood. And it’s okay to have another purpose outside of raising those amazing human beings . You are allowed to want more in your life. You are  allowed to hire a sitter, ask your child to play alone for a few minutes, or stay up later to finish a project so that you can leave the world a little different than it was this morning. It’s not a choice between motherhood and personal goals. It is constant balancing act where sometimes one will win over the other. But you keep fighting each day.

With appreciation of the moment, altering expectations, and believing you are worthy of having your own dreams you can keep moving. Please mama, keep moving. Listen to your passions and don’t deprive the world of your gifts. You have given life to the world which is already amazing. But you also have so much to give of yourself.

So keep inchworming, keep crawling, keep moving towards that dream even if it is at a snail’s pace. I can’t wait to see what you achieve.

I planned the perfect morning to myself, I’m thankful it didn’t happen

I planned the perfect morning to myself. I had one child in school, another being watched by a sitter. I say goodbye to my little one who is happily playing and get in the car.  My mind starts reeling with all the opportunities I had, the freedom of being able to make my own choices and do something for me, uninterrupted. I asked myself what I needed before I was going to the coffee shop to get work done, I answered with a solitary hike and fresh air. I was excited to get connected with nature because it fills my soul. I imagined breathing the crisp air in deeply, standing in the woods in complete silence. 
I’m about to get on the highway and I get a call from my child’s school. He had an accident. They were very compassionate but were worried he needed help cleaning himself and they asked I help him and he could then return to class. I arrived and before I could help him clean up he looked up at me with pleading eyes, “Mama, can you take me home?” My heart hurt that he was feeling embarrassed. Then I realized this would mean that the morning I was so excited for wouldn’t happen. I took a deep breath. “Sure bud”, I said.
On the way home I made sure to challenge myself to not allow my brain to do what it wanted- to use this as an example to prove those negative thoughts that creep in, “You’ll never get time for yourself”, “You’re never going to accomplish those dreams of yours,” “You’re a mom now, there’s no room for what you want anymore.” Thankfully my maternal power took over. I knew this was a situation where I was needed and that the way I reacted in this situation was going to have an impact on my son’s perspectives of making mistakes, embarrassment, and shame. I knew I wanted to protect him from internalizing negative thoughts about himself, ones that have haunted me for years and ripped away opportunities for gratitude and joy in my own life. We processed what happened making sure he understood that accidents happen and that he needn’t feel ashamed, that his teacher and I weren’t mad, that those who love and care about you are there for you when you make mistakes, that he is a wonderful boy and he is so very loved. I shared stories of my own embarrassment around this age to make him feel less alone. Then we were silent and listened to music. I looked at him in the rear view mirror, his eyes met mine with a big smile, “I love you Mom. Thanks for letting me come home with you.” In that moment there was no more disappointment, just profound gratitude that I was given the opportunity for this moment.
Our brains love to search for evidence to prove our negative thoughts. In a way it’s what they are designed to do, take information in and assess it and figure out how to categorize it. When we go looking for resentment and anger we will be sure to find it. But this puts the blinders on what is put in front of us, especially when its not what we had planned. Being able to adjust our expectations, give ourselves and others grace, and find the opportunity or meaning in the unexpected, the suffering, or the hardship is when we show strength, resilience, and grit.
I know I’ll get that perfect morning soon. Being a mother doesn’t mean we have to self-sacrifice 100% of the time. Being a mother means that we bend and don’t break, we become resilient to the unexpected so we can model to our own children that when life doesn’t always go as planned we can be strong enough to weather the changes. And the power of mother’s love weathers through any storm.
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Introducing Resilient Mamas

I’m so excited to share with you a re-launch of my blog and the beginning of a community!

As I’ve progressed on my journey both personally and professionally in the area of maternal mental health I envisioned creating a community where there is one understanding- that mothers can support each other without judgment, celebrate differences, hold space for one’s another’s stories, and empower one another to heal and grow. This lead to me creating the Resilient Mamas space. It’s a blog with inspriation and challenges, a Facebook community, and an in person group that meets twice monthly- once as a support group on the 3rd Wednesday from 6:30-8:30 at Circle of Life at once as a social gathering at Playgrounds Cafe in Lakewood and on the 2nd Tuesday from 10am-12pm at Playgrounds Cafe in Lakewood.

I look forward to seeing what this community grows into and am hopeful that mothers can be empowered through connection with one another to not only be vulnerable and open but to thrive inside and outside of motherhood with confidence and strength.

So welcome to Resilient Mamas! I’m so glad you’re here. I encourage you to visit the What is a Resilient Mama? page to find out more about the identity I wish to foster in each mother in this community.

Also if you’d like to be part of our Facebook group that will involve support and weekly challenges for growth you can join here.

Self-Care Mondays #14: Re-Think Expectations`

The new year brings with it a lot of promise. We start to see the world as full of possibilities. We think of all the changes we want to make and goals we want to accomplish. But with this all fresh new hope comes something that can weigh us down- expectations.


Self-Care Mondays' _14_ Rethinking Expectations

Expectations are things we think SHOULD happen. This is different than hope. Hope is something we think may happen but with the knowledge that it may not. We are emotionally prepared to be disappointed but still in a positive mindset. Expectations can sometimes come with an entitled sense of thinking. I expect this to happen therefore it should happen and if it doesn’t I’m going to have a big problem with it. Danny Boyle said it best, “It’s a good place when all you have is hope and not expectations.”

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t have any expectations. We should expect to be respected by others. We should expect that we will meet our daily responsibilities. The problem becomes when our expectations of ourselves or others become attached to our sense of self and ability to accept those we consider as important in our lives.

Expectations in relationships is another blog post within itself so I’m going to focus on the expectations we have of ourselves mostly because this time of year is when we seem to have the highest expectations of ourselves. We list many resolutions and we place high expectations on what we will accomplish in the new year, and all of these expectations especially those we tie greatly to our self-worth can be a breeding ground for disappointment in ourselves and feelings of low self-worth.

So when you’re sitting down to write your resolutions ( and yes, please please write them), sit back and re-think your expectations.  When we write things down we can  not only get all of our thoughts down and out of the abyss of our minds but we can also concretize them, examine them from a different point of view, and choose to cross out those  that are too lofty or not the best fit for our lives right now. For example I wrote down as one of my resolutions to hike a trail of significant length this year. After looking at it on paper next to my other resolutions I realized it wasn’t the best fit for me this year. It may be entirely possible that I can achieve this goal this year. I sat back and was truly honest with myself. Having two young children and having some professional goals I want to set aside some time for when I can secure childcare I realized it’s not the time for this goal for me. I altered the goal to hiking on my own once per month setting not particular length as a goal. So when looking back on 2018 I can feel good about the time I took to hike, something I love to do, but not feel disappointed that I didn’t conquer the Appalachian Trail.

After you write down your resolutions ask yourself the following four questions to re-think your expectations.

  • Is the motive for this resolution primarily to fulfill a need for self-worth? Will I somehow feel more worthy as a person if I fulfill it? In this case cross it out. What’s more important is shifting your mindset to believing in your worth right now, accomplishments or no accomplishments, being the mother you want to be or falling short of that constantly. A better resolution in this case is to work on feelings around self-worth in this area by rejecting self-judgmental thoughts and reducing shame with self-compassion.
  • Is the motive for this resolution primarily to  fulfill what I believe others expect of me? Wanting to be a “better” partner or “better” parent not only is an unclear goal it’s also pretty undefinable. What constitutes better? Improving how we contribute to our relationships is a wonderful intention but we have to make sure we are tackling it with a tremendous amount of self-awareness. Choosing to become a “better” mother by adopting traits that don’t feel authentic to ourselves but rather something someone wants us to be with only set us up for either disappointment in ourselves when we can’t make ourselves be different or feelings of inauthenticity that will lead to discomfort and potential resentment in our relationships. Wanting to be more present with our children because that’s something we value is a great mindset. But forcing ourselves to be Pinterest perfect mommy because we think it’ll make the family happy or make us well-liked is only going to end up more like a pinterest fail.
  • Can I cope adequately if I don’t even come close to meeting this resolution? How will it impact my sense of self-worth if I don’t achieve it? If you’re like me and have set the resolution to lose a certain amount of pounds each year and feel utterly disappointed when you don’t meet that goal this question is for you. I consistently have never met this resolution and it has immediately led me to thoughts of “I’m never going to lose weight,” “I’m so lazy,” or “I never follow through on things.” Because this became my yearly habit that sent me into a cycle of self-loathing and poor body image I’ve given up on new years resolutions that deal with weight altogether. This year my resolution is to start making healthier decisions more often than unhealthy decisions. I’m not going to focus on a strict eating or exercise plan but rather start asking myself at the end of each day- did I make more healthy decisions today? If not that’s okay, I try again tomorrow. The important thing is I’m thinking of it each day and agreeing to consider my physical health more often. This is the way I’m hoping to move towards better physical health while keeping this goal at a distance from my self-worth. Alter your resolution in a way that won’t set that self-defeating cycle in motion for you.
  • Is this resolution realistic, achievable, and able to be altered and adapted frequently without becoming disappointed and easily frustrated? It’s no secret that society puts a lot of pressure on us to achieve a lot rather quickly. We’re always looking for the quickest way to achieve something and even when we do achieve it we’re barely don’t popping the bottle of champagne before setting our sights higher. Think of how quickly people asked you when you were going to have another child after having your first. Sometimes I wonder how more simplistic our lives would be if you society gave up the need for instance gratification and “never enough” thinking. So this is where sometimes our resolutions can become too concrete. If you can’t alter your resolution to become more achievable its time to re-think your expectations. For example, “I won’t yell at my kids anymore” is not only unrealistic for some parents that struggle with this but also pretty unachievable if its become a habit. Making it more realistic such as “I’ll become more aware of how I’m communicating with my children by keeping a daily diary” is not only achievable but more realistic as a first step to decreasing yelling. Also if you set yourself for never yelling at your kids how will you feel if you yell at them one day? “I failed. I’m an awful mother. My kids deserve better than me.” We begin to resent ourselves with this thinking, we feel irritable, then our kids are demanding or not listening, and we yell because we’re irritable and feeling defeated. It becomes a vicious cycle. We have to use real honesty with ourselves about what we are capable of accomplishing and be willing to alter our goals as we go along so that we can feel capable of accomplishing them.


The reason re-thinking expectations is a form of self-care is because it gives us the ability to give ourselves room to breathe when it comes to our goals. Whether it’s a unexpected injury, struggles with mental health, or just realizing we set our sights a little too high we need to give ourselves the grace and space to change our expectations of ourselves and our lives. When we alter our expectations first we’re able to prevent the cycle of shame and negative thinking that accompanies failure. We’re able to recognize that although we may not have achieved what we initially intended we are worthy of re-evaluating based on what we can handle, what there is space for in our lives, and all the while realizing that none of it has anything to do with our worth as a person.


Self Care Mondays #12: Slow Down

We hear often the importance of slowing down and reducing the busyness of our daily lives. But how does one actually do that? Especially when our daily busy tasks seem so necessary. So when you don’t think you can move anything off your plate then a way to reduce the stress of the busyness and increase your self-care is to simply do these tasks   s l o w e r. 

Self-Care Mondays #12- Slow Down

Sounds crazy right? I thought so too. I’ve lived my life with the belief that doing things as fast as humanly possible frees up my time, time for self-care nonetheless. But as I’ve approached motherhood with this belief I have found that doing things hurriedly has not only robbed me of my enjoyment of the moment but has been a missed opportunity for self-care. Self-care while I am caring for my children. Relationships and interactions in and of themselves are self-care! They enhance our feelings of worthiness and belonging and fill our need for connection. So approaching our daily interactions and tasks in which we care for others with a slower pace helps enrich these experiences.

This epiphany, for me, came from learning more about the RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) philosophy of parenting. Magda Gerber, the founder of RIE, stressed the importance of sitting back, slowing down, and simply observing our children. And now I have found that applying that philosophy to both my children and myself has given me a nourishment of my mind and spirit.

An example of this was when I was changing my daughters diaper the other day.  I told her as I was changing exactly what I was doing to prepare her and I slowly and deliberately thought about my tasks. It enhanced my connection with her as I caught her wide eyes and smiling face and looked at her. We started intensely at each other and I soaked in this connection. It filled my soul in that moment having that bond with my daughter.

My son was having a melt down about leaving the house and instead of putting his shoes on for him as he wailed and complained I simply looked at him. I held his eyes in mine and he reached for a hug. We held each other and I let go of getting to where we were going on time. In that moment we were deeply connected and I was calm.

I am finding that I am also trying to model it to my own children. My daughter was laying in her lounger and was wide awake. Usually I would see this and see a need for her to be stimulated, to be “doing something” with her time for her own development. But instead I sat back and watched her. She was opening and closing her hand. The sunlight was shining on it. And she was rubbing it against the mesh lining of the inside of her lounger. She was enjoying the moment herself, learning about the movement of her hand, the touch of the lining, the feeling of having the sunlight shine down upon you. So I put the toy down that I had picked up to put in her hands. I sat and marveled at her and in a way I was watching her grow before my eyes and allowing her to do it in the way she wanted and at her own pace.

I’ve started to deliberately move through the house at a slower pace. When I have a free moment and my mind is buzzing with what I should be accomplishing I focus on one task and do it slowly.

A part of me will always having racing thoughts and a quick moving mind. A part of who I am is a person who is active and wants to do so many things in this world and I embrace that. But doing these things at a slower pace lets me enjoy them more fully and appreciate the accomplishment rather than breezing by to the next course of action. And breathing in that moment when I am caring for someone, finishing something, or even washing a dish is a way I am saying to myself, “You are here in this moment, you are worthy to slow down and enjoy it, breath it in before it passes by.”

So in Magda’s own words let your mantra this week be, “Go slowly and with great patience.”

-Go slowly, and with great patience.-Magda Gerber

Self-Care Mondays #12: Make a Self-Care Plan

One of the most important tenets of self-care for me is that self-care is a prevention tool. This means that engaging in self-care practices can prevent stress, becoming overwhelmed, having emotional breakdowns, coming into negative head space, or disillusionment. The most important thing however, is that self-care is used in a way to prevent first, then treat. This means that self-care is engaged in a routine and daily fashion not just relied upon when stress takes over. So engage in creating your own self-care plan in order to make sure you’re maintaining emotional health instead of just remedying it when it starts to falter. Here are some tips:



  1. Creating a self-care plan can be done in the way that best suits your personality. If you’re a little type A and need some structure to your day make sure you write in (WITH PEN) your daily self-care practices or rituals. If you’re more type-B don’t worry about having a set plan for each day but pay attention to the rhythm and flow and stay mindful of the best times to utilize for self-care. Either way make a commitment to at least a 10-15 minute self-care ritual each day. You may have to test and trial times and spaces that work for you based on your schedule. You may think that you’ll wake up an hour early each day and then keep hitting the snooze button- then its time to change what time is best for your self-care ritual.
  2. Each morning  take some time to think mindfully about which practice would most benefit you during your self-care time. This is important because we can easily fall into doing something that is mindless or not as impactful during self-care time. “Me time” is different than “self-care time.” Self-care time is mindful and focused on doing something to enhance your emotional and/or physical wellbeing. “Me time” is giving in to whatever desires you have for yourself and maybe even indulging- there is nothing wrong with this. However, self-care time is more planful and intentional and a NECESSITY, not a luxury. I have watched so many nap times come and go where I didn’t feel any more nurtured or rested because I sat in front of the TV or on the internet for 2 hours and that wasn’t refreshing for me. That “me time” wasn’t working for me so I had to devote the first half hour to mindful self-care and then I could turn on the tube.
  3. Keep a list of self-care practices readily available. Sometimes it can be daunting to even sit down and think about what we want to do for ourselves. Having a list of self-care rituals at hand can be helpful to select what is best for ourselves that day. Breaking self-care rituals into different categories that address our needs can also be helpful. Feeling a little in need of more social time? Have a list of self-care rituals that help address loneliness or disconnection such as writing an email to an old friend, scheduling a coffee date with another mom, or Skyping with your cousin who lives overseas.

Here are some examples of self-care rituals from various aspects of human need. You can ask yourself what area you feel you have the most need in and select a practice from that category.

Spiritual– Read from a religious text or spiritual book, pray, reflect, or meditate, journal, educate yourself on a spiritual subject you’ve wanted to learn more about

 Emotional– write in a gratitude journal, write a letter to yourself talking about your strengths, open up and ask for support from a friend, engage in healthy coping skills, read a self-help book, journal, engage in some form of creative expression through writing, art, dance, or music

Physical- exercise, yoga, sensory rituals that heal such as hot baths, aromatherapy, schedule a massage

 Social – write an email to an old friend, go a new group or social event and meet new people, engage in an online support group, schedule time out with friends, schedule a date night or private time with your partner, call a friend or family member just to catch up

Intellectual– read the news, read a book, engage in a hobby or start a new hobby, make a list of goals, join a group based on your interests


Take 5 minutes today or tomorrow to engage in making a self-care plan and stick to it no matter what. Making this a daily ritual can have an amazing impact on maintaining good emotional health.


The Other Side


The Other Side



I was in a dark place this last week.

It was dark outside. It was dark inside my mind. I was not me.

I allowed myself to stay in this dark place for quite awhile. I allowed the sleep deprivation to keep me under water. Instead of fighting to thrive I just decided to survive.

Some days as moms we talk about how it is just about getting through the day. But when that becomes every day for a period of time it starts to feel like a dark place. You don’t want to just survive. You want to live, to experience happiness, accomplishment, connection, and fulfilment.

And then this morning I took a brief walk. It was just 5 minutes around my city block while I listened to music but the air felt fresher, my eyes stayed forward instead of looking down, there was a bounce in my step. And it hit me- I had reached the other side.

It’s hard to remember when we are in our dark place that the other side exists. That is is waiting for us. Sometimes it’s up to us to get there and sometimes life circumstances brings it to us. But it is there. Sometimes it gets hard, really hard to find it or wait for it to come. But it’s always out there somewhere.

It’s the place where our best self exists. It’s the place where we feel more whole. The sun shines in our mind. We see all that is before us and are grateful. We see a beautiful self in the mirror and not the monster that was there before.

I write to remember this moment, that refreshing moment of entering the other side. I write so that I remember that it exists if I leave it and am in a dark place again.

I will not get this past week back. I can not take away my mistakes. I can not erase the irritability, the coldness that I spread to my son because he was the only one there to take it. It hurts when I think about it. But its something else I need to remember. I am capable of allowing myself to be less than I am when I’m in dark place. I must be gentle with myself and then others, I must assert my needs, I must ask for help.

So I’ll hopefully be on the other side for awhile. The dark side will start to slowly pull me back. My self-awareness is my best weapon. My belief that I am worthy of always being on this side can help keep me here longer. And if I do get pulled back to the dark side my memory of the other side can hopefully keep my stay there shorter and the strength and motivation to get back to it stronger.



So this happened last night.

4 hours of demanding TV in the middle of the night before he went back to bed. It has been a couple of nights we have struggled with this. I believe TV may be a big coping mechanism for my son because it was something I used a lot (unfortunately) during our big move. The grandmas spent two weeks with us and just left and it makes sense that he would have some difficulties adjusting to their absence. I’ve learned how hard it is to tow the line with your child in the middle of the night when you live in an apartment building. My fear that the neighbors will complain snowballs into our deportation from Australia back to the United States and my husband losing his job. My therapist self knows this is a completely irrational thought but it doesn’t stop me from giving in so my son stops crying. So I try to find the humor in it and help him through this transition. He screams “WHY?! WHY?!” wanting to watch Super Why. My husband and I laugh at what the neighbors may think. It gets funnier when he switches back and forth between asking for Super Why and Daniel Tiger. “WHY?!? Daniel?!?! WHY?!?!” The neighbors must think we have a guy named Daniel living with us that is causing some serious distress to our 2 year old. So we make it through the night somehow and I survive the day by getting coffee while Harry blows kisses to our usual barista. He never blows kisses back.When Your 2 old screams in the middle of the night, -WHY-! WHY-!- Don't worry. He's not having an existential crisis. He just wants to watch Super Why.